Having spent a considerable amount of time in northern and southern Germany, I must say that the nature of the south is indisputably more beautiful. This conclusion, with which I am sure others can concur, I reached after partaking in two unforgettable experiences.
Almost immediately after orientation at ESB Reutlingen, i was informed of two excursions organized and offered by the Hochschule. The first was a trip to the Black Forest (Schwarzwald), and the second was a Bodensee trip. Although initially uncertain if I wanted to participate, I decided to sign up and give it a try.
The Schwarzwald excursion began in the early morning, with all participants meeting at the Hochschulen bus stop at 7:45 AM. Two large, double-decker travel buses were waiting, and they quickly filled almost to capacity. Shortly afterwards, we hit the road, beginning an 2.5+ hour long journey. Although I had originally intended to sleep through the drive, the unparalleled views of the surrounding hills and forests offered by the large bus windows kept my jaw agape and my phone’s camera snapping away. The landscape gradually changed, from the rolling hills of Reutlingen to tall mountains and steep valleys. Little cottages, barns, farms, inns, and farm animals leapt from the pages of the Brothers Grimm fairytales and into the landscape before us. Soon enough, we arrived at our destination, a small town built on a slope at the edge of the German side of the Black Forest. We set out on small hike up towards the source of a waterfall, which fed into a stream running through the town. Upon descent, we walked through the time, stopping in one of the many shops selling hand-made woodwork. As the Black Forest is known for wooden cuckoo clocks, they were to be found everywhere, with entire walls covered with clocks of every size, shape, color, and variety. Before we departed, we were sure to try the regional delicacy, Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte.
A couple of weeks after the Schwarzwald excursion, the Bodensee trip took place. The place in mention is a lake that goes by the name Bodensee in German, and Constance in English (since the lakeside city to which we went is called Konstanz in German). Found on the south western border of Germany, it shared by Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Germany.
As with the Schwarzwald trip, we left early in the morning as the road ahead was long. Shortly before midday, we arrived at Konstanz. After a brief guided tour of the relatively small city and its prominent church, we headed to the marina. There, a few fellow participants and I rented an electric boat for half an hour, and drove it in the waters surrounding the harbor. The weather was optimal, sunny with a moderately chilly wind. We then had lunch (which consisted of a Swabian dish called spatzle) at a lakeside restaurant, before boarding a ferry and crossing the lake. We docked at what is arguably the most beautiful European town I have ever visited. The small, quaint town’s name was Muggelsee. It was entirely “traditional-style”, meaning that there was no major modern architecture. Flower-adorned fountains lined the streets, spouting clean drinking water from ornately decorated metal spigots. We followed the roads winding up hill towards the upper city, where a historical castle/mansion stood open for visitation. The picture above was taken from the back yard/terrace of this small castle, offering an unparalleled view of the lake below and the Swiss mountains in the distance. The marina was breathtaking, with the clean, clear, blueish-turquoise lake water lapping at the shore and the un-altered stone foundation upon which the marina stands. I spent the last hour at this wondrous location sitting on the stones at the edge of the marina, with my legs dangling over the small waves as they advanced and retreated, washing over the algae-covered rock.