April 13, 2011

Raving About Ravensburg

If you had to envision a quaint little German city, what would you come up with?

Would it include a castle? Or a medieval city center?

Would the town be nestled by the Alps? Or maybe along a winding, quiet river?

Would it also included cafe-lined, cobble stone streets meandering within a stone wall hundreds of years old?

Pretty spot on, don't ya think?! (source)
If that is what would have envisioned, then you just accurately described the town of Ravensburg, Germany. Our home away from home during the 2010-11 hockey season. 

Ravensburg is a town in Upper Swabia in Southern Germany. It is in close approximation to Lake Constance (Bodensee), the third largest lake in Europe, sits at the northern foot of the Alps. 

We are waaaay down there!
From Ravensburg, both Austria and Switzerland are less than one hour away. Munich is a short two hour drive. And the Alsace region of France is around three hours away. 

Pretty close to, well, just about everything! Sorry, I know this image isn't great, but you get the idea :)
Needless to say there is lots to do around this beautiful area of Germany. Not to mention, it has some of the warmest weather in the whole country. Really, who can beat that!?!

Anyone who has been to Germany, or Europe for that matter, knows that there are some towns here and there this picturesque. But for the most part, the country is made up of a lot of modern, hustle and bustle cities just like back at home in North America.

The first two years in Germany, we lived in a 'modern' city like that. And although it had everything we needed, it was missing that German charm that we knew certain cities had.

We didn't really get the full taste of how beautiful towns could be until we were lucky enough to live down here in the south. 

One of the towers of the city (source)
While it is not the biggest city, its population is around 50,000, it has everything we could need. Well, maybe except for a Zara, but I guess I will live :)

The city itself has a rich cultural background. The town was first mentioned in 1088 and quickly became an important center because of its location. It was literally in the crossroads of an important trade route, which solidified it as a useful area for merchants and artisans during the Middle Ages.

With a decline in the local economy after the 1500s, the town didn't grow as large as you might expect a major trading center to. But this helped preserve the town in its current medieval state. And it got lucky during WWII as well. Many other medieval towns in Germany, especially those in Northern/Western Germany were destroyed because of bombing raids. Ravensburg held no strategic relevance, so it was spared from any damage.

So now, this 'klein aber fein" (small but fine) town, is really known for its three town gates and over 10 towers remaining from the medieval fortification. 

Looking down over the town (source)
You might have also recognized the name from the Ravensburger game company. Ravensburger AG is an international company known for its board games, puzzles and children's books. And I especially like that Tekrum, a popular pastry and chocolate factory, is located in the town. That means I can visit their outlet store whenever I want, lol.

The Ravensburger company assembling the world largest jigsaw puzzle for its 125th anniversary (source)
And there are many other factories and manufacturing plants in the area. This area is known for low unemployment and a high quality of life.

Oh, and did I mention there is a hockey team here too?! Weird, guess I must have forgotten that tid bit :)

Yes, the hubs plays for the Ravensburg Towerstars

So yeah, that's basically it. There is your mini tour of Ravensburg. I hope you liked your arm chair trip. As you can probably tell, we have really enjoyed our time here this season :)

And if you ever find yourself wandering around in Swabia, you gotta stop by. With so much to do and see, you won't be disappointed!
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44 comments:

  1. OMG...an outlet store for a German chocolate facotry. It's my dream come true! Your town looks AMAZING. My hubby and I were lucky enough to get to travel around Europe together when we were in college, and this post made me soooooo nostalgic :)

    Have a great day!

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  2. Thank you for posting about your town. It helps to have an idea of where you live. That first picture worries me. The chairs look like they are on the street and the bus could run them down.

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  3. That looks like the cutest town ever! I want to go there now.

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  4. This is precisely what I needed this morning...a trip through southern Germany with a very informed tour guide! You should consider giving tours to visiting AmeriNadiens.

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  5. Oh Zara-where would Europe be without you-best cheaper shoes ever. I love how everything in Europe is so close together. Want to go to Austria for the day, sure. Not only that but it's rich with history-and goats, your town looks super cute. Will you be sad to leave it behind or excited to see where you go next year? BTW, Tekrum seems so sinfully good! Happy Hump Day :)

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  6. Really beautiful. Reminds me of Rotenburg!

