Allschwil, Basel-Landschaft

Okay, now I’ve finished telling you about New Zealand, it’s about time I recorded my last few outings for #take12trips 2016 (in case you missed it, I’m redoing the take 12 trips challenge).

There are two branches of the Müller drugstore chain in Basel that I know of, and both are equally awkward for me to get to! But sometimes I really want to, because they sell things that I can’t necessarily get at the supermarket (and also their shower gel is cheaper). One of those Müller branches is juuust in Allschwil, a town in the canton of Basel-Landschaft that borders on the Basel-Stadt (the city). (I promise there is a point to this story!). Usually I get there by walking to near the zoo, taking a bus that goes through part of Basel city and then walking for another 15 minutes to cross the border into Allschwil, but one day I decided I was going to walk as far as I could then take a bus the rest of the way. The result was that I ended up on a bus that went through the centre of Allschwil and discovered that it’s actually quite a pretty little town. I knew then that I would have to go there one day with my camera. The opportunity to do so came one day when Jan and I had been to IKEA, which meant I had a day ticket. Jan had a choir practice in the afternoon so I decided to make use of said day ticket and go an explore Allschwil. It was a fairly rainy day, but that actually worked to my advantage – fewer people around to tell me off for taking photos of their houses! (Not that that’s ever happened but I’m always afraid it will!). Here are some photos of the town centre:

I thought there were people standing outside the church, but when I got closer I saw that they weren’t real!

More photos:

Once you get away from the town centre, the buildings become fairly “ordinary” and there isn’t really anything to photograph, but it was worth the trip to see the half-timbered houses photographed. There is also a water tower in Allschwil, about a 25 minute walk from the centre. For the price of 2 CHF you can take a lift up and enjoy a view of Basel, the Black Forest and other surroundings. It’s only open on Sundays and bank holidays though, and my trip to Allschwil was on a Saturday so no water tower for me!

I enjoyed my trip to the centre of Alschwil, but I was left with just one question… why don’t I live in such a pretty house?!

Today I’m linking up to Monday Escapes with My Travel Monkey and Packing My Suitcase.

Packing my Suitcase
Allschwil was my April trip for #take12trips 2016.

A trip to Colmar

Before Jan went to Turkey, he said that when he came back he would hire a car and we could go somewhere for a day trip.  I chose Colmar in Alsace because even after more than 7 years in Germany I still get excited about being able to just pop to France for the day. Colmar, in the Alsace region, is about an hour and 45 minute’s drive from Karlsruhe – perfect for a day trip!

The very first thing we saw when we entered Colmar was a giant Statue of Liberty. The creator of the original statue, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, was born in Colmar and the city put up a huge copy for his 100th birthday. I don’t have a photo, unfortunately – it was standing on a roundabout at the entrance to town and my photography skills aren’t up to taking decent shots from a moving car!

Colmar

Being in Alsace, Colmar has switched hands between Germany and France several times, and the German influence is very much evident in its architecture… half-timbered buildings are everywhere! There were also lots of buildings with wooden shutters – like the one above. Wooden shutters always remind me of Austria. If I ever have a house of my own, I want some of those wooden shutters with little hearts cut out of them!

Here’s the outside of the cathedral. We had a quick look inside, but it wasn’t that impressive and it was very dark, so no photos of the interior. Check out how green the little roof is though!

A canal runs through the entire town, albeit underground for most of the time. There’s one part of town where it flows freely though, and that area is known as Petit Venise, or Little Venice. According to a sign we read, it was christened Little Venice because of the street below, where the entrances to the buildings can only be reached by boat:

Little Venice

Little Venice was my favourite part of Colmar, mostly because of the water. Here are some photos of the Little Venice area:

Walking back from the Little Venice area towards the main part of the old town, we spotted a traditional style carousel. I was half tempted to have a go on it, but didn’t. I did take a photo though.

