Freiburg, Germany

I got here on a Wednesday afternoon, after over 30 hours of traveling which ended in a 45 minute delay of my train to the confusion of my teacher who was supposed to pick me up but couldn’t reach me. My host’s house is in a cute village to the west of the city, and the view from there is amazing. Immediately, he mentions we’ll walk the dog, but on floating an idea of mountain biking with him, we switch ideas immediately. An hour later, we’re getting on our bikes, with full knee and hand padding, to climb a 1,700ft mountain and race down it in 10 minutes. It’s so nice to be racing through the fresh Black Forest air after days in sterile airports.

The tower at the top of the mountain
The tower at the top of the mountain.

Back, we go to the Griestal-Strauße, which is a 5-minute drive through random wine trails behind his house. A Strauße is an amazing German concept where a winery is allowed to serve food and drinks for 4 months of the year to 40 people or less without a restaurant permit. While this particular locale is a bit bigger now, it still serves fresh food and wine grown on the grapes we were driving through.

Find the Strauße! Oh there it is! Just in front on Dolby and Michael.
Find the Strauße! Oh there it is! Just in front on Dolby and Michael.
I had Leberle mit Brägele, which is Badish for liver with fried potatoes and onions, and was so good.
I had Leberle mit Brägele, which is Badish for liver with fried potatoes and onions, and was so good.
Meanwhile Dolby sat obediently at Michael's feet. For full disclosure, both of these pictures were actually taken a few nights later when we came back.
Meanwhile Dolby sat obediently at Michael’s feet.

As tempted as I was to think that Michael preferred going out to cooking (based on the fact that we did that our first night), I was wrong. Our first night in the kitchen we made what seemed like a simple salad, but only used fresh, local ingredients.

Lettuce, champignons, radishes, tomatoes, carrots, and served with turkey fried in honey-mustard dressing and pan-seared goat's cheese. I promised Michael I don't take pictures of every meal, but I wasn't doing what I was saying.
Lettuce, champignons, radishes, tomatoes, carrots, and served with turkey fried in honey-mustard dressing and pan-seared goat’s cheese. I promised Michael I don’t take pictures of every meal, but I wasn’t doing what I was saying.

The next night, homemade pasta with homemade pesto dressing: pan-seared pine nuts with basil I just picked from the terrace, oil, garlic, pecorino, and pepper.

I was in charge of frying, and learned to flip things without using utensils.
I was in charge of frying, and learned to flip things without using utensils.
Pasta out to dry
Pasta out to dry.
Fresh pesto
Fresh pesto.

Mornings were even better, I made myself Müsli with some more great ingredients: bananas, banana chips, peaches, figs, nuts, local honey, yogurt, and of course flakes.

Never have I ever been such a morning person
Never have I ever been such a morning person.
Especially with that view...
Especially with that view…
Sie wurden ja auch frisch angestrichen! ... Gut dass sie lachen; die Dame gestern ist dann ganz entäuscht weggegangen.
Sie wurden ja auch frisch angestrichen! … Gut dass sie lachen; die Dame gestern ist dann ganz entäuscht weggegangen.

The farmer pictured who has owned the fields and this stand for years reacted to Dagmar (Michael’s sister) complimenting the redness and freshness of the strawberries, to which the stallkeeper joked that she just painted them this morning. Apparently not everyone understands that these strawberries are not, in fact, painted red; they’re just fresh and in season. I found it striking how ingrained in the culture it was to buy fresh local produce; this stand being just off the roadway to the city. Michael, the day before, refused to buy a €2,99 mango because that was €-,50 more than he was used to, not because he is stingy (though that’s valid) but because that meant it wasn’t quite in season yet. In Kindergarten I was always fed healthy lunches with lots of vegetables, but at some of them in Freiburg they take it one step further by taking the kindergarteners out to the market, buying the produce, preparing and cooking it, and then eating it. That’s how you raise a kid to eat healthy.

Seit 1949 (operating since then) she explained to me proudly. And for €1,50 it was hard to say no to what I would unculturally call a giant hot dog with fried onions.
Seit 1949 (operating since then) she explained to me proudly. And for €1,50 it was hard to say no to what I would unculturally call a giant hot dog with fried onions.
I ended up walking around the farmer's market that is set up nearly daily around the Münster, which did mean that I managed to spend over €10 on what was supposed to be a cheap lunch.
I ended up walking around the farmer’s market that is set up nearly daily around the Münster, which did mean that I managed to spend over €10 on what was supposed to be a cheap lunch.
The surrounding downtown is a vibrant pedestrian-only district filled with people of all ages. I spent about half the day just walking the streets.
The surrounding downtown is a vibrant pedestrian-only district filled with people of all ages. I spent about half the day just walking the streets.
Don't step into the Drächle! Otherwise you're doomed to marry a Freiburg man. The name is a cute combination of Bächle (little creek) and Dreisam, the name of the main river cutting through Freiburg
Don’t step into the Drächle! Otherwise you’re doomed to marry a Freiburg man. The name is a cute combination of Bächle (little creek) and Dreisam, the name of the main river cutting through Freiburg.
We got to visit the inside of a mine. The only disappointment was that the mine trains (you see the tracks here) had been taken out of service when the mine closed half a century ago and only now are starting to be restored for service!
We got to visit the inside of a mine. The only disappointment was that the mine trains (you see the tracks here) had been taken out of service when the mine closed half a century ago and only now are starting to be restored for service!
I love the German commitment to recycling: here you see a yard where they have separate containers for rugs, among other things.
I love the German commitment to recycling: here you see a yard where they have separate containers for rugs, among other things.
And of course German punctuality: buses showing exactly when destinations would be reached. I'd later see this in Poland too but it was just lightyears ahead of SF haha.
And of course German punctuality: buses showing exactly when destinations would be reached. I’d later see this in Poland too but it was just lightyears ahead of SF haha.
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