It's our first week in Freiburg. Most of us arrived in Europe on Thursday and are so excited for our first weekend to explore our new city. However, one of the first things we are told is to buy all our groceries and essentials before Sunday, as nearly all businesses are closed on this traditional day of rest. Luckily, as Environmental Science and Sustainability students, we saw this as an opportunity for our first hike in Germany.
Using AllTrails, a website as well as a mobile app, we were able to find an abundance of trails right from the city center. We chose the Schlossberg Runde Freiburg loop as our first expedition, and it certainly didn’t let us down. Even though it’s winter in Germany, the forest was full of life. Vibrant greens filled the forest and we saw the first stages of life as some flora began to bloom. The hike itself, though about two and a half miles long, was fairly flat and allowed for fun conversations and the beginning of many new friendships.
Our hike began with great views of the city and we quickly stumbled upon old castle ruins. One of our friends who spoke German pointed out we shouldn’t be too surprised, as in German 'Schloss' means castle and 'Berg' means mountain or hilltop, but it was a fun surprise. There were many old ruins and one staircase that allowed us to see a panoramic view of Freiburg. Reluctantly, we eventually continued on and found the Schlossbergturm! Schlossbergturm, or Schlossberg Tower, is a metal tower that took us 35m into the air and offered us a 360-degree view of the city. It was absolutely incredible to see.
Surprisingly, on the way down we found a little cafe that overlooks the city that was open for lunch. We grabbed a light lunch and took a final glance at our new home. We left that trip with new memories, a ton of pictures, and blossoming friendships.
We had such a good time that Sunday hikes became a quick tradition for our little group. At night, we could even take food up to Schlossberg and watch the sunset. Some Sundays we did longer hikes, including hikes like Rosskopf, which led us to the windmills where we could also have panoramic views. Über Kybfelsen und Bromkopf was our longest hike, about 5 hours, and took us out of the city and past some cow pastures and to a picnic area where we could enjoy a packed lunch. Just because Germany rests on Sundays doesn’t mean IES Abroad students will, as there are tons of hikes through the mountains to the east of the city.
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<p>Originally from rural Pennsylvania, I'm currently a third-year at Emory University studying Environmental Sciences and minoring in Sustainability. I'm really excited to spend a semester in Germany's sunniest and most sustainable city! Hiking and camping have always been passions of mine, so I'm ready to go explore Europe!</p>