This blog follows my travels throughout Stuttgart, Ulm, Munich, and to Berlin. Enjoy!
Stuttgart to Ulm. A leisurely morning of coffee and wandering in Stuttgart led to a spontaneous drive to Ulm, to visit the world’s tallest church. Ulm is a nice hour drive to the southeast of Stuttgart, with quaint towns and wind turbine towers dotting the landscape. Arriving late in the afternoon to Ulm, we found ourselves racing the clock to arrive at the Ulmer Münster before it closed for the evening. Hurriedly parking the car and rushing to the church we made it right as they were closing – the receptionest let us be the last people up the 768 steps to the top. I never labeled myself as a person afraid of heights, but this was a challenge for me! With nothing but ancient stone and morter between me and the 143 metres (469 ft) below, I found myself quite shaky and in a cold sweat. The view was worth the grueling climb though, and the church itself had some of the most beautiful craftsmanship I have ever seen. After our decent, we found ourselves once again getting lost in the city, but for real this time. We were in such a hurry to get to the church we not only lost track of our parking pass, but the car park we were in as well. After my grumbling and asking for directions, we eventually found the car and the parking ticket…in my back pocket. We took a short drive back to Stuttgart, with plans to head to Munich early the next morning.
Stuttgart to Munich. Munich is one of the most well known cities in Germany and a must on my list. Conveniently my planning landed us in Munich on the opening night of Oktoberfest! Though Oktoberfest is extremely popular for tourists and for the city itself, I was more interested in some of the other attractions Munich had to offer. While wondering the main center and streets of Munich we stopped at the Neue Pinakothek – with the highlights being Monet’s Nympheas, and van Gogh’s Sunflowers, (I saw the third version: blue green background Oil on canvas, 91 × 72 cm).
The next adventure was seeking out a city ‘secret’ – river surfing. Right in metropolitan Munich, there are waves on a tributary of the River Isar (Eisbach, meaning ‘Ice-River’) that people actually surf on. Apparently, the river is actually as cold as the name, and all of the surfers wear full body wetsuits, and some even wear water shoes as well. You will not find this mentioned in many tourist books or even advertised, as the city tries to keep this controversial activity off the radar – luckily my German friend knew about the spot
Wandering back to the main square, my friend’s father suggested a ‘traditional’ restaurant. Unfortunately, it was peak tourist time, and the quality of the food and atmosphere were lacking; regardless, we made light of the situation and tried to sympathize with the poor man playing traditional German music on the organ while pausing to take pictures with eager tourists. Surrounded by gaudy decorations, waiters in lederhosen, and waitresses wearing dirndl dresses and worn-out expressions, I knew it was time to go.
Stuttgart to Berlin. My friend helped me arrange a ride using Mitfahrgelegenheit.de - an internet ride sharing network in Germany. It is really useful and easier on the budget than taking the trains. Due to the fact that I speak no German, my friend proved more valuable than his weight in gold as he arranged a ride for me to Berlin for only 30 Euros! If I would have taken the train from Stuttgart it would have been over 100 Euros! My last morning in Stuttgart was relaxing, with coffee, a light breakfast and some acoustic guitar (compliments of my aspiring friend). We headed over to the the Stuttgart Main train station to meet my ride. With my backpack, a chocolate bar, some macadamia nuts, and two sticks of traditional German jerky, I was ready to embark on a 6 hour adventure to Berlin, in a car with complete strangers, who spoke minimal English! Quite the way to begin a journey!
Join me next week as I explore the capital city of Germany, Berlin!
Auf Wiedersehen! Kassidy