Altstadt Magic

Trip Start Oct 18, 2012
Trip End Dec 14, 2015

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Flag of Germany  , Baden-Württemberg,
Saturday, April 6, 2013

Howdy folks,

We woke up nice and early at 7am to say goodbye to Martina as she headed off to lacrosse and got all our gear back into the car. It was pretty cold and we headed into the city to get a coffee and breakfast. On the edge of town we stopped at one of the many bakery-cafes they have here in Germany. You can't get a meat pie, sausage roll or lamington, but the chocolate crossaints or mini pizzas normally aren't bad!

Nothing was open until 10am, so we decided to go for a walk down to the river. Near the information centre is a spot where the Neckar River splits around an island and has the picture perfect shot of a row of coloured buildings. I think just about every tourist takes a photo there so I did the same and we walked along the island which has a nice row of plane trees.

Tübingen like many German towns has an Altstadt which is the historical heart of the city and this one wasn't bombed during the war leaving it relatively intact. Tübingen feels similar to Heidelberg in a way because they are both university towns on the river and both have a schloss. Schloss Hohentübingen sits above the Altstadt on the northern side of the river, so we had to climb a few steps to get to the top. The schloss like many similar has a long history of being built, destroyed in wars and rebuilt so some structure or another has been on that hill for the better part of a 1000 years. While not as impressive as Heidelberg, it holds good views over the city (when the weather is good!)

The only thing I know is that Steffie said they have a lot of bats in the cellar during the winter! The inner courtyard was pretty plain, but the outer and inner gates were nice. The road leading up to the schloss is pretty steep and the cars parked at the nearby hotel seemed to be held with glue: hopefully their handbrakes are good! The Altstadt itself was a winding network of cobblestone streets and old style timber houses and the main Stiftskirche St Georg was completely empty of people which was a bit strange.

The Marktplatz was quite nice which the beautiful Rathaus and surrounding cafes and buildings. Out the front of the Rathaus is a fountain with Neptune holding his trident. Sadly there were no souvenir pins to be found and we made our way back through the city to the car. It was a 155km drive back home and I had a go driving on the Autobahn. There are a few rules you need to know about Autobahn driving.

Firstly, keep right unless overtaking - there are usually only two or three lanes in each direction and the worst thing you can do is hold up traffic. Secondly, if you need to overtake do it quickly - the normal speed limit is 120kms an hour, but there are sections without restrictions so cars can come up pretty quickly. Finally, be ready for traffic jams - as good as the Autobahns are in Germany there are frequent traffic jams or Staus and they can come up without warning. Decelerating from 120kms to 50kms takes a while and you have to put on your hazards if you come across an unexpected one so that you don't get rear ended.

I'm still not used to driving in these conditions so I have to concentrate a lot, but for the locals thats just the way it is!
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