Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Freiburg: A Wanderer's Paradise

I left work at lunch time to go home because I forgot to bring my chargers for all my electronics (phone, iPod, camera, etc.) and I realized I would have the opportunity to go hiking while I was in the south of Germany. I decided that I should bring my hiking boots and knee brace with me just in case. I went home on the bus and grabbed my things then I was on my way to the train station.

I had to wait for a bus by my apartment and again when I got to the station I waited for a train and finally boarded. Oh wait, it's not like the end of the world, I was going to arrive an hour earlier than planned anyways. I had to go to Kassel-Wilhelmschöhe where I waited to board another train, while I was waiting I thought I heard a familiar voice and tuned around and there were Olga and Paulius from the B.I.B.

I stopped them and we talked a bit and they were going to Frankfurt to fly to Hong Kong. We were on the same train too so we sat together and talked a bit on the ride before they had to get off to get their flight. I, however, stayed on the train to Mannheim and got off then waited to get on a train to Stuttgart which was totally packed but people still felt the need to try and pass through the halls which were full of people. I was stuck standing in the hallway with a stroller too!

Luckily it was only a 30 minute train ride so I arrived in Stuttgart and waited for my RB to take me to Uhingen, this train was about 15 minutes late by the time I arrived in Uhingen but Philip was still waiting for me and took me home. I ate some dinner and talked with Jörg while also unloading all the items he would take with him to the US for me and packing in the items that my mother had sent with him.

We watched some soccer and then a comedy show and went to bed. Oh and we drank some good heifelweissen and red wine too!

It seems that everyone overslept. I even set an alarm for 7:45 AM, or so I thought but unfortunately I actually set it for 7:45 PM instead. Luckily, I still woke up at 8 AM and showered before having coffee and breakfast with Tanja. We talked a bit then she drove me to Plochingen to get a train to Stuttgart, on this train I ran into Philip and he said "you should have told me, I could have driven you" oh well he was in too much of a hurry to hear me calling out to him when he left the house.

I went to Stuttgart and boarded a train to go to Karlsruhe Hbf where I had to change to a train to Freiburg. Sadly, the train I was on was late and I missed the train to Freiburg and had to wait 20 minutes for the next one which all in all wasn't so bad. I finally arrived in Freiburg and tried to follow the directions to my hosts home but (leave it to me) I got lost. I went outside the train station and looked around but had to cross the street again to get to the trams.

I took the tram as she told me to and got off but didn't know where to go from there. There was a map but it didn't help me at all and I wound up getting quite lost. My host finally came down to meet me at the station and walked me home. On the walk home, I spoke with her in German but I still feel like a six year old when I speak but at least speaking reminds me that I know more than I think I do!

When we got back to her house had some tea and just spoke a bit about our respective plans for the evening which I had none. We also spoke about CouchSurfing and life in general. We had time before our plans would happen so we just relaxed some before leaving. She went to sleep for a bit I think and I went into the extra room and read a book for a few hours.

I can't believe I haven't mentioned this yet but it was snowing all day Saturday too!

Around 6:30 PM we went to pick Eva's friend and her friends visiting from Irsael. We all piled into Eva's car, a small toyota at that, we went to a grocery store to buy something to bring with us as a passing dish and then went to Eva's other friend's house. We were to have dinner at this friend's house but when we arrived he was very shocked becasue he already had many guests and were a group of six. He didn't think they had enough food for everyone so we went back out and bought our own food.

We all shared dinner, but some of the food was done earlier than ours and while most people ate their dinner, the six of us sat and waited for ours to be finished. Maybe it's a catholic thing, maybe it's an American thing, maybe it's even a German thing, but even if all the food is not done no one would have been served anything until everyone was served where I come from. I realize that these people must have been hungry but so were we and they were completely finished with their food before ours came out.

Once our food was done we ate and talked and since I was talking and eating, I was eating slowly. I wasn't even finished with my food before it was taken away and I was given dessert. At least we all ate that together. Not that I wanted it then, I wanted my other food.

Anyways, on a positive note, it was quite interesting hearing all the languages at the table, German, English, Russian, Chinese, Polish, and Hebrew were all being spoken, in one room at one table! It was quite the mix. After dinner we all sat around and hung out but finally the six of us left to take the girls from Israel home. Eva and I invited ourselves inside for tea and all of us hung out and just talkd.

During the whole night out, I was by far the youngest but I still had just as many adventures and mishaps as everyone else, it makes me feel so grown up and experienced. A very good feeling to have if you ask me!

Eva and I finally came home at about 2 AM and went to bed.

I woke up and "showered" but since Eva lives in the top of the building all the ceilings are slanted like the roof and standing in the tub isn't really an option so it was like taking a bath without the water in the tub and a shower head to wash up with.

I talked to Mike, another CouchSurfer who would show me the city during the day and we mad plans to meet for breakfast around 10 AM. I made tea then just relaxed on the couch until I had to leave.

I went into the city by tram and met with Mike. We went for breakfast and had a very traditional German meal: a buffet of meats, cheeses, bread, and other items. We also had tea and while eating, we talked a lot about life, CouchSurfing, and travel. Oh and of course food.

When we were finished with breakfast and had paid, we walked in the altstadt (old city) for a bit and he showed me the church and a few of the other items on my list of things to see in Freiburg. Mike needed to run home quickly and so I went along and he gave me some lotion for my face since we were going to go hiking and it was windy. Man am I glad I used that though because wind burn is not fun.

We then took a tram then a bus to go to the longest chair lift in Germany. For 7€ we got a ticket to go up and down. We went up the hill on the lift and couldn't see too much due to the low clouds and at the top we couldn't see to much either. Even when we went up the observation tower there we couldn't see a thing but white. We still hiked around and wandered the area some though and finally after around three hours of walking and climbing we went down on the lift again and went back into the city center.

We then went up another hill closer to the city and onto another observation tower to see the sun setting and the city lighting up. I have a great picture of me up there even! When we were done looking, we went back down the tower and the hill and said our goodbyes.

I sent Eva a message and went back to her house to have dinner. We ate pasta and drank tea together while talking a lot and I showed her some things from the U.S. and where I lived and she helped me to find another city to visit since I couldn't find a host in Lindau. We talked about everythign and anything until maybe 10:30 PM and then went to bed.

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