5 min read

Day 71: Tübingen

Morning Work Session

I spent the morning working, finishing some remaining things from Thursday and also preparing for next week. The ADAS & AV Technology Expo returns to Stuttgart next week from June 13th-15th. I’m hoping to stop by to check out all of the latest announcements in supplier technology (SW & HW), plus drop in on a few expert talks. Given that I have to wrap up a number of topics, it’ll be a fun challenge to try and squeeze in a few hours at the expo.

Touring Around

At around noon, I jumped into the car and drove down to visit a friend / co-worker in Tübingen, a beautiful city south of Stuttgart, home to the Universität Tübingen, the Neckar River filled with Tübinger Stocherkan (translation: Tübingen punting boats), a large castle, a collection of Unesco Heritage-protected pre-historic artifacts dating 40,000 years old, the room where Goethe allegedly stayed, and the kitchen where the first nucleic acids were discovered and separated, laying the foundation for discovery of DNA/RNA.

It’s about a 40 minute drive from Stuttgart, 30 minutes without traffic. Google Maps was acting up, so I had to detour around on the highways because my navigation sent me the wrong direction. But once I got on to the highway it was a very smooth ride.

At its heart, Tübingen is very much a university city. School buildings are distributed all across the city, with some buildings in the university dating all the way back to the founding days of Tübingen itself (circa. 11th century). I would describe Tübingen as a combination of Strasbourg and Cambridge: a culturally rich university/school city with a deep and old history, where old and new fit together in an eclectic jigsaw puzzle.

Starting off with a very delicious Chinese meal from China Restaurant San Bao overlooking the Neckar River, we made our way up the hilly cobblestone roads to the Altstadt area (translation: old city/town). We stopped off at the Stiftskirche St. Georg (translation: St. George’s Collegiate Church) and climbed to the top of the bell tower. With clear blue skies, I could easily see Tübingen and its surrounding areas. Everything is so green.

After scaling and descending the tower (just in time before the bells went off), we made our way up to the castle in Tübingen, the Schloss Hohentübingen. It’s home not only to its own museum, but also a museum maintained by the university. At the museums, we had the chance to view ivory and stone carvings dating back almost 40,000 years discovered deep inside pre-historic caves in the early 20th century. The artifacts are some of the oldest and best preserved that indicate the migratory history of early humans following the Neanderthals in pre-historic Germany and Europe. The museum also boasts a very impressive collection of artifacts from the  Roman empire as well as from early Egyptian and Grecian civilizations.

Within the castle, there is also a kitchen where Friedrich Miescher extracted what we now call nucleic acid (what he called nucleins) from white blood cells, setting the foundation for the discovery of DNA and RNA. The oldest vial of extracted nucleic acid is still on display, next to the pig sample preserved in a big jar that was used to extract white blood cells. Easy to say that my mind was blown.

After touring the castle, we made our way back down to the main Altstadt area. We stopped for a coffee and cake. I had an Eiskaffe (translation: iced coffee). In Germany, this literally translates to coffee + vanilla ice-cream. I also had a slice of a very delicious blueberry cake.

Replenished and re-fueled we went for a walk around the nearby botanical gardens, a popular spot for college students to lounge in the sun. We popped our heads into some beautiful school libraries, being careful not to disturb anyone. It was cool to see a German university up close.

Eventually, we made our way back through Altstadt where we started our day. The weather all day was beautiful, even at times becoming a bit too hot. We stopped off at a popular Biergarten right next to the Neckar River for a few Radlers. We spent the rest of the evening talking and watching punting boats, paddle boards, and all types of things that could float and transport humans and beer up and down the Neckar River.

It felt really nice to disconnect from work and get out and about. I had a great time exploring Tübingen. Thank you, Jonas, being a great tour guide for the day!

Frieden und Liebe ❤️ (translation: peace and love)