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Our first whole day in Freiburg began with a great breakfast at a hole-in-the wall eatery, where exiting patrons would wave good-bye to the remaining customers. Sarah and Matt were still jetlagged and taking in the Germanness of the food and the wood paneled interior (especially Matt, since this was his first 24 hours ever being in Germany). Even though I also enjoyed the atmosphere, it no longer seemed quite so novel. I realized how much over two and a half weeks I had acclimated to living in a foreign country, and I wondered if I was perhaps taking this amazing experience for granted.

I guess this is just part of the journey

Or perhaps I was realizing how not to idealize the country.  As much as Germany resembled everything I had read and loved, as much as it did indeed hold magic, it was also a normal country full of normal people and normal routines.

Since we had to provide our own towels at the black Forest hostel, Matt asked if we could go downtown and find one he could buy. We first tried a department store (with probably seven flights of escalators), but the location was securely entrenched in the tourist section and towels cost about forty euro.

We opted to find a cheaper store. Because we were in town on the weekend, the streets were alive with shoppers and musicians.

He was quite good.

Sarah and Matt kept pausing to take everything in, while I was all too focused on Operation Towel. Several times they had to ask me to slow down, even though I was the one with a swollen foot! After taking many wrong turns, we found a discount store with towels for six Euros.

By then, we were hungry, and bought some Döner Kebap. Just like Asian carryout in the States, Döner Kebap eateries are small businesses that always offer the same options, but the quality and price vary store to store. In other words, a dream for starving college students.

Taken by Sarah Taylor (seriously, go check out her blog!)

We also went hiking, and Matt was fascinated with the fact that we were walking in the Black Forest. To Sarah and myself, however, that particular trail was light work and not all that interesting (both of us had already hiked the Black Forest). Nonetheless, we enjoyed the leisurely exploration, and his enthusiasm reminded me of my own when I first started hiking here.  Was two-and-a-half weeks all it took for this excitement to wear off?

Afterwards, Birgit met up with us, gave us a small tour of the town, and treated us to German specialties. I had Maultaschen for the first time (it’s a South German ravioli), and I almost always order it now when I’m out to eat.

A food specific to Baden-Wuerttemburg