If Tübingen was a girl, I would have asked for her hand in marriage. Never have I seen such a pretty town so full of energy and character.
Tübingen is a historic university town in SouthWest Germany, the common name for the state of Baden-Württemberg; the student population of 23,000 adds to its spirit. I was lucky to be visiting on one of the most vibrant days of the year, as you will read further. Join me for a day in Tübingen.
LET’S GO PUNTING
My trip started with a boat ride, or a punt, on the Neckar river. Lined with walking trails and trees on one side, and beautiful buildings on the other, there is no better mood setting than this idyllic ride. The play of colours and shadows in the water, the cool breeze, the voice of the boatman-cum-guide, the chirping of birds and the gentle ripples in the water are all that my senses needed. I was taking pictures with my mobile and DSLR but it was one of those moments when I wanted no gadgets with me.
WALKING THE STREETS
You will be hard-pressed to find a level street in Tübingen; the whole town seems to have built on a hilly terrain. The town is best explored on foot – it is small enough to be covered walking mostly. The cobbled streets take you through academic blocks, palaces, churches, the city hall, shops, eateries and more. You will often find yourself back to spots you crossed earlier but that adds to the charm of the exploration.
I was lucky that my visit coincided with the entertaining Umbrian-Provençal Market; this street market is put together annually by trades and crafts people of the twin towns of Aix-en-Provence in France and Perugia in Italy. Most of the streets in the town centre were lined with mom-and-pop shops, wine outlets, cake and coffee stalls, foods of the participating regions and entertainment. Bands would be walking around, and I couldn’t help shaking a leg or two myself.
BEBENHAUSEN MONASTERY AND PALACE
I must thank my guide for strongly recommending a visit to Bebenhausen Monastery and Palace, a short bus ride from the town centre, nestled in the gently rolling hills of the Schönbuch Nature Reserve.
Bebenhausen Monastery is one of the best-preserved Cistercian abbeys in southern Germany. Founded between 1180 and 1183 by Rudolf, Count Palatine of Tübingen, the abbey was taken over by Cistercians a few years later – and promptly developed into one of the wealthiest monasteries in the region. After the Reformation swept through in 1534, and a boarding school was established in 1560, the number of monks dwindled, until the monastery was finally dissolved in 1648.
The abbey’s idyllic woodland setting also appealed to the kings of Württemberg. Bebenhausen passed into their possession in 1807, when much church property was officially annexed by German states. From 1868, parts of the monastery complex were converted into a royal hunting palace, which became a favourite venue for the monarchs and their entourages.
For more visit http://www.kloster-bebenhausen.de