Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday 23 June - Freiburg

Freiburg is about an hour and a half south of Mannheim, close to the Swiss and French borders. We were met at the station by an English speaking guide who called up our vintage tram for a two hour tour of the city.
There is a bridge across the DB platforms where the trams stop.  Access to the main line platforms are direct by steps or escalator

Waiting for the tram
Our charter tram is maintained by the friends of the Freiburg Street Railway

Freiburg is one of the most ecologically advanced cities.  It has a population of 220,000 and has been growing at 1% a year. All flat roofs must have a green cover because this uses 80% of the rainfall and means less pressure on the waste water system. New houses and apartments are energy saving. Motor vehicles are discouraged while public transport is cheap and easy to use.
We rode several routes -the #5 out to Maria von Rudolph Platz, back along the #3 route into town then the #3 route to Vauban, across town on the #2 route to Hornusstrasse and back along the #5 route into town.
The power poles have ivy growing up them.

At Vauban
At the end of the run at Bertoldsbrunnen
We had lunch at a brew pub - cream of asparagus soup and turkey salad/turkey breast.
The town itself is interesting with many old but well preserved buildings.
Every half hour at Bertoldsbrunnen the trams come together and stop for several minutes to allow people to transfer.  Here we see eight trams (there are two on each line on the right.  It is like a well orchestrated ballet.
The metre gauge was chosen over standard gauge to allow the tramway to be constructed through these arches.
 The cathedral is enormous. It is built of a warm red stone, well maintained and with some good stained glass. 
The Kaufhaus 1520 with ground floor arcades and richly adorned gables.  The Kaufhaus (literally buying house) was used by local merchants for meetings, conferences and lively festivities.



It may be a cheap and environmentally sound place to live but I am not sure I would want to live there. It is too much of cookie cutter approach. Everything looks the same. We made our way to the station and took a train back to Mannheim where a girl at the front desk suggested a good restaurant on the other side of the railway tracks on the banks of the Rhine.  It turned out to be a very good restaurant with good staff.  Schnitzel and salad and chicken on salad.  We had a glass of the local Reisling which was excellent.

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