Saturday, December 6, 2014

Day Trip 5: Bad Wimpfen

Bad Wimpfen is a lovely little town worth a visit even without the Christmas Market. It's a little awkward to get to by train from Horb and takes three hours with two or three transfers and a 15-minute walk, apparently (not a problem, but good to know). I decided to reserve two seats for my daughter and me on a bus day trip instead with the travel/bus company Schweizer. The drive took 2 1/2 hours to get there because of some traffic issues, but just 2 hours to return, and it cost €25 each. Had we gone by train we could have got there with the MetropolTagesTicket Stuttgart for a total of €24. The bus driver dropped us off right at the main bus parking lot and picked us up there five hours later. Granted, my daughter (21) was the youngest in the group and I was the second or third youngest, but that didn't matter. Funnily, I think we were the only ones who napped on the way to Bad Wimpfen!

Our bus driver gave us the following warning after he'd picked everyone up:
"The bus will be in the lot and we will depart at 19:30. If you are five minutes late, you have to sing a song. If you are ten minutes late, you will sing two songs. If you are fifteen minutes late, you can sing a song where the bus was." No one was late!

I never get tired of Fachwerkhäuser (half-timbered houses)

In the background is the Blauer Turm (Blue Tower),
the landmark of Bad Wimpfen

We got sucked into the Weihnachtsmarkt right away, but what we should have done was stop in the Stadtinfo (Hauptstraße 45) to get a guide book and start a self-guided walking tour of the town while it was still light out. One doesn't really need five hours only for one Christmas Market. I did climb the Blauer Turm, which costs €1,50 and is very easy. Unlike many church and castle towers I've climbed, the steps leading up are wide and straight rather than a spiral, and I wasn't even winded when I got to the top.

Evangelische Stadtkirche
Protestant Municipal Church
Salzgasse, leading from Hauptstraße up to the Marktplatz,
with Christmas Market booths along the way

One thing to know about Bad Wimpfen's Weihnachtsmarkt that is different from others is that there is no Pfand (deposit) for the cups - which means you pay for your cup (only €1,50), reuse it if you want another beverage, and in the end it's yours. You may also bring your own cup from home if you know this ahead of time. We saw lots of people with their own cups.

The rest of the time we wandered around, sampled the delicious food, bought a few items, and took lots of photos.

After you choose a snack and beverage, you find a spot at one of
these standing tables, perhaps sharing with a stranger or two.

It's true that one tends to find the same types of stands at each Weihnachtsmarkt - nutcrackers, wooden smoking men, roasted nuts, ornaments and home decorations, wool hats and mittens, scarves, Lebkuchenherzen (gingerbread hearts), wooden ornaments, candles and candle holders, products made with honey, flavored mustards or spreads, and gifts appealing to children - but each Christmas Market also has its own character. You will always find stands selling rote Würste ("red sausages") and other sausages on buns, waffles, crepes, and usually Schnitzel (breaded pork cutlet). Keep a look out for any food you haven't seen before, and try it! The first new food we saw were small donuts, which were made fresh with each order and served warm with powered sugar, sugar & cinnamon, vanilla sauce or chocolate. They were fabulously delicious!

Schnitzel mit Brot and Glühwein
The Schnitzel was good - nice and crispy, but the meat
was tender and juicy.

Crepe with vanilla sauce and some sugar & cinnamon,
heiße Schokolade mit Sahne, and Glühwein
I'm glad we had this experience - the whole bus trip to a new (for us) town far enough away that we made a full day of it with a lovely Christmas Market. If I return I will definitely plan for a tour of the town to learn more about its buildings and history, and I think I would also go for two days and include either Heidelberg or Heilbronn.

Thus endeth our three-day marathon of day trips, and we plan to enjoy a quiet weekend with M, resting up for Rome. My daughter got out of bed 90 minutes ago and she's already napping on the sofa under a thick blanket...

Have a great weekend!


  1. Ooh, the doughnuts sound delicious!

  2. I think they are called "Mini Krapfen". They're not uncommon - but at the market they were made fresh and still warm while we devoured them.