Monday, September 26, 2022

Laid Back at the Edge of the Black Forest



Last week I mentioned that we went to Freiburg after we had left Colmar. Freiburg - or its full name, Freiburg im Breisgau - lies in the furthest Southwest corner of Germany surrounded by wine country, just a stone's throw from France and Switzerland. It is the fourth largest city of Baden-Württemberg with a population of about 230,000. It has an old and famous university and has a very cosmopolitan atmosphere. Despite its size it has a very laid back feel. It is also a very green city, aiming for sustainability since the early 80s. The surrounding area is characterized by beautiful nature and, of course, its immediate closeness to the Black Forest.

The pictures in this post are from both our trip in May and earlier visits.

The Freiburg Minster (Freiburger Münster) is the city's landmark. The building was started around 1200 in the romanesque style, but then continued in Gothic style. In 1827, it became the seat of the newly erected Catholic Archdiocese of Freiburg and thus a cathedral. It is surrounded by the Münsterplatz where you can buy fresh produce at the farmers market.

Inside, the minster lacks all the overpowering pomp that so many Catholic churches have. It is simple and mostly inornate. The beautiful windows are true eye candy.

I love these door handles which were slightly different on the outside and the inside.

Much of the minster and the city itself was destroyed in the bombing raids of November 1944, but there was one part that survived: the tower.

With a height of 116 meters, it is the only Gothic church tower in Germany that was completed in the Middle Ages (1330) and has lasted until the present. The tower is nearly square at the base, octagonal and tapered above the star gallery at its centre, and above that is the spire with its ornate pinnacle. Its open lattice structure was the first in Gothic architecture. You can climb the tower from where you have a wonderful view over Freiburg and beyond. 

Freiburg's Old Town was completey destroyed during World War II, but has been beautifully restored in the minutest details. Konviktstraße (Konviktstreet - photo below) is regarded as the jewel of Old Town restoration.

You can't tell that these buildings are not the original ones.

Look at the red sandstone and the wonderful details.

You can see ornate decorations everywhere if you just look - on grates, lampposts, and of course there are also gorgeous signs.

I first thought that this is Saint Francis of Assisi and loved that the pigeons so fittingly rest on the statue, but I learned that this is a statue of Berthold Schwarz, a Franciscan monk and alchemist of the late 14th century, who is credited with the invention of gunpowder by 15th- through 19th-century European literature.

But the most charming part of Freiburg is the Bächle, little brooks that run through the city's streets for 16 kilometers. The were supposed to provide water to livestock in the Middle Ages. Today, they're a big attraction for kids and adults alike. You can bring little boats or buy them and let them run in the water. There are even races going on, and I think one of them is with rubber ducks. Legend has it that every single person who accidentally stumbles into a Bächle (which is not hard to do, so keep your eyes open!) has to marry a Freiburger.

Last week I wrote that Freiburg has a special meaning for me. Well, first of all, I simply love this city, its cosmopolitan flair, its mediterranean feel, its "multikulti" (multicultural) and its weather - it's said to have the best weather in Germany. In less than an hour you are in France, it takes slightly longer to Switzerland. The Black Forrest is right there with all its possibilities of hiking, biking, climbing and skiing. Schauinsland, a mountain that you can reach via cable car, offers the most stunning views as far as the eye reaches. It's a wonderful wine region called Kaiserstuhl. There are hundreds of kilometers of bike paths in and around Freiburg.

Even the ground looks interesting!

And why does it have such a special meaning for me?

This is the place where I want to live if we ever decide to move back to Germany.

In the evening of our short stay we went to a restaurant where we could sit outside and enjoy a delicious meal. Kaefer had an Aperol Spritz, which is very popular in Germany these days. The Geek and I had a beer and a Bellini. These are already three drinks for Elizabeth and Bleubeard's T Tuesday.

The next morning we had breakfast in a street café right next to the minster. It was a glorious morning with sunshine and pleasant temperatures - only later in the day when we were on our way to Switzerland did the sky darken and send some rain.

We had a typical breakfast with freshly baked rolls, cold cuts, cheese, yogurt and fresh fruit. Plus coffee, of course - more drinks for Elizabeth and Bleubeard!

To those of you who are still with me, thank you.

Last Saturday would have been my Mom's 101st birthday. She passed away 15 years ago. This photo is from 1983 - we were joking with each other and kidding around as we so often did. I miss her so much.


Mae Travels said...

