Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wein and Deutschland

You may remember from my post earlier this week that I have recently returned from a holiday in Germany. The first part of the trip, the German and I explored Heidelberg, and it really was the perfect start to my trip. The German had been telling me for months ow beautiful his home area is, and after we finished touring Heidelberg we headed out on a road trip of the wine country. The German wine road was established in the 1930's and is one of Germany's oldest wine routes. 

Our first stop on the wine street was the small village of Freinsheim. The town was quaint and had a lot of traditional German architecture. Since we arrived before noon, the city was very quiet and the German and I were able to stroll around the city capturing some great photos. 

 I loved how all of the buildings had grape vines growing on them.  

The German hunts for grapes

 Their were so many small details on the buildings that I loved. This painted couple was one of my favourites. 
 After our tour of Freinsheim we ventured back into the car and headed down the road to our next stop on the list, Bad Dürkheim. This city is a spa town in the Rhine-Neckar region and is known for a famous wine festival. We just made a quick spot for my photo opportunity with the giant wine barrel. For lunch we headed up to Wachenheim where we hiked up to the Wachtenburg castle. 

The views were amazing and we could see vineyards and small German villages for hundreds of miles.  

I got to use my self timer on the camera for a shot of me and the German at the castle. It only took about 3 attempts to get the shot right.  

The German enjoyed the views

 Then it was time for lunch, and what else, the wine of course! We started of with some wine, cheese, and pretzels. The wine in this area is served in a pint glass as a spritzer, and it was pure deliciousness! 

Then we had a traditional German dish of bratwurst, liver dumplings, and sauerkraut. 

After my week in Germany I am now addicted to German cuisine! 
I really loved the castle and views at our lunch time spot, but we knew we had a lot of ground to cover to finish the wine street so back in the convertible we went enjoying the sun along the way. 

And we saw vineyards, 

 and more vineyards, 

and you guessed it, more vineyards! 

 Riding in a convertible through the German wine country= priceless! 

After about an hour of winding up and down the wine street, we finally saw the sign for the border of France! I was so excited to add another country to my holiday, and was excited to see what awaited us on the other side of the border. 

We made our way to Wissembourg which translates to White Castle and before I knew it we were surrounded by French sites and sounds.  

 The first thing I saw upon entering the city were these pedal cars, and I knew immediately I wanted to hire one to bike around the city. 

We took turns sharing the driving responsibility, and because we had to petal we were glad we only hired the car for 45 minutes. It was hard work! 

When I was riding shotgun I was able to get some great shots of the city! 

A former Augustinian convent built in 1279 

Lauter River running through the city

But our stay in France was short because we had to hurry back to Germany for what was awaiting us later in the evening.  

On the way back to the German's home town we stopped at a neighbouring village for  a stop at his friends restaurant in Venningen

We had wine and Tarte flambée

Later that evening we headed to Deidesheim for a traditional German wine festival.

At the festival we enjoyed live music, wine, and more traditional German cuisine. 

One of my favourite things was the Bratwurst with mustard. Yum! 
 It was really great to meet the German's family. Here I am with his sister-in-law enjoying a white wine spritzer. 

The wine festival was so much fun! I was also informed that there are festivals every weekend throughout the wine valley from May until September. The German's really know how to enjoy life without a doubt! 

Saturday I spent the day with the German's family at soccer-golf. This is a mixture between soccer and miniature golf, and even though we came in last place I had such a fun time trying the game out. I really hope I get a rematch with the family in the future. 

Writing about my trip really makes me sad it's over, but I can't wait until next weekend because I will be travelling back to Germany to visit Cologne. I am already looking forward to pretzels, bratwurst, and schnitzel. 

Until next time, I will see you on the internet.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ich liebe Heidelberg

I can't believe that August is half way over and there are only 2 weeks of summer left. Yikes my students will be back soon! Yesterday I returned from my holiday in Germany, and have been suffering from the post holiday blues all day. The trip was so amazing; the food, the culture, the weather, and the company. I first visited Germany when I was 14 and then again 6 years ago, so I was super keen to get back and enjoy all the Deutschland has to offer. Our first stop of the trip was Heidelberg. The German grew up less than an hour from the city, so I was really excited to see his home town, meet his family and friends, and tour a region of Germany I have never visited. 

The weather was amazing and a welcomed change from the rain here in Scotland. We were able to enjoy the sunshine because the German's sister-in-law lent us her convertible! It really made the trip so memorable. 

One of my favourite parts of the city was the Old Bridge. There were street musician's playing on the bridge and I was able to get some great photos of the city. 

As the sun started to set the light was perfect for some great shots of the city. 

View of the Castle from the Old Bridge
The German enjoying the view

Heidelberg Castle

The main square

Our hostel was situated right in the centre of town and we enjoyed cappuccino and crossant's for breakfast. Yum!

For dinner we feasted on fresh schnitzel and it was one of my favourite dishes from the week. Paired with a lovely riesling it was the perfect meal! 

For dessert we shared a freshly made apple strudel with fruit and ice cream.

We also tried flammkuchen which translates to  meaning “Flame Cake”. It was fantastic! 

Day 2 in Germany had even better weather than day 1. After our breakfast we climbed to the Heidelberg Castle where again the views of the city did not disappoint. 

We spent the afternoon strolling around the city exploring the shops and then headed to the meadows where we hired a little boat for a cruise on the river. I was happy to be the captain of the boat, even though it only went about 10 miles per hour. 

The German and Me on our boat ride

With all of it's history, culture, food, and wine it's hard not to fall in love with the city of Heidelberg. It was such a beautiful place and I can't wait to go back this Christmas when I will get to experience it in winter. Next on the trip we explored the German wine country, so stay tuned for a post later this week. 

Until next time, I will see you on the internet.