Archives for posts with tag: Stuttgart

P1020477I’m just back from two very enjoyable weeks in Southern Germany. This time, we travelled through France; starting in Cherbourg and passing by Rouen, Paris, Metz, Strasbourg, Karlsruhe and Stuttgart: a journey of 13 hours. On the way we encountered violent rainstorms, beautiful rainbows and a wonderful “supermoon” as it rose over the fields of Verdun.

A big highlight of the trip was our trip to the Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart. It’s a wonderful place to go, even if you are not a big car lover. Daimler AG has an amazing history. In 1885, they developed the first automobile: a contraption that looks more like a horse carriage than a car; and in short order they were manufacturing everything from motorcycles, to tramcars, busses, vans and trucks. It’s a company that is still going strong after 130 years: an incredible achievement.

Next up was Ulm, the birthplace of Albert Einstein and the city with the world’s tallest steeple, the view from which is superb, if a little unnerving. As for Einstein, his family left Ulm while he was still a baby and the apartment itself was destroyed in the War. All that remains of Bahnhofstrasse 20 is a nondescript memorial not far from the railway station.

A day later we were relaxing by the shores of Lake Constance, the great alpine lake shared with Austria and Switzerland. We spent the day between Überlingen and Meersburg, finally taking a ferry back to Friedrichshafen.  Above us, a lonely Zeppelin meandered across the lake – a relic of a bygone era.

The weekend gave me a chance to go up in a glider: taking off from Berneck, high in the Swabian Alps. It was wonderful, and not a bit uncomfortable. In Germany, kids as young as 14 can get a gliding license. It’s often the first stop on the way to becoming a pilot.

Next up was Nuremberg, a city of great fascination to a history enthusiast like me. It was here where Hitler’s great rallies were staged, and here where the remnants of his monstrous regime were picked apart for all the world to see: his henchmen called to account for their crimes. I wish I could have spent more time here, as the city itself has so much to offer, from a grand medieval castle to a fascinating transport museum among many other things. Next time.

The next day I went to Tübingen, a famous university city just south of Stuttgart, home to many intellectual heavyweights such as Kepler, Hegel and Alzheimer. With its many alleyways, nooks and crannys, it’s wonderfully picturesque and captivating.

And then it was over and I was driving back across the German and French countrysides, heading once again for home. The night we left Cherbourg, I caught the most arresting sunset of my life to date. A fitting ending to an marvellous trip.


Here is a short video of our road trip to Germany this year, condensed into three minutes. Just because.

This morning, at an ungodly hour, I am heading out to the airport to fly to Austin, Texas. I’m excited about it, despite the fact that it’s a work trip and I will be busy in meetings and other work activities for most of my time over there.

Although I have been to the US on dozens of occasions, I have never been to Texas, or anywhere near it. It’s a place that fascinates me no end. Maybe it’s the size of the state, or it’s natural beauty, or the unique personality of it’s inhabitants, I’m not sure. Austin is meant to be a particularly nice city, so I travel full of anticipation.

The journey itself is lo-ong. First of all London, then Chicago, then Austin, which means I will be spending most of the next 24 hours in planes and airports. I will be thoroughly wrecked by the time I arrive in the Lone Star state.

Following my trip to Texas, I head over to Stuttgart for a few days. I hope to visit the site of a huge ancient meteorite impact while there, as well as a small amount of skiing, perhaps. I’ve even discovered a pub there, (Biddy Early’s) that will be showing the Ireland vs France match next week.

So it’s all very busy and international and fascinating over the coming days. Hopefully I’ll have a few updates to share.

Catch y’all later.

Here are some of my favourite pictures from 2009. Click on any of these photos to enlarge.

February 2009 – Galtee Mountains, Co. Tipperary

April 2009 – Germany (Wiesbaden and Stuttgart)

May 2009 – Glenmalure,Co. Wicklow

May 2009 – Grand Canal, Co. Kildare

May 2009 – Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare

June 2009 – Skellig Islands, Co. Kerry

June 2009 – Midleton, Co. Cork

July 2009 – Old Kenmare Road, Co. Kerry

August 2009 – Sheep’s Head, Co. Cork

September 2009 – St. Davids, Wales

September 2009 – Brecon Beacons, Wales

September 2009 – Elan Valley, Wales

September 2009 – Aberystwyth, Wales

September 2009 – Carrauntoohil, Co. Kerry

I’m just back from a trip to Germany. I started in Munich, proceeded to Stuttgart and ended up in Wiesbaden.

A couple of random things from my trip:

Munich Airport

In all the flights I have made – and I have flown hundreds of times – I have never seen anybody freak out when the plane is taking off and landing. This unblemished run ended last Saturday, when the woman seated in front of me had a full-blown panic attack. As the plane took off, the poor woman started to hyperventilate, emitting regular eeping noises as we hit any bumps or turbulence. She let out a full blown scream at one stage when the plane encountered an air-pocket in the cloud layer. She relaxed completely once we reached cruising height, but as the plane began it’s final approach, all around her were treated to a repeat performance. It must be terrible for her, as such an atavistic fear is not easily remedied.  

Vineyards on the Wuttemberg (Stuttgart)

The German train system is pretty unforgiving if you make the mistake of leaving a suitcase on board. I had only stepped out of the train at Munchen – Pasing, when it dawned on me that something was wrong. Too late. Doors had closed and my suitcase was happily on it’s way to the small village of Geltendorf, about 20 km away. Suffice it to say that my suitcase and I were eventually reunited and that I spent the rest of the day making up for that brief moment of forgetfulness.

Looking for fossils in Holzmaden

I can add fossil hunting to my list of achievements. One of the high-points of the weekend was a trip to Holzmaden, where some fantastic Jurassic Period fossils have been discovered over the last century. There is an open quarry there and members of the public can extract their very own fossils from the bedrock. We collected a nice set of ammonites and belemnites, although how they are going to get from Germany to Ireland is anyone’s guess. 

Fountain in Wiesbaden

Other highlights were a trip down the Rhine and a relaxing day in the beautiful city of Wiesbaden. The public park next to the casino in Wiesbaden is particularly attractive. I was also struck by the friendliness and helpfulness of all the people I encountered during my trip. It’s definitely worth a visit.

Marktkirche in Wiesbaden

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