Friday, August 7, 2015

More weekend exploring

After nearly three years in our adopted country, we are still discovering new places to explore. Some are close by and it surprises me that we didn't learn about them sooner. 

We finally made it to Stein am Rhein which you can tell by its name is near the Rhine (English spelling) River. We put our bikes on the car and drove to the scenic town. Stein am Rhein is known for its old town center with frescoes painted on the buildings. They would look better on a sunny day, I'm sure. Maybe I'll go again someday.

musical details on one building

dragon on the end of the downspout

We happened upon Kloster St George (monastery) and took the opportunity to go inside. 

Kloster from across the river
entrance area

river view from the Kloster

not a real monk, thankfully

notice ceiling
The ceiling of this common gathering room was full of detailed artwork: carved and painted scenes whose significance  was unknown to us. 


It is possible to take a boat ride on the Rhine, but this we didn't do.



We discovered the streets even had reference to St George slaying the dragon!

After some wandering and a picnic lunch, we got on our bikes, rode across the border into Germany and along the Bodensee (known as Lake Constance in English).

crossing the border - without my passport!

A yellow stop sign!?! This was a first for us and Tom obeyed! 
sailboats on the lake for Tom's dad

Here are some of the sights along our ride.

It was a Springtime outing - this vendor must have been selling asparagus and strawberries although we did not go investigate.  

Can you tell if these are German or Swiss cows? 


These balls are made entirely of old horseshoes - that's a lot of horses!

castle on the hill

Phew, we made if back into Switzerland!

The fourth of July is obviously not a holiday in Switzerland. Although there are a few gatherings of Americans here, we opted to take a weekend trip to Freiburg, Germany. It's a short drive away and we'd never been there. It was at the end of an incredibly hot week by not only Swiss standards and without air conditioning, we were feeling it! The air conditioned car ride was a good way to start!

St. Martin's gate - part of original town wall

street and sidewalk art


The pedestrian areas all had narrow canals running through them. Their original purpose was to drain excess surface water and assist in fire fighting. They are certainly a tripping hazard, but also a very popular spot to cool off. 
same street with cathedral in view
pretty window

More examples of street or sidewalk artwork. Their original purpose was functional: they were used to mark the kind of shop -- some are still appropriate.

shoe store
jewelry store

want to take a carriage ride?

Freiburger M√ľnster

 renovation is necessary - but scaffolding is always ugly

cathedral altar area
prayer candles - one of those is mine

Last Supper

3-D center panel of triptych is supposed to represent the holy family after their flight to Egypt. Joseph is sleeping, but he looks like he was beheaded!

Someone must have said it is good luck to rub this person's nose - it's very shiny! 

part of the exterior without scaffolding - yay!

You've heard of black forest cherry cake, certainly. Freiburg is on the edge of the black forest and the folk costume includes these silly hats that are supposed to look like they are covered with cherries. Didn't buy one, but now I wonder whether I made a mistake.
Kaufhaus from 1520
building detail


wider canal

view of the cathedral from across town

Sunday morning we took the Schlossbergbahn (funicular) a short ride to the top where we had brunch. This funicular runs like an elevator. There is no driver and you must push the button for the only car to come to you.
our coach on its way

overlooking Freiburg from brunch

After brunch, we took a short walk in the black forest. (looks green to me) We didn't go far because it was already hot. 

very refreshing!
Unfortunately, there was a lot of road construction in and around Freiburg making it difficult to find our way to the hotel. Many buildings were also being renovated. (we didn't take pictures of the ones totally covered in scaffolding or "wrapped") It wasn't the best excursion, but the air conditioned car rides and overnight in the cool hotel room were definite highlights! It is worth another look - maybe in December when their Christmas market is in place. Then we'll also be more interested in tasting the black forest cake rather than ice cream!