My most vivid memory of a visit to Freiburg is of the museum, with its archaeological discoveries of the earliest humans and also Neanderthal people who lived in exactly that area. The depth of history impressed me greatly. I also liked the architecture, as you described it. It was long ago, and I don’t remember everything.

best… mae at

Elephant's Child said...

Wow, wow and WOW. Thank you. And how I love your eye for quirky and beautiful detail.
Of course you miss your mama. Hugs.

Sharon Madson said...

It looks like a nice place to live if you move back. I have never ordered one of those special coffees with artwork on top. I should do that someday, although, I am a tea drinker. The orange drink looks good too. Happy T Day.

My name is Erika. said...

Freiberg is really lovely. I am so glad you are sharing all these photos with us as I love armchair traveling. It is amazing that church tower survived the bombings. The little Bachle is pretty fascinating too. That photo with the children and their sailboats is wonderful. I wonder if Freiberg has been more green because if I remember correctly, hasn't there been acid rain problems in the Black Forest? I might be remembering that incorrectly. Anyhow, I hope you have a great T day and week ahead. Hugs-Erika

DVArtist said...

This is a beautiful place. I would so love to go there. Your daughter is so cute. A wonderful photo of you and your mom. My mom passed 12 years ago and I still pick up the phone to call her. Much love.

Iris Flavia said...

Ich kann mir beim besten Willen nicht vorstellen, wie man damals solche Gebäude errichtet hat.
Wie man so sagt, ich habe zu kleine Hände, das zu begreifen! Das ist wahre Ingenieurskunst. Bauarbeiterkunst. Riesenleistung. Respekt.
Bächle :-)
2 Mitbewohner aus Süddeutschland hatte ich mal. Himmel, die haben Wortkreationen!
Ingo hat in Süddeutschland "gedient" und wurde als arrogantes A-loch bezeichnet, weil er so spricht wie der Nachrichtenmann aus dem Fernsehen, LOL!
Ich hätte fast mal "Kutteln" gegessen! Hilfe!
Niedlich mit den Booten! Und sehr schöne Gullideckel.
Gewürzgurke zum Frühstück? Ich werde alt ;-)
Alles Gute zum... ach. Meine Mutter ging 2011. Es ist schade, dass da nun 4 Tage im Jahr sind, wo man die Eltern besonders vermisst.
Ich habe hier ein richtig albernes Foto meiner Mutter hängen, so sollen sie in Erinnerung bleiben, richtig.
Hab einen schönen Tag!

Valerie-Jael said...

Freiburg in Breisgau is a fabulous place to be, thanks for sharing the wonderful photos. I spent summer there with a colleague after my husband died, and it really helped me heal. Happy T Day, hugs, Valerie

nwilliams6 said...

Fabulous pictures, Carola. So cool to see your favorite place - the place you would live if you moved back. I love every single picture - even the door knobs. Lovely, and I thank you for sharing all this.

My favorite picture is of you and your mother. I miss mine horribly too.

Happy T-day and hugz.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Whenever I read your posts of late, Carola, I have noticed that my feet develop an itch, uncontrollable almost, and I am told upon expert diagnosis that it is a severe care of Traveller's Foot. Therefore, I have just completed the organization of a birding trip to Cuba for February, for eight compatible nature nuts, including Miriam, of course. Until then I will suffer I suppose, but the exquisite detail in your posts makes it all worth while. When I see the beauty of you and your mother together, it is not hard to conclude that your daughter has a rich ancestry to thank for her own charm and loveliness. This was an amazing adventure you had together! Hugs from Ontario - David

kathyinozarks said...

Thank you so much for sharing your trip photos-I really enjoy seeing them We don't travel so I get to see places in Europe from your lens. Happy new week hugs from the lake

Rostrose said...

