I stinking love Germany! Seriously I could move here! Yesterday we got up and Julie had set up a Rhine River cruise. We headed to the Rhine which is about an hour outside of Frankfurt. We got on this big crew boat, along with 100 other old people(it was senior citizen day), and got to the top to cruise for a couple hours. It was incredible. We probably saw 10 castles lined all across the river. Some of them were in ruin and some of them were renovated into personal residences or hotels. We stopped off in this little town called St. Goar and went to eat. It was the cutest little restaurant and the best food! They have this macaroni and cheese noodle things that are so delicious and these fresh salads that are just lettuce and eggs and ham and cheese and cucumbers all just kind of laid out with oil or dill sauce on them! I told you I could live in Germany! I was expecting everyone to be these harsh sounding people in these really medieval towns, but it is almost the opposite. They are just kind people and the little villages are so charming. They are tall rickety buildings with the the typical wood cross beams, shutters, and window boxes just lining these cobble stone streets. We found this little toy shop up one of the little back streets. There was a little lady, well actually she was a huge lady, but she had this museum that this local man told us about. He said it was the largest doll collection in all of Germany, and it really was. She had three floors of all different kind of dolls including a big chest of Barbies. She had things all the way from the 1800’s including a bunch of teddy bears. It was the epitome of a little German toy shop. I bought this cute little wooden train and a little teddy bear for my future children:) We got back and drove to Dave and Julie’s and ate dinner and then went to the grocery store. Everything there is so fresh. They don’t use pesticides on any of their fruit and all of there bread is thick and chewy and is full of like sunflower seeds. Delicious! Their chocolate doesn’t have any was or preservatives either so it is just creamy and milky.
Today we started our road trip and it has been unbelievable! Our first stop was Werthiem. It just felt like the iconic little german town. Again there was the cross boards on the sides of the houses and the cobblestone streets. Every town has there own church/cathedral that the city was built around and a lot of them also have what every little girl dreams about living in… a castle! Oh baby! So this castle was pretty much in ruin. All of the resident castles are built on the highest part of the town so that the king/bishop/head honcho man could look down and see on coming attacks. A.K.A this means hicking all the way to the top the hill. And even the though we were out of breath and sweaty by the time we got to the top, the view was worth it. There was this river snaking through the town with streets and streets of red roofs and rolling green farm land stretching from the outskirts of town on. We just hiked around in the ruins and took loads of pictures. It was interesting to think about the families and people that would have walked up the same stairs we walked up and looked out on the city the way we did. We stopped for lunch in the “aldsdat”, that means old town in German and most little towns have one of these, and got these yummy baked sandwiches and then headed on to Warzburg. It was is scary driving on the autoban because I guess in Germany they don’t believe in speed limits (they also don’t believe in deodorant… use your imagination). So we are driving on out little mini van packed to bursting, and these other mini vans are passing us going at least 115 mph. In Warzburg we went to this palace type building called The Residence. It was beautiful, just picture a mini version of the grand Versailles in Paris. From there we headed to my favorite spot in Germany, Rothenburg. It is this small, wall enclosed town, that was virtually untouched by WWII. Again there was the wood beams and cobblestone but the one thing that was different was the magical, romantic, charming, feeling! I think it was because it was so small, it had a small town charm. We first pulled up to our little bed-and-breakfast , The Hotel Spitzweg, and the little man who owned it came out to help us park. Lets just say that a stick shift car, a carful of backseat drivers, a crying baby, TINY parking tunnels, and a man yelling in German don’t make for the fastest parking jobs. The old man’s name was Walter and he was just great. He was totally German. He had these little spectacles that sat at the end of his nose, white fluffy hair, and a round belly and he seemed to fit right into his little house decorated in the traditional German fashion. We headed to dinner and tried some more fabulous food. Some more salads, some worst sausages, and some schnitzel. Then we went on the night watchman tour. It was just this funny/ kind of creepy man dressed up as a night watchman who walked around the city with us and told us the History. On our way back to the Hotel we found this legit Italian gelato place and stopped for gelato and hot chocolate. It is interesting in hear because nothing is very sweet. The pastries, the soda, the cereal, none of them are sweet like in the states. For example the hot chocolate is made with out sugar at all, just cocoa topped with pure whipped cream also made with no sugar. They give you little packets of sugar to add to it. I put 2 in and the owner was making fun of me saying I liked “sveet things” but I still thought it tasted like dark chocolate. We drank/ate out on the street in the most perfect weather you could ever imagine and then stayed up playing cards for a couple hours and laughing about “gutefahrts.”
