Sunday, 13 July 2008

psyching herself up.

This last week in Konstanz has been a rather quiet one, as a lot of the week was spent in other cities, and my time here has been taken up with planning the next few weeks.

I finished my 2 hour tour of the town (it only took me 3 days in the end), and went on a little boat cruise of the lake. My final conclusion is similar to my first impression: Konstanz really is a very sweet little city. I will miss the bells ringing every hour, and the beautiful clear lake 100m down the street.

On Thursday I did a day trip to Zurich (ha!). The weather was perfect which made my day of wandering through the old town very pleasant. I visited 3 churches in all: first the Grossmunster, founded by Charlemagne where I climbed the tower for a view of the city. I have climbed a lot of towers, and it must be doing my bum some good by now! This church also had a beautiful organ with little golden angels all over it. Then I made my way to the Fraumunster, which has some wonderful stained glass windows made by Chagal. Here I found a purse left behind with 100 francs in it, and gave in to the old lady selling postcards. We had a little chat in French (because her English wasn't so good, and my German was worse) and she was so thankful that I'd handed it in! Honestly - it's a worry when it's expected behaviour to steal money in a church! Finally I went to St Peter's Church which has the largest clockface in Europe.

I wandered around the city a little, picking my way through the windy, hilly streets (mostly not on my map) and had a great lunch at Hitl, the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Europe. It was actually pretty posh - white tablecloths and chandeliers, and it was a little on the pricey side, but it was completely delicious. I had some kind of Malaysian eggplant curry, which actually tasted more like a Maroccan tagine, and a homemade organeade. I found myself sitting at a huge dining table in the middle, across from an ex-pat Australian! We had a bit of a chat, and she endorsed my afternoon plan to go to the art gallery. The art gallery itself was quite nice, although they all seem to have slightly underwhelming collections after the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay. On the other hand, it was very quiet and I could actual enjoy the experience. They have a funny exhibition going at the moment where modern artists create works in and around the older permanent exhibitions. My favourite was some graffiti below an old landscape painting, arguing that it was too good to be the work of the attributed painter!

To finish the day I wandered the streets a little more, and found myself at the Lindenhof, which is a little park at the highest point in the old city, which a sweet view over the town.

Back in Konstanz, I had a delicious pizza dinner with Kathy and Thomas and some of their friends from Hannover, and then a stroll along the lake as the sun set. Olga caught a cricket as big as my thumb in a little jar she had in her handbag. It was very green.

This weekend, we travelled to Freiburg. I was quite keen to go there, since it's where two of my music teachers studied, and it was not at all what I expected. It was a lot bigger than I expected, and the first impressions outside of the train station weren't that positive. But the old city is one of the prettiest I've seen so far, and the quaint medieval canals (gutters) and old paving won me over in the end. It seems to be quite the student city, which gave it a really relaxed air too. Unfortunately, the weather was not so kind as Zurich, and it rained and rained and rained and rained. We had a lot of icecream and coffees, and got quite giggly amusing ourselves when we couldn't venture out from under the big cafe umbrellas (lots of silly photos, paper boat races in the canals, mimicking the accents of all the other tourists wandering around). When the sun came out, we visited the Cathedral which was quite an interesting and pretty one, being made from red stone, which is different than any I've seen so far. We wandered around the old town and the church food market, had a huge German meal (german pork dumplings, sauerkraut, potato salad & pretzel soup) and huge German beer to match. On Sunday we had an equally huge breakfast (bagels, egg, yoghurt, fruit, cheese, tomato, pain au chocolat) and then took the cable car up the mountain into the spectacular black forest. I was amazed at how many different trees there are - I expected one type of pine tree but it was a huge mix of huge huge huge trees.

Then it was back to Konstanz, late in the day. We had a bit of a train mishap (missed our station) so we got home quite late, and slept in the next day. TodayI tried to organise myself a bit and had a final dinner at a nice Indian restaurant where I introduced Kathy and Tom to the deliciousness of Palak Paneer.

And tomorrow I'm off on a whirlwind tour of Germany...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That sounds very cheering :) I like the sound of paper boat races in the canals. It's been raining bucketloads here today (finally) which is very refreshing - as long as one has a nice toasty heater to sit by in the evenings.