I live in Vauban, an area south of Freiburg's city center. Out my window, I can see a parking lot between two buildings that I've been told are a "hippie commune." I figure that's a little judgmental, but it's probably close to the truth. The parking lot is full of large vans that people live in.
Last week, Maraia, Ali, and I accidentally walked down the other side of the hill/mountain we were "hiking" on and into another valley. On our walk back to my apartment we ended up walking alongside a protest on Merzhauserstraße, the main street in Vauban. It was a parade of large vans and old delivery trucks moving slowly down the street, blasting music, and stinking up the air with exhaust. The endpoint was the other parking lot between my building and the Straßenbahn track.
I'm not sure what they were protesting, exactly. There were signs about how there should be more Wagenplätze (spaces for vehicles? a parking lot is a Parkplatz) in Freiburg, I guess so more people could park their large vehicles and live in them. That's what made sense to me. They were also against the Green Party, I think, which is odd because Vauban as a neighborhood supports the Green Party. They were looking for areas without laws, I think.
The reason I bring this up, in my convoluted way, is because it sort of relates to the real excitement: there's an article about Vauban and "suburbs without cars" on the front page of the New York Times today*! It's maybe embarrassing to admit this, but I never noticed that Vauban was an area without many cars, at least any more than other parts of Freiburg. I live in the vicinity of two parking lots (although they are mostly occupied by the large, inhabited vehicles that don't usually contribute to traffic) and my building is right off the main street, which is full of cars as well as the Straßenbahn that I love.
I was surprised when I clicked the link for this article and my home showed up. Especially two (?) days after the Style section featured an article on Grosse Pointe, where I grew up, and its 'blues.' I found that article irritating.
(Is it weird that I instinctively wrote "Grosse Pointe and her blues'? 'Pointe' is feminine en français.)
*I saw it online in the early hours of Tuesday in Germany, when it was still Monday at home...and it came up under science, so I figured it was from the science section, which is what I originally wrote here. Several people have told me otherwise. The front page is so exciting!