I just literally “came across” something. The border between Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg that is, right inside the city of Ulm in Southern Germany. Ever since I’ve set out on a journey to trace the German part of the Danube river upstream, I’ve really come to look at it with different eyes. But instead of just looking at the river reflecting the cityscape of Ulm, I have something quite different in mind this time. “Here is the entry point,” says Dirk to me, pointing to a dirt road leading down to the Danube. “I’ll watch you from the river bank and shoot some nice photos, okay?”, he adds, smiling. That and a few more words from Robin, my SUP instructor, and way I go enjoying the second ever SUP lesson of my life! On the Danube river. Of course. (My very first such lesson, by the way, also took place in Germany, near the city of Leipzig).
Next up, Dirk takes me to the inner city of Ulm. Since I have read that the cathedral, or minster, of Ulm possesses the highest church tower in the world (a good 161 meters in height, thus even slightly higher than the world-famous Cologne Cathedral!), I knew I just had to come and see it. And indeed: The bell tower soaring into the sky, as well as the entire construction and its unique history, inspire me. Add to that, the lively atmosphere of a small city market, or the quaint little “Fischerviertel” district with yet another superlative, the “world’s most inclined hotel”, and you get the feeling that Ulm really has a lot to offer. Check this out.
From Ulm, we take to travelling on into Blaubeuren. Just twenty minutes’ drive from Ulm, you will find the most extraordinary natural & cultural “wonders of the world” ..!
And again, one superlative follows the next, which fascinates me even further on my journey tracing the Danube river upstream: Here, very close to the small town Blaubeuren, the oldest human statuette in the world has been found, still to be admired in the local area history museum. Then, there is the unique “Blautopf” freshwater spring, the “second-most water-rich spring of Germany”, which in size and color even surpasses my memory of comparatively similar freshwater sources in New Zealand or Canada (think Banff and their ink pools in the Rocky Mountains). Enormous. And as if all of this were not enough, we even went around historical Blaubeuren with the “Donauroller”, a happy Segway ride that is. Whoa!
Last but not least, and even further towards the source of the Danube river, “Donaubergland” makes for a fairy-tale like escape.
Finally, my journey along the Danube river has become entirely calm, as the Danube, too, becomes a small, narrow river, which winds its way gracefully through the landscape before it. There is one particular detail to it, though: The river completely disappears at a place marked “Donauversickerung” (Danube swallowing). Like, what?! But it’s true. In fact, the Danube, shortly after its source in the Black Forest, disappears underground for a while, only to emerge again and flow calmly a few kilometres further downstream. An interesting natural phenomenon – and one among many I have already marvelled at throughout my entire journey through Bavaria & Baden-Württemberg.
The “Donaubergland“, then, is best explored hiking. Oh, how I could lose myself here for hours and hours, despite (or because?) of the countless, numerous signposted paths. Even a part of the Way of St. James, which I have just returned to in northern Spain a few weeks earlier, leads along here! My tip: Look out for the so-called “Donauwellen” (Danube waves)! No wind or current is necessary to produce them, no. Rather, this term refers to the area’s most popular circular hiking routes, as well as a local delicacy, a cake made of black & white chocolate as well as sour cherries. Do. Not. Miss. ..!
Last but not least, check out my travel video about Baden-Württemberg, guaranteed to make you want to explore the Danube river on your own …!
More pictures about my journey are here:
Check out my other blog post about following the Danube river in Bavaria, too, including lots of useful tips in order to plan and organise your stay!
Disclaimer: I have been invited by on this trip by the German National Tourist Board. All opinions are my own.