Mulhouse – Rottweil – Horb Am Neckar- Tuebingen – Stuttgart – 29.02.2016
The extra day this leap year was well spent. A little adventurous, with crazy kilometers and some towns on our plate, but a fun and definitely will-do-it-again sorta day.
The well charted, excel-ed plan was going to take us through 4 cities (excl. Mulhouse) with over 270 kms of driving. The itinerary for the day looked something like this:
- Mulhouse to Rottweil: A scenic 160Kms in 2+ hours, with a one hour stop in Rottweil. We had read so much about this town. I even wanted to spend the night here, but D enticed me with the Mercedes museum in Stuttgart and so we stayed a night there instead.
- Rottweil to Horb Am Neckar: 45 Km drive in 40 minutes and about 40 minutes for sight-seeing.
- Horb Am Neckar to Tuebingen: 35 Km in 30 minutes and a 40 minute halt
- Tuebingen to Stuttgart: 35 Km in not much time since we were going to take the Autobahn for this last leg.
- Make it to Stuttgart between 6 and 7 PM and relax.
BUT, that was the plan now wasn’t it! And plans are never meant to be. So what really happened, freaked the living lights out of me.
We left our hotel at a very relaxed hour of 1015 AM thinking we had plenty of time. Up until Klemmbachstrase it was fine, some snow here and there. Slippery roads of course. But the fun began thereafter. Now, before I start giving you details, you must know that we were driving a car without winter-tyres, which is what made this story unpredictable and downright scary for us. We had tyre-socks, you know, for a “worst case scenario”.(Ha ha!)
And so, after literally 45 minutes of driving, we began some kind of an ascent, must be in the thick of the Black forest or Schwarzwald, which at the time was pristine white. Snow on our left in the woods and on the right in the valley, thick fog behind and ahead of us. I had a funny feeling in my stomach, it was neither fright nor stress, it was some form of meditative state I think I slipped into. It was surreal. It was beautiful.
But, it was short-lived.
At some point, I heard D mumble to himself a few “Oks” all the way to “oh sh!t”. That! That was not a very ok thing to hear. He never says it, unless, we really are in the middle of merde. And, we oh-so-were. Bang in the heart of nasty snow. The car, by now had a mind of its own. By the way, our car’s called Dino.
So, Dino has decided to slalom a little, slide a bit, skid for fun and give us mini heart attacks, all at the same time. I was far from meditating. The fight or flight mode was on. We were fighting the snow to find a spot to park and just breathe. After what seemed like a million light years, we found an opening on the side. We were in -3 degree Celsius, with thick foliage of snow and fog. We got out the socks for the tyres, and plastic gloves that came with it. No clue when the gloves tore, but we found ourselves struggling to make Dino wear his socks. Numb hands and a super slippery ground added to our woes!
Half an hour later, we started again, with socks and torn hands.
We must have been at the peak, because now unfortunately for the wheels and us, we were descending. I mean it when I say “going Down”! Speeds of over 20 kmph and the socks would go whoob, whoob, whoob! Kid you not, we had all of two cars pass us by during this entire time. This was somewhere between Sirnitz and Hinterheubronn. Watch the video here:
Somewhere along the road, we had to take the socks off. You can’t use them over 0 degree Celsius. Soon enough, we got to the Todtnau Wasserfälle – about an hour too late.
At 97 metres tall, this Wasserfälle is charming. There were beach-chair like benches which you could lie on and enjoy the spritz of the water fall. The view around us was only and only of the Blackforest with snow-capped mountains and trees, and little streams. At the entrance we were welcomed with a deserted ticket counter. Buying a ticket wasn’t obligatoire. However, there was a box where you could put in some money, which went towards maintaining the area.
Our next stop was (supposed to be) the Triberg waterfall, highest in Europe. The town is known for its cuckoo clocks and you guessed it – Black forest cake. But, as we started our ascent, we had a major déjà vu. We had to put on the socks again, in the muckiest of places D could find. Ofcourse, Dino gave us a hard time, again. And, within 10 minutes of driving, we were running parallel to ski slopes. Yeah, we had skiers over-take us!!!
That is when we decided to turn right around and keep Triberg for summer.
Even though we retraced our way back, we were still in a valley. Which meant one way or another we would have to climb up and out of somewhere. That was bad. We got us into a similar foggy, snowy situation yet again. Not going into details, this time, but you get the drift! Get the right set of tyres or get going elsewhere!
The GPS at this point showed that we were crossing lake Titisee. Dino had his socks on for most part, which restricted our speeds to 40 kmph. Also, by this time, we had grown accustomed to having a trail of 20 cars behind us every few minutes. Each time the cars, busses, and gigantic trucks overtook us they’d do it with confused stares and angry glares.
Tip: It is mandatory to have winter tyres for your vehicle in Germany or at least have tyre-socks to weather the roads. I highly recommend winter tyres, whether or not you decide to go through the interiors (like us) or use the Autobahn. The road gets icy and your car might get out of control if you are not well-equipped. You can read more about winter tyres and related EU regulations here.
We got a little bit of Autobahn enroute and managed to reach Rottweil at about 1530, 2 hours later than expected. Had to cut short our stay to half an hour. But that is how long we took to eat and relax. We ate at Die Backerei Storz Das cafe am Kamelec. Had a strudel, vegetarian burger (surprisingly, this was the best thing on our table), and one ham and bacon pretzel-sandwich. Then, walked around for another half an hour, bought ourselves a cuckoo-clock magnet and a few other knick-knacks. Such a vintage village, with architecture straight out of a postcard. I picked this place mainly because the Rottweiler (breed of dogs) comes from here and basis my online research, this was a beautiful town. And it so was! Next time I’m spending a night here.
Left at 1630 and headed to Horb Am Neckar . Crossed the village in literally 5 minutes.
The next stop was Tübingen. We parked near the Schloss. Again, we could afford only 15 minutes to look around, and thanks to our earlier experience, we wanted to make it to Stuttgart without much delay and in as much daylight as possible.
Tübingen is a student city – no doubt about it – kids on cycles, in torn jeans and hoodies. A typical university town with the hustle and bustle of youth. We found a lot of record stores and comic book stands.
There was a velo and pedestrian tunnel, which I vivdly remember. I also remember wishing I could
have spent more time here.
The last stretch of travel to Stuttgart, was via the Autobahn. Ofcourse, it didn’t happen without some drama. We were hit by an unexpected snow-storm. I swear, I felt like someone was throwing snowballs at us from the sky – just for fun! Theatrical end to a mad day.
Got to the hotel at about 7PM. Room serviced a big meal and called it a night.
Leaving you with a video of our drive to Stuttgart.
Background score is “Stressed out” by Twenty One Pilots (so apt for this post)!
P.s. it was playing on the radio 🙂
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