Category Archives: Germany

Postcard from Dusseldorf


Boxing day, I woke up early in Munich to hop on a plane to Dusseldorf. I had a 10-hour stopover there before flying to Beijing, Singapore, then Perth. Fortunately, even though I was a bit bleary from an early start, Dusseldorf is a lovely city to spend a day and the weather worked in my favour — unlike Munich, it wasn’t snowing there that day, and was even sunny for a while.

The day made a relaxing break between a fun but hectic Christmas with family and a long flight. I spent most of the day down at the river, walking around to try and offset the upcoming hours of sitting on planes. Though I made sure to get in some gluehwein, too!

PS: More postcards from

Practical details for future reference: Dusseldorf airport has a left-luggage facility which is open from 5 am – 11 pm and is staffed (!) so I — rightly or wrongly — felt safe leaving all my luggage there, including my laptop, and went around town with just my wallet and phone. This made for a much nicer day than I was expecting since I didn’t have a heavy bag. The office is in carpark P3 and is signposted quite well. Cost was 3.50 euro/day.

You can either get the S-bahn into town every half hour from a stop right at the airport, or take the skytrain to the main airport train station and get a regular train into town — these seem to run more frequently. The train trip takes <10 minutes either way and costs 2.50 euro.


How to get to Schloss Lichtenstein without a car

A few weeks ago, I spent a weekend in Tuebingen, Germany, with my sister visiting a friend who is currently living there. By Saturday evening, we’d seen most of the sights in town, and while spending a Sunday afternoon sitting on the river banks watching tipsy Germans go punting and get sunburnt sounded like a pleasant option, we decided since we’d already done that Friday we should find something else to do, maybe get out of town.

Some googling and vague memories of the suggestions in a guidebook lead us to decide on Lichtenstein Castle (Schloss Lichtenstien), because even as someone who normally says “ugh, castles”, I had to admit this looked pretty nice:

Schloss Lichtenstein 04-2010.jpg

But… how to get there? The internet is surprisingly unhelpful on this point, with most information about the castle describing the conveniently-located car park, and a few ominous mentions of 90-minute uphill treks. The good news is, 90 minutes is a massive over-estimate and the castle is really not that hard to get to (though it would still be much easier with a car and there is some uphill walking involved). Here’s what we did, based on searching google maps and rome2rio, neither of which were totally accurate but by their powers combined…

  1. Get to Reutlingen, which is easy to do by train. If you miss your bus connection (we did), it’s not a terrible place to wander around for an hour but it’s not exactly thrilling either, especially on a Sunday at lunch time.
  2. Get a bus to Honau. We caught the no. 400, it leaves ~hourly (at least on Sundays, maybe it’s more frequent during the week?) from the bus stands which are to your left as you leave the station – basically, there’s a carpark near the taxi rank with some bus stops in it. You might want to ask the driver to let you know when you get to Honau. has bus info.
  3. At Honau, you get off the bus pretty much at the bottom of the trail to the castle – it starts on the side street just behind you. Follow the signs, through the field next to the hedge and then into the woods. The trail in the woods is very clear, not especially steep, and in the shade the whole way up. To give you an idea, I walked it in crocs (don’t judge me). It took us around 45 minutes to get to the top and we’re not especially fit, although we are young and without knee problems etc.
  4. The bus back to Reutlingen leaves from a stop just down the road from where you get off the bus. You’ll probably want to know the timetable so you don’t hike down the hill and then have to wait an hour for a bus.

Photo credit: “Schloss Lichtenstein 04-2010” by -donald-Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Day walk in Altmühltal Nature Park, Bavaria (August 2012)

Another catch-up post of the “where was Zoe?” variety. I spent a week in Germany last summer, and one day I went for a walk in the countryside.

The most fabulous hikers ever?

The most fabulous hikers ever?

I set off quite early, leaving my hostel in Nuremberg at 9am to catch a train to Treuchtlingen. I’d seen on the internet that there are hiking and walking trails between a series of villages in the Altmühltal Nature Park, but that was about all the planning I’d done — in fact, Treuchtlingen was earlier than I’d intended to get off the train, but I saw a bunch of hikers and cyclists get off there, and I figured they were probably onto something. Google maps suggested the walking trail was always close to a local railway line, so I figured I’d walk until I got bored and then hop back on the train, probably around lunch time.

As it was, lunch time came and I’d walked maybe 10km, mostly over low hills, along the edges of fields with little patches of woods for the occasional bit of shade. So there I was, sitting next to a village bakery, munching away on the apple cake I’d bought, and feeling a bit like a hobbit what with all this Shire-like farmland and good food. And I thought, “why not go on to the next town? There’s a train station there too,  it’s only 6km away, and it’s a beautiful day.” So on I went.

Farmland, blue skies, sunshine, ahhhh.

Farmland, blue skies, sunshine, ahhhh.

If you’ve hiked much, you can probably guess how this goes — on flat ground, as long as you keep moving, you don’t quite notice that you’re tired until you stop. I think I said “one more village” about 3 times, until suddenly it was late afternoon and I was exhausted. And slightly sunburnt (oops).

In all, it was a great walk: the train stations every 5-10km made it low-commitment, the walking was not at all strenuous, but the scenery was very pretty, and the trail was low-traffic enough to feel like the world was your own, without feeling isolated. I’m glad I ended up giving it a whole day — it really made my week’s holidays in Germany feel like a proper break from my city routine.