We have discovered that one of disadvantages to making new friends in the military is you forge some great friendships and then before you know it, they are transferred to another country. But the flip side is that it opens up the opportunity to visit them in those other countries. Such was the case this summer when we got off the island visit friends near Heidelberg, Germany.
Our gracious hosts lent us their bicycles and we ventured out to trek through the German countryside. Destination: Heidelberg and a long needed taste of some good city life – German style. The farms and houses were quaint, the fields and orchards perfectly cared for and the city streets and buildings neat as a pin and pristine despite their age. It was truly a breath of fresh air to look around and see order and design in this historic yet vibrantly active city.
Perhaps the best reason to sightsee from a bike rather than a car is so you don’t miss sudden opportunities to interact with the local vibe. These tots were just taking a ride from their preschool. Pretty cool machine!
We spent most of the day seeing the sights that Heidelberg has to offer such as the romantic redstone Schloss (castle), the Hauptstrasse (pedestrian only shopping street) the old bridge (1786), the Ruprecht-Karls-Universitat (oldest in Germany and still a vibrant educational institution) and the beautiful squares.
Biking into the village of Nussloch was rewarded by a visit to the local market in the tiny square where the bakery was also conveniently located. There is truly nothing like a German bakery, especially in the morning. Simply mouthwatering!
Another day we hopped a train to Baden-Baden, a historic spa resort located in the foothills of the Black Forest. Baden means “bath” and the hot springs have been the popular destination for ancient Romans and modern tourists alike. In the early 19th century, the city gained popularity as a meeting place for celebrities and royals who were drawn to its hot spring baths, the famous Kurhaus Casino, horse races, luxury hotels and the beautiful gardens along Lichtentaler Allee.
We treated ourselves to a 2 hour spa ritual which included “treatments” in 17 spa rooms in the beautiful and elegant historic Freidrichsbad Baths. Ahhhh-some!
A ultra-relaxing day in Baden-Baden topped off with an espresso waiting for the train – it doesn’t get much better than this!
…to be continued… Next blog: Bavarian cows, fairytale castles and great beer….