Carousel

On the way back, we stopped at the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg. The castle was closed (it was evening by now), but the view was nice. Here’s a photo of I have no idea what… Hills mostly, and possibly Strasbourg(?) in the background.

Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg

After that stop, it was time to head home as we both had work the next day. Back in Karlsruhe, we stopped at a petrol station for Jan to fill the car up and I popped into the shop for some frozen pizzas… not having to cook was the perfect end to a lovely day out.

Travel theme: Brown

Ailsa’s travel theme for this week is brown. At first I wasn’t sure where to start with my post, but then I remembered that wood is brown, and given my love of half-timbered houses, it would be a miracle if I didn’t have at least a few photos of wood! Sure enough, I quickly came across this picture:

Ettlingen

It was taken in Ettlingen when two of my friends came to visit me last year.

Then I rediscovered this photo of some wooden figurines in Rhodt unter Riedburg:

Wooden owls

But that’s enough wood… time for some more brown things. Take a look at this mother duck out for a swim with her babies:

Duckies

How many of you said awwww to that one, I wonder?

Sometimes brown comes in more unexpected places – like on this stained glass in Tübingen:

Tübingen stained glass

And finally, a sneak preview of the trip Jan and I took today before I write a proper post on it:

Triberg bird

Brown wooden fence, brown fallen leaves on the ground and a bird with brown on its back. And where was it taken? Triberg in the Black Forest… plenty of brown tree trunks there!

Think you can do better? To join in with the challenge and see how other people have interpreted the theme brown, check out Ailsa’s blog post.

Goslar

Unlike roughly 90% of the other places in my 30 German Towns Before 30 series, Goslar is not in southern Germany! I went there in December 2009. Jan and I were staying at his dad’s for Christmas that year and a girl I’d gone to school with was living in Bad Fallingbostel because her then husband was posted there with the army. We decided such a perfect opportunity to meet up couldn’t be missed, and chose to do so in Goslar because it was roughly half way between where each of us was.

Goslar, viewed from the top of a tower
Goslar, viewed from the top of a tower

Jan was actually born in Goslar, but only because it was the closest hospital to where his parents were living at the time. So other than as a newborn, he’d never actually been there.

Being two days after Christmas, everybody still had their lights up.

Christmas lights in Goslar
Christmas lights in Goslar

A small Christmas market was still going on (unusual – most of them finish on 23 December!), so we stopped for a quick Glühwein.

Sign on the Glühwein stand - Waldhütte translates to "Forest hut"
Sign on the Glühwein stand – Waldhütte translates to “Forest hut”

Jan then spotted a tower that it was possible to climb, so of course we had to go up. One of the photos of the view is at the top of this post. Here’s another:

Goslar 3

As you can see, Goslar has a fair few half-timbered houses.

The main sight in Goslar is the Kaiserpfalz – the Mediaeval Imperial Palace, so that’s where we went next. No photos were allowed inside, but here’s one of the outside:

The Kaiserpfalz
The Kaiserpfalz

After looking round the museum, we walked back into town and found a cafe where we treated ourselves to some coffee and cake. Here’s one of the streets we walked down while looking for the cafe… so cute!

Goslar 4

By the time we’d finished our coffee and cake, it was starting to get late, and we each had a longish drive ahead of us, so we decided to call it a day.
Our trip to Goslar was brief, but I’m glad we decided to go there. It’s one of those typical cute German towns with numerous pretty buildings just begging to have their photos taken. When we were there, it was freezing, but I can see it being a lovely place for a walk in spring/summer. And the town is situated at the foot of the Harz mountains – the highest mountain range in Northern Germany – so it would be the perfect starting point for a day of hiking.

Aaaand that’s number 30, which means MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Bad Wimpfen

With a mere two weeks to go before I turn 30, I need to get my last few posts written if I’m going to complete my 30 German Towns Before 30 challenge!

