Friday, May 21, 2010

Fooling around in Freiburg, Germany

By Claire
We are back in Germany in the Black Forest area and you can smell it. I step outside Homer and breathe in the woodsy scent. This is a gorgeous area and we love our latest campground, Camping Freiburg Hirzberg.

This “sunniest town in Germany” is a university town, our favorite kind of place. It exudes energy and has an appeal that we really like. It is surrounded by lush forests and filled with environmentally aware people so dedicated to solar power that they host and annual Intersolar trade fair. It feels like a mix of Amsterdam and Rothenburg and water and sun seems to be the theme.

The usual sun dial found on many homes from the middle ages in Germany.

We started the day off with a walk to the grocery store, always an adventure. We were quite surprised to find peanut butter and couldn’t resist buying some. It wasn’t until we got back that I discovered it is made in the USA.

After unloading the groceries, we headed into town to check it out. It’s only 1.5 km. and a nice walk to the clock tower and historic Alstadt (old town).

This is a sidewalk vacuum cleaner or miniature street sweeper. Either way, I want one.

I can’t seem to come up with the right adjectives to describe this town. It just feels right. We loved the 15th century architecture, the sidewalks and its trademark system of Bächle, tiny streams running down each street. These go back to the Middle Ages when they served as fire protection, cattle refreshment and a constantly flushing disposal system.

Nice sidewalk

There are students everywhere, whizzing by on their bikes, something we are used to at home. Even the postman delivers by bicycle. Note the training wheels. We think they work to brace the weight of the front basket.

We went to the UC Café (University Café), recommended by Rick Steves, and enjoyed everything about it—the location, the waitress who patiently translated the menu for us with a smile on her face, and especially, the food.

Chuck ordered the “Stanford,” really a breakfast, that included an exceptional omelet, baguette and fresh fruit with müsli and yogurt.

Our waitress suggested the Flammkuchen mit Tomaten-Mozarella for me. Much like a Margarita pizza as it turns out, but with crème fraiche instead of tomato sauce. Way more than I could eat. Fortunately, nothing goes to waste with Chuck around.

Waddling out of the restaurant, we strolled around the university area finding a scene so familiar we might have been on campus at home.

I love these homes with the private doors inside the wall, right next to the University.

We walked over to the Münster (Cathedral) enjoying the end of the farmer’s market and the gargoyles.

This mooning gargoyle is apparently quite impressive when it’s raining. You can find it perched on the second butt-ress to the right of the entrance.

This is a town that needs to be visited. What a wonderful day we had, even walking way up to Castle Hill at the top of the town where a 17th century fort once stood, built by the French to control the citizens of Freiburg during a period of French occupation. What goes around comes around.

These people must be desperate for a lawn.

We passed several more nice sights as we made our way back to Homer.

Delivery bike

I want to live here

There is no one luckier than he who thinks himself so. ~ German Proverb


Karin said...

I must agree, Freiburg has to top most of what you have seen (in N. Europe, anyway). I loved your photos! The gargoyle on the butt-ress is a winner! I loved the house(s) near the university with doors in the walls...I will take one of those! Food looks good, streets look good, houses look good, etc., etc. And I know how exciting it is to find peanut butter; was yours expensive? We get Skippy here and it costs an arm and a leg. So we buy it seldom. If you went no farther, I could understand why. Freiburg is now on my list of places to visit!

Karin on Paros

Chuck and Claire said...

We didn't even notice the price--just goes to show you, we WANTED it! But, having tasted it, I must say, it wasn't that great. We normally buy the "grind your own peanuts" variety at home so that could be it. I checked the ingredients and it proudly states that it is FULLY Hydrogenated. I can feel my arteries clogging as we speak. As for Freiburg, yes, we are loving it.

Elisabetta in Passignano said...

WE DESPERATELY need one of those mini-sidewalk-sweepers but in our case, it would be a Piazza Castello sweeper, to "de-pigeon-doo" the pavement (as well as my teeny terrazzo!) AND i had a bomb dropped on my head by Signor Pigeon while having soup out there earlier ~ what goes around comes around, indeed ~ as I feed them my old bread!

CaliforniaGoGirl said...

Thank you for your lovely post about Freiburg! I attended the Uni for year - ages ago (1976-77) - and your post and photos brought back wonderful memories!