Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Christmas Journey Continues - Freiburg, Germany

Just a hop, skip and a jump from Strasbourg is the border of Germany. So on Monday, after a leisurely early morning, we headed off to visit Freiburg, Germany.  First though we did a quick spin thru the market by the Cathedral in Strasbourg since we didn't have much time the night before and it was so crowded at night!

Outside our apartment door

Cathedral in the daytime

Christmas market in Strasbourg

Aidan really wants the snowborder guy (almost got him too til we realized it was 130 euro!)

My favorite building in the background

Enjoying a warm drink

Close up of my fave building - check out those amazing windows!!

The Cathedral

Daytime pic of those cool chandelier lights

Interesting tilework on the street... wonder how old it is???

I knew we were close to the border but didn't realize how in Germany is the next town over! But Freiburg, which is located on the edge of the famous Black Forest, was about an hour south of that and as with our journey up from the Basel area, it was a picturesque drive filled with many fields and farms and beyond those you could see quaint villages with their church spire raising up towards the sky in the middle of town. Whenever I pictured Europe before we moved here, I think it was the Alsace region I was envisioning because this is exactly how I pictured it. How I envy Paul and Aimee that they get to live in such a beautiful area!
Upon entering Freiburg I was surprised at how built up it seemed, at first. However, once we entered the old town area it was once again evident that we were in the heart of Christmas-ville. Founded in the year 1120, there is a lot of history in this small city As with Strasbourg, the kiosks are not limited to dry goods but also to food. And we sampled a ton of it. From real gingerbread to German potato pancakes (sooo yummy) to various sausages and so much more. There was no need to go to a restaurant for lunch, we just went from booth to booth. One of the cool things is tht most of them did not give you paper and plastic utensils - my potato pancakes came out on a porcelain plate with a regular fork. And when I returned it to the booth, they gave me a euro back. Josh enjoyed the gluhwein/mulled wine and here too, the glasses were authentic and he opted to forgo the euro reimbursement to instead start a collection :)

The booths were filled with ornaments and homemade toys. Aidan and I have been back and forth on whether we should start a Christmas village or not. I never had an interest before but I was certainly being pulled into the spirit. We decided not to in Germany (but of course on our last evening in Strasbourg decided yes we would so at least we got a few things from here to start and I guess we "must" do this trip again so we can revisit the ones we missed). There were also food redux routs like candy and local spices as well as various cured meats. A huge variety which was nice given that our markets in bcn have pretty much the same items booth after booth.

First thing we saw in the German market was sausages... oh yeah!!  Yum!!

Aidan having a sausage

Mulled wine... Josh's favorite :)

Fresh potato pancakes served on a regular plate with a regular fork, no paper and plastic here...
my favorite!!

Josh with one of several glasses he collected at the markets this week

Christmas village stuff - Aidan and I debated starting one but didn't decide on a yes til our last night in Strasbourg, so at least we have a few pieces from the Alsace area... just wish we'd decided sooner so we could collect them from each town we went to!

Chocolate covered strawberries

Chocolate covered banana

Butterbretzel - yum!

More cool tiles...

German toys / puzzles

We were even surprised during our walk to come across some more kiosks and in the center was a small ferris wheel. Aidan, of course wanted to go on it...with me...not Josh, but me. I hate ferris wheels. But I couldn't pawn him off to Josh on this one. So off we went onto this ancient ferris wheel. I think it had been around since the market started hundreds of years ago, yeah it seemed that old. But I put my trust into German engineering and around we went. Of course at one point we stopped on the top and my heart was in my throat, even more so when Aidan tried to come sit next to me. Yes, I freaked out and told him not o move a muscle and stay where he was. Nothing like inflicting my own fears onto my child, right? A great mom moment. 

Our little ferris wheel which to me might as well have been 100 feet in the air!

Cute mom and Aidan moment... my jacket is just really bulky, I have not gained 50 lbs, I assure you...

Going up!!

I think we spent about 3 hours in Freiburg. It was just enough to get a taste (literally) of the Christmas spirit there and to enjoy some of what they had to offer. Our bodies are now longer used to these cold winters and after 3 hours we were all pretty frozen! So we headed back to Strasbourg where Josh and Liam chilled in the apartment and Aidan and I did some more exploring.


The Cathedral as we drive into the center of Strasbourg

Entering the center, Place Gutenberg

Cute square

Beautiful stained glass window

Stained glass window is on the bottom...
We had a great dinner just over the river. I took a chance (those who know me know how unlike me that is) and ordered this fabulous dish that was basicalled potatoes, bacon, onions and gruyere cheese. OMG it was amazing! Filling, unhealthy in a million different ways, but amazing! Yum! However dessert was another story. I thought I was getting bananas foster but instead she brought out what looked like a pizza with cinnamon, sugar and some banana slices. She set the cup of rum on fire nd then pored it onto the pizza. I think it should have been the other way - pour then set on fire so that it would melt the cinnamon and sugar into more of a glaze. Instead it was a rum soaked pizza that I could barely eat. I guess not everything can be perfect!

My weird flambee banana
All in all, yet another great day. But it's not over yet. We still had be more full day before our time here came to an end. Tuesday the plan was Colmar and Riqueweir, France. In the end it was just Colmar because the weather was just awful but the time we spent in Colmar was well worth it. Updates on Colmar next!


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