Bad Wimpfen
Bad Wimpfen

Bad Wimpfen is situated on the West Bank of the River Neckar, about 15 km from Heilbronn. We decided to go there because Jan had read an article about it on Spiegel online and it looked pretty.

Half-timbered houses in Bad Wimpfen
Half-timbered houses in Bad Wimpfen

For reasons that I can no longer remember, I had some time off in the middle of the week, so we ended up going to Bad Wimpfen on a Wednesday afternoon. Being the end of November, I was looking forward to checking out the Christmas market, but it turned out it was only open on weekends. I’ve since found out that this happens a lot in small towns…

Bad Wimpfen 3

The symbolic landmark of Bad Wimpfen is the Blauer Turm – Blue Tower. It was originally the keep of the Kaiserpfalz (Imperial Palace) and continued to be used as a watch tower until well into the 19th century.

The Blue Tower
The Blue Tower

I presume the tower gets its name from the vaguely blueish colour of the roof…
I have no idea where this next tower gets its name though. This one is the Roter Turm… Red Tower.

Red Tower
Red Tower

I suppose it does have a few red bricks…
Finally, there’s the Nürnberger Turmchen, or Nuremberg Tower. Turmchen means little tower, so a towerlet if you will.

Nuremberg Tower
Nuremberg Tower

Bad Wimpfen was the site of one of the most important battles during the Thirty Years War, and the town suffered great devastation as a result. This small tower serves as a reminder of the financial aid that Bad Wimpfen received from the city of Nuremberg after the Thirty Years War.

The view from the Nuremberg Tower could be quite nice… if it weren’t for the huge power station down in the valley behind it. I tried to get a photo that didn’t include the power station…

View of the River Neckar and beyond from the Nuremberg Tower
View of the River Neckar and beyond from the Nuremberg Tower

After wandering around for a while, we decided we were hungry. I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant we ate at! They had the most amazing Maultaschen in all different varieties.

Bad Wimpfen Stadtkirche - the Lutherian Parish Church
Bad Wimpfen Stadtkirche – the Lutherian Parish Church

Bad Wimpfen is a pretty little town and there are certainly plenty of old buildings to photograph, but judging by how dead it was when we were there I don’t think I would want to live there! Not including the restaurant staff, we saw about 4 people all afternoon! But if you like half-timbered buildings and are into history it’s worth a visit. However, for the Christmas market, make sure you go on a Saturday or you’ll be disappointed!

Bad Wimpfen 4

Nagold

I suggested to Jan that we should go to Rottweil as it’s the oldest town in Baden-Württemberg (the German state we live in). He then suggested that, since it takes roughly an hour and a half to drive there, we should stop somewhere else on the way… and that’s how we ended up going to Nagold.

Buildings down by the river

The town of Nagold takes its name from the river that flows through the town. It’s known for its ruined castle, Hohennagold (which we didn’t see) and for the many half-timbered houses in the town centre. Can you guess why I wanted to go there? (Hint: It’s the same reason I love Tübingen…)

If your answer to the question above was buildings like this one, have a gold star!

The day we were in Nagold was right in the middle of their Kermes – a word that I wasn’t even able to find a translation for until I changed the spelling to Kermis, and even then it only took me to a Wikipedia article about the Dutch Kermesse! But, reading through the article, it seems to be the same thing. Basically, it’s a town fête or festival, usually in the form of a funfair although we didn’t see one in Nagold (if there were funfair rides, they wouldn’t have been directly in town). What we did see, were things like this:

Whale game

Judging by the other items that were lying around, the aim of the game was to throw rings into the mouth of this… whale? At least that’s what I think it was meant to be! A killer whale with a surf board…

Nagold is in the district of Calw, and with all the half-timbered houses, the two towns are pretty similar (click here to read about my trip to Calw). Most of our time in Nagold was spent just walking around taking photos. We tried to visit the town museum, but it turned out to be closed on Saturdays… because nobody would ever want to visit a museum on a Saturday. Clearly. Here, have some photos:

 

It had been raining quite heavily while we were in the car, but by the time we stopped in Nagold, it was only cloudy. Not bad considering the forecast was for nothing but rain all day!

