Our last post was way back in December 2016 when we decided to head home for Christmas. It was rather a mad dash as our minds were preoccupied with my mums health, so we didn’t get chance to tell you all about our whistle stop tour across Germany. So lets rewind six months…
Starting at Ludwigsburg with wonderful Schloss then to Heidelberg with its dominating gothic castle before winding over to the Rhine and then the Mosel. After Trier, we pretty much put our foot down all the way to Calais with just the one stop at Ypres for Mac n Tosh to get their jab and pet passport stamped.
click on the pictures to enlarge the image
One of Europe’s largest palaces to survive in its original condition, Residenzschloss Ludwigsburg certainly merits a visit for its sumptuous interiors and exquisite gardens. Walks around the frosted gardens with hidden towers and frozen lakes provided some beautiful photos.
The natural beauty of Heidelberg is created by the embrace of mountains, forests, vineyards, and the Neckar River. All crowned by the famous ruined castle. Even after 600 years and on a grey, miserable day the castle looks impressive. Parking i. The city is limited and a challenge…and watch put for secret traffic wardens. We parked on a main road with no parking limitations along with a few dozen other motorhomes. When we returned from our walk we were the only motorhome to receive an unofficial looking parking ticket? However, six months later the parking fine has not arrived!
The Neckar and the Rhine meet at nearby Mannheim, a major industrial centre, and the second-largest river port in Europe. Its here were we joined the Rhine.
The Rhine Valley is one of the most popular holiday destinations for visitors to Germany. With steep hills and river banks lined with vine after vine as well as a castle or castle ruin every few kilometres. The villages are small, romantic, and picturesque. Undoubtably the most fascinating thing is to watch the industrial barges and boats float up and down the wide river. Restaurants, outdoor cafes and river cruises abound even in the middle of winter.
The Mosel Valley is for many an even more spectacular destination than the Rhine. The valley is narrower, the hills steeper, and the river meanders constantly. Despite being in the middle of western Europe, these valleys remain among Germany’s rural backwaters and the attractions along these major rivers offer a quieter version of those on the romantic Rhine. Villages are mostly small and picture perfect. Castles and castle ruins line the banks of the river. Burg Eltz, a castle that was never destroyed in eight centuries, is arguable one of the best-looking medieval castle in Germany.
Both valleys offer the classic German mix of atmospheric medieval castles, and pretty half-timbered towns surrounded by steep vineyards that produce wonderful full bodied wines.
Trier, the largest town on the Mosel, is the oldest city in Germany and has the largest collection of Roman ruins on German soil.
The markets are part of the German culture and pop up in the middle of villages, towns and cities for the whole of December. They bring an explosion of cultural activity as well as the hand made crafts and local produce. Stalls, beer tents, wooden huts and exhibitions pop up along the high streets and town hall squares.
The markets attract everyone from artists and designers to farmers and chocolatiers. All expressing their creativity in their wares. Art trails, festive garlands, street art, Christmas decorations and one off gifts, all set up to inspire and intrigue. The markets bring together the local community as well as attract thousands of tourists who visit Germany each Christmas.
Around every corner you find rows upon row of wooden stalls with hundreds of people slowly meandering from trinket to bauble to mulled wine and brockwurst. The idea of the market is to line every alley and street with winter wonderland. Bring the community together to share the time and creat memories building up to Christmas Day.
Market highlights include open air shows, carol service, apple bobbing, saunas, barrel dunking to name but a few. Many of the small towns the stall holders dress in traditional dress.
The German Christmas markets have always been on our bucket list, so a big tick even amid the chaos to get home
The one thing you’re guaranteed to find wherever your travels in Germany take you: sausages. Encased meats are a serious business here, and you could spend a lifetime working your way through 1,500 varieties of German sausages, also known as Wurst. Craig loves smoked sausages but last year he tried Weisswurst and it came with its own rules! A delicate white sausage made with veal, bacon, lemon, and parsley. It’s traditional in the southern state of Bavaria, where they are sticklers about the way to eat them. The casing is never eaten; instead, you zuzeln (suck) out the meat. Make a slit at the top, dunk it in sweet mustard, and suck out the insides. It’s all right to slit and peel it as well. If you are interested in reading about the towns along the Rhine, click here for last years post and visit.
Home for Christmas
A few pictures from Christmas with the family. Mum is doing remarkably well and continues to stay positive and happy despite the slow onset of her dementia.
That just leaves us to say a big thanks to my sister for wonderful Christmas Dinner and woof woof to Dad for looking after Mac n Tosh.