Sunday gave us a chance to leisurely explore the old town of Freiburg. No tours, no reservations and no plans had been made besides walking and hopefully finding some good places to eat more German food. Oh yes, and drink German beer. 🙂 The area highlighted in orange is the old part of the city – which we were staying just a block away.
I had another sausage at the market in the morning. She warned me that it was spicy – it was. I like spicy food, but this definitely had a kick! And I totally didn’t expect two sausages
How can you visit a town – especially those with such rich history – without including a few facts? I can’t, so here you go.
- First reference of habitation in this area was in 1008 due to being a strategic trade route.
- Founded in 1120 as a free market town, hence its name (Frei means free in German).
- It is a center of higher education since the mid 1500s and at the present time is the biggest employer in the city.
Before coming I read about these water channels throughout the town called ‘Bachles’. These were not used for sewage, but instead as a water source and to fight fires in the past. They were originally in the middle of the road, but in the mid 1800s, got moved to the side. Unfortunately when we were in town, most were dry except for those around the church. There were some cool photos on-line that included rubber ducks, rain boots, kids boats and other random items. A few areas have decorative metal grates over them , along with planters to prevent anyone from tumbling in.
Legend has it that if someone steps into these bachles, you will marry a Freiburger.
- In 1992 Freiburg was given the title of ‘Environmental Capital of Germany’ and has made a name for itself for environmentality.
- They led in the concept of ‘Dual Refuse’ – separating recycling from refuse waste.
- Today, it is above all in the field of the utilization of solar energy with seeing solar panels on many, many roofs and even their national league soccer stadium.
Walking around we also saw more examples of the mosaics in the sidewalk. These mosaics are commonly attributed to a paver who lived in Freiburg in 1858. He was inspired by work seen during his time as an apprentice in southern France. In the past, the stones used to be extracted from the Rhine flood plains, but they have been depleted. The mosaics commonly show symbols of trade or historical references to the building that lies behind it. Here are my favorites. We also found one entire alley that had been created as a mosaic.
While there have been a few photos of the church previously, here are a few different details. The tower entrance hall tells many stories, primarily The Last Judgement, but also the Birth and Passion of Christ.
The up-close shot shows the (green pol-bellied) devil underneath and to the right of Christ.
Warnings against the temptations of the world are expressed by these sculptures and were one way to instill the fear of God into those that could not read. When this was created at the end of the 13th century, it was one of the most extensive and significant of its kind in Germany.
Upon entering the church, the interior darkness highlights their fabulous stained glass windows. Despite the dangers throughout the years and being bombed in 1944, almost all of the original stained glass in the cathedral has been retained. Several of the local guilds that sponsored the windows in the 13th and 14th Century can be discovered by their distinctive tools incorporated into the glass. See if you can find the tailor, blacksmith and boot-maker windows.
I have way too many photos, but these I wanted to share and keep for my files.
So let’s go back outside. There are many interesting items to note. I found this calendar on the south-facing wall.
Along with the size specifications for market purchases used in the Middle Ages. This ensured the folks were not being cheated by those selling corn, charcoal, bread, bricks and floor-boards.
The church is rich in figurines and in addition to the technical functions the gargoyles serve to protect the church from evil forces. Above them stand the saints, prophets and apostles standing in stoic calm.
There was one interesting figurine we heard about and a story behind it from some locals. It seemed the person overseeing the building of the church was getting tight with the money and not paying the workers. The workers put a figurine up near the top and the story goes that it’s pointed in the direction of his house.
The church is made out of local red sand-stone and many of the oldest city residents said they have never seen the church without scaffolding of some type. There is always work being down repairing the joints or replacing blocks or figures.
Karen and I had two great meals today. With the weather being so good, we had a late lunch outside in a garden. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone going to Freiburg. In fact, I tried to take the guys there for dinner when they arrived on Monday, but they were closed on Mondays. 😦
Karen got a great salad and I ordered a ‘flammekuchen’. This is the German version of something I got in France called tarte flammbe’. I totally loved them on previous trips and this was an excellent version of that unique flatbread.
Naturally there was beer involved and my choice this time was the Ganter Urtrunk, a natural lager. It went great with my flammekuchen.
The last photo above details our dessert. It was excellent and we didn’t see it on any other menus throughout the trip so this was a definite win.
It was a nice outdoor meal……..in a beautiful, medieval city…….. and towards the end we were serenaded by some local musicians.
Our other meal late that day was at a neighborhood pizza place recommended by our Black Forest tour guide. It was just down the block from our hotel. Most surprising…….Karen got ice cubes in her coke!
So near the beginning of this post I talked about the bachles and water. We also saw lots of water fountains as we walked around of which people are encouraged to drink from or refil their water bottles. My internet research said that when Freiburg was being developed, wooden pipes were used to create urban running fountains and was a source of drinking water for the population. Here are a few of the (many) fountains we walked past.
Obviously (or not), I’m always taking photos of flowers or interesting produce displays, so I’m ending with some of those for today’s post.