I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming! It took a solid week to sink in that I was finally in Germany after all this time imagining what it would be like.
I should add that going through my photos for these posts is bittersweet: I am so appreciative for the opportunity to have been there, but oooooh how I want to go back already… I may be planning my next trip now ; )
Okay! Now back to my recommendations for you.
After visiting Speyer, we drove along winding roads and passed gardens of sauerkraut, wind mills, and hundred-year old buildings in small towns to hike up to Madenburg Castle.
I don’t know if it’s because I knew that it was foreign to me, but the smell of the forrest seemed richer than any I’ve smelled before and the sun leaking through the trees was enchanting.
If you’re a hiker or not, you’ll enjoy this trail. It’s a steady incline, a good stretch of the legs and some fresh air.
When you make it to the top, you’ll reach the castle. Don’t forget to watch my Instagram stories to see the full tour: lookout points and towers overlooking France in one direction (approximately a 30 minute drive away), and what is known as the “wine street” in the other, plus there is a concession/courtyard restaurant serving yummy food — including the traditional german food (which I ate A LOT of) called flammkuchen — a very thin-crispy-pizza-like dish that is served with a variety of toppings, and is delish with a beer or wine! (I went for a white wine).
Since you’re only about a hop, skip and a jump away from France, why not cross the border for dinner?
Yes, I’m still mind blown by everything you can do in Europe! Literally (an overused word I don’t use lightly) just crossing the border into France from Germany… just for quick dins, not a biggie!
The sun was setting when we parked and came across a cute town called Wissembourg. A lot of the shops were closed at that time, but it was cool just to walk throughout the small neighbourhood into some tiny stores and big churches.
We stopped for dinner and split some (more) flammkuchen underneath the stars on the patio overlooking the homes and the river.
Back to where I first landed.
So much to see and do in the cool city — you can ride a train on the perimeter, so plan ahead if you can. We got there a little late to do that, which was totally cool with me, I was already thrilled to be with my family and exploring a new city (to me) together.
If you enjoy shopping, Frankfurt has a lot of trendy shops to go into and vendors to check out.
It was still feeling like a summer day when we got to the Eiserner Steg — so warm and the water sparkled as the sun bounced off the subtle waves.
After walking across the bridge, which was filled with people observing and reading the locks with hand-written names and notes attached to the barriers, we headed to Altstadt (known as the old part of the city) for lunch — obviously I ordered the flammkuchen (my go-to as a vegetarian) and a traditional german summer drink, an apple wine, which tastes like a Canadian apple cider, just without the bubbly effect.
When we headed back to the car is when I actually noticed more people walked the streets with beer and wine glasses in hand — everyone just seemed super chill and happy, and you can’t blame them.
The east side of Germany is so beautiful: Many rolling green hills and mountains. One of the MANY places that stood out for me in Bavaria was the Neuschwanstein Castle and the Alps.
These photos don’t justify the castle’s beauty. There is a bridge nearby that you can walk to for an awesome picture of it in the backdrop, but it was closed while we were there. But that didn’t bother me, it’s so beautiful up close and that’s where I wanted to be.
While you’re there…. you can’t NOT go inside! And so we took a tour of the castle — it’s stunning, you really do feel like you’re living a fairytale!
It has such a rich history: politically (with where the money came from to build it), the design, and you’ll learn the king was very young when he died — his death, until this day, is a mystery.
Just a heads up — you can’t take photos or videos inside the castle on the tour, and get your tickets ahead of time because, as I said, it’s a busy spot, so a lot of people buy the tours. There is a restaurant near the castle (on the premise), so we went there for a late lunch until it was our turn.
NEXT STOP: BERLIN — stay tuned for the next post!
Don’t forget, you can watch videos from travels in my IG stories!