2013-01-27 48 7
A forest near Freiburg.
- Board CO2 compensated bus at 7am
- Arrive in Freiburg at 9.15
- Get to the hashpoint (2pm if any locals want to meet)
- Investigate Freiburg
- Get back on bus at 4pm
Ever since Germany had appeared on the map next to Switzerland, there had been this hunch of mutual suspicion. Sure, the countries traded with each other and all, but there were frequent issues such as tax conflicts, the occasional world war and a general state of not-being-very-close-buddies. And now, it had happened. Germany had declared war.
More specificially, the geohashers of München, Germany had decided they definitely didn't like the prospect of Zürich, Switzerland winning another Most Active Graticule Achievement for the month, as well as being in the pole position for the year, and announced to catch up with them by doing at least the three hashes by which they were behind. The fact that it had been a Frenchman who made the declaration hurt additionally.
So Calamus had no choice: he had to score in Germany! Okay, that didn't make any sense at all, but he did it anyway. The hashpoint in the graticule of Strasbourg, France had fallen close to a German city that not only lay right in the graticule corner facing Zurich, but also was quite easy to reach.
The bus that brought Calamus from Zurich to Freiburg (the train would have cost a fortune, and he'd invested an appropriate amount in the carbondioxide emission compensation of the ride) was very German. Or maybe it just wasn't Swiss. It arrived late, and even though Calamus was polite and friendly, the driver was quite rude during check-in. Then again, having to drive since what had to be 6 at the latest on a Sunday morning wasn't much fun, either.
The bus crossed the Rhine, and suddenly it was surrounded by roadsigns ending in -straße, a lot of honking and cars driving apparently without any speed limit. Yep, that had to be the place. Calamus had been hashing in Germany before, but the point had just been across the border, from where one could still see back. This point, on the other hand, was far away in Swiss measures, and in a completely Switzerland-free graticule.
After a little more than two hours, the bus arrived in Freiburg. Unfortunately, at least some of the clichés were true. The town looked and smelled very dirty, at least by Swiss standards. Calamus removed his cap, hoping to catch a cold, and went to explore the city. While the architecture wasn't exactly coherent in style, there were some really nice and/or impressive buildings.
What Calamus particularly liked were ornate mosaic-like symbols embedded in the gravel sidewalk, at least one per building. As a friendly Gerwoman (or whatever the female version was called) at the tourist information explained, these emblems served as door tags ever since somebody had started it sometime around the 12th century. Some of them were outdated today, as updating them was quite expensive, but most of them were still accurate. Calamus thanked for the explanation and bought an ad-riddled tourist map, as his GPS receiver had no German topology except for the most important highways (and they weren't accurate, either).
After a tour through Freiburg, Calamus had a surprisingly cheap second breakfast of very acceptable quality (except for some minor details) at a nicely decorated restaurant. In general, he noticed that the prices in the shops, restaurants and the like were close-to-ridiculously low. He vaguely remembered having once heard that Zurich was the world's most expensive city, and he began to suspect it was true.
And then he departed. Not to the hashpoint, but to Gundelfingen. This graticule belonged to Frizzy and Hijackal, so this expedition should be done in their honour, and therefore start at their home. Or hometown, as Calamus had no idea where exactly they lived. Gundelfingen was almost in the opposite direction, but in case of the time running out, there was a bus from Gundelfingen going almost exactly to the hashpoint.
Or, so it was in theory. Of course, Calamus had completely forgotten that in Germany everything was a little bigger, and what looked easily manageable on the map was, in fact, not. And when he looked for the bus, it turned out that in Germany, some bus lines aren't operated on weekends. Such as this one, and it was Sunday.
Calamus started to run. Not only had he announced to be at the hashpoint at 2pm (come on, who could possibly show up?), but this was also the time at which he probably should start his way back if he wanted to catch his bus home (it was one of those private companies where you had to reserve a trip). Even though he ran fast enough to overtake some cars, whose drivers definitely didn't think he was Swiss (Germans believe Swiss people are slow, probably because they've met a Bernese once), he didn't arrive at the hashpoint before half past two. Contrary to his custom, he didn't take the time to home the signal exactly. Not because the woods it was in was particularly dense, which it wasn't, but because he was really running out of time. When he reached the Rieselfeld district of Freiburg, he was lucky to encounter a functional tramway station, which returned him to the main station with just ten minutes to go. Alright, twenty-five minutes before departure, but Swiss like to be in time, okay?
At the station, he bought himself some provisions, and was proud to have learned to shop the German way. He entered the shop without greeting the clerk and noted "I get a cheese-and-pineapple sandwich" in indicative mood, without smiling or saying "please", feeling strangely accepted when the clerk wordlessly handed over the food and didn't even announce the price, which, unfortunately, was matched by the quality this time.
Back in Zurich, Calamus limped to his office for another most-of-the-night conference. Unfortunately, running in hiking boots hadn't turned out to be the best idea he'd ever had, and his feet were quite blistery. He tried to keep the contorsion of his face due to agony to a minimum during the conference.
Border to Basel, Switzerland
| Calamus earned the Land geohash achievement
| Calamus earned the Public transport geohash achievement
| Calamus earned the Border geohash achievement
| Calamus achieved level 4 of the Minesweeper Geohash achievement