Bruce’s eyes have been changing, particularly the right one, getting worse in time. We made an appointment with the Hospital clinic a month ago, it takes that long, and finally had it. They send a driver to pick you up, you pay in advance for whatever might happen and get an interpreter. So it is rather expensive but the service is very good and the interpreter is invaluable because they know where to go in the gigantic facility, know the language of course, but are there to help out in any way, like when my cell phone wouldn’t work.
Bruce sees four maybe five technicians performing various duties and tests on his eyes before the final analysis by the Senior Doctor who analyses the tests and confirms that Bruce has cataract in the eye. Relief, really, means an operation but not too serious. Not urgent so we don’t have to delay our plans for Sevilla – wonderful! So while Bruce has trouble seeing out of that eye he can still enjoy Spain and get operated on in the Spring when we come back to Freiburg.
We had booked our guide Christoph for after the appointment but when Bruce hadn’t seen anyone until around 10:00 I phoned and cancelled. Instead we went to a local restaurant for lunch. Returned earlier than usual on a Thursday because our cleaner Crina is in and usually we want to stay out of her way. She indicated a water leak in the kitchen, so I think she was rather glad we came in early to deal with it. Plumber came the next day, easy fix.
A stressful day in a few ways but I am thankful because it could have been so much worse! Most importantly, Bruce could have had a more threatening medical condition. We were able to work on the water problem and have Crina call the company to make an appointment. Christoph may not have got my message in time, he would have hired the car and we would have gone off with him without seeing Crina… Counting the good and glad to be able to do so.
Colmar, France. Christoph drove us there, takes about an hour, still amazes me how close countries are, as I’ve said many times. Oh, "la-de-dah" we just popped into France for a couple of hours, when it isn't "la-de-dah" it's just driving to another town. We’d been to Colmar before but Christoph showed us a different part of it so saw it anew.
|Ornate balcony plus all the street lights had these Christmas balls hanging from them.|
|River running between buildings, in summer they punt along it for tourists.|
The town is full of half timbered houses and almost fairy tale in appearance, a real tourist mecca actually.
Christmas markets doing a roaring trade and it was cold enough to feel like Christmas.
|They look like this in Freiburg too.|
We went into St. Stephen’s Church which is typical of the area, very dark inside and “silence” signs all over. There is legend around this Church and the following photos explain some of it, I did look it up but didn't find anything explaining it properly. There are so many St. Stephen's churches and I should probably look that up as well but won't, but you can if you are really interested.
|Apparently if you look under this fellow with legs crossed you'll see his anatomy. Didn't need to look.|
|Liked their expressions|
Bruce was starting to tire and was leaning against a wall waiting for Christoph to pick us up when a gentleman came and gave him a mulled wine called Gluehwein, very kind of him and very welcome! (Don't forget an 'e' after a 'u' means dots on top of the 'u'. Sorry I could do this properly by copying from Google translate but don't, so just live with it.)
On the subject of drink, one served infrequently in some restaurants called Hollundersaft, in English Elderberry juice, sometimes mixed with lemonade. Very tasty and reportedly good for you too.
Christmas markets opened in Freiburg this week in five different outdoor plazas, the City rents out the booths to the vendors. We’ll go to experience them. It is a big deal all over Europe, with city tours and river cruises on offer to see them, like a large outdoor fair really.
Christoph picked us up again for lunch out and a look at an ancient Abby still in use. We went back to Staufen and it had many Christmas trees, very tall ones decorated with silver and red large balls and bells. More interestingly the school children had been given a tree to decorate for their class. Innovative use of what you may not expect on a tree included turning single milk containers for coffee upside down and putting angel wings on them; pipe cleaners bent to make stars; pottery bits decorated; and it goes on. Teachers and children must have had great fun making them and displaying in the street!
|Mural, honestly I don't know anything about and won't look up this time... lazy again....|
Here they string swags of greenery between windows anchored by a decoration on either side. All very pretty and would look even better with lights lit at night.
|Liked the teddy bears.|
The abby is called Muenstertal St. Trudpert and is still used as accommodation for nuns and monks today. It is a very large property on top of a hill. One is allowed in the church which was had a style I don’t know the name of. It had sculptures posed in moving stances I’ve never seen before. As usual the angels attached to the altar but these were free form statues on a platform. No pictures allowed, or since there were people sitting in pews silently I take that as a clue, don’t be the “damn” tourist interrupting our peace and commune with God. Another indication not to take pictures is if the church has postcards for sale and they did.
I’ve written about the graveyards before and this one was beautiful if you can say that about one. Each plot had a mini-garden in front and with Christmas nearing relatives and I suppose the paid plot keepers were at work.
It being on top of a hill, actually on the edge of the Black Forest, meant change in architecture of the surrounding homes, barns and hotels. The roofs looked more suitable to what we’ve seen in Switzerland, and other parts of Germany, large, low roof lines to get rid of the snow.
The day was dull and foggy and I was honking like a goose with a cold but in spite of that we had a good day. Better to be out and about and learning about a new area than sitting around feeling sorry for myself and not seeing anything new. Christoph had a rough week as well so it was good for all of us to get out and explore.
Went to the Freiburg Christmas Market, WOW, so much colourful product and so many people! A real mix if high quality items and not so much. Lots of food on offer and lots of mulled wine. For food or wine they give you the plate or cup, you can wander but need to take it back to the original vendor bought from to get your euro deposit back. It had a carnival atmosphere about it with children’s rides, and lots of flashing lights. Oh, and if you hang a star in your window at home that indicates you are ready to celebrate Christmas.
In a few days we leave Freiburg to fly from Zurich to Sevilla so you know what I’m doing! Packing and making lists again, but this time it isn’t into the unknown, we have seen the flat, know the landlord who is a great fellow, know the area so it will be good to return. They have Christmas markets there too so that will be interesting to see the difference in product and culture.
Back to packing, Cheers Bx2 and Lexi Cat