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Germany can be a fun place to visit any time of the year!

Travel Through Germany, page 2

By Meeta Gajjar Parker

Page 1 is here

Driving along the Rhine River, we see castles for the first time and they appear before us almost every ten miles. Blown away by their mere size and extravagance, we stop to take pictures. Finally choosing one to explore, we begin driving up to our first castle. We get a running start up the steep hill to the castle. As we approach the twisting turn in the incline, four elderly people come into view. They decided to walk up to the castle rather than drive. Braking quickly, as there is no pull over, we head toward the trees to keep from hitting them. Now we are jammed. I’m panicking and Frank is trying to calm me down so he can think. I’m afraid. Turning around is impossible on this road. Frank backs the car down the road, hoping no one is coming up fast like we were for momentum. Surviving, we make it to a point where we can attempt to ascend the steep incline again. We successfully make it up to the castle and enjoy exploring it. Crossing over a drawbridge, we realize that this castle has been converted into a restaurant with a souvenir shop. I notice the cute toy shields like the ones the knights used as well as other unique items.

A few towns over, we head up to the Rhienstien Castle. Imagining the lives of the people who lived in the medieval days, inside these walls, I walk around looking at what remains. There is fog in the air which really adds to the mysticism of Germany. However, fog is bad for photography. From a castle window, I see the river and feel like the princess that once stood here peering out at the beautiful scenery. It’s incredible that we are seeing all this with our own eyes.

There is a lot to do along the beautiful Rhine River. We choose to visit the lovely town of Rudesheim at the entrance to the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. From here we take the cable car up and across the vineyards while taking in the vast breathtaking scenery for miles around. At the top we visit the Niederwald Monument, a symbol of German unity. We walk through the woods viewing dramatic bridges across the river, as a horse and buggy pass us by. Eventually, we come to a chairlift that takes us down into the authentic village of Assmannshausen. It feels like stepping into the pages of a fairytale and has us thinking of gingerbread houses and Hansel and Gretel. The classic artwork on the sides of the buildings and the half-timbered style architecture that beautifies this town, give it the look of an enchanted Christmas Village. We board the boat that takes us on a short cruise up and down the Rhine River back to Rudesheim where our car awaits. How could we possibly leave without at least sampling a cruise on the historically famous Rhine.

We are on our way to Kaiser Friedrich Therme in Weisbaden. Checking our Frommer’s for information first, we pay and go into the hot spring. It is strange that there aren’t separate dressing rooms. As a married couple, we find a corner and change quickly. Never having a clue, we walk out to discover that we are the only two wearing bathing suits. There are naked people everywhere and we have just paid. Feeling completely awkward, we try to pretend that we meant to do this. Frommer’s wrote that bathing suits are the norm. I’ll have to write to them about this.

Travel Through Germany page 3

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The view down the Rhine River from a German Castle.
The village of Assmannshausen
Assmannshausen's half-timbered style architecture gives the town a fairytell