Because Mannheim is conveniently located in the state of Baden-Württemberg (the biggest state in all of Germany) (yes, I’m bragging), it’s relatively close to the world-famous Black Forest. It’s a great day trip for Mannheim students, and provides endless opportunities for you to hike, explore, discover, and contemplate the spooky legends that have given this forest such global reputation.
Because the Black Forest covers such a broad area of land, there’s a massive list of cities you can choose to visit, varying in terms of what you want to do. Because I’ve always dreamed of actually stepping foot in the Black Forest, I decided that I would pick a city that would allow me to explore the (inhabited) wilderness. I chose Freiburg as my destination, and after my 2-hour bus ride, I was ready to embark on my adventure!
What I hadn’t realized was how perfect Freiburg actually is. It’s the ideal blend of traditional German architecture and cuisine, and contains plenty of locations for you to start your hike in the Black Forest! It’s also has an incredibly family-friendly environment, which gives the town a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.
Because it’s a smaller city than most others in Germany, almost everything is in German. Time to practice on those skills! That being said, it’s also very touristy, so there’s plenty of maps and signs helping you figure out where you are and what you need to be doing – something that is typically very scarce but wildly beneficial! The hikes were also mildly paced and elevated, so I was able to actually enjoy the scenery as I walked around, getting a larger glimpse of what it’s like to live around this area.
But the highlight of this trip was hands down the traditional market that was set up in the main square. There was a great assortment of stands, ranging from different meats, to cheeses, to even honey and candy! It reminded me a lot of Mannheim’s farmer’s market that visits 3 times a week, and strangely made me nostalgic for the city I now call home. Everyone from the town was gathered around, enjoying each other’s company, and sharing in the buzz of Saturday morning excitement. The market stayed open for hours, and I often found myself wandering through, looking at all of the strange labels, and unlike when I first came here, these words had actual meanings that I could understand. Definitely a trip for the books!