Letters from Abroad

Wunderbar Weekend

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It has been a very hectic, yet fun weekend, to say the least. I went on an excursion from Freiburg to nearby Basel, Switzerland. It still sort of blows my mind that I can get to an entirely different country in about an hour – it’s a rare novelty which has not yet been ruined by my classic dark sense of humor.

Basel was a city bigger than Freiburg, but still much smaller than most U.S. cities. It was very warm, so naturally everyone was out and about celebrating summer’s last hurrah. We even heard a marching band playing the much beloved German folk song “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga.

Probably my favorite part of the day was learning some Rhine River traditions. While walking along a bridge, I noticed some locks attached to a grate. I asked a friend, and he said that when German (or Swiss) couples marry, they buy a lock and throw the key in the river together. (Insert an obligatory awwww).

The other tradition I learned about also happened to be one that I took part in: sticking your feet in the Rhine upon visiting it. The water was cold, the day was hot – best combination, ever, basically. We listened to Jimmy Buffet and picnicked, and all was right with the world. Towards the end of the trip, we heard some Schweitzer Deutsch (Swiss German). For those of you who have never heard it, it sort of sounds like Swedish Chef from the Muppets. But, it was cool to hear nonetheless.

The next day, I went on a small hike through German wine country, and it was one of my favorite days by far. A nice local woman gave us a tour, and even though she spoke the southern dialect of German, she was relatively easy to understand.

After a few miles walking along the sunny vineyards, picking apples, grapes, and plums, we went back to her home, where she and her husband had prepared a delicious meal for us, as well as homemade wine. It was very nice to see strangers going out of their way for us, and it was by far the best meal I have had so far in Germany. This only proves that nothing is better than a homemade meal eaten with friends who have become like family.