Daryl and I took a week vacation to Europe for our 36th anniversary. We flew into Frankfurt, and rented a car. Then we drove - (well actually, Daryl drove - on the autobahn, wishing he had a fast car instead of the economy Opel we rented) to Rothenberg. (Funny story about cars on autobahn, will be in separate blog)
Our first day started at getting up about 3am for a 5 am flight from DFW to Miami. Then our flight to Frankfurt didn't depart Miami until about 2pm Miami time, Arriving after about a 10-hour flight to Frankfurt at 630 am Tuesday morning.
We hadn't made a decision where we wanted to go when we left the airport, so we just plugged in a city and drove.
We first went to Mannheim, it was a pretty city, we didn't stop just drove around.
Then decided to head to Rothenberg, on the way we stopped in Waldenburg, because we had seen a castle from the autobahn, and decided to go visit it. Waldenburg was a beautiful tiny village, The castle was at one end of the town, I also got my first "German" pretzel there :)
Then we drove on to Rothenberg. We were so totally worn out that when we arrived at our hotel at about 130 in the afternoon, we thought we would 'take a nap' then go to dinner. We slept until about 10pm, woke up for a couple hours, then slept again until about 8am the next morning.. So our Tuesday of travel was really just used to recover from the travel there.
But on Wednesday we started our vacation for real - after an amazing breakfast buffet at our hotel, we set off for "Old Town" Rothenberg.
Rothenberg ob der Tauber is like a town out of a fairy tale.. Built about 1000 years ago, it is an unbelievably beautiful little village.
We had a great day walking around this village. It was a lot bigger inside the fortress walls than we expected.
|Markplatz Rothenberg ob der Tauber|
The village had two thick tall stone walls, with lookout towers all around the village. We went into one of them, and saw some cannons that had been restored and on display. The Marktplatz was beautiful, and the Chapel we visited there was also quite lovely. There was a garden on one end, and it had some beautiful views of the village, and surrounding areas.
There were a lot of amazing shops... Bakeries, Butcher shops, Sweet shops, tons of souvenier shops. We also visited Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas store, and museum, Birkenstock shops, clothing, toys, so many shops, including a shop dedicated strictly to Teddy Bears. We had coffee at a sidewalk cafe, and ate our supper at a bakery/cafe. It was such a great place, we should have stayed longer.
|Teddy bear shop|
|Schneeball bakery - a treat specific to Rothenberg ob der Tauber|
The next day we drove to Zurich to visit, spent a few hours there, shopping, walking around the central area, visited the Victorinox store, and ate at McDonalds there (Ridiculously expensive chicken sandwiches.. after the exchange rate our meal was almost 30.00 American for 2 sandwiches and drinks)
I did get some pretty photos from there.. and there were some really cool shops. We did buy a gift at the Victorinox store.. a swiss army knife - directly from Switzerland.
They had a toy store that was over 100 years old, and an amazing clock shop, as well as the sweet shops, and butcher shops that seem abundant in the places we visited.
And there was this pretty overlook over the River Limmat.
We drove on to Strasbourg France from there. Got in about 10 pm on Thursday night.
Strasbourg was my favorite place. The town center was perfect. There was the Strasbourg Notre Dame cathedral, the Palais Rohan, and "Petite France"
|Strasbourg Notre Dame Cathedral|
|Beautiful organ in Strasbourg Cathedral|
|Astronomical clock in Strasbourg Cathedral|
|La Petite France|
|La Petite France|
Our second night there, we went to a light show on the side of the cathedral It was spectacular. Celebrating the 1000th anniversary of the Cathedral.
You can see a video someone else recorded earlier this summer here - https://youtu.be/-haQy9GjVh8
On Saturday we drove back to Frankfurt, went to a Birkenstock store to see if we could find Daryl a comfy pair of sandals, did not have any luck. He had tried some in Rothenberg and they fit well, and he liked them. But he wanted to look around and see if he could compare to other stores. But he didn't. so we were regretting not getting them at the first store.
After our little unsuccessful shopping trip, we drove to our hotel for the night, and Daryl went to return the rental car - we stayed very close to the airport. Our flight left Frankfurt on Sunday morning at 10 am. so we got a cab from the hotel to the airport. And headed back to the states,
We had a good trip overall, there were a couple of things we should have done differently.
First of all, we should have decided exactly where we wanted to go before we left the car rental parking center. Instead we made an error and drove out of the way, and a 2 hour drive ended up taking almost 5.
Second - we should have just skipped Zurich. While parts of it were pretty, between traffic, which was either horrible, or REALLY horrible, The thousands of people on the street walking, or on bikes. The enormous cost of a simple McDonalds meal, kind of really made that visit not very enjoyable.
Third - We needed to plan our hotels in advance. The Holiday Inn in Stuttgart was a great disappointment. The smaller boutique hotels were about the same or less cost, and were much better in our opinions.
We were so lucky to fly 1st class on the long legs from Miami to Frankfurt and back again, It made the travel much more tolerable.
We did not get on our first flight out of Miami, it was too full, but we did manage to get on the next one. Upon arrival at DFW, we were greeted by our welcome committee - complete with signs.. Michael and Jessie were there waiting to drive us home.
We had a wonderful time overall, traffic stressed Daryl a bit, we wasted a day going down to Zurich, But it was a good trip. One that we will have memories from the rest of our lives.