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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Nelson

Unser neuer Freund, Dr. Wolf-Dieter Winkler

Döner Count: 5

Hopping on our best friend, the S-Bahn, we were able to use the bus transportation services today. The pass we have for the entire month covers almost every form of transportation throughout Freiburg and the surrounding area. We used the train a few days ago to visit Titisee, but today we took the chance to hop on it to visit a different side of town: the East Side.

White Girl Coffee

White Girl Coffee at Titisee

When we started venturing over to this unknown portion, there was a central city feel. All the apartments were immediately next to each other, the garages had doors in them in order to save space for the front door,  and the streets were narrower. I’m basically describing any urban city in Europe, but the concept remains the same. Here we are, with tiny cars lining the streets, foreign speakers roaming the streets (with small parts of conversation that I can pick up), and all portions of land accounted for and kept in check. I really appreciate the way it’s all mapped out here. Everything has a purpose.

As soon as we approached Dr. Winkler’s office, Dr. Grollman told us that his office was actually his apartment. So, we had the chance to visit another German home. In this case, it was several levels rather than what Frau Schubert had. It looked like one of my favorite types of homes, small staircase that leads to the door slightly above the street level, buzzer found right by the door, three to fives stories tall, all with a siding that reminds me of a comfortable chair, a chair that you just want to stay in for the night ignoring the doorbell ringing.

What does that even mean?

Anyway, we had the chance to meet Dr. Winkler after he took us up to the uppermost level of his apartment, fully decked out with a balcony/patio furniture set, a lounge area to one side, and a table on the other side for meeting larger groups like ourselves. Behind the white table clothed table there was a rack of alcohol. There was an oversized amount of alcohol that I couldn’t take my mind off of the first few minutes we were there. It was next to a cabinet full of china sets and many different types of glasses for many different types of alcohol, that filled up the entire table next to it. This was an incredible amount of alcohol and I was so confused.

I understand that alcohol is a form of congregation, a relaxing set of tacit rules that bring closer together a set of friends and colleagues, but why was such a large set of alcohol financially sacrificed for social gain? A type of power it held? A kind of boundary-crashing social lubricant? A noted detail, at best.

His English was fairly broken, but the fact that he was tackling fairly difficult concepts in a language not his own was well mastered. I immediately started thinking of the similar challenges that we faced yesterday with Frau Schubert, but they both turned out to be understanding that there was a barrier. When Dr. Winkler chatted about the different policies in effect, my classmates really lit up. It pleased me. Partially because I just don’t know what I’m talking about, I just decided to let them take the reigns of the conversation and I tried as best I could to make them continue to ask questions. It was interesting to talk with him about the different policies in effect in Freiburg, but there was a common theme that approached from yesterday’s conversation and today.

It sounded like both politicians don’t like the idea of making Freiburg larger. There seems to be a sort of opposition to urban sprawl here in many different facets. Yesterday, Frau Schubert talked about how the growth of the city should happen from within. There shouldn’t be any more

growth outside the already made borders because it would improve living situations within the city without having to add more population. This would also create a stronger transportation system within the city borders rather than generating a larger route for the transits already put into place. Winkler basically restated the same frame of mind, when we visited him today. He was opposed to the sprawl because it would provoke to many people to live near the outskirts of the city. I remember him saying something similar like Frau Schubert, but was interested in more of the others that are moving to live in Freiburg from cities that are already developed. I forget which cities he used as examples, but it was a position that took some listening to truly understand. He wants the city to grow on its own, within its own, before it welcomes others into the city. This way, it would promote more sustainable actions for current residents and others would take notice to the actions that would affect them for the future. Winkler also articulated that there are smaller villages that remain vacant, several smaller cities that need people to live in and run the stores, the markets, and the town. With the furthering of urban sprawl, this would bring larger groups of families to move into the city and halt the growth of rural villages.

After I took a nap, we had our first and only afternoon class, which was harder to get through than I thought. Afternoon things are just harder to do in general if you have no steam for them. Granted, the reading is progressively getting more difficult for me to understand that the discussion of it was also getting difficult.

We left his house and walked all the way to the Innenstadt, which only took about fifteen minutes. It was really nice to walk through the neighborhoods and see a new side of town. On to the next journey!

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