This view is from an outdoor biergarten on the hills atop the vineyards just outside of Schwaigern. There are several of these outdoor biergartens in the area. In good weather many people come to these places to eat vienerschnitzel, drink hefe-weissens and enjoy the view of the many small villages and beautiful vineyards. Families sit at long tables and eat, drink, sing and generally enjoy the beauty of southwestern Germany.
Here is the palace of the Neipperg family in Schwaigern, Germany. The Neipperg family originally from Austria was given title to the local lands by the Holy Roman Empire as Imperial Knights. The schloss is still occupied by the current Graf von Neipperg. This is but one of several "castles" owned by the Neippergs.
Ok, this is a sleepy little (but beautiful) little German village with not a lot to actually do. Pictured here is the village marketplatz with its traditional German village bakery.
There are a few small gasthauses in the village of Schwaigern. Most serve traditional German "bar" foods such as sausages and beer. Gasthaus Lamm serves local wine from the barrel which is very good. In the summer, drink Paulaner Hefe-Weissen with a slice of lemon. Outside the village, I enjoyed the outdoor biergartens on the hills above the villages and vineyards. I chose to eat traditional German foods such as weinerschitzel, bratwurst, spaetzle, etc. When in (Germany) Rome do, as the (Germans) Romans!
Favorite Dish: Spaetzle (pronounced with a "le" at the end in this part of Swabia) is a traditional German pasta dish that many are probably familiar with. I found the Spaetzle in Germany to be different from the versions I have tried here in the US (better). Spaetzle, weinerschitzel and a tall Hefe-Weissen on a warm August night!
If you enjoy driving, Germany is one awesome country to drive around in. On two seperate trips I have enjoyed the experience of renting a car for daytrips around southwestern Germany. The autobahn is, of course, an interesting experience. Definitely take time to familarize yourself with German traffic signs. The left most lane is no joke on the autobahn. Truck traffic, which travels much slower, can choke up the right lane. On two lane stretches of the autobahn it can be tricky for those who like to travel at more moderate speeds. You'll find the average rate of speed in the countryside to be about 80 mph. Gas is expensive, but German cars get better gas mileage. Make sure you find out from the rental agency what kind of gas your car takes. Remember that drinking/driving laws in Europe are even stricter than the US. German drivers drive fast but strictly observe rules of the road. Road signs in Germany are not expressed directionally (east, west, north, or south) but rather by the names of larger towns. Therefore you might get on the A6 autobahn and find yourself trying to figure out whether you're heading towards "Frankfurt" or "Stuttgart." That's no problem if you are familiar with those two places, but in other spots you may be confronted with unfamiliar place names and your map will be real handy. Car rental agencies in Europe expect that American drivers will prefer automatic transmissions and I had trouble convincing them that I wanted a manual transmission. Aside from the autobahn, I loved driving on the local roads to see the small villages. I had an amazing drive through the Schwarzwald. On my first trip I had a Chrysler/Daimler 300 M (in the picture) which drew an uncomfortable amount of attention to myself. I actually had a truck driver flag me down on the road to snap a picture of the car. Villagers told me that people thought I was a rich American because I drove such a big car! On my second trip I had an Audi Quattro which was a nice, small but sporty ride.
The Hexenturm is a small tower that was part of the medieval city wall of the village of Schwaigern. In the 1730's a witch was burned here. The accused woman was "examined" by "experts" from a German university who determined that she was a with. She was offered the appeasement of death rather than being burned. Her two daughters were forced to watch her being burned. Later it was decided that it was best to kill them as well. Lovely, huh? At any rate, a walk around the old village walls is a nice walking tour.