Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Eurotrip Day 2: Wandering and Burg Elz (lots of pictures!)

My first full day in Germany was pretty low key, but still lots of fun.

Number one: I have some of the best friends ever.
On Sunday, we all slept in because we all had jetlag. Whaaaaat?!

This is why my friends are the best. Danielle totally saved me when I contacted her and told her I had to change all of my travel plans. I had given her some warning that it might happen, and she was so fantastic about it - so when I told her I'd need a couch to crash on for a week she didn't even blink before saying yes. But the really stellar part was that she and Lenny got back to their apartment after a three week trip to the States literally hours before I arrived. They had enough time to go buy some groceries so we'd have food on Sunday before Danielle came to get me from the train station.

Danielle has been one of my best friends since high school, but letting me stay with them on such short notice was a real display friendship, especially knowing their house wouldn't be their own after three weeks away. I cannot even explain how grateful I am for it (I love you, Dani!!!).

Also...the entire apartment had Dani's touch to it, so of course it looked amazing and cozy:

 I don't know why these are the only two pictures I appear to have taken, but just trust me on it, their apartment was super cute.

 We had a very German breakfast (bread, meat, cheese, and soft boiled eggs...sorry for the terrible pictures):

A Sunday Stroll
Since nothing is open in Germany on Sundays (like as far as stores and stuff go) Danielle took me and Archie on a walk around their neck of the woods. She took me over to "The Ponds" so I'd know where to go and run the next day.

There were SOOOOO many swans in Germany!!! These were the first of many, many that I saw!

I love checking out wildlife in other countries since it's always just a tiny bit different than at home. Like these not-duck-water-birds!
After the ponds Danielle showed me where the nearest stores were, just so I would know. Again, since nothing was open on Sunday, she mentioned if we wanted something fun to do we could go to a castle about 40 minutes away and do one of the tours, and that we'd have just enough time to get there for one of the last ones before coming back to Trier for dinner. It sounded like my kind of thing, so we changed and grabbed some snacks before heading off!

The Drive there
I'm about to dump a bunch of pictures of the German countryside on you, so if you want to see some stuff from the castle just skip ahead ;)

Also of note...Sunday was just about the only cloudy day of my entire trip. Somehow I managed to have two weeks of sun in September. I don't even know how that happens. So enjoy these pictures, as ominous as they look, knowing that it brightened up considerably after this!
Road signs in other countries are always worth taking pictures of because they're different everywhere!

Riesling vineyards!

Castle on a hill! This was not the one we went to though...
I took this picture because this slate stone is what makes Riesling the kind of wine it is. It retains heat so the grapes grow longer or something...I can't remember. But I love Riesling, so there you go! Rocks are important!

Oh, nbd, just a super German looking town with some people walking a horse down the road.
How amazing does that sky look?!
More cool looking sky
Burg Elz
Danielle mentioned that to get to Burg Elz we would have to park the car and then hike down to the castle. TMI, but the following impacted my entire trip because I am a person who likes to stay super hydrated so here goes: The drive to get to the castle was long enough that I really had to go to the bathroom, and of course there weren't any public toilets by the parking. Thanks, Europe. So right after we parked I had my first experience peeing in the woods in Germany. Good thing I bought those Wet Ones before leaving the States! are some pictures from the hike down to the castle, which was beautiful!

This was the first view of the castle after turning a corner, after about 10 minutes of walking! Very pretty!

I'd be a really bad blogger if I didn't take any selfies!
Dani took some pictures for me too :P

The mountain behind the castle.
I love taking pictures like this because 1) it shows how old stuff is, and how it's been rebuilt and 2) this would be completely illegal in the US as some sort of safety hazard, which I think is hilarious!
Where we sat and waited for our tour to start - you can see how the original castle was added on to. This one actually has three main "houses" within it that were built at different times for different families.
We ended up taking the first tour available, which was in German. My German is very rusty and I was honestly tired and zoned out a few times, but I got about 65% of what was said, and Danielle filled in when I had questions. There were a lot of words I didn't know (since it was a castle with castley things, which weren't really covered in my years of German language education), but it was still fun and I had a good time looking at everything.

The only downside to the tour was that they only take you through one-third of the entire thing. They talk about the rest of the castle, but it would have been nice to see it too!

We couldn't take pictures on the tour (boo, I wanted a picture of the giant tree trunk they used as a cutting board in the kitchen!!!), but we snuck a few in at the end once we were released from the tour.
I don't know what this hole in the wall was for, but I wanted a picture in it.
Look at how tiny this dude was!
 I also snapped a few extra pictures once we were back outside because we'd learned some extra stuff on the tour that explained why there was this other random fort thing built in front of the castle (it had to do with the ownership changing at one point...I can't remember anymore haha). Regardless, it was beautiful!

Random fortress thing
 And an actual, good picture of me with the castle in the background!

 We opted to hike back up to the car (rather than taking the shuttle) and I'm glad we did...the view from the other direction is always just as beautiful! I took the next picture of a tree we hadn't even noticed on the way down!

The drive back to Trier was pretty uneventful, although we were running a bit late. We'd originally wanted to stop at this little guard gate for a photo sesh, but it didn't work out. Still a super cute little gem in the middle of the mountains though!
Another castle!
Food time!
We made it back to the town center just in time to meet Lenny (and Archie) for dinner. Trier is super dog friendly, as I would learn on Monday. Archie went almost everywhere with us, and there were other dogs all over the place. They're even allowed in most restaurants and cafes, as long as the kitchen is separate from the dining area (again, something that you almost never see in the US!).

We went to this place for dinner that was decorated with old metal signs and even had a really old Vespa displayed on the wall...and this place's signature dish?

Pizza salad.

I kid you not - a pizza with an entire salad on top. And we got half orders! We also split some dough nuggets (like beer nuggets) and I had some Riesling. Delicious, and worth it after all the walking and hiking!

It was definitely a good way to end my first night in Germany. I was already having a blast hanging out with Danielle catching up and seeing a small bit of where she lives. There was more coming on Monday, I knew, but I was glad that my first day there was a quiet, relaxing Sunday and that we had a chance to shake our legs out after lots of long flights and train rides and travel.

Stay tuned guys, that's only one day so far! There are more posts coming and lots more pictures!


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