In Which I Come to the Defense of My Alma Mater, Uni Tübingen

splashed across the internet this morning were headlines of an American exchange student getting stuck inside a giant sculpture of a vagina in Germany.

from the UK to Canada to Australia to Russia and the US, this poor guy made headlines. and it just so happened to be at the University of Tübingen, which is where i got my masters degree. (long story short, i wanted to live in Europe and getting an education there was the easiest way. free tuition and classes in English? i couldn’t say no.)

despite being one of the oldest and more famous universities in Germany, it’s now known around the world for being well, the location of a giant…yeah. let’s not discuss that further. let’s focus on some other things:

above all, though, since this is a travel blog, let’s just focus on how quaint the whole place is! Tübingen is most definitely a college town — it’s located in the southwest of Germany (in the state of Baden-Württemberg) about 45 minutes south of Stuttgart by express train. the Neckar River flows through it, blocks from an old town with cobblestone streets and half-timbered houses. i was actually surprised at how many tourists the town gets (i expected 0, there were more than 0, most from Germany and France!).

Hanging out on the banks of the Neckar. You can see a Stocherkahn in the lower left, sort of like a Cambridge punt.

Looking west down the river

The town hall

The old town and its half-timbered buildings. I still distinctly remember the first time I set foot in the Altstadt — I was overcome by the feeling of history and academia. I remember buying a postcard on the spot and trying to convey how awestruck I was to my parents, probably unsuccessfully, But they did visit me there when we did the Romantic Road.

The tower of the Stiftskirche, or St. George’s Collegiate Church

There’s even a little castle on a hill, Hohentübingen.

My dorm was up in some other hills — this was the view from my window in the spring. Friends, let me tell you in a country where air conditioning is scarce, you want to be on the ground floor when it’s hot out. It was also handy that I could just step through my window out onto the meadow.

Nearby is the old Bebenhausen Abbey

a video (in English) from Deutsche Welle (think the German version of the BBC World Service) showing you just how cute (and old) Tübingen is:

(and if you would rather shop, Metzingen, one of the largest factory outlet towns in Germany [there are outlet towns, not outlet malls] is only a couple train stops away.)

so yes. let’s just look past the sensational news for a bit, eh? this won’t mess with the great memories i have of my two years there, though it did bring me back!

(ok, let’s be honest, had i known there was such a statue when i was a student, i probably would have checked it out, though hopefully not gotten stuck in it — i just never went over to that part of town/campus.)

oh yeah, if you’re in for a kitschy German song about Tübingen, here’s one that came out after i graduated about how hilly it is (and with some great shots of the town):

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