August 11, 2017

Deutschland - zwei Tag

Day two started out great with breakfast at our Frankfurt hotel. There were breads, jams, honey, Nutella, pastries, meats, hard boiled eggs, cheeses, vegetables, cereals, juices, yogurt, muesli, coffee (espresso machine!) and even champagne. I could get used to this :) After breakfast we headed south for Heidelberg. It was not a long drive, but it was my first driving experience outside the general airport area so definitely interesting. The roads, including autobahn lanes are VERY narrow. There is a lot of crisscrossing - you'll be on the right side of the road then cross incoming traffic to get on another street to be on the left, then switch shortly thereafter to be on the right again ... very confusing. And there is a yellow light before it turns green in addition to before it turns red.

It wasn't on the "suggested" schedule, but the kids really wanted to go to the Heidelberg zoo. I was reluctant at first, then thought "why not?" and I'm glad I did. It was larger than I expected for being in the city and was very well laid out. Rain again today so not busy at all We saw a few animals we hadn't even heard of before let alone seen - a fossa, southern ground hornbills and many other birds.

After the zoo we set out to find the castle and cable car. I found a reference to Königstuhl in the German travel app I've been using and we lucked out . This is a hill in the mountain region and though it was cloudy and rainy, the views on the way up and seriously twisty drive were well worth the trip even though we couldn't see anything once at the top. From there we sought out the castle and were rewarded with an  entrance to the cliff railway, called a funicular, which connects the top (where we'd just been), the castle (schloss), and the old town at the bottom, Kornmarkt.

We took the rail down to Kornmarkt for something to eat first. We walked cobblestone streets lined with beautiful buildings and delightful gift tents. We ate a hearty lunch of jumbo whea"t pretzel, sausages, sauerkraut, fries and beer at a quaint restaurant that caught our eye. Next we walked to the Neckar river to view the famous bridge and its monkey. Chunky is now addicted to espresso so we stopped at a cafe before making our way back to the rail. The castle was our next stop and the guided tour (in English) was well worth €10.

It was about 4pm when we headed further south to Karlsruhe for the night. It was a bit of a white knuckle drive due to pouring rain, the aforementioned narrow lanes and LOTS of traffic, but I'm rather proud of myself for getting us there without any honking or lights flashing. The kids both napped in the car, but we were all pretty tired upon arrival, but hungry so decided to take the tram from just across the street from our B&B to downtown. There are A LOT of railways / train stations and I am so impressed with their cleanliness and efficiency. I took a wrong turn once downtown so we walked quite awhile before righting ourselves to a restaurant I'd seen on wiki travel - Cafe Emaille. It did not disappoint and was close to the train stop for a quick ride back to the hotel.

Next stops are Freiburg and Weingarten.

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