Saturday, June 16, 2018

Der Schönbuchturm in Herrenberg!

Last weekend, Herrenberg opened Der Schönbuchturm, its long awaited new tower that overlooks the forested areas surrounding the city.  I considered visiting the tower last weekend, but since it was the first day, I figured it might be better to wait a week.  I'm glad we waited.  We had perfect weather this afternoon to see the brand new tower-- a miracle of German engineering.  Bill pointed out the tower as we drove down the hill from Jettingen.  I'm surprised I hadn't noticed it before.  It sticks up from the trees in the distant hills overlooking Herrenberg.


First view of the tower.

Der Schönbuchturm, which reaches a height of 35 meters, is located across from the Schönbuch Naturpark, right next to the Naturfreundehaus am Schönbuch, a self-serve restaurant and Biergarten.  We parked there at about 3:00pm.  There was a fairly decent sized crowd there, but it wasn't too obnoxious.  We easily found a parking spot and then began the 400 meter mostly uphill hike up to the tower.  I was pretty breathless by the time we reached the new engineering marvel.  Some people were biking up and there were plenty of places for people to lock their bikes.  It costs nothing to visit the tower, which is open until 7:00pm nightly.


At the start of the trail, there's a sign welcoming visitors and a place to lock bikes.

The trail to the tower is covered in gravel made of small stones.  Part of the trail consists of steps.  I noticed a steep bike trail to the side of the steps, but I don't think that would be suitable terrain for a stroller or a wheelchair.


A bit closer... I stopped to catch my breath after the short uphill hike.  As you can see, you can stop at two vantage points on the way to the top level.


Some interesting stats.  The trail to the tower also has little information points like this one.  Since my German blows, I mostly ignored them.


There are two stairways.  Seems like one should be designated as the "up" stairway and the other as the "down" stairway.  However, both stairways are open to either direction.  Consequently, you may have to stop to let someone pass in the other direction.





These pictures are from the first vantage point.  To be honest, as sturdy as I know the tower is, I was feeling slightly anxious with each new level.  The tower has been designed so that there's little to obstruct your view.  It can be a bit unnerving.


Wire fencing and "handrails" rather than solid metal...





The above pics are from the top vantage point.






On the way down... phew.  The tower wobbled a bit with the breeze.  It reminded me a little of our visit to Highline 179 in Austria.  I'm not sure I'd want to climb the tower during bad weather!  Today, it was kind of a thrill.  


I think I like this view the best!  


Our visit to the tower only took about a half hour.  It occurred to me as we were enjoying the views that last weekend, we climbed a 35 meter tower that was originally built in the 12th century.  Today, we climbed a 35 meter tower that has only been open for a week!  And both activities were completely free of charge with no one hanging around to enforce the rules!  Gosh, I love Germany!

Last week's climb was just as high as today's climb, but today's was less painful.  Instead of a tight spiral staircase, there's a much gentler climb.  I noticed a lot of children climbing up, including one adorable little girl with intense blue eyes crawling on her hands and knees!  As nervous as the climb made me, I have to admit the view at the top is breathtaking.  You can see for miles.  

Although we could have gone to the Naturfreundehaus for a snack, Bill and I decided to visit La Piazza Gelataria for ice cream.  The outside seating was full of people who had the same idea we did.  I will note that the Naturfreundhaus, while no frills and self-serve, also has a little playground for kids!



The church bells played a hymn we used at our wedding in 2002... "Now Thank We All Our God."



Bill had a Waldbeere Becher (wild berry cup).  It was strawberry and vanilla ice cream with blueberries, strawberries, currents, and cherries, along with lots of whipped cream.


I had an After Eight Becher, made with After Eight mints.  My mom used to love those things!  It had chocolate ice cream, mint ice cream, mint sauce, and chocolate "streusel".  We also shared San Pellegrino.  Our total bill was just over 16 euros.  Today was "cheap"!  I don't think I'll need dinner, either.


For the first time, I noticed the really cool looking balcony on this building, along with its terrace on the roof.


Fun scene in Herrenberg.  Little kids were enjoying the fountain.  I couldn't help but muse about how pleasant life in Germany is... for me, anyway.  It's so nice to be able to sit in a square that looks like it's out of a fairytale and eat ice cream while children play in the fountain.  


One last shot before we went home.  

I'm pretty happy with how today turned out, especially given how it started off.  Next month, we're going to Ireland to see Paul Simon in concert.  I bought tickets for the show in February and put them in my usual safe keeping spot.  Somehow in the past four months, the tickets got lost.  This morning, we spent about an hour trying to call Ticketmaster in Ireland to get duplicates made.  For awhile, it looked like we weren't going to get through to a human being and I was getting pretty pissy.  But we were finally successful.  A lovely Irish lass helped us out and for a six euro fee, I hope to have duplicate concert tickets in my hands for next month's concert... the second of four we're planning to attend this year.  

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