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The Fishermen’s Quarter, Ulm

Metzgerturm ("Butchers' Tower") and the Münster's spire in the background

Alone, I wandered into a quiet cobbled square, concealed from the Danube by a medieval stone gateway. The soothing, melodic notes of a piano, perhaps a music lesson, drifted in from an adjoining townhouse, lulling me into a dreamlike state. But the reverie was short-lived. Over my shoulder, I heard a sudden, booming yell from a man I could not see. “Haaaaaalt!”

Seconds later a blur of white and grey brushed past, no more than a centimetre away from a collision. He shouted into the distance as passersby looked on in bemusement, and I couldn’t help but shrug at the comical banality of the scene. I had nearly been hit by a raging old man on a bicycle.

Devoid of most vehicular traffic, the Fischerviertel, or “Fishermen’s Quarter”, is a gorgeous area for an afternoon stroll. Two babbling streams wind through the district, turning a sizeable water wheel while coursing past a beguiling combination of drooping willows and half-timbered houses. The most famous of these is the “Schiefes Haus” whose oldest portions date from 1406; it’s also the current record-holder for the “world’s most crooked hotel”.

I found that Ulm was unexpectedly beautiful; parts of the city centre were a comfortable coexistence of older structures and contemporary civic buildings. Close to the Münster, Ulm’s monumental Gothic church, stood the gleaming Stadthaus, bearing all the trademarks of Richard Meier: clean lines and circular, minimalist forms in white. On the old market square, the glass pyramid of the public library made a dramatic counterpoint to the 16th-century murals adorning the town hall, which was painstakingly rebuilt after severe damage in World War II.

Of course, I couldn’t leave the city without trying one of its savoury treats stacked behind a shop window. After the brisk climb up and down the Münster’s steeple, I settled on the regional specialty of Schwäbischer Maultaschen: giant, folded dumplings stuffed with copious amounts of meat.

A half-timbered house, now a restaurant, dating from 1358

I wouldn’t mind living here…

Rippling reflections

A mirror on the verdant stream bed

A quiet afternoon

Shiefes Haus – the “most crooked hotel in the world”

Old and new

Ulm’s historic Rathaus – the town hall

Sparrows – a nickname for the city’s residents


Autumn by the Danube

25 Comments Post a comment
  1. What a thrilling way to start your exploration of the city James! 🙂 Shiefes Haus does look like the most crooked hotel in the world, indeed. I wonder how it looks like from the inside. Must be really interesting! I’m glad many timbered houses still dot the city even though some had to be rebuilt after WWII. Many other cities should learn that a damaged historical building doesn’t necessarily mean that is has to be replaced by a modern one — or a shopping mall when it comes to Asian cities.

    October 24, 2013
    • You’re right Bama, Ulm may have lost much of its medieval buildings but it’s done a lot to restore and preserve those that survived. Had I stayed a night there I would probably have chosen Schiefes Haus!

      October 25, 2013
  2. Lovely photos !

    October 24, 2013
  3. Bringe lovely memories back. Die you go and see Einstein’s house? 🙂

    October 24, 2013
    • *did

      October 24, 2013
      • I didn’t manage to this time – I lost more than an hour because of train delays and cancellations! At least it’s something to look forward to when I return. 🙂

        October 25, 2013
  4. What a picture of serenity!

    October 24, 2013
    • It was such a beautiful part of Ulm – the bubbling streams really added to the peaceful atmosphere.

      October 25, 2013
  5. Great read, wonderful photography. Can’t wait to visit Germany one day.

    October 25, 2013
    • Thanks Nathaniel. I imagine Germany has many more places like this!

      October 25, 2013
  6. Amazing shots and lovely writing…you know how to enrapture the audience 🙂


    October 25, 2013
    • I’m flattered F – thank you for leaving me such kind words. 🙂

      October 27, 2013
  7. Love the angle of the last one 🙂

    October 26, 2013
    • Glad you do, Roselinde. I loved the colour of those leaves. 🙂

      October 27, 2013
  8. Loved that crooked hotel. Did I tell you when my partner and I cycled through a tiny Black Forest town, in the middle of the old square where we were resting, we heard…..storks. Yup. Hope, you’ll get some surprises like that.

    Surely your sister has seen one by now.

    Those dumplings sound abit different. I’ll have to ask dearie about that dish. It doesn’t sound like anything from his region.

    October 27, 2013
    • Oh I remember you mentioned how many storks there were on that cycle trip… sadly I didn’t get to see any this time round!

      The dumplings would be perfect with some sort of sauce (tomato?) on a cold wintry night. It was definitely good comfort food.

      October 27, 2013
  9. Reblogged this on Just Go Places.

    October 28, 2013
  10. dewdrops13 #

    Awesome description of the city. I feel like teleporting myself to this place. Enjoyed reading this blog

    October 29, 2013
    • Appreciate that. Thanks! 🙂

      October 29, 2013
  11. James, I don’t know what else to say, but ‘Wow!’.

    November 9, 2013
    • Yes – Ulm is very photogenic!

      November 11, 2013
  12. Perhaps that cyclist going past you was the ghost of Einstein — — whose home town, if you didn’t already know, was Ulm. He enjoyed cycling. I certainly love the older historic German towns and would love to stay in Schiefes Haus (I’d probably slip off of the end of the bed, looking at those angles….). 🙂

    December 16, 2013
    • Ha, the old man looked nothing like Einstein – he didn’t have any hair to begin with! Thanks for the chuckle though. 🙂

      December 16, 2013
  13. Reblogged this on Bjorn Koch's Blog.

    August 10, 2015

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