Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Trip to Germany's Black Forest and Europe's Most Horrifying Gargoyle

Get a BIG cup of coffee for this post, it is indeed a long one.

Laurie and I were whisked away from our sedate, humdrum lives in France by our Falcons Defensive Coordinator Stephen Wohlert for a marvelous two day mini-vacation to the Black Forest near the city of Freiburg in Breisgau which is in the Southwestern part of Germany.

Stephen is originally from Hamburg, Germany and his ability to use his native tongue made our visit much easier to say the very least.

The reason that we were able to get away mid-week is that in France we had back-to-back National Holidays on Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday was V-E Day celebrating the end of World War II in Europe and Thursday was Ascension Thursday, a religious feast that still calls for a French time out.

Germany celebrates the Ascension Thursday Holiday as well and even adds its Fathers Day to the festivities on that date each year. As for V-E Day, they didn't seem to celebrate that one so much. 

We started Wednesday trip with
a train ride to Villefranche-sur-Saône

While waiting for the train at Gare Part-Dieu to take us out to where Stephen lives, we checked out the Gare's little bookshop and found this title.

Thankfully, no Falcons were included by the author.

Once we met Stephen, we boarded his very nice VW Tiguan for the scenic drive North to Germany. 

 Freiburg has Classic Cars!

It also has a warm river scene

Laurie at our Freiburg lunch spot

We had a delightful repast and then opted to head out of Freiburg into the Black Forest to take advantage of the nice weather as rain was predicted for Thursday.

Our Hotel in the village of Oberried 

Laurie in front of the Zum Hirschen
 The view from our Hotel

Apfelstrudel anyone?

 Black Forest Goat

 More of the Black Forest

After checking in to the Zum Hirschen, we drove high into the Black Forest to the Schauinslandturm which is an observation tower for tourists.

To Ward Off Evil Spirits Methinks

Black Forest Valley

Our Hiking Trail

More of the Black Forest

The Schauinslandturm

No elevator.


Big Foot's Footprint in the Distance?

Stephen and I walked halfway up
the Schauinslandturm

Enough was enough!

Laurie with our 6'6" host Stephen

This is known as an optical illusion. Laurie really isn't all that tall.

Did you know that Stephen has a Ph.D. in Chemistry? Our coaching staff is really smart!

After our hiking experience, we drove to the village of Todtnauberg so that Stephen could buy some much needed German supplies at one of their two supermarkets. While Stephen and Laurie shopped in the market, I checked out the mountain village.

Mandatory Stream

Ancient Siding

Todtnauberg's Church

I did not go in.

Gorgeous Scenery

 Not Sure Who He Might Be

The former Police Chief of Oberried perhaps.

 We had yet another tremendous
dining experience here

We talked about many things during our two hour dinner.

So relaxing.

Guten Morgen!

A good night's sleep and we were ready to explore Freiburg's historic old city.

 Even the Manhole Covers were Cool

 Wisteria Lane

Though not a woman, it looked like I would
still have to hold Laurie's hand in Freiburg

It's the law it seems.

On a National Holiday, everything is closed except essentials for the tourist trade like gas stations and just a few restaurants and cafés. Laurie was forced into window shopping, much to the distress of the local economy.

The historic inner city of Freiburg is well over 900 years old and full of art works both old and new.

 What are those two things?

 The Wolf's Cave

 Since 1567!

 I just liked it



Love these EuroSigns

Wine Laurie?

 Or a Beer Perhaps?

 The owner must be a
University of California Alum

Baby Clothing Store?

 Lions are always a hit

Not Natural

 Feed that thing!

 Refreshing Fountain Art

Nice Balcony

 The Cross of Lorraine

You just HAD to be there

Securing a Shutter

Great Door

Equine Door Knocker

 Tour Guide in Period Costume


Narrow Passageway with Graffiti

 Looks like those stars hurt

St. Joseph is HIGHLY
Underrated in My Opinion 

 St. Georg on building from "before 1400"

 Table Limits

These metal signs in the sidewalk mark the limits where a restaurant may place tables when the weather is nice like today.

Hook 'Em Horns!!!

 What the . . .

 . . . fountains, a group of very odd fountains.

 Oh my!

Out of his nose?

Laurie's Latest Theory to
Break the Magic Five Foot Barrier

Just Kidding,
I TRULY Love This Lass!!!

Careful with that gutter!

I HAVE to come back for this!

Ah, Heraldry . . .

with Lots of Details

 Such a Dandy


 Witch Hats are always in vogue

More Heraldry

I wonder how our niece Lyndsey
McKenzie is doing in San Jose, CA?

One of the things that I really liked about Freiburg was their mosaic sidewalk signs in front of various but not all businesses as a simple visual reminder of what their company offers for sale.

 A Coffee Shop

 An Apothecary

 A Shoe Store

 A Sewing Supplies Store

A Jewelry Store

A Wild Animal Pet Shop?

A Bordello???

Finally, it was time to peruse the outside of Freiburg im Breisgau's magnificent Gothic Münster . . .

Splendid Tower?

Ornate Entryway?

1295 A.D. it says

 Side-by-Side Sundials

 Saints Abound!

Batter Up

 Hi Ladies!

Madonna and Child

 Unnamed Child

 Working on his backhand

Blind Justice?


 Why is that little man wearing a barrel?

If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know of my fascination with gargoyles. These were originally added atop medieval churches to scare away Satan's evil minions. Today, after five years of roaming European churches, cathedrals and münsters, I have finally found the absolute scariest one ever adorning the Freiburg im Breisgau's Münster!

 Two Heads But No, Not Him

Mossy but Nope

Bold but No Again

Horrifying but No Again

 Not This One Either

I hope that you are now properly prepared. What evil spirit would even consider to enter the Freiburg im Breisgau Münster once it saw . . .


Disturbing to say the least.

I had to wonder what others thought of this terrifying sight.

"We CAN'T stand her when it rains!"

 "I FLATLY disapprove!"

 "I slayed a dragon for THAT?"

"No Comment" 

"We are both APPALLED!"

"Frankly, I kind of LIKE her."

It was now time for us to start heading back to Lyon. Along the way we stopped for a quick bite to eat. Laurie opted for an order of . . .


Her French fries did look good I must admit.

We had a GREAT Time Indeed
in Germany!!!

Thank you ever so much Stephen. You were a great host in your home country!

No comments: