Weekend Wanderlust: Medieval appeal and Maultaschen in Tübingen

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Weekend Wanderlust: Medieval charm and Maultaschen in Tübingen
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The mayor of Tübingen, a small student-driven metropolis, brought on a social media stir in November when he declared that he’s “leaving the functioning a part of Germany” when he visits Berlin.


Whereas I’ve grown keen on the far-from-perfect German capital in my six years dwelling right here, I can see how the Inexperienced Occasion mayor Boris Palmer would possibly really feel that means – particularly once I assume again to my lengthy weekend journeys to his charming metropolis.


Stepping again in time in Tübingen


I first visited the town in Baden-Württemberg in fall 2013, after only some months of dwelling in Berlin. I used to be wanting to pay a go to to a extra idyllic a part of Germany – the sort with picture-perfect cobblestone streets, hilltop church buildings and castles and a vibrant Altstadt.


Avidly strolling round Tübingen after an almost 8-hour bus trip from Berlin, I noticed I had chosen the appropriate metropolis. The founding of the town of over 85,000 residents dates again to 1048, and it’s been preserved – solely one-bomb fell on it in World Struggle II.


The Altstadt, located alongside the Neckar river, felt like stepping again in time to the 17th century, with crooked, cobblestone streets winding previous fairly half-timbered homes. A Friday avenue market bought a flexible array of used books, not stunning for a metropolis the place one-third of the inhabitants is college students.


I headed up close by winding stairs to the Schloss, Tübingen’s spectacular fortress whose Medieval courtyard and backyard spans spectacular views of the town.



Views from the highest of the Schloss Hohentübingen. Photograph: DPA


Consuming your coronary heart out in Tübingen


Located within the coronary heart of Swabia, Tübingen boosts a formidable delicacies from the area, what I nonetheless like to think about because the true German consolation meals.


Fashionable with college students and longtime locals alike, the Neckarmüller serves up savoury Swabian specialties comparable to Zwiebelkuchen and Maultaschen, or often meat-filled ravioli. However this being a scholar metropolis the place 40 p.c of the inhabitants votes for the Inexperienced Occasion, it’s not stunning to additionally discover a vegan variant of the dish on the menu.



The scrumptious Swabian specialty Zwiebelkuchen. Photograph: DPA


Doubling up as a beer backyard – with a sprawling patio overlooking the Neckar in winter months – the restaurant additionally serves regionally-brewed beer from close by Mössingen, after all served up with a giant Bretzel.


Being a scholar metropolis, it’s attainable to seek out quite a lot of hearty delicacies for affordable costs – from the burritos of “El Chico” to the basic Döner and pizza of Aksaray 3. Night time owls, take be aware, although: a restaurant known as Stern serves up tasty Italian specialties till its kitchen closes at midnight, after which doubles up as a dive bar. Sadly I didn’t obtain a reduction when consuming there.


Non secular roots


I initially selected to go to Tübingen by probability: a buddy was finding out theology there. I quickly noticed that this metropolis is a perfect place to ponder non secular philosophy – not only for its organized and scholarly quietude that appears to permeate it throughout the day (being a scholar metropolis there’s nonetheless an energetic nightlife), but in addition for its deep non secular roots.


A central metropolis landmark is the Stiftskirche, which grew to become a part of Martin Luther’s protestant church, and has options of Roman Catholicism, comparable to patron saints. Subsequent to the outstanding Rathaus (city corridor) can also be the Judengasse, or the residential avenue the place Tübingen’s Jewish neighborhood lived till they had been expelled in 1477 – a plaque there commemorates their destiny.



The college, which is among the largest in Germany with over 20,000 college students, has additionally hosted many mental greats. Joseph Alois Ratzinger (aka Pope Benedict XVI) held a chair in dogmatic theology there.  Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Schelling, David Friedrich Strauss, and Johannes Kepler had been all college students there.


There are many memorials dedicated to the town’s many intellectuals all through historical past. A parodied signal on Goethe’s outdated dormitory stands out out of your typical German memorial plaque. “Hier kotzte Goethe” it reads, or “Goethe puked right here” – one reads, commemorating the go to of the writer within the late 18th century


Going Inexperienced


Tübingen was additionally one of many core cities for the worldwide student-led protests of 1968, and has been formed by Inexperienced and left-leaning views ever since. It’s additionally actually a really inexperienced metropolis: on Saturday, I like to recommend hopping on one of many free buses – or biking to – the close by Schönbuch nature reserve.


After my years of dwelling in Berlin, I’ve grown keen on each its vivacity and its vastness, regardless of its issues. Whereas gentrification modifications many neighbourhoods, there may be nonetheless a sure disarray and dysfunction I haven’t seen in the remainder of the nation – and definitely not in comparatively tiny Tübingen.


I wouldn’t commerce Berlin for Tübingen, however may gain advantage from just a few days every so often to rejuvenate in a barely slower and extra scholarly tempo of life the place, no less than for a brief window of time.

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