Spalentor, Basel

A couple of weekends ago, I had some friends from Karlsruhe visiting so we could celebrate my birthday and also have a mini flat-warming type thing. A couple of days before, I just happened to see on a Basel meetup group that on that very Saturday there was a “Tag der offenen Türme”, Day of Open Towers. In other words, the remaining towers of Basel’s old city walls were opening up for one day only (usually you can only look at them from the outside). Four towers in all were opening up, but that seemed like a bit much for one afternoon, so I decided it made most sense to aim for just one. I chose Spalentor because it’s the prettiest looking (from the outside, in my opinion) and also the closest to where we live. Also, it’s practically in the town centre so we could walk on to some other tourist sites after viewing the tower.

Spalentor
Spalentor

The week before had been cloudy and not all that warm, so I was relieved to see Saturday dawning with bright sunshine. Climbing a tower only to see clouds isn’t much fun!
Inside the tower, there were various interesting items of furniture on each level and also a fascinating little room!

Finally we reached the top and were able to look out over the roofs of Basel and the very pretty street that the tower/gate is located in.

Most of what we could see from the top of the tower wasn’t actually all that interesting so those are the only photos I took from up there. But it was interesting to actually go inside the tower that we’d driven past so many times while flat hunting. And I still think the outside is very pretty.

It seems the Tag der Stadttore (Day of the open city gates), to give it its official name, is an annual event, so maybe next year I’ll get to see the inside of another tower!

I’m linking this post up to Monday Escapes with My Travel Monkey and Packing My Suitcase. Click the button to find out more!

My Travel Monkey

Look Up, Look Down – The Vierordtbad Tower

For today’s look up, look down entry, I’m using an old photo that was taken right here in Karlsruhe. It shows the tower of the Vierordtbad swim baths at sunset.

Karlsruhe Vierordtbad tower

The “tower” is actually a chimney, and all that remains of the former thermal power station, which provided heat for both the Vierordtbad and the neighbouring Tullabad. The rest was torn down in 1989 when the Gartenhalle was built – that green roof that you can see in front of the tower on this photo is the Gartenhalle, which is part of the congress centre. Here’s another photo of the chimney/tower taken on a different day and from a different perspective:

Krlsruhe Kongresszentrum + Vierordtbad

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Look Up, Look Down: The Katzenturm

Today’s look up, look down photo was taken in Feldkirch in Austria and shows the Katzenturm. Those of you who speak any German whatsoever may realise that this literally translates as “Cats’ Tower”. Sadly, there were never any actual felines in the tower… the “Katzen” were probably a type of canon. The bell tower of the Katzenturm contains the largest bell in Vorarlberg, and sixth largest in Austria.

Katzenturm Feldkirch

Got a photo that you think would be perfect for the Look Up, Look Down theme? Check out Travel With Intent’s blog post to link up!

Horb am Neckar

On the way back from our trip to Rottweil, Jan and I stopped off at a place called Horb am Neckar. The carpark we originally selected on the sat nav actually turned out to be on a hill above the town, so we stopped there first and took some photos of the view.

Horb from above
Horb from above

My camera’s battery ran out not long after I took the photo above, so most of the rest of the images in this post are Jan’s – the reason I’m only writing about this now is because he only gave me access to said photos after I got back from England.

Horb has a population of around 25,000, but when we arrived at 7 pm on a Saturday evening, everything was closed and we didn’t see a single one of the residents. All the better for taking photos 😉

This is how photos come out when I'm trying to take them quickly before the camera battery dies...
This is how photos come out when I’m trying to take them quickly before the camera battery dies…

The town hall in Horb had some pretty interested decoration on it:

Horb Town Hall - photo by Jan
Horb Town Hall – photo by Jan

I got Jan to take the photo below for me because of the cool ship sign, then we walked up the hill to the church you can see on the right.

Horb am Neckar 3

The church is the Stiftskirche, or collegiate church, and stands at the highest point in the town. The view from up there is very nice!

View of Horb
View of Horb

I love the little red house!
The next thing we spotted was the Schurkenturm. A Schurke is German for a villain, but I’m not sure whether the name of the tower has aynthing to do with that…

Schurkenturm, viewed from the church
Schurkenturm, viewed from the church
Schurkenturm, up close
Schurkenturm, up close

This sculpture close to the tower was pretty cute:Horb art

It’s a stack of pillows (or cushions), all on top of each other.

Horb is a pretty little town, and if we’d stayed a bit longer there would have been some other towers we could look at, and we could also have gone down to the Neckar and had a walk along its banks. But it was already getting late and we still had an hour to drive back, plus it seemed like it was about to start raining, so we decided to leave. It was definitely worth taking the time to stop off in this cute town though!

 

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