After a while and a thousand miles it all becomes the same
After Zurich we went to Freiburg in Germany for a couple of days. Freiburg, like Padova, is a town wrapped around a university and as such has quite a bit of activity going on. The town has little artificial canals/drains that have water pumped through them constantly. In former times this was an efficient German way of rubbish collection: into the drains, collected later. There is a market square with stalls selling various German sausages and more kinds of mushroom than I have ever seen, and in the middle of it is a monstrous gothic cathedral, swarming with gargoyles (some more tasteful than others) and built of dark, evil-looking stone. Even after all the cathedrals I have seen, this one stood out. Climbing the tower gives you a nice view and lets you in to see the bells. Up the hill is a lookout "which affords fine views of Freiburg and surrounds" as a guide book may say. On the final day there, Jimmy P and I climbed to the top of this, stopping on the way up and the way down at a proper German beer garden.
Between our two days in Freiburg, James, Simon and I had an excursion to the Black Forest, in particular the town of Titisee where we paddled a boat across the alpine lake, full of black water, making all the requisite naval and Trek jokes. Yelling 'ahoy!' at Germans in other vessels gets one a particularly German response: silence and looks of scorn tempered with mild pity. The Black Forest, as a hike through it proved, is named for it's thick canopy. This, dear friends, is where the eponymous cake comes from and where cuckoo clocks were refined to a fine art.
There will be more on these adventures (and pictures) to come.