Germany has been high on my travel-must-do-list for a long time. Something always appealed to me about it – without even knowing much about the country. Maybe it was the endless pictures of fairytale castles with incredible forestry backdrops on StumbleUpon which did it (obviously my procrastination time while at University was put to some good use…), or maybe it was reading drunken stories of Oktoberfest with those giant tankards of foaming beer and traditionally dressed beer wenches, or maybe it was something else. Who knows. The fact of the matter is, it appealed. A lot.
So upon my first visit to the country at the end of last year, I was disappointed to be, well, severely disappointed. I travelled to Berlin with my boyfriend and our friends, anticipating the long weekend of a lifetime… or at least the year. Art, culture, history and awesome party, party, partying. Alas, we did not find any of these things, and left confused, disenchanted, and with a helluva lot of souvenirs from the photoautomat’s.
Understanding that Berlin is to Germany is, perhaps, what London is to England or Amsterdam to the Netherlands, I didn’t let this experience shatter my illusion of the Germany that I so happily envisioned. And I’m glad I didn’t.
Last weekend I finally got the taste of Germany that I had so envisioned when I visited Oberwesel by the Rhine. Quaintness, NICE beer, rolling hills, history, castles, and nice German people with strong German accents. I even saw several people in traditional dress… which makes Germany sound like a country where indigenous folk still roam, but I’m pretty sure this group were part of some kind of organised-fun activity thing. I think.
For the first time in a long time, I actually got to stay in a very nice hotel, too! Which was complete with the most amazing food you could ask for. Although a little lacking in the vegetarian department, I was served a delicious goats cheese extravaganza amidst the schnitzel and dumplings and other German meat-y things my boyfriend, dad and step-ma had ordered. And breakfast! Oh my god, breakfast. Continental breakfasts are usually lame with a capital L-A-M-E, but this was so good. Cheese, fresh breads, eggys, coffee, juice. My god, buffets hate me. And I
hate love them.
But the food wasn’t the pinnacle of my time in Oberwesel. Kind of sadly, my highlight was the CASTLE! Dating back to the 14th century, we were roped into the tour by a very funny and happy German man, who charged us €2.50 each. At prices that low, who can say no. But it was actually really interesting. There were weapons. There was a catapult. And we got some awesome views from the top where we could see the gravity-defying vineyards all around. Part of it is also a hotel, Castle Hotel Auf Schoenburg – worth a stay if you’ve got the money!
A four hour drive from Amsterdam, it was close enough for the night and beautiful enough to love every second of being there. Hnestly, more than one night may have been a bit too much… unless you are really into peaceful, quaint towns. However, yet again this little trip demonstrated the beauty of living in mainland Europe. Hurrah!