A Travellerspoint blog

Germany

Rhine River, Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Mom Arrives, Black Forest

Last days in Germany. Boats, chairlifts, gondolas, luges, zip-lining, and more!

Circle tour around Bingen & Rudesheim

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We began another sunny day with C & R. I started with a short run around the countryside before heading to a yummy bakery. We drove about 40 minutes to the riverside town of Bingen. We were eager to buy the "ring ticket" which combined a boat ride, a mini-gondola, a hike to a famous statue, a chair lift, and a boat back to where we started. We had a little time to kill before the first boat departed so we found a convenient beer garden.

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After the first boat ride, we arrived in the adorable town of Rudesheim. We walked down a popular skinny street to the gondola lift. Each gondola only fit two people. We were so happy to have such a beautiful day to ride over the vineyards lining the Rhine River.

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After the 10 minute gondola ride, we hiked up to a famous statue with amazing views over the valley and river below.

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We hiked another 30 minutes to the chair lift that took us back down to the riverside. It was a slow and quiet lift except for the noisy birds. I could listen to German birds all day long. Such sweet singing!

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Finally, we took our boat back to the starting point after going past a castle or two. We had a quick pizza snack before concluding the ring.

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The guys decided to head back to the house while the girls headed to a fun outdoor pool in Wiesbaden. The pool was chilly but the slides were awesome and we took some great pictures of the kids hurling themselves off the diving boards.

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We ordered doner kebab for dinner. Delicious! R took each kid for an adventurous ride on his 4-wheeler. They spotted deer, bunnies, and stork on their rides. We sat outside and visited until too late once again.

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Darmstadt, World of Beer, Mini-Golf, & Last BBQ

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On our last full-day in the Frankfurt area, we decided to take it easy. R and I walked to the nearby bakery for a few breakfast goodies. We weren't in a hurry to go anywhere today, which was really nice. We decided to check out the nearby town of Darmstadt. We explored the HUGE Maruhn beverage store before hitting the center of town. So many beers from all over the world!

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We really liked the livable town of Darmstadt. I'm so impressed with the pedestrian areas in every German town I've visited. We had ice cream, did a little shopping, found a local brewery for lunch, and went to a grocery store to buy a few German snacks.

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We also went to a park just outside of town where DH, C and the girls played mini-golf. R and I went for a walk on some pretty trails.

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We had another BBQ with yummy meats and salads. C went to the trouble to prepare white asparagus, spargel, two different ways. Spargel is only available during this season. We also had a yummy cocktail that seems to be very popular around here - an aperol spritzer. They made fantastic ones! It was a very nice last evening in Dornheim. We are so lucky and thankful to have spent such wonderful time with family. They really showed us a great time!

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Frankfurt, Mom Arrives, Drive to the Black Forest

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After some goodbyes to family, we drove to Frankfurt to check out the city and eagerly await for my mom to arrive at the airport in the afternoon. We parked at the airport, took the train into the city, found a bakery for breakfast, and explored several parts of the city.

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We climbed 323 steps up to the top of Frankfurt's largest church. Stunning views of the city from the top.

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We found more ice cream, walked across a pedestrian bridge that was filled with love locks, and took the train back to the airport.

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We waited a long time for my mom to arrive. The Frankfurt airport is huge so there was a mix-up in finding the right meeting place. Once we were finally reunited, we drove south toward the Black Forest. We made a quick stop in Baden-Baden for dinner at a traditional (touristy!) biergarten.

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We were very happy and relieved to finally arrive at our cute farm apartment at 9:30pm. What a day!

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Zip-lining and Luging through the Black Forest. Woohoo!

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After waking up to more bird singing, we made our way to the nearby town of Hornberg for another bakery and coffee. We sat on a picturesque square and looked up at a castle above. We decided to drive up there to investigate. Great views of the valley to start our day.

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We stopped at a grocery store for breakfast foods and a few random snacks. Then it was time to split up for separate adventures. My mom, DH, and DD#1 went off on a zip-lining excursion while DD#2 and I went to a nearby luge and outdoor folk museum. (DD#2 was too small for the zip-line.) Both activities were such an adrenaline rush! My mom was so brave and loved racing above the Black Forest. The luge was very fast with sharp turns. We went as fast as we could!

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We all reassembled for a few more luge runs. My mom and DD#2 got the fastest clocked speed - 51.6 km/hr with me and DD#2 at 51.3 km/hr in 2nd place. Still can't believe my mom beat me!

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Our guesthouse gave us a free pass to use the train system so we decided to take advantage. We took a 1/2 hour ride through the forest to a small town called Alpirsbach which has a highly-rated brewery and biergarten. We relaxed outside and shared smoked trout and more sausage before taking the scenic train back.

