October 5, 2019: I was awaken by the usual “Nathan, I am about to get in the shower. Do you have to use the bathroom before I get in?”. I ate some oatmeal, watched a few weird videos and then we headed out. We walked for about 10 min down the street to the old town center, which is surrounded by traditional German architecture and with a large cathedral in the middle. I was overjoyed being surrounded with so many cuckoo clock shops. All day I was looking for cuckoo clocks, until my mom eventually said “we will come back later”. We saw another short river cruise ticket station that was right across the street from where we were, so we went for it. The cruise was beautiful and we got to see the Frankfurt skyline very clearly. It is very affordable and I suggest that if you are in any place (if the place is beautiful) you should buy short river cruise tickets (if the place has a river).
When we got off the cruise we explored the other side of the river a little, then we headed back to the old town center where we were before. We went to about seven different cuckoo clock shops, trying to find “the one we would come back to”. We never did find “the one” but we found another cuckoo clock shop that was across the walkway. The shop that we found had cuckoo clocks ranging from $3-1500. I got one that was made in the Black Forest and looks similar to the one shown in the picture below. After having dinner at a restaurant with “trees” inside of it, we headed back to the hotel to rest. On the way back, we even saw one of the only types of self driving busses with no driver and with people inside! While my parents rested, I headed down to the indoor pool and took two freezing cold steps in it ( 1. It was way to cold 2. I thought it had sharks in it ????).
After “swimming” in the pool, I walked to the sauna where I met two people from Stuttgart who were very fun to talk to. After my parents rested and I “swam”, we walked to one of the tallest buildings in Frankfurt called the Main Tower, where you can take an elevator to an observing level at the top. We stayed there for a while and you know I did a good job summing it up, because by the time we got back it was almost 10 pm CEST (We left at 9 am CEST. Going to Frankfurt? Then you have to do three things, 1. Buy a cuckoo clock, 2. Eat sausage (which I need to do), and 3. Go to Main Tower. Do you have a cuckoo clock?P.S. Lunch was just a croissant turkey sandwich.
October 4, 2019: This morning at around 6:30 am CEST we woke up to a gong in the hotel’s loudspeaker. It sounded like Big Ben fell down inside our room! After we all realized that we would not be able to go back to sleep, we got up and decided to start our day. It turned out that we should have got up earlier because when we got out of McDonalds (no hotel breakfast today) it was already 9:30 am. By the time we arrived in Heidelberg and parked next to Heidelberg Palace, it was already 11 am. My dad said that his ankle was hurting, so he found a nice cafe to stay in while my mom and I bought the palace tickets. My mom and I entered the castle and took a few pictures before the tour. On the tour we were told the long history of Heidelberg Palace with a funny and witted explanation. (Feel free to skip over the history lesson, travel article resumes in two paragraphs).
Heidelberg Palace was destroyed three times before deemed a ruin. Two times by war and one one time by lightning. Around 12 million people come here every year to see this ruin and even though not everyone goes inside, the palace is truly captivating. The moats of the palace were filled with wild animals such as deer, pigs, and rabbits. Even though many moats were filled with water, this moat had none. Our guide said that the inhabitants of the castle must have been quite a lazy hunting party! The first war that destroyed the castle was between the Catholics and Protestants, though the second was with the French. In one war 40,000 KG of gunpowder was put inside the towers in order to destroy it. In the lighting strike the palace burned up for three days and four nights. Most of the palace did survive, though out of what got destroyed, little was rebuilt. We were able to get exclusive footage because normally photos are strictly prohibited.
We got exclusive access to the defensive walls of the palace. We also went in secret walls and tunnels over 7 meters thick. Many of the large tunnel bricks were branded with the stone makers name. There are also holes in the bricks in order to have a grip so claws could transport them. I was the only one who got access to pumping the kings real wine barrel from the 1700’s. Legend says that one king only ever tasted water once in his life. When people offered him wine, he would always say why not in Italian, which is “perchè no”. Frederick and Elizabeth who were once the palace inhabitants, had thirteen children. Nine reached adulthood. Carl Phillip was another prince elector at the palace who was Catholic. No one wanted to become Catholic so he invited the Protestants to a church service and offered free beer afterwards. Many of the Protestants showed up.After getting a few souvenirs and some chocolate from Lindt, we headed back on the autobahn towards a second hand shop to possibly see some interesting items. We went shopping at Aldi and even got some pizza from a fresh food vending machine!
