While I do wish we had more time in France, I was excited to see more of Europe, and Germany was next on the list! Similar to Basel, Switzerland, we only had a couple of hours in Germany that were not dedicated to traveling from Point A to Point B. First thing was first, a last, brief French breakfast, so of course I got a chocolate croissant. Would you expect anything less from me? It was delicious! We ate as we walked back to the Strasbourg train station, and sat for a moment while waiting on our train to arrive.
Our first train of the day took us across the French-German border a short ways and then we had to switch trains to actually get to Baden-Baden, Germany. The connecting station was very strange… The platforms were VERY spread out and required us walking about ten minutes to get from one to the other. Thankfully, we were not the only ones confused. There was a small group of elderly ladies headed in the same direction. We helped them a little bit with their giant suitcases and chatted with them for a bit about our respective trips.
We made it to Baden-Baden in good time, so I quickly stored my carry-on and we hopped on a bus for the mountains. Bryant wanted to take us to see some castle ruins, so we got off on a stop that seemed on the other side of the city to take a lift to the top of a mountain. He was under the impression that once at the top, we could hike to the intended ruins, but he was very wrong. The three of us didn’t mind too much, as the view from up there was spectacular and there was a little cafe for us to grab some lunch. It was windy, yet peaceful – I could see the entire city of Baden-Baden up there. I would’ve been content to just sit up there for the next two hours, but we figured we should at least see the city itself if we couldn’t see any castle ruins.
After taking the tram back down the mountain, we got back on the bus for downtown, but never quite made it there. A few stops into the trip back, Bryant found a way for us to hike up a nearby mountain and see some different castle ruins, Altes Scholoss. Apparently, Germany has a lot of castles in disrepair. So we got of the bus and began walking. It took a little bit before we even got to the mountains… Probably not the safest or most direct route we could’ve taken, but we were no-German-speaking tourists, it happens. When the three of us finally made it to the actual trail, the trek up was a lot for me. I had not been prepared to hike, so I was definitely wearing the wrong shoes. The journey took a decent amount of our time, but according to Google Maps, we had enough time to keep going, look around and make it back to the train station in time for our third train of the day.
I must say, I got nervous that we would be late… And that I would not survive the hike. The view from the top of the second mountain was gorgeous as well. There was a very cool musical instrument that would change tune based on the wind. After we took some pictures, and I rested while Shannon and Bryant climbed to the very top of the castle, we made our way back down. Each of us tripped many times on the way. We had decided to go a different direction back into town, which turned out to be a very good thing. I believe it was the difference between us making or missing our train. We made it back to the station with JUST enough time for me to pick up my suitcase and grab something to drink.
Train ride number three took us to Stuttgart, where we barely had time to switch to the train that would take us to the Stuttgart airport. So, four trains in all that day. We are very efficient travelers, I must say. By the time we actually arrived at the airport, somehow we were still too early to check-in to our flight to Copenhagen. So we waited and then pounced when the counter opened up. It was a good thing we did, as the lines to get through the security check were insanely long. Once through, we did have time to get dinner. Our original intention was the sit-down Italian bistro, but the wait time was too long so we abandoned that for a little sandwich shop. The flight itself was only about an hour and a half, but we didn’t get into Copenhagen until after 10pm that night. I was very proud that we made it safely to our hostel in the dark relatively quickly. Needless to say, we pretty much passed out soon after arriving.
As much as I whined and complained on the hikes up and down (sorry Shan and Bryant), I really enjoyed our brief German stop. The views were some of the most beautiful I have seen so far in my life. And as someone who cares about the environment, it warmed my heart to see so much greenery all around. Germany is absolutely a place I could see my entire family taking a vacation to – in my little time there, I could tell there is a little something for all of us to enjoy. Now, only to convince my family to actually do it…