Road trip through Europe: Tübingen and Schwäbisch Hall

Last summer, we did a 10 day road trip through parts of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. Our itinerary was: BerlinWeimarHeidelburgFreiburgLucerne Lake ComoLa-SpeziaCinque TerreBussana VecchiaMonacoÉzeGorges du VerdonMoustiers-Sainte-Marie – ValensoleChamonix – Tübingen – Swäbisch Hall – Berlin. 

Finally, we had reached the last day of our road trip. We started our day in Tübingen, and would drive from there to Swäbisch Hall, another Swabian town, and from there onto Berlin. But before leaving Tübingen, we went for a walk around this lovely town. I’d been there before on a work trip (see here), but neither my husband nor my friend had, and I was keen to show it off to both of them. The old town centre looks like one of the fairytale villages in the Shrek movies or Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, all half-timbered houses and charming views. Continue reading

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Road trip through Europe: Chamonix to Tübingen

Last summer, we did a 10 day road trip through parts of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. Our itinerary was: BerlinWeimarHeidelburgFreiburgLucerne Lake ComoLa-SpeziaCinque TerreBussana VecchiaMonacoÉzeGorges du VerdonMoustiers-Sainte-Marie – Valensole – Chamonix – TübingenSwäbisch HallBerlin

Mont Blanc was the only thing on my mind as we woke up early on Day 9 of our road trip. Would we see the White Mountain, or would it be covered in clouds? The weather forecast had been bad, but we awoke to blue skies and sunshine, though there were still a fair number of clouds swirling around the peaks. Already from where we were staying in Les Houches, we had a beautiful view of the mountain. So our wish had already come true.

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Road trip through Europe: Valensole to Chamonix

Last summer, we did a 10 day road trip through parts of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. Our itinerary was: BerlinWeimarHeidelburgFreiburgLucerne Lake ComoLa-SpeziaCinque TerreBussana VecchiaMonacoÉzeGorges du VerdonMoustiers-Sainte-Marie – Valensole – ChamonixTübingenSwäbisch Hall – Berlin. 

On day 8 of our road trip we drove from the rustic villages of the lavender region of France to the foothills of the highest mountain in Europe west of the Caucasus peaks, the majestic, snow-capped 4810m high Mont Blanc. We were now on our way back to Germany. Continue reading

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Road Trip through Europe: from Cote d’Azur to Gorges du Verdon

Last summer, we did a 10 day road trip through parts of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. Our itinerary was: BerlinWeimarHeidelburgFreiburgLucerne Lake ComoLa-SpeziaCinque TerreBussana VecchiaMonacoÉze – Gorges du Verdon – Moustiers-Sainte-Marie – ValensoleChamonixTübingenSwäbisch Hall – Berlin. 

In my last entry about this road trip, we had just spent the evening wandering around the pretty medieval town of Éze. After a quick breakfast the next morning, which involved a visit to a pastry shop (when in France…!), we headed to our car for the next stage of our road trip.  Éze is located in the province Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, which covers a wide variety of landscapes and has Marseilles as a capital. It encompasses the area formally known as Provence and some additional territory. Today we would travel from Éze over the mountains to the Gorges du Verdon, a famous canyon, visit a beautiful village tucked in the gorge (Moustiers-Sainte-Marie) and end our day in Valensole, in the lavender region of France. But first things first: a visit to the beach. Continue reading

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A Morning in Venice

En route to a wedding in Tirol, we decided to make a stopover in Venice. The Venice Marco Polo airport was a couple of hours drive from the Ötztal Alps, where the wedding would be held, and seemed like as good a way as any to reach our final destination. We’d been wanting to visit Venice for a while, although the plan was always to go in winter when it’s less crowded. Both of us had been to Venice briefly before in summer on separate occasions and remembered clearly the tremendous crush of tourists and oppressively hot weather. Continue reading

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3 more hikes in and around the Chiemgau region, Bavaria

The region of Chiemgau in Bavaria is in the foothills of the Alps, and its hilly landscape was formed during the ice age. Last year we travelled there for hiking and walked in the mountains on both sides of the German and Austrian border, heading up to Kampfenwand, Wilde Kaiser, Wandberg and the Blumen Weg next to Wildseelodersee. This year we returned and visited Lochner Horn, Brennkopf, Klausenberg, Sonnwendwand, as well as the beautiful lake Chiemsee. We still didn’t manage to get to do two of the iconic hikes in the area, up to the Geigelstein and Spitzstein, but it’s always good to leave something for another day.

