Umleitungs

The plan looked good: Take the train from St. Gallen in Switzerland to Freiburg, Germany, NOT Fribourg, Switzerland. Ah-hem.

So we found ourselves back in Basel (SBB, we hardly knew ye) for a half an hour, after literally making a course correction. Then it was all aboard for Germany. Watch out, Black Forest, here we come!

We arrived at our Freiburg lodging right on time to meet the host and with a sky threatening to rain. One detail though: The toilet was being fixed. As in, the repairmen were still vacuuming and cleaning. The bad odor seemed to have settled in for the night.

Off to another nearby hotel as the early Friday evening drizzle began to fall.

Here’s where we thank the good fellow at the front desk at the Novotel, where only two single smoking rooms were available. He called another nearby hotel for us; they had a room! So we trundled two-minutes away to the swell family-owned hotel where we spent the night after all.

Drizzle was the worst of the weather for the time being, so we spent a couple of hours exploring the charming, hopping Altstadt, including a stop for supper at the lively Markthall. One special feature of the city are the Bächle. These mini-troughs of flowing fresh (so don’t use them as an ashtray, smokers) water bring a natural sound and soothing quality to the mood as you move through the streets.

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The city’s stony streets have a variety of symbols denoting the nature of the business. This one has something to do with cutlery. Or maybe it’s the Bates Motel.

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Great town to explore. By the way, we’re dubious about the Mahatma Gandhi restaurant in the photo below. Not the place to go if you want the all-you-can-eat buffet.

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And then back to the hotel for our complimentary welcome drinks. Ahhhhh.

Next morning, a leisurely frühstück and a tram ride to our rental car reservation. Watch out, Black Forest, here we come!

Apparently, some car rental joints close at noon on Saturdays so arriving 20 minutes past noon due to taking the tram in the wrong direction — or was it the lingering over that lovely breakfast? We will never know — means going to Plan B.

Here’s where we thank the good woman at the Avis office, where they also close at noon on Saturdays; but because they had customers coming in the door, they were still open and she set us up.

After six months of taking public transportation, it felt odd clambering into a car to go walking. But hit the road we did, and we didn’t look back.

Here’s where we remembered the German word for diversion (detour): Umleitung.

Because we were late getting on the road, we had to rely on the good people of the Lake Titisee tourist information center to help us book a room nearby. We got a little B&B run by a nice German lady who didn’t speak much English but had some fascinating bric-a-brac (lots of skiing and shooting, and some Olympics-related) on her walls.

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We walked along Lake Schluchsee. No stats on how its size compares to Lake Erie, alas.

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We had dinner at a cavernous restaurant/hotel/town center in Schluchsee. Can’t complain about spätzle and Rothaus beer.

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And we prepared for the next morning, when we had a great walk planned from the Haus der Natur, a high point in the Feldberg area. Um, this is what the next morning looked like.

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Okay. So a walk in pea soup did not sound wise. We poked around the Haus der Natur, which was fun (exhibits for kids and a gift shop). But the rain and fog didn’t clear, so the closest we got to seeing wildlife was this item.

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Rabbit teeth are sure-fire comedy, of course. But it was time for another Umleitung. Let’s hit the road for Triburg, the world’s cuckoo-clock capital.

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