This morning we met Patrick, our host, before we departed (and his two gorgeous Irish setters). He was very friendly and obviously loved his town; he was so pleased we had seen and done so much in the limited time we had. On to our next destination… Freiburg! When we arrived in Freiburg we had coasted into town on fumes, not out of an irresponsible nature, we just couldn't seem to find a gas station. We met our new hostess Zdenka, a very cool lady who spoke only German, but thanks to Greg we communicated just fine. We settled in then headed out. It was still a few kilometers before we could find gas because we were staying a bit outside of the city but apparently BMWs can run on a hope and a prayer. As we made our way into the heart of the old town, we realized Sunday is a very sleepy day here, nothing but restaurants are open. We did find a restaurant near the stone crocodile in the canal (many charming landmarks in this city) that offered a good vegetarian cauliflower dish along side traditional choices (I have been missing my veggies big time the last few days). As we explored town, I did so with the eye of a protective parent. One of my past students will be attending college here in the fall, and I wanted to be assured that he would be in a safe and nurturing city. Everywhere I looked from the cobbles that make mosaics, to the unique gargoyles on the church, in every artistic detail, I was reassured that Zachary would be surrounded by beauty. Later in the day we found a crowd gathered at a small bridge near one of the small waterways that runs through town. Two young men had taken off their shoes and socks and climbed over the railing into the moving water and were lifting up the grates on the sides as onlookers chattered with concern. These college-aged boys were also met with the sharp squawks of a mother duck followed by three tiny ducklings who all swam dangerously close to the grate where the water swept rapidly under a bridge and on to who knows where. Listening carefully you could hear the distress calls of a fourth duckling who had gotten trapped in the water under the grate. These boys were trying to reunite the stranded duckling with his it's family. It was in this moment that I felt assured that Zachary, my nature loving-kind hearted-gentle spirit-past Sycamore student,would find kindred spirits in this city. (Mother duck and all four babies were swimming together happily by the time we left the scene.)
After much exploring on foot we landed at the café next to our lunch spot for dinner. Some locals randomly pulled out a guitar and started playing oldies, so we sat for a long time and enjoyed an after dinner coffee to enjoy the music. On the way home Greg found the university radio station in the car and was in music appreciation heaven. We will be moving on to Switzerland after this, so for now, good night Germany!