We headed south from Rineck to spend a long weekend with my old exchange family who I first met in 1999 who live in Nufringen, just south of Stuttgart. The last time I’d seen them was in 2007 so it was great to catch up. They remembered my favourite pastry treat – ‘schnekanoodle’, a snail shaped Danish with raisins and icing, which they had for our arrival with coffee and some other sweet treats.
It was pretty hot and on our first day which culminated in a spectacular thunder and lightning storm that night. The following day my exchange partner, Nadja and husband, Sebastian took us on a tour of his university town, Tubingen. It’s a lovely old town, with cobbled streets and there’s an infamous spot where German writer/poet, Goethe, apparently vomited after a big night! We partook in the more cultured tradition of punting on the river.
Each year there’s a punting race, popular with the fraternities where somewhat unbelievably, FORTY boats race down the river Neckar at once (it’s not very wide). Some unlucky fellow is nominated ‘the pig’ and has to sit at the front and try and avoid/deal with collisions.
We had lunch at a local brewery overlooking the river and then headed out to the stable where Nadja keeps her lovely horse, Jack.
Now, despite growing up around horses, something I never knew, and now this may be particular to German horses, is that they love bananas! A nice end to the day was dinner at a beautiful, old converted barn where they had delicious, huge homemade cakes and Mitch and I enjoyed the typical German dinner, ‘abendbrot’ a cold platter of meats, pickles and cheeses served with bread. This is usually a smaller affair with lunch being the main meal of the day. However, our platter to share was enormous and we only managed about half!
We spent a sunny Sunday at Lake Constance which is situated across Germany, Switzerland and Austria. We had a clear day so could see across the Lake to the magnificent Swiss alps. We visited the old castle in Meersburg which also happens to be the town where the inventor of the Zepplin originated.
Usually there’s a Zepplin flying across the lake however Mitch was disappointed not to see it the day we were visiting. A good reason to return! After our massive dinner the night before we were easily persuaded to have a light ice cream lunch where we sampled our first ‘spaghetti eis’.
It was nice but I think I prefer my spaghetti in carb form and my ice cream in scoops! We had fun driving onto the car ferry and over to Mainau, the island of flowers (owned by a Swedish princess), where we weren’t disappointed. The gardens were just gorgeous, in full bloom and beautifully taken care of.
We also enjoyed going into a big butterfly house where there were hundreds of butterflies of different sizes and colours, in particular a really vibrant blue. Mainau is really worth a visit however the entrance cost is quite pricey, I think €19/head so plan to spend at least half a day as there’s a lot to see.
It was such a relaxing weekend and nice to be hosted by friends so that we didn’t have to consult guidebooks, maps, trip adviser… We could just enjoy the places, a backpackers dream.