As soon as I wrote this blog title I flashed back to being 12 years old and creating my second AIM screen name, ILuvDance4Eva. Which actually come to think of it might be perfectly appropriate, since visiting Tübingen felt like being thrown back to my childhood – waaaay back, to when I lived there as a baby.
My parents lived in Tübingen for seven years, and I’m pretty sure it’s their favorite place in the world. While I was growing up, we often took summer road trips to Tübingen from Norway to visit their friends there, and when we weren’t in Tübingen or traveling to Tübingen I think my parents spent most of their time daydreaming about Tübingen.
Which I mean, I can’t really blame them for, since Tübingen looks like this:
And since I’m sure you’re dying to know, my first AIM screen name was TigerLilly88.
Wait, that’s safe information to share with the Internet, right? Like, some hacker won’t read this post and be able to find out all the juicy details of my adolescence, will they?
Though if you are a hacker I’ll save you the effort. Every conversation I ever had on AIM went like this:
Sorry, I’m getting distracted, this post is supposed to be about my favorite city in Germany!
My parents are now living in the same apartment building where they lived with me as a baby, so going back brought back a lot of old memories.
Okay, maybe not really. But also maybe really?
My mother was pretty excited to take me to the farm we used to visit to see if I remembered anything, and she had big plans of making me swing on a particular swing set. Meanwhile I was very excited to see the farm’s vending machine, which dispenses fresh cider, milk, bread, and vegetables. We got a small pumpkin – from a vending machine!
Germany is just the cutest.
And while Germany does have a long list of beautiful old towns and cities, I think Tübingen takes the top spot. My dad says that Tübingen is so special because as a university city it was left alone during the war. My dad also likes to make stuff up, so I’m not sure if that’s at all true, but I do know that just about every other building downtown has a plaque dating back to the 15th or 16th century.
But what I love most about Tübingen is that while gorgeous, its city center still feels quite normal. It’s definitely not one of those perfectly painted old towns in the middle of a city where every building is either a souvenir shop or a restaurant and there’s not a local in sight.
Um, also, since when is southern Germany so cheap? At first I thought I was just used to inflated Norwegian prices, but then even my parents mentioned how much cheaper it is to grocery shop and eat out in Tübingen than in the U.S. So I guess you can add this to your list of budget European destinations?
Tübingen is about an hour from Stuttgart by bus, so if you ever find yourself in the area I definitely recommend taking a short trip down. And if you want to get out of the city, the surrounding nature is really gorgeous. My parents and I took a Sunday walk to the nearby village of Bebenhausen, which is famous for its monastery, Bebenhausen Abbey, built in 1183.
I’ll be back in December for Tübingen’s chocolate festival (!!), and I’m sure again and again after that, because Tübingen really is the sort of place you just keep wanting to go back to.
Plus it was really nice spending time in Germany again. Though on my flight home I did realize that, even though I tried really hard not to let German get back in my head and mess with my Norwegian (they’re annoyingly similar languages and so easy to mix up), my German is still actually much better than my Norwegian, even though I only lived there for a year when I was 17.
I mean, that shouldn’t really make me sad, except that it only confirms this growing suspicion I’ve been having that when I was younger I was just so much smarter and more talented and prettier and funnier and basically it’s all downhill from here.
Now pardon me while I go drown my Millennial angst in a big bowl of fårikål. Because mmm autumn!
Oh but first, here’s a video my mom and I made of our walk through Tübingen, just in case you thought all this pretty was just photoshop:
Where to stay in Tübingen
This trip I stayed with my parents, but I returned to Tübingen in December for the Chocolate Festival with Dan and stayed at Ibis Styles, which I loved for its central location downtown and its totally luxurious rooms. Plus there’s a free coffee machine in the lobby! Check current rates here