Growing up internationally has not always been easy. Especially the last few years where half of my heart is on one side of the ocean and the other half on the other side. Initially, when we moved to Germany I would throw myself a pity party often. And while I still do that every once and a while, I have learned an important lesson – take advantage of your opportunities! I could spend my time pouting about how much I miss Jon, about being a broke college student, about not being done with college yet… And granted, I do every once and a while, but for the most part, I don’t, because when am I going to be 21 again living in southern Germany, with my family, with sight-seeing opportunities right outside of our door? Never again.
So, that leaves only one option and that is to GET OUT THERE! And that is exactly what we did this past Saturday. We took the time to go explore 2 towns about an hour or so from where we live, and I took you all with me! I hope you enjoy reliving this day with me 🙂
At 5:25 on Saturday morning, my mom knocked on my door and woke me up. As a common German saying says, “first the work, then the fun”. So I rolled out of bed, got ready and by 6:30 my mom, my dad, Tobi, and I were in the car leaving the house. With Easter the next day a round of grocery shopping was necessary. After ensuring we had all of the Easter goods, we stopped by the bakery for some fresh rolls.
By 7:30 we were sitting at home eating our fresh rolls to fuel up for a big day! Next stop: Ulm! Ulm is a city of about 120,000 residents and home to the church with the highest steeple in the whole world! Our goal was to visit the minster, climb the steeple, and gather an impression of the city.
We arrived in Ulm after a little more than an hour and could already spy the minster. With the steeple peeking up over everything, our walk to the heart of the city was made easy. The minster is located in the midst of our favorite stores and cafes. But on Saturday’s and typically one other day a week, the farmer’s market sets up around the impressive building.
After waking up so early, I was falling asleep on the car ride, so we figured a coffee stop was necessary. We found a nice place, called Henry’s. I ordered my favorite coffee drink, a Latté Macchiato, and a water. After draining our cups and gathering some energy, off we were to the minster!
The Ulm Minster took over 500 hundred years to complete. It is built in a gothic style and has incredible stained glass windows. We were talking to a tour guide in the church and she said that throughout the wars the windows were actually removed and then reinstalled! These pictures don’t even show 1/4 of all of the windows, plus they are HUGE! The amount of detail in old churches always amazes me and the Ulm Minster did not disappoint.
As an adrenaline junkie and someone not afraid of heights, I was not scared for our next challenge, the 768 step climb to the top of the 530 foot (161.5 meters) church tower! There are 3 platforms throughout the climb, which we did not know before beginning. My mom, dad, and I made it to the first platform together, but from there my dad and I continued to the top on our own. Thinking we had reached the top, my dad and I made it to the second platform. In the photo above you can see me leaning against a tower, and that my friends was the final part of our climb.
Up until the second platform the church has two stairwells, one for people going up and one for people going down. But the third and final climb is one stairwell that is barely big enough for one person, let alone traffic from people going up and down at the same time. There are also open windows, big enough for a small child to fit through, all around the tower. The higher we went, the windier it got! When we finally reached the top we went around the viewing platform once and then started the descent. The platform too was barely one person wide, so if you got scared and wanted to turn around – tough luck!
The view was entirely worth it. Ulm is beautiful from above, especially with the Donau River flowing through the middle of the city. Sadly it was not the clearest of days, because apparently when it’s clear you can see the Swiss Alps in the distance! Nonetheless, the climb paid itself off as soon as we reached the top.
The trek back down was much easier, but still so dizzying! As you can see the stairwells spiral and by the time you’ve gone up 42 stories and down 42 stories (according to my Fitbit), the world is twisting and turning a bit!
We met back up with my mom and walked around the farmer’s market before we stopped for lunch. The market was starting to wind down for the day, but there were SO many beautiful flower stands!
We ended up back at Henry’s for lunch where I had a delicious chicken burger. Those fries were also the best fries I had had in a long time! Upon finishing lunch we did a little bit of window shopping before heading to the car. Our next stop was Blaubeuren, a small town not too far from Ulm. It is known for being home to the “Blautopf” which literally translates to “blue pot”.
We parked as soon as we saw a spot and followed these cute little signs until we reached the Blautopf.
So chances are you can guess why it is called the “blue pot”! The water here is insanely blue! According to good ole Wikipedia, this “is the result of physical properties of the nanoscale limestone densely distributed in the water”. The boldness of the blue color also fluctuates with the weather and temperature. At its deepest point, the spring is 21 meters deep. Swimming is not permitted, but even if it was, you could not get me to swim in such deep water!
From there we meandered through the streets of this interesting little town back to our car. So many of the houses have such intricate detailing! And look at that curve in the structure of the house with red shutters! This little town made me feel like I had gone through a time machine. The local electronics store is totally outdated, you could just tell how old the homes are, and even the locals we saw seemed removed from our modern world. While I find that so cool, it did give me the creeps a little bit too!
After this, we piled back into the car and drove home to enjoy the rest of the day. It was really cool to go see something new. That’s the cool thing about Europe, you never have to go far to experience new things!
I hope you all enjoyed this post and felt as if you were a part of this day too! I hope that you all get the opportunity to come explore these wonderful places yourselves 🙂
What are your bucket list travel destinations?