Last Saturday, three other RISE students and I woke up bright and early to go to Freiburg. Okay, “bright and early” means around noon here, but we still managed to explore Freiburg im Breisgau for about five hours before heading back to Heidelberg. The following is based on a true story J.
At 16:56, Shivalik, Kristen, Ilyas and I arrived at Freiburg Hauptbahnhof (main train station). As I mentioned earlier, we had a late start. We were all really hungry, so we decided to eat at the first restaurant we saw- a Thai Schnellrestaurant (“fast restaurant”). Like what usually happens when you eat at the first restaurant you see, the food we got wasn’t all that great, but the waitress was nice enough to take a group photo of us. After . . . the meal (it wasn’t really dinner, since we just had breakfast a few hours before, but it wasn’t really lunch either, since it was 5 PM) we headed into the Altstadt (old city). The Altstadt had some really nice old-looking buildings that were reconstructed after WWII. It reminded us a lot of Heidelberg, except for the Bächle, which were these tiny streams that ran along most of the streets in the city. Check Wikipedia for more info/pictures. Since it was going to be dark in a few hours, we decided to climb up the Schloßberg (castle mountain) first to see the Schloß. I figured out where we needed to go on the map and we were on our way.
There is another big difference between Heidelberg and Freiburg. The former has a castle and the latter doesn’t. Our hike wasn’t a complete waste of time, however, since from the top of the hill we got a nice panorama view of the city on one side and on the other side, we could see France and Switzerland. After hanging out at the top for a while, we decided to head down so we could see the rest of the city! We walked down in a single file, myself upfront and Ilyas taking up the rear. Suddenly, I heard one of my companions yell at the top of their lungs. I spun around and was horrified to see a bear gnawing on Ilyas’s shoulder. We all just stood there petrified as the bear dragged Ilyas into the woods, probably to feed him to several tiny cubs waiting in a cave somewhere.
Next up on the tour was the university. The Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg is one of the oldest and most renowned schools in Germany. To the dismay of the locals, the university was recently downgraded from its status as an “Elite Uni”, but none of us really thought much of it. We just walked through the campus, admiring the beautiful buildings. As we approached a statue sitting in front of one of the buildings, one of us noticed that it was holding a disposable coffee cup in its right hand. We all appreciated the sense of humor of the local students! We began to walk away when Kristen told us to wait up a second so she could take a picture. Right after the flash went off, the statue stood up and came to life! “Freiburg ist doch eine Elite Uni! Jetzt musst du bezahlen!” (“Freiburg is still an elite university! Now you have to pay!) The statue opened the coffee cup and tossed a sparkly liquid on Kristen that turned her into a statue! Shivalik and I turned around and ran for our lives.
After getting . . . another meal at a döner place (it was around 8, yes you could probably call that dinner), we were all ready to head out. I think our hike in the beginning tired us all out, but the Altstadt of Freiburg isn’t really all that big anyway. I feel like we got a good feel for the city even in the short time we were there. I think the biggest motivator for us taking this day trip in the first place was the Schönes Wochenende (good weekend) ticket. For just 33 euros in total, you and three Freunde (friends) can travel all over Baden-Württemburg for one day. You’re welcome Deutsche Bahn for the free advertising. That being said, of course one can only take local trains to get around the Bundesland (state). What that meant for us was that we had to wait about an hour in Offenburg for our connection. As we did in Karlsruhe on our way to Freiburg, we decided to walk around Offenburg a little bit since we were there anyway. After going a ways down the main road and not seeing too much, we decided to turn back. Around this time on Saturday evening, Russian soccer fans all over the world were mourning their embarrassing loss to Greece that night. That is to say, most were mourning. So as we were walking back to the train station, all of a sudden, we noticed a large group of Russian soccer fans walking toward us! As Shivalik and I passed through the group, suddenly one of the larger Russians picked me up and put me over his shoulder like I was a sack of flour. “Sacrifice, sacrifice” he began muttering under his breath and the rest of the group began muttering the same words over and over again as well. Shivalik tried to help me by punching and kicking the large man that was holding me, but the large man just ignored him. “I’ll get Niclas, Jon, Niclas will know what to do,” Shivalik yelled to me as I was carried off into the distance. Then, Shivalik turned around began running back toward the station. That was the last time I ever saw him.
I hope that Shivalik made it back to Heidelberg safely. If he did, it would have likely been at exactly 12:53 AM, after which he rode his bike home, emailed his parents, and then went to sleep. Danke fürs Lesen und bis nächstes Mal!