Thursday, June 15, 2023

Southern Germany

Ulm Minster

Inside Ulm Minster
The next day was our driving tour across southern Germany. Our first stop was in a city called Ulm, to see the Ulm Minster cathedral there, which, apparently, has the tallest spire in the world. Driving through the city to get there, though, was no picnic. I accidentally cut one lady off, and then immediately committed a traffic violation. I topped all of this off by going the wrong way in a bus lane next to a police car (who promptly turned on his lights and rolled down his window to yell at us… in German). Hopefully that means they thought we were just less than stellar German citizens and not stupid Americans. At least the cathedral was nice.

The next stop was Meersburg Germany, a town built on a lake of the same name. It was beautiful and we noticed there were lots of vacationers, but not many Americans. Gabby called it the “San Torino of Germany.” We ate outdoors at a restaurant called Ins Fischernetz with a view of the water, and had some type of German macaroni and cheese that was really good. We also climbed the adjacent hill to look at the Meersburg Castle before heading on to Black Forest.

Meersburg

Walking through Kandern
Our many reason for visiting the Black Forest area was to visit our friend Rachel. We met her and her friend at a nice restaurant near Fischingen called F├╝nfschilling. There’s something kind of magical about seeing the familiar face of a good friend so far away from home. We enjoyed catching up over dinner, I got some driving tips, and had a delicious chicken cordon bleu. Gabby got a summer sausage that was conspicuously lacking actual sausage and was very disappointed (almost as bad as Tanner’s hamburger in Costa Rica with... no burger).

After dinner, we got a tour of the Black Forest Academy, where Rachel works. Serendipitously, I had grown up hearing stories of this particular place in Germany as friends of ours from my home church had served there previously as dorm parents. The picture of Germany in my head were primarily based on the stories they would relay when they were home on furlough. I greatly enjoyed touring the school and seeing the town I had heard so much about. After the school, we walked a long loop through the town of Kandern. At one point, Rachel pointed out a stereotypical angry German grandmother scowling at us from her balcony.

Black Forest Academy

Hofen
Later, we crossed the mountain to Hofen for our AirBnB. There was a little confusion upon our arrival, but we eventually were able to contact our host. She gave us a tour through the upstairs apartment, which looked like perhaps someone’s grandparents had lived there previously. Nothing had been disturbed, down to the books and notes on the dining room hutch. We enjoyed the expansive balcony from which we could look out, see the valley, and enjoy watching daily life.

Traveling to Europe during the summer, I was again reminded there are three things that Europeans seem to despise: air conditioning, ice, and water fountains, which is a shame, considering these three things make the heat of summer much more bearable (at least to me). However, on the last point, Rachel informed us that fountains that you see in the public square often have drinkable water. The rule of thumb is, “If there’s no sign (telling you not to drink), then it’s drinkable.”

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