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After this adventurous day, we were more than happy to return to our little farm cottage to watch the cows and listen to the birds.

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Steinwasen Amusement Park and Freiberg

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I went for a run and we had a quick breakfast in our little apartment before making an hour drive to Steinwasen Park. The roads were so hilly, narrow, and windy. We're relieved that no one got car sick! The amusement park was fantastic. There were no lines or crowds and the rides were unique and just plain fun! We were able to go on every ride multiple times. It did rain pretty hard at one point and we were all soaked. But we were having so much fun that it didn't really bother anyone. The amusement park had a bobsled, a luge, a chairlift, a cool water rafting ride, a couple fast indoor rides, a 4D theater ride, as well as lots of play structures, animals, and scenery. I am a big fan of these little German amusement parks. Three years ago, we visited Bayern Park which was a little bigger but had a similar vibe.

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We had a quick lunch at the park before going on even more rides. (I finally tried the famous Black Forest cake.)

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After we finally wore ourselves out, we made a short drive to the very pleasant town of Freiberg. We found a brewery for a beer (yes, there is a pattern) and did a little shopping and exploring before picking an amazing doner place for dinner. Euphrat Restaurant had a line out the door and it was easy to see why. Yum! We had more ice cream, drove a different way back to our apartment, and called it a day.

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The girls jumped on the trampoline in the rain for nearly an hour. Finally, I had the time to work on this blog. I will be sad to leave Germany tomorrow but am eager to return to France. We have a long drive to Amboise, France ahead.

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Posted by familyineurope 22:27 Archived in Germany Tagged germany frankfurt luge rudesheim darmstadt freiberg dornheim gutach zip-line Comments (1)

Wurzburg, Heidelberg & Dornheim, Germany.

Even more castles, swimming, hiking, eating, and exploring!

A perfect afternoon in Wurzburg

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We left our hotel just outside of Bamberg around 10am after a quick breakfast from the nearby bakery. We made the relatively short drive to the Marienberg Fortress in Wurzburg. It towers impressively over the beautiful city. We wandered the site for at least an hour snapping pictures and exploring. We stopped at the fortress cafe for another coffee and were shocked to see a family that we knew from our hometown in Oregon. Truly amazing! DD#2 and their daughter both sang in the same choir last year. What's more shocking is that we ran into the same family when we were visiting Washington DC last March. What a small world! Here's DD#2 and her choir friend along with other pictures of the fortress:

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We reparked the car in the city center and ate at a pizza place recommended by a friend who lived here for a while. Great recommendation!

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We happily wandered this very pleasant city, looked inside of at least three churches, and walked across the old bridge, Alte Mainbrucke. The views were spectacular all over this picturesque town. When I move to Germany in my dreams, Wurzburg is at the top of the list. I know we will come back to this charming town someday.

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We refueled the car for the first time and headed to Dornheim to stay with family for the next four nights. Soon after arrival, we drove to the nearby swimming lake for a quick swim on another hot day.

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Finally, we were treated to a wonderful BBQ with friends and family. There were amazing salads, meats, bread, beer, and great company. No one seemed in a hurry and we sat and visited until nearly midnight.

Heidelberg

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DH and I were surprised to wake up at 9am. Oops! I guess we needed some sleep. We had a relaxing breakfast outside with C & R before taking two cars to Heidelberg for the day. We found parking right in the city center and even the car had a good view.

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We rode two separate funiculars up to the top of Heidelberg's hill - around 2000 ft. It was such a beautiful day and it felt great to be out in nature.

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There were amazing views from the top and we took a steep walk back down to the down through the trees.

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We wandered around the castle for a while soaking it all in and taking pictures. At so many of these castles, I stop and think of how in the world they were built! Every brick had to be hauled up a hill without modern machinery. I'm sure many laborers never even saw the project finished in their lifetime.

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We saw the world's largest wine barrel. Incredible!

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After a quick sausage snack, we wandered the lower part of the town and took more pictures from the old bridge. We also managed to get a picture of the six of us.

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The kids found the lucky monkey symbol of Heidelberg and we rubbed him for good luck.

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After a little shopping and walking along the very long pedestrian drag, we drove to a restaurant along the Rhine River for dinner. Schnitzel. Yum!

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Another day in the books! We are so thankful to have family show us around Germany.

Posted by familyineurope 23:33 Archived in Germany Tagged germany heidelberg wurzburg dornheim Comments (1)

New car, Nuremberg, & Bamberg!

Finally got some sweet wheels, castles, gorgeous towns, more swimming & more beer gardens!

BMW European Delivery!

