Europe // Germany Part II

Day three in Europe! If you missed days one and two, click here.

We woke up, in my opinion, way too early after going out with Felix and Jennie and staying up way too late the night before, but we caught Felix’s field hockey game before going west to Rüdesheim along the Rhein River.

Let me just say that I don’t understand any rule in field hockey but my back hurt just watching them bend over.

Rüdesheim is an adorable small town in the heart of German wine country, set along the beautiful Rhine River. It reminds me of what Hermann, Missouri tries to look like (good try, MO), but 1000% better.

We arrived and took the cable car up to see the Niederwald Monument. The ride up was chilly but it was worth it for the views!

This monument commemorates Germany’s unification and it’s really neat to see up close.

After some photos, we hiked to the other side and took the cable car down. I mean… look at this view!

There are a few different castles along the Rhine River (none of which I know anything about) but I just kept thinking Game of Thrones, Game of Thrones, Game of Thrones.

Once we got to the bottom of the mountain/hill, the four of us popped inside Berg’s to eat lunch. Here is where we had the very best wine of the entire vacation – not kidding. Better than Italy! The Riesling grape comes from the Rhine River area and I don’t even like Riesling that much, but this wine was so fresh and crisp. I can’t even describe how good it was.

For lunch, Kevin and I split schnitzel – he got fries, I got potatoes – but somehow I forgot to take a picture of it!

From there, we wandered around the cute little town and popped into a couple different shops while we waited for our boat ride back to our car.

Uli and Gaby said this town is SO crowded in the summer months and during Christmas. They said to imagine these small walkways packed wall-to-wall with people, but we almost had it all to ourselves!

Oh yeah, before the boat ride we stopped into a bar for another glass of wine. Unfortunately I don’t remember the name of it, but there were little patios like this all over!

Don’t ask me why my hair looks red in this picture. I don’t know the answer to that question, but I swear I am not a redhead.

We spent all day down in Rüdesheim, but got to and from reeeeal fast thanks to the autobahn. I believe we got up to 160 mph (had to do the math since they’re on the metric system). But, Uli’s car was so smooth it didn’t feel like we were going that fast at all.

We were all laughing later that night, once we got back “home,” because they were going to order pizza for all of us. They kept asking what we wanted on our pizza and Kevin and I said we weren’t picky about 100 times. Finally I was like “I just don’t like olives” and they were like “okay so you want everything?” We quickly realized that pizza in Europe is made for one person – not for sharing. So, I ended up with a cheese pizza haha.

Uli’s best friend, and neighbor, Dieter joined us for dinner, wine, “schnapps for pops,” gin and tonics and amaro *to get us prepped for Italy). We, once again, stayed up way too late but it was our last night in Germany and who knows the next time we’ll see this German family of mine that I love so much!

The next day, Gaby took us to the Frankfurt train station where we caught our first train and headed south to Salzburg, Austria. More to come!

Europe // Germany Part I

Guys. We just got back from a two-week vacation to Europe and it was everything and more. We went to Germany, Austria and Italy and in true-to-Gabby fashion, I’ll drag recap posts out as long as I can. And really, I’m mostly writing this for myself so I can look back and remember what we did, where we ate and what we saw. I also hope this can be used as a resource because I did a ton of research ahead of our trip and blogs were the best place to find tips!

So, here we go.

Frankfurt, Germany

Long story short: I have family friends in Germany. My dad and aunt hosted a German foreign exchange student when they were in high school and we’ve stayed in touch with him over the years. They’ve visited dozens of times, I’ve been over to visit once when I was younger… they even came in town for our wedding! I grew up calling him Uncle Uli, his wife Aunt Gaby and their son, Felix, my cousin. We’ve even gotten to know Uli’s sister and her family, including their kids who are around mine and my brother’s ages. So basically, I have a German family.

Kevin had never been to Europe so we thought it’d be fun to go over to Germany to visit the German family. We originally planned on going last September, and doing Oktoberfest, but we moved to St. Louis and bought a new house instead #priorities. Therefore, our trip got pushed back and sort of exploded into a big, two-week, three-country vacation. Not mad about it!

Planning was no joke, and I could write a whole other post on the resources we used and any tips/tricks, but it was worth every hour of Googling things like, “how to navigate public transportation in Rome.”

