I’ve been in Freiburg for almost a month now, and it amazes me how familiar I’ve become with a place after such a short time. My apartment is located close to the Altstadt or “Old City” of Freiburg. It takes little time to get to the heart of the city, to the Black Forest for hiking, or to meadows and vineyards towards the south of the city. During the last three weeks, I attended my German language course in the morning and early afternoon and then spent many evenings exploring Freiburg.
One of the things I enjoy most about Freiburg is the small canals along the streets. These square canals are about a foot in width and they run parallel to many streets throughout the city. They were originally located in the middle of the street for practical purposes such as supplying water and carrying away waste, but now the canals carry clear water and little children can float wooden toy boats in them. They add to the charm of the city and help to create a relaxed atmosphere.
Freiburg makes it easy for people to enjoy being outside in the city or in nature. The Black Forest holds numerous hiking trails, look-out points, and mountain biking paths. One of my favorite places to hike to is Roßkopfturm, a tower that lets you look out any direction over the region surrounding Freiburg. You can even see the mountains in France! In the city, there are many places to sit outside at restaurants and cafés or around various fountains throughout the city. People at a café will often take their coffee in a mug and sit a few doors down on the doorstep of another building. And at any time of day, you can see people sitting in the main square and enjoying their ice cream. Even during my break from classes in the morning at 10:45am, I saw people walking down the street eating an ice cream cone!
Another unique part of Freiburg is the farmer’s market that occurs every day except Sundays in the cathedral square. Local vendors and farmers gather to sell produce, spices, and handmade goods. Last weekend I came across a table full of beautiful wreaths made from dried flowers and I couldn’t help but buy one! There are also many booths selling wood carvings, pottery, and even a booth for any kind of cleaning brush you’d wish to have. During the week, many people visit the market but it is still easy to meander from stall to stall. On the weekends, the cathedral square is packed with many people and vendors and feels much more energetic. The farmers market provides all the best of Freiburg—you can eat amazing bread and cheese, buy fresh produce and flowers, and admire the cathedral while surrounded by beautiful buildings.
A friend from northern Germany came to visit last weekend, and commented how strange it felt to have me show him around a German city, rather than him showing me a German city. It was fun to show him around and share the parts of Freiburg that I enjoy, such as the architecture and the colorful buildings, while also noticing new details throughout the city, like the detailed stonework on the roads that fascinated him. I’m grateful for the chance to become familiar with Freiburg. And to be able to eat ice cream before noon without getting any funny looks!
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<p>I am a physics major at Trinity University with a strong interest in environmental studies. Some specific passions of mine are listening to classical music when it’s raining, the colors of the New Mexico desert, and having a cup of Earl Grey tea in the morning.</p>