Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Willkommen in Deutschland (Part 2)

After three very full days in Berlin, we took a taxi to get on a plane, to take us to a train, to take us to a bus, to take us to a cable car to take us to Heidleberg Castle. 

All in about five very short hours. 

Because driving the family mini van all around the countryside was so not an option.
The history of Heidleberg Castle is complex. Because it is so old (first mentioned in 1225) and because it changed hands so many times, it's difficult to give a quick history of who ruled and what wars and events happened during each reign.
I read in a few different places that Heidleberg is one of the top tourist destinations in Germany and is the most famous castle ruins in the world. True or not, it was a beautiful place to visit!

We spent our first hour wandering on our own, and quickly realized that without a guided tour it would be impossible to understand even a small portion of its history.
 Because Wikipedia is always a trusted (!!) source, click here for a timeline of events for the castle.
After a full day of walking the palace grounds, and in light of distant thunder rumblings growing louder and louder, we took the cable car down the hill and to the Old Town area of the city. We wandered quaint shops, cafes, churches, fountains, and cobblestone streets until the clouds let loose and rain fell.

Fast and hard and cold!

We ducked into a small, dark restaurant serving traditional German fare and enjoyed a quiet dinner.
From Heidleberg we took a train to Frankfurt, where I spent two more days before flying back home, and Grady spent two more weeks finishing up his project.

Because of rain in the forecast and because we had packed each day so full, we used our last day together to relax.
We spent our morning in an art museum, which I'm sure we fully appreciated given that we are such avid artists and cultural know-it-alls. We spent the afternoon wandering the Old Town area of Frankfurt, looking at old architecture, people-watching, and eating gelato. And that evening, we purchased tickets to see Cirque Du Doleil - a perfect ending to a great day.
For my last day in Germany, I was on my own. Before heading to work that day, Grady left me with a wad of Euros, a map of Frankfurt, and a map of the train system. He charted out a simple route for me so I could take in some historical sights, some shopping areas, and a boat tour. The day was mine to enjoy.

And it was enjoyable!
Except for the wrong train that I got on, which thankfully I quickly realized and corrected.

And except for the downpour of rain that came mid-morning and didn't stop for most of the day. Solution: coffee, a crepe, and a book.

And except for the wrong couple of turns I made while walking around town. The one area Grady told me to avoid was the one area I accidentally wandered into: The red light district. And yes, it was clear as day (night?) that that's where I was. I lowered my umbrella so that I couldn't make eye contact with anyone and picked up my pace tenfold.

BUT, other that those few details, it really was a great day. My last day to myself before heading home and fulfilling the title of mom, teacher, nurse, chef, chauffeur, cleaner, washer...!

One week in Germany - barely enough to get a taste of the sights and culture. Barely enough to enjoy life with just my man. Barely enough to disconnect from home. But, full enough for me to say THANK YOU to my husband for planning and arranging such a special time.

And, a trip like this doesn't happen without help. Remember those four kids of mine? Someone had to keep them alive.

My mom gave up a week of work to fly here and care for them. And she did way more than just keep them alive: she played with them and went places with them and gave them undivided attention and love.

And my house! Spotless when I arrived home. Empty laundry baskets. Full fridge and freezer. Sparkling bathrooms. Above and beyond just keeping my kids alive.

Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately for her!) she made leaving the country for a week a really easy thing to do.

1 comment:

  1. Woohoo! Time to start planning the next trip! Love you!