Because our beds were on the east side of the hostel, the sun entered our room bright and early. I woke up the third day around seven, and since I knew Sarah and Matt wouldn’t be getting up for a while, I decided to go for a hike.
But Jenn, I can hear you saying, your foot was still injured.
Yes, I know. But nothing was broken, and I was dying to go exploring. I was careful!!
Even after a decent hike and a relaxing shower, Sarah and Matt took another two hours to wake up. I busied myself with typing up a blog post about Basel and reading a book, but still felt impatient. I’m usually a fairly patient person, but when there’s something to do (places to see, plans to fulfill), I get very, very restless. I had to remind myself that Matt and Sarah were still battling jet lag, and that most people aren’t morning people like me anyway.
Once Sarah and Matt were up and ready to scout out food, we hit the town. Because it was Sunday, the streets were fairly empty.
Well…except for the giant 5k that snaked through town. Not only were there massive amounts of runners, there were think rows of people lining the track, cheering, playing live music, and making merry.
To enter the Innenstadt, we had to cross the track in front of an onslaught of runners. We carefully timed our crossing so we wouldn’t slow any of them up! (though I suspect we would have simply been trampled…those runners were fast!)
We then climbed the tower of the Muenster, or cathedral. This was perhaps one of the most terrifying things I did on the trip, because the stairway is so narrow. It’s a spiral staircase, so the steps are very thin on the inside curve, and which is where you have to walk if people are coming down. The inside curve also has no railing, and really nothing to hang on to, so at one point, while Sarah and I stood still and let people come down, I was stuck clinging to nothing while looking out over the city of Freiburg.
Yeah, my fear of heights didn’t like that one.
But, we were able to buy some cool postcards, visit the bell tower (the bells actually rang while we were there; it was deafening), and climb to the top platform.
We then joined Matt in the sanctuary, since he opted out of the climb. We ate some yummy food at a restaurant nearby, and bought linens for our soon-to-be dorm beds.
Back in the hostel to drop off our purchases, Sarah and Matt decided to return to the Innenstadt for dinner and some bar hopping. I was worn out, however, and my foot wasn’t feeling all that great. I opted to stay in the hostel and rest. While there, I ran into a gentleman I had met when I first checked in to the hostel. He was originally from Egypt, but had been living in Germany for years. He was actually staying in the same 21-person room as me, and he invited me and a girl from South Korea to join him for a dinner in the hostel kitchen. The three of us had a fun time learning about the different reasons we were in Germany and in that particular hostel. The girl from South Korea loves art, and is here to study it. The man from Egypt has kids and an ex-wife here, and he’s staying in the hostel until he can get back on his feet. Despite the troubles in his family, he was optimistic and grateful for the company at dinner. We reflected on how important it is to eat with others; it makes the food even tastier!
Also, the conversation was mostly in German. It was so refreshing to finally be practicing with other people. I had no idea how much German would help me communicate with people from all around the world, not just people from Germany. Although the man from Egypt knew English, the girl from Korea didn’t. If I hadn’t known German, our conversation would have been really hard to participate in with everything constantly being translated back and forth.
People back home would often ask me “Why German?” Since I live in Florida, it seemed much more practical to learn Spanish. But really, my time here has only underscored the importance of learning ANY language, be it Spanish, German, Latvian, Mandarin, isiZulu, or whatever it is you’re interested in. Any language, whether or not it’s practical, or common, will help you build connections with other people. And in a world that’s more and more globalized, these connections will help us truly understand one another.