Liebe Carola,
Freiburg sieht wirklich nach einer lebens- und liebenswerten Stadt aus. Ich habe sie gleich mal auf meine Liste mit den besuchenswerten Orten (für unsere irgendwann mal geplante "Deutschlandtournee") gesetzt. Immer wieder fasziniert es mich, wie toll in Deutschland manche im Krieg zerstörte Städte wieder hübsch und ziemlich originalgetreu aufgebaut wurden. Auch fasznierend, dass ausgerechnet der Turm des Münsters unversehrt blieb!
Und nun muss ich dir auch die Frage nicht mehr stellen, ob du jemals vorhast, von den USA nach Deutschland zurückzuziehen. Falls ja, dann also hierher - ich versteh's.
Was die Bächle betrifft, frage ich mich allerdings: Was macht ein bereits verheirateter Mann, der versehentlich in ein Bächle stolpert? Und muss auch eine Frau, die im Bächle landet, eine Freiburgerin heiraten? ;-) (Ich bin nämlich nicht ungefährdet, ich habe es vor Jahrzehnten tatsächlich geschafft, in den Canale Grande zurutschen! Zum Glück musste ich keinen Venezianer heiraten ;-DDD Die Idee mit den kleinen Booten finde ich ausgesprochen reizend!
Was eure Getränke betrifft, hätte ich die Qual der Wahl, ich trinke nämlich jedes einzelne davon gern - nur Mischen vertrage ich nicht ;-)
Das Foto von dir und deiner Mutter ist lieb und lustig - und deine Mutter blickt sehr stolz auf ihre große Tochter. Ich denke auch oft an die Zeit zurück, als meine Eltern noch mitten im Leben standen und wir miteinander herumblödeln konnten. Die Erinnerung an die letzten 7 Jahre meiner Mutter ist allerdings nicht so erfreulich...
Alles Liebe und happy T Day,
PS: Mir ist erst heute aufgefallen, dass ich mich noch nicht als deine Followerin eingetragen habe, das habe ich nun nachgeholt :-)

jinxxxygirl said...

Oh Carola your mom looks wonderful. I'm sure you miss her terribly.. I'm so sorry you lost her long ago.. i have enjoyed all your photos! That tower is just amazing... Your description of this town and surrounding area makes me want to live there too!!! Happy T day!! Hugs! deb

Divers and Sundry said...

I'm fascinated by the story and photos of the surviving Gothic church tower. What a treasure! I'd love to climb that tower :) I'm impressed by the Old Town reconstruction. That sounds like a labor of love. It's exciting to have living there an actual possibility. Cool! Happy T Tuesday

pam nash said...

Another beautiful photo trip! Thank you!

CJ Kennedy said...

What a beautiful city and amazing that it was built with so much attention to detail after WWII. I love the bird handles on the door of the church and the church tower is amazing in its architecture, but also that it survived the bombing. I bet the boat and rubber duckie races in the brook would be fun to watch. Happy T Day

Let's Art Journal said...

Such a beautiful place and your photos look amazing! I actually had an Aperol Spritz today too, it's such a lovely drink - yum 😊. Your meal looks fantastic too. Cheers and Happy T Day wishes! Hugs Jo x

Let's Art Journal said...

What a lovely tribute to your mum too, loving the picture of the two of you that you shared! Thanks for sharing such happy memories and sorry for your loss. Big hugs Jo x

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Freiburg is beautiful. I can see why you would want to live there if you ever leave the states. It's amazing how they have rebuilt the city and how charming it is. Those doors that looked like doves were stunning and the stained glass windows were so radiant.

Loved all the drinks you shared and adored the breakfast, which is so different than in the states. I love the way Kaefer is not afraid of the camera and has such a great presence. It's also nice to remember your mother, which I can imagine you still miss terribly. I miss my grandmother and she's been gone even longer.

Thanks for taking us to Freiburg and sharing all your wonderful drinks including those coffees with us for T this Tuesday, dear Carola.

Kate Yetter said...

A beautiful picture of you and your mother! You look like you had a great relationship.
Such a stunning place and you are right, so many amazing details throughout the town. I am loving the tower and the stained glass windows. And such a stunning backdrop for a farmers market!
Just from your pictures, I can see why you would want to live there.
Happy Tea Day,

Jeanie said...

You are sharing so many beautiful towns (and fabulous food!) that I just want to hop a plane and see YOUR Germany! Freiburg looks spectacular and your photos show it off to the best advantage, with such brilliant spires, churches, touches (like those door handles) and so much more. Loving this series!

Lisca said...

Thank you so much for taking me to Freiburg. What a beautiful town! Now I want to go there!
To answer your question: The ferry from England to Spain took 31 hours. We sailed from Portsmouth and arrived in Bilbao. On the way to England we sailed from Santander, also to Portsmouth, and that took 30 hours (don't ask me why). They also sail to Plymouth, which we have done on one occasion as hubby's sister lives in Plymouth.
Happy T-Day,

Empire of the Cat said...

Freiburg is very pretty. I love red sandstone, my house is also made of the same. Those bird handles caught my eye. I enjoyed my time in Germany so maybe I should go back and jump in one of those brooks! Happy T Day! Elle/EOTC xx

Lorrie said...

Dear Carola,

You have me wanting to get on a plane and visit Freiburg. I love all the details you show in your post - the ornate railings, the children sailing their boats down the little brooks, the food (kostlich), and more. Sitting outside in a cafe in the sunshine would be so lovely!