I felt like a brand new person today after the amount of sleep I got last night! I have zero regrets over skipping the fireworks in the rain to catch a couple extra hours of sleep.
We kicked off the day with breakfast at the hotel. Our hotel had a ‘hot’ breakfast with eggs and bacon but the eggs were watery and questionable, at best. The yogurt, however, was amazing AND they had apples. I had apples in the fruit bowl then ate an actual apple… then took another apple for the road. I miss fruit.
The first stop on our list today was Schloss Heidelberg (Heidelberg Castle) which was just a short drive away. I went there as a kid with my family so I was hoping to remember it in any capacity but I definitely did not; it all seemed new to me. We explored the castle and gardens and at one point, a few of us took a turn down some path and ended up taking the most amazing/awful walk through the garden of all time. It was amazing because it had beautiful views and scenery but awful because it was cobblestone and steep hills. On the bright side, it was a good workout. I did not wear the correct shoes for hills and cobblestone but the views made up for it.
We spent about an hour at the castle but then had to get on the road for Rothenburg, another small midevil town that survived the war, famous for nutcrackers, red roofs, and cuckoo clocks. I tried not to fall asleep on the bus but I could not help it; it is seriously almost impossible to stay awake on that thing. It was a rainy drive but by the time we got there it was sunny and nice. It was so great to see and feel the sun again! I chose to wear shorts today, rain or shine/hot or cold, so I am glad the weather cooperated. The nice weather also gave us a chance to see Germany’s gorgeous countryside and landscape. That IS something I remember from visiting in 2000. It was nice to see… when I was awake. We arrived there around noon, after about a 2.5 hour drive.We walked around the town’s market square (Marktplatz) which was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. The buildings were gorgeous and the views were stunning.
We tried Schneeballen which was like a light, balled-up funnel cake dipped in different things. I had the chocolate and powdered sugar ones and they were delicious. I definitely should not have had two because immediately after, we got pretzels from another local bakery (also delicious).
At 1:30pm we all re-grouped and headed to a group lunch. I don’t know how we managed to eat even MORE but we did. It was a fixed menu of bratwurst, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, and ice cream. The bratwurst was outstanding and even though I am not a big fan of sauerkraut, I tried it again and it wasn’t half bad. By itself, I did not care for it but mixed with the bratwurst, it was decent. There was also an absurdly large bottle of ketchup on the table which made us all laugh.
With our stomachs stuffed, we got back on the road at 2:45pm and started our way to Munich. I really, really did not want to fall asleep this time so that I would sleep decently tonight so I tried to fight it. Marlene put on a movie for us which I thought would help but it definitely did not. We watched “The Tourist” and I don’t think I could even begin to explain how terrible it was. Part of me wanted to stay awake to watch the train wreck that it was and part of me just wanted to sleep through it. I managed to see most of it and I wish I didn’t. It was SO. TERRIBLE. It did entertain us though so I guess there was a silver lining.
We arrived in Munich, Germany’s 3rd largest city, at around 5:30pm. Our hotel was the same chain as the one in Heidelberg which was not our favorite but when you basically only sleep here, does it really matter? We didn’t have to meet up with the group again until 7:30pm so we took the opportunity to relax and Skype with Victoria’s parents. We also planned out our free day for tomorrow and our upcoming free day in Florence, Italy.
At 7:30pm, we walked over to Hofbrauhaus, a large place to eat and get beer. This place was the definition of my nightmare. It was loud, crowded, disorganized, and everyone was drunk. They only had large, family tables so you have to sit with strangers and the only way to order food is to basically flag someone down. It was a mess. The menu we had was also 100% in German so that was stressful but we did eventually find an English menu. I ordered meat loaf but was told they were out so quickly ordered someone else (because the waiter was waiting on me to make a decision!) and it turned out to essentially be a fancy hotdog. It wasn’t bad… but it was a hot dog. Oh well. Victoria’s potato soup was really good so at least there was a win there! Justin and Heidi both got beer and were a little drunk after it, which made for an entertaining walk back to the hotel afterwards.
One interesting thing I’ve noticed about Germany is that they literally do not cater to English speaking people, at all. In every country we’ve been to so far, there have been English signs and options to some degree (and usually readily available/visible) but Germany just does not care. There is almost no English! What makes it worse is that the language isn’t nearly as predictable as the others; it is a lot more difficult to just ‘pick up on.’ Thank you, again, Google Translate.
We’re in Munich for another day and night before we head to Austria! Tomorrow we visit a concentration camp and then get to explore the city of Munich on our own before having a big, group dinner. We’re exhausted from all of the travel today so staying in the same place two nights in a row is exciting!