Ulm to Strasbourg

Our original plan for the trip was to leave Munich and go to Nuremberg. Nuremberg is a natural tourist destination and easy to get to. However, it is also the base for Hitler’s 3rd Reich, of which I am no fan, and I wasn’t interested in visiting sites dedicated to Nazi successes. So we went westward instead on our way to Cologne.

Since this trip is a beer travel vacation, we decided to go to Strasbourg, France, which is just over the German border and is in the only French beer region, the Alsace region, influenced by both Germany and Belgium. Kronenbourg is Strasbourg’s most well-known brewery.

Gay and I haven’t been to France since 2005, shortly after we were married (and before kids). We loved France but never made it to this area.

After dropping the rental car off in central Strasbourg, we walked around in the hot (30°C) sun. We went to Academie de la Biere, a great beer bar, and immediately realized how much more diverse France is than Germany is beer-wise: we could choose from simple lagers to Biere de Gardes to Framboise to Bocks. I respect Germany’s beer culture and history but this is what beer is about!

The England vs Belgium World Cup game came on at 4pm so we walked several blocks to an Irish pub that promised to show the game. We assumed they’d be pro-England but they were decidedly pro-Belgium. Belgium won.

Today is also Bastille Day so we went towards the night’s 10:30pm fireworks display. Everyone in Strasbourg was out having dinner!

Klais to Tübingen

I wanted to see some small German towns instead of the large German cities we’d seen. And I wanted to drive a BMW in Bavaria. So we took the train back to Munich, picked up a rental car in Munich and drove to Tübingen.

I wanted a 5-series or the X5 but ended up with a BMW I’ve never seen, a 220 Tourer:

We stopped in Ulm for lunch and found a craft brewery, Barfüber:

The 3-hour drive became 4 hours, plus our stopover in Ulm got us to Tübingen by 6:30pm. Despite what Google says, I think driving in Europe is usually slower – and far more expensive – than taking a train. But I did get to drive a BMW in Germany!

Unfortunately, all we had time for in Tübingen was checking into the hotel, a dinner, a walk and back to the hotel for bed time.

Schloss Elmau

We’re leaving this place tomorrow morning, reluctantly. We stayed 3 nights and considered staying longer. I always say I am disappointed in hotels because I like my own house better – but not this place.

We woke up to a dramatic view of the Alps that felt like they were in our backyard.

Our view from our room with morning coffee:

My club sandwich lunch, that I think cost almost $30, including fries, but it was good, even the kids were amazed.

It was built as a “wellness” resort in 1914, rebuilt by the grandson of the original builder in 2006-7 after a 2005 fire and they added the “retreat” building next door, where we stayed, in 2015. The decor is more Scandinavian than German – wood everywhere in simple clean design. I’d never tire of the view of the Alps from anywhere you are.

There are 3 pools, 2 that allowed kids and one that doesn’t, spas, yoga faculty, a gym, 2 huge saunas with one in the woods by a frigid stream that you could walk into after the sauna, many restaurants each with a different cuisine, tennis courts, bocce courts, volleyball, etc. and for the first time ever for me, the room had the Toto Neorest, just like home! There was also a small theater where I caught the England vs Croatia soccer game surrounded by Brits and 2 happy Croatians.

If I had a complaint, it’d be that they can’t make good cocktails.

A monument to the Reinheitsgebot at Viktualmarkt in Munich, the German law of 1516 that ostensibly improved the quality of beer but was really a political move to kill off competing breweries and enrich the King and ultimately doomed German breweries to centuries of slow (or no) progress.

We went to the Brandhorst Museum and saw bad art by Cy Twombly. Today’s art world needs a higher standard, a lot of graffiti is more interesting and meaningful than this:

Fortunately, I accidentally left my 360° camera at a restaurant in the Schwabing neighborhood yesterday so while Gay and Havana went to another museum, Hudson, Eva and I took a train to go retrieve it.

Our hotel is right next door to the famous Hofbrauhaus where we met for dinner:

A choice of 3 beers, a Helles, a Dunkel and a Weisse, are served by the liter:

The food was also very good: