Germany Tour: Gaye Schmidt

Where do I begin – I think I am going to have to bore you with a day by day report but it is the only way............poor Jerry.....

The hotel in Cologne was absolutely beautiful. Our rooms were lovely and obviously you know that it is indeed located in a magic spot. Unfortunately my son became very sick in the early morning and when we could not find a chemist open, the front desk not only found one open but insisted on going there for us as well as apparently we would never find it. While they were off getting drugs they also sent up some herbal remedy to try first. They could not have been more helpful and although it was a rough start for Sam it gave us an insight into these Germans and how well they look after people.

On the same morning we collected the car and headed off to the castle at St Goar where we had the room right at the top of the tower and Sam had a room sort of in the castle wall. Once again both rooms were excellent. The views from our room across the Rhine were stunning. We read by the fire and had a drink and then dinner in the restaurant. It was just a great spot to start the Rhine. We of course got lost on the way [as is our custom] even though your directions were excellent. We stopped into a Petrol Station where the whole queue basically stopped and gave me directions in half English and half German but with lots of pointing we got the idea. At this point I should mention that our car did have GPS but it was in fact in German so did not help us at all...........The Avis man who was actually not that helpful could do nothing for us.

Okay – so onward to our next day which I think was our best. We went cruising around all the villages and vineyards in the district and stopped for a good walk through Rudesheim which was tops. We had lunch there and got well looked after by a lovely waitress who was once again extremely kind. [I think we must ooze some sort of lost/tourist/need all the help we can get expression]

The hotel in Rudesheim gave us two magnificent huge rooms obviously overlooking the Rhine which by comparison to our rivers is somewhat massive – could not believe the water flow..........We wanted to go out for dinner but did not want to drive so went for a walk and discovered that the whole village was shut except for our hotel restaurant and a little hotel up the road. We tried the little Hotel as we did not feel like a big, posh meal only to discover that they were only serving drinks...........but in true German style they asked the kitchen if they could come up with something and served us soup followed by three schnitzels and salad. Precisely what we felt like! Once again they could not have been more pleasant. They also recommended a fabulous local wine so we had two bottles just to prove that we liked it.

The next day saw us off to our crazy little castle in Kamp for two nights. On the way we stopped and walked to the Lorely which nearly froze us to death and it was at this point that we realised that we were going to have to wear gloves and scarves every time we got out of the car. This is new for us and it took a while to sink in. The lady behind the desk at the castle was quite elderly and quite cute. She showed us where our room was up some tiny little stairs and ushered us into a room with a small bed that looked like a coffin.........she said “so three people” and pointed to the little bed..........We said “what???” and she said it again........but this time I noticed a wicked beginning of a smile in the corner of her eye and said no – it is not alright at which point she opened the door into the other room.......She was the sweetest lady and treated us well the whole stay.

We slept in the next morning [this is where we excel] and I was in the Coffin room when I heard this bang, bang, bang coming from our room. Hmmmm this is weird I had better investigate. It was the Hotel owner throwing stones at our window telling us that we could still come down for breakfast even though we had missed it. This is the personal touch we love!

Now for New Years Eve which had really been looking forward to. During the day we went for a walk through the town via a track down the hill. Nothing was open in the town but there was a cute sort of inn where we warmed up [we struggled with this cold business] with a coffee. I noticed as I sat down that there was a pair of gloves on the seat but as they were not mine obviously we left them there. When we got back up to the castle the man from the Inn had delivered them personally to the wicked elderly one and she proudly presented them to me.............I nearly lied and said they were mine since they both looked so pleased with themselves but alas I thanked them and the nice man from the Inn took them back.

We were worried about getting through a seven course German meal but it was done beautifully, not too rich and just plain yummy. Slightly before midnight we noticed people going outside so went upstairs and grabbed our coats [see, we have learnt] and went outside to view the most amazing fireworks..........everyone, and I mean everyone in the village across the Rhine had fireworks.......they blew a ship horn, the church bells tolled and there were fireworks from villages also at the top of the hills that we had not noticed before. I have it on video and we can't stop watching it. Fireworks are illegal here – only the government has permission and believe me they don't pay for much. We could not believe it as they went for about half an hour and even at 2 am there was the odd sparkle across the river.

The next day saw us speeding down the freeway [which we were now getting good at] to Heidelburg and once again the hotel was in a magic spot. Not much to say other than it was freezing and we had a nice time eating and drinking our way down the never ending mall.

Freiburg was a day to remember in that it was the day we got lost the most...........Having headed out of Heidelburg the wrong way which was beautiful as we went along the river.....we finally found our way to the freeway and arrived in Freiburg, missed our turn off and then retraced our steps and finally stumbled upon the arch and then our hotel which was absolutely tops. We wished we were staying longer............anyway this led us to our next job which was the dreaded return of the car. We did not have any directions for this but the people at the front desk googled it and printed a map for us............... At this point they looked at the map, stood together and grunted and sighed a lot! AND they were right......we once again got completely lost and finally stopped at a service station where everyone pointed in different directions..........finally a man said “follow me” and led us to the right road [apparently] He stopped, said something in German and promptly disappeared..........so we drove around in circles for a while again and finally gave up and tried another service station.........once again everyone started pointing and talking in German and it was at this point that I surrendered and asked the attendant to call me a taxi – this he did for free, probably because he felt sorry for me! Anyway the taxi was nice and we followed him straight there which did not take too long considering how lost we were..........

We had a shopping spree after that and a beautiful dinner in a little pub across from the hotel.

All I can say is a big thank you! I was so excited when I found you on the internet and you did not let me down. The Germans are great people, the scenery was absolutely beautiful and the hotels you booked were excellent. You were a genius to put us in the Rhine castle for New Years Eve – it was perfect.

Thanks again and cheers,

Gaye