Start from the top of Nordring and continue on Waldhäuser Straße, soon you’ll pass the Gaststätte Waldhäuser Hof on your left, which has a wonderful vending machine for fresh milk and other farm produced
items. After not too long the treetops of the Schönbuch appear as you then dive into the depths of the forest. Keep following the path down. The 12th century Bebenhausen Abbey will soon appear amongst the 347 person village. It is free to explore, but check in advance if you’re interested in attending a service. For the return journey, simply follow your path back. If you’re not up for the trek, there is also a bus service that runs nearby at the bus station “Bebenhausen Waldhorn”.
Round trip distance and time: ~5km / ~1.5 hr
Info: Google Maps walking directions “Gaststätte Waldhäuser Hof —> Bebenhausen”
Bike: Baggersee Hirschau
Pack your bike with some swim gear and head out to this local hotspot. Pedal southwest through Tübingen until you reach Hirschau, then follow signs for the Baggersee. The route is generally flat and on a dedicated bike path adjacent to some apple orchards and the Neckar river. When you approach the Baggersee, you can take your bike along some dirt paths which circle the small lake until you find your chosen spot. Hop off the bike, lay out the blankets, and get ready for a nice day. If you’re feeling daring enough, there is a rope swing that you’ll find hanging from a tree in the middle of the lake.
Round trip distance and time (biking only): ~11km / ~40 minutes
Info: Google Maps biking directions “Tübingen —> Baggersee Hirschau”
Are you ready for a real adventure? Grab your climbing harness and Klettersteig set and put on your hiking boots. Garmisch-Partenkirchen hosts one of the finest via ferrata’s around: Alpspitz ferrata. You need to have some essential skills in climbing and hiking, but the route is well-secured and frequented. In fact, I even met a couple of 8 year olds going up with their Dad. So, go ahead and invite those able friends who are interested in getting started. Now don’t let that deter you either, it isn’t a walk in the park. You’ll ascend 700 meters in just 3kms, taking you to the top of Alpspitze, where you will be presented with beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the (now) tiny town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Generally, people will take a different path down. There are a few to choose from, look into it a bit and find the routes that suit you best. For those who are more advanced and want a true high alpine challenge, you only need one word: Jübilaumsgrat. This route is truly spine tingling as you navigate the ridge line between Alpspitze and Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze. There isn’t a better way to get there. If you really are thinking of doing the latter, get in touch with me for some more information.
Round trip cost of train tickets: ~60 euro (Deutschebahn, with a few connections)
Plane: Venice, Italy
Craving a new place and language? 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 canal striped city of Venice. Known for its romantic corners and hidden streets, the great squares and unique masks, Venice will delight you any time of year. Be sure to grab a glass of wine for about €0.70 and a sandwich for €1 at Bacareto da Lele, which with deals like that will surely be filled with both tourists and locals alike. Hangout with the golden lions in Piazza San Marco, gaze at the swarms of people going in every direction imaginable, crane your neck backwards and look at the clock atop the basilica, and take a peak inside the famous church of St. Mark. If you find yourself wanting to get even closer to the architecture and buildings, grab a bottle of wine and hop on a gondola while you let the gondolier serenade you as you wade through the canals. If you’ve had enough of Venice, nearby Padua boasts its own set of sights to see. One of which has been said to rival the Sistine Chapel itself: Scrovegni Chapel. Or, simply sit on a step and watch life unfold. The adventure is up to you, just remember to enjoy it.
Round trip cost of plane tickets: under 80 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.