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September 17, 2008

Freiburg im Breisgau

Filed under: Germany 2007, Travel — anotherheader @ 11:51 pm

Freiburg has an extensive network of canals and bachles

Freiburg has an extensive network of canals and bachles

After an evening of watching Hogan’s Heroes reruns in German (who figured that would sell!), Becky headed to her last day of class and Dave headed out to Freiburg im Breisgau. Freiburg is a vibrant university town in the heart of the Black Forest region of Germany. It is about an hour from Karlsruhe by fast train.

The major sight in Freiburg is the cathedral—Munster unserer Lieben Frau (Cathedral of Our Dear Lady). This is a massive Gothic cathedral that was completed between 1200 and 1515. The cathedral was

Bachle or brooklet running through the old town

Bachle or brooklet running through the old town

undergoing restoration with parts of the restoration process visible on a visit. The view from tower is impressive. At one point you can enter the bell chamber, which is still in use, as I was surprised to find when it rung during the visit to the chamber. It’s OK. I’m sure I lost no more than 30% of my hearing.

The cathedral also has some very interesting gargoyles (check out the pictures). Looks like a strong statement from the 15th century (if not earlier).

Around the cathedral was a farmer’s market full of the fruits, vegetables (spargle or white asparagus is in season), and flowers of the season. There was one vendor offering smoked meats with a smell that was so compelling that I had to buy a wurst from one of the nearby vendors. I wonder if they had a marketing arrangement.

A larger bachle

A larger bachle

Another interesting feature of Freiburg is the Bachle, or brooklets that run through the old town. The Bachle are basically a web of small streams of water, easily stepped over, that run through the city. They were originally constructed in the 13th century to bring fresh water to the community, though I have a hard time believing that the water was “fresh” by the time the water arrived at its destination. Despite their anachronistic function, they do add interest to the city and they really do run nearly everywhere.

Much like Strasbourg, Freiburg has run a light rail system through the pedestrian areas of the city. In this case, they chose cars that blend in better to the city though it is odd to see a streetcar pass through one of the old gates to the city.

The canals have gators!

The canals have gators!

Munster unser Lieben Frau or the Cathedral of Our Dear Lady

Munster unser Lieben Frau or the Cathedral of Our Dear Lady

I also attempted to hike up to the castle area. I may or may not have made it there as I passed a beer garden on the way up, so I didn’t spend a lot of time figuring out whether I had actually reached the ruins before I headed back down for a beer. The beer garden was sublime. It has great beer, a good view, and a nice place to sit. The beer was really good. Did I mention that? I had only one beer. If I had another, somebody would have found me begging for change on the street a month later. The beer here is that good.

Pictures from Freiburg:

http://picasaweb.google.com/brainbucketster/Freiburg

Makes me want to have another

Makes me want to have another

The market from above
The market from above

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