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We left our hotel early and headed to the BMW Welt to collect our new car. Again, we are feeling incredibly lucky and spoiled to have such opportunities. We had a light breakfast in the lounge area and got a thorough explanation of the car from a knowledgeable guy named Rudolph. The car is wonderful and DH couldn't be more happy. We relaxed for a while in the lounge before making the relatively short drive to Nuremberg for lunch.

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It is so handy having sim cards in our phones for google maps, messaging, phone calls, Facebook, etc... Every time we travel, it's a little easier to stay connected. I admit that I miss the aimless wandering that I've always enjoyed. Sometimes it's too predictable to have the google lady tell you about every turn. I think we will have to turn her off at some point! We found the famous Nuremberg sausage place - Bratwursthaustl. We could see the famous finger-sized sausages cooked over open flames.

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We walked in the heat uphill to the Nuremberg Castle. Nuremberg was seriously bombed in WWII. They have rebuilt much of the city and construction and restoration was still going on at the castle today. We climbed the tower for some lovely views and got to see the old castle's well. The guide poured water into the well so you could hear just how deep it was. She also lowered candles that were surrounded by modern cameras so you could view the interior of the well on a screen. We didn't understand the German commentary but it was still interesting.

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We found ice-cream, a few more photo-ops, and a grocery store for some supplies before driving a bit further to our hotel. We are staying at Gasthof Schilller just outside of Bamberg. It's a smallish hotel with a popular beer garden outside. We noticed that we were the only English-speaking people at dinner. We opted for salad and fish after many pork and sausage-heavy meals.

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DH and I happily enjoyed a beer while the girls went up to the room to hang out. All and all, a really pleasant day in northern Bavaria.

Bamberg

After a nice run, in the countryside, we started our day with another typical German breakfast. The kids are most fascinated with the cool automatic espresso machines. I admit that they are pretty nifty! We drove about 20 minutes to the Bamberg Altenburg Castle. It had yet another tower to climb with beautiful views overlooking Bamberg. I might just attempt to climb a tower a day on this trip! This tower was especially interesting because it had been turned into a cell phone tower. A little blending of old and new, I guess.

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After wandering around the beautiful castle for a while, we drove to a very different attraction - Bambados. Bambados is an amazing swimming center with both indoor and outdoor pools and slides. Temperatures reached the low 90s today so swimming was a priority. DH decided to go for a drive in the new car while the rest of us swam. The waterslide area was the favorite. We were the only people on the slides! Unbelievable! There were some challenges with understanding German instructions. No one yelled at us so I consider that a good day. At one point, the kids took a break for a blue slushie while I had a beer. Shocking, I know.

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DH kindly picked us up before heading to Mahrs Brewing for lunch. Mahrs is imported to Oregon sporadically so we knew we wanted to try it at the source. We had a simple lunch of salad and sausages. Unfortunately, it was getting very hot.

Still, we persevered and parked near Bamberg's center. We wandered, shopped a little (DD#1 got Birkenstocks), and took pictures. It's really a gorgeous town. I hope to return someday. Bamberg seems to have escaped much of WWII's bombs unlike nearby Nuremberg. It's easy to see why it's a Unesco Heritage Site.

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We were wiped, sweaty, and tired. So after a quick stop at a grocery store, we headed back to Gasthof Schiller for more chill-out time in the biergarten before calling it a night.

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Posted by familyineurope 14:21 Archived in Germany Tagged germany bmw munich nuremberg bamberg Comments (0)

Munich – Frolicking Bunnies, Birds Singing, & the BEER!

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Finally – a blog post while we are traveling! We spent the first three nights of our trip in Munich at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel. Wi-Fi was offered at some crazy price of 5 Euros for 30 minutes. I’m finally able to post while sitting at the super cool BMW Welt while DH collects his new car. (“Collect” truly is the proper verb. They don’t say “buy” or “purchase” here at BMW.)
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Air Travel with the munchkins: Luckily, I have little to report on the 11+ hours of airplane travel. Lufthansa was great and having seat-back TV screens was AWESOME! The kids zoned out and crashed hard. DD#2 slept for at least six hours straight. I spent most the time watching my family sleep. I don’t sleep well on planes. The food was average and the vino pretty good! The kids were especially impressed with the toilets that were located downstairs in the plane. Overall, this was one of the best long flights I’ve been on.
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First evening – We arrived in Munich late. We used the Lufthansa Airportbus to take us to our hotel. It was well worth the 20 Euros. People sure drive fast around here! The hotel room is great – especially considering it was a steal using Priceline. We have a nice balcony that faces some trees filled with singing birds. There is a grocery store and a bakery located in the hotel. That has been very convenient.

