Photos and recap from Freiburg and Konstanz. Also, I have figured out how to make a slideshow, but it is taking a little while to load on my end, but I don’t know if it’s just me, so if you have to wait for an unreasonable amount of time then please provide feedback, and I will adjust the settings.
Enjoy (and thanks for your help)!
I have two excursions to recap, as I have fallen a bit behind on my blogging as a result of attempting to live as purposefully and presently as possible. I will attempt to cover the highlights of both in the least spastic Eichhörnchen-auf-Koffein way as possible.
On the first Saturday of September, we traveled three hours to Freiburg, which lies in the Southwestern corner of Baden-Württemberg. We walked around the Altstadt and learned a little bit about the city from our local tour guides. Founded in 1120, Freiburg doesn’t quite make it on Germany’s list of largest cities, with just over 220,000 people, but it is home to one of the oldest and most renowned universities in Germany. Freiburg is also an incredibly environmentally friendly city, with the largest percentage of Green party members out of any major city in Germany. I saw many, many bicycles and even more pedestrians during our brief visit.
Freiburg is also the friendliest city that I have visited so far. During our free time, I was walking around the market at the foot of the Kirche after having enjoyed some famous Münsterwurst (absolutely delicious, by the way) when I was approached by someone who handed me a postcard and struck up a conversation, telling me about his move from Morocco to France, and then more recently to Germany to study in Freiburg. After we parted ways and I rejoined the group of Californians, another person walked up to talk to myself and a few others. Turns out, he is from Australia, and has been traveling in Europe for the past few months. We talked with him for quite a while, trading stories and tips about different cultures around the world. It is always nice to encounter different people for any reason, and it’s great to be able to meet people from all over the world. I think we are all still getting used to that.
We were able to climb to the top of the Münster, and the view from the top was beautiful, although we couldn’t help but recall the stunning view from the top of the Ulmer Münster (we were, however, quite glad to discover that in Freiburg, there are only 204 steps to the top). We finished the excursion with a hike up the Schlossberg, which heralded another stunning panoramic view of the beautiful city, with the mountains of France and Switzerland visible in the distance. By the end of the day, I was quite ready to head home and enjoy a relaxing evening by the fire.
Last weekend, we traveled to Konstanz, which lies on the border of Germany and Switzerland (so close, in fact, that my phone decided that I was roaming). The Bodensee stretches out to the south of the city, providing a gorgeous view of fresh, sparkling water that I did not realize I had been missing.
The area which today makes up Konstanz was actually occupied by the Romans as early as 40AD. The city has a long history of being fought over due to its strategic location on the Rhine, which made it ideal for trading. Previously belonging to Rome, Switzerland, the Swabian League, and Austria, Konstanz finally became part of the German Empire in 1871. It survived bombing during World War II by leaving lights on at night, fooling the Allies into believing it to be a Swiss town. Today, Konstanz is home to about 80,000 residents, and houses the University of Konstanz, which was founded in 1966.
While we were in Konstanz, we did quite a bit of walking, and were able to see many of the twisting cobblestone allies that connect the cafes, shops, and churches. It really is a beautiful city, and holds a unique, oceanic-esque charm due to its proximity to the beautiful Bodensee. During our free time, I spent some time walking along the docks away from the downtown area, and purchased some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had the luxury of consuming (and at only 1€ per scoop of this heavenly orange-infused chocolate treat, I enjoyed a second cone before we left). Later in the afternoon, we visited an archaeological museum, which showcased artifacts found in the area from as early as the Stone Age. Lots of shoes, tools, and weapons were on display from the Middle Ages, as well as skulls and bones of humans who lived over a thousand years ago. The museum was incredibly interesting, and it was fun for me to walk around with my Wörterbuch translating the plaques.
On our way back to the train, a few students had planned ahead for the luxury of the Bodensee and stripped off their shirts and shoes, taking a much-needed dip in the clear, cool waters. It was fun to watch them splash around, and it got me thinking about what sorts of watery beach-laden destinations might possibly lie in my future.
Konstanz is only a two hour train ride away from Horb, so we were not so wiped out when we returned, and we had enough energy to attend a celebratory festival next to the Neckar River. It was a blast to see so many people out in public in our tiny little village, and I enjoyed people-watching the people who watch host students from all around the world get to know Germany. We were treated to an unforgettable concert by a Phil Collins cover band, and we sang our hearts out in the front of the crowd, earning some appreciative smiles from the band, as well as some stares from locals who were unsure if they should disapprove or join in the fun.
The other Ahldorfers and I shared a taxi home later in the night, and we spent the rest of the weekend relaxing and studying for our upcoming final.
Thank you, dear readers, for taking the time to visit my page, I wish you well. Until next time, tschüss!