Saturday, August 18, 2018

Our visit to Rottweil, land of towers and Rottweilers!


The mighty Thyssenkrupp Testturm, towering over Rottweil and its environs.

This morning, as we were enjoying breakfast, Bill asked me what I'd like to do today.  I suggested a few things, then mentioned the Thyssenkrupp Testturm.  Bill kind of got a look of dread on his face.  He doesn't really like heights and wasn't sure the huge tower near Rottweil would be worth a visit.  I told him it might make for a fun blog post, so he relented.  He likes me to earn my keep, after all. 

We could have discovered Rottweil last year, but didn't.  For Mother's Day 2017, Bill and I visited the tiny town of Dietingen, where there is a rock museum called Welt der Kristalle.  I remember really enjoying the museum and the lovely countryside that surrounded it.  Off in the distance, I noticed a strange looking tower surrounded by scaffolding.  I wondered what it was, but since rain was threatening, we didn't venture closer.  Instead, we went to the nearby village, ate Greek food, and went home.  Because of the rain, we didn't venture into nearby Rottweil, which is destined for a spot on my next top ten cute German towns list.  We discovered today that Rottweil has a lot going for it, and it's less than an hour's drive from where we live in Unterjettingen.

We got in the car at about noon and headed south down A81, arriving at the tower at about 1:00pm.  It's a pleasant drive, with some pretty scenery and, as long as there are no staus, the time passes quickly.  Before long, you'll see the tower looming over the landscape, looking curiously like a giant cigarette, minus the smoke.

Although the Testturm offers an awesome deck for birdseye views, it does has a practical purpose.  The tower is used to test elevators, some of which even travel horizontally.  But with true German efficiency, the powers that be came up with the idea to also offer the observation deck for paying guests and conference rooms for businesses looking for an inspirational place to conduct business meetings.


Thyssenkrupp's signage.



Some information about the tower.  It's in English and German.


Just one of the views from the tower.  Keep reading for more.

Thyssenkrupp Testturm has intrigued me ever since I first noticed it being built on the horizon as we passed on the way to Switzerland.  I didn't research what it was until this past May, when Bill and I visited Annecy, France.  On the way back from France, I pulled out my trusty iPhone, took a photo, and looked it up.  I discovered that the tower, which was completed in 2017 and opened in October of last year, soars 807 feet (232 meters) over the landscape.  It currently offers Germany's highest observation deck.  Yes, it's higher than the Stuttgart TV tower and the Berlin TV tower.  On a clear day, you can see all the way to Zurich.

It turns out going to see the tower was a fine idea for today, despite the few clouds in the sky.  We had a great visit, and I don't think Bill is sorry we went.  The huge tower is really an engineering marvel, and the town of Rottweil is absolutely adorable.  What's more, while the tower offers awesome panoramic views, it's very safe.  The deck is surrounded by a very tall glass wall, which kind of sucks if you want to take clear pictures, but does make one feel very secure.

For most of the year, the tower is open to visitors on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.  During the month of August, it's also open every other day of the week except for Mondays.  Tickets for adults cost 9 euros each.  Kids under age 5 get free entrance.  Kids aged 6 to 16 pay five euros each.  Family tickets are available and cost 26 euros.  The family ticket covers two adults and a maximum of three children.  Our visit to the Thyssenkrupp Testturm took less than an hour.  There's plenty of parking; Bill says it's two euros for an hour.  Tickets for the tower can be purchased online, or you can buy them at the box office.

Having now visited the top of the tower, I can vouch for the jawdropping views available from high in the sky.  The ride in the super fast elevator takes about a minute.  If you understand German, the operator will give you the specifics.  The one who was running the elevator today spoke English, so he also filled us in on trivia about the elevator and the huge tower.


Here's where you check your bulky stuff, if you didn't leave it in the car.  There's a list of stuff you can't bring to the deck.  My guess it's because bulky purses, musical instruments, dogs, and vuvuzelas (yes, they actually specify "no vuvuzelas") take up precious space in the elevator.  Self-brought food and beverages are also prohibited.

We happened to arrive at a good time.  It wasn't crowded at about 1:00pm, so we were able to just walk in, buy tickets, and go.  Before you take the elevator up, be sure to use the restroom if you need to.  There isn't one at the observation deck.

Below are some photos I got from today's visit.



The conference area, where you can watch an ad about the tower and the city of Rottweil.  I must admit, it kind of made me decide to go there for lunch instead of eating at the snack bar by the tower. Rottweil is adorable!


This is what the deck looks like.  There is no roof, so when the weather is bad, they close it.


Need to pee?  Go before you ride up the shaft.  The toilets are on the ground floor.


We got to the tower at just the right time.  We did not have to wait in line, but when we left, a large group was in the queue.


Small snack bar in the parking lot.  There's also a tiny souvenir hut, where they have everything from sparkling wine to aprons featuring the tower.


My attempt to get the whole tower close up.  It was pretty much impossible.  It really is massive.

 








As you can see, there's a glare on some of my pictures.  Unfortunately, there's no way to avoid that, as the whole area is glassed in.  I did try hard not to catch my reflection in any of the shots.  That would have spoiled everything!

After we finished at the tower, we headed into lovely, charming Rottweil, the very same town from where the famous dogs hail.  There are tributes to the dogs scattered around the town, along with a couple more museums, some good shopping and an array of restaurants.  Plan better than we did.  We arrived at just about the time most of them closed for their pause and ended up having pizza at a cafe.

We also got snagged by a guy collecting donations for the World Wildlife Fund.  Actually, the guy snagged Bill.  I think I was giving off bitch vibes, because he dragged Bill away while I continued to take photos.  Although I wouldn't mind giving a cash donation to that cause, this was one of those deals where they want a monthly bankdraft.  I wrote about my run in with another charity, Die Johanniter, last winter.  Apparently, this is a common way to collect donations in Germany and it's highly annoying.  Fortunately, Bill was not hooked into a monthly contribution.  I got more photos, which I'm sharing below.


As you come into lovely Rottweil.  We managed to find free street parking (after 2:30pm on Saturdays).













These are all around the downtown.




Another Rottweiler!







These fountains were everywhere, too.





We walked down an alley looking for a restaurant.  We were unlucky in our search, but I did get some beautiful shots of the valley and the tower in the distance.







There was a wedding going on today, so I didn't hang around to take too many photos.

We had lunch at Onkel Rudi's, which is a bar/cafe on the main drag.  It had a nice outdoor area and was offering small pizzas and flammkuechen.  It wasn't much, but it did the trick of chasing away my resting bitch face.  


Prost!



Bill had the Pizza Diablo, which came with salami, red peppers, and green peppers.  I liked his better than mine...  


Pizza Mozzarella...  it's cheese, sauce, and red peppers.  

Service at Onkel Rudi's was good and the price was right.  Each pizza was 5,50 euros and our total bill was about 18 euros.  They only had three types of pizza and one type of flammkuechen, but I liked that the pizzas really were single sized.  And they were fine for lunch.  Next time we visit Rottweil, we'll get there earlier.  There is more to see there, including several beautiful churches and another tower.

I would absolutely recommend Rottweil for a day trip.  It's probably about a 90 minute drive from Stuttgart, less if you're further south, like we are.  It's basically a straight shot down A81 and really has a different feel than some of the other local towns.  You could probably fill up most of the day here if you plan right.  Visit the Welt der Kristalle in Dietingen, visit the Testturm, have lunch, hit a couple of the museums in the town-- there's a city museum and a toy and puppet museum that I noticed.  By that point, you might be ready to brave the traffic back toward Stuttgart.  I say give it a shot!