After I had taken a photo of every single half-timbered house in the town (well… maybe not quite, but definitely a lot of them. What can I say? They’re just too pretty!), we decided to go for a coffee. We ended up at a place called Il Due, where I drank a Latte Macchiato with vanilla syrup and Jan had a cappucino. We didn’t eat there (although, in retrospect, I think we should have!) but the pizzas that were delivered to the table next to us looked – and smelled – amazing! But time was moving on and we still wanted to go to two places that day, so we paid for our coffees and headed back to the car. Next stop: Rottweil… but that’s a tale for another blog post.

Update from August 2014: I’ve decided to include this post in the Travel edition of the Expats Blog Hop over at Young Germany. Find the other entries here.

Hildesheim

First of all, a word of advice. If you ever find yourself in Hildesheim and in need of a place to sleep, do not under any circumstances take a room at Hotel Schweizer Hof. I am not particularly fussy about hotels – as long as it’s clean, has a bed and the staff are reasonably friendly it’s fine with me. After all, I don’t go to places to hang around in my hotel room. The only thing I can say about my room at Schweizer Hof is that it did, indeed, have a bed. And the sheets had been washed. The shower, on the other hand, still had the previous guest’s hair in it. Niiiice.

Hildesheim

I’ve been to Hildesheim twice now, both times to attend a seminar for work, but there was enough time in the evenings to look around the place. The city is primarily famous as the home of the “thousand-year-old rosebush” – allegedly the world’s oldest rose. Unfortunately, I was not able to see said rose bush on either of my visits. It’s located at St. Mary’s cathedral, which was closed for renovation both times I was there and will remain so until August 2014. Here are a couple of photos of what I could see of the outside of the cathedral anyway:

All in scaffolding...
All in scaffolding…
With clever use of the zoom function and trees I could make you believe it wasn't only half finished...
With clever use of the zoom function and trees I could make you believe it wasn’t only half finished…

 

Hildesheim is a city of contrasts. On the one hand, you have the market square, which is absolutely beautiful. If you have read any of my travel posts, you’ll know how I feel about half-timbered houses and Hildesheim has some fantastic specimens. Also on the market square is the Town hall, one of Germany’s oldest.

A building on Marktplatz
A building on Marktplatz
Hildesheim Rathaus
Hildesheim Rathaus

I apologise for how burry the Rathaus photo is – it was blowing a gale and within seconds of me taking the photo the heavens opened, so we ran off to find somehwere dry!

Close to Market Square, just off the main shopping street, there’s a church – the Andreaskirche (St Andrew’s Evangelical Church), which boasts the highest church steeple in Lower Saxony.

Andreaskirche
Andreaskirche

There’s a little Italian restaurant on the same square – the Alte Munze. When my colleague and I ate there in 2011 the food was amazing, so if you’re looking for Italian food definitely give this place a go.

Now comes the contrast… as soon as you leave the main shopping area, the buildings stop being pretty. The hotel of doom was literally a five minute walk from the Andreaskirche, but the street it was in couldn’t have been more different. Run down, grey buildings mostly containing Chinese takeaways and kebab places, everything made of concrete and glass… And at the other end of the main shopping street, you’ll find the large concrete slab that is the city’s bus station (located right outside the train station).

Moving away from the city centre, the university (where the seminars were) is located in a residential area. Lots of green, which is nice, but also lots of modern housing… or what I call “toy town”, meaning everything looks the same. Disappointing after the beauty of the Marktplatz.

