Monday, September 19, 2016

We're back in Freiburg!

Windy day in Freiburg and children fly kites of course.

A bit sadly, we leave Paris for Karlsruhe, uneventful and comfortable train voyage (which we will appreciate, read on). We stayed overnight there next to the City’s garden and zoo. 

Like the white faced ducks
Lovely spot to relax with the water park and it was a cool spot on a hot day. 

Admittedly not the best picture, tried, but they are wonderful to see - REAL pink flamingos on a lawn!

Offenburg to Freiburg not so comfortable. It’s a two hour train trip normally and it took us about five hours. We got to Offenburg to find out we were stuck there indefinitely due to a blockage on the track between there and Freiburg. It took an attempt at three trains, the fourth to got us to Freiburg, the short story. We didn't find out the cause of the blockage.

More detail, we were ordered off the original train, onto another, which was hot and extremely crowded. Then told to get off again and directed to another! We missed, now the third train, because there was no ramp, then onto another, fourth, and success! we’re headed to Freiburg. The process of changing trains meant lugging suitcases along the long lines of trains, seeking shade on the platforms, in and out of numerous elevators and waiting in the hot sun for our turn to board. We travelled with another person in a wheelchair and her companion, who were clearly as uncomfortable as we were. 

Train personnel were shaking their heads at the snafu and did their very best to help us make smooth transitions.

I don’t know the numbers of how many passengers can fit on the train, these were ICE, Inter City Express, but when you get the large number of people crossing platforms with baby carriages, wheelchairs, and large pieces of luggage it’s a melee!

Upshot three failed attempts and one successful one to get to Freiburg. Ouch, we made it, tired but happy.

Karen McCann, says the measure of a true traveller is how you handle interruptions and snags in your journey, we did well today, just shrugging and smiling to the helpers indicating to them “sh*t happens”. Travel is not always smooth and one has to “roll with the punches”.

In Freiburg, I get a very grumpy taxi driver from the station to the hotel, almost left without loading my suitcase, then deposited them on the road to the entrance of the hotel, not even the curb, no tip for him! Get into the hotel we stay at about twice a year. She is alone on the desk so no help to get our heavy bags to the room which I had to handle since Bruce was driving from the train station to the hotel. At this point Lexi who has endured all this with us is getting very unhappy, she knows we are close to the room and yowling to be let out of this damn box immediately! Stat! Mom!

The Central as we have known it has changed some. Slightly grumpy receptionist although she is efficient, just doesn’t have the sunny disposition the others have. The next morning the owner/manager gave us a very warm greeting, as did a waiter and the food manager, so we felt back at “home” again, maybe not changed so much. The breakfast buffet is more than what one usually gets in Germany, this one includes  a cooker for fresh eggs to be done as you like them and a hot tray with scrambled eggs, green onion topped, bacon and sausage. Most breakfasts are cold cuts of meat and cheese without the warm options. In fact when the guest breakfast is finished, they feed their staff.

Our flat partners Dawna and Erwin next day picked us up and took us back to our flat for our ritual glass of champagne or sekt as it is called here. We talked at length and then went for lunch in Bahlingen, next to a place we have frequented before, just next door, this is called Zum Hecht. Food and service very good  on an outdoor patio, very pleasant. It’s mushroom or pfifferling season so they had a special menu, of course. Back to the flat for more conversation and drinks, always good to catch up with them, as you’ve read many times before. 

The bad news is we’ve lost our house cleaner without another in clear sight, not withstanding the efforts of D & E to find one. Need to import Rocio from Sevilla! Not practical of course, but I don’t think house cleaners value their work as much as I do on the receiving end. They think of it as a boring, dirty job when I appreciate it so much and we’re not really dirty people! We don’t host wild parties, just live in a place and need a freshening up of the floors, dusting to keep the place in good condition. We pay for cleaning in places we rent as well to make sure to keep it in condition for the owners. It’s an extremely valuable service for us, mostly me really!

Thursday, D & E have left and we move into our flat. I have to say we are getting very proficient at the arrival and leaving process, (pats on the back). We have unpacked and done a shop, ready to relax in about two hours time. Lexi does her prowl around, almost visibly pleased she knows where she is and sits in her favourite spots, one of which is on top of the fridge.

All for now, Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat

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