Neuschwanstein, Rome, and Freiburg

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March 24th 2008
Published: March 24th 2008
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Sorry for the delay in my blogs, I have been a busy girl lately both with work and travel. I hope everyone has had a fabulous Easter, I have just returned from Turkey, which will follow in the next blog, and had a wonderful time in the sun. I am back in cold Germany where it is snowing and am trying to readjust to the idea that it wont be 80 degrees tomorrow. :-(

I'd like to catch everyone up on the last few weeks however. Three weeks ago, I was happy to meet up with a friend I had met last year during my interview weekend at South Carolina. Doug and I met up at the Karlsruhe train station on Saturday morning and jumped on the train for an hour long ride down to Freiburg. Freiburg is a small town in the south of Baden-Wuerttenburg in the Schwarzwald (Black Forrest). I had visited Freiburg, a little over 4 1/2 years ago, it was actually my first stop on the way to my first summer program in Weimar. Doug and I checked into the Black Forest Hostel and then set out to explore the Altstadt(Old Town). There are still two
Freiburg StreetsFreiburg StreetsFreiburg Streets

See the water canal on the street!
original city gates left standing (one which now advertises McDonalds appropriately) and then the center point being the Cathedral in the middle. When we first arrived there was a market going on in the square around the Cathedral and we took some time to look around. The University in Freiburg is also quite big and is very nice. The Baechels, street canals, that run through the whole Altstadt are from the middle ages and are used to drain water off the streets. The tale is if you fall into a Bachel then you are destined to stay and marry in Freiburg. Don't worry, I was careful not to fall in :-). After more walking and sightseeing Doug and I stopped at a shop called Tee und Schokolade. (Tee and Chocolate) my two favorite things rolled into one. I had some fabulous green tea with orange and we both had a piece of Schwarzwaldkuchen (Black Forest Cake) - we had to be cliche and have it while in the Schwarzwald itself. That evening we met up with a friend of mine from my program that works now in Freiburg. Along with two people we met at the hostel we all grabbed

Fresh Veggies and Flowers
dinner and then a few drinks out on the town. It was great to catch up with Michael and also get out and have some fun with everyone.

On Sunday, Doug and I got up, grabbed a quick breakfast and headed up the hiking trail above the town. There are some amazing viewing points not too far up, but the trails go on forever, all through the Black Forest. We only went far enough to check out the large tower at the top of the hill. It was kind of surreal to be there again, after almost 5 years. The last time I was there, it was June and snowing. We climbed the 140 some-odd steps to the very top and took some pictures before deciding it was too cold and that we needed to come back down. The sun was shining and we enjoyed some rare time to sit on a bench and take it in. After our hike we picked up our stuff at the hostel, grabbed some lunch at the Hauptbahnhof and headed back to our respective temporary homes abroad. Overall it was a fabulous weekend both to catch up with old friends and to see

Germans Love their Meat. Maybe thats why we get along so well...if they would only eat less pork. haha.
Freiburg again.

Come Monday I was packed and ready to head off to Rome for work. I was excited to head south for a few days and very much enjoyed not wearing a coat while in Italy. On the second night, everyone from the project went to a traditional Trattoria which was quite the experience. I don't know how Italians can eat so many courses in one meal. I had some antipasta, gnnochi, and then i managed to have a small amount of my steak before I decided I couldn't eat anymore. It was a fabulous meal, especially getting to pick out your meat directly for the butcher to chop off right there and throw on the grill. They did not understand my request for a "pequeno" was quite large. What I thought was also interesting was that the whole lunch at work concept was adapted completely to the culture. There was still the option to go up and pick out something you wanted for a quick meal like we have in Germany, but there was also the option to sit and have a 2 course meal of some type of pasta, then the main course, followed by
City GateCity GateCity Gate

Freiburg City Gate
a cappuccino. I was quite entertained by this, considering I'm even having problems with the whole sit down hot meal German lunch concept that is so different from my 'pick up something to go and eat it at my desk' American concept I'm so used to.

My last night in Rome I was happy to meet up with my Couchsurfing host from December, Matt. We happened to be staying in a hotel quite close to his place and so we met up and took the metro into town to have some dinner and catch up. We ended up eating at this really hip pizza restaurant and then wandering around Rome and catching some of the sites at night. The Trevi Fountain is a lot quieter later in the night, but I have to say that the guys with the flowers, NEVER go away, not even at odd hours in the night. Matt had to tell one off in Italian because he was literally shoving flowers into my face. We had a wonderful time catching up and I'm very glad we had the chance to meet up again.

When I returned from Rome I was quite tired, but immediately

I loved these old doors!
repacked and headed on Friday to Munich to visit Brooke. She is working for BMW and living in their housing there in Munich. I got in later in the evening on Friday, so we managed to catch a couple of cocktails downtown near Marienplatz in a bar up on the top floor of a building. Afterwards we were back to Brooke's place and off to bed as we were both exhausted from the working week. On Saturday we got up and headed down to Hohenschwangau to see Neuschwanstein, the castle that the Disney castle is modeled afterwards. I'm fairly certain its one of the most visited castles in Germany, up there with Heidelberg. On the way down we quickly realized we were SURROUNDED by Americans, something we had not experienced in a long time. I have to say it kind of freaked us out, so we just started talking in German for the last hour of the trip. There were some college kids on our train from Spring Break, oh the days....anyways, we were proud of ourselves that we were able to maintain a solid German conversation together for so long. When we arrived we bought our tickets to visit the Castle, you have to take a tour, and our tour wasn't for a while so we stopped into a local restaurant for a quick light lunch. We got to talking with the waiter and he told us that after our tour we should go and visit a beer hall down the street and try a Starkbier (Strong Beer). We decided to take the bus up to the top so that we were sure we would not miss our tour. The views from the castle were really gorgeous, I didn't realize how close to the Alps the castle is. I absolutely LOVED seeing the mountains again. We joined in our English tour with many other American and Japanese tourists. The tour was very informative and I was finally glad to know that King Ludwig was not in fact crazy, but really that he just spent all the family money, so they needed an excuse to get rid of him, thus deeming him crazy. He mysteriously drowned with his Therapist in the lake the next day. (As the tour guide said, don't go walking around the lake with your therapist) The castle was dedicated to the works of Wagner, and I
Schwarzwald KuchenSchwarzwald KuchenSchwarzwald Kuchen

was amazed at how much I remembered from my trips around the Weimar area and studies there of Wagners Operas. Not all of the castle was finished before King Ludwig died, and the castle was quicky turned into a tourist attraction. King Ludwig never lived there.

After the tour we climbed up above the castle on some "trails" that seemed to be...well...not so well taken care of. But don't worry, it was only a few hundred feet to the ground, that couldn't have hurt too bad ;-). More importantly however, I got some fabulous pictures. We hitched a ride back down the mountain with the bus and then directly headed over for a "quick" beer at the local Beer Hall we had been directed to. When we arrived there were two tables of men in Lederhosen and women in Dirndls drinking and singing to a very loud band. We figured there had been some kind of a wedding or something, so we just sat, tried to talk over the music and ordered some Starkbier. The Starkbier is like 10% alcohol, very dark, and sweet. I don't normally like dark beers, but this one was quite nice. Brooke and I were quickly invited by some boys to come and sit at their table to enjoy some more company. We figured why not and tried to figure out what on earth was going on. After about 2 more Starkbiers, an attempt at eating some cheese, and many German songs later, we were SURROUNDED by Men in Lederhosen and were finally informed that we had walked directly into Starkbier FEST. We were witnessing a local, small town, beer festival, and were were the lone tourists. I wished dearly to have my Dirndl from Oktoberfest so I would fit in with all the girls, but quickly forgot as we were having too much fun singing. I felt like I was back at Oktoberfest again. We had an absolute fabulous time and made many friends.

Overall its been quite a fun few weeks of traveling. I will get back soon with the blog for Turkey, really a wonderful trip. I hope all is well with everyone and you are enjoying warmer weather than we are here in Germany. I'm quite ready for summer to come 😊 Keep the emails coming, its great to hear from everyone.

Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 26



In the back is the tower that we climbed up to see the best view.

Doug at the TOP

Me with the beautiful view. Supposedly you can see France and Switzerland from here.

Now thats a fresh slice of steak!
Smallest CarSmallest Car
Smallest Car

I have ever seen. Seriously. Trumps the mini and the smart.
Original FiatOriginal Fiat
Original Fiat

Matt checking it out!

View of the Alps

The famous castle itself.

There were many feet below us and the bottom of the canyon. This was a testy bridge.
Neuschwanstein from TopNeuschwanstein from Top
Neuschwanstein from Top

We climbed up for a better view.

Brooke with our lovely hiking path showing her nature skills!

Me with a starkbier at the Bierfest.
Brooke and I Brooke and I
Brooke and I

At the Starkbierfest.

24th March 2008

Accidental Beer Fest
Best. Story. Ever. You accidentally walk into a beer fest. Why can't this ever happen to me?! =) Love you, Paige!
25th March 2008

I'm with Rachel on this one
Loving the accidental beer fest! You have the most amazing adventures. Can't wait to have you back in the States! Love you!

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