Today was hot. It was possibly the hottest it has been since we arrived. Temps were near 40C (100F) and humid. In Offenburg, the humidity was about 40%. I thought it might be a good day to go somewhere cooler. Maybe somewhere we hadn’t spent much time. Somewhere an hour’s (air conditioned) drive away. Somewhere with a big, cool cathedral, shopping centers and museums. Somewhere like… Freiburg!
We had made a quick trip down to Freiburg when we first arrived, but we had failed to find the city center or the cathedral! We were Newbs back then. But, honestly, we almost did again.
All the streets approaching the Cathedral area seemed to be under construction, and even the autobahn had a traffic jam that caused Garmin to guide us through small villages and smaller roads instead of the highway. By the time we arrived everyone was a wee bit frazzled. And, yeah, it was HOT. The humidity was a slightly less down in Freiburg, but the temps were just as high. Miserable.
Plus, by the time we arrived everyone needed food and a drink. So, we headed out to find sustenance. We could have eaten at the vendor stands in the market, but we thought it might be nicer to sit down. I had seen listings in the guide books and websites we checked before leaving. There *should* have been several good restaurants around (including one serving dozens of different schnitzel dishes for cheap), but, with tempers and temperatures high, we eventually just had to give up and eat “wherever”. “Wherever” turned out to be- an international food court buried in a rambling international shopping center. Ok. DD and Bubby got pizza, DS got sushi, I got a crepe and DH got quiche. Alas the place was hot, crowded and the only water available was very very mineral-water. But, I think we were all a LOT better off once we had eaten!
Now that we were feeling a tad less rough, we strode forward to see the sights. First up, of course, was the Cathedral. Built around the same time as the one in Strasbourg, I was surprised to discover how different it was in feel. While Strasbourg is all about the carving, Freiburg is all pretty colors and paint. And there seems to be far more art from the Renaissance era, as well. The Münster Cathedral in Freiburg was not an actual cathedral (with a Bishop) until the 1800’s. Until then, it was just a big, opulent church. And, it is beautiful and opulent. There were busy doing a lot of restoration while we were there, so some parts were closed off. But it was still well worth the trip.
One nifty thing we noticed was this detail of a pretzel in the stained glass. Yes, that is, actually a pretzel! The cathedral was funded, in part, by money from the medieval guilds, and they got to have windows included that depicted their professions! I didn’t know to look when we were there, but apparently there are scissors and all sorts of other fun items included in the art.
After the cathedral, we wandered over to a museum located nearby. I thought it was one of the larger museums for the area, but it turned out to be just some guy’s house and some historical objects. It was cooled and had a smattering of interesting items throughout. But, we did have one misadventure. There was a long set of stairs winding down a couple of levels. DD and Bubby opted not to even bother, but I forged after my menfolk. On the very last stair, I stepped off onto a loose stone in the floor and twisted the heck out of my ankle! Owie! And, the sad part was that there really wasn’t anything of interest on that level. There was a pair of dioramas of the city and that was about it. AH well. No chance to be delighted if you don’t take a risk now and again!
With me now limping and the heat far from abating, we decided it was about time to stop and get another drink and maybe a treat. We found a suitable sweets shop (called Dulce, appropriately enough) and sat in comfy chairs to enjoy some ice cream.
Other folks were finding other ways to beat the heat. The city boasts a large network of small canals that were originally used as fire breaks. But, these days, they are just a quaint detail for the city center. There is a rumor that if you accidentally step in one, you will marry someone from Freiburg! Whether it is true or not, there were a LOT of people purposely putting their feet into the canals to cool themselves. Couldn’t really blame them today!
That was about all we could handle on this one day. We meandered a bit through some air conditioned department stores, but since we weren’t really in the shopping mood, at that point we headed on out. The (air conditioned!) ride home was lovely- and since there was no longer a traffic jam, we even spent a while on the True Autobahn, the sections with no speed limit.
When we got home, the weather was just about ready to cool for the day. Our local fields, which had been harvested yesterday, had had the hay bundled into enormous bales and it was being snatched up by a lift an piled onto large flat trucks. Our neighbors were watering outdoor plants (something one almost never has to do in this area because the sky is happy to do it for you). And everyone was looking mighty sweaty and mighty red. I think we managed to avoid any sunburn ourselves (knock wood). After our adventure we had a pleasant meal of fruit, cheese and fresh bread and chatted over our day’s events.
Here are some pictures of the bestest stuff we saw. Remember, you must click on the photos to see the captions. And, you must click on each page to see the set of 20 photos.