The next train took us to Hamburg, and when we left Hamburg we sat in a compartment with a different young family.
They were speaking a language that sounded like a mixture of Swedish and Dutch, but it turned out to be a form of the Swiss language. Their two little boys, aged 3 1/2 and 5 1/2, were amazingly well behaved. They drew pictures, cut shapes with Swiss Army knife scissors, played a memory/matching game, and occasionally placed kisses on their mother’s very pregnant belly. We played the matching game with them, and when it was over, their parents told us that had taught them that it was not so important who had more cards, but with the cards they had won, each child told us a story using the animals and objects on each card as part of their stories. Their father translated for us so that we would understand their delightful stories.
After a while, we went to the dining car for a salad, and as there were no empty tables, we asked a young man who sat by himself at a table set for six if we could join him. While we were eating, my husband Steve pointed to a huge, beautiful building. My eyes popped open, and the man said to us in English that the building was a former castle belonging to a nobleman, and was now a university. He added that he had gone to law school there, and was now returning home to Freiburg after a trying morning (no pun intended) in court. He proudly told us about the area, had what we could see there if we came back again.
Six hours after we left Hamburg, we arrived in Freiburg.
There we had a late lunch in a restaurant that had delicious felafel, humus, and an Israeli type of salad. We were amazed that such a restaurant existed in Germany!
We walked around the picturesque town with its beautiful old town gate and main street bustling with shoppers. Then our wonderful guide and synagogue leader took us to a space the congregation had rented for Steve to present a review of his books. We had dinner across the street in a huge restaurant which was packed full (on a Monday night!) where the food was delicious.
Finally we were on our way to Sulzburg, our destination in the foothills of the Black Forest.
We hurried to put our bags into our room at our lovely Pension, and ran back downstairs to where a reporter from a local newspaper was waiting to interview both of us. She was charming and so interested in why we were there (so that Steve could lead, together with a cantor, Yom Kippur worship in Sulzburg’s historic synagogue) and also in the teaching and speaking we do in many towns in Schleswig-Holstein, Berlin, Leipzig, and Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland). Around midnight–thoroughly exhausted–we ended our long, wonderful day.