    Jealous you get to livve in Germany. Such a cool place!

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  7. Ich wohn in Lindau, ca 30km entfernt :3

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  8. Evvvverything but Zara and KYM!!!!!!!

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  9. thanx for the mini-vaca to Germany :D beautiful spots * *

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  10. I love how you teach me something new about my country all the time. I have never been to Ravensburg, but it has definitely made my list of places I want to go in my own country. It must be absolutely beautiful. I'm glad you are enjoying Germany as much as you are!

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  11. Sounds like a very charming place - with chocolate!

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  12. @dweej - yep, it is pretty awesome, lol. Glad I could give you a mini trip down memory lane! :)
    @Bernie - well you are welcome :) Haha, they are on the street, but only certain cars and buses can drive down there. Actually there are usually more set out. I am happy to show you a bit of the town!
    @Heather - it is pretty cute and charming :)
    @No 7 - I would love doing that! (thanks, by the way). I gave tours in Greece, and it was right up my alley. Hmmm, if we are back next year, might have to look into it. You aren't getting a commission though, haha.
    @Morgan - oh I love Zara. I miss it this year here! I love that they think driving some place 2 hours away is far. Um, hello, I am not even a 5th across my home state at that point. It is so nice being so close! Well, there is a chance we might be back here. And I am keeping my fingers crossed!
    @Hannah - a lot like Rotenburg, for sure. Haha, well, I am jealous you get the availability of Diet DP year round, haha.
    @Mac - no way! Super close, that is too funny :) I have yet to spend much time in Lindau, but I heard that the Blumen Insel, or whatever it is called, is beautiful!
    @KY - seriously, forgot to mention Kym. Should go back and add that in :) Still missing you. Where you been!?
    @b lee - well you are welcome, glad you liked!
    @Rebecca - It is so far in the south, I don't blame you. But yes, this whole Bodensee area is awesome. You must visit one day!
    @Kara - oh yeah, a little chocolate never hurt, lol

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  13. Thanks for a lovely trip; what a magical place!

    A pastry and chocolate factory? Mmmmmmm...almost beats a designer shoe outlet.

    Almost....


    Hugs!
    Patty

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  14. Yes! I was so excited for this post and I was not let down! I always told the man-friend that if I didn't live in a city, the place would HAVE to have charm! Looks like Ravensburg delivers!

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  15. Um, sorry about the gratuitous use of exclamations in my comment. I'm not on drugs.

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  16. So pretty! Thanks for my mini-desk vacation! You always take me away from where my two feet are planted!

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  17. @Slidecutter - well I am glad there aren't both of those in the city. I would be broke and fat! hahaha, jk. Hope you are having a better day so far!
    @Heather - it is pretty dang pretty, if I do say so myself :)
    @Meri - haha, I feel like that when I look back at these comments. It is hard to get my true feelings across without using ridiculous punctuation, lol. That means a lot coming from you!! I love your travel posts, so I am glad you like mine!
    @Miko - well what a nice thing to say :) Glad you enjoyed!

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  18. You live is such a lovely area!!

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  19. Wow Ravensburg looks amazing! Right out of a movie....hopefully I'll get lucky enough next year to live in such a beautiful place!

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  20. It's so quaint and pretty, I'd totally live there. Jake would be stoked about the giant jigsaw puzzle. He drives me nuts dropping those little pieces all of the damn floor.

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  21. My vision would be a quaint little city like Rothenburg--almost Ravensburg! How cute is your home away from home :) I'm so jealous of your life abroad...enjoy every minute! xoxo {av}

    P.S. Be sure to stop by and enter my {ode to France giveaway}...it's right up your alley!

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  22. @Antoinette - well thanks! It is pretty nice :)
    @Hillary - there could totally be a German movie set here, what a great way to describe it! I am sure where he was was pretty nice in the winters. I can just imagine pristine snow, pretty beautiful too!
    @Jordan - Oh then he would love this big festival they have where the whole town comes out and plays games together. Seriously, the line the streets with picnic tables and you play any and all board game you want. They rent them out. Pretty cool, actually!
    @AV - someone else mentioned that too. I think they are a lot a like, but Rothenburg being a bit more medieval. Well thanks! I am glad you stopped by and let me know about it ;)

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  23. Can't get much more quaint than that, except if you lived in pleasantville.

