Keeping alongside the Neckar river, the road south back towards the motorway to Nuremberg passed by picturesque fortress towns and towered castles high up on the forested banks. Large freight barges chugged along the water and were dodged by the speeding power boats of holiday makers. It was hot, sunny and bright.
We wanted to see Bad Wimpfen, a fortified town on the confluence of the Neckar and Jagst rivers. The aire was at a klinic and thermal baths so we hoped for a treat of cool bathing, but with the waters’ temperature being 34 degrees and the same as the outside air; it didn’t offer any likely retreat from the blazing heat.
Instead we climbed up the winding wooden staircase of the pretty town’s medieval landmark, the Blauer Turm or BlueTower. A little alarmingly, its exterior walls are fully battened and bolted together to keep it standing but the staircase held firm inside and once wobbling along the rickety and crenelated walkway in a cooling breeze (a breeze!) the views across both wide and green river valleys were deeply rewarding.
Down on the cobblestones of the market square and with an ice cream in hand (for just 90 cents each) it only took half an hour or so to see all of the sights in this charming place. A series of fresh water fountains mark out the upper and lower towns which are built onto a high bluff and make use of the natural stone as part of their fortifications. Boutique shops, coffee houses, cake shops and kebab grills were busy with visitors and we meandered past pretty arch ways, half-timbered houses and charming cottage style gardens. It is a truly delightful place.
Back at the aire, and with the day’s heat building into a hot evening of 35 degrees it was time for Simon to get out the cadac and grill off some pulled pork for a suitably tasty German meal with cold beer.