Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day Five/Six: Rhineland, Germany

I guess it was about a year ago I started wanting to visit Germany. It's not somewhere I'd given much thought prior to this, maybe it's the soft pretzels that got to me (I LOVE these), but I added it to the wish list when we were looking for the right tour. If you have ever been to Epcot, and you've gone to 'Germany' in their lands, this IS what this precious little area of West Germany is all about. There are roses the size of my hands (fine, my hands aren't very big, but these roses were as large as peonies). The roses are everywhere.

The grounds are immaculate, and there are timbered houses dotting the hillsides. What I didn't expect in Germany were all the wine fields, vineyards lined the sides of the road. I LOVE West Germany. I wasn't expecting it to be so quaint. I wasn't expecting it to be so peaceful. I wasn't expecting it to be such a fairy tale of castles, and small villages. Granted, this is 'West' Germany, but it's also the pieces I wanted to see. I've seen cities. I wanted the Rhineland Valley. This was the most tranquil part of my trip. GETTING to our hotel we took the famous Autobaun with no speed limits (but lots of traffic jams). They say it's safe because everyone knows their limits, but the traffic sure was backed up for miles. (Italy, and Germany had TONS of traffic jams, and apparently time predictions go out the window when traveling around these countries because of these issues). We rerouted one portion of our trip, and made it to town in a reasonable amount of time. We stayed in this sleepy little town along the Rhineland River, in a hotel, squished between the old castle walls, and an old fortress wall tower.

We had a balcony overlooking the park (these are everywhere, and they are so clean), and the Rhine River with boats coming and going, and little villages across the way, where you could see the white church steeples peeking up above the green fur trees.

We arrived in the evening, and walked up and down the river in the evening, and again in the morning. there were towers, and ruins throughout the town. Every rest stop we went to along the way, the hotel, and all the places we entered were very clean, and efficiently run. I will say that I found some of the people quite aggressive, and service providers were sometimes more expressive regarding their negative emotions (this is a nice way of saying, some people were a little mean), but there were more pleasant than unpleasant circumstances, it was just a little 'different.'