My decision to start my German experience in Freiburg was quite easily made, if not made for me. You see it goes back to the beginning when I was sitting in a cafe in Auckland with my friend Andi and she told me that she wanted to learn German. We excitedly swapped details of our German language desires and quickly built upon this until we had reached the point of ‘oh yes we should go and live there together’ as you do.
Andi had obviously looked into this with more vigour than I had at this point and knew about this little place called Freiburg. She began to build an image for me of this fairytale-esque town in the south of Deutschland bordered by the black forest.
The black forest I think was what had me, it sounded so intriguing and full of mystery. When I looked up Freiburg myself later it was exactly as I had imagined. Cobblestone streets, a little city centre surrounded by high forests. It looked magical and I learned that it was the sunniest city in Germany. I was sold. Andi and I would go to Freiburg and learn German. It didn’t matter that I knew nothing about the dialect or what I hoped to do after this.
As time progressed our plans didn’t quite work out, as we both pursued different goals. It turned out I would be going to Germany alone. But I never lost that first warmth that I felt for Freiburg so I continued to plan my trip around this one destination.
Arriving in Freiburg was actually quite frightening. I had driven down with a mitfahrgeliegenheit which is a really great method of travelling through Germany. It is a more organised method of hitchhiking. I had come straight from the bustling, wide and vibrant Berlin and as we drove into this quiet little town I suddenly felt very alone.
But this didn’t last too long as I was soon introduced to one of my house mates Deborah and she later introduced me to a couple of other students from the school Hiroyuki a Japanese student and Luis a Spanish student that I would spend the entire first two weeks with.
Freiburg is really a beautiful city. It is small enough to walk around in a day but the surrounding area is big enough to keep you enthralled for weeks as I was. But for people not planning to study or work there, I would recommend it as a maximum three day stop over on your way through Germany.
The must do’s:
Freiburg Münster. This impressive cathedral was built in the 11th century, and stands tall in the centre of Freiburgs Münster platz. It is the centre of the hustle and bustle each morning at the Münster platz farmers markets.
The Münster Platz as I mentioned above hosts daily markets before 12pm. It is bordered by beautiful, richly decorated buildings with restaurants, Historic Merchants Hall and an old hotel.You cannot visit Freiburg without finding yourself in this platz and it is a dominating sight poking out of the city from all view points in the Black forest.
The Martinstor and the Schwabentor – the two old gates to the city.
Freiburg is a university town and dominated by a large student population. The University itself is worth a visit and hosts some lovely garden views.
Augustiner Platz on a Friday night is the location of a large crowd of students who set up base to drink for the night. It is worth walking this way in the early evening to see the immensity of the students and young people who frequent this hang out.
During the day this area has a lot of boutique shops and cafes nearby and one of the best Bier gartens: Feierlung.
The longest cable car in Germany which is 3.6 kilometres long and runs from Günterstal up to Schauinsland mountain. Well worth it for a brilliant view.
Schlossberg Biergarten. This biergarten hosts some of the best views of Freiburg and is also a great point to start a hike through the black forest. Make sure to come here during sunset.
The Black forest. You can access the black forest from many points in Freiburg. As I mentioned above one of my favourite starting points was the hill Schlossberg. From here it was a 6k hike to a small chapel in the bush. There are so many routes you can take through the forest to different points, all with the distances marked.
Eat Black forest cake in the black forest This is a must do! In the photo above you can see Luis and I indulging in the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte during one of our hikes in the forest. The best can be bought from Cafe Schmidt near the theatre.
The best way to see Freiburg is just taking an afternoon to walk around it. The streets will charm you, the bells of the many churches will serenade you and the nature will enchant you.