We had our first visitor from back home! Just a few weeks into living abroad, Ryan’s cousin Taylor told us her flight was booked so I quickly began planning our itinerary. Read on to see all the fun we had exploring nearby towns…and getting a little lost along the way.
I wanted to do something on Taylor’s first day but nothing too crazy due to the time change. We decided on Rüdesheim am Rhein, a quaint village just a short train ride from Wiesbaden.
This was my first time navigating the train station without Ryan. Taylor and I were so proud of ourselves for figuring out the ticket kiosk and making the train on time – until the following day when we discovered Taylor’s travel debit card was missing.
Taylor panicked and thought if she transferred the money back from EUR to USD it would prevent people from spending her money if they somehow were able to steal her card and hack into her account. Smart in theory.
Except instead of USD she transferred all of the money to AUD (Australian dollars).
Fortunately Taylor eventually got her money back but it was quite the process. She spent two hours on the phone with customer service and lost some money along the way because the exchange rate had changed. That will be the last time we forget our cards in a train station kiosk.
Now back to our lovely day in Rüdesheim. We walked through the town’s famous Drosselgasse lane lined with shops, taverns and restaurants and enjoyed a nice German meal with riesling from the region. Everywhere we looked we were treated to postcard views of vineyards and the Rhine river. It was the perfect start to Taylor’s German vacation.
Our next day trip was to Frankfurt…a place I had flown into multiple times but had never been beyond the airport until our visit.
It was a windy and rainy day but we made the most of it.
When we walked out of the train station, we were greeted by large skyscrapers. A funny contrast to the historic buildings in Altstadt (Old Town).
The center square, Römerberg, is super charming – and the walls exude history. We walked across the “love lock” bridge before making our way to MyZeil, a modern mall in the city centre featuring Europe’s longest indoor escalator.
You can’t visit Germany without going to Munich. We made it a weekend trip and added a stop in Salzburg. Taylor and I arrived on Friday and Ryan joined us after work. We stayed at the Aloft Munich, a modern hotel across from the train station where Ryan and I stayed the last time we were in Munich.
We savored the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of Bavaria’s capital city with a trip to Hofbräuhaus for weisse bier, sausage, and jumbo pretzels.
After visiting this iconic Munich destination, we stumbled across the farmers market, ate apfelstrudel (Taylor thought it would be sweeter), enjoyed another sweet treat at the unique ice cream parlor Der Verrückte Eismacher (opted for fruit flavors over sauerkraut), and ended up in the bar district. I’d say it was a successful day. When in Germany, do as the Germans do.
Salzburg is one of our favorite places in Europe so we knew we wanted to take Taylor there. This beautiful Austrian city is Mozart’s birthplace and the filming location for The Sound of Music.
We started the day by dancing and singing our way through the Mirabell Gardens and taking lots of pictures for the gram. Ryan even sang a few tunes from Mary Poppins, thinking they were from The Sound of Music.
After crossing another “love lock” bridge and walking uphill, we arrived at Hohensalzburg Fortress, a medieval castle sitting high above the city of Salzburg. The views are absolutely stunning, and look more like a painting than real life.
We ended the day with an authentic Austrian dinner at Zum fidelen Affen, our favorite restaurant in Salzburg.
I took Taylor to Mainz to enjoy the Market Breakfast that Ryan and I went to our first week in Germany. But once we got there we quickly realized it didn’t take place during the week. There was lots of produce but no wine tents in sight. We spent a couple hours walking through town and Taylor took a picture with a clown (or maybe it’s a jester).
Ryan’s friend and coworker took us to the Hochheimer Markt, one of Germany’s largest fairs.
The night kicked off with fireworks to celebrate the fair’s last night of the season. We saw all sorts of vendors selling everything from sausage and pastries to home goods and jewelry.
There was also an area filled with carnival rides…which we did not partake in.
Instead, we sampled as many hot alcoholic beverages as we could.
Last stop on our journey was Heidelberg. This university town is filled with cobblestone streets and cafés.
We tried pork knuckle for the first time and of course drank more riesling. We also stumbled across yet another “love lock” bridge where they happened to be filming a Ferrari commercial.
At the beginning of the Old Bridge sits the Heidelberg Bridge Monkey. Legend has it that the monkey brings good luck to visitors. Rubbing the mirror will bring you money; rubbing his fingers will ensure you return to Heidelberg; and rubbing the bronze mice will bring you fertility. We did all three!
The highlight of Heidelberg was the amazing views we saw from Heidelberg Castle.
We couldn’t send Taylor back to Michigan without showing her around our own stomping grounds. We walked to the top of Neroberg to admire panoramic views of the city before sunset, visited the “largest cuckoo clock in the world,” discovered new bars and coffee shops, saw the Kurhaus lit up at night, and became very familiar with the Wiesbaden Hauptbahnhof.
Check back soon to see where we take our next visitors from Michigan!