The last stop on our road trip around the Black Forest was Freiburg, a medieval university town on the edge of the forest, and one of the greenest cities in the world.
Home of the famous Freiburg Minster, a beautiful cathedral built in the 1200’s, and the only Gothic cathedral completed in the Middle Ages to survive the bombing in the 1940’s. A number of houses around the cathedral were wiped out in the raids in 1944, but the clever church staff had removed all of the windows for safekeeping at the time. The building suffered vibrations, but survived due to the deep anchors for the spires. Afterwards, they popped the windows back in, back to the perfect condition it has now maintained for over 815 years. Each side is surrounded by a market that runs 364 days per year.
Oh, Baden-Baden. Known as a retreat for the wealthy, holiday destination of the Queen and Obama. For us, the gateway to the Black Forest, our first stop after crossing the border from France.
For a couple of Aussies, Baden-Baden was insanely obscure. We’d never heard of it, read about it, or seen any flights that went there. No one we know has ever visited. So in we drove to the visitors centre, thinking we’d need a guide around town. It was a lovely round wooden building, positioned over a stream. The air was SO fresh, the stream so calming. It was so green.
The guide told us to go and park in a very specific place, and then walk. Whichever way we wanted. So we did.
Thank you discount airlines. When picking our next place to visit, we went to the sale section of a popular European airline, and selected the cheapest flight we could find. To wherever. It was a toss up between Romania and Eastern France. France won (though maybe Romania next?).
£10 later, and there we were in Strasbourg, in the Alsace region of East France, bordering Germany. We were only there for 5 days, but somehow it wormed its way up to the top, ranking as one of my best holidays, ever. We rented a little Airbnb apartment at the top of an old building, with some of those slanted roof windows where we could hang our heads out over the city. Only downfall: old house, top floor, no elevators. But running down the stairs every morning was fun.