Photos in Historic Freiburg, Germany - Flavor of a Day
This post pertains to visiting Freiburg, Germany and sharing some impressions of a day spent there with friends.
In May of 1997 my German girlfriend and her brother took me on a one day sightseeing tour in the southwest part of Germany. One of the towns that they wanted me to see was Freiburg. This is in a corner of Germany that is bordered by France and Switzerland.
On our way to that destination we enjoyed beautiful scenery consisting of traveling through some of the Black Forest area which is covered with dense trees. Some of them are so thick that seen from a distance they almost look black and thus the name.
The Kaiserstuhl area of Germany is a rolling hill area thickly planted with grapevines. It is truly beautiful. Obviously many people earn their living growing and harvesting grapes and wine making is the end result. In fact vineyards are to be seen everywhere surrounding the town of Freiburg.
Freiburg is called the Capitol of the Black Forest area. Wine connoisseurs and gourmets like to visit this area and absorb the culinary delights of the region. Thirty five different trade fairs are held in Freiburg during the year primarily because of its mild climate.
Freiburg is a University town and has become a cultural center in this part of Germany.
It sports a concert hall, a jazz house and other theater venues. Music festivals to wine festivals to carnivals can all be enjoyed at various times of the calendar year.
The Old Quarter
The Old Quarter has cobblestoned streets and only foot traffic is allowed. Racks of bicycles are to be seen and many people in this town choose that mode of transportation.
Every type of store can be found in this old section including department stores, specialty shops, bookstores, etc. They even have a McDonalds but the outside blends beautifully with the other older architectural styles of the buildings. No golden arches here!
What a pleasure to be walking along without the noise and danger of having to also contend with motorized vehicles.
Freiburg has a great number of museums for a town that size.
- They have a Natural History Museum
- A museum dedicated to Mining
- Another featuring Archeology
- and even a small Tin Figures Collection that showcases 8,000 hand painted tin figures recreating scenes from the history of that town and region.
We did not have enough time to visit any of these museums but rather enjoyed the ambiance of the Old Quarter walking among the twisted lanes and streets absorbing the beauty of the place.
At one point I decided that I was running short of film for the day. My friend suggested going into a department store to purchase more film that would work in my camera.
I was surprised (coming from the United States) to see dogs accompanying "their people" inside the store. German Shepherds to small poodles and practically every type of breed was to be seen.
On this trip I had already gotten used to seeing dogs (and even cats) in restaurants. One does not see that in the United States.
Searching for more film in that department store we experienced something no one would relish. We got stuck in an elevator!
My friend's brother had remained outside and was probably wondering what could possibly be taking us so long. Fortunately it was only about 15 minutes before the elevator started to creek and rumble its way back down to the ground floor. But 15 minutes can seem like an eternity to be stuck in any elevator I can assure you!We were both happy to see the light of day again outside.
Open Air Market
We just happened to be there on a Saturday. Lucky for us because although there is a fresh open air market most weekdays, additional vendors come to present their offerings each Saturday making it a very special day to be in attendance.
Besides the usual we got to view the following at different vendors:
- Flowers and Herbs
- Baked breads
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
- and Potted Plants.
One can find vendors that offer all types of handmade goodies such as these:
- Hand Carved Wooden Toys
- Ceramic Bowls
- All types of Pottery.
You name it and it is here and for sale. Musicians perform live concerts in the streets making this a delight for all the senses.
Shoppers carry an array of their own containers to take their purchases back home with them. Baskets filled to the brim along with every type of satchel and bag filled with goodies are transported by the locals. They reuse them each time they go shopping.
Much greener approach than what most people still do over here in the United States, sad to say! We should all learn how to be better caretakers of our small planet such as these inhabitants of this town are doing.
Tents were opened and tables and chairs were set up on the streets so that people could sit down and enjoy a snack if they wished.
Time seems slower and somehow more enjoyable when one can feast one's eyes on the very colorful array of offerings and savor each moment in a 12th century town such as Freiburg.
A picnic lunch had been packed for us which we later enjoyed at a roadside table overlooking a vineyard so we only purchased a banana at one of the stalls that day.
We also enjoyed an ice cream cone while watching the people on this market day enjoying their cones filled with every variety of chilled flavorful iced delight.
Market days like this are also times when the local people get to gather together and catch up on visiting with one's friends and the farmers and craftsmen displaying their goods for sale. Because this is regularly scheduled and people get to know each other this is as much of a social event as well as a mandatory trip to fill one's pantry and larder. What a delightful way to live!
The absolute vegetable highlight of the year and one celebrated by locals in their own homes and by chefs in all the restaurants is the "King of Vegetables." During the months of April and May it is spargel time otherwise known as asparagus season. Thick as a man's thumb and white spargel is served in all types of gustatory creations. To keep its white appearance it is grown below ground in rounded mounds of earth. Sunlight hitting it would turn it green.
One traditional way it is served in Germany is by having it steamed and served along with boiled potatoes. Browned butter is the accompaniment. My friend ordered that dish in a restaurant one day while I picked the spargel risotto to eat.
Chefs try and come up with new and different ways to serve it each year. It becomes a feast on tables all throughout Germany once grown and harvested each spring.
The Old Quarter is centered around the Munsterplatz and the focal point of all of Freiburg is to be found right in the center of this. Called The Minster this Gothic designed church with its towering spire that is 116 meters tall dominates the landscape both up close and as viewed from a distance.
It has intricate carvings on the outside of the building and and like all Gothic architecture, its soaring interior makes one feel quite small. Colorful stained glass windows and a beautifully painted fresco high above the altar at the front add to the high columned interior.
My friends and guides said that we had to move along after about 2 1/2 hours spent in Freiburg as they had much more to show me that day. This is definitely a town where one could enjoy spending more time.
One could leisurely take in some of the cultural attractions as well as hiking into the countryside. The many restaurants offering good food and wine would encourage some people to linger. If one were to be there during one of the festivals or carnivals that would add extra excitement.
An interesting little stream of water runs through many of the streets in the Old Quarter and perhaps other areas as well. It is clear looking water that is contained between the sidewalks and the cobblestone streets.
One often sees the children walking barefoot stepping in and out of the water. In the summertime it probably helps to cool them off and would feel quite refreshing. The little streams are known as "Bachle."
Would I go back to this part of Germany and enjoy seeing more? In a heartbeat my answer would be a resounding "yes!" Would I recommend it to others? Again yes!
Hope you picked up a little flavor of the day spent in Freiburg, Germany and enjoyed seeing some photos of that pretty city.
Have you ever visited Freiburg?
Location of Freiburg in Germany
© 2009 Peggy Woods