Saturday, July 16, 2011

Areas around Stuttgart, Germany

Cycling through Tuttlingen (population 35,000) I couldn't help noticing huge plumes of smoke coming from the train station. I investigate and turns out this massive steam locomotive was about to leave the station with a trainload of tourists and train enthusiasts.

A few miles down the road I passed a railway yard and came upon 14 more of these iron beasts lined up in a row. Unfortunately, it was obvious by the rust and rundown look of the locomotives that they had been put out to pasture many, many years ago.

Bicycle touring along Germany's many rivers is very popular with Germans in the summer. It's usually flat terrain with paved bikes routes separated from the roadways. I've been cycling along the Donau, it isn't a major river but, it's fun visiting towns along the way. This is the town hall of Donaueschingen (population 21,000). It's here where the rivers Breg and Brigach converge to form the famous river Danube.

A stone's throw from Donaueschingen's city hall stands princely Furstenberg Palace. Built in the 1600's it's quite impressive. However, it's still owned and occupied by the Furstenberg clan and only groups of 10 or more with appointments can get a tour of the castle and grounds.

This is a shot of the castle's formal gardens taken from an adjacent church.

Rottweil, population 25,000 has a beautiful medieval town center. The rottweiler dog is named after this town. I love the gargoyles and flowers on this building.

This is one of the remaining medieval town gates in Rottweil. Back in medieval times most towns in Europe were walled-in and fortified. There were usually two tower gates, one at each end of town. Besides controlling who went in and out, the tower gates were observations towers.

Cycling through this small village I noticed storks nesting atop this building.

Even the church steeple in this village has nesting storks.

This is a still standing medieval tower gate in the old town area of Villingen, part of Villingen-Schwenningen. Located in the Black Forest, Villigen and Schwenningen were two separate towns forced to merge in 1972 (due to territorial reforms). Jeez, couldn't they have come up with a shorter name?

Head 10 miles north of Stuttgart and you'll end up in Ludwigsburg, population 85,000. Smack in the middle of a downtown traffic intersection is where you'll find this piece of art hanging. Yep, that's a snake.

Forget the snake, this is what makes Ludswigburg famous. Residential Palace is the largest Baroque castle in Germany. This shows part of the formal gardens. Built between 1704-1733, it's been home to various dukes and kings of Wurttemberg. It's a massive complex with TWO other castles on the property.

This is the main entrance. I sure would hate having to vaccum the rooms here. Why? With 452 rooms it might take a while.

Favorite Castle is one of the two other castles on the site. Duke Eberhard Ludwig had this place built between 1713-1723 for someone special. Who was this special someone? No, not his wife, cousin, daughter, son or mother but, his mistress!

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