Hike: Wurmlinger Kapelle
Begin this hike by walking through the gates of the Höhentübingen castle, dating back to as early as 1078. Continue into the courtyard, past the impressive bust and fountain, and here you will see the first signs pointing toward Wurmlinger Kapelle. Follow through the tunnel and wrap around the castle walls, keeping your eye out for trail markers. You will begin to ascend on a residential road for some time before it transforms into forest. Be keen to spot the trail markers, and most of all enjoy the ridge-line walk. Soon enough, Wurmlinger Kapelle will come into view, standing reverently upon a hill. Once there, be sure to take a look at the metal etching which outlines the nearby geography.
Round trip distance and time: 12 km / 3 hr (approximately)
Info: Google Maps walking directions “Höhentübingen —> Wurmlinger Kapelle”
Bike: Bad Urach Wasserfall
Hop on your bike and set your sights for this local gem. Pedal your way through Metzingen and began the gentle ascent to Bad Urach. This is truly one of my favorite locations around Tübingen and upon entering you will be greeted with dense forest and towering White Jura Limestone of the Swabian Alb peaking out periodically. Find your way to the Bad Urach Wasserfall train stop. From here, you will leave your bike behind and follow a stream the remaining few kilometers to the base of the powerful waterfall. Take it all in. You can also choose to hike to the top of the waterfall, where there will be picnic areas. Don’t worry if you don’t want to pack your own lunch, typically there is a small stand operating which will cater to your needs. If you choose to go on farther, you can take a trail to the nearby Bad Urach castle, which you should be able to see in the distance. From here, you can take another path to return to your bikes. There is so much to explore in Bad Urach, you will likely want to make a return trip to experience it all.
Round trip distance and time (biking only): 70km / 5 hr (approximately)
Info: Google Maps biking directions “Tübingen —> Bad Urach Wasserfall”
Train: Feldberg, Schwarzwald
Find your way to Feldberg-Bärental, Germany’s highest train station and prepare to begin the summit of Feldberg, the Schwarzwald’s highest mountain. But don’t worry, the hike is relatively mild and will first weave its way downward through a forest and place you at the base of the circular Feldsee. Enjoy this nice view and break before continuing higher up the mountain and eventually finding yourself on a large plateau that stretches for several kilometers; you’ve made it! Savor the panoramic landscape of the Black Forest and relax for a bit before winding your way down the mountain.
Round trip cost of train tickets: ~40 euro (Deutschebahn, with a few connections)
Info: (db.de, summitpost.org search: Feldberg)
Plane: Porto, Portugal
Want to get away? Check airlines like Easyjet to get a first-class deal. You can fly out of the nearest airport of Stuttgart, and a few hours later find yourself in the coastal city of Porto. This is where you would come to enjoy yourself. Splurge. Eat lots of fish, the local specialty, and indulge in a bottle of fine port wine. Which, as you might have guessed, originates from a nearby region. Walk under the bridge created by the architecture students of Eiffel himself. Go feel the sand between your toes as the ocean laps up to greet you. Explore the intricats staircase and design of “Livraria Lello & Irmão”. Gaze at the stained-glass windows of the São Bento railway station. Simply go with the wind, you never know what hidden secrets will be waiting around the corner. If you do it right, you’ll have your hands full with experiences, places to see, and things to eat and drink.
Round trip cost of plane tickets: under 100 euro (via Easyjet)
Accommodation: look into Air B&B and Couchsurfing before booking that expensive hotel
Eric James McDermott graduated from the Neural and Behavioral Neuroscience Masters Program ’16. He is currently a PhD candidate in Neuroscience in Tübingen.