I stared out the window, watching Germany roll by as we made our way to Freiburg.
“You know,” I said to Olivier. “I can’t recall the last time that I had a decent cup of coffee.”
He pulled on his beard as he steered our little Renault up the highway.
After a moment of recalling all of the cups of coffee we had had recently, he finally stated, “We haven’t had a decent cup of coffee since we left France.”
It was true. I had some drip coffee from a bakery with my kanelgiffel in Copenhagen. We made some nasty instant sludge while camping in Sweden & had some watered-down American style joe with our Frühstück in Berlin.
What I wanted was a double espresso, served with a cube of sugar & a square of chocolate on a tiny saucer that I could drink at a tiny table on the sidewalk.
It would have to wait.
We drove on, until we finally arrived at the campground where we would be spending the night. As lovely as the city of Freiburg is, I have to say that this place really had nothing to do with camping. Then again, I’m from Colorado, so my view of camping varies a bit from what we found in this place.
I’ve mentioned before how camping in Europe is very different than camping in the Rockies. But, this… this was something else. An old man who was working at the campground told us where to park & pitch our tent. After we got set up, he promptly returned to reprimand us for parking our car in the dirt & pitching our tent in the grass. It seems that we should have done the opposite.
We looked down at the patch of dirt, which was peppered with rabbit turds & squirming with ants.
“We didn’t put our tent on the poopy anthill,” Olivier said. “We are assholes.”
“That guy looks like an old lesbian,” I said. “He knows nothing about camping. I’ve decided that he’s the bigger asshole.”
I looked around & couldn’t believe how many people there were – the place was filled, well over capacity. Our car was parked right in front of the opening of our tent – about 3 feet away, but that didn’t stop people from wandering in between the two. There wasn’t enough space for little kids to play (& there was a shitload of them) so occasionally, a ball or little boy would bounce off of our fucking tent.
It was during this night of camping that I learned to say, “Raus!“, which means “out”, or “go away”! Very handy.
Lucky me, I was still dealing with the sickness that I had been dealing with over the past couple of weeks. Because of this, Olivier & I barely slept… evidently, there was some problem with me kicking, punching, crying & having a fit due to suffering a painful defeat in the clutches of a disgusting mucous assault.
I don’t deal well with being sick. I’m really much more of a broken bone, torn flesh, straight-up injury sort of person.
So, in the morning, Olivier pried me from the sleeping bag, in spite of my complaints, promising that an afternoon in Freiburg would be well worth it & would make me feel better.
He was right. We took a walk through the big outdoor market, picked up a few more postcards & whatnot before we blew out of Germany & back into France.
We jumped back into the car & began heading west again. In no time at all, we found ourselves in the region of Alsace, in the village of Colmar, surrounded by its distinctive buildings, with their unique timber framing.
Indeed, we were finally back in France, where the signs once again became legible. Back in France, where the wine flows like a river, where the cheese stinks & the old women are surly.
So, we were back in France, but weren’t quite ready to return home just yet – we still had plans to spend a night at a Chambres et table d’hôtes in Alsace.
“There’s a vineyard near here,” Olivier said. “We can go do a tasting & pick up some Alsacian wine, if you want.”
“Oh, I want,” I said. “But, first… I think I just want a coffee.”