Okay chicken soup doesn’t sound like an ‘adventure’ in Europe, but it was one of the things that made my time in Freiburg one of the most memorable experiences. As a first-timer with Airbnb I was really excited for a homestay experience, and as an independent traveller I wanted to know how it might be better/not so much better than staying in hostels. So! Easter break came around and I decided to venture into Southern Germany a.k.a. Bavaria. I made several stops along this 10 day journey but Freiburg was my first overnight stop! The hospitality I was offered was something that will never leave me. The only thing that upsets me is that they didn’t adopt me haha.
Just on the outskirts of Freiburg’s city centre was a cute suburb with wide concrete roads sprinkled with autumn leaves, lush green trees lining the walking pavements, and a mix of old, new and renovated houses which all gave the vibe of family-friendly streets. There was a light breeze and the air smelt fresh of green grass due to some recent rain. As I walked from the tram stop to the apartment where I’d stay I really liked what I was seeing – The street signs and lamps were a nice touch, no vandalism in sight, the slight slope of the streets had character and made perfect jogging routes, and I felt safe. I thought to myself ‘I would love to live in a suburb like this!’. My hosts Martina and Martin (a couple) welcomed me warmly, giving me the quick low down on house rules, and showing me the fridge and microwave that was free for me to use. I fell immediately in love with the bedroom that would be mine for less than 24 hours. It was cosy, bright, clean, peaceful, had slanted ceilings and minimalist furniture. The artesian rug brought everything together and I wondered whoever designed the whole of the room was a genius. It was perfect! I took several photos to remind my future self that this is how I’d design part of my future house.
I spent most of the day time exploring the city and purchased a supermarket pre-cooked meal I’d heat for dinner. Just before I was going to microwave it Martina knocked on my door to offer me chicken soup cooked by Martin’s mother – yes please! She came back upstairs 5 minutes later with a bowl of hearty soup on a neatly set eating plate. It was like room service but I was a thousand times more comfortable. She even offered apple strudel! Man, I was loving airbnb so much. Martina invited me into their apartment after dinner to help me work out my travel plans the next day – and gosh. I ADORED their apartment! It was exactly how I would imagine my future house to look like! Open spaces, vibrant colours, simple furniture and decor. I wish I lived here!! But anyway Martina and I chatted for an hour or so and she gave her time to help me figure out my plans to go to Schauinsland Peak the next day given the snowy weather forecasts. I was able to go in the end and it turned out to be an amazing experience! The weather seemed dull in the morning but the cable cars were running so I took the opportunity! The ride was around 15 minutes in total and as it got higher and deeper into the peak, the snow fall thickened and the scenery of surrounding mountains was beautiful. When I finally reached the top it was like a snow blizzard!! This was super cool to see. It was a little dangerous to step outside so I waited it out at a lovely cafe with aerial views of Freiburg. Ahhhh the warm feeling of sweet camomille tea while the snow continued to fall outside. To my great satisfaction the snow cleared after 30-40 mins and the sun was beaming!! As I took in the scenery of green mountains which looked like they were dusted in icing sugar, I took the deepest breaths of fresh air and listened to nature.
Sadly I was leaving Freiburg this night so I made my way back to the apartment so I’d have ample time to catch the train. Martina let me know she wouldn’t be there but Martin’s mum would let me in. Her name was Yvonne and what an incredible pleasure it was to meet her!! She was so sweet, humble, honest and so caring. After sitting me down in her kitchen, she made me the chicken soup again, just the way she did last night. She told me about her move to Germany and raising Martin, and she understood the passion of travellers like me, that we understood the world a different way and she admired the journey I was self-motivated to get myself into. I felt easy to be myself when we chatted. While I happily ate my chicken soup she was boiling vegetables and had me try a piece of carrot to see if it was cooked. There were so many things I bonded to about Yvonne and her character instantly made me feel at home. She showed me around her home, her antique furniture, and paintings from a friend who passed away from cancer. I expressed how much I loved the cosy atmosphere she created, the high ceilings and simplistic but artistic furniture. This apartment was everything I wanted and more haha – I loved it that much! At this point I really wished I stayed longer. I packed the rest of my belongings and came back down to farewell Yvonne to find she had packed me a food bag! She had made me a sandwich, apple slices, packed me some muesli bars and added an easter egg treat. I felt SO cared for and so safe, I didn’t know how to express how much I appreciated her but with a big hug. She drove me to the bus station and as I got out of the car, she squeezed my hand and told me to be safe, to come back again, and to call her if I ever needed anything or a place to stay.
I settled into a seat on the bus to Lake Konstanz and opened up the bag of food she had packed for me. She had given me her address details and phone number. I looked out of the window to have my last glimpses of Freiburg city and I knew that I’d return for one reason.