Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 4: Volunteer Farm Hand

Like all farmers, we were up before the sun to help milk the cows. Actually, we only fed them their hay while Gisela (the lady whose farm we were staying on) put the machines on the cows utters.... But, I'm sure that without that food, the cows wouldn't have been half as productive.

Once they were done milking, Gisela showed us the pasteurization process, and gave us the grand tour of the farm. Besides the milk they sell and make fresh butter out of, they have 2 pigs they're fattening up to eat. They have chickens they gather eggs from. They have machine to make schnapps with from the fruit they grow in their orchard. They have a heard of sheep to shear in the summer for the wool. And, they have a goat ... for fun.

After the tour we got washed up, had a great German breakfast (bread, fresh eggs, fresh butter, honey, meat slices, etc.) and were driven to the train station for a day of exploration. First stop was the town we were dropped off in: Gegenback. It is home of a 2 second shot in the world famous "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (original version). It was quite a cute little village, with great little shops to explore.
Our next stop was Wolfach. Not a place to go if you're looking for your typical German village. But, we went there for one purpose only- to visit the glass factory/Christmas shop. I was on a quest to find a Christmas ornament in each country we visited, so my mom planned the detour just for me. Yes, that is love.

Inside the factory, not only can you watch vases being made, but for the small cost of only 10 euros, you can help make your own. I've been in need of a vase since I've been in Amsterdam (so many flowers to buy, but no place to put them), so I decided to make one of my own. I picked out the vase I wanted mine based off of, and the glass maker added coloring to the molten ball of liquid glass. After initially shaping it, I had the all important task of blowing in the tube to create the exact vase shape. Once the vase was made, it didn't look much like the vase I had chosen. He assured me, after seeing my expression, that once it cooled it would look like the other. So in the mean time, my mom and I walked around the factory while waiting. But once the allotted 10 minutes cooling period was up, the vase still didn't look like the one I asked for. Slightly disappointed, I was handed my vase and I headed over to the room where they sand down the top. As I waited in line, a miracle happened. The vase popped and a crack appeared down the side of it. I say miracle, because when I took the vase back to the glass maker, he told me I could just pick out any of the display vases I wanted. So I ended up taking home the exact vase I wanted to begin with.
(As a side note, it matches perfectly with my newly painted walls - but that's a blog for another day).

It was nearing 2pm by the time we left the factory, and I made an executive decision for us to find a place to eat. The train to the next town we were planning on visiting was a 45 minute wait away. So instead we went to the village of Hausach, since that train came sooner. Unfortunately we were not impressed. It was quite similar to the village we had just left. And on top of that, it started raining... and we couldn't find a single restaurant. We did, however, find a bakery and satisfied our hunger with a Frankfurter Kranz cake, an apple tart, hot chocolate and mint tea. That bakery changed my life forever, it was then that I decided to become a connoisseur of the Frankfurter Kranz. It is an absolutely delicious cake, especially coupled with a decadent cup of hot chocolate.

By the time we finished with our desserts, the rain was dying dow. So we took the train to Haslack, which was the last stop for the day. It was a cute village, even though all the buildings had been renovated in the past 70 years, and didn't have a true authentic feel to it. We came across an Aldi grocery store as we were walking, so we bought food for dinner before heading back to Gegenback to be picked up.
That evening we helped shape loaves of bread to be baked in a stone oven, and called it a night. After all, being a farm hand isn't an easy job.

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