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Windows Live Local recently added bird's-eye coverage of some German cities, so I thought I'd collect some images similar to my sprawl threads. But this time I'm gonna go a step further and turn them all into a little "tour," complete with story line. ;)

Most of the time when people show pictures of their cities, they like to show just the scenic, notable or nice areas. What I' will try to do with these threads is show a bit of everything - nice, not nice, and mundane - so that those of us who've never been to Germany get a real good sense of what these cities are like.

Here's the itinerary for the entire tour:

1. Freiburg
2. Offenburg
3. Karlsruhe
4. Mannheim
5. Heilbronn
6. Stuttgart
7. Ulm
8. Augsburg
9. Munich
10. Nuremburg
11. Bamberg
12. Erfrut
13. Welmar
14. Jena
15. Gera
16. Chemnitz
17. Dresden
18. Leipzig
19. Halle
20. Dessau
21. Magdeburg
22. Wolfsburg



Location of photos

To begin my journey I boarded a Lufthansa 747 at SeaTac, and after a layover at O'Hare, I headed to Frankfurt.

At Frankfurt I switched planes and got on a small aircraft headed south to Freiburg. Once at Freiburg I would meet up with my friends Hans and Franz, whom I met years ago while they were visiting Seattle. The three of us would then head out on our train trip. We've been planning this for years!

Here's Han and Franz!

1. Here's the Freiburg airport where my small craft landed. It was a great airport - no lines, and no baggage claim!

2. After we dropped my stuff off at their apartment, we went downtown to tour all the tourist spots

3. Beautiful!

4. We walked along the streets and passed on a bridge that goes over a cute little stream.

5. More loveliness!

6. After walking downtown for a bit, we went back to their apartment to eat and pick up the car. On the way back through town we stopped here to get gas.

7. And then toured more of the old parts of the city by car. The vineyards on the hillsides were spectacular!

8. More vineyards on the hills, in back of houses and apartments. I bet these people get drunk all the time!

9. There was a heat wave, so by the end of the day we decided to go for a quick swim.

10. Afterwards we showered, and for dinner ate with Hans' parents, who lived in the house with the orange roof.

11. The next day I asked Hans and Franz, "Surely not all of Freiburg is old! Can we see some modern stuff, just for the heck of it?" So we got in Frans' car and drove through some of the modern sections.

12. More modern stuff. I would have gotten a bit worried if the entire place was nothing but fairytale buildings!

13. Highrises! They're even a bit ugly (phew!)

14. We then drove through the outskirts of town.

15. And hit a bit of the countryside.

16. On the way back, we drove through some really boring commercial/industrial areas north of the city.

17. And near the south end of town drove through some newer development. I just loved how the fields directly abutted the city!

18. Many of the outlying neighborhoods or villages were themselves quite cute, even though they weren't neccessarily old.

19. Unfortunately I don't think there's such a thing as a "cute" industrial area.

20. More cute, newer houses. Many of these were actually duplexes or quadroplexes. I also became aware at how many newer dwellings had solar panels on their roofs. They should do this in California and Arizona!

21. There was also an assortment of institutional-looking buildings.

22. And some other neighborhoods that were sort-of quaint, but not as quaint as the Medival town center.

23. Some really boring apartments, and some other institutional-looking building.

24. Lovely - a strip shopping center! I felt right at home here, it was just like America! We ate dinner at a restaurant here.

25. The next day was a Sunday. We went to church here. Hans and Franz lived in the apartment on the right-hand side of the picture - the one with the orange roof.

26. It was almost a shame they didn't live in one of the top floors of this apartment, the views would have been spectacular!

27. Here's what these newer-but-nice neighborhoods look like up close. More solar panels on the roofs!

28. And then we made our way back towards the center of town, passing through some older stuff yet again.

29. I forgot to ask what this was, but I just loved the orange roof!

30. Not everything had an orange roof, of course. Some new units were being constructed here.

31. By the end of Sunday we began contemplating the rest of our journey. Our train was to leave in 2 days.

32. But there was still more of Freiburg I wanted to see. The next day was hot again, so just before lunch we decided to go swimming in another public pool.

33. But first Franz had to stop by work to tie up some loose ends before his vacation. He worked in the building with the blue roof.

34. While Franz was doing his stuff at work, me and Hans decided to drive around a little more.

35. He showed me the last apartment he lived in, which was in this complex here.

36. He also showed me these cute little garden plots that many Germans like to spend their time on. I also marvelled once again at the vineyards on the hillside.

37. Afterwards we had to get gas again.

38. And then Hans showed me Freiburg's biggest industry (I forget what this thing made, it was some factory).

39. One more pass through the center of town

And then another quick drive through the countryside a ways north of town (off the map). At 6pm we picked up Franz from work and ate with Hans' parents again.

40. The next morning, it was time for us to go downtown to the train station . . .

. . . and head to Offenburg to begin our trip!
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