Germany – 9/22-9/24/15

25 Sep

Hi everyone – Still haven’t felt the inspiration to blog, but I don’t want to dissapoint my dozens of fans so I will do my best to find the words.  First off, maybe it’s not been as necessary to me to blog as Facebook seems to be the way to communicate quickly and share pictures back home.  I assume everyone reading this is Facebook friends with me, but if not, just send me an add request.  My Facebook is at https://www.facebook.com/Brentallica

So….the last I left you we were on the train to Dusseldorf.  We arrived safe and sound and booked accomodation in the city at a small hotel called AOK I think.  They seem to be a large chain as I’ve seen them everywhere.  Nothing special, but we then made our way about a mile and a half through the city (again nothing special) to the Altstadt which is the old town which was very cool.  However, it was also very miserable weather and just about everything was closed.  We walked along the promenade on the Rhein which was lined with Beer Gardens (Biergarten?) which are row after row of communal table meant for drinking and visting and general all around having funness.  We had a restaurant suggested to us by someone and we were able to find it easily and sat down to our first authentic German meal since being in country.  Sometimes the menus have an English translation, but sometimes they down and you just kind of wing it.  We’ve been able to figure it out so far and I think we’ve all gotten everything we “thought” we ordered.  The food is delicious and with the exception of a pizza I got back in Amsterdam, I’ve been all local in my food choices which I know will be surprising to some.  The greatest thing about the restaurant was the beer service.  There were constantly servers walking around with glasses of beer.  If there was no glass in front of you, or an empty glass, you got a beer.  We sat down and within literally 10 seconds, we all had beer in front of us.  That…..is awesome.  They tally how many you’ve drank on your coaster to keep track.  Pretty cool.  We finally learned when you don’t want anymore, you put the coaster on the top, but it was a nice lesson to learn six beers in.

Awoke on Wednesday and headed south towards Koln and visited the Koln Dom (or Cologne Cathedral) which is a spectacular Catholic Church on the edge of town.  Massive and beautiful and tourist crazy, but we were able to go inside and although I’m not a Catholic I felt the need to light a candle for my brother who left this world too soon.  I think the most impressive thing from this area in my mind were the photos of the bombed out Cologne from World War 2, but this huge religious monument was unscathed.  I suppose it’s a nod to the exceptional targeting abilities and advocates to the unwritten rules of war by our Allied Forces during WW2.  Really just remarkable photos.  I’m sure you can google them.  Don’t have the greatest bandwidth so I’m trying to just keep the pictures of everything on Facebook.

From Cologne we travelled south and found what we knew to be Rick Steve’s favorite German castle, Burg Eltz.  Owned by the Eltz family to this day from around 1000 years ago, it was a combination of 3 families (spurs of the Eltz) who built for about 500 years and would up with what is today, the castle.  The remarkable thing about this place is it was only attacked once, and for a very brief period so it has remained wonderfully intact and is today what it was for the last several hundred years.  It was decorated authentically for the different time periods and a real chance to walk through some medieval history.  Wonderful and beautiful place and definately wound up being a worthly stop.  Oh, and the Armory there was bad ass checking out all the ancient weaponry.  Totally far out.

Back on the road, a little further sound and we wound up in a town near Meinz, but I can’t recall.  I believe it was Russelheim or something.  Chuck had been in Meinz a week for work a year or two earlier and recalled a great German restuarant there.  We got back into Meinz and he was able to direct us right there.  Another fantastic place and pure German.  This was a brewery called Eins-something-burg.  I have to get better about writing things down.  As I mentioned we’ve been eating and drinking hearty German style.

We had a great hotel in Russelheim that we found on booking.com.  They’ve been our go-to source for accomodation on this trip and have found us great places at hostel costs.  Been really good to us so far so that’s their plug!  http://www.booking.com

Awoke yesterday, Thursday and decided to head a little further south to Heidelburg.  Visted the allstadt (which is now what I’ve learned is “old town” anywhere we go.  And “Zentrum” is town centre).  It’s very touristy and a walk through coblestone streets and very old building that are now shops, cafes, and whatnot.  Lots of tourists.  Lots of Americans.  The food and beer again continue to kick ass.  The walk through oldtown while beautiful was nothing spectacular you haven’t seen 100 times before and it’s funny I find my self thinking of Disney and Universal Studios and places like that.  It almost seems like you’re at one of those places and you have to remind yourself this is the real deal.

So the highlight of Heidelburg for me was Heidelburg Castle which is called Schloss Heidelburg.  For 6 Euro you ride an inclinator up the side of the mountain out of old town up to the castle.  If you saw the climb, 6 Euros was well worth it.  A Euro is currently about $1.16US.  These little cars are built at what I’d guess is about a 45 degree angle to fit right on the track up the side.  So if you laid them flat on the ground, you’d be reclining if you sat in them.  However that would be pointless as the floor would also be at an angle so you couldn’t even walk in one.  Everything’s level on the ride up though I’m happy to report and we made it to the top and walked all through the ruined castle from the 16th century.  I believe when it was up and rolling.  It was massive and we walked through the nearby park grounds as well.  The views from the castle looking down over Heidelburg are exactly what you think of when you think of Germany with the town spread out below in all it’s grandeaur and a peaceful river running through.  Bridges, people, rooftops…..all very peaceful and serene and we stood at the top a good while just looking down and admiring.

After a good visit we turned inland and would up driving into Rothenburg ob der Tauber where we spent last night.  This city is the real deal from the year about 1000AD I guess and while different with cars and tourists and shops, I understand is remarkably the same as it’s been for 1000 years or so.  The city is all old, old buildings, coblestone streets and very Charles Dickensesque.  At least it seems that way to me.  I can only imagine this place with snow and it would be right out of the movies.  True old world and I have to remind myself again this is the real deal.

I’m sitting at the bottom of a coblestone street and see my travel mates emerging from their slumber ready to start the day.  Heading down the hill towards me.  I guess this is a perfect stopping point.  It’s Friday now and our plans have us daytripping into Nuremburg to visit the city and Nazi museum.  We’re all very excited to see it.

I certainly don’t mean to glorify or condone Nazism or anything like that, but I’ve always found the story and history of Nazi Germany interesting and their rise to a world power.  I know probably a little more than the average person and looking to learn more even if parts of it are horrific and terrifying.  The military force and how it was built in the time it was built I find a remarkable story.

Tshutse…..I think this is spelled right.  It’s pronouned almost like “juice” and is the informal word we know as “bye”  🙂

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