The White Forest

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The White Forest
Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany

Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany


So much for yesterday’s sunshine! Today I awoke to the pitter patter of rain on the skylight. I looked out the window to confirm what I could hear and could barely see the mountain I’d stood on yesterday for the cloud that now shrouded it. What was rain below the cloud line was the first snow of the season above it! We couldn’t yet see it but the evidence was on every car coming down the mountain.

The day really was too glum and the rain too heavy to brave for anything other than necessity so Titia and I stayed in. She went about crocheting brooches for an upcoming fundraiser at the school while I looked on and spun a yarn about recent life events. I was again touched by the openness and compassion extended to me and felt the deepening of an already treasured friendship.

In no time at all, Henrik and Clara were home from school for lunch. The rain lightened and we were off on our next adventure for which this cold and gloomy weather was perfect – one of my all time favourite pastimes – hot springs! More specifically, the thermal pools of Eugen Keidel Bad on the outskirts of Freiburg.

We got into our cosies and jumped in the pools from the inside of the complex before pushing through to the cold air which made steam roll across the surface of the much warmer water. The pools have different temperature ‘zones’, jet massage stations and a giant whirlpool that sweeps you round in a big circle making it impossible not to have fun… unless you’re an ancient cranky German person… which almost everyone was. Their joylessness in such a playful context was more than comical, it was downright Pythonesque! It was like a reverse Cocoon scenario in which I imagined them entering the water young, vibrant and happy only to be metamorphasised into wrinkly, decrepit old malcontents. They certainly weren’t doing much to combat the more negative aspects of the German stereotype which Titia bluntly and loudly pointed out, fulfilling a few Dutch stereotypes of her own! For my part, I floated around laughing like an idiot flying the flag for my own country of origin even though I wasn’t drunk.

When we noticed our own skin starting to pucker, we knew it was time to leave before we started yelling at children to stop having fun. We made our way back to the city to pick up souvenirs and supplies and then back to the house to make dinner. Titia made sushi while I made my first attempt at gyoza – both were a hit with Henrik and Clara who ate up, cleaned up and went to bed leaving us to our chocolate, wine and a screening of Titia’s favourite film – Girl on a Bridge.

At the end of another wonder filled day, I feel very much cocooned myself by the warmth of love and friendship in this household. I wish that I could stay longer but tomorrow it’s time to flit away once more.


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