A few days after turning 29, it suddenly hit me that what I had just celebrated was my last ever birthday in my 20s and that, in less than a year, I would be hitting the big 3-0 still childless, unmarried and with no real idea of where my life is going.
After panicking/feeling sorry for myself for a while, I decided I needed to set myself a challenge so that, when the evil birthday did arrive, I would be able to feel like I’d actually achieved something. And so the idea of visiting 30 German towns before my 30th birthday was born.
The rules, according to me (and it’s my challenge so what I say goes), are that I can include places I have been in the past, but only if I have actual photographic evidence of them and can remember enough of what I did there to be able to write a blog post about my trip. This was mainly to exclude the places I visited while on a tour of Europe with my grandparents, aged 17, which did include Germany but two weeks of visiting various places for at most a day (and in the majority of cases only for a few hours) means I have no idea of what I saw where and can’t even remember which places we went to (other than Berlin, Cologne and Hameln).
To count towards the challenge, each place has to be mentioned in a blog post, so expect a few flashback posts before August!
Here’s what I have so far (click the place names to see what I wrote about them):
- Schwäbisch Hall
- Weil der Stadt
- Rhodt unter Rietburg
- Bad Dürkheim
- Berlin (and Berlin part 2)
- Frankfurt am Main
- Baden Baden (Panoramaweg)
- Bad Wimpfen
- Horb am Neckar
I also went to the following places in Germany before I turned 30, but wasn’t able to include them in the series, either because I had no (or not enough) photos or because I went to one specific place there – such as the zoo – so I didn’t actually see anything of the town itself.
1. Nuremberg – I went here with the “International club” during my year abroad. Sadly, almost all of the photos from my first semester were “lost” from my dad’s girlfriend’s computer… all I have left are the few that I hadn’t yet deleted from my memory card. About 3 photos remain from my trip to Nuremberg…
2. Göttingen – The first time I went to Göttingen, it was because the train Jan and I were supposed to change onto had already left, so we decided to go Christmas shopping and take a later train to his dad’s place. I’ve since been there two more times – for a seminar and for a christening – but didn’t take photos on either occasion.
3. Bruchsal – I’ve been to the castle twice but haven’t seen anything of the rest of the town! This is the castle, for those who are interested:
4. Cologne – Twice with my school German exchange, once on a trip with university and then once more in 2009 for a seminar. Sadly, I have next to no photos.
5. Speyer – Another trip with the international club during my year abroad. I have no idea where the photos from this trip have got to – probably on a CD somewhere at my dad’s.
6. Hannover (zoo only) – In 2006, I went to Hannover zoo for the day with Jan’s family… but I’ve never seen anything of Hannover itself! Here’s a picture of us feedling honey to Lorrikeets:
7. Reutlingen – For a job interview. Needless to say, I didn’t take any photos. From what little I saw it seemed like a nice town though.
8. Ludwigshafen – Jan and I went to the Ebert Park for an English picnic, and I also went there on several occasions for work. Not a pretty town, but the park was quite nice.
9. Landau – I’ve stopped here for a meal twice, either on the way to or back from another place, but I’ve yet to “properly” visit the town.
10. Germersheim – For the university’s summer fest. I went because an ex-colleague who now lives in Luxembourg was visiting and planned on being there. I’ve seen the university and the route from there to the train station.
11. Lindau – This was the “German” stop on the four countries, four beers tour I took part in while living in Austria. Going to a pub isn’t quite enough to include it in the 30 towns before 30 list 😉
12. Stuttgart – Every time I went here, it was either for Canstatter Wasen or the Frühlingsfest (both are like smaller versions of Oktoberfest). On one occasion, we decided to have a look at the town as well. I took precisely two photos… because there was literally nothing else worth taking a photo of. Probably my least favourite place in Germany.
13. Ludwigsburg – But only the castle gardens! We stopped there on the way back from somewhere else and spent at least an hour wandering through the huge gardens behind the palace, which included both an aviary and a “fairytale forest”. I saw literally nothing of the rest of Ludwigsburg though!