For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to talk about our recent trip to Germany, France, and England over Christmas and New Year’s. There was much joyous exploration, beautiful and thought-provoking art, and a lot of great plays.
Our trip began in Germany with a flight into Frankfurt airport a few days before Christmas. I only mention the airport for one big reason. As we walked to the car rental place, we passed three women dressed as angels, pulling a sled with a speaker on it. They stopped in front of one of the duty-free stores and began singing classic Christmas songs in German. It was beautiful.
Earlier, while waiting at Heathrow, my husband got to throw rings onto an employee’s antler hat. He got one out of three so he won gummy candy sample. Very strange!
The plan was to spend one night in Heidelberg but then drive to Strasbourg, France for Christmas. After some hijinks with our GPS, we made it to our hotel in the middle of the old section of Heidelberg. Our hotel was delightful; instead of room numbers, we were in rooms designated by the name of a city. We were in Vienna, which had a distinctly continental imperial feeling. My parents stayed in Rome that had lots of touches of ancient Rome, including a fake ruin set up to their shower. Next time, we’re staying in Havana.
We didn’t get to Heidelberg until the later afternoon. We had enough time and energy to check out the local Christkindelmarkt. I am pleased to say that the Chicago Daley plaza one has a similar feel. Huzzah! I love these little outdoor markets. Delicious foods, mulled wine, beautiful crafts, music, all outside in the cold. Somehow it works!
After some time wandering around and salivating at the tasty foods, we had dinner in the restaurant attached to the hotel. It had to be one of the prettiest restaurants that I’ve ever been to. Wood paneling, painted flourishes everywhere. Very pretty. And the food was great. We were serenaded by Bob Dylan and the Beatles music overhead, which was unexpected by not bad.
After a night of sleeping decently, our first stop was the Heidelberg Castle. Because as readers of this blog know, we love castles. We walked a few blocks away from our hotel to the train station to take us to the castle upon the hill. Sadly we saw that the Christkindelmarkt and its relatives were done for the season; workmen were in the process of dismantling them!
We took the little cogwheel train up to the Castle. The cost of the ticket included access into the castle itself. There’s a separate ticket for a tour that gets you into the buildings themselves, but given our limited time, we opted against it. The castle, however, is delightful. It appears that various pieces of it suffered damaged so it has a put together quality. We wandered in the inside courtyard and found what is claimed to be the largest barrel in the world. I believe it. There’s also a magnificent view of Heidelberg that is well worth a visit.
We had a little more time to explore Heidelberg before we left for Strasbourg. We ventured into a nearby church, I think it was the Church of the Holy Spirit. It has a very impressive exterior with a more modern seeming interior. I was quite delighted to find that you can purchase little Playmobil figurine of Martin Luther with his theses.
We also tried a local treat called a snowball. A little hole in the wall only sold different versions of the treat. It was not my favorite thing. It was kinda like a bunch of sugar cookies put together and chocolate drizzled over it. But I’m glad we tried it.
Before we left, we explored the most magnificent party story with amazing balloons. Happy day!
Next time, I’ll talk about our time in Strasbourg!