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Although we were tired, it was around 7pm when we finally checked in, we were eager to walk to a biergarten! We bought a 3 day subway pass (around 20 Euro) and traveled a couple stops to a nearby biergarten. Sadly, after a 15+ minute walk with tired kids, we struck out. Things close early here on Sundays. Luckily, we walked past an Italian-ish joint and had a pretty good first meal.

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Monday June 20 – We started the day at the little bakery. I think we were their first customers. We all woke up around 5am. Gotta love jet lag! We are all BIG fans of the German baked goods around here. Yum! Next we took the subway to the BMW Welt and watched DH drool over the cars and amazing architecture. It was only 8:30am at this point and nothing was open. We meandered to the nearby Olympic grounds and were the first ones to the top of the Olympiaturm. It’s the tallest structure in Munich. It was kind of chilly outside and drizzling off and on.

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After this, we took the subway downtown to the Marienplatz. I wanted the girls to finally see what old (or rebuilt in this case) European architecture looks like. We wandered and climbed to the top of St. Peter’s church. I think we all liked the views here better than the Olympiaturm. I think I forgot to mention another stop at a German bakery. We couldn’t help ourselves! Hey, we’d been up since 5am!

After more wandering through the markets and busy streets, we found a recommended restaurant for lunch – Andescher am dom. They served the famous Andechs beer that DH and I enjoyed on our last trip. We finally had some fantastic wurst for lunch. After a quick peek in another church, we took two melting down kids back to the hotel for naps.

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4+ hours later….. (yes, we all accidentally fell asleep) we realized all attractions were probably closed. Since we had energy, we decided to hit a couple of biergartens for dinner. Did I mention that it was still cold and drizzly? First stop was the Augustiner biergarten. Where was everyone? The garden was nearly empty. We sat by the playground and let the kids play for a while. None of the self-service food stands were open like we had hoped. Luckily, the Augustiner had a neat downstairs cellar restaurant with a live oompah band. We enjoyed a Bavarian cheese plate down there and relaxed for a while. Does this sound like enough for one day? Of course not!
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We continued on a tram to the largest biergarten in the world – the Hirschgarten! It was in a lovely park that was MUCH more walking than anticipated. Our poor kids! They mostly kept it together although we buckled and carried the 4 year old too much. Sore back and shoulders! The Hirschgarten was also pretty empty and we had to eat at the restaurant part. This was getting expensive. A new strategy was in the works for tomorrow…. Anyway, we enjoyed spetzle and pork with more beer. I cringe a bit when going over just how much we ate today. However, it seemed like two days. Does that count? The kids kept calling the morning’s activities yesterday. The walk back to the subway from Hirschgarten was longer than expected. Luckily, there were adorable bunnies hopping all over the place which kept the kids entertained. We were fascinated by the number of bikes outside of the subway stop. It’s Munich-style park and ride!

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Tuesday June 21 – Ahhhh – relaxed and up a whole hour later than yesterday. 6am. I was ready to run off some of that wurst and cheese. I went for a long run through the Englischer Garden. It reminded me a lot of Central Park in New York. I had considered coming back to the Garden later in the day but realized just how much walking is involved. I love walking but after yesterday I vowed to be more considerate to 4 and 6 year old legs.

We ate at the nearby bakery again and headed off to Nymphenburg Palace. It was a long subway and tram ride. Luckily we are public transportation geeks and enjoy the novelty! The palace was beautiful despite the main building being wrapped in tarps. (Lots of construction going on.) We bought a 14 day palace pass that is good for many of the castles we plan to visit in Bavaria. It seemed like a good deal for 40 Euros. The palace was full of rococo gold cherubs and paintings. The chandeliers were particularly impressive. The girls liked the old stable where the Cinderella-esque carriages and sleighs were kept. We grabbed a quick sandwich and buttered pretzels at a bakery and ate on the tram. (The girls already have a thing for the pretzels that are sliced and filled with an obscene amount of butter!)

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Again, the girls were wearing down – especially DD#2. DH and I decided to divide and conquer. He took DD#1 back to the BMW Welt and Museum while I took DD#2 to the hotel for a needed nap.

Random things I’m noticing: there don’t seem to be drinking fountains ANYWHERE! Water really does cost 4+ Euros in a restaurant. We’re carrying water bottles from now on. Beer is around 75cents in the grocery store vs. 3,50 Euros in a biergarten. Hmmmm … I’m starting to do the math here. Math is never good on vacation.

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I know this is super detailed. I probably won't be able to keep this up!

Stay tuned for the next post about our experience at the BMW Welt picking up the car. Unbelievable service! I'll wait until I have photos to do it justice! That's all for now!

Posted by familyineurope 01:24 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

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