The flight to Basle was thankfully uneventful. Security thoroughly checked my hand-luggage - why yes, as a matter of fact I did pack my bag myself, the Butler being on his day off - and casually waited until we were airborne before reaching for my contraband stash...of knitting.
It must have been my body language or something, but no-one batted an eyelid when I started work on my little sock. Nobody seemed to think it was unusual or dangerous or - perish the thought - forbidden. Either that, or one little sock on a 2.75mm/40cm circular metal needle is considered less of a terrorist threat than say, a lace shawl or (gulp) a sweater on two straight needles. It was the same on the return flight, although the pilot was kind enough to circle Heathrow a couple of times, no doubt to give me time to divide my stitches and make a start on the heel flap.
Then, on from Basle to Freiburg, Germany, me tagging along behind Studley, who was there to work. I was there to see what the dear man does for a living, and to meet his friends (who are all lovely by the way). I must say, the Germans know how to have a good time. Cheers to Chris Cravens, formerly of Preston, currently the DJ at the Swamp, a great bar with a cracking atmosphere, but not for the non-smokers among us. So good was the hospitality, the crocodile in the canal in the centre of town (see above) did come a bit of a surprise. But why is it there? I asked F.
"Because it's funny", was his reply. Fair enough.
I believe no trip to Freiburg is complete without a visit to Das Kartoffelhause. This restaurant is a cathedral to the humble potato. What these people don't know about how to cook a potato is frankly not worth knowing. They boil them, fry them, chip and mash them, bake and croquette them. They headline every dish on the menu: "Potato with Meat, Potato with Fish, and so it goes on.
Portions were generous (as was the service). I ordered a meatloaf which appeared to have the taste and texture of SPAM, if you like that sort of thing. The waitress brought a sauce to go with it (knowing the British have a thing for gravy) which was like a warm brown sauce. Meatloaf is different all over the world, and this was new to me. I like new, I like different. The mash that came with it was to die for.
(Note the unusual gargoyle found on the side of the Munster. Love it.)
The shops were closed for most of our short visit, but on Monday morning bright and early, we found ourselves at the Welt der Handarbeit, Salzstrase 37-39, 79098 Freiburg. A couple of balls of Regia World sock yarn in both GB and GDR national colours later, and we were dashing for our flight.
A huge thanks to F (thinking of you and we send our love) and K (K, we shall always be friends) for looking after us so wonderfully well, to D and U, who could argue the merits of croquette potatoes over roasties all evening, and to the beautiful town of Freiburg. A beautiful town with it's own brewery. What's not for a girl to love?