G3VGR QUERWEG         Freiburg – Buchenbach     

My Querweg trip started with the 09:30 flight from Heathrow to Zurich on Monday 15th June. On arrival at Zurich Airport, I went downstairs to the railway station under the terminal and caught an Intercity train to Basel, followed by one of the excellent ICE trains to Freiburg. My hotel, the StayInn Freiburg Gãstehaus was conveniently located behind the Hauptbahnhof and I checked in at 4PM. Freiburg is a fine old university city and a pleasant place to enjoy a summer evening. The weather, although very warm, was overcast with occasional showers. After wandering the old cobbled streets of the Altstadt, I stumbled across the Hausbrauerei Feierling and was able to sit outdoors in their large biergarten sampling their fine product.   Next morning, I was disappointed to look out the window and see it was a dull overcast morning. After breakfast at a local baker's shop, I completed some errands (including buying some Kirschwasser for my hip flask) and made my way through the picturesque Altstadt. Market stalls were being set up, many selling flowers, as I crossed through the historic Münsterplatz on my way to the Schwabentor, one of the two remaining city gates of the medieval defensive wall of Freiburg.

Opposite the Schwabentor I found the marker which indicates the start of the Querweg (and the Kandelhöhenweg). From here, I began my 180Km Querweg trek by walking up the Schlossberg, the large hill which overlooks Freiburg from the east. It was a steep ascent up a zig-zag path to the Kanonenplatz where I hoped to be rewarded with impressive panoramic views, but due to the low cloud and mist, I saw little. To the west is a view over all of Freiburg towards the Vosges in the distance, but I could only see as far as the Altstadt. To the east I could see into the Dreisamtal, the valley which I would be following today. From the Kanonenplatz, a wide path lead me directly into the Schwarzwald. Walking uphill through big trees in an eerie mist was reminiscent of an old Hammer horror film. A few mountain bikers and some rather unfit joggers were about. On reaching the Sieben Linden, the Querweg parted company with the Kandelhöhenweg, the latter heading north to the Rossberg while I continued eastwards along the Vogelsangweg, a nice narrow path winding through the trees. The path also crossed over a long solid wooden bridge made from a 40m length of Douglas Fir tree as I made my way onwards and upwards to the Chapel of St. Otillien, one of the oldest pilgrimage destinations in Germany. The interior of the chapel is very impressive, especially the beautiful frescoes. A door led down some steps to the crypt where I could hear the sound of water from a cave behind a barred gate. After leaving the chapel, another 15 minutes walk steeply uphill along a narrow path brought me to the pretty St. Wendelin Chapel. This little chapel was built on the Rosskopf, a rocky spur which is the highest point of this stage.

From the chapel, the trail now went about 2Km downhill through the forest following the Welchentalbach until reaching a barbecue hut in Welchental. It was now warm and humid as the weather tried to brighten up a little. Disappointingly, the trail now continued along tarmac (ugh!) roads, skirting the edge of the forest. The valley is quite wide here and is farmed intensively. It is a pleasant setting with the cultivated fields contrasting well with the surrounding forested hills. After about 4Km of pounding my feet on the hard surface, passing a few farms, I reached the village of Stegen and stopped for lunch at a bakery-cafe. As I was trudging along the main road out of Stegen, a sign showed Kirchzarten to be only 1Km away and I seriously considered ending the torture by tarmac early. Instead, I carried on for another hour along more tarmac roads through the villages of Oberbirken and Burg. The weather now changed to a constant drizzle, which continued until reaching the end of the day's stage at Buchenbach around 1pm.

Although there are a couple of guesthouses in Buchenbach, I had no wish to spend the night there, so walked to Himmelreich station and caught the Höllentalbahn to Hinterzarten, the next stop. This is an interesting ride as the train climbs a steep gradient (5.5%) and crosses over the Ravennaschlucht on its way to Hinterzarten. From Hinterzarten Bahnhof, it was a short walk to the Hotel Imbery where I had reserved a room for 2 nights. I had stayed in this excellent hotel twice before and Hinterzarten is a pleasant village with a relaxed atmosphere, so I was pleased to return. It was raining for most of the afternoon, so I spent most time in the Kurhaus. Although the Imbery has an excellent restaurant, I decided to have dinner at the cozy s'Pfännle to enjoy the gemütlichkeit. Reflecting on today's walk, I wasn't overly impressed with the Querweg so far, due to the excessive (to me) amount of road walking on the second half of the day's stage.

Freiburg Rathaus

Schwabenbrücke leading to Querweg
Start of the Querweg

View from Kanonenplatz over foggy Freiburg

View eastwards from Kanonenplatz over Dreisamtal

Trail leading from Kanonenplatz into the Schwarzwald

Sieben Linden

Solid wooden bridge, 40 metres long

The beautiful chapel of St.Otillien

Radon spring in crypt of St.Otillien

The pretty little chapel of St. Wendelin

Hard tarmac walking from Ebnet

View back to Stegen

Small chapel in the small village of Burg

More tarmac leading to the end of today's stage

Rustic Barn near Buchenbach

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