I discovered the beauty of Germany for the very first time this year. With their stunning landscapes and magnificent castles I felt as if I was stepping back in time to a medieval age. We travelled quite extensively over our ten day stay. We went along the River Rhine which was stunning. St Goar was simply charming and Heidelberg was extremely pretty and picturesque.
We drove along the River Rhine and I have never seen so many castles. You pass one and then there's another one. Even though they are on a grand scale they are in harmony with the landscape. They looked as if they were carved out of the mountains. They were at home there.
Rheinfels Fortress, in St Goar, is one of the castles we visited and it is the largest castle along the River Rhine. It was built in 1245 but only a fifth of the original castle now remains. We met up with some friends with their children and it was a fun and exciting experience for us all. I really felt the scale of Rheinfels Fortress whilst walking around its ruins. Going through the tunnels was quite eerie, a torch was needed which is something we didn't have, but this just added to the experience. Rheinfels Fortress is a castle that demands to be explored, with so many tunnels it's a labyrinth filled with ghosts from the past.
After St. Goar we got lost in the labyrinth of Heidelberg. It is advisable to get there by public transport rather than by car. The centre is pedestrianised and with it's narrow roads, it makes it very difficult to get around. We weren't aware of this and needless to say it was extremely stressful trying to get to our hotel. There are several underground car parks and it's great once you know where they are and how to get to them.
Heidelberg is a city of romance, with its baroque style architecture and stunning landscape it is looks like a toy town, extremely pretty and magical. It is a popular destination for tourists, so it was great to be able get away from the hustle and bustle by crossing the Old Bridge to the other side of the River Neckar. We sat on the river bank looking across the river, taking in the beauty of Heidelberg whist sipping cherry wine and devouring cherry liquor chocolates.
We visited Heidelberg Castle which again is another ruin. The views of the landscape from the castle are breathtaking. You get a fantastic view of Heidelberg. The journey to the castle was great too. There are cable cars going to it but we ended walking a part of the way through the forest, which was quite exciting because we weren't sure if we were going in the right direction.
We then had a complete change of scenery when we visited Darmstadt. It is like any other ordinary city but the most inspiring piece of architecture there is the Waldspiral, an apartment building designed by the Austrian artist Friedenstreich Hundertwasser. It's a joy to see. The colours are vibrant and it just screams fun. It must be fantastic to live in such a building.
I needed more than ten days to see this beautiful country and I almost forgot to mention their food and wine. They have the most delicious bread, and with so many different varieties I was spoilt for choice. I never knew white asparagus existed, so sweet and creamy, it is one of their specialities. I savoured their Grauer Burgunder, also known as Pinot Grigio. Their chocolates are to die for and their honey wine is just heavenly, especially for one who loves honey. I am looking forward to visiting Germany again and discovering more of their treasures.