Lately I’ve been cooking up a storm, so I’m adding some pictures below of a few meals I’ve had. I unfortunately do not have a picture of the Shepherd’s Pie I made, but the general consensus was that it was delicious. “Super Lecker” as they might say in German. Below there is a picture of my friend Maggie holding a burrito, a salad with tuna, and spaghetti and stuffed meatballs made by yours truly. I’ve never made stuffed meatballs and it was quite an interesting experience. In the future instead of stuffing them with meat and cheese, I think i’ll just put in cheese.
Freiburg also has lots of street musicians in the old city all the time. Saw a great duo playing instruments that made me think of lap harps and hammer dulcimers. Not sure exactly what they were. If you happen to recognize them, let me know what they are called. I’m very curious.
I also passed this adorable looking Asian restaurant with a garden. I think I might convince my friends we should go here sometime even if just to sit and enjoy the garden and fountain.
After visiting the castle, we took the train back to the city of Tübingen which we walked around for a while looking for somewhere to eat dinner. There was a dance show going on near the city hall so the old city was quite busy and loud, but it was also beautiful. The buildings are so old that they almost looked crooked and sagging in some places which gives them character in my opinion. Eventually we found a place called the Trout at which I ordered… trout. When we walked passed I asked a server if they do gluten free food and when she said yes right away and seemed to be familiar with the concept, I was all set. That’s where we were eating. Dining out can be quite difficult because gluten free food is not as common in Germany, and I also have a bit of trouble explaining exactly what I need in German. Fortunately here I didn’t have any problem. I asked the waitress with dishes could be cooked gluten free, and I said yes to the first thing she pointed at which was the trout. It came in four small fillets covered with a few crispy pieces of parsley. I have no idea how they got the parsley crispy but the texture was exquisite. The dish also had round potatoes and salad greens for decoration. There was also a side salad. After a long day, a quite delicious meal was perfect. After dinner we sat by the river eating tangerines and grapes while watching the gondolas go by. The city was so beautiful, and even though I did not get to see much of it, I would definitely recommend it as a place to visit in this region. The bus ride there was also particularly pleasant. I was able to see a huge section of the mountains and the German countryside.
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My most recent trip was also one of the most exciting because I went to a castle: Burg Hohenzollern. This castle is built on the top of a mountain and is actually the third castle to sit on that spot. This third castle has never been the permanent residence of any of the royalty who owned it; it serves as a vacation spot and museum of the Hohenzollern family. The Hohenzollern family originally built the castle here, even though they ruled Prussia in the north, to show their power. The tour of the castle was nothing particularly impressive because the rooms were small and the tour short, though I could not tell if that was because the tour is normally short or because they were shutting down the castle in two days for filming. The tour group we were in was also quite large and barely fit into the rooms, so it was difficult to look at things. And there was a wedding going on in the Catholic chapel, so we could only visit the Protestant chapel. While on the tour, we were required to wear these giant slipper shoes so as not to scratch the floors. I actually asked if the Prince wears shoes when he visits. The tour guide seemed to think the answer was rather obvious, but if the floors are that valuable, maybe the Prince would wear slippers. Apparently he does not wear the slippers, but I was genuinely curious. The tour was nice, but the best part about the trip was getting to have a picnic at a castle. I packed tuna pasta salad and a bottle of wine, and my friend Andrés packed tangerines, apples, grapes, and chocolate. If you ask me, it was a feast fit for kings. We sat on a bench overlooking a huge swatch of land with little tiny houses, cars, and even livestock far below. The view was like one from a small low airplane. It was absolutely breathtaking. We also got in our workout for the day because the trek up and down from the castle had many many many stairs, and the next day my legs were incredibly sore. But it was definitely worth it.
Over the past six weeks, I have done a fair bit of traveling within Freiburg, but I also took a trip to Stuttgart for a day. And I rode the train for the first time ever! The process was somewhat stressful because I couldn’t understand the announcements being made over the intercom. I was worried that I would miss my train or it would be late. I asked an attendant which train to get on, and he said I could take the one that was sitting at the platform right then. The odd thing was that it was not my train, but it was going to the same place, so I took it. The trip on the train went fine and I talked to a lovely old lady for a whole hour only in German. We talked about gardening and her children and grandchildren. She was impressed that I did not have a foreign accent and she was very patient because I often did not think very quickly or understand everything she said. I often had to ask her to repeat herself or define a new word for me. She also told me about Baden where she lives and some of the surrounding area. It was a very pleasant chat and definitely helped me be not so nervous. After arriving in Stuttgart, I spent the day with my friend Andrés walking around the city. First we picnicked on several different kinds of sandwiches I had packed and mango. The mango was soft and tasty but quite tangy which I actually quite enjoyed. Then we went in and out of shops with air conditioning, sat in a fountain, and sat in a park all in an attempt to make the heat more bearable. At the end of the day we went shopping and bought a picnic dinner and sat eating it in the grass. There was a little boy chasing the geese around terrorizing them. It was rather adorable. All in all it was a great trip.