*A very special Happy Birthday to my Papa today, he is a remarkable human!*
Blaubeuren (not to be confused with Blaubeeren) is a hidden gem of a city about 20 minutes by train from Ulm. My dear friend and former roommate MaryBeth moved to Ulm at the beginning of June, and 2.5 weeks later I took a train to visit her so we could spend some time together.
I just missed her too much. 😉
While trying to decide what we wanted to do for our one full day together, MaryBeth suggested we go to Blaubeuren and see the Blautopf. The Blautopf (literally translates to blue pot) is a turquoise spring where professional divers explore the depths below the surface in order to access entrance to the Blauhöhle – the largest cave system in the Swabian Alps of southern Germany.
I could never dive deep under these waters without having a panic attack, but I sure enjoyed being mesmerized by the still blue waters from land.
This spring reminded me of my time in Yellowstone, being surrounded by hot springs of similar colors. Only this spring was not boiling hot.
A small path leads around the Blautopf for different views of the spring, and I was amazed by how different the colors were from one side to the other. I did slightly enhance the above photos, but for the most part these are the true colors of this spring from one side, and the below photo is the color from the other side.
It looks like a completely different spring/pond. The views of the Abbey to the left and the surrounding buildings to the right gave a spectacular view and reflection though. This spring alone was worth the trip to Blaubeuren and I was already happy with our decision to come here, but the day just kept getting better.
Upon arrival into the city, I noticed a large cross atop a small hill off in the distance. Knowing MaryBeth is up for anything (one of the many reasons I miss her so much) I asked if we could go find the trail to the top. We weaved and bobbed in and out of neighborhoods before finally finding the trail.
It was a short 15 minute walk to the top, but the views were lovely. A few other parties of people came and went, but we shared the top with three older German men for a good 30 or so minutes. We spent the remainder of our time up top (which was quite a while) discussing the current state of the world from a Christian perspective.
It’s conversations like these that make me feel like a whole human again. I only wish I had them more frequently.
The Swabian Alps are clearly much different than the Bavarian Alps where I currently live, but they have their own kind of charm. I love the green tree covered hills cradling the city center below. Blaubeuren is an amazing city and had it not been for MaryBeths move to Ulm, I would have never thought to stop here.
This city quickly became one of my favorite cities in Germany.
After we spent time at the cross, we wandered further away from the city center following the mountain ridge lines. Off in the distance we could see some castle ruins atop another hill, and this became our next destination. I love friends who love walking for hours. Although the ruins don’t look too high off the ground, the path getting there took longer than I thought.
We finally found the ruins, only to discover a fence around the bottom clearly indicating entrance was verboten. Suddenly we saw a group of people walking around the inner ruins and then they walked out of the gate like it was no big deal. We arrived at the ruins around the same time as an older couple, and the older man watched the group come out of the gate and decided he was going to go in.
Naturally, I followed the old man.
I try to follow the rules most all of the time in my life, so this slight bend of the law had my adrenaline running at full speed. I ran up the steps of the castle to follow the old man, and once we made it to the other side of the entrance we made eye contact, exchanged a laugh, and quickly looked at the view below. He mumbled something to me in German, and I just laughed and nodded as I had no idea what he said.
Just smile and wave.
After I safely made it out of the fence without the Polizei catching me, we wandered our way back down the mountain. I showed MaryBeth the awful photos I snapped in my running panic, because she was in the process of getting her German Visa and wasn’t willing to risk getting into trouble – smart girl.
The walk back to the train was leisure and relaxing. The river running through the town beckoned people from all over to swim, and wade. We made it back to Ulm at a decent hour where we made dinner and played cards with her boyfriend Ben. The older I get, the easier I am to please with evening activities.
Give me a good meal with good people and I am content.
We spent the following morning enjoying coffee together, chatting more about life, and walking around Ulm a bit. I say it a lot because it’s something I cherish so deeply, but I am immensely grateful for MaryBeths friendship. I am also thankful I will forever have a place to visit when I come back to Germany. 😉
If anyone is curious what it’s like to live as an expat in Germany, MaryBeth has started sharing her experiences on her blog! Check her out.
Q: Would you rather stand tall at the top of a mountain, or swim deep in the depths of water? I’d rather crawl up the sketchy mountain I hiked a couple months ago than ever dive deep in the water.