This morning (Wednesday) we woke up to the start of rain which when I checked yesterday, was not forecast. So our plans to go to the local market were cancelled, and I am writing this instead. We are now in or just outside Heidelberg, but this blog is about our visit to Freiburg.
We were looking forward to visiting this city as it’s one of Germany’s greenest, not for its many trees (though it has those) but for its environmental practices.
Freiburg is known as an ‘eco-city’ and as such has attracted eco industries and research. The Green Party have a stronghold here and it is reflected in how the city has developed. For example this bridge which passes over the train station has been converted to tram, cycle and walking traffic only….
When we arrived we were warned that cycle ‘traffic’ is so heavy, cyclists have been banned in certain parts of the city because of congestion!
Newly built neighbourhoods have been developed with sustainability in mind. Way back in 1995 the city council adopted a resolution to permit construction of low energy buildings only which must comply with certain low energy specifications such as solar power acting both passively and actively.
You see, it can be done, the city has over 220,000 inhabitants so it’s not a small village or town. If the political will is there, it is possible.
What struck us initially was how the city’s green spaces had, for the most part, been left to grow naturally with long grass mixed with dandelions and nettles. Initially it seemed really untidy as we had come from neatly trimmed and manicured Austria (where even the meadows looked neat and tidy), through Salem in Germany which was less tidy but still neat.
Some general street scenes……
The city is also known for its medieval minster. When we visited we were pleasantly surprised how warm it was inside, compared with most churches which always seem to be freezing cold inside whatever the weather….
Over the main entrance is a reminder of what will happen to you if you don’t do as you’re told….
Inside was quite dark which made the stained glass windows, some of which were paid for by various guilds, really stand out.
The leaded detail was amazing.
Surrounding the minster is a huge open space…..
which is filled every morning (except on a Sunday) with a vibrant market….
We also went for a walk up to the Freiburg Schlossberg which used to have a fortified castle overlooking the medieval city. Nothing is left now other than the fantastic views with the Black Forest in the background.
There is a viewing tower at the top to afford an even better view. I made it to the first platform (ie not very high) Eric went further but not to the top. Even he was put off by the high wind, the wobble of the tower and the fact you could see through the steps to the ground far, far below…
Freiburg is one place I would be happy to visit again. It is a lovely city and we would highly recommend a visit…..