Freiburg — June ‘17

Maybe a bit underwhelming, but this was the first photo I took after getting to Freiburg late on Tuesday night, June 6.

Getting there is half the battle

So my first time flying internationally didn’t go as well as I had originally planned. A three hour delay leaving Atlanta left me with few options for getting to Germany as early as I had hoped. Eventually I found a flight that had me landing in Germany at noon the next day, which had me getting to Freiburg at about 8 p.m.

It would be a few days before my luggage found its way to my dorm in Freiburg, but in the mean time I was just happy to be able to stretch whenever I wanted.

First Impressions of Freiburg

After a day and a half of traveling, I finally made it to my dorm just before 8 p.m. on Tuesday. It was a nice apartment on the south side of the city, about 15 minutes from the university and the city center by street train.

The view from the balcony is really nice, especially since this building was built to house students.

I went out Friday evening to take some pictures of the buildings that I had passed on the tram to class several times since I got here. It started raining after a bit, so I had to pack it in early. This first set of pictures is from the Johanneskirche area, which is named after the double-towered church along the city’s main street.

The yellow stone building is actually an old school that is located behind Johanneskirche.
A house in the Johanneskirche area

I got back on the tram after a while and headed east into the heart of the city. These pictures start in the Holzmarkt area and go into the center of Freiburg to the Freiburg Münster, an enormous cathedral that dates back to 1200 AD.

The first of many pictures of the Freiburg Münster.

Three pillars stand outside the front of the münster.

This statue is actually about 50 feet from the münster’s doors, but in the same plaza where a daily market brings fruits, vegetables and meats from around the area to central Freiburg every morning.

Not your typical gargoyle on the left.

I was able to get in a few more pictures on my way back to the dorm before the rain threw me off course.

This is a smaller plaza off the main road called Kartoffelmarkt, which translates to Potato Market.

A Long Weekend in Geneva

I left for Geneva, Switzerland early Saturday morning and got there just after lunch. I knew going in that French was the dominant language in the city and was preparing to deal with that, but I did not expect that they would use a different currency as well, the Swiss Frank. Convenient.

I left the train station and accidentally made my way to the Brunswick Monument, which I had planned to see on Sunday. It sits just across the street from Lake Geneva’s waterfront, which is home to a number of the city’s enormous parks.

The Brunswick Monument
Geneva’s Jet d’Eau, which is visible from some surprisingly far parts of the city.
Lake Geneva hasn’t always had a reputation for cleanliness, but the water was crystal clear and full of swimmers this weekend.
Several smaller towns line the banks of Lake Geneva as you approach the city itself.
The parks in Geneva were crowded from dawn till tusk with people doing everything from running and yoga to celebrating birthdays and have dance parties.
A monument behind the WTO headquarters that sits between one of Geneva’s large lakeside parks and the busy Rue du Lausanne.
Geneva has some incredible museums, including the Musee Ariana, which is located in the same park as the United Nations Palace, which I got an unexpected chance to tour on Saturday.
The United Nations Palace in Geneva is where many of the discussions about Syria and other humanitarian issues have take place.

Having walked approximately 500 miles at this point, I decided to head to the Geneva Hostel where I had booked a bed for the night. It was clean, modern and safe, but (in keeping with everywhere else I’ve been) there was no air conditioning and the sun didn’t set until 10 pm. It was hot.

I started Sunday prepared to walk 500 more miles and took another trip to the lakefront and decided I couldn’t leave without getting a feel for the lake. It was cold.

Geneva sits in the shadow of the Alps and on the banks of Lake Geneva. Half a million people live in the area, making it part metropolis, part beach town, part mountain resort and part European cultural hub.
Easily my favorite museum in the city, the Musee d’Art et d’Histoire has collections that span millennia and a strict no camera policy. Guess which of those I found out about first.

Geneva was basically the home of the Protestant Reformation during the 16th and 17th centuries and St. Pierre Cathedral, which was home to John Calvin for some time. I got a chance to tour the cathedral and climb both of its towers, which overlook Geneva’s old city and most of the surrounding area as well.

The square just outside St. Pierre Cathedral near the University of Geneva and the town’s lively old city. The cathedral steps are on the left.
The Alps were sporting their snowy peaks even in June while as the high approached 90F in Geneva.

I joked when I first got to Geneva that I would never leave; I didn’t realize it then, but I was setting myself up for one long journey back to Freiburg. A crash outside of town delayed my return train and sent me on a series anxious, late-night train rides across Switzerland in hopes of reaching Freiburg before the last trains stopped running for the night.

I made it as far as Basel, which lies on the Swiss-German border, about an hour’s ride from Freiburg, at 1 am Monday morning before the trains stopped and I had to find a room in a hotel. My frustration was relieved though when I found a room at the Hotel Victoria just outside the train station and was somehow blessed with a desperately needed phone charger and air conditioning (finally!) I caught the next train to Freiburg Monday morning and made it just in time for class.

Lake Schluchsee

A small group of us took a trip about an hour south of Freiburg to a tourist town on Lake Schluchsee. The water was ice cold, but that didn’t deter the us and a handful of Germans from spending some time in the crystal clear lake.

Lake Schluchsee was surprisingly clean from trash and it was perfectly safe to walk around barefoot there.

Corpus Christi at the Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul

We went about half an hour east of Freiburg on the Catholic Corpus Christi holiday (Thursday, June 15) to see an incredibly ornate church, the likes of which I would not have expected to see in such a small town.

All of this less than a week after seeing the sparsely decorated church that housed John Calvin in Geneva less than a week beforehand.

Father’s Day in the Black Forest

Freiburg is often called the gateway to the Black Forest because it sits all but directly in the shadow of the forest and is the closest city to the Schwarzwald. I decided to pick up a map in town and plot a route from a bus stop in a nearby town up to the most popular peak in the Freiburg area, Schauinsland.

Several dozen goats live at the top of Schauinsland, which features a tower that offers view of Freiburg (left) and the surrounding area.

Strasbourg

Berlin

Schwarzwald Stadium and Freiburg Pride

Lucern and Mount Titlis

Return to Schauinsland

The Long Goodbye

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