Welcome to the MS AmaDolce, a 130 passenger river boat which will be our home away from Paris for the next week as we cruise along the Rhine river in the Alsace region of France/Germany. The weather today was in the mid 50’s, cloudy, very windy and looking like it would rain any minute. So far at 6pm, it has held off.
As we were eating lunch we noticed swans coming in great numbers to the opposite shore line. Obviously some local women must feed them about the same time every day.
We hopped onto buses for an afternoon of touring and caught both a field of sunflowers and a yard full of October pumpkins on our way to Freiburg, Germany.
Founded in the 12th century, Frieburg used to be a walled city meaning “free” citizens. In WW II, it was ironically bombed by the Germans trying to empty their planes of bombs. Their target had been the Black Forest but they obviously missed and destroyed much of the city. This gorgeous gem in the middle of Alsace has been rebuilt in keeping with historical correctness. One of the most unusual characteristics about the city are little streams which run throughout called Bachle. They are over 600 years old and served as the water supply. Legend has it that if you accidentally step into one of these streams now concrete trenches (only about a foot wide and a foot deep), you will have to marry someone from Freiburg and live there for the rest of your life. We were careful where we stepped, but did have one in our group who fell into one!
The major attraction is the huge cathedral or Munster in the center of old town.
It is red sandstone from the area with a tall tower providing a gorgeous view. Thanks to Tony Porter for making the 90-step hike up to the top. The entry area to the cathedral is beautifully carved. Our guide explained that the figures told the story of the Bible in stone because the people could not read and the services were in Latin. Notice the grid in the photo which mars its clarity. This is to keep the pigeons off the recently restored masonry. Inside, the cathedral is known for its stain-glassed windows each depicting a certain type of guild from the community who had contributed to the construction of the cathedral. See if you can find the shoemakers’ guild window.
There are some other lovely landmarks: the fountain,
the famour Merchant’s Hall (featured image at the top of the post) where even today dignitaries come for meetings and the “new” town hall built in the 1600’s. We also saw a very classic chestnut roaster on the pedestrian shopping street, a great mime and even a store front window for Halloween which the Germans have just begun to celebrate. Capitalism at its best.
On this outing, we bused very near to the Black Forest known for its cake, ham and of course the wines. All in all, despite the cool winds, a very nice day for discovering the history of the area.
Tonight, you guessed it, more food! (oops, I fell asleep trying to get the blog to load as the internet is so slow and intermittent so I am finishing up this morning, Wednesday). We are in Strasboug and it is 36 degrees and rainy. Yuck!