A Travellerspoint blog

See ya later Germany

We made it to our German Home where we were greeted by Anke with homemade pastries shaped into roses and given asylum until we get a new President. We shared some travel stories, heard all about her amazing months long bike/camp trip both thru New Zealand and Australia and the more recent 2 weeks thru Austria. She and Jens (Yens) her husband have the absolute most coolest enviable life. We had dinner at their favorite Bavarian resturant and Julius joined us when he got off work. Followed by wine and schapps and more shnapps at their home with so many laughs and shared stories until we stumbled into bed at midnight. Perfect night! Wednesday we got up and went into town for Market Day. Had yummy Bavarian weiss wurst and pretzels. (White boiled sausages) not as good as nuremurgers but tasty. Then gelato, church tour, city tour and last few laughs and stories before in the car for Frankfurt by 2. We all hugged and promised to see each other again “soon”.
Really wonderful way to end our Germany Vacation. Jerome did a rock star job of driving. We are both kinda done and just want easy fight home tomorrow and no hurricane at home!
Some Driving thoughts:
Its hard to not be able to look things up while driving. I lay the seat down and do crunches on our long drives. Ive gained easily 10lbs on this trip. I brought 3 workout outfits and tennis shoes. Havent used them once. Wasted space! Every hour or so we split either a lindt truffle that I bite in 1/2 or a stroop waffle. Cant imagine why Im 2 pant sizes wider.
Look up windmill energy production. Windmills everywhere!
The autobahn is stupid. I get that there is no speed limit and you cant pass on the right. And it seems everyone is confident, no road rage and somehow more respectful but when you have people doing 100miles an hour and then a car gets in front of you to pass someone he is going 65miles an hour so everyone is constantly slamming on breaks in the fast lane. Just make the speed limit 80 or something less break lights. I hate it.

Trip Totals
2 Spain cities
2 Netherland cities
10 German cities
5 trains
3 planes
1202 driving miles
76 walking miles

And we still like each other! Success! Thanks for reading! Alvertersain :) (phonetically)

Posted by Jengausman 23:47 Comments (0)

Last am Berlin/Dresden/Nureberg

We ate quickly and walked to Check Point Charlie. No crowds at all. I had read that this area is the worst tourist trap because of hoards of people. Apparently 9am on a Monday is the time to go! Berlin is not our city. We were happy with nice food, city amenities and exceptional accommodations but we are anxious to get back to the small charming towns. We decided to stop in Dresden before Nuremberg. Even though the entrances are closed on Mondays for pretty much everything in all of Germany Dresden has what Im anticipating to be some really beautiful buildings. Baroque is my favorite type of architecture and its a city filled with it! Plus it has a Glockenspiel which is another favorite!
In the 18th century Dresden was the Capitol of Saxony. (Im guessing that was the region :) it ruled most of what is now Poland and Eastern Germany by Augustus the Strong. He wanted the secret to making porcelain so badly (which at the time only the Chinese knew and guarded) he traded 600 soldiers and their horses for 150 Chinese vases. He locked up an alchemist until he figured out the recipe for porcelain. He made Dresden one of the richest cities due to his obsession with the finer things. He is said to have fathered more than 300children. Piggish by all standards.

Oh my gosh Im so so so happy we agreed to this stop! The skyline of AWEsome buildings is the most impressive we’ve seen. There is this huge manicured courtyard called the Zwinger Complex with 4 fountains and buildings on every side. This was a venue for the celebrations of The High Court. Augustus was a partier and you can really imagine how fun and grand a festival would be here. I talked Jerome into tickets for the Royal Palace Historic Green Vault Museum. No photos were allowed. Boo! It was filled with ivory carved relics, porcelain statues, gold everything, chalices carved from rhino horns, mother of pearl and on and on. Every decadent over the top gilded thing you could imagine. I got a picture of the obelisk made for Augustus. Dresden is 95% Protestant and there are shrines to Martin Luther everywhere, so I toured I think the only Protestant church Ive been in. It was disappointing and small. Clearly the catholics have all the Euros!
We saw the Elbe river and got back in the car for the 3.5 hour drive to Nuremberg. If we had more time I would actually have enjoyed Dresden for longer. And I dont usually have that feeling.
After going so fast on the Autobahn I almost divorced Jerome we arrived safely at 5pm.
This is the only place we both said we wanted to come back to from our trip 3 years ago. I embraced the Nuremburger - tiny sausages made only here. Its alittle bit of heaven and I might be addicted. I just tell myself these are not hotdogs and made with organic kosher german equivalent to usda prime 100% beef. But first we have to go to Hans im Gluck. I made Jerome go there at least 3x last Germany trip so I could have a cocktail and veggie burger before I decided to fall off the veggie train and land face first into dead animal land. It wasn’t as awesome as I remembered and Jerome spent the whole time finding 2nd dinner of Nuremburgers and Sauerkraut.
I told him about this thought Ive been having the last few days. That I spend way too much time trying not to stick out as an American cause we are labeled as rude and loud. But its the Europeans that are more rude with the incessant smoking - no non smoking sections, cig butts all over the place, no sense of personal space, no one says god bless you in any language when you sneeze. Whatever. Americans are more thoughtful. I said all of this super seriously. He looks at me and says “then we should go to Cleveland for our next vacation” I laughed so loud every table was staring and I became the American I had fought to contain. Or I was me for the first time in public in a week. It was awesome. And hysterical. And we aren’t going to Cleveland.