The next morning Valter (Walter) made us a traditional German breakfast which is just a lot of fresh fruit, cheese, meats, tons of different breads, cereal, yogurt and soft boiled eggs. After stuffing our faces we headed out to explore the town. We went to walk along the city wall and went to the medieval torture museum. We saw the greatest little shops, including this Christmas store with an entire Christmas village built inside, and bought home made soap and mugs and watercolor paintings. It was just so charming (I fell like I’m using that world a lot but it is the perfect to describe it)! We tried these little pastry things that Rothenburg is famous for. We called them snowballs or schneiballs because we couldn’t pronounce their real name. What they are are this balls made out of strips of what tastes like pie crust and then they are dipped in things like chocolate, nuts, powdered sugar, etc. They sound good right? But after drooling in windows and windows of these “snowball” stores, they were a disappointment. We left Rhottenburg in good spirits and headed to Erfurt only to be greeted by this big intercity hotel with no charm at all. We were all pretty bummed about this town so we just took a walk around town, did some yoga, played some more cards and then left the next morning.
First thing we set out to Weimar. Another big modern city with the Alsdat tucked away inside. We actually split up and Cori, my momma, and myself headed to a concentration camp while Nan, Ila, Lizzie, and Julie stayed in the city to hang out and visit Goethe’s house. The concentration camp was such and amazing experience. It wasn’t on of the Jewish annihilation camps but a work camp where the Nazi’s would send any one away who didn’t comply with their rules such as gypsies, citizens who tried to help the Jews, Jews themselves, and gestapo agents who showed mercy to anyone. They we basically worked to death making anything the gestapo needed but mostly artillery. Most of the barracks are gone but the crematorium and the prison and several other buildings were still standing. It was a really life changing experience. The audio tour and the plaques were all set up so that their was a reverence over the whole camp. They said over 1,000 people a night would die and the bodied burned and they asked visitors to treat the grounds as a cemetery for those who had passed. It just out things in such a perspective of the importance of life and freedom and how lucky we are to live in the country we live in today. We left Weimar in good spirits and head to Gosslar… oh what an adventure. Nobody bothered to tell us (or out GPS) that there was this huge motor cycle race going all over Germany and that half of the freeways were closed. We were lost most of the way and had to stop 4 times and ask for directions. Good thing Julie minored in German because the people we talked to knew zero english. So a two hour drive became a 4 hour drive with songs and memories to last forever… oh Nellie Bliss.
Gosslar was a fun pit stop too. Still charming and most of the same stuff. This town had a really cute cuckoo clock. We stuck around specifically for this. It was was just two doors that opened and little figures went around and there were a bunch of bells that played. I love when music plays here because they are all these fun folk kind of songs and everyone knows them and sings along with them. It is like the country has 15 national anthems. On our way back home (a.k.a. Frankfurt) we stopped in Kassel which is famous because the Brothers Grimm grew up there. Their museum was closed bur we went to this beautiful park that was 365 acres! 365 ACRES! It was stunning. Just rolling green hills and forestry and walking paths and fountains. We saw these castle ruins and we were so excited because we still hadn’t been in a castle. So we kicked up the mountain and started the tour (In german with an English translations packet) and found out that it was a faux castle meaning that is was built 200 years ago to look like a ruin. I thought it was really funny. But it was great. We got home safely and then went to a german grocery store to buy chocolate!!! And some groceries it took us for ever though… I don’t really know why though but the signs were all in German…
On Saturday we got up and went for a bike ride in this beautiful park. It totally reminded me of Pride and Prejudice because there was this smoky stuff barely sitting on the grass and as we rode around the sun started to rise through the trees! Oh man I am a sucker for grass, trees, and some light sweater temperatures and Germany was full of them! We just chilled and re-packed during the day and then went pack into down town Frankfurt just to hang out. We ate some more good good food and then waked to through town and watched the street performers. That night we heeded to Bad Hamburg to the Lantern Festival. It was this street just lined with little carnival games and food. But instead of just crappy cotton candy and nachos they had these full out grills with any kind of meat you want and candied nuts and crepes. It felt like a beverly hills version of a carnival.
Today we got up early and headed to one more town that we really wanted to see. Heidleberg. It was also one of my favorites. The Rhine rive runs right through the town and right along it there is just a big row of trees and the the most amazing houses. They had all the charm of Rothenburg but the grandure of California. It was beautiful. On the opposite side of the rive and up the hill a ways there was this castle, and it was a legit old one! We went on a tour through it and saw this wine barrel that was so unbelievably huge it is hard to imagine. It was al least two stories tall and could have easily fit 4 cars in it. I really loved the castle and the story behind it because it was a loge story. Fredrich of Germany and Elizabeth of England lived there and when they were both 16 they were set up as an arranged marriage but the second they saw each other they fell in love and just wanted to do things for each other. The castle was surrounded by these beautiful gardens that Fredrich had built for Elizabeth! Isn’t that just lovely. I mean there are lots of stories like that but most of the time it is an arranged marriage and the guy is like 30 year older then the girl and they never really fall in love. Then we just walked around and got this sandwich thing called a doner which was Divine with a capitol D. I feel like I talk about food a lot too but it was just so good here! The last little bit of the day was blur. We got ready to go, packed up, Said goodbye to the Colton’s and headed to the airport and now I’m sitting on a plane headed to London! Oh Yeah! I am landing in about 20 minutes so I will have my first impression to write in a couple hours! Cherrio!