Europe’s Top Cities- #8

              Deep in the heart of the enchanting Black Forest lies a small city.  Amongst the mysterious trees, green mountains and fancy gateaus is Freiburg, the heart of the forest region. It is full of charming old streets and old German folklore attractions. It has a grand minster and medieval gates, towers and clocks. A small, clean stream runs through it and into the nearby Rhine and rolling mountains protectively surround it. In the pleasant squares delicious smells waft out of the restaurants and in the many bars top-quality German beers flow freely from the taps.

              Getting to the city was a joy in itself. Driving through the captivating forests and down the winding mountain roads was a true driving experience, even if we did crawl up the switchbacks at a snail’s pace. Letting Bani loose on his bike down the tarmac whilst I followed in the van was great and coming to rest in a small clearing off an abandoned logging road offered the ideal camp spot amongst the dense pines. Popping back to civilisation in this wonderful city was a welcome return and we were delighted to explore its vibrant, venerable streets for a few days. Camping in a city is not normally an enjoyable experience, but somehow Freiburg bucked that trend.

              A short walk out from the old centre, guided by a shimmering stream takes you out to quieter, wider residential roads with free parking and campervan sized spaces. The green trees offer shade and the nearby stream somewhere for a quick wash or a lazy afternoon. One morning we were sat having breakfast in the van when a white van pulled up alongside us full of food that was approaching the end of its edible life. Rather than throwing it away these good Freiburgians were on a mission to reduce the towns food waste and so we were left with cupboards full of fruit and veg to keep us going. Freiburg is one of the greenest cities in a green country which is admirable anyway, but also great for hungry campers slowly waking up.

              Full of healthy, not quite expired food we headed into the city. German old towns are picturesque with the meandering cobbled roads as enticing as any. Once passing through the old gate towers of central Freiburg the noises of a big city faded away with just the occasional tram to keep you off the roads. The towering minster is a work of art and the busy shopping streets were lively, but not crowded. The cold beers from the bars which spill out onto the squares only endeared the town more to us and in those quaint establishments times disappeared as easily as the sun beyond the horizon. What intends to be just a refreshing pit stop can run from lunch past dinner and into the night and before you know it you can be staggering away with a belly full of delicious schnitzel and tasty beer. By that time the shopping streets have transformed into a circus full of street entertainers and dancers and even the grand minster was surrounded by classic cars on one night we spent getting lost in the city.

              Our few days of relaxing in this unexposed gem were excellent, and sandwiched between epic journeys through forests and mountains in rural Germany. The nature surrounding this city is incredible and the heart of it is just as wonderful. The medieval buildings and connection to an almost mythical past stand strong and the chilled out allure of the old town is easy to get sucked into. My first trip into this fascinating town was magnificent, and I am sure it will not be my last.

Image by Paul Henri Degrande from Pixabay

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10 thoughts

      1. My favourite place in Europe? Or Germany? That’s just so difficult as there are so many lovely places. In Europe I would pick SW France and in Germany, Konstanz on the Bodensee. I’m a bit biased as we lived on the lake near Konstanz for a couple of years in the early 90s.

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  1. It’s one of my favourite places – so don’t you go telling everyone 🙂 ! Actually, do, for now anyway, because they’ll need the tourist income once their lockdown ends and there are few cities as pleasant.

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