We had our 2nd dinner in the most quintessential German pub/stone courtyard that has been making sausages sine 1313!We shared a platter of 8 nuremburgers with sauerkraut/mustard/horseradish. I got some special schnapps that is amazing and I will spend all day tomorrow looking for it and Jerome got a big beer. Then we split the apple strudel with vanilla sauce. It literally could not have been more perfect. We made friends with our waitress and agreed to come back for lunch tomorrow. Then we walked home by way of a gelato cause we just needed to slam 200more calories into our ill fitting pants. I got basil and jerome got hazelnut. Pretty perfect! Happy bellies! Good Night!

Posted by Jengausman 13:51 Comments (0)

Last Day Berlin

We wake up 9am again. Seems like we are totally adjusted to vacation life. I can't sleep till 9am ever! But these past 8 days it's our favorite wake time! First breakfast that was outstanding so we linger over yumminess and finally head out to Prenzlauer Berg. It's a neighborhood Northeast of Downtown Berlin. We GPS it and off we go. We knew it would be far but after 2 hours of walking I was over it. I reached full vacation meltdown- want to be home - done with Europeans who don't say excuse me who smoke in your face who don't move out of the way on the narrow sidewalk and where you have to pay to pee. My ankles and hips and feet are finished. Get me an Uber or a massage please. I can't take one more step. Jerome had his own version of a kinipshin fit since we overshot the neighborhood by an entire mile! Omg. Then he didn't want to take a cab cause he wanted to walk. I'm sorry. Who are you and where is Jerome? So we walk on in silence till we both decide to be friends again at the same time we find this dumb neighborhood that is the same as every other neighborhood. I get a green smoothie and blueberry cake and we sit in the shade to cool off. Then we walk the remaining 1.5miles back to the Berlin Cathedral for a tour. Jerome stays out and I go inside and walk the 200+ steps up the Duomo for city views and a really beautiful church. We find a Rittersport Chocolate shop where you can custom make your own candybars. Jerome is giddy and spends lots of time crafting the perfect sugar delight for himself, his mom and his sister! Hes pretty excited! Next we walk to lunch so he can redeem himself from last night. We split a nuremberger and the weinershnitzel. Delicious! All is right in the world again. But Im done being a tourist for the day. Berlin is just too big. We've seen most of what there is too see. We aren't big museum people so we are taking the rest of the day/night to go-to the spa/pool/sauna in our posh hotel. 3 days left of Germany - we can take a break!
Tomorrow we drive to Nuremberg then to see our friends in Kempten.

Posted by Jengausman 07:51 Comments (0)

Schwerin & Berlin

We woke up late and I had to shower and straighten my hair. In this humid damp climate that is a time consuming event. Needless to say we left late no breakfast / no flea market. We high tail it to Shwerin to see the castle. Jerome is flying down the Autobahn. We make it by noon. It's finally a sunny day in Germany! Happy Anniversary to us!
Schwerin is a waterside town with a small main square and the massive beautiful castle. Pretty much the only reason people come here. The first records of the castle date AD 973. The castle was home to the Dukes of Mecklenberg in the mid 1300's. It has been rebuilt many times over up until the late 1800's. The trees we saw were planted in 1860. It's beautiful and the grounds are gorgeous. The castle is not open to the public but we walked all around the grounds. Saw a wedding which we decided was a good sign on our anniversary. But then had a terrible lunch after which we promised we would not make a rushed food decision again. We got ice cream to make up for it and got in the car for Berlin at 2.

