Week 5, part 6

As we passed through the Black Forest we saw the beginnings of the Danube River.

This castle was in one of the towns we passed through in the Black Forest.

A church we saw while passing through the Black Forest.

It was Halloween, an American holiday that many Europeans are gradually warming up to. Thursday was a national holiday in Germany, so the guests at the Halloween party thrown by Bobber and Elena didn't have to worry about working the next day. Between Basel and Freiburg, RoZ closed the curtains of our train compartment and changed into her party dress. A short time later a couple of guys in green jump suits appeared at the door and asked a friendly but demanding question in German. "Ich sprechen kein Deutch," said Obbie. ("I don't speak German," an important survival phrase) "English?" said one of the guys in green suits. After we nodded, he said "Passport please." They checked our passports, punched some keys on some sort of portable data device, and handed them back without stamping them. Switzerland is not part of the European Union, so people entering Germany from Switzerland are subject to a slight bit more scrutiny than we have seen at other border crossings.

We knocked on Bobber and Elena's door at around 9. They had been worried about us, as we hadn't had a chance to call and fill them in on our progress since we'd left Monday morning. RoZ had also planned to make dips for the party, and set about to making babaganoosh in a very crowded kitchen. They have a huge living room, and a tiny kitchen, yet everyone wanted to hang out in the kitchen where the food was. Oh well. After the food was ready, we retreated to the bedroom where we promptly passed out in our chairs. Our long and full day coupled with frequent and rapid changes in elevation left us a lot more exhausted than we expected to be. Our slumber was interrupted at 3 am by a phone call from some friends at home. RoZ talked, Obbie slept. When the last guests went home shortly before 5, we went to sleep on the living room futon where we belonged.

Thursday was a day of rest and recovery. In fact, we barely got out of the house that day. We slept, ate, and did laundry. Once our laundry had been exposed to enough of the Friday morning sun to dry out, we packed up to leave Freiburg once again. We took a slow-moving scenic train from Freiburg to Neustadt and connected to another train to Ulm. This took us through the Black Forest and over a low range of mountains. On the eastern slope of these mountains we saw an insignificant little mountain stream and followed it for some time as it grew. Five days later we would see this stream again, except this time it would be a major river lined with factories. We were on the beginnings of the Danube River.

We landed that night in Buchloe ... chosen as a convenient train connection for the next day's day trip. But when we got there at around 7:30, there was no place to go to get help finding a room. Buchloe turned out to be a fairly un-touristed place. Obbie stuck his head into a bar within the Bahnhof, and asked the bartender, "sprechen Sie English?" A guy sitting at the bar turned and said, "yes." Obbie began speaking to him slowly in short and simple sentences, as is a very good habit for speaking with those not necessarily fluent in English. "We ... look ... for ... room." The guy said "Speak normal English to me, man, don't give me that bullshit," in what turned out to be a Glasgow accent. His name was Chris, an ex-pat from Scotland (we didn't ask why), who got us started on the path toward finding a room. Obbie appologized for his initial encounter saying, "we're not used to meeting native English speakers in this part of the world," and Chris said, "neither am I," to laughs all around.

Our two nights in Buchloe were spent at a Gasthaus across the street from the Rathaus. For DM100/night (<$50) we had a nice double room with our own toilet and shower and cable tv (but nothing in English), and a very good continental breakfast in the morning. The older couple who owned the place didn't speak that much English, but they were very friendly and accommodating. After over a week in German-speaking territory, this was the first time we'd actually had to try to function in German ... up until this time we'd either been with Bobber, or in Switzerland where everybody seemed to speak fluent English.

At the Farmers' Market in Buchloe, these ladies sold locally made cheese.

This mosaic of glazed tiles decorated the front of a pharmacy in Buchloe.

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