Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ich liebe Tübingen

Every time we come to Stuttgart, we fit in a visit to this wonderful university town.  Somehow Tübingen is charming, bustling, cool, and romantic all at once.  We had benefited from warm(ish) weather all week, especially an almost balmy day at the zoo on Thursday. Friday, though, presented a precipitous drop on the thermometer and steady wind gusts so stiff that my Neapolitan children were weeping from the freeze.  Our first stop was to duck into H&M to procure some highly reduced hats and mitts (cold-weather gear that we had forgotten to bring along and almost got away without needing).  

Newly outfitted against the cold, we entered the Marktplatz serving its time-honored purpose: picturesque setting for the weekly market.  At turns, we savored the smell of cheese and bread and then fragrant spring flowers from various stalls we passed.  I loved seeing the big bushels of pussywillows and branches ready for forcing.  The kids crowded together for warmth for this shot before the impressive Rathaus or town hall.  

All those delicious smells inspired plaintive cries of hunger from my brood.  So we found a little stube close by with an extremely friendly waitress (one in an uninterrupted series here).  Quinn decided on soup: lebenspåtzlesuppe, to be exact.  We both thought that would mean a soup with spatzle dumplings in it.  When the soup arrived, I remembered that leben means liver. The dumplings were little meat, um, liver dumplings. Motherly discretion meant I said nothing, and Quinn thoroughly enjoyed it, exclaiming over how delicious it was.  

Lily and Emily ordered käsespatzle (miniature dumplings in a cheese sauce) and salad, and I chose maultaschen (large raviolis) in broth.  Everyone savored the warm environment and the hearty food.  I could have sat there for hours and had a beer or two more.  But somehow I pushed against my contented inertia and got us chugging up hill to the castle. Fortunately, the waitress fortified my children with Chupa Chupas for the steep climb up the wooded trail to the back entrance of the castle.

Tübingen's castle belongs to the university's archeology and classics departments.  It houses their extensive collection of antiquities, both genuine and reproduction.  They had a few rooms of local prehistoric remnants but the majority of the collection contains Egyptian, Greek, and Roman artifacts.  There are small statues, urns and amphora, coins, jewelry, and then a cavernous room crowded with plasters and even bronze reproductions of classic statuary from the great museums of the world.  

You can see the Louvres's Nike, one of the Parthenon horse heads from the British Museum, a fantastic Hermes from the Naples Archeological Museum . . . it is an impressive treasure trove even if most of it is cast from plaster.  
Emily plopped right down and started sketching, so I tried my best to keep Lily and Quinn interested for longer than I should have.  My scheme of taking Quinn's picture with his finger in the nose of every bust . . . well, it got us into trouble.  Though the guard was holding back a smile when she reprimanded us.  

We found the "Ausgang" and stopped to enjoy the panorama of cheerful red roofs filling the valley.

Then we headed back to the town center through the main gate . . . and what a main gate it is!

The kids were at their usual chatter and hopping from stone to stone, so I oggled the delightful half-timbered houses and surreptitiously glanced into uncurtained windows to see the interiors (statuary nosepicking, spying in windows -- what kind of mother am I?).  Then we happened upon the first of two toy shops.  Those visits and the bookstore that capped off our trip deserve a separate post.  Read on!


Reva said...

running out of the house now but just whipped thru the photos - they are great! ove lily with her chupa chups stick ... will come back and savor the text later.
ciao bella, keep on trucking!

Cara said...

Love, love the shot of Lily with the lolly-- it's spot on. Girls enjoyed the story of Q. and the guard. I believe we missed Tubingen when we visited you, Jon and just Em (then) way back when ...