Sunday, June 10, 2007

Third day in Fribourg


I am rudely rousted from my deep slumber. I was too busy staying up late last night Blogging, and I didn't even finish writing up day 2's events in Switzerland.


The thing I didn't consider when I chose this hotel, situated right next to the Cathedral, is that if you stay over the weekend, you're bound to be awoken by church bells.


The bell rang forever. I pulled the extra pillow over my ears, trying to muffle the noise. Man, those Catholics are really excited about the announcement of their mass. I managed to sleep through the incessant bonging. Christianity is trying to call back its heathen son. My response is increasing the number of pillows heaped over my ears.

Noon. I can't believe I slept until noon. Half my exploration time is wasted now.

I opened my e-mail to find the list of places that Stacy wanted me to visit. Check out the neighborhoods. I mapped them all out in Google Maps. Google Maps has a new feature where you can put multiple destinations. I had figured out my whole strategy. From east of the river (where they speak German), to Villars sur Glane.

I didn't have any way of printing out the document, so I decided to go downstairs and try to print from there. Printer broken. I mistakenly closed the tab with my itinerary. Google Maps didn't remember my trip. I was angry and hungry, so I just set out without any plans. On my way out, I asked the concierge if there was any way for me to rent a bike for the day. That would be the most effective way for me to see the whole town without an expensive taxi ride.

I walked down the street to where all the restaurants and shops are, and found that, as everybody had warned me, EVERYTHING is closed on Sunday. I went to a restaurant, the attendant spoke no English, no German. She asked a friend, a customer to help her out, and I got a broken German response that there was no food on Sundays, just coffee. Tummy say foood. So I moved on.

I eventually found a nice Falafel joint that was always closed on Fridays, but thankfully, open on Sunday. It had several local families eating their lunch, and I had to grab the only standing table outside. I had a Falafel Sandwich, and my French conversational skills to order my Falafel would impress the entire cast of Cirque du Soleil.

Me: "Falafel San-WEE; Cola laEET"
Him: (something unintelligible)
(I think he's asking me about the sauce to put on it)

Me: "Oui"
Him: (something unintelligible) (I think he's telling me the amount.)
Me: (handing over the money, thankfully listed on the cash register)
Him: (something unintelligible) (I think he's thanking me or telloing me to have a nice day.)
Me: Merci

I wandered the streets pretty aimlessly. I found some interesting street signs. This one, pictured to the right, tells you that women and children are mercilessly run over by speeding motorbikes. They are run over so thoughtlessly, that tire tracks are sure to run right over both child and mother. Horrible. The evidence that they are motorbikes and not cars is the single tire tread mark.

I assure you, men are safe there, and I managed to get out of this dangerous area alive to bring you this tale.

I believe I bumped into one of the places that Stacy wanted me to look at. But the bad news is that I could only get this location to come up once on the Google map search. I think I typed in the information incorrectly.

After a very long and thirsty walk around town, my need for liquid replenishment was nearing emergency levels. I started to think about drinking from the public fountains while none of the locals were looking. If it's not proper, I wouldn't want them to think badly about the badly dressed American. I watched several people walk by the fountains. Some would put their hands in the water to cool off. None drank. I feel silly to ask somebody and get that crazy look of "Are you insane? (nobody/everybody) drinks out of those fountains! Did you think the water looked (disgusting/safe)? That would be (perfectly normal/absurd) to drink that water!"

The green lushness of Fribourg started to turn into the appearance of a desert. Even the bars were closed. A beer would be nice. I walked past the Cardinal beer factory. I couldn't smell the hops. Maybe that's good. I walked past a Thai grocery store. I didn't think how odd that was, I only noticed its non-thirst-quenching-cause-its-closed status.

I started to walk more slowly. Must. Drink. I was wandering so slowly that Dr. Stephen Hawking passes me in his wheelchair. Ok, maybe it wasn't really him, but it sure did look like it from behind. I didn't get a good look at the front because he approached and passed me more quietly than a whisper. I usually walk pretty quickly, and I was rather surprised by the velocity of this electric wheelchair.

I made my way back to the train station and found myself buying the biggest water bottle I could find. I rushed the conversation with the lady (Lucy) who insisted on speaking French with me. Yet again, my incredible French speaking skills saved the day: I figured out she was asking me if I needed a bag or not. Actually, I cheated and played sociologist. I watched the guy in front of me in line. I carefully imitated each of his expressions and moves. Yes! Water! I chugged.

Oh noes! It's carbonated water! I wasn't expecting it, didn't even notice the explosive "PFIPP" when I opened the bottle, and nearly exhaled the carbonated water out my nose; which would have been even more painful than chugging water seltzer when not expecting it.

The water replenished me quickly, and I headed back to my hotel room for some rest.

Check out the picture to the right, detailing my walking around, and the sights along the way.

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