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Day Trip from Zürich: Freiburg, Germany

Zürich’s privileged location provides the opportunity to go on a day trip to a different country.  This time we went to the walkable city on the edge of the Black Forest: Freiburg. This vibrant university city claims to be the the sunniest corner of Germany and judging by the time we spent there, that must be true. It is easy to extend this day trip to a weekend getaway by adding a day or two to explore the nearby towns or go hiking in the Black Forest, something we plan to do next time we visit.

Freiburg’s old town

We took the 11:30am train from the Zürich HB and arrived in Freiburg, Germany just in time for lunch at 1:00pm.The train left us right in the old town, only 10 minute walk from the cathedral. At the station you can rent a locker for 2 or 5 euros. This is very handy especially when traveling with a dog (like we did) and needed to leave the dog carrier somewhere safe.

Valentina is an experienced traveler. Here pictured in her carrier

Something we noticed as soon as we entered the town was the “Bächle”. They are little channels of water running throughout most streets and alleyways in the old town; they are supposedly unique to Freiburg and give this city the quintessential Black Forest charm. One really need to be careful to not fall into one of them(especially if married) for two reasons: (1) you can break an ankle and (2) according to the legend, the person that falls in a Bächle will marry someone from Freiburg.

Bächle: water rills along many streets and alleyways in Freiburg, Germany

Rubber ducks in a bächle

From 1:30-5:00pm we wandered through the streets, hitting some of the markets and did some shopping. We headed to the Münster cathedral but before took quick a detour to see the  iconic Martinstor which is one of the former city gates. There is a McDonalds in it, something in my opinion should be considered sacrilegious.

A McDonald in a medieval gate in Freiburg, Germany

It was almost 2pm but we were still able to experience the farmer’s market at the Münsterplatz, the square surrounding the church. Here, vendors were selling local produce and goods to locals and tourists alike. For a snack we had a Currywurst from one of the farmer’s market stands. They’re inexpensive and authentic.

After finishing our Currywurst, we toured the church. I read somewhere it is one of the oldest and most beautiful churches in Europe, something I don’t necessarily agree with. One of the oldest? Definitely! but I’m not sure if one of the most beautiful in all Europe. I mean, it is very pretty and impressive and worth to visit, but there are other churches in my list of favorites. Something that should not be missed are the the gargoyles and impressive architecture.

Freiburg’s cathedral

Freiburg’s cathedral, with the farmer’s market surrounding it

Next we went shopping. Freiburg is good for shopping too, as there are many local as well as international stores selling shoes, handbags, clothes, candles, house goods, etc… and is less expensive than Switzerland.We couldn’t leave Freiburg without paying a visit to the Feierling brewery. Favorite among the locals, Feierling has excellent beers, brewed in-house. They also have a decent menu with local dishes such as Inselschnitzel mit Bauernbrotor Entrecôte mit Rotweinjus. Be aware, the portions are huge!

At 5pm we headed back to the train station, but we missed our train. This was a perfect excuse to savor a gelato and do some people watching. By 8pm we were back in Zürich.

Valentina, ready to go home

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