Glued at the city of Ulm in South Germany is the town of Blaustein, which translates to Blue Stone. The little villages of Arnegg, Ehrenstein, Klingenstein, Herrlingen, Markbronn, Weidach, Wippingen, and Blaustein proper each have their own history and character, and are worth seeing on their own accord.
For example, Herrlingen is one of the most unique of the villages and dates back to around the 11th or 12th century when Schloss Oberherrlingen was built. The castle today looks more of a Renaissance style than the original medieval castle it once was. Unfortunately, it is privately owned and doesn’t allow visitors.
Herrlingen’s most notorious resident was none other than Erwin Rommel, one of Hitler’s highest ranking officers. The town has the Rommel Museum with many of his personal effects, maps, and diaries. He committed suicide in October 1944 after his involvement in an assassination attempt on Hitler was discovered. A marker nearby indicates the spot where he died.
In some sort of Nazi propaganda, he received a full Nazi state funeral and was buried right here at Herrlingen Cemetery beneath a grave marker of just a single cross. His house in Herrlingen, once belonged to part of a Jewish Boarding School complex.
Markbronn is comparatively young, having only been around since the 14th century. It has a great local village museum and an annual (can you say, delicious) baking house celebration.
Not to be outdone, Klingenstein once had the largest castle in the entire Blue Valley. The castle has been uninhabited since the 16th century and now lies in ruins, but it’s still beautiful and shouldn’t be missed. Close to the castle ruins is the magnificent light-colored 18th century Schloss Klingenstein, so head over there after exploring the ruins.
A trip to Blaustein doesn’t have to be all historic, though. You can party (or, shop) like a local. The town is home to a fairly large Christmas market, and on the last week in June get ready to party hard with a two day forest celebration. Better yet, learn all about local Swabian life (the customs, culture, even the dialect) at the Poet Pilgrimage, held at the ruins of the Klingenstein Castle.
You really don’t have to be a history buff to fully appreciate all of what Blaustein has to offer because this likable town just has so much more.