Sep 26, 2010
Sep 18, 2010
As I just mentioned, we did a LOT in a short time - here was the itinerary:
Saturday - Frankfurt in the morning, Rheinfelden in the evening
Sunday - Drive to Binn, Switzerland and spend the night there
Monday - Drive to Interlaken, Heidelberg for dinner, and then back to Frankfurt
Tuesday - JM and Holly depart :(
Whew! It sounds crazy, but we had the BEST time! And here's how it went...
Johnmark and Holly flew into Frankfurt early on Saturday morning, and we didn't waste any time. We brought them back to our apartment for coffee and pastries, and then we took them on a tour around Frankfurt. Even though they spent the night on a plane with no sleep, they had no problem walking all around the city!
We made our way to the Kleinmarkthalle (small farmer's market) and bought some fresh, delicious treats.
After lunch, we crossed the river and found a flea market. One of the things I love about Germany is how the people really take advantage of good weather. When it's nice outside, activities outdoors are always packed, as you can see in the picture of the flea market below. We looked around for a good find, and JM and Holly found a glass pitcher that was adorable and only 1 euro! What a steal!
We made our way back to the apartment so that we could hit the road for Rheinfelden. Before we left, Johnmark or Holly took this picture of our apartment. When I was going through the pictures from the weekend, I realized I don't think I've ever posted a picture of our completed home! So here's our living room/dining area.
The drive to Rheinfelden was quick and easy - only 3 hours - so we were there in plenty of time to explore and to find a place to eat dinner. We had decided to share a family room on Saturday night, which turned out to be a fun slumber party! Here's the happy fam in our quaint, "kind of dingy but it did the trick" room in Rheinfelden :)
And adorable Rheinfelden was fun to explore, once we found downtown! The river serves as the border between Germany and Switzerland, so we stayed in Germany but had dinner in Switzerland.
This little town was not a hot tourist destination, so it was very quiet and comfortable. As we were walking around, we found a little live jazz concert in a little courtyard, and we were lucky enough to catch the last song. I love fun finds like that!
For dinner, we found a restaurant that had a great view of the river. The plates that we ordered on the menu said "Fire cooked" so we assumed that meant grilled. But we were very surprised to see a little fire actually on our plates! We tried roasting our chicken on our little fires, but it really didn't change the taste much. The chicken was already grilled when it came out, so we guessed that the fire was just for effect. It was a fun surprise, though!
Johnmark and Holly were SUCH troopers on Saturday night. We stayed out till 10pm on the evening they flew in after walking them all around Frankfurt, and they didn't even act tired! Brian and I were impressed.
The next morning, we enjoyed breakfast at the hotel and then jumped in the car to head to Binn!
Saying that the drive to Binn was gorgeous is quite the understatement. We had a joke by the end of the day that we couldn't drive more than 10 minutes without wanting to pull over to enjoy the view!
Johnmark and Holly were great traveling buddies. They were loving the drive and just taking in the outdoors as much as we were.
Then it got better! How could a hike along a glacier get better you ask? How about a walk INTO the glacier?? Yes, we went inside an ice cave!
After that stop, we came across this cute hotel and a cafe with outdoor seating. We all agreed that we could enjoy a cappuccino along with the view. Little did we know that this stop would lead to a fun adventure! When Holly and I went inside to look for a bathroom, we found a ticket booth for a walk to a glacier! So after cappuccinos and cake, we went for a little stroll to see a huge Alpine glacier. Just a typical coffee break, right? :)
We had a great time wandering around and exploring. Every view was breathtaking!
It was time to continue on toward Binn, but the drive just continued to amaze us with the views!
We made Brian pull a very tricky U-turn to get pictures of this little hotel. When we drove past, it was so