No Sprechen Deutsch

Trip Start Jun 19, 2008
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Trip End Oct 11, 2008


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Flag of Germany  , Baden-Württemberg,
Friday, September 5, 2008

Hello from the Black Forest in southern Germany! After we left the extreme outdoor city of Interlaken, we headed to the capitol of Switzerland, Bern. Bern is a fairly big city with a charming little-city feel. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it is quaint, despite being the country's capitol. In Bern, we mainly spent our time wandering the city. Life-sized chess boards and chess pieces are set up on sidewalks all around the city, and we spent a lot of time playing each other in chess. Dorky, I know, but it was free and it took up a lot of our time. Switzerland is soooo expensive! We couldn't afford good meals and sightseeing, so we ate hostel meals and spent one especially memorable (and sickening) meal scarfing down a can of pringles and a Swiss chocolate bar in Bern's Rosengarten (it was still about 11 bucks). One evening, we decided to check out the local waterholes around town. Lonely Planet recommended an "alternative culture" bar. We imagined reggae? hippies? maybe some people dressed in all black. We were wrong. Apparently "alternative culture meant little groups of scary-looking people huddled outside the bar smoking something that involved butane lighters and metal spoons. We didn't care to investigate further, and hightailed it out of there, being followed briefly by a Swiss crack whore. A word of advice: don't cross under the railroad tracks if you ever go to Bern...

From Bern, we went to the big city of Zurich. We relaxed and just soaked up the city during our stay there. We took and scenic boat ride around Lake Zurich, enjoyed the best hot chocolate in the world in the world's largest chocolate shop, and even found pints of cider in a local pub. We ate surprisingly cheaply in Zurich, as the street we stayed on was literally lined with kebab stands (and Swiss "Night Clubs," which are actually video peep shows and cabarets).

And from Zurich, we crossed the border into Germany! After a few stern questions from German passport control, we made our way to the Black Forest town of Titisee. It rained all day yesterday, and I have to say that I dearly miss my raincoat. At one point, the downpour became a light drizzle, and Ryan and I decided to check out Germany's largest waterfall (in Triberg). We enjoyed a brief stint of sunlight that prompted me to leave my newly-purchased umbrella in the car (along with the signs that said, " Wasserfalle 2 min away). Unfortunately, only the very bottom of the waterfall and only the very beginning of the trails were 2 minutes away. We paid our entrance fee, and started up the dirt paths, not expecting much trouble in our flip-flops and one jacket between us. Again, we were wrong. After buying a bag of peanuts to feed the squirrels (Germans seem very excited about and proud of their furry little wood varmints) and hiking about 1 kilometer into the park (straight uphill almost), clouds rushed in and it started pouring. So...we were left in the downpour fighting about who didn't need the rain jacket more. Chivalry eventually won, and you can see me 1/2way dry in the pictures while Ryan looks like he took a bath in the waterfall. On our way out, we tried to feed a squirrel who was braving the torrent of rain, but it was too skittish -- a far cry from Milwaukee's garbage-feasting attack-squirrels that we are used to. For our time in Titisee, we are staying in a guest house on a farm nearby the city. We have a huge room, but things are a little weird with the barely English-speaking farm family and their cows and all. Nevertheless, we are enjoying the area. Last night, we had schnitzel and bratwurst, sauerkraut and potatoes (and beer). Today, we paddle boated around Titisee's lake and had a lunch of greasy potatoes and sausage. I bet Ryan will continue to astound me and lose more weight while I continue to look more and more like a real German farm woman. Haha. We will post pictures in a couple of days. More soon. Auf Wiedesan?
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