freiburg, germany - no map, no problem

I was so excited to show Sara all over my new hometown of Basel, and then, we covered every inch of the city in about 2 hours. It is not a large city. And Sara was here for a week. So one afternoon we decided to take the train into Freiburg, Germany (not to be confused with Freiburg, Saxony; Fribourg, Switzerland; Freiburg, Poland; or Nova Friburgo, Brazil).

Basel has two train stations -- one in Basel proper, and one 20 minutes away, smack on the German border. Train tickets to Frieburg from the Swiss station were 150 francs per person. Train tickets to Freiburg from the German station were 25 euro per person. Seriously, Switzerland?

On the ticket purchasing terminal, we selected "Freiburg" as our destination and then gaped in horror when about 25 train station options popped up. Blessedly, I've managed to pick up the German words for "main" and "train station", so Hauptbahnhof it was. See Mom? That Rosetta Stone you bought me for Christmas is totally paying off.

45 minutes later, we were in Freiburg. We thought it might be useful to get a map, and right inside the train station was an information booth staffed by two thoroughly bored women with lots of brochures and pamphlets. Sara and I had barely finished asking for a map before the Information lady crossed her arms over her chest, vehemently shook her head no with eyes closed, and nearly shouted at us, "NO." As if it we had truly and all at once inconvenienced her, insulted her, and ruined her day. Sara and I made it about six steps away from her before bursting out laughing. Oh, Germany.

Thankfully, directly outside of the station there was.... a map of the city. We set out to explore.

Freiburg is apparently Germany's sunniest and warmest city! It really was quite warm on the day we went in March, but almost every single experience I've had in Germany has been freezing and rainy, even in the dog days of summer (I guess they're more like husky days of summer, in Germany? HA! HAHAHAHHA. Sorry.). So this was a bit like being "this is the warmest and sunniest of all the freezing and rainy cities! Our people wear only a light waterproof down parka!"

Graffiti, something we are very much lacking in Basel. Freiburg is a university town and there were a ton of hippie-backpacker-poncho-granola-marijuana types lounging around. This was a huge difference from Basel, which despite also being a university town, seems exclusively populated by wealthy elderly white men in between business appointments investing their gazillion pounds of gold. It was kinda nice to get out of that scene for an afternoon.

I'm standing atop a little running "canal" that are found all throughout the city center. Sara and I were very curious about them and looked them up when we got home. Wikipedia says that they are called Bächle and were once used to provide water to fight fires and feed livestock, and are now widely beloved for the "pleasant gurgling sound" they provide. Don't we all just love a soothing gurgle?

Sara used her travel stilts for this picture. Just kidding, that would've been way too dangerous, what with all the active waterways about.

Good old Alban Stolz. Wikipedia tells me he is a Catholic theologian and that he lived most of his life in FreiBURG but then died in FreiBERG, in Saxony, which borders the Tharandt Forest as opposed to Freiburg's Black Forest. So, to translate for the Americans, I'm assuming this is like a Boston-New York rivalry thing? And Alban Stolz lived as a Yankees fan and died in Red Sox territory. DRAMA.

Also of note about the Bächle, courtesy of Wikipedia: "It is said that if one accidentally falls or steps into a Bächle, they will marry a Freiburger, or 'Bobbele'." FYI, all you single ladies that love gurgling.

I literally panicked with joy when I saw this dalmatian. LOOK AT THAT GUY. When I'm with Alex and I see a dog I literally ask him every single time while getting all up in his face, "DO YOU THINK THAT DOG NEEDS A HUG," but amazingly I kept my cool around Sara so she continues to think I am a suave, graceful lady that epitomizes cool and collected.

Einbahnstrasse to the left and Einbahnstrasse to the right. Einbahnstrasse everywhere. Freiburg, not stingy with its Einbahnstrasse.

These are the faces of SUCCESS. Who needs a map, anyway?

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