After almost two weeks in France, Kyle and I headed to Germany. I was really excited to visit Sara, my college roommate, who's stationed in Germany with the air force.
After a scenic two hour train ride that twisted through green hills and small towns, we began our visit with a quick lunch and spaghetti ice cream for dessert. We ended up getting spaghetti ice cream four times over the span of our visit. We couldn't get enough! I always ordered the same thing: vanilla ice cream with Nutella drizzled on top. I've never been a huge ice cream fan, but something about the spaghetti presentation made it infinitely more satisfying.
After dropping off our backpacks at Sara's house, we drove to the charming little town of Bernkastel-Kues. The first thing I noticed (and fell in love with) was the distinct German architecture. The town sat on a grassy hillside, with the Moselle River running through the center. We shopped around the winding cobblestone streets and indulged in some coffee and delicious truffles from a chocolate shop.
For dinner, we had schnitzel, which is a fried meat dish (usually pork or veal) that's popular in Austria and Germany.
The next two days were packed with adventures. On Saturday, we woke up early and headed to Burg Eltz, a gorgeous medieval castle that's nestled in the hills above the Moselle River. After we parked, we hiked up a steep dirt trail for about 20 minutes. I started wondering if we were heading in the right direction, and as we rounded a corner, the castle suddenly came into view. The sight took my breath way. It was unreal.
Kyle and I took a quick tour of the castle's interior while Sara explored outside with her dog, Scooter. Kyle loves history, so he was fascinated by the stories our tour guide told. After that, we had lunch on the castle grounds. I wanted to indulge in some German staples, so we split a soft pretzel and potato salad.
We hiked back to the car and entered the next stop into our GPS: Reichburg Cochem, a gothic castle that towers above the small town of Cochem. It took us a long time to figure out how to get up to the castle. We drove around Cochem (which was another adorable city) and could see the castle in the distance, but our GPS kept trying to take us down small pedestrian streets. We stubbornly persisted, though, and it paid off! After driving up a mountain for half an hour, we arrived.
The rest of the day was spent driving around Germany, singing along to the radio, and eating more schnitzel for dinner.
On Sunday, we had a lazy morning and spent the afternoon exploring Trier. There were a lot of unique shops and restaurants in Trier, but my favorite part of the city was the Porta Nigra, the largest Roman city gate North of the Alps (and a UNESCO World Heritage Site). We also got delicious brats for lunch!
Sara had to work the rest of the week, so we did the same. Scooter kept us company in Sara's apartment, and we spent time with Sara in the evenings. Kyle and I took occasional breaks to walk to the town's local bakery for some fresh bread and pastries. Besides that, we spent a lot of time on Sara's balcony, enjoying the warm weather and fresh air.
The following weekend, we rented a car and drove to Switzerland.