I arrived in Stuttgart, Germany in the afternoon on 9/8, after 23 hours of travel. So exhausting… but my long layover in Copenhagen allowed me to go on a very cool canal tour. I last visited Germany in 2016, with Jim. Jim couldn’t make it this year, so we decided it would be OK for me to go alone. It worked out well since I was able to stay right with my German family instead of in a hotel. Staying with my family at their house in Nürtingen meant I was able to spend a lot of time with my sister Daniela! She is learning English and I am learning German, but we still have to use Google translate to talk a lot of the time. It was so much fun!
The first afternoon I arrived, I accompanied them to their gardens [about a 5 minute drive from their house] to feed their garden cats. Everything is so beautiful there [and I love that my brother-in-law was wearing his Ipswich Ale shirt]:
On my first full day in Germany we enjoyed a wonderful brunch at a 5-star hotel. I got to meet the newest member of my German family, Jakob, who just turned 1:
We spent the afternoon and evening in their garden. As evening came, my brother-in-law Joachim lit a Nordic Torch – it was beautiful:
A Nordic Torch is a log with deep chainsaw cuts most of the way through it. You drop pieces of parafin into the cuts and light it. Traditionally they were used for heat and for cooking. Just place a pan on top and you’re good to go! It gave off such beautiful light and heat. We looked for bats as we ate take-away pizza, but only saw a couple.
On Day 2 we drove to the beautiful city of Ulm to see the Münster:
I love that name… The Münster is a Lutheran church, and is currently the tallest church in the world. It’s sometimes called a cathedral because of it’s size but it’s not. Construction began in 1377 and was completed in 1890. The stained glass windows lining the inside are amazing:
I also found the Ark of the Covenant in a side room – I quickly texted hubby and he wrote back “keep your eyes shut!!!!!!” HEH:
Something I was looking forward to was climbing UP the Münster. You can pay a small fee of €5 to try your hand at the 768 spiral stone steps leading to the top [the red line shows how far Daniela & I made it]:
My sister hadn’t been up since she was 12, and we both were very excited to try making it to the top! 2/3 of the way up the spiral staircase opens up into a large viewing area where you can rest and walk the perimeter, taking in the view. The 2nd pic is the view of the remaining climb as you’re laying on your back trying to get your breath back:
There’s also a little room with windows where you can look down at the bells inside the tower:
And very cool gargoyles guard the outside of the tower:
We both decided to NOT continue to the very top… 560 steps was enough for us!!! 768 is just verrückt! [CRAZY]. My brother-in-law is not a fan of heights so he sat on a bench and people-watched while we were gone. It took us about 45 minutes round trip. Here’s a shot of the TINY FREAKING spiral stone staircase:
There’s one staircase for going up and another for going down, since it’s nearly impossible to pass anyone. Thankfully there were a lot of windows which provided great views!
After leaving the Münster we wandered around Ulm:
I loved the cobblestone streets and festive decor:
I saw a few large bird sculptures in different places:
It turns out they’re sparrows, which has been the mascot of Ulm since the 1400s. In 2001, 255 sparrow sculptures were placed around Ulm as part of a fundraiser. They were decorated by artists, students, children, and corporate teams. The project raised $145k! Several dozen still remain on display. I only managed to see 2, but I loved them 🙂
We capped off our trip to Ulm at a traditional Swabian restaurant [my German family are from the Swabian Alps region of Germany] where I had Spätzle, a traditional egg noodle dish with cheese and dried onions on top. Sooooooooooooooo good!!!!!!!!!