Discovering: the famous Blautopf

There are so many places in the world that I would love to visit! During my last few years of university I often found myself wishing I could just leave my studies and daily life behind for a little while, grab my backpack with essentials and go on a trip around the world. Of course, common sense and a sense of responsibility set in and kept me from carrying out that plan. Instead, I would just go on shorter trips over the weekend and often stay within my home country. Why not? Living in Germany, I realised that there are some really beautiful places to discover right here, on my doorstep. It isn’t always necessary to cross a border, walk through a desert or do something exotic to experience beauty and be enchanted by a new place. I started making a mental list of places in Germany that I wanted to get to know. This included the Sächsische Schweiz (Saxon Switzerland), Fränkische Schweiz (Franconian Switzerland), various villages and mountains in the Black Forest, cities like Berlin, Nürnberg, Bamberg, München, Bayreuth, Dresden, Lake Constance…the Swabian Alps. Some of these places I have by now seen, others remain to be explored. While planning a visit to some friends in the city of Ulm, I looked up the region around the Danube valley and found out about a place called “Blaubeuren”, where apparently there was a spring called the “Blautopf” – the “blue pot”. I was intrigued – is it really that blue? It sounded like something out of a fairy tale…How big is it? Is it in the woods – can you hike around there? Is there a legend or story connected to this strange blue pool of water? I was determined to visit the place and find out for myself! Unfortunately, despite visiting Ulm a couple of times – my detour to the Blautopf never quite worked out. Ulm itself also has a lot to offer and so I never made it to the mysterious spring. That is, until a few weeks ago: I attended the wedding of a friend in Neu-Ulm and was spontaneously invited to the evening do in the village of, you guessed it, Blaubeuren! There was some time to spare between arrival and dinner, so I set out with my sister and a few other wedding guests to find the Blautopf. It was a short walk through a little forest to the pool I had heard so much about – it wasn’t as wild as I had expected, there was a café nearby and a well made path with lots of other curious tourists, but still very pretty. At last I was standing right above the Blautopf with a good view of the pool and the beautiful mill behind it. And indeed, the name was not exaggerated: the Blautopf really was blue! Apparently the Rayleigh scattering of the light is responsible for the distinct blue colour and is caused by tiny limestone particles in the water. (according to Wikipedia 😀 ).

Blautopf_Muehle

The pool is shaped like a funnel and measures 21m at its deepest point. The Blautopf feeds into the river Blau which flows into the Danube. According to legend, the depth of the Blautopf actually could not be measured, perhaps because the pool contains an entrance to the Blauhöhle, the largest cave system of the Swabian Alps, that only very experienced divers dare to explore. Some legends also mention a mermaid that was banned to the Blautopf but eventually managed to escape with the help of a local woman…

Blautopf_Blue
no mermaid…but what marvellous blue 🙂

So if ever you are travelling near Ulm and not sure what sights to visit – consider including the village of Blauberuen in your travel plans and catching a glimpse of the blue pot. It is also a great region for hikes or cycling, if you want to leave the car at home and forego public transport, just pray for sunshine and enjoy the day 😀

What’s your favourite place in Germany? Feel free to share in the comments below and maybe I can add it to my list of places to discover 😀

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