Freiburg & Forests: Day 1 – 4 Countries in 1 Day

There’s something cool about being able to say “I’ve set foot in four countries in one day”. To be honest, outside of actively seeking something like this, I couldn’t think how it would happen. Yet today, as part of my journey between my London home and my hotel room in Freiburg, I managed to set foot in the UK, France, Switzerland and Germany.

It’s things like this, which came about because Basel airport seems to straddle the French-Swiss border, that really makes me love Europe. I mean, where else could an airport have a small customs gate in the middle of a departures lounge that helps you easily pass between two nations?

Given that we didn’t actually make it to Freiburg until just gone four in the afternoon, this is going to be one of my shorter travel posts. However there are some first impressions that I want to get down.

Firstly, the view I have from my hotel has to be up there with Vilnius, New York, Hiroshima and Cairns. We are overlooking the Minster (the section not currently clad in scaffolding) and therefore had front row seats to it being illuminated by the massive thunderstorm that struck Freiburg this evening. For a solid hour the rain was torrential and there was lightning every 30-60 seconds. I was clutching my glass of Mezzo Mix and staring out the window the same way a young child does in front of a toy shop at Christmas.

Our first walk around the city centre (which we will properly explore on Day 3) was lovely – even as the storm winds picked up and we started making our way back to the hotel. You can tell that this is an old town because of the architecture and the cool cobble art on the streets (where, for some shops, they have had their trade incorporated into the cobblestones – like an orange and glass for a juice shop).

You can also tell that this town has a very youthful spirit, thanks in part to the nearby university which has really made local businesses spring up to appeal to the clientele. This weird dichotomy of an old city with a young university population really reminds me of three years living in York. As much as I love London I do sometimes wonder how it would have been if I had stayed in my university town and made a life there…

Anyway. Being me, the final first thought is food. Already I am wanting to eat pretty much everything I come across. Tonight I let the hub pick a place – and not just because I felt bad for how much I’ve been continuing to rib him for a card the hotel left us a welcoming ‘Mr and Mrs [my last name]’.

I really could have had anything on the menu, but since I had a lot of schnitzel in Kraków I went for a cutlet in cream sauce, spatzel and a (gorgeous) side salad. There will be plenty of time for sausages and schnitzel during the rest of this trip.

That’s it for day one. The thunderstorm has sadly stopped and we have an early start time tomorrow as we’re off to visit Europa Park! In the rain! Wish me luck!

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