europe · travel

Discovering Ochsenhausen

It’s been already a year since we moved to here to the south of Germany, but I feel like it’s only until now that I’ve been able to really sink my teeth into exploring our new home. In between settling into the new apartment, and then giving birth just a few months later, now I’m finally able to catch my breath, loosen up, and open my eyes to all the wonders that are barely 3 kilometers away from where we live. Sure, I’ve been to Ochsenhausen a thousand times before, visiting my in-laws every other weekend, but a few sights that I’ve just visited with my kiddos only recently had simply made my brain go, “What? This glorious thing was here the whole time?!” And the best thing is, all of the places below are accessible for free! Country life does have its perks.

First off, there’s the Naturfreibad Ziegelweiher. I mean:

Hallo, summer!
Perfect shaded spot for parents to stay, while the little ones enjoy the shallow wading pool.
So many things to keep the little ones busy, while you catch up with your summer dreaming upon your picnic mat. Add an ice-cold beer in hand and suddenly you’re living the life.

The entrance to the bathing lake is free, as there are no lifeguards employed to keep an eye on you (although I did see volunteer lifeguards on duty on a Sunday). There is also a café on-site, if you happen to forget to pack lunch. Super kid-friendly, the vast shallow wading area even has umbrellas, should your kiddo choose to spend the entire time splashing in the water like mine did. The wading pool is right next to the sand-play area, which is also underneath the generous shade of trees. Across the other side of the lake is something perhaps more appealing to teenagers, where there is a wide space for playing volleyball, badminton, or just plain goofing around with your group of friends.

If swimming is not up your alley right now, another perfect way to cool off is a walk underneath the gorgeous forest canopy beside the peaceful Krummbach:

Just next to the Ochsenhausen monastery, the monks used to walk this forest path for meditation, aside from also utilizing the water source for their mill and, of course, their brewery. If it worked for the monks, this amazingly soothing stroll can certainly bring peace of mind for frazzled parents. There is a carpark just next to the start of the path, and the walkway is mostly flat and wide enough to even have several child strollers side by side.

Curious tots will have lots to discover about nature, no matter what season it is, and they might even spot the occasional fish or two swimming in the stream. There are several benches along the short route for rest stops, and there’s even a small playground in the middle of the forest path, just in case the bubbling brook doesn’t quite cut it for your little one:

Since I’ve already mentioned the Ochsenhausen Monastery, it would be amiss not to include it in this list of free sights to wander around in Ochsenhausen:

The Ochsenhausen Monastery hosting the town’s Kräuterfest in its garden.
Ochsenhausen’s St. Georg Basilica
Credit: Von Memorino – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0
Hubby and I strolling along the monastery walls
Inside the St. Georg Basilica

One perhaps big-deal treat we had since moving here is that St. Georg, the beautiful baroque church within the monastery grounds, has been recently designated as a basilica by the Vatican in 2021. If you’re a fan of baroque art, then you’re in for a treat once you step into the church’s airy pastel interior.

At the end of the day, I can’t say for myself that I have absolutely no regrets in life. However, what I am grateful for is the seemingly random configuration of yes’s and no’s in life I’ve made that have somehow led me here to settle in this charming sanctuary I’ve stumbled upon. I’m sure that Ochsenhausen is just one of the many towns here in Oberschwaben that have underrated gems that are just waiting to be discovered and recognized; seems like a worthy quest to me!

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