Kirchzarten and the Black Forest

Trip Start Apr 04, 2008
Trip End Jul 01, 2008

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Where I stayed
Hotel Sonne
What I did
A walk in the black forest

Flag of Germany  , Thuringia,
Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday 13 –Title: Three lanes to Kirchzarten

We had a long, long drive along wide autobahns with multiple lanes and an amazing number of trucks. There was an accident on the other side of the autobahn and the traffic was backed up for 11 kilometres.  We must have crossed a range because at once stage it got down to 9 degrees. 

Found the Sonne hotel without too much difficulty although Gertie took us the long way around down narrow coble streets instead of just taking it straight along the road outside the hotel.   It is an older style hotel which gives a warm feel but the rooms are very small and you can't have two suitcases open at one time.  The shower is also in a cupboard so if you lose your footing you end up taking a swim in the toilet. 

A walk around the town revealed a nice pedestrian area with some boutiques, two restaurants, a gift shop and a couple of supermarkets.  We found the train station and figured out how to get to town. 

The place is clean and everything is just that bit more orderly. Dinner at the hotel was huge serving of schnitzel and enchiladas so we waddled back.  

Saturday 14 - Title: Freiburg town

Breakfast in the restaurant was nice with clean tablecloths. We were served tea with a smile from the waitress wearing her black dress with a colourful apron.    

We found it a strange arrangement with the train ticket.  We had to fold over a card and put it in the machine at various intervals.  The ticket woman put it in the machine at the 5 and 10 band and we had to punch it at the Freiberg Hauptbarndorf at 15 and 20.  Lucky we did as there was an inspector on the train. 

We arrived in Freiberg to the sounds of a brass band.  There was a sister-city fair in town.  We walked around the town looking at some of the nicer older buildings interspersed with the newer ones and walked, along with many, many other people through the market stall circling the cathedral.  There were lots of stalls selling fruit and vegetable; strawberries and asparagus in good supply.  There were also lots of flower stalls and there were a couple of stalls selling hand-made flower wreaths and wooden craft items.  There was also a marble stall with pieces of coloured glass. 

The town also has an amazing stream that seems to meander through the town in stone channels.

We joined a walking tour with 6 other Americans.  Our guide, a woman in her early 50s was very well informed.  She started off telling us that Freiberg has a high student population with a good reputation for its graduates.  It has sister city relationships with Granada and cities in England, Japan and Spain.  There is an old town and new town hall both with lots of adornment. 

We spent a lot of time at the cathedral.  We admired the carving in the small foyer.  It showed the story of Christ’s life in a way that could be understood by the people in medieval times without any written language.  There were also animal gargoyles at the bottom on the statues to ward off evil spirits so they couldn’t get into the cathedral. 

The town was bombed on November 1944.  It was the only building undamaged in the 20 minute bombing raid. Other buildings were completely destroyed or suffered some damage.  There was a trade’s hall with a colourful tiled roof that retained its turret.  While Freiburg did not have any manufacturing plant it was an important strategically for its railway system and the fact that a number of tracks converged just outside the city.  One of the Americans tried to tell one of the others that the people of the town were showered with pamphlets from the allies advising them of the bombing raid.  The guide was quite adamant that the town received no warning and in fact her mother’s house was bombed and her mother had no idea the bombs were coming.  One of the others also said that the bombers always left the highest point in the town as it was usually the church.  The guide pointed out that the fact that the cathedral was not damaged was due to luck alone as the night of the bombing it was cloudy and there was a strong wind.    

The cathedral has beautiful stained glass windows which were paid for by various trade guilds.  The tailors donated one window and there is a pair of scissors in the bottom of the window.  It was the same with the cobblers and the silver miners.  Each window tells a story.  One of the windows relates the story of the life of a saint who converted to Christianity and was persecuted by her husband.  She was threatened with death on the wheel but was spared and her life was taken by an axe.  Once again the story could be understood by the masses as it is in picture form in the window.   The windows were removed in 1939 because they were considered a treasure and while they did not expect the town to be bombed or there to be war damage they did not want to take the risk.  There was a lot of money in Freiberg due to the silver mines which explains how they were able to build such a huge cathedral.  They were also on a major trade route with a lot of salt being transported through the town.  

We grabbed a couple of bratwurst on bread with tomato sauce and mustard from the market stall and then walked around town looking for antique shops without success.   

The city got really busy around 3pm and the trams had a good chance of running people over. 

We bought Joseph’s Swiss army knife and went back to the station for the trip home.  The train was clean and quiet.

Found out that the hotel wants €3 for 2 hours for internet.  We chose the hotel for its internet only to find we have to pay.  We would check their website as we are both sure that it didn’t say anything about charges but of course we can’t access the internet to check the internet information!   

Sunday 15 – Title: Munstertal

We headed to Munstertal.  It is a pretty town, clean and neat, but it is very, very quiet on a Sunday.   There are lots of pretty houses with flower boxes full of blooms along their verandas.   We walked around for a while and past the Sunday soccer match and then headed back to the main church to get a photo.  After walking for about a km we found the exact spot where the photo was taken with the entire church against the background of the black forest

One of the must do’s is the cable car ride up to the Bergwelt, Freiburg’s favourite mountain at 1200m.  The ride took 20 minutes and gave us good views down onto the trees of the black forest and through to Freiburg. 

The rain closed in so we returned to the hotel to read our books.



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