Monday 15 November 2010

The final leg of a short journey

If you have too much money and feel like wanting to waste a bit of it, you should fly via Stuttgart airport and have a breakfast. We paid Euro 26.65 (£22.54) for

2 small luke-warm cappuccinos,
1 small bottle of water
5 buttered Brezels
1 croissant
1 smoothie

The Brezel however, although overpriced, was delicious and we don't regret having taken a few for home as well.

Now we are at the gate already and my computer decided to restart itself without letting me save. Grrr... and no… I am not grumpy, just a bit tired. That's the thing with those early bird flights - ours is at 6:40. Again, we wanted to play it safe and went to the airport hotel the night before and because they had it a bit reduced we decided to go for the name: Moevenpick has a reputation and it is just across the street from the airport, as opposed to the one we stayed on our way in. Turns out: This one is a bit of a weird place, too. Nothing is essentially wrong with it, but it doesn’t feel quite right either. The ambiance is not to my liking – oh, well that is fair enough, but they do everything to appear posh and I just find it pompous. And then we had the oddest of rooms so far. They may not do this for twin rooms, but our double had a glass wall to the bathroom, the loo had a frosted glass swing door with a hole instead a knob. I am not squeamish, but a girl sometimes needs a bit of privacy, don’t you think? ... and I don't know either why the rail for the towel is IN the shower, but that might be just me...

Additionally, it is somewhat interesting to see that apparently it is posh to have blue light in the bathroom. This time it was the loo cubicle that had it.

And of course they are charging a fortune for a small bottle of water which can’t be closed again and hence not be taken away.

We however figured that the whole effort of getting to the airport the night before an early flight was not needed. The airport is only a 25 minutes, very straight forward drive from Tuebingen. So next time we may just stay in our lovely Hotel Domizil for an additional night.

The flight was pleasant, as I slept through it... and at the airport we got picked up by our dear Paul from PBTravel, who since forever is our first choice for airport travel. After an exciting weekend and a short night sleep it is the perfect end to a trip when being chauffeured to the front door.

Then we found the cats happy, the cat sitter still in one piece, and all is good!

Saturday 13 November 2010

Tuebingen 2010 ... and still lovely!

Sitting at breakfast and having swans cruising in front of the window… how would that be for starters into a weekend off from home?

I have been in Tuebingen several times before but never in this style. Flight to Stuttgart, car at the airport – we took a detour via Lake Constance which cost us about four hours of driving – but one can estimate a drive of approximately 30 minutes and there you are.

We are staying at Hotel Domizil this time and, oh boy, is it lovely! Bang in the middle of town at the river Neckar – hence the swans – with beautifully decorated rooms of decent size, wifi – ask at front desk for login, nice bathroom, all very clean and absolutely silent. We didn’t hear a single thing all night. Brilliant! It comes with a parking garage (extra 10 Euros per day) a few foot down the street, although it now turned out that one doesn’t really need a car here, everything town is in walking distance. For this trip we had planned for this detour so the car made sense, but it is already decided that next time we just might hop onto the train from Stuttgart which needs an hour or so.

And there will be a next time, not only because our friends live here. This is just a very nice place to be, dropping the mind into holiday mode rather instantly. Detlef hadn’t been here in about 12 years and yesterday afternoon we got stuck in traffic jam on our journey, were tired from a horrible hotel night in Stuttgart and altogether a bit grumpy. So we decided to have a stroll through town to find one of those sweet little coffee places for a boost of caffeine and surely for the fantastic cakes. Once we entered those small uphill streets which lead to the church and market places, my rather technology minded husband couldn’t help but say: This town makes up for every traffic jam and fatigue, it’s just so worth it being here! Believe me, this means something.

I can highly recommend it as a destination for a long weekend! Lake Constance is two hours drive away – really worth a trip, Ulm and the most beautiful countryside of Swabia Alb and Black Forrest are just around the corner. Tuebingen is a university town, so it wonderfully combines old architecture, culture, a vibrant shop scenes and fantastic food. What else to wish for?

Chocolate! From 30th November to 5th December 2010, 70 stalls with chocolates will guide the visitor through a path of chocolate delights, or what about the Christmas market from 10th to 12th December?

I would love to hear your impressions from this – and other – German locations which you really fell in love with. Send me your stories!

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Tuebingen, lovely town in Germany

Tuebingen is the most gorgeous little town located in the South-West of Germany. It has a University since the 14th century - yep, learned that on a guided tour and even remember it - it is set in the beautiful landscape of the Swabian Alb and it never fails to surprise me.

View Map

My friends had organised a guided tour - the best one I ever had - the guy was very witty and knew the slang spoken in this area very well.

So we got to listen to a lot of little anecdotes arising from the social make-up of the old town.

On one hand there were the professors and wives, very sophisticated and well spoken and on the other the working people, either working for them or not really wanting to have anything to do with the upper classes and the attached snobbism.

A great way to learn more about the history of a town. And one still can see the differences in the kinds of houses today.

Of course Tuebingen has a modern part like any other town in Germany and England, but the old part is just wonderfully picturesque.

And like any good German town there is an Italian ice-cream maker.

Tuebingen is not the best of all wine areas - an old saying goes: 'The thirst makes it go down and the stinginess keeps it there!'

However in the meantime there are a few decent, fresh wines which go very well with a lunch meal.

And so we went for a wine tasting after the tour.

If you ever were in the region, ask where you can taste a 'Schiller'. It's the fresh cold orange one.

Red and white grapes are mixed right from the beginning and give the wine a very nice flavour. Although, the whole experience was almost a bit fatal for me. Not being used to alcohol and not having a lot to eat was not a perfect combination. Luckily my friend got hold of some 'Brezel', another speciality of the area.

People think that the best Brezel come from Bavaria, but that is not true. Tuebingen's bakeries are the best I have found so far, not just in regard to the bendy pastries.

After the joyful experience we strolled a bit more through town edging our way closer to the area of the river Neckar where my friends have a punt. Yes, like in Cambridge the Neckar allows for punting.

And here I proudly announce: I made the acid test. The river Neckar is split into two arms and before they merges back together there is a small gap connecting the two arms right before the column of a bridge.

From the streaming of the water the other side is very sandy and if the boat gets stuck one has to get into the water and lift it out. Well, what can I say: I passed with honours!

punting girls

The views are just stunning and the wildlife is manifold. We even saw a heron flying between all the boats.

To see more pictures please have a look at the gallery. Unfortunately I only can give you a hint of the beauty of this town. I promised myself to go back there for a photo trip. There are so many more things to discover.