Checked into the Titanic Hotel. It's so fabulous we don't want to leave. Sauna. Gym. Fancy everything. Perfect location. Love it. We head right to the sights. Brandenburg Gate. Jewish Memorial. Reichstag. Sofitel hotel restaurant for dinner. You know - all the important places. My pumpkin soup nearly made me cry it was so delicious. Jerome has been talking about a fish fry for literally 10 days. He doesn't want many things in this world. And thank God because I couldn't handle two of Me. So when he wants something - I mean really wants it and then doesn't get it. It's kinda devestating. This restaurant - the Aigner is known for its Weinershnitzel. We sat next to 4 Germans who each ordered the Weinershnitzel. He ordered the fish. Then spent the rest of the night being the most disappointed Ive ever seen him. I get it - I mean we are in a place where thousands of people were murdered by the worst of humanity. But tonight I was sad for my love that he ordered the wrong thing. Moving on - we had the best day and even better we made a new plan for the week and are going to see our friends on Tuesday! I'm so excited to see them again. Tomorrow will be a bit of a lazy day - Sauna - Sights - maybe fish fry?
Oh and while we were walking earlier -
just after crossing thru Brandenburg Gate, police stopped all pedestrians and car traffic. It was just like DC when the VP goes thru town. So I got excited that Angle Merkle was coming thru. No. A gang of scary motercycle riders. Maybe a thousand men on bikes. Not exciting!
We stopped in the reflecting room at the Brandenburg gate to read the message of peace. Really quite beautiful. We also paid our respects to the 96 members of the German Congress who opposed Hitler and we're the first to be murdered. It was a sobering, reflective but perfect sunny day. Despite the dinner debacle. Sunday Funday awaits. Guten Morgen

Posted by Jengausman 14:08 Comments (0)

Bremen & Hamburg

In the car by 10am and made it to Bremen by 12:30. Bremen is an often overlooked city but its so beautiful. Germany’s first ever coffee house opened in Bremen in the 17th century, while the Bremen-based coffee merchant Ludwig Roselius was the man who invented decaf coffee at the start of the 1900s. The market square is one of the larger European plazas with a city hall, chamber of commerce, cathedrals, and other pronounced buildings. Its 1/2 way to Hamburg so I wanted to stop for lunch and see the Cathedral. St Peter’s Cathedral commands the central market square and has 1,200 years of history.
There were multiple outdoor markets in the square. People selling flowers, bulbs, and produce. We had our first brat with brochen. Delish! Walked the winding streets, found our car - good job Jerome! And headed off to Hamburg by 2:15. Perfect pit stop.

Hamburg:
Rick Steves did not really approve of this city. He said it was “charmless”. So wrong! It has a million bridges, canals, huge port, awesome massive buildings, churches, spires, and impressive skylines. I knew of 4 things I wanted us to see. Miniature Wonderland. St Michales Church. HafenCity area. Le lion bar

Check Mate! All done! I had no idea what to expect - but we did it all! Miniature Wunderland was 15euro each. That is nuts and I wanted to say no. But we walked forever to find it. In the rain. I had a mini breakdown of 1/2 trip fatigue/rain/chilly/not dressed right/bad frizzy hair meltdown. So when it was 30$ I freaked out. But we pushed on. Said yes and we paid. It was so super weird and cool and you had to be there to grasp the totality of it. Its massive. 2 floors of an industrial building. Miniature Wonderland is the largest model railway system in the world and has been voted the most popular tourist attraction in Germany. Visitors can admire different countries and even a working airport.
Hamburg’s miniature replica comprises no less than 200 square metres. Im no miniature dork and I wouldn't want to be at a dinner party with these people but it was cool and sensory overload and worth every Euro! Then we walked around the port city area I had read was cool to be at night and decided we would eat before we went to this bar I had heard about.
All jerome wanted was a fishmarket. We found one and he was super excited. Reliving his youth with fish fry festivals.

We got duped. Inside was an American burger place. We swore off burgers in Toledo. We thought we would walk out but our table was pinned between two other tight tables and it was clear we were American so we were stuck. It was super cool though, trendy, custom cocktails, good music, but only burgers. The place was called Brooklyn Burgers. But from the outside it was called FishMarkt. Oh well. We were not leaving. We split a burger and fries and both had 2 delicious cocktails. Made friends with the staff and had a great time. Then we walked to this bar called Le Lion. It's a speakeasy. I didn't know that until tonight. So we ring the bell. We are greeted by this Uber German waiter guy and feel super underdressed and not very welcome. He informs us there is standing room only and all the seats are reserved. We don't have a reservation so we stand awkwardly in the middle of this super small swanky bar with 7 bar seats and 24 lounge seats. It's dark and quiet. It's known to have invented the gin basil smash so we of course order two of those. Since we are the only people standing and I feel like a jerk we agree to one drink and we are leaving. Jerome is probably more uncomfortable than I was which is saying something. A guy leaves and a seat is open at the bar. I of course ask if it's available. At any other bar in the world I wouldn't even have thought about it. Jerome is dying and mad telling me not to ask about it. But come on. I'm sitting down if I can. All is well. The seat is mine and not reserved. Jerome and I handle our less than awesome moment in public and have 2 more drinks. It was an interesting experience. The drink was delicious.
We walk back to the hotel and split more fries cause Im a fatty and want to feed my vacation food monster belly. Asleep by 11. Tomorrow we do the flea market and head to Berlin.

Posted by Jengausman 14:12 Comments (0)

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