Europe 2012: Day 88, Freiburg


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Main square in Freiburg, Germany.

Sunday 9/2/12

Woke at 8am.  It is cloudy but no rain.   Today we will visit another town in the Black Forest region, Freiburg.  This city was highly recommended by Rick Steve’s so we must go, don’t you know!

At 9:30am, we hopped on the bus to go to the train station.   My DH purchased our tickets using one of the machines at the station.   We were on the train within 30 minutes – we are getting good at European train travel!

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Waiting for the train at the Baden-Baden train station.

We arrived in Freiburg around noon.   The sky was still cloudy, but so far there was no rain.  We took the easy 20 minute walk from the train station to the city center.  At the city center, we found the Tourist Office and got a map.  Because of its scenic beauty and easy access to the Black Forest, Freiburg is a hub for regional tourism.  The city is known for its unusual system of gutters  that run throughout its center (once used to provide water to fight fires and feed livestock).  It is also the sister city to Madison, Wisconsin (the university has a dining hall that looks like a Freiburg beer garden — I know, I’ve been there!).

We decided to take the Rick Steve’s walking tour to hit all the main sites in the city.   Frankly, there is not a lot to see in Freiburg but it is a charming Germany town nonetheless — here are some pictures I took while on our walk:

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Walking to the city center — just follow the gutter.

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The Freiburg City Center — lots of people and lots of pigeons.

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The Tourist Information Office in Freiburg, one of the prettiest we have seen!

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The University Office for visiting students. Freiburg is known for its universities.

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Crests of affiliate universities in front of the University office.

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University of Wisconsin – Madison is an affiliate school.

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Frieburg was a hub of commerce in the Middle Ages. Each store front had a stone in front of their door indicating the guild membership of the owner. In this case, the owner of this store belonged to the Knifemaker’s Guild. It is said that if the store owner moved, he would just pick up the stone and take it with him to the new store.

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Rick Steves says that this is one of the most romantic streets in Germany. It is covered in a canopy of vines. In the summer, the vines are filled with wisteria. Of course, we wouldn’t know it unless we read about it — it is cold and rainy today and there are no flowers to be seen.

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Here is our lunch stop, next to the canal. We ate traditional German food — potatoes and sausages. It was good and hot, perfect for a cold day!

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We thought this sign was amusing!

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Lucky us — we found a marching band playing Broadway tunes!  They were very good!

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One of the gates leading into the city of Freiburg. notice the McDonald’s…

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Frieburg’s Historical Merchants Hall — a really lovely red building with interesting shingles.

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A closer look at the statues on the Historical Merchants Hall.

One of the “must sees” in Freiburg is the Freiburg Minster Cathedral, and we saw it!  It is the only Gothic church in Germany that was completed in the Middle Ages (1330), and miraculously, has lasted until the present, surviving the bombing raids of November 1944, which destroyed all of the houses on the west and north side of the market (80% of the city was destroyed during WWII).  This Cathedral is known for its bell tower (which holds 16 bells that were used to warn the city of air raids) and nave windows which were donated by the the city’s guilds (the symbols of the guilds are featured within the glass).

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The Bell Tower of the Freiburg Minster Cathedral.

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The door of the Freiburg Minster Cathedral — it still retains its painted figures. The wires you see keep the birds from nesting on the statues of the saints and angels.

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The entry way to the cathedral. I could stare at these statues all day — they are wonderful!

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The cathedral’s organ sits high above the choir.

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The stained glass windows are magnificent! This one was donated by the Potter’s Guild (notice the images of pots on the bottom row of glass).

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This window as donated by the Baker’s Guild (notice the pretzels on the bottom row of glass).

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This is a fairly new window and very modern. Instead of stained glass, this glass is simply painted. I love the watercolor look and feel to this piece of art.

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The altar of the Freiburg Minster Cathedral

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The exterior of the Freiburg Minster Cathedral. This is Gothic architecture at its best!

We left Freiburg around 4:30pm and were back in Baden-Baden by 5:30pm.  Like Freiburg on a Sunday, Baden-Baden was also quiet with the majority of the stores closed and few restaurants open.   We stayed in our hotel room and ate cookies as we caught up on news, e-mails, and rest.    Tomorrow we travel to Strasbourg – yep, we are heading back into France!

Quote of the day:  “Is it Freiburg or Friedburg? I can’t keep it straight!”   — Anna.  FYI, it just so happens, there is a Friedburg, Germany right outside of Munich (best known for the Army base where Elvis Presley was stationed while in the Army), but we weren’t there.

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One thought on “Europe 2012: Day 88, Freiburg

  1. I enjoyed your photos of Freiburg. I was a student at the Uni there AGES ago (1976-77) – a Junior Year program sponsored by U-Wisconsin, U-Michigan and Wayne State University. I attended Sunday morning services at the Münster (even though I am not Catholic) because I wanted to be able to experience it as a house of worship, not just a museum. I loved the pictures in the stones (as opposed to the fancy hanging signs in other parts of Germany and Austria), the guild-sponsor designations on the stained glass windows (scissors!), the little brook through town, and the great, cheap Eintopf (stew – “one-pan”) at the Uni cafeterias. Thanks for letting me revisit!

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