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  24. What a lovely, lovely town. I'm so jealous now! I want to live near a pastry and chocolate outlet, too!

    Now we can properly cheer on the Towerstars!!

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  25. Love your pictures! What a cool place to live!

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  26. All of your pics and posts about small towns get me so excited for weekends off when I move to Germany, love it!

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  27. I loved the arm-chair tour, what a great city! Thank you for sharing and for the wonderful post. My Mothers family came over from Germany in the 1800's or part of the family did. I think they are from Offenbach Germany and I still have cousins there, met them a few years back when they toured the U.S. I agree with you I think the smaller cities are much nicer then lets say Houston, lol.

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  28. @Copyboy - haha, seriously. Maybe that will be the next town we live in!
    @Katie - well thanks girl! Go team go, right?! haha
    @Jan - thanks Jan, if I have to live outside of Texas, then I guess that is ok :)
    @Ifs - you will have a great time exploring them all!!
    @Wendy - Pretty cool! I just met someone else who had family in Offenbach too! No joke. A little more pretty than Houston :) haha

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  29. Awesome description and pictures. Would love to visit there during October Fest.

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  30. Sounds like a lovely town. So glad you like living there!

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  31. @Andy - well thanks! Oktoberfest is wild!
    @Jenn - thanks Jenn, we do enjoy ourselves ;)

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  32. Thanks for being my tour guide through such a beautiful town. I've never really wanted to go to Germany but these photo's make it look really appealling. Maybe one day I'll go...and of course, check out a hockey game, duh!

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  33. Is Ravensburg anywhere near Spaichingen? If so, that's where my dad's family is from and where my parents visited a few years ago and met some long lost relatives (complete with comparing English and German language family trees!) I'd like to visit there myself one day :)

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  34. this is awesome...when you said chocolate, it reminded me of our trip this past summer to Brussels...oh yeah, chocolate!!! Ravensburg looks gorgeous, the towers...oh my...castles and old buildings are my weakness!

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  35. WOW.......sounds like a Great place! And I LOVE the info you gave about it! Very interesting, thanks for sharing!
    I'm almost full German and would love to visit Germany someday.

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  37. Beautiful pictures! I'm jealous of your adventures!

    I'm new here, found you through FTLOB! Feel free to check me out too!

    http://simplykateweber.blogspot.com

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  38. @An Irish - I always felt the same way about Germany until I came here! I am glad you liked! And I loved your vacay pics too!!
    @KT - never heard of that city, so no idea. Pretty cool you have a lot of family there :)
    @Amy - well thanks Amy! I hope you get to visit one day!
    @April - not a generic comment at all :)
    @Kate - well thanks for the nice words and for stopping by Kate!! Glad you did!

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  39. You are right, Ravensburg is a "klein aber fein" city. I live only 30km away.

    Oh and there is a Zara in Kempten by the way... not that far from Ravensburg =) And Kempten is always worse a visit.

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  40. PS: ... and there is one in Konstanz. ;)

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  41. It's Gorgeous! When do you come home? I went to your hubby's team's website...and I was like "oh mist, I'm such a Scheiße Verlierer for not being able to read German!"

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  42. @Eeny - Haha, I have been to the one in Kempten, but not the one in Konstanz, might have to check that out. Thanks for the info and for stopping by :)
    @Marcy - hahaha, you made me laugh out loud. Too funny lady. What a great use of BOTH words :) Thanks for the smile this evening!

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  43. Hi! I recently came across your blog and I've been following it since. I'm a huge fan of the city of Ravensburg... It's such a charming little town! I tend to visit there pretty frequently as I'm an American expat living right up the road from you in Friedrichshafen... Needless to say, the shopping, nightlife, and the kletterhalle is much better in Ravensburg! :) Glad you're enjoying your time in Swabia, and it's nice to know of another fellow American close by! :)

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Whoomp, there it is!