Here’s a word for you to say fast five times: Neckartenzlingen. It doesn’t exactly roll off the keyboard so easy either, just so you know.
Leave it to us Germans to have a big name for a teeny-tiny town, too. Neckartenzlingen in Baden-Württemberg, just north of Reutlingen, is only nine square kilometers.
You’ll find it pretty gosh-darn close to some other -ingens, like Bempflingen and Neckartailfingen. Which means, my good friends, that you’ll find yourself right smack in the Swabian Alb.
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In case you didn’t know, the Alb is famous for all its towns ending in -ingen. And most of them are easily reached via a number of bus routes. Sorry, no train brings you to Neckartenzlingen, the closest one is in Bempflingen.
Anyway, back to what I was saying (typing), Neckartenzlingen is just a small town of two villages — the village of Neckartenzlingen itself, and Hammetweil.
The latter one is mostly known for the 13th century castle it used to have, once belonging to the Barons of Württemberg.
Today’s Neckartenzlingen is a blend of old and new; and pretty Swabian countryside. It used to be known for its 20 sandstone quarries. A guided tour around one of Neckartenzlingen’s hiking trails has to do with its geology and landscape, so you’re bound to learn a few things.
You can learn more at the local museum, housed in the Melchior Festhalle. Just so you know, there are no general openings at the museum (housed in the basement of the Hall) so you got to call ahead to see the fossils and minerals. That’s not all there is, either. The museum has a whole exhibit dedicated to cooking — nice, considering some mighty tasty dishes come from Swabia.
Work up a real appetite, go see Neckartenzlingen’s 16th century Martinskirche (Martin’s Church), and its half-timbered Town Hall (b. 1680).
And if you’re not eating or learning some history, you can treat yourself to some wonderful cultural events. Classical concerts, cabaret, and art exhibitions are generally held at the Neckarburg; all in addition to the Jazz and Gospel Music performances that are usually going on.
Come October when the town holds its Mühlenfest, while September is the month for Neckartenzlingen’s Flea Market.
You know, now that I think about it, Germany didn’t give Neckartenzlingen a name as big as its area — it gave it a name as big as its heart.