Down on the farm... Going up the country...
It was one night in Freiburg only for us as it was just a "midway" point from Dijon in France to see Annika and Holger in Tübingen, Germany. Anni, as Di calls her, was an exchange student who stayed 6 months with Di in Sydney back in 2003.
Our bus was due to leave Zentralen Omnibusbahnhof (ZOB) - love that word construct - at 11.15am meaning we had a bit of spare time in the morning.
We were back at Starbucks inside the Freiburg Hauptbahnhof around 7am for a pre breakfast cup of tea and free internet access.
This photo is taken from the window of our room at Intercity Hotel and even though zoomed in, you can see how close we were to transport.
Buffet breakfast was included in our room price and served until 10am so we had decided to use it a bit later in the morning as a pseudo combined breakfast / lunch (a "brunch" sort of) as we would be on the bus until closer to 2pm.
Here is Di preparing our Wurst Semmel for our lunch on the bus (something we call them after watching far too many episodes of Kommisar Rex / Inspector Rex on TV).
A quick wrap in a napkin and into a plastic bag - sneaky but good and free.
A selfie outside our DeinBus bus. As we arrived at bussteig 7 some more than 20 minutes before departure time, we saw the driver lock up the bus and leave... And then he didn't come back until 11.15am when the bus was due to depart. That surprised us, but then we found a text on our phone telling us that the bus would be delayed and depart at 11.30am instead.
We could only speculate that the delay was due to that the driver having to take a mandatory break as no activity took place with or around the bus in the mean time.
The weather along our journey from Freiburg to Tübingen was very mixed. At times it was crispy clear sunshine as per below and at other times it was very dark and overcast and looking like it was going to snow at any moment.
The scenery during most of the trip however was fantastic, snow on the ground, ice in the trees, mountains and rivers / creeks.
This little part of the journey was a traffic jam. We did not even know the name of the town but realised why it was so busy when we saw a signboard for the World Championships of Ski Jump from 13 to 15 December. That helped (and maybe explain why our bus was delayed).
As we arrived in Tübingen at 2pm, Anni was there to greet us and there were hugs and kisses as she and Di had not seen each other for about 10 years.
Here we fast forward to a later point in the day, just to give you, the reader, a photo of Holger, Anni's husband and Anni.
Anni took us to where she and Holger live, in a surprisingly large 2 bedroom apartment on the second floor of a farm in the country less than 20 minutes away from the town of Tübingen. Holger was there to meet and greet us when we arrived and we sat down for a cuppa, delicious homemade cake and chat, chat, chat.
To make use of the last hour or so of daylight on this glorious clear day, Anni suggested that we wander up to a chapel on top of a hill that we had actually seen from the bus as we arrived into town.
Too far to walk the whole way, so a short drive first was required. First though, you had to negotiate a passage through these geese, well we are staying on a farm...and these guys will be gone before Christmas... (if you get our meaning)
The parking for visitors to the Wurmlingen Kapelle (the chapel) is a small distance away, and this photo is taken from that parking area.
Runkeeper was turned on, but Apple Maps provided a dismal amount of names from where we walked.
Perhaps the area and its multitude of walk, cycle and driveways were nameless, but at least you can see the small hook where we climbed the last short stretch to get up to where the chapel was.
The late afternoon light together with long distance views and near rows of vines apparently dating back to Roman days provided ample opportunity for photography. Annie and Di with the chapel on the hill...
The way... What are these little huts that we passed on our journey?
Religious motifs, Jesus on the cross, resurrection, and yes it was actually Black Friday today too.
It all came together when Holger mentioned that where we walked is called Jakobsweg and that it forms one part of a very long journey to Santiago de Compostella, the pilgrim trail that ends up in northwestern Spain.
Proof. The scallop shell of course is the symbol for the Camino de Santiago de Compostella.
What a nice surprise. In other words, that meant that we actually did walk a tiny little part of the Camino. Hans was thrilled.
Otherwise as noted earlier, the hills around the chapel were very much ancient wine country and the little guy at the top of the arrow was the symbol for a "vine harvester".
A few more pics of vines in the late afternoon approximately halfway up to the chapel.
Sections of the hills also housed apple trees and you know what can be made from apples by southern German people (its gotta be alcohol) and Anni said the drink was called moscht (Apple wine).
We arrived at the chapel during the sun's last minutes of the day and the moon was already visible.
You can barely see it in this picture but to the far left, a girl was undressed down to very little and having her photo taken with various Santa props including a sledge on the ground. Hans would have liked to take a closer picture of her but she appeared very self conscious when we arrived at the scene. For a "naughty" calendar perhaps...? A special treat for a boyfriend?
A quadruple selfie...
There were a handful of quite elaborate burial plots next to the chapel. Of course, space dictated that only a small number of people could be buried here and we bet that those who were there had all been prominent local people and likely to be heavily involved in church. There was a second tier of graves further down the hill...
Sunset over southwestern Germany...
Walking down the hill towards the parking lot with the soft post sunset light.
Soon we were back at the farm...
...and were given an inside tour of the animal farm and barn. Pigs are the main product here.
Quite a few Schweins rushed to the fence hoping for a feed as we entered the inside.
I was first... No, I was...
The piglets were not so brave and huddled together at the other end of their enclosure instead.
Yep, there were 2 donkeys at the farm as well. Just pets, not meat. Anni was very quick in her patting of one of them.
The farm residence, where Holger and Anni (and now us for the next couple of days) stay on the 2nd floor.
The view from inside the second bedroom out towards where the sun set for the day.
Anni and Holger's home is spacious, light and bright with lots of natural timber. Lovely.
A central feature in the lounge room is this lovely slow burning wood stove in a bricked fireplace. All the bricks warm up and a gentle heat emirates for ages. Holger did a fine job of getting it going. He definitely knows his timber, he is finishing his Forestry Management Degree this year.
Anni had been trying to remember the name of a dish her mother cooked and was having a mental blank. So she called, and Di said hello as well as she had met Anni's parents 10 years ago too.
No your typical Tannenbaum but we liked the family "Christmas tree".
Of course with Anni and Di there was reminiscing about Australia when Anni said she and Holger found Tim Tams in Indonesia on a visit to her sister who lives there.
But...these Tim Tams are not really the same as Tim Tams in Oz. If you read the fine print it says "not for sale in Australia and New Zealand". So a south east variation of the Tim Tam.
We could wait until we got home to the real thing.
Anni is a teacher (of first primary school children) and she was teaching us how to make Spätzle, a soft German type of dumpling mix cooked in strands of boiling water. The contraption she was using looked like a potatoe ricer and worked really well.
Out come the strings of Spätzle. A few minutes boiling and they were scooped out, mixed with a special cheese mix and baked.
It seemed to be a 2 person job as everything moves fast and the mix is messy.
Di had to get involved and chopped onions, which are sautéed and served with the baked Spätzle
The chefs with the results. Wunderbar.
We had a lovely relaxed meal, lots of chatting, some wine and beer, followed by photos from their wedding in Namibia (and a subsequent second wedding in Germany). Anni and Holger met in Namibia while still both at school. Both parents had taken jobs in Windhoek. BTW, Holger called Namibia "Africa Lite" which sounded like a great definition.
Hans and Di had not, until now, been interested in traveling in Africa but Namibia looked fantastic. Maybe some day...
Approaching 10pm and we were losing Anni after a big day educating and controlling 19 children and then the same with us. Time for bed. Good night from down on the farm.