Though I would love to keep the whole travelogue short, I would also want my experiences about this trip to be written down here. So in short, I’m going to write a long story but try and keep it short? Hmm….
I was not travelling alone, I had a friend who was already in Germany with work. I was guided a lot and I felt privileged enough to have someone cover my back if I got lost. My friend had been to Stuttgart once. Anyways, I would like to keep my friend out of this blog.
I have around 500 pictures from the trip out of which 25% of the pictures I took of the places have come out decent. I’m unsure if I’ll be able to share all of them in this blog. I’ll keep a limit to the number of pictures I share here to keep this post less
lengthy boring. I’ll use this (Italics + color) to highlight any suggestions that I may have.
I landed in Frankfurt early morning. I had based my whole trip in Stuttgart. Now many people had asked me why Stuttgart. The answer is simple. I’m a Stuttgart kind of person. Stuttgart is a village in comparison to Berlin. Filled with greenery and comparatively slower pace of life.
I had booked the tickets for the intercity train to Stuttgart. If you book earlier you get it for as cheap as 20 Euros. If you are booking from the train station you end up spending 70 Euros for the same ticket.
There is a way to travel for free as well. The site which we use for booking (bahn.com) has partnership with most major airlines. So ideally if you book your airline accordingly you get a free intercity train ride. I didn’t know this before hand but now you know it. The details. Please check it out and save those precious Euros for more travelling.
My friend picked me up from the station and bought me a pretzel. My first enounter with German food. We went to his place. I took a bit longer than expected to set out. The plan for the day was
- Visit Hohenzollern castle.
- Visit Lichtenstein castle.
- Visit Uracher Wasserfalls (waterfalls).
For this we had to rent a car and we didn’t book any because I was unsure about the time we would be ready to set out for the day especially when I had arrived only at 1130 hrs. Out of the four major car rentals namely Sixt, Avis, Hertz and Europcar, I had an inclination towards Sixt. We went to their 24 hr centre near Stuttgart main station and had a major heart break. All the cars were booked. There was an option to pick up Opel Corsa which I denied just to walk around and find that the other rentals didn’t have any cars. Not even a Volkswagen Polo. 99 out of 100 shops were (will be) closed for the weekend and this applies even for supermarkets. The Sixt rentals in railway station told me a price that I could any day refuse. It was 2 times of what I had in my mind. We came back to the Sixt 24 hr outlet and asked if he had the Opel Corsa for me.
It was booked within this 15 mins that I went around to other places. Now what he had was a Volkswagen UP! That’s it. The rate for it? A hundred Euros. Darn!!!
Book your car in advance. If you don’t show up you or are late by an hr, you will lose the money. But if you don’t book, you will have to take a car they have to offer at a price they quote. If you are even 70% sure that you will show up, better to book the car. Online is way cheaper and you get to select if you want an insurance and other add ons.
We were out of option. If we didn’t get this car, our weekend would have been pretty much in the bar drinking over the big loss of not getting the car and not going out. We opted to get the VW UP! for a hundred Euros. This included full insurance.
I didn’t want insurance as I got it prior from here. It is better to get it from other providers than the rental companies because rental companies charge 3 to 4 times the amount. This time I had no option but I would always suggest getting an excess damage insurance from other providers. Basic third party insurance comes with the rental itself which isn’t enough.
I shall post a separate one about my experiences with Sixt.
For now, I had to take the full insurance for the car and the guy felt sorry for me and gave me a GPS satnav for free. I didn’t ask for it but since he was giving it for free, I said I don’t mind having it. Indian, you know. Missing a free give away is a crime punishable by law. But I cannot put in words how much the GPS unit helped us. Make sure to tell them to change the GPS language to English as well. A satnav is must have to avoid unwanted getting lost hence saving you a lot of time. Time is precious when you are renting a car.
We looked at the car and there is also a pic of me looking in the engine bay and crying, wish I could post it here….
So after the mandatory fluid, tire pressure, alloys, odo reading checks, we proceeded to take pictures of the car.
Before and after pics of a rental car is the key to saving your kidney. Take pictures before you drive off in your rental car and take pictures just before you return the car. Make sure you check for any damages and have it included in the rental contract itself, else rental companies have all the right to charge you for damages and not checking is your fault. Make sure you do it and take pictures as a proof. In case of any damage report it right away before starting your trip.
By the time we set off, it was 1700 hrs (5:00 PM). Both the castle closes at 1730 and 1800 hrs respectively.
So both the castle visits….
What remained is Uracher Wasserfalls. Wasser is the german word for Water. I guess.
Driving in Germany should be another posts (for my Indian friends) which I’ll do later on.
We switched on the GPS and with difficulty managed to input the name of the waterfall. Once this was done, we set off. It took us less than an hour to reach there. The best thing about summer is that day light lasts till 2000 hrs (8 pm) or more. So from morning 0600 till 2000 hrs you have sunlight which helps a lot.
We reached the parking lot and parked our stallion there. Almost 1.5-2 km walk from the parking lot and it’s common for the residents there. We saw much older people doing the stretch faster than we could in our comparatively young age. It just goes to show how unfit we were and how they take care of themselves.
There were more than one waterfall and we visited the nearest one because we were LAZY. Posting a few pictures…
So after this was done, we put the address in our satnav. It guided us towards the Charming Farmhouse at Pfullingen. Tired, I retired to bed soon pushing the planning for next day to next day.
(Post processing: Only some minor light adjustments)