blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Old Tübingen

The famous view of Tübingen by the River Neckar
On December 6th, the morning after we arrived in the Stuttgart area, staying at the Hotel am Klostersee in the dormitory town of Sindelfingen, Klaus and Annegret picked me up in the lobby and drove me to their home town, Tübingen. We went via the Ritter-Sport chocolate factory which I'll mention in another blogpost.

The old part of Tübingen, built on a hill by the Neckar is all half-timbered old houses with plane trees, steep roofs and cobbled streets, squares and alleyways, very attractive as you can see from my pictures. It's been a university town since the 15th century and is still obviously prosperous. Klaus was a student there himself, at the school of Theology. Goethe spent a week there in 1792, perhaps on his way home from witnessing the French Revolution. In last week's blogpost I mentioned Hölderlin's and Hesse's connections with the town as well.

I saw the 16th century Rathaus with the murals on its façade, the Jacobuskirche and the beautiful Stiftskirche where the stone tombs of the Hoffürsten (the princes of Baden-Württemberg) were and where a series of J.S. Bach concerts was taking place. In the footsteps of all the people we were imagining, we walked down the Nonnengasse and the other Gassen and followed the steep steps down to the banks of the Neckar, in the middle of which was an island park featuring the Avenue of Sighs (Seufzerallee) where students throughout the centuries have paced up and down, worrying about their exams. The city's patron saint was St. George and there's a statue of him brandishing a sword against the dragon at the stone well (Brunnen) in the market square. This is the spot where, according to Klaus, a chosen Theology student always used to have to give a "Final Dissertation" to his fellows at the end of the school year.

Figure decorating the Rathaus
At the old mill, the Neckarmühle, now a brewery, I sampled the local ale at a window seat overlooking the river and ate Maultaschen mit Kartoffelsalat, Schwäbischer Art, i.e. a local speciality, filling but very tasty.

As well as the Neckar, a smaller canalised river, the Ammer, runs through Tübingen. In the summer my friends, who live further up the valley, cycle 6km along the bike path beside the Ammer to do their shopping in town. This is typical of the region; the locals are very eco-friendly and have elected a young, "Green" mayor (Oberbürgermeister). The shops sell stylish Naturkleidung and organic fruit and vegetables. The greenery being sold for Christmas decorations was lovely; Annegret bought a bunch of Christmas roses (helleborus) in a flower shop there. She had recently been working at a Pflegeheim (nursing home for the elderly) in this part of town, with a peaceful, secluded courtyard.

At the end of my tour I was driven on to Unterjesingen for coffee and a cake at the flat which had a lovely view of the Wurmlinger Kapelle, a place of pilgrimage on a hill across the valley. It reminded me of St. Martha's on the Pilgrim's Way in Surrey, England, on the ridge of the North Downs.

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