It’s been almost a month since I’ve been back from Germany but I’ve been so swamped with work that I haven’t had the time to think about finishing up our blog series on our visit. It’s a rainy Saturday, we’re doing housework, waiting for the mopped floor to dry, and so I have some time.
Our last stop together in Germany was Freiburg. This place was very different from the other places we visited. Mainly, it felt like all of the buildings in the main part of town were from another era. So much of the town felt like Christmas fairytale architecture. That is a ridiculous description, but this place was very special.
On the morning that we left for Freiburg from Wintersdorf, of course, the trains were delayed due to the weather. And then some people were occupying our reserved seats and my German wasn’t good enough to inform them that they belonged to us. We had had enough and just settled on standing in the onboard café. But when we arrived in Freiburg, everything was “coming up Millhouse” (things were good). We went straight to our hostel called the Black Forest Hostel, checked-in, and then got some food at a nearby pub/café and got some delicious food.
Then we headed to the main part of the city of Freiburg. The weather was quite nice and cold, there still being snow on the ground, but at least it wasn’t damp and humid like England. We set out, and first came upon one of the Freiburg gates (pictured below), and then we attempted to do a little shopping. The area near where we were staying was known for having a lot of cool shops. Of course, I gravitated toward the bookshops, but there was plenty of nice things to see. And then we headed for the Freiburg Münster which was absolutely breath-takingly gorgeous.
Upon exiting the Münster, I spotted a game store called Spiel am Münster (Game/Play by the Minster). The store was two stories and whilst the ground floor was decked out with smaller card games (and children-type games), the first floor above was filled with the more serious type of modern boardgames I love (all auf Deutsch, of course). I spent a bit of time browsing around, and even saw that there was an area set aside for the German Spiel des Jahres (game of the year) for 2010: Dixit (which is an awesome game that I highly recommend by the way). I came away not getting anything, mainly because it would be difficult to play games in German with our friends back in England, but more primarily because of space and weight constraints that Ryan Air imposes on luggage.
Also in the same area surrounding the Münster, we saw this crazy red building. We had no idea what it was, but Tiana posed in front of it. And around the other side of the Münster we went to this lovely wine shop, ordered some wine, and relaxed a bit while we wrote some postcards in the shadow (literally) of the Münster.
We had the opportunity to go to a few microbreweries (they call them Hausbrauerei), both of which were excellent. The first one was called Hausbrauerei Feierling where we sat on the 1st floor and looked down at this big copper vats or whatever-they’re-called, and ordered some food which proved tasty. The beer here was probably my favourite of any place we went to. We also checked out Martin’s Bräu which was also very good.
The last morning in Freiburg we woke up very early, made ourselves breakfast in our Hostel kitchen, and left for the train station getting there on time (for once) because of our timely taxi driver. And then we were off for 7 hours of train rides. I can’t remember exactly, but I think there were train delays all day and it was horrible. But, we did finally arrive in Berlin where we spent the night in a hotel near the airport.
On the next day (30th of December) I bid Tiana farewell at the airport. She had to fly back to return to work, and I stayed in Berlin to attend a month-long German language immersion course at the Goethe-Institut. I stayed in a crappy hostel in Charlottenburg for about five days while I waited for the course to begin, but then moved into a really nice place in the Hackenshen Markt area right near the Institut itself. I don’t think I’ll be making separate posts about that time in January mainly because it would consist of fairly repetitious descriptions of spending 4.5 hours a day in class and then doing homework and reading every day, plus smoking the occasional cigar. Moreover, I really didn’t take a lot of pictures while I was there by myself. The course was top-notch, but I’ve still got a long way to go in learning a few more essential bits of grammar, not to mention vocabulary.
It is very, very good to be back in Nottingham with Tiana. We had a wonderful time in Germany with pristine couchsurfing experiences, not to mention a fantastic time of seeing and experiencing a wide swath of Germany itself. As for our upcoming travels, we’ll be in Kraków, Poland in June, and possible France in July!
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