We followed the Rick Steve’s walking tour of Freiburg this morning. At one point we were standing looking at a statue of a gargoyle with a goiter hanging from her neck that decorated a building on a narrow side street. Nearby there was another couple also looking up and quietly reading the same description from the Rick Steves guide book. This isn’t the first time something like that has happened. It’s a real demonstration of the reach of the Rick Steves influence. If I stood there all day I wonder how many people would come by and do what we did!
The gargoyle has a goiter because iodine deficiency was so common here during the Middle Ages that goiters were also very common.
Freiburg is a university town and has some other university towns as sister cities. They have mosaic coats of arms representing these towns in front of the new town hall on Rathausplatz. Madison, Wisconsin is one of the sister cities.
Freiburg is apparently known for its Bächle. They are little streams of water channeled through all the streets in town. They are fun to sail boats in,
or just jump over.
Originally they were for fire control. The city has people whose job it is to clean the Bächles The water looks sparkling and almost good enough to drink. The Bächles are fed by the canal that runs through the town.
Everything in the city center except for the cathedral was pretty much destroyed in one World War II bombing raid November 27 1944.
The cathedral’s latticework steeple may have contributed to it not being destroyed.
The stained glass in the cathedral is from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and was stored away for safe keeping during World War II. Each window has a symbol representing the group that donated it. This one was given by the boot makers.
We ended our walk with sausage sandwiches from the market in the square.
We ate dinner at our hotel. It was all delicious. Although we are in a wine region we had to have beer with our dinner since this is our last night in Germany.
We took five trains today! Füssen to Kaufbeuren, Kaufbeuren to Lindau, Lindau to Friedrichshafen, Friedrichshafen to Basel, and Basel to Freiburg. The distance to drive would have been 170 miles but it was much more enjoyable to see the countryside from the trains.
We followed the Rhine for a good part of the way.
In Freiburg we are staying at Hotel Oberkirch in a room overlooking the cathedral. Duke took this picture from the window of our room.
Tonight we had a hard time finding a restaurant that was open and still had a table available. After being turned away a few times we lucked out and ate at Zum Rauhen Mann. It was wonderful. I had a steak and Duke had sauerbraten. For desert we had apple fritters.
We have been very lucky with the weather on this trip. Yesterday when we arrived in Füssen it was cold and overcast. We couldn’t even see the mountains. Today we woke up to blue skies and a pleasant temperature. It was perfect weather to go into the mountains to see the King’s Castles.
We took a short bus ride from Füssen to the ticket office where we bought our timed entry tickets to the two castles. We did a lot of hiking and climbing to get to the Castles. First we climbed up to Neuschwanstein Castle. King Ludwig built the castle between 1869 to 1886. The tour took us through several lavishly decorated rooms. No pictures were allowed inside the castle.
After the tour we hiked up to Mary’s bridge where there is supposed to be an amazing view of the castle. We almost reached the bridge but didn’t get to go out on the bridge because of the long line and the fact that we had to be at Hohenschwangau Castle for our 11:55 tour. We had to hurry down the hill and up the other side of the valley to get to Hohenschwangau.
Hohenschwangau Castle was rebuilt by Ludwig’s father, King Maximilian II in 1830. Hohenschwangau Castle was a vacation home for the family, but still quite elaborate and beautiful.
Tonight for dinner we had soup with a liver dumpling and then sausage and potatoes.
Füssen, our base to visit rhe King’s Castles tomorrow is a small Bavarian town near the Austrian border south of Munich. We took a local train from Munich to Füssen today. We are staying at a lovely recently renovated old hotel, the Hotel Hirsch.
After checking in we went out and explored the town and walked down the river to see the gorge and falls. Füssen has been a stopping point on the trade route from Italy north since Roman Times.
We had a lovely dinner at our hotel.
Lots of travel today. We walked to a city bus stop and caught a bus to the Luxembourg central station.
From there we took a bus out of Luxembourg to Saarbruecken in Germany.
Then we took a local train to Mannheim. And finally a high speed train to Munich.
Tonight we had a fabulous German dinner. I had Wiener schnitzel and Duke essentially had steak and potatoes. It was one of the specials. You can see the German description here.
The meal, the beer and the restaurant complete with waiters in lederhosen were a perfect introduction to Germany and in particular Munich.