Nasrin and I took a long trip to Germany. Very nice.
Day 1 – Took Aer Lingus (not a fan) to Ireland, then to Frankfurt. Rented car from Hertz and drove to see Sammi and Baback in their small town close to Mainz. Their son Arman (sp?) was there. They live in a small but interesting house. Lots of architectural detail. Got a flat tire, had it fixed in the village close by. They took us to a park in the city of Wiesbaden (state of Hesse). Ate dinner at a Persian place. Good vegetarian option.
Day 2 – Drove to Cochem in the Mosel Valley. Stayed at Hotel Thul. Nice place located on a hill overlooking the river/town. Lots of flowers. Very peaceful and relaxing. Took a boat ride and strolled around the town.
Day 3 and 4- Drove on the Autobahn (and a bit on the “Romantic Road”) to a town called Rothenburg, which was founded in the Middle Ages. The town has been (more or less) preserved as it was long ago, although it’s very much a tourist town. Something like Williamsburg, people dressed up in costumes, etc. We walked around the town, stayed in the Hotel Rappen. The hotel was ok, but there was very loud music from a rock band until after midnight each night. Parking the car was a real headache since the hotel’s lot was constantly full. Fun to walk around the town and on the ancient protecting wall.
Day 5 – Drove to see Saedeh and Marcus at their home in Stuttgart. Had a good time with them. They served us white asparagus for lunch, which I had never heard of, but is very common this time of year in Germany. Delicious, we ate it everywhere we could find it the rest of the trip. They took us to see the University of Tubingen, where Marcus and one of their daughters went to school. I believe we read that it was one of the oldest European universities. Took a boat ride and walked around. Ate German tapas at an outdoor cafe.
Day 7 – Drove to Munich. Stopped at the Dachau concentration camp right outside the city. Stayed at the Hotel Monaco, which turned-out to not the best choice. It was in a bit of a seedy neighborhood, surrounded by strip joints. The first night was incredibly noisy, and it was too hot to close the windows (no AC). We moved to another room the second night. Problem sovlved.
Day 8 – Took a day trip to Bavaria to see Ludwig II’s castle. Drove much of the way on the Romantic Road. Amazingly beautiful area: highway was surrounded by mountains, some capped with snow, many small quaint towns. Castle was cool. Took a walk along the lake. Nice.
Day 9 – Took a tour to Salzburg, Mozart’s home town. Tour guide gave us some information about the history the German people, the wars and so on. Salzburg was a disappointment, just a tourist trap. But they also took us to St Wolfgang, a really beautiful small town with a big glacial lake. Nice boat ride.
Day 10 – We stayed in Munich and saw the sights. Could have planned the day better. The jazzy pop group playing in the streets was very good. For some reason they played several Abba songs. We got caught in a blinding rainstorm without umbrellas. Memorable.
Day 11 – Took the train to Berlin. Walked around the hipster German neighborhood we stayed in, Prenlanger Berg. Stayed at the Hotel Meyers, a very nice boutique hotel. The AC made some weird gurgling sound all night.
Day 12 – Took a taxi over to the nearby Hotel Kastanienhof. Nice place for the money. Staff was super helpful. We did a Hop-On/Hop-Off bus tour but that didn’t work out so well because of a big protest going on that blocked-off many streets. Saw Checkpoint Charlie and a few other sights.
Day 13 – Saw more of the Berlin sights, included a nice boat tour. The Chancellor’s office right on the water was impressive. Spent a lot of time at the Topology of Terror.
Day 14 – Took the train back to Frankfurt (because it was much cheaper than flying from Berlin). Walked around the city. The bridges across the river were really interesting. Ate white asparagus and German vegetarian pizza at a local restaurant. Very good, need to find the name of the place.
Day 15 – Took the subway back to the airport, flew home on British Airways. Good flight.