After my post yesterday afternoon I ventured back into downtown Frieburg. I wandered around the many vendor stalls surrounding the church, and finally settled on a bratwurst for lunch. Local food always seems to be the most delicious, and usually the cheapest. I couldn’t read the descriptions, though, so I just pointed to what I wanted. It was a bit spicy for my tastes, but for only 2.5€ it was well worth it. After eating I of course found myself another gelato shop. I can never seem to get enough gelato. Still in the town square I returned to the stalls and purchased a jar of strawberry jam. I’m quite proud of myself for two reasons: that I somehow knew that ‘erdbeere’ meant ‘strawberry,’ and that I am quite confident in ordering from shops and restaurants despite the language barrier. I’m not sure exactly why, but being a stranger in a strange land, alone, and with little knowledge of the local language can cause quite a bit of intimidation. Last year, when I took my first big solo trip, it took at least a month (maybe longer) to be able to confidently order food by myself.
Other than that, I walked. I walkded and walked and walked. I stopped down by the Dreisam River for a bit to enjoy the view and get a water sample, then went back into the city. By the time Hanna got into town, I was already eating a dinner snack from a bakery in town that consisted of some type of garlic sauce on bread with cheese and salami. I met Hanna back at the hostel and got her settled into the dorm, then we walked some more through the town center and its shops. Around 2030 we found a local burger diner and ate dinner. I even tried AfriCola, the local version of Coke. She and I went to the same pizzeria across from the hostel that I visited the night before and had a few beers while watching the Iceland/Portugal football match with the locals. We actually called it an early night and went to sleep around 2300 so we could wake up early to enjoy a full day on my birthday.
I woke up around 0730 and walked a block down the street to a local bakery. I picked up a loaf of bread for the strawberry jam I purchased the day before, as well as two different pastries. I made us breakfast with toast, baked goods, and tea. Hanna gave me my birthday gift, which was a ‘grab bag’ from one of the trinket stores in the center of town. It consisted of a set of fake (I can only assume British) teeth, and a little wind-up Dracula. We left the hostel early and walked the same mountain that I had trekked yesterday, only this time we walked further up the trails. At one summit we found pay-per-view binoculars and scoped out a little castle on the other side of town in the forest that I wanted to see closer – and hopefully in person. Even farther up the trails we discovered a giant monument that was seemingly built for no reason at all. There was a partly-collapsed bridge a few meters away, and she kept suggesting I climb across the rubble. I probably would have (it was only ten meters or so above the ground), except that it didn’t seem to go anywhere. So after crossing it I would have had to turn around and brave the fallen mostly-structure all over again.
From there we decided to check out the castle outside of town. I would still have gone had I known, but that was one hell of a hike. It was cold and raining fairly hard, and eventually we left the main road and had to walk through mud-soaked trails. Somehow, admidst the dense foliage, we managed to find the castle. Castle is a bit of an overstatement. It was tiny in comparison to the majority of castles in Europe. She told me the name translates in ‘Watercastle’ in English. Sure enough, there was a pipe coming out of the front with a seemingly endless supply of fresh water. So I got a sample of that also and we stayed for a few minutes to enjoy a quick snack that I had brought along.
By this point the rain stopped and the sun began to shine, making the hike down a hell of a lot easier and quicker. We also found a shortcut across a bridge that we didn’t know existed on the way up. Hanna and I made a quick stop at the hostel then walked back into town for some birthday sushi at a rotating sushi bar near the city center. We stopped and got more gelato, then sampled a bunch of different gummi bears at a shop that sells nothing but gummi bears. We sat in the square where a street performer was making giant soap bubbles for the awe-struck children nearby. It looked about ready to storm again, so we both returned to the hostel and hung out for a bit in the commons room. She had a friend coming into town that she met up with around 1800. I stayed back to update my blog. You’re welcome.
I have my travel plans figured out for the next few days. Tomorrow around 1700 I am taking a bus to Heidelberg. I have a hostel booked there (I believe it is Steffi’s Hostel) for two nights, at which time I am taking a bus to Berlin. I will probably wind up staying in Berlin for several days to a week. I really want to get a first-hand look at all the history the city has to offer. I haven’t yet booked a hostel in Berlin, but there is no shortage of cheap beds available so I will likely figure it out while in Heidelberg. After Berlin I think I may take a bus to Krakow. I was considering Wroclaw, but I didn’t enjoy the city too much last time I was there. Krakow, on the other hand, was one of my favorite cities of the entire trip. A bus from Berlin to Krakow is only 15-20€, and I can even take an overnight bus (as I am doing from Heidelberg to Berlin) and sleep on the bus instead of booking another night in a hostel.
Well, those are the updates and these are my current plans. I would difinitely put Frieburg on my list of cities to visit (if I didn’t say that last time). It has very little tourism, so it’s more of an undiscovered gem of Germany. This also means that fewer people speak English, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue if you can find ways to work around it. I still have about 4 hours of birthday left, but damn am I tired. Tired and a little bit hungry. So…do I nap or eat now?