Between you, me, and the fencepost Germany has never really been wicked high on my list of places I was dying to see. Yes, I wanted to add the stamp to my collection in my passport, but it wasn’t my top priority. However, when my dad’s best friend moved to Weisbaden, I became pretty stoked about the idea of visiting. I decided to go there for the second week of my Eurotrip and experience the incredibly historic country.
Since I was coming from St. Mihiel in France which was only about an hour away from the German border, my uncle and his son decided to road trip and collect me. (they were A+ stars for going all that way.) As we were driving through the countryside of France it was interesting to note how the country may have been in the past. You’d see laundry hanging from windows, old women with cigarettes dangling from their lips as they collected bread from bakeries, and each home had flowers hanging from the windowsill. It was all very whimsical and seemed to be directly out of a travel book. It was organized clutter. Every bit and bob was placed there intentionally. As soon as you crossed over into Germany, however, it became much more regimented… as you would expect. The side streets, though full of color and full of history remained decluttered and organized. This country was a completely different vibe compared to anywhere I had ever been before. For the first time in a very long time I had fallen in love with a country. Almost immediately upon exploration I felt right at home.
Throughout the course of my visit I remained on the western side of the country using Niedernhausen as my home base which is on the outskirts of Weisbaden. It was so nice to relax outside of a big city for a spell. Since I was staying in Niedernhausen I decided to visit the surrounding major cities. These consisted of: Weisbaden, Frankfurt, and Heidelburg. I opted to devote one full day to each city. Though this DEFINITELY was NOT enough time, I was able to get an idea what each these places had to offer.
I started off with Weisbaden which was the closest city. I hopped aboard the train and prayed I was going the right way. Knowing zero German I was a tad nervous as to how I was going to figure out where I was going. Thankfully I found my way, and man, what I discovered was magic. Weisbaden is a moderately sized city full of history. I was fascinated by the architecture, the amazing parks, and unbelievable cathedrals. I do not consider myself and overtly religious person, but I do love going to all of the different churches throughout European cities. There was one cathedral that marked the center of town which blew me away. For some reason I kept going back to it. This gothic style building had four giant towers and stain glass windows that would take your breath away. At every hour the chapel bells would ring out across the town. It was absolutely gorgeous. The gardens throughout the city allowed for there to be nature in the midst of a bustling city.
Next up was Frankfurt. This is the city that truly solidified my love for Germany. Wandering around the city truly made my heart so happy. As I walked out of the train station I was immediately greeted by a street market. Everywhere I turned there was another type of German food in my line of vision. I had to definitely keep my composure out of fear of completely stuffing my face. The struggles were truly real. Frankfurt as a whole is an amazing city. It is like any major city you visit around the world. It contains tall buildings, people bustling to and from their jobs, and eclectic little coffee shops lining the way. Frankfurt also had an old school vibe to it. On the edge of the Main River which runs through the middle of Frankfurt is Altstadt which means “old town.” This is where the magic happens. Though it is heavily populated by tourist, this part of town gave you an inside look to what Germany looked like hundreds of years ago. The buildings had a classic look in a circle surrounding a fountain which marked the middle of the square. It was like stepping back in time. My favorite way to see any city is through the eyes of a pub. You get to know a lot about a place via the locals. I consider myself a pro at discovering the best hole in the walls in any given town. In this area I found it in the corner of the square. It is apparently an incredibly popular pub for tourists and locals alike. As I walked into this dingy little pub and it was exactly what I needed. I am 10000000% positive I was the youngest person in there by 20 years and minus the barmaid I was the only girl. I had a pint of the region’s cider which I was pleasantly surprised to be only €3! An absolute dream. Though I couldn’t understand any of what was being said, the people surrounding me were of such good nature. Frankfurt remains to be a place I know I want to return to.
Next stop was Heidelburg. This is the city I can sincerely see myself moving to someday. It has an amazing history, some cool buildings, and an amazing culture. Heidelburg is one of the only cities that wasn’t demolished in the World Wars, so it was completely as it was back then. It is a college town so it has an incredibly youthful vibe. I spent the day in the city with my dad’s best friend who had lived there for 15+ years and knows the ins and outs of the city. It was like getting a tour from a local. We started off at the castle which is on top of a hill overlooking the entire city. Know, I’ve seen quite a few castles and my day, and this hone took the cake. This giant castle seems to be sectioned off by eras. This castle was constantly being attacked so they constantly had to repair and build up. It had some medieval style, some gothic, and some renaissance. It had a little bit for everyone. This castle allowed you to step back in time and lose yourself in the past. Since the castle stood atop a hill there was the most magnificent view of the entire city. You were able to see the various old buildings, castles miles away, and bridges down below. It was absolutely stunning. After the castle we walked back down the mountain to the main part of town. I was treated to some authentic schnitzel (which I am forever down to clown with schnitzel.) We also drank some pretty amazing beer that was made right on the premises. It was absolutely amazing!
My heart was incredibly full after spending a week in Germany. It is a place I feel drawn to go back to eventually. The cities have enough of a metropolis feel and yet remain enough of a small town vibe to feel comfortable in any situation. While there I was able to visit Goethe’s home in Frankfurt, visited the monkey on the bridge of Heidelburg, and wrote in a park overlooking the opera house in Weisbaden a pretty good trilogy of culture. Though I’ve only visited three cities I know I will love the rest of the country just as much. Germany, like any other European country is completely unique. It has a vibe unlike anything I had experienced before. I am so stoked to eventually explore other parts such as Berlin, Munich, and Bavaria. Until then, I will keep the memories of the amazing towns, culture, and beer close to my heart.