Freiburg (full name Freiburg im Breisgau) is a charming and laid-back town, in the south-western region of Germany known as Baden-Württemberg. The town's roots date back to Medieval times, when it was largely under Austrian control, and when it was an important commercial centre in the area. I visited Freiburg for one night — mainly just to see my friend Gerhard, who lives here.
Before buggering off out of the place, this morning I took a little stroll around the charming city of Freiburg — the first place I've ever visited in Germany — and explored its historic centre. My buddy Killes had already shown me a fair bit of the town last night: but it was too dark and rainy last night to see anything properly; so today, I re-discovered it again in better conditions. I stuck mainly to the area of the cathedral and the daily morning market (home to plenty of different foods), as well as the central shopping area. Sadly, all I had was about an hour to complete the tour, before I needed to leave: a bit rushed, but better than nothing.
While visiting Freiburg's Christmas market this evening, my friend Killes introduced me to Glühwein: that is, traditional German mulled wine. Glühwein is a central European specialty particularly common around Christmas time, and it can invariably (in December) be found in a town's main market, served steaming hot inside an ornate mug. It's quite delicious, it warms you up, and apparently the fact that it's hot only serves to make the alcohol stronger. I didn't realise it at the time, but this was to be the first of many cups of Glühwein (and the first of many Christmas markets) that I'd encounter while in this part of Europe.
The Black Forest Hostel is a lovely big hostel, situated in a quiet street not-too-far from the centre of compact Freiburg, and (as its name suggests) just down the road from the start of the famous forest itself. The hostel was pretty quiet when I stayed there this evening; but it has a great common room — complete with couches, beanbags, TV, pool table, and fussball — which I'm sure would be great fun with more guests around. I didn't have time to hang around here for more than one night: but if my schedule had allowed it, there's no doubt that I would have chilled here for longer.
Occasionally known as Gerhard Killesreiter, Killes is a resident of the town of Freiburg (in Baden-Württemberg), and is also one of the oldest, most-valued, and most central members of the Drupal developer community. Seeing that I was passing through his neck of the woods, I was lucky enough to get a hold of Killes, and to meet him in person for the first time. Despite his fierce reputation as a "blunt, rude newbie-killer" when online, Killes is actually a very friendly and easy-going guy in real life, and he was more than happy to take me out for a tour of his town, and for some dinner and drinks this evening.