So, back to the recap…

We started our trip in Frankfurt and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. We flew St. Louis to Atlanta, Atlanta to Frankfurt and eventually, after 15 hours of travel, we arrived in Germany at 9 a.m. local time, Uli and Gaby picked us up from the airport and we promptly went back to their house for a nap. I know everyone says to stay awake that first day but neither Kevin or I could sleep on the nine-hour flight to Germany, and if we were to function even a little bit on our first day, a nap was necessary. After a two-hour slumber, we showered, changed and ate lunch with the fam.

Uli took us on a walk to the nearby Goetheturm (translation: Goethe Tower) to climb and check out Frankfurt’s downtown skyline. It was amazing! The climb was no joke at 43-meters high, but the view was worth it!

Little did we know what views (and stair climbing) we had in store for the rest of the trip.

After lunch and the tower climb, we ventured downtown to walk around and take in the sights. I remember a lot of the downtown area from when I was there as a kid. We went over Thanksgiving and the Christmas market was open – so, so neat!

We popped into Uli’s favorite market, and checked out the local meats, cheeses and veggies. Couldn’t leave without a glass of wine, of course! (Fun fact: we liked the wine in Germany way more than the wine in Italy. But more on that later.)

On our first evening in town, we went out to dinner with the larger family including Felix, his girlfriend Jennie and Uli’s sister and her husband, Katherine and Jurgen, to Oberschweinstiege,

We dined like traditional Germans – ate spargel (white asparagus, which was in season during our visit), spaetzle and schnitzel and of course, had some bier. OH and mispel! A traditional Frankfurt “shot,” which is brandy and mispel, a German fruit. The fruit soaks in the booze, and then you “cheers” (or, prost!) with the fruit before downing the shot. This was the first of many mispels we had this trip…

(Also, I think some of my photos got deleted – worst. thing. ever. – because I swear I took more pictures of our food in Germany, and they’ve gone missing)

The next morning, we woke up to a traditional German breakfast, complete with fresh rolls, cured deli meats, cheese, jam, nutella and very strong coffee. Our kind of breakfast!

We ventured over to Felix and Jennie’s apartment, in the young/trendy part of town (aka the Soulard of Frankfurt) to see their place before going back to Uli’s for a traditional Bavarian meal of wurst, spicy sausage and more bier. I. loved. Germany. (Again, no pictures of lunch because they disappeared and I’m real mad about it.)

If you ask Kevin was his favorite part of the trip was, he’d tell you it was seeing a real life European soccer game. We got lucky that Eintracht (Frankfurt) played when we were in town, and Uli has season tickets so we were able to go. Until we went to the game, they had lost 10 in a row. We’re good luck!

The game was pretty unreal though. The fans and atmosphere was similar to a playoff hockey game… but better. And the beer was so cheap! Four euro for a beer, whereas beer at Busch Stadium runs you more than 10 bucks these days. Germans know what’s up.

Later that evening, Uli and Gaby had a birthday party to go to, so the kids (me, Kevin, Felix and Jennie) went out to dinner and then out for biers after. We dined in Sachsenhausen at Apfelwein Wagner. Uli said when I visited as a kid, my grandpa liked trying the famous apfelwein, so he wanted us to experience it like my grandpa did. And if you’re like us and didn’t know what apfelwein is, here ya go. Basically cider! But the German version.

(Here’s where I’d insert pictures of our apfelwein in the bembel at our outdoor table sharing big long tables with fellow Germans, but no. pictures. SAD.)

I do have a picture of dinner, though! Apparently this place is not only known for its schnitzel, but also its Grüne Soße (green sauce), which is famous in Frankfurt. Both Kevin and I got it – with potatoes – and loved every bite.

Felix ordered a very traditional Frankfurt appetizer for us to try – Handkäse mit musik (hard cheese with music) – but I wasn’t a huge fan. Even his girlfriend Jennie didn’t like it, so I didn’t feel too bad.

So after stuffing ourselves silly, we walked down the street for a nightcap (or multiple) at Lokalbahnhof. I thought I was doing a really good job of learning German phrases so I tried to order our group vier biere (four beers), and the waitress responded, in English, asking if we wanted large or small. Welp, didn’t fool her.

We stayed out and up way too late because our 8 a.m. wakeup call on Sunday morning was rough. But, places to go and things to see!

And with that, I’m going to save our last day for part II of Germany.