Also this year Corona has ruined our travel plans. After the entry to Norway was not possible for a long time, we decided again for a vacation in Germany. Because even if many of our friends are already traveling to Greece, Croatia and Slovenia again, we are not drawn across the national border. The fear of having to stay in quarantine somewhere or having to bring in a new, as yet unknown variant is too great. So we decided to do another road trip through Germany. After all, there are still enough regions in this country with beautiful scenery, nice people and remarkable sights we haven't visited yet. First stop of our trip is the Swabian Alb East.
Disclaimer: This post contains unpaid and unsolicited advertising in the form of links and/or mention of places. If something was consumed, this was financed by ourselves.
I know it sounds like the Swabian Alb is just a stopgap and not worth a trip at normal times. But this assessment does not do justice to the region: not only that exactly 62 kilometers of the 164 kilometer long Limes in Baden-Wurttemberg are located in the Ostalb district. And this is one of the 33 monuments in Germany on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
More or less extensive hikes through juniper heaths and orchards inspire us as well as the exploration of one of the numerous stalactite caves. So it does not hurt to pack headlamps! Also old castles and chateaus appear again and again at the wayside. So there is a lot to discover in the Swabian Alb. And of course the culinary delights are not neglected either – but more about that in the next travel report.
We were very taken with the Swabian Alb and definitely want to come back soon: No matter if traveling abroad will be possible and advisable again without hesitation, or not. At least one long weekend on the Swabian Alb should be on our bucket list every year in the future.
Other (not only culinary) stages of our trip to Germany:
On some occasion I must have mentioned that Mr. Wallygusto and I like to combine culture with sports. As already indicated in the introduction, this is also possible in the Swabian Alb without further ado. So we can not only do something for our physical fitness, but also explore picturesque old towns and remains of the Romans. Even if embarrassingly the Limes of all things was not there. Of course, the Swabian Alb also has a lot to offer in the way of culinary delights.
Before we move into our vacation apartment, Mr. Wallygusto and I make a short detour to Reutlingen. The large city in the center of Baden-Wurttemberg is part of the Swabian Alb biosphere area with 17.5 percent of its surface area. For this reason, the city also calls itself the "Gateway to the Swabian Alb". Reutlingen also has a number of sights such as the town hall, St. Mary's Church, the Tubingen Gate and the Konigsbronn Court. You will also find the narrowest street in the world here – at least according to the Guinness Book of Records. The eye of the needle measures only 31 cm at its narrowest point.
Also worthwhile is a side trip to Gmindersdorf, which is an example of early social housing construction. Built between 1903 and 1923 by the textile company of the same name, the workers' housing estate was intended to counteract the shortage of workers by providing modern living space and the resulting improvement in the quality of life. The special thing about Gmindersdorf is its village character, because here there are or. there were all the necessary facilities, including a nursery, a general store and a restaurant. The latter is even still in operation today. We cannot make out the alleged 18 different types of houses, but we are very taken with the rural-small-town architectural style and the large house gardens.
It's always nice to combine the pleasant (eating ice cream) with the useful (sports&) Sightseeing) can combine! And so a long bike ride leads us from our vacation apartment to Schwabisch Gmund. The largest town in the Rems Valley was founded by Friedrich Barbarossa in the 11th century. In 1160 Gmund was founded by the Staufer King Konrad III. Reutlingen was raised to the status of a city – earlier than any other city in which the Staufer acted. Schwabisch Gmund therefore also bears the title as the oldest Staufer city.
The culturally and historically exciting ensemble of Schwabisch Gmund offers the entire palette of Central European history. During our stroll through the charming old town we come across not only traces of the Romans, but also the Middle Ages of the knights and castles of the Staufers. In between, the lively Baroque era, the classical period and a modern, creative and vibrant city. It could hardly be more multifaceted!
In addition to stone witnesses of time from eight centuries, orange plastic baroque chairs also characterize the historic city center. Read correctly: The 43 extravagant seats are the absolute eye-catcher in the cityscape of Schwabisch Gmund. In addition, exhausted tourists can not only rest here quite excellently, but they are also the perfect backdrop for vacation photos.
Thanks to its extensive network of certified trails, the Swabian Jura is a true paradise for hikers. This means a consistent and good signposting, which really never lets you get off the way. Another plus are the many natural and cultural highlights along the way, such as stalactite caves and magnificent castles. No wonder that the Swabian Jura, as the Alb is still called, is one of the most popular hiking regions in Germany.
What we also like very much is that we hardly meet a soul on the way. It may be that the Swabian Alb is not sexy enough for some people. Or the weather doesn't let people get up from the couch on one or the other day. Or the favor of the hour is used, in order to make again fast vacation in Croatia or Italy. We do not know. And actually we don't care at all.
Hike Geislingen – Helfenstein Ruin – Ziegelhutte – Schildwacht
Our first hike in the Swabian Alb leads us to the ruins of Helfenstein Castle, a huge fortification with a well-preserved kennel and cistern. From there we enjoy the magnificent view of the town of Geislingen below us. The tour is undemanding, so it goes all the time on well-marked trails, forest roads and paths. Only two small ascents bring us a little to puffing.
Much worse is the thunderstorm with heavy rain, which drives us to the Gesensteinhaus. The modest selection of dishes gives us a boring cheese sandwich and a delicious apple pie, which I envy Mr. Wallygusto a little bit.
Before going down again, we enjoy the beautiful view of the valley spider of Geislingen from the Schildwacht.
Hike Heubach – Devil's Blade – Dark Hole – Rosenstein
The tour along the Albtraufs in Heubach provides Mr. Wallygusto and me with a continuous stream of scenic highlights. So we hike alternately through relaxing Trauf forests and idyllic meadow valleys. We discover waterfalls and deep valleys, steep climbing rocks, several caves worth visiting and, of course, wonderful viewpoints en masse. Especially the one from the ruin Rosenstein is dreamlike!
The stop on this round is limited to a non-alcoholic beer. Since we have already strengthened ourselves on the way with a proper Nuss-Blatterteigbreze, we can do well without vegetarian Flammkuchen or fries. Otherwise, the choice of dishes is rather meat-heavy, even the spaetzle are offered (only) with gravy.
All in all a very nice, long tour. Since we start this directly at the vacation home in Bobingen, even a few extra kilometers come in addition. But we are not here for fun!
Hike Heldenfinger Cliff – Hungerbrunnen Valley
One of our hiking guides describes the hike from Gerstetten to Heldenfinger Kliff as an "exciting round", which raises great expectations in Mr. Wallygusto and me. In the end it is not very exciting, even if we are almost eaten by a dog on the way. At least the big Rottweiler gives this impression, and we are glad that the walls of his kennel are high and stable. Nevertheless, we take the legs in hand to leave the Rublinger Hof as soon as possible. Which is a pity, because the small hamlet looks back on a long history. The Alemannic settlement exists since the 6th century. The village, which dates back to the 19th century, was once a deserted. Century revived.
But probably with exciting exactly such places are meant. And with the Heldenfinger Kliff the next highlight is waiting for us. The Heldenfinger cliff was part of the rocky coast of the Tertiary Sea 15 million years ago. So it is a kind of primeval beach, but of course without the sea. We continue on to Hungerbrunnen Valley, which is far more idyllic than its name suggests. A dreamy trail leads through the Trockenbach valley, which is partly protected as a nature reserve and is characterized by a rich flora and typical trees and shrubs, such as willow beeches, old oak trees, mountain ash and wild service trees.
Through shady woods and between sunlit fields, we eventually make our way leisurely back to Gerstetten.