Last weekend I followed an invitation to go hiking in Baden-Würtemberg on an “eco track” through the Kraichgau region. After almost 3 months spent in Australia, visiting the south of Germany was quite a cultural shock!
So, after just half a week back home in Northern Germany, I got into my car to drive South. Destination: Bretten.
After 6 hours on the highway little village Bretten was right ahead of me where the first highlight of the trip awaited me before I even started my hike: The Melanchthon house at the market place.
Melanchthon was a companion of Martin Luther and Bretten dedicated him a memorial site on the land of his birthplace. Inside the building you can find a memorial hall on the ground floor as well as several rooms on the first floor representing different fields (humanists, theologists, princes). But my favourite room was the so called “city room” that has the ceiling and parts of the walls covered with the coat of arms of all the cities Melanchthon was in correspondence with:
After this short detour into church history it was time to finally start hiking on the eco track, but sadly the signposting around the village was so scarce that I struggled to get onto the path in the first place. The map I was given wasn’t a big help either, so in the end I had to use my mobile phone to figure out where I was supposed to go. After a while I had made it onto the right track and started walking from Bretten through Knitteln to Oberderdingen where an accomodation was booked for the first night. The way there led me past plenty of green fields and meadows, but my favourite thing to look at were the gorgeous yellow canola fields:
In Oberderdingen I stopped at guesthouse Lutz, where I was already being expected and greeted friendly. The room was down to earth, very clean and thanks to Mrs Lutz’s caring and kind nature I immediately felt welcome at her guesthouse. On top of that the location of guesthouse Lutz is brilliant: right in the historical centre of the village next to the main sights like the old “Amthof”.
I had the most delicious dinner at wine tavern Lutz which accounted for the second highlight of my trip – divine venison stew! Breakfast the next morning was a special treat as well with plenty of fresh fruit, typical south German “Brezel” (pretzel) and a variety of bread and breadrolls – it was almost a sad moment when I had to leave to continue on the co track as I would have loved to stay a little longer and enjoy the hospitality of this little place.
Before I headed on towards the next village I took some time to look around Oberdergingen and the old “Amthof” (an old monastery with a church) buildings in the centre:
After that I walked through Flehingen, Gochsheim and Münzesheim to Unteröwisheim – another nice day, but everything I saw and walked past looked pretty much exactly like the landscape on the first day. Along the track, I stopped in Gochsheim as the village centre consists of many historical buildings that are worth a visit. I would have loved to visit the bakery museum there as well, but sadly it is only open on Sundays.
I spent the second night athotel Dittrich in Ubstadt-Weiher,which sadly couldn’t keep up with the amazing accomodation I have had the first night. Hotel Dittrich rather seemed like a private home full of kitsch that I was intruding by staying there for the night. Also, it wasn’t even along the eco track but a tram ride away – I’m sure there must be a nice place somewhere along the route!
Since I didn’t really like it there, I left early the next day to finish off my hiking weekend. Once more the path lead me past little forests, meadows and canola fields and I encountered some sheep, horses and even ostriches.
However, all weekend long I was asking myself why I had been invited to walk this track when all paths are wide and developed enough to conquer the eco track by bike. Only few sights were along the track, so taking a lot of detours to see things added up to the mileage of the actual track – considering the amount of kilometeres I walked each day, a bike would’ve made this weekend much nicer and more relaxed.
As far as the landscape is considered the routing of the eco track was good, but definitely nothing special. Almost all along the way I could hear cars or trains nearby, so I didn’t really “get away from civilization” and all the way into nature.
Correspondingly, upon departure my feelings were mixed: The hike was nice, but no highlight – routing, landscape and villages were not much more than average and besides the Melanchthon house and the hospitality I experiened at guesthouse Lutz nothing really struck me as unique and memorable. I am certain that the German South has more spectacular hiking tracks to offer!
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