We set off from Dresden in our rented minerva (car company i've never heard of but it was great!) with a bunch of houseplants to drop off at Evan's friends' apartment to care for over the summer, the promise of castles and spa towns in our heart and the firm desire to see all of Southern Germany in the course of a few days. We got all of that and so much more.

Maria, the most charming meat shop counter woman in all of Germany! 
David and I left Dresden (sob) with my great friend Evan in the passenger seat -- Ev decided to join us in a last minute decision to see more of his adopted homeland and having just finished his opera season for the summer, he jumped along for the ride. It was so lovely to have a German speaker on board and just the comfort and fun of an old friend's company.
Bamberg cuteness
We stopped in the very little Bavarian village of Bamberg -- set on a river and with a university at its center, this gorgeous place captured our hearts (and bellies) within the first 5 minutes of parking. We strolled the manicured streets and wandered into a meat shop, Metzgerei Liebold, established in 1897. The boys got a meat-loafy sandwich and devoured theirs in moments and I got several slaws and krauts I dug into with bread in the car. Exceptionally briney and delicious, I'm salivating just typing this.
Bamberg cuteness, look at those flowers planted along the bridge
After an hour or so of pleasantly strolling the farmers market, bursting with peaches and cherries of which we bought plenty, I found myself in an old fashioned tea shop --Teahaus Scharnke-- I'm happy I did as I bought a few different seasonal types of Rooibos I drank all summer long. This place had a magical cabinet of assorted teas, cups and accouterments.
Germans toasting the sunset at Heidelberg castle
A few hours on the terrifying autobahns (i'm a scaredy cat!) and many laughs later, we arrived in Heidelberg, an unreal Western German city -- home of a lavish castle and park grounds and a university on the river Neckar. This place is romantic beyond measure, with more adorable streets to wander, cafes to while around in, beers to sip and spectacular views to linger upon.
Heidelberg castle views
We spent the afternoon exploring the Heidelberg castle, established in 1155 and renovated in the 17th and 18th centuries, it's now half intact, half in ruin and it is truly a fairy tale location if I ever saw one. The red brick, incredible views of the river and valley and romantic flourishes are gorgeous. It was thrilling!
Heidelberg castle
After a few more hours of driving, and a day of relaxation at Baden Baden (which is a whole other REMARKABLE PLACE, but I didn't photograph one lick of it), we wound up at Neuschwanstein castle for sunset. This spectacularly nutty place is relatively new on the German castle scene; it was built by crazy King Ludwig in the 19th century in the style of a medieval castle. It's sort of a living history book, and for an American, the 1800s feel positively old!! For the Germans, not so much. we relished in the views of the valley (more wild castles to see) and felt the magic powers settle into our bones . . . As we ran like loons to the very spindly bridge over a ravine to gaze upon the castle.
Heidelberg and Nueschwanstein castle
The end of our trip involved a glorious train ride over the alps to get into Verona, Italy -- then we picked up our adventure and went our separate ways, Evan to France and Dave and I to Cinque Terre, to get ready for my weeklong workshop with Italian Fix . . . More on that later!

We really fell in love with Germany this summer and I cannot wait to go back. It's a very easy, comfortable place to travel -- and pretty inexpensive to eat and stay in b & bs. Attractions are affordable and there is so much to see and experience there! We found everyone to be very friendly and the culture fascinating. From medieval to contemporary, there is seriously so much artistry happening in the cities and villages and a beautiful natural setting . . . It was divine.

If You Go:


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