Wed 17th July.
Freiburg and the quest for the Rothaus brewery.
Freiburg was a lovely place. The people were warm, friendly and proud of their city.
After purchasing breakfast from a shop, I crossed a road and a lady passed me and made conversation. She asked where I was from and how long I was here for. When I said I had arrived yesterday and was leaving today, she said “Oh?! one day is not enough to see Freiburg” and seemed sad for me. She asked me if I had seen Lake Titisee, proclaiming I wasn’t allowed to leave if I hadn’t.
I got more food and coffee and took my time seeing the city. Beyond midday, I realised I better get moving, hoping to cover a good distance putting me on the outskirts of the forest. I was sad I didn’t have more time here, but I had to go.
The ride the forest was pleasant except for one major climb and a few small ones after. I hadn’t anticipated mountains in the Black Forrest, but here they were.
On the climb I came across something I had forgotten about that plagued me while lofting through the expansive Swiss countryside and that was the constant smell of cow shit.
It struck me as unusual in Switzerland but after days of the smell constantly lingering, it became normal, often giving way to nauseous headaches.
Here it was again. It didn’t take me long to realise that it was being used to muck the fields and the same was being done here, keeping everything green and fertile. Simon told me it was due to an abundance of the muck from a long winter, which was why everywhere was being covered so frequently. I took it as another quirk, but for all its beauty, the Swiss countryside constantly stank of shit.
During the long climbs, I started getting ideas about what I would do when I got back to England, for work when older. With a desire to keep doing trips like this, I envisioned becoming a university tutor and organising cycling trips around England and Europe, possibly tied in with art museum visits, but primarily geared towards being out in the wild and covering large distances independently.
I often imagined stopping somewhere, integrating into the community and learning the language. Making cheese in France or living in the Pyrenees, using my time to write and cycle. In Switzerland, I would work on a farm or in one of the small factories as a Blacksmith, sourcing local towns with a number of metal goods.
Something I heard in Lausanne, was about a photographer friend of Luke’s who had become a Monk. He joined a monastery and was now a cheese-maker somewhere near Lausanne.
I’d seen a lot of restaurants and cafés with banners advertising Rothaus beer. I pictured the banner, which has a Bavarian woman holding two steins of beer with trees in the background.
I thought about those trees and realised with so many places selling the beer, maybe the Rothaus brewery was based here. The next time I had internet I looked it up and I was right. It was no more that thirty miles from where I was sat.
I changed my plans and made a detour to the Rothaus brewery, arriving tomorrow.
I headed south and within an hour I found a perfect spot for camping. I pulled in, struggled down a short hill, onto the field and setup before eight.