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Easter weekend in Denmark

Thursday (Holy Thursday /Skærtorsdag ): Arrival in Copenhagen

Interesting fact: the Thursday before Easter is also a public holiday in Denmark. The traditional Skærtorsdag meal was Skærtorsdag søbekål: “Nine Cabbage Soup”, made from cabbage and pork or mutton. You can find a recipe for one variation here.

We arrived in the capital city of Denmark, Copenhagen (København), and after picking up a rental car we headed into town to check into our Airbnb. Kitchens close earlier in Copenhagen than in Berlin, so we had trouble finding a place to eat, but eventually we found a pizzeria that was still serving food. After a fairly long walk there and back with a bitterly cold wind blowing, we were relieved to arrive back to our apartment and stagger into bed.

Our neighbourhood – although we would not see it properly until morning

Friday (Good Friday / Langfredag): Copenhagen-Malmö-Copenhagen

Interesting fact: In Denmark, flags fly at half-mast on Good Friday. Traditionally, people ate porridge on this day.

Copenhagen lies near the border of Denmark and Sweden, and the Øresund bridge, a combined road and rail bridge, connects it to the Swedish city of Malmö. As we had a full day and night in Copenhagen, we decided to use this day to take a trip across to Sweden. This was mostly because we’d never been to either of these Scandinavian countries, and we were interested to see if we would notice any differences between the two. The bridge itself apparently features in a popular Danish TV series, “The Bridge”, and it is quite a striking construction, being 4km long and straight across the sea. It’s quite expensive to drive across with the car, so we took a train across and arrived at Malmö railway station. Continue reading

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Road trip through Europe: Èze, France

In summer, we did a 10 day road trip through parts of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. Our itinerary was: BerlinWeimarHeidelburgFreiburgLucerne Lake ComoLa-SpeziaCinque TerreBussana VecchiaMonaco – Éze – Gorges du Verdon – Moustiers-Ste-Marie – Valensole – Chamonix – Tübingen – Swäbisch Hall – Berlin.

On day 6 of our road trip, we drove from La Spezia in northern Italy to the Mediterranean coast of southeastern France – the French Riviera – where we would stop for the night in the charming medieval village of Éze. Before reaching Éze, we drove through Genova, stopped for a walk in the artists’ colony of Bussana Vecchia and took a quick walk around the principality of Monaco. It had thus been a busy day and we were tired, but we perked up as soon as we reached the pretty hilltop town of Éze, with its cobbled paths and stone buildings. Continue reading

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Road trip through Europe: Monaco

In summer, we did a 10 day road trip through parts of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. Our itinerary was: Berlin – WeimarHeidelburgFreiburgLucerne Lake ComoLa-SpeziaCinque TerreBussana Vecchia – Monaco – Éze – Gorges du Verdon – Moustiers-Ste-Marie – Valensole – Chamonix – Tübingen – Swäbisch Hall – Berlin.

Having left Italy and crossed the border to France on Day 6, it wasn’t long before we found ourselves arriving at the Principality of Monaco, a sovereign city-state with an area of just over two square kilometres. For some reason, Monaco has always been pretty famous where I’m from (South Africa), despite being on the other side of the world, and a lot of the magazines carry stories on the royal family of Monaco. This only increased when the prince of Monaco married a former South African Olympic swimmer. The royal family, the house of Grimaldi (of Ligurian origin) have ruled Monaco since 1297. At any rate, when I knew we’d be passing right by Monaco, I was curious to stop for a quick look, and my husband was equally curious because of the famous Monte Carlo casino and its association with James Bond (007).

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