Homesickness, sleeplessness, thankfulness, untrammeledness. At the spatial separation from the familiar; from the temporal separation from the familiar; for a safe, timely, and uneventful arrival; at the novelty of experience. Then two more days in Freiburg. Language course started. Hunger and thirst, but not yet for that.
Day-trip to Alsace, in contrast to prior Freiburg. Went to Hochkönigsburg, Riquewihr, and Kaysersberg. Spoke in English, thoughtlessly, conversing with Americans, Australians, English, and Irish. In French, tentatively, ordering a snack at Hochkönigsburg and lunch at Riquewihr. In German, thoughtfully, communicating with non-Americans, non-Australians, non-English, and non-Irish. In Spanish, livelily, chatting with a Spaniard. Pleasant remembrance of bicycling up to Hochkönigsburg four years ago on the tandem with Wolfgang; vivid perception of the Riquewihr alleys, architecture, and colors, plus that perfect slice of peach pie; underwhelming impression of Kaysersberg. Worth it.
Went for a run on my first appointmentless morning around a nearby lake with a perimeter of, at a jog, about eight minutes. Afternoon sojourn to the Schlossberg; lots of steps; nice views of Freiburg before returning. Took away a filling yet inexpensive Turkish döner to eat beside the cathedral. Finally both well-nourished and well-hydrated.
Feeling occasionally with respect to the German language like an adolescent Andre Agassi with respect to tennis, but sharing none of this attitude for the sport itself.
Day-trip to the Black Forest, near St. Peter’s. Left the freshness of the first time unmatched, but at least being there amidst the trees was a nice sensation to revisit.
Rapturous. Woke up at 5:30 to leave the Freiburg train station 70 minutes later. Arrived to a sea of fog in Titisee. Some glorious false starts finding the path to the top of the mountain Hochfirst. Eventually got there with directions from a Frenchman, his dog, and a couple of German joggers, to enjoy a view that was as calming as a remoteness dotted only occasionally with Nordic walkers. Descended back into town with plans to return to Freiburg prior to finding a €16,95 lunch buffet; felt sufficiently hungry to make my discovery worthwhile. Made my way inside and was greeted successively by the head waiter, noodles, rice, and vegetables of the season. Opting for an outside table with my plate, received notice from said waiter, who, realizing either that this rustic tourist, in not having selected any of the extravagant French appetizers, was somewhat incongruous, or merely that this ravished alpine hiker was just as famished, inquired whether to consider the entire buffet in the price, or that plate only, in which case he would make a special offer. Cheerfully accepted this and the iced tea with fruit from the forest that he complied to bring, which accompanied my favorite meal of the trip to that point. Some almond pastries from the Titisee train station complied to accompany me back to Freiburg. Pensive remembrance of descending the road cutting visibly through the trees to Titisee then.
Still deepening in esotericism, familiarity, restlessness in Freiburg.
Revisited the schedule of that seven days hence to visit, for the first time, the Schluchsee. The additional half hour riding the train to Aha turned out not to detract from a land-and-seascape that was still more impressive than its predecessor. Departed from the train to an immediate dawn. Jogged, lingered, walked from Aha along the Schluchsee to the town of the same name. Let us call it the best day so far.
I was worried that everyday communication in German would, if only marginally, lessen my adeptness in English, as was unequivocally true after a month here two years ago. Contrary to this expectation, but understandably so, as I did next to nothing with English during that visit, and during this one had still been primarily reading in it, not speaking English now had refined it to reflect the input it receives, rather than deteriorated it to a lesser degree than previously (a refinement more noticeable at the time, as I was still reading Proust; at least this is written a month later). And in terms of written comprehension, as the bald eagle goes highest and fastest, the flight of the black eagle still skids, so to speak, and although it outstrips almost all others, the closest behind being the rooster and the wolf, eyeing each other carefully, the secondbest eagle cannot keep pace with the nonchalant stride of the bull.