Coming back to a once familiar place

View of Freiburg from the Schossberg
It's been interesting to return to a vibrant university town that I knew well decades ago.  It was great then and lovely now, but of course, the experiences are different.  Freiburg is an even more prosperous place, it seems to me, now hosting even more tourists and regional shoppers, just as university students, both German and international come back for fall classes to resume.
Munster without scaffolding -- first time in 12 years

Walking around the Altstadt on a Saturday afternoon -- well, it was bustling.  Even on a drizzily morning, the Saturday market at the Munster Platz was busy.  Delightful.

But it reminds me, too, that our HomeExchanges where we're able to walk to shop for groceries or to the farmer's market, and be close to town -- and to experience the feeling of living in this place -- are really magic.

And it reminds me that I can actually walk to grocery stores at home in Asheville that are closer than the ones here!  I came back from Stockholm over a year ago thinking "I can walk to the grocery store" - a 8-10 minute walk- after walking 6-10 miles each day in Stockholm.  But having heavy bags quickly persuaded me back to my driving habits.  Here, both grocery stores that I've frequented so far don't have easy parking, not have I driven our HomeExchange partner's car yet, so daily short visits make the most sense. And it's easy to buy milk, coffee, etc.  just a block down the street.

But, more essentially, it's wonderful to come back to a vibrant university town, which, where history has been preserved and restored, seems familiar yet unfamiliar.  I came into town, years ago, from the opposite side of the Altstadt from where our HomeExchange apartment is located.  I've just in the last couple of days walked around a bit of the university area.

Back then, I walked ten minutes and took a bus into town, then walked to where my language classes at the Goethe Institute were held.  In the afternoons, I'd poke around the old city of Freiburg (uh, and practice my German!)

My favorite place was the robust vegetable, fruit, and produce market around the Munster.  It was amazing to me as a young post-graduate student, and remarkable still.

Artichokes, with and without flowers

Cut flowers for sale