Part of the university campus
Part of the university campus

The other strange thing about Hildesheim is that, after 6 p.m., there is apparantly nothing to do. On the Saturday, our seminar finished early, so we went into town. But by 6 o’clock the shops were starting to close – only C&A and a dodgy looking hairdresser stayed open. And we hardly saw any bars, other than a few dodgy looking ones. So where do all the students go? Later that night, we ate at a place called The Outback Inn, which didn’t look like much from the outside but turned out to serve some pretty good food, but other than that we saw nothing. If I hadn’t seen the university with my own eyes I would have had trouble believing that this is a student town!

So to sum up, Hildesheim: Old rosebush (if you ever get to see it!), some gorgeous old buildings interspersed with really, really horrible looking streets, and absolutely nothing to do after 6 p.m. It might be worth a daytrip (if they ever allow access to the old rosebush again), but I wouldn’t recommend making it your sole holiday destination!

Mosbach

On Sunday we went to Mosbach to see a friend perform with her choir at the Stiftskirche (Collegiate Church) there. We arrived pretty early and the church wasn’t open yet, so we decided to have a bit of a walk around and go for coffee.

I initially thought Mosbach was a village, but my boyfriend assures me it’s a town and Wikipedia tells me it has a population of 24,233, so I guess he’s right.
The drive to Mosbach from Karlsruhe took about an hour and 15 minutes (for those who know the area, it’s in between Heidelberg and Heilbronn). It lies on the Deutsche Fachwerkstrasse (German Half-timbered Road), from which I’m sure you can guess what there is to see there…

Yep, it’s another town that’s full of half-timbered houses. Here are some (sorry the photo’s a bit dark):

Those of you who have been reading for a while will have gathered by now that I’m a fan of this kind of architecture. For any new readers, in a nutshell: I LOVE half-timbered buildings! They always make me think of houses in fairytales.

Here is Mosbach town hall (the building with the clock), which I thought was a church when I first saw it (and Wikipedia tells me I was correct – it started life as St. Cecelia’s Catholic Church until Otto-Henry, Elector Palatine, ordered it to close because he refused to tolerate Catholics in his principality). Again, much prettier than Karlsruhe’s excuse for a Rathaus (I haven’t forgotten that I promised you a photo of it for comparison, I just haven’t been in town with my camera recently).

The town’s emblem is the Palmsches Haus (Palm House – the words “Anton Palm” are engraved on one corner of the building, so Palm is presumably the surname of the original owner). Naturally, I failed to take a photo of that despite getting one of the bulding next to it, so you’ll have to make do with this one from Wikipedia:

Description in de wikipedia Bildbeschreibung: ...Here is the church where we went to see our friend perform. It is used as both an Evangelical and a Catholic church. The Catholic part is known as St. Juliana while the Evangelical bit (where we were) is the Stiftskirche. It’s quite nice inside, too, but I didn’t actually manage to take any photos in there.

After the performance, we went to a Greek restaurant called Artemis. The food was good, but the service was incredibly slow. Also, my friend who is lactose intolerant ordered the salmon filet and it turned out to be in a bowl surrounded by creamy/cheesy potatoes. No mention of that on the menu!

Mosbach is very pretty to look at, but there doesn’t seem to be a great deal to do there. There is a town museum (I think almost every German town has one!) and a castle that you can look at but not go in, so the best time to visit Mosbach would be on a warm, sunny day when you can walk around and look at things without getting cold.

A cute street in Mosbach

Schwäbisch Hall

So, I promised you a post about my trip to Schwäbisch Hall, and you would have got it sooner if I hadn’t gone down with the cold from hell and ended up spending most of the weekend in bed (I kind of got up on Sunday… I moved as far as the sofa, where I wrapped myself in a blanket and watched Newcastle play football against Liverpool. We drew. *Sigh*).

