Friday, November 25, 2011

Freiburg (part 1)

Once we were done in Baden-Baden we headed south to Freiburg for Oct 30th. Incorporated in the 12th century, it was built around it's still prominent and operating university. So while Baden-Baden was filled with older people who could afford the city, the average age in Freiburg dropped considerably with the very large student population. Although the town and many of the buildings are very old, it gave the place quite a youthful feeling.

A trademark of the town is all the little rivers flowing through the streets. These rivers would typically run on both sides of the street separating the sidewalk from the main road. In fact there was water everywhere in the city. From fountains, to man made street rivers, to larger natural rivers. All of it very clean. It was very easy to quickly love this place.

The little rivers were installed during medieval times. Freiburg had a bit of a problem with city wide fires. Buildings are built right next to each other. When one goes up in flame it is really easy for it to jump to the next with the whole city or block burning. As a way to fight the fires these rivers can be damed which floods the street and provides quick access to a lot of water. Since the installation if these rivers not a single big fire ravaged the city. Plus now they provide great entertainment for the kids.

These mosaics in the sidewalk is another staple of Freiburg. Outside of each of the merchants they are allowed, and somewhat expected, to create their own mosaic. Some will be pure art, but most represent the place of business. A clock for a clock shop, a pretzel for a baker. The city even took part in making more asthetic no parking signs.

The town really had an old medieval town feel. Lots of old towers and murals.

Wondering through the streets with our new travel friends: Jenn and

The church in the old town square. It was Sunday so with everything closed and attending church, we heathens got nice quite streets to stroll.

One of the oldest buildings in town, the guild hall which was across the square from the church. The guild crests adorne the turrets, with statues of prominent merchants also on the wall.

I am loving our little S95. Super compact camera that we can take anywhere. While in the church a tourist with his DSLR was very quickly intercepted by someone to ensure his photos wouldn't interrupt the service. Totally makes sense. I sure wouldn't want a constant flow of photos in the middle of service. With my little very unassuming camera, I can put it in what I call "stealth mode." No flash and no sound. It also very quickly turns on, focuses, and snaps a photo. Means I could nab this one within about 3sec from in pocket, photo, back in pocket. Nobody was interrupted, everybody wins!

On the outside of the church was one of my favorite parts of this town. Circles and ovals next to roman numerals. The numerals was for a certain year, and the shapes were for measuring your bread. So if you felt the baker ripped you off you could go to the church and measure your loaf. Not sure what the consequences for selling too small a loaf. What was interesting is that as the years went on the size shrunk. My guess is that the price stayed the same. Even back then there was "the good old days" when a loaf as bigger then your hand. None of this 14th century crap when you now have to buy two loafs to feed your family.

Other standard measurements and sizes were also etched into the side of the church.

Fountains like this were all over the place. I loved the amount of water in the town. I wouldn't be surprised if most of it was drinkable either.

Finding more mosaics, as Ashley our trusty guide with Rick Steves in hand tells us of the Sister Cities these mosaics represent. I think I might ask the cute tour guide out for a drink once we're done. Wish me luck!

Quite certain this is the fanciest McDonalds I've ever run into. Along with it's McCafe (which btw is actually quite decent, we don't have them back in Canada.)

One of the rivers flowing through town. We didn't see any boats or others using them. Again we were there on a Sunday so a lot of that activity might not be going on.

So that was the first half of our Freiburg adventure. Stay tuned for the next installment soon. I promise! Have to run to catch the local street market to stock up on veggies and other goodies. Currently don't have anything in the house.


1 comment:

  1. what a fun place! Did you have any luck asking the cute tour guide out?

    I think you both look great in those winter coats - so stylish and European, not sloppy west coast!