The town is very picturesque and pretty. Especially like today, when we were in the rain. We got to see a couple get married on a tall tiller ladder in the sky; this is the exact town to hold a wedding or to go on a river cruise and the ruins are perfect for touring. Even though my dad’s ankle was hurting, he eventually got tickets to go in the palace too!
October 3, 2019: This morning I woke up then walked to my mom to wake her up. I rushed down to the Restaurant to eat breakfast and we headed out soon afterwards. We drove for about two hours to the French border, with no intention of staying in France more than an hour. We parked the car near an opera house and walked between very tall narrow French style apartments. Eventually the walkway opened up into a large open area with souvenir shops galore. Smack in the middle of this large center filled with shops and restaurant was Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg. We climbed in the towers of the cathedral and I got a souvenir coin to remember the fun trip. I also went into a little shop to do some more souvenir shopping (I am addicted). In that shop I met Donna, who is also from California. Donna was one of the few people we met in Strasbourg that we were able to speak English to!
We went on a short river cruise in a narrow water canal and we were able to see the different sights from a rare view. At one point in the cruise we went in a water lock, which was able to raise our boat to a higher water level. After the one hour cruise we got baguette sandwiches and ate next to a large carousel and my dad picked up the car to get us so that we could take off for Frankfurt. After a couple hours, we finally arrived at the Adina Apartment Hotels. I was happy to find that in the hotel I have a large room with my own bed. We are on the middle level, so we can see very far. Today we found out that it is almost impossible to go to Strasbourg without spending at least half a day there. In my moms opinion, Strasbourg is even better that Paris was (when she went a few years ago). If you are already in Europe, it is definitely something I would definitely recommend.
October 2, 2019: We woke up around 10 am CEST and started off with a great breakfast provided by the Nestor Hotel (same routine). Soon after breakfast my mom and I took off to the metro station (while my father left to his Dürr NDT meeting). We took the metro to central Stuttgart and then we headed towards New Palace, a beautiful palace with a gothic fountain in the middle. Afterwards we went to Landesmuseum Württemberg. We were able to see lots of ancient artifacts from different places in Europe including Rome, Greece, and Germany. We shopped around at some of the many malls and explored the city! When my dad got out of his Dürr NDT meting we headed off to feed the deer with some bread that I got from breakfast (it is allowed). The deer are kept in a large forest surrounding Schloss Favorite, a castle less than 1,000 Meters behind Ludwigsburg Palace (see yesterday’s article). The castle ended up being closed but we were still able to take a few pictures and feed the deer. Dinner was hard to decide on but we finally chose a small pizza place with employees who only speak German.
My dad found out the hard way that the Pizza place did not accept credit cards. Our total was about €20, but my dad only had €10 on him. In the end my dad offered him $20 and €10 so they accepted it, though they looked very puzzled while holding the $20. The weather was cold and it did rain, but we had a good day filled with surprises! Today was the last day of the Dürr NDT meeting, so my dad gets to start his vacation tomorrow!
October 1, 2019: Today we started off with a wonderful hotel breakfast and headed off toward Ludwigsburg Palace, we toured the palace and gardens and even got to see the large pumpkin displays. Around 4:15 pm CEST we headed off in a double decker tour bus to Volkfest, the Stuttgart version of Oktoberfest. We had dinner with representatives from over 30 different countries for Dürr NDT (the non destructive testing institute that my dad is a dealer for). I sat next to Oliver Ruzek, who has been the CEO of Dürr for over four years and a close family friend. We even went on a ride that drops you from over 255 feet in the air. Oliver thought it was nothing, but I was scared to death! Oliver paid for a round of darts for a ballon game and I ended up only missing one out of five. I won a “schwein” or pig stuffed animal from the game and had a really great time, we also drove bumper cars, or what the Australian dealer called “dodging cars”
September 30, 2019: Yesterday I left for Germany around 7:05 pm PST. The flight was smooth and our two story plane flew very softly. In flight we were served dinner and breakfast. The dinner consisted of egg and brown rice with vegetables, orange chicken, brownies, salad, and crackers. Breakfast consisted of bread, tater tots, fruit, and Quiche Lorraine.
Today we arrived around 5-6 am PST and rented a car to drive to Ludwigsburg. I will try posting frequently about our travels through Europe in the next week
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