Monday, September 25, 2017

[FREIBURG] Jewel of the Black Forest

What happened in Freiburg was pretty much the same thing as what happened in Vienna three years ago. Every weekend was spent outside the city and I didn't go sightseeing until the second to the last day. Hooray, me. I guess the difference is that the campus of Uni Freiburg is already in the old city center, which means you don't even have to exert that much of an effort to go on tourist mode when you happen to be in the vicinity every day anyway. As a little university town, I actually like Freiburg.

Freiburg is often referred to as the Jewel of the Black Forest given its location within the region known for its main attraction: Schwarzwald. Travel opportunities in the form of hiking and nature trips are plenty, but this blog entry will focus on the town itself, because I'm not the best person to ask about physically straining activities like trekking and the like. Like, eew? The Faulpelz in me says eew. Haha. Hahaha. Hahahaha. Okay, what to see in Freiburg then?

Fortunately, my daily walk to the classroom was full of good views. First stop is that church very close to the Hauptbahnhof dedicated to the sacred heart of JC. The church is a looker alright, what with its two towers that look like Disney property. Coming to Freiburg for the first time, you might think that this is THE church that you have to see. Not quite. That honor belongs to the cathedral at the city center. But yeah, you can take a selfie on the bridge if you want the hills and the church in the background.

Stadttheater is two stops away by tram and this is where you'll find most of the university's buildings, along with a square that is almost always full of people, a good mix of tourists, locals, and students spending the day under the sun. I find the Stadttheater to be the most memorable, though. Its white curtains dancing in the wind will be one of the few strong images of Freiburg that will always be in my head whenever I reminisce the one month I spent there.

You already had a good glimpse of the university in the other Freiburg blog entry. You don't have to walk far to see more of what the town has to offer. The narrow cobble-stoned alleys play host to many bars, restos, and cafes where students and tourists alike take a short break or just hang out. There are options aplenty for various budget ranges and preferences in terms of ambience and flavor. Just follow the cobblestones to discover more of the town's medieval charm.

I knew there was a big cathedral somewhere but I never really got to see it until THE Angela Merkel dropped by for a pre-election speech. That plaza is pretty and can probably compete with many in Central Europe that I've already seen. I went for a second ocular visit a week or so post-Merkel. Entrance is free and you will be treated to colorful stained-glass windows once you get inside. The architectural style, however, is not something I haven't already seen. As with most cathedrals, it's more imposing from the outside.

And then Freiburg also has those gates, some of which are not as old as they look like according to our professor. Whatever, they look the part and contribute a lot to the overall medieval throwback vibe of the place. The towers are used as landmarks most of the time, as well as an easy Treffpunkt for both locals and the unacquainted. Each gate has its own particular name, but don't count on me to remember them. I can't even remember people's names, the fuck should I bother about gates.

There is also this one place that I love because it's so quaint. A friend took me there one afternoon for drinks. I forgot what it's called but it has this little stream with a stone crocodile. The area is rather small but makes you feel as though you've been transported somewhere else because of the small-town feel. Freiburg is a small town. A small town within a small town, then. If you want to relax, like, just totally go there. Refer to the photos below for visuals.

There were also two occasions in which we were taken by our professor to places I wouldn't have discovered on my own. The first one is a beer garden of sorts high above a hill with a panoramic view of the town below. If you love beer and good views, then that place is highly recommended. You start the ascent not far from one of the old town's popular gates. The other place was a resto in the middle of the forest. It took us almost an hour of hiking but hey, the food was great!

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