Anway… Schwäbisch Hall. It doesn’t quite have the fairytale beauty of Tübingen, but it’s old and has lots of pretty half-timbered houses, which is good enough for me.
We arrived just in time for lunch, which we ate at a little place called Entebäck. If you ever find yourself in Schwäbisch Hall go there! Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of the inside, but it’s very quaint (all wooden beams and stuff) and our waiter was so friendly! Whenever the waiter brought a dish out he would introduce it like this: “For you, sir, the fantastic duck Maultaschen soup” (except in German obviously). It was pretty cute 🙂 And look what they did to my after dinner coffee:

Well, it made me smile anyway 🙂 Add to that the fact that the food was, in fact, delicious and you’re on to a winner! Entebäck definitely gets my recommendation. Also, the people on the table next to us had a million special wishes (one of them seemed to be on a very restricted diet), all of which were complied with without complaint, which doesn’t always happen (as I know from experience after many meals out with a family friend who has coeliac’s disease, i.e. can’t eat gluten. You’d be amazed how many restauarants have trouble with the question “what do you thicken your sauces with?”).

After lunch we headed to Marktplatz, which was just around the corner, and went into the church there, St. Michael’s. Here’s the outside of it:

And opposite it the Rathaus (Town Hall) – slightly nicer than Karlsruhe’s effort! (One day I’ll post a photo for you and you’ll see what I mean. Or you can Google it. I’m sure there are images somewhere on the web).

The river that runs through Schwäbisch Hall is called the Kocher. I love that the town is built up around the river – Karlsruhe is technically in the Rhine valley but the River Rhine is nowhere near the town centre. I miss living near water!

Bridge over the River Kocher

We were lucky with the weather for most of the day (just look at the blue sky behind the Rathaus1), but by 6:30 p.m. it had started to rain quite heavily. Since it was also dark by that time and my throat was already beginning to hurt (the start of the evil cold from hell!), we decided to head for home. And that was Schwäbisch Hall, number seven on my list of 30 towns to visit before 30… I wonder where my travels will take me next?

Update from August 2014: I’ve added this post to the Travel edition of the Expat Bloggers Bloghop over at Young Germany, check out the other entries here.

Calw

I haven’t posted in a while because there hasn’t been anything to say. When I wasn’t at work, I was proofreading somebody’s PhD thesis (written in English by a German), which is basically also work. In between I managed to watch some football, but seeing as anyone who is interested has probably been watching that themselves I don’t feel the need to blog about it. After all this work with no play, I was desperate for a change of scenery yesterday – if only to get my away from the housework for a while! So Jan and I decided to go to Calw.

Calw is about an hour’s drive from Karlsruhe, in the Black Forest. It’s famous for being the birthplace of German author Hermann Hesser – among other things, he wrote the novel Steppenwolf. Some of you may remember the 60s band of the same name. (I, of course, am far too young ;-)).
Our first stop on arriving in Calw was thus the Hermann Hesse Museum, for obvious reasons. Unfortunately we didn’t arrive til 4:30 p.m. and the museum closed at 5, so we only had time for a quick look. We could have done with more time to read everything properly, but what we did manage to take in was interesting.

Having seen the museum, we went to have a proper look around town. Calw is located in the Nagold valley, which allowed it to escape being bombed during the war. This means lots and lots of pretty old buildings. Just the kind of town I like!
Here is the Marktplatz. You can see the half-timbered houses and the Market Fountain in the background:

Calw Marktplatz

Marktplatz again, this time taken from right next to the fountain:

Hermann Hesse was born in this house:

Hermann Hesse birth house

I took a photo of a lantern, just because I always do.

Lantern and rooves

Later, we walked down to the river and I took this picture because I liked the reflection of the clouds in the water:

River Nagold

In the evening, we ate at a cafe/bar place called Kult – their homemade soups are delicious! – and stayed there to watch the football before heading home. It was a lovely day in a beautiful town (we were lucky that the weather decided to be nice for a change, but unlike Würzburg, I think Calw would still be pretty on a rainy day) and I get to cross another German town off my list of places to see. Not a bad Saturday at all 🙂