I missed another week of posting, so this one will cover the past two weeks! And what an eventful two weeks they’ve been. We had a number of Canadian visitors in Reutlingen, including Ryan Drew, Amy Frost-Wicks, Anna Frankfurt, and Nick Scott. Ryan and Amy were the first to arrive, late on April 26th. Anna and her friend Kyla MacDonald arrived on April 30, and Nick arrived late on May 1st. It was a full house for a few days, but then people left intermittently, with Anna and Kyla leaving first, then Ryan and Amy, then Nick. It was great to see friends from Canada again, and we crammed a lot of activities into the days that they were here.
The first big trip we made was on Saturday (April 28), when we drove to the Neuschwanstein castle. It’s famous for being the “inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.” (Wikipedia) Honestly it was a little underwhelming in person, but still super interesting to see. Also, when we arrived there, the line to buy tickets to get into the actual castle stretched out the building and down the street for about 50 meters, so we decided not to waste an hour of our time waiting to buy one, and just saw the outside of the castle. The Marienbrücke (a bridge nearby) is apparently the best place to get a view of the castle, but it was closed for renovations. We still got our fair share of amazing views though, as you’ll see below.
After seeing the castle, we headed up the nearby hills to hike on some trails. These were just as impressive as the castle, and way less crowded (we didn’t cross paths with a single other person).
Interesting fact about the above picture: that smaller, yellow Hohenschwangau castle was (to my understanding) for the son of the original owner of the larger Neuschwanstein castle.
We thought about trying to take a full group picture with the Canadian flag, but the trail was really narrow at that point and the drop was pretty steep. Selfies can be dangerous, and we wanted no part of that.
After hiking, we went to the nearest fairly large town, Füssen. We didn’t have any expectations of what we were going to find, and it’s safe to say we were pleasantly surprised. There was an art museum we got to explore, and a clock tower with some bizarre 3D paint on it (I’m realizing I didn’t take a picture of it but a quick Google search gives better pictures than I probably could have gotten). At first we thought it was a recent, cheesy style of painting, but apparently it’s a legitimate historical technique that has been used there for hundreds of years!
After a long day of adventuring, I was very grateful when Amy offered to cook supper.
On Sunday we went to the region known as The Black Forest; “a large forested mountain range in the state of Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany.” I’d heard that it’s a pretty great place for hiking, which was one of our main goals for the day.
I thought it would be cool to go on a cable car that went up a mountain in the Black Forest, and we found the Schauinslandbahn after some searching.
After going up, hiking a little, and going back down the cable car, we wanted to check out a different, less busy hiking trail. Thanks to Google Maps, we found one nearby that was almost directly off of the highway we had been driving on. There turned out to be a small historical community at the start of the trail, with some interesting shops and a hotel. I was impressed by the local glassworks shop, which apparently has a strong historical connection to the Black Forest.
Black Forest Glass
Hiking in the Black Forest
After spending some time in the little community, we started out on the trail.
During our drive through the Black Forest area, one of the major highways was closed, and we got re-routed onto a small country road. It took us by this dam, so naturally we stopped to get out and get a closer view!
Another destination we wanted to get to in the Black Forest was Triberg, a small town known for its cuckoo clocks and waterfalls. We planned things so we would be driving back to Reutlingen in a direction that would take us past Triberg anyways, so it was one of the last stops on our Black Forest adventure.
Triberg Cuckoo Clock
We walked around Triberg for a while, and saw on a map that the biggest cuckoo clock in the world was just outside the town. So as we were driving out of the town, we eventually found our way to it after making a wrong turn or two.
Of course, because we rented a car, that meant that I got to drive on the Autobahn! To be honest, I wasn’t sure if we were even on the Autobahn at first, but after looking at a map online, I can confirm we definitely were. It was pretty cool to be on a highway where you can be driving 130 km/h and still get passed (quite often actually). I felt very safe despite the high speeds, and the drivers I saw were all very respectful. The only slightly nerve-wracking part of the drive was on Sunday when we were exploring the Black Forest. There was a fairly narrow hillside road that we got re-routed on to because of a section of the main highway being under construction, and I thought it was a one way road for a couple minutes, until we saw another car approaching us. There wasn’t a ton of room on either side, but there were intermittent spots to pull over on the road to let cars coming towards you pass, which was nice. This was also where we saw the dam, so overall it was a nice little detour.
I had Tuesday (May 1st) off work, so all the Canadians that were here at that point went to Tübingen for the day. I’m getting pretty familiar with the town now, and was able to tour Ryan and Amy around pretty confidently. I hadn’t been up the main tower of the church before though, and since the door was open we made a trip up that.
The highlight of the day had to the punting boat ride that we went on. Every time I had been in Tübingen before, I always saw these boats on the river, and this was the first time I got to go on one. We were all on a boat with about 15 other people, and we had no idea what to expect. After we all climbed into the boat at the dock, we were told to lean back on our back-rests, in order to better distribute the weight of the boat. While everyone was moving around it was slightly unstable, but after that it was perfectly fine. The ride lasted for 55 minutes, and it was a great experience, both relaxing and entertaining.
The best part of the ride was by far our captain. He introduced himself as Claus, and afterwards we learned his full name is Claus Hipp. Throughout the whole ride he was making jokes and was overall just a very entertaining person to listen to. He spoke both German and English, but as the ride went on a fellow passenger who was a little better at English started translating for our benefit, and continued to do so for the entire ride.
After the ride was over, Claus was kind enough to give us a print of one of his own paintings of a punting boat in Tübingen. Later that night we also looked up more information about Claus, and were excited to find out he’s very well known in Tübingen. He has his own website, which makes sense as he runs his own business, where he also puts up pictures he takes of different tours that he has done.
He also described the punt boat races that take place every year in Tübingen, and passed around photos of himself competing in one of the races (the year that his team won).
To see more of the pictures in better quality, and to see what the punt races actually look like, check out the rest of the pictures on his website. It seems like a pretty insane race, and the one this year is on May 31st, so I’m going to try and check it out!
(April 23 - April 29)
Monday - Hour easy.
Tuesday - Biggest workout in a while, and one I hadn’t done before. It was 5 x 1km repeats, with 5, then 4, then 3, then 2, then 1 200m repeats in between the kilometers.
Wednesday - Easy run, really feeling the workout from yesterday.
Thursday - Rest.
Friday - Hour easy.
Saturday - 5k tempo after a day of traveling and exploring.
Sunday - Rest.
(April 30 - May 6)
Monday - Hour easy.
Tuesday - Rest.
Wednesday - Another hour easy.
Thursday - Fartlek that was supposed to be longer. Felt terrible halfway through and stopped.
Friday - Rest.
Saturday - Rest.
Sunday - Not quite a long run, but ran around on the trails for 75 minutes.
I was happy with the runs I managed to fit in during these busy weeks. Most days I was exhausted and didn’t have much energy to put into a quality run, so no complaints about these two weeks. Next week is going to bring more travel, and likely more inconsistent runs, but that’s just the way life goes.
Thanks for reading! The post next week will be late again, but it should be worth the wait (I’m leaving for Morocco this Thursday)!