I am in love with Germany! It is one of the most beautiful and historical countries in the world. I first learned about Germany from my husband, Brian who was born in Frankfurt, Germany as a military baby and whose grandparents were German natives. My husband spend the first 5-6 years of his life there in Europe but once in the states, his parents never returned to Deutschland. We had often talked about going for a vacation at some point, and after saving some money, we decided to treat ourselves with a trip on our anniversary about 4 years ago.
I cannot begin to tell you the excitement I felt walking around Frankfurt and visiting places my husband remembered as a child. As a matter of fact Frankfurt was our first stop and an interesting one, to say the least. We had only been there but a couple of hours when my husband decided he wanted to visit the military hospital he was born in. There was a big gate surrounding the hospital, so he just got out and had our exchange student (who was our guide) to take a picture as a keepsake. Well it wasn’t but seconds before armed guards came and demanded their camera and questioned them for almost an hour. It was quite scary as more and more uniforms stopped by. Come to find out, this was no longer a hospital but it was now the US embassy and the terror alert was high at that time, people were not allowed to stopped by the front gate and take pictures.
We had quite a scare on our first day, but it all turned out fine and after some research, they let us go with only having wiped out the memory card in the camera. That incident didn’t discourage us from enjoying the rest of our vacation, though. We rented a car and traveled without a guide for most of the trip. There is so much history everywhere you look. It seems every place we visited was older than It looked.
The Germans are amazing builders; their structures are exquisite, elaborate, and very sturdy. We visited our exchange student and her family, who live in a small village where the church as well as most of the houses are about 300 years old. Can you imagine living in a house that old here in America? She told us that their homes undergo renovations regularly but that the structure remains quite strong through the years. She also shared with us that the house stays in the family from generation to generation. People do not move or sell their homes in Germany as we do in America. Interesting eh?
Her family took us to the city of Hamburgon a two day trip by train, and I just have to say, that city was quite different than what we expected. Hamburg is surrounded by water and their main food is fish -quite a contrast from the Bavarian region where pretzels and beer rule. We stopped at a darling tea shop where I picked up some great tea to bring home and then we took a water- ferry ride around the city. The homes/mansions were magnificent and the people were quite friendly.
We then visited Munich, which is actually called Munchen. There we stopped by their Allianz Arena and were able to go in and check it out. Their dome is quite an impressive work of architecture like everything else in Germany. On our way back, we experienced the most amazing sunset I have seen in quite some time. The colors were so impressive we had to stop on the side of the road and take pictures (they didn’t turnout great because there was fog in the area).
While in that area, we made a stop at the Ulm Minster (German: Ulmer Munster), which is considered to be the tallest church in the world. There was a lot of construction going on to reinforce the structure of the landmark. We started up the tower and I gave up halfway through the narrow steps -it was way too high and I am terrified of heights. My husband suddenly remembered he had been at that very church as a kid with his parents and his mother had given up right about the same spot. Ha! talk about coincidence!
We also made a stop at the village of Kniebis Freudenstadt in the Black Forest region. The black forest was a sight to behold! We were visiting some friends at the European Theological Seminary in the black forest and on arrival the temperature was already dropping, but we had the most wonderful surprise the very next morning when we awoke to blankets of snow everywhere. Oh, it was gorgeous and so serene! Our time there was well spent with our friends as well as with the students of the seminary.
Our trip was everythingwe dreamed it would be and when we came back home I had a suitcase full of my new favorite souvenirs; Jacobs coffee, a variety of raw teas, Milka chocolate and Stollen cake. We had such a wonderful time, I knew we would return soon…and we did-but that’s a story for another time.