Monday, September 19, 2016

Freiburg with the Foglers

The great thing about living in Germany is that there are three other Olmsted families, one being the Foglers in Freiburg.  I met Kelly last spring in Croatia on the Ladies' Trip and knew that we would have to make a trip down to visit her and her husband Warren at some point.  When we realized we had to get the car in Wiesbaden, which is only a couple hours away from Freiburg, we jumped on the opportunity to make a stop there.  It turned out to be some much needed relief from a stressful car retrieval.

On Tuesday, after we rented the car and made the decision to continue on to Freiburg, we stopped in Triburg to do a little hiking and check out the world's largest cuckoo clock store.  Triberg is the perfect afternoon stop, but could also be a great home base for a few days of travel in the Black Forest.  There are a ton of hiking trails that one could spend days exploring, but they are also a great way to stretch your legs after a long morning. Neither of us were dressed for serious hiking, but most of the trails were pretty easy and only involved a mild incline.  Perfect for a quick walk.

After our hike, we stopped for a beer (Mike) and some goulash soup (me) at a nearby restaurant, while trying to figure out the best place to purchase a cuckoo clock. The Black Forest is known for it's cuckoo clocks, all of which are handcrafted and made from wood originating in the Black Forest.  We have tried to get a souvenir from each place we go.  Some souvenirs are as small as a magnet or ornament, while others are larger (and more expensive) like our Turkish rugs or our new German cuckoo clock.   After checking out three different stores, we chose Oli's because of the great reviews it received online and because we loved their clocks.  They looked more authentic than some of the bigger stores, but had a large selection that we could tell had been carefully designed and crafted.  We spent about 20 minutes deliberating on which clock to get and decided on the one below.  We wanted bears because they are the unofficial mascot of Berlin.  Plus, this was a more traditional design, which we both surprisingly liked. 


After the purchase of our cuckoo clock, we were ready to get on the road and get to Freiburg.  Since we had made the choice to come at such last minute's notice (aka less than 12 hours before), our hotel was outside of the city and essentially the upstairs of someone's house.  That being said, the owner was so friendly and helpful in getting us downtown via the tram.  After checking in, we took his advice and headed downtown for dinner and a beer.  

The next morning, we headed outside of the city and up the funicular to see the Black Forest from high up.  It was beautiful and breath taking.  There were tons of opportunities for actual hiking, but we had a lunch date with the Foglers and only got a chance to walk around a little bit. 

After our ride down the mountain, we met up with the Foglers and Kelly's parents who were in town, for a bratwurst and a little tour of the city.  The Foglers have definitely acclimated to Freiburg life and were able to tell us all sorts of little fun facts about their city.  We ended the afternoon at a biergarten before making plans to meet back up in a few hours after they ran some errands and we did some more sight seeing.   

Mike, General Lorenz (Kelly's father), Warren, Kelly and myself enjoying a bratwurst at the local market. 

While the Foglers ran some errands, Mike and I explored the city.  There is a beautiful cathedral in the center of town that we popped into.  I think the cathedrals in these smaller towns are often the most beautiful.  They still have the stained glass and Catholic ambiance, but there is a simplicity that makes them seem more welcoming and down to earth.

After the cathedral, we wandered around the town and enjoyed the beautiful weather. People kept telling us that the weather was changing on Thursday (this was Wednesday) and that we should enjoy the 85 degree weather while it was here.  They were right.  Thursday brought rain and the days following had cooler weather. 

Couldn't go to the Black Forest without getting Black Forest Cake!

That evening, we met back up at the Foglers' apartment for a drink and appetizers before heading out to dinner.  We had such a great time with Warren, Kelly and her parents.  Her parents were so supportive of the Olmsted experience, which meant a lot since her dad is a retired Air Force General.  They wanted to hear all about our experience in Turkey and the transition to Germany.  We had such a fun time and are hoping Kelly and Warren make it up to Berlin at some point this fall!  Thanks Kelly and Warren for showing us around your new home.  We're big fans!