This morning we woke up early to grey skies and wet cobblestones – looks like we brought a piece of Vancouver with us after all. After a 2 hour train ride via Mannheim we arrived in the cozy Black Forest town of Freiburg in Breisgau. This town is famous for two things – its UNESCO World Heritage cathedral and minster (pictured later), and little canals that wind through the city called bachles. In the summertime you can find people cooling off their feet in these canals and children pulling toy boats on string.
Legend has it that if you fall into one of these, you will marry a Freiburger and judging from the men’s style in the area, I wouldn’t turn that down. Minus the man buns. So many man buns…
After a short walk from the train station, we were in the historic old town, ready to do our Rick Steves walking tour.
After learning about the downhill and adjacent buildings, we came upon the historical and visual focal point of the city, the Freiburg Munster (minster). Its giant, spiny tower can been seen from everywhere in town and is as tall as it is wide. It occupies the middle of a huge square.
We came to the front door right at noon and the giant bells chimed, calling the faithful to mass. We decided to come back to it when mass wasn’t in session, so we moved on.
We walked down what originally looked to be a side street, but turned into a beautiful cobblestoned street, draped in arbour which blooms wisteria in the summertime. Because it was Sunday most of the shops were closed, but we still found a lot of things we would spend our pennies on, including a new hat for Pa and a beautiful wool coat for Ma. They will have to wait for another day.
An interesting part of the cobblestoned road is that in front of a lot of the businesses are mosaics that indicate what kind of shop is there:
A more sobering thing we noticed in the ground stones were a few seemingly random copper ‘stones’ with writing on them in front of some of the old apartments. They were in German, but we could make out names, birth dates, death dates (usually between 1940 – 1944) and one chilling word that ended all of them: Auschwitz.
By the end of our walk we had worked up quite a hunger and decided to try the recommended Hausbrauerei Feierling for lunch and beer. I ordered a beer which was slightly smokey and flavourful, and had possibly some of the best bratwurst I’ve ever tasted. We settled up and headed back towards the Munster so we could get a look inside. The rain had let up and we liked the walk we took before so much, we walked past the same way. When we had gotten back to the Munster mass was done so we were free to walk about the church.
The church’s stained glass was sponsored by different workers, tradesmen and craftsmen back in the medieval time, so a portion of the window is dedicated to that worker’s profession (bakers, tailors, cobblers, etc). After our walkabout the castle it was time to hit the road and headed back to Heidelberg, sharing a train car with a bunch of drunken football rowdies (go St. Pauli, I guess).
We ate a delicious dinner at the Italian restaurant next door to our hotel and then moved over to our hotel for some hot chocolate. The sky cleared up and the air chilled and we sipped our hot drinks in anticipation of a special guest on our trip, my friend Argie. Argie works with me in the tower of terror known as our job and is hanging out with us for a few days on her way back from Budapest. At 1900hrs a black Mercedes pulled up and Argie stepped out excited to be done her 11 hour train sojourn. She met Ma and Pa and we chit chatted until it was time for bed.