I’ve continued to explore both across borders and close to home in May. A few activities that I discovered in Tübingen:
The first Tübingen festival I’ve been! A friend and I strolled around the city after dark, went up to the Schloss to try on VR goggles and see exhibits, went to a performance art piece hosted by Café Haag, went to the Stadtmusuem and watched a fire dance performance. It was great German practice and definitely motivated me to keep an eye out for more festival opportunities close to home here. We got a wristband that gave us access to everything for 9 Euro, but most of the things we ended up seeing were actually free or donation based, so I recommend checking out the schedule and deciding if you want to buy the wristband or not. Attending Kulturnacht also made me wish I had more time when I was in Western Mass to attend similar events. There’s always something happening in university towns, no matter where you are in the world.
Fields & Tierheim & Österberg
Although not a cohesive “event” my friend and I took a spontaneous adventure around Tübingen. We started out deciding to find an animal shelter, which led to a walk in the lush fields. After grabbing ice cream in the Altstadt we continued our adventure as both of us realized we’d never been inside the Stiftskirche, despite being here for months! We then hiked up to the Österberg area, where we saw the various Verein houses. I’m curious to look into how similar these are to American frat houses – They seem extravagant and old fashioned and probably have similar problems to the American ones, unfortunately.
Before the biggest event of the season, my friends and I made brunch with egg casserole, croissants and mimosas (pretty cheap and feeds a lot of people). The Stocherkahnrennen lived up to expectations and was absolutely packed with people. If we hadn’t eaten before, I’d recommend getting there early and picnicking on the banks of the Neckar. Besides the actual race, the costume race was fun and goofy too!
Trip with Shanon
While I’ve honestly been struggling with my feelings about not traveling as much as I’ve seen other study abroad students do, my trip to Prague made me glad I was really focusing on what I wanted to see (for my own sake). Coupled with an opportunity to show off Tübingen to a friend from home, I had a perfect Pfingstferien. Shano arrived on Saturday, we grocery shopped (don’t do this on Saturday night! There was no more oatmeal at Edekal!) and promptly collapsed after eating an enormous amount of watermelon.
Unfortunately, as it’s Germany (maybe specifically Baden Wurttemberg), there’s an incessant number of holidays and both Sunday and Monday were Feiertage. We still managed to see Tübingen, since the Schloss and Stadmusuem are open and ice cream is pretty available no matter what day. We also went to Bebenhausen of course! On Monday we walked around the fields across the road from FV, then had a bread filled picnic in the park by the Hauptbahnhof. Schwarzes Schaf was also a must (get the peach iced tea or peach smoothie) and then we went to Neckarmueller to have some traditional German food.
Tuesday was the first time I’d been to Stuttgart and we fit a ton in! I’ve always wanted to go the Stadtbibliothek (it’s on all the listicles of best libraries, unsurprisingly!) I read Woolf’s Orlando in German with my English copy alongside me. As the rain started to pour, we ducked into the National Musuem, which had free entry to permanent exhibits, including one massive one that took you through the history of Baden-Württemberg from the Stone Age to the present. Afterwards, we unexpectedly found the main indoor market in Stuttgart and cobbled together a cool meal of bread, herbed Frischkäse and strawberries and ate it on the steps of a church.
On our route to Prague, I had my first FlixBus difficulties. We chose to take an overnight bus, which I’m still glad we did, but it was over an hour later, causing us to wait at the Hauptbahnhof in the middle of the night, and then almost miss our connection in Stuttgart.
While in Prague, we saw the Old Town, got a student pass to Prag Castle/St. Vitus Cathedral/Golden Lane, visited the free National Gallery, the Czech Music Museum and walked over the Charles Bridge every night. We also took a free tour of the city, visited the Jewish Quarter, Strahov Monastary, Letna Park, and unexpectedly walked up to Petrin Hill and the gorgeous rose garden, saw a concert in the Waldstein Palace gardens, and took a ton of pictures at the Dripstone Wall. In regard to food, we went everywhere from an open farmer’s market, a Vinothek with 1 Euro wine, and cute homemade pasta place to an endearingly atmospheric (read: filled with only old Czech men) pub.
As soon as we got there, we grabbed maps, as we knew even less than we thought we did. And, although we both rolled our eyes a map emblazoned “Prague for young travelers” it turned out to be super and we went to quite a few of the places!! We spent all four days on our feet exploring the city, but I’d go back in a heartbeat. I’d love to experience it (& Germany) in the winter.