After only 2 hours in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, I knew my Mom wanted to spend time in a place with a similar charm. It was her last weekend with us in Germany and I quickly turned to the internet to find a worthwhile day trip from Frankfurt.
I don’t know how I stumbled upon Büdingen, but I do remember its five selling points.
- Walled Medieval city
- An hour away from Frankfurt
- Not so crowded
- Parking right next to the Aldstadt
- Could be seen in an afternoon
After conferring with my Mom, sister, and husband, we set off for Büdingen.
When we entered the town center, there were a few locals hanging around. They curiously looked on. Sometimes when I travel, people stare. Every situation is different, but it usually feels various levels of strange/awkward. Nonetheless, I am always fascinated by who stares. In Büdingen, one onlooker was quite memorable. Shirtless, with a single nipple ring a rounded beer belly (beer in hand of course), and ripped jean cut-offs, he was quite interested in our group and we were just as intrigued by him. We decided to venture away from the town center and have a random stroll.
In Büdingen, one onlooker was quite memorable. Shirtless, with a single nipple ring a rounded beer belly (beer in hand of course), and ripped jean cut-offs, he was quite interested in our group and we were just as intrigued by him.
We decided to venture away from the town center and have a random stroll.
After aimlessly wandering a bit, we decided to head to the town’s tourism office. My Mom wanted to know what there was to see and I wanted to know where there was ice cream.
As we were leaving the tourism office, my sister caught sight of a sign for milkshakes. We decided to take a look. There was a catch: the milkshakes were in the town’s 1950s museum. So we paid the fee (4 euros adult; 2 euros children 16 and under; 10 euros for a family) and made our way through.
Fun fact: Büdingen has four other museums and they are an eclectic sort:
- The Museum of Desert Roses (10 million year of geological formations that look like roses)
- Heuson Museum (gives 1200-year history of Büdingen and there’s archaeology!)
- The Butcher’s Museum (housed in the former collective slaughterhouse of the city)
- The Modelmaking Museum (Over 150 models of ships, cars, and trains are here)
The 1950s Museum of Büdingen offers visitors a glimpse of life in 1950s Germany. Museum areas are constructed to reflect a 1950s version of spaces such as rooms in a house, stores, and even the cinema. According to my husband, the staged living room was reminiscent of the same space in his grandparent’s house from years ago.
For me, I especially enjoyed seeing the nature of gadgetry and the mock grocery store. As an archaeologist, such a snapshot of Germany during this time period was fascinating.
After my sister and husband had their milkshakes (I was holding out for ice cream), we signed the guestbook (the gentlemen working admissions politely asked us if we could do this at the end of our and to make sure to note where we were from) and made our way around town.
Fun fact: Büdingen is known as the City of Frogs. There is frog iconography everywhere! Why? The popular folktale recounts that days into the marriage of Count of the Büdingen and Elizabeth of Wied, the new Countess could not sleep. The problem? Deafening sounds of croaking frogs. In the 1500s, Büdingen was not only fortified, but had a moat (which was later filled due because it was a breeding ground for disease). The Count rallied the citizens to rid the town of the frogs and save his marriage. Some versions state a successful expulsion of the frogs, while others claim they came back louder than ever. Nonetheless, the city has retained the frog as a mascot-like symbol for hundreds of years.
After exiting the walled city, we made our way down Vorstadt street to Eis Cafe Venezia, which is said to have the best ice cream in town according to one local and the internet. They had an extensive menu with some curious creations, but I was in the mood for ‘Spaghetti Eis’.
Fun fact: Spaghetti Eis is a popular ice cream dish in Germany. Vanilla ice cream is put through a machine that turns it into spaghetti-shaped strands. It is then topped with ‘sauce’ (strawberry jam) and ‘cheese’ (white chocolate shavings). Variations can be made by changing the ice cream flavor and toppings.
After stuffing ourselves with ice cream, we needed to walk. We made our way back into the Aldstadt. We saw walls, canals, and even the main castle.
However, my favorite site in Büdingen was none of above. It was the secret gardens. Okay, they’re more like private gardens. Still, they were an unexpected find. If you walk towards the back entrance of the castle, there is a small path. It’s not terribly long (100m or so), but each side contains picturesque gated gardenscapes.
Büdingen makes for an easy morning or afternoon excursion. You can easily walk around the Aldstadt and take in the Medieval architecture. It is not overrun with tourists and some community members will be quite intrigued by your presence. We definitely had a memorable trip there!
Have you been to Büdingen? What did you think? Are you planning a visit and have further questions? Sound off in the comments section.
I was stationed in Budingen 1958-60 with the 12th Armored Cavalry. Our strategic mission was to provide a buffer for the main forces in and around Frankfurt in the event Germany was attacked through the Fulda Gap, as so often happened in the past. Even as a young GI who was probably more interested in the bier und brochen, I appreciated the beauty and history of this charming little town. Thirty years after rotating home in 1960, I re-visited Budingen with my wife who agreed with my assessment of the city. Back then, it had not changed that much in the 30 years since I left, but I doubt I would recognize it now, other than the castle grounds. Thanks for the memories!
Thank you for sharing your story. I am so happy that you enjoyed the post.
I was in Budingen 1991 to 1994. I loved it there. I have pictures of the castle too. I ate spaghetti ice cream at a little shop.
It’s nice to see that name come up. Small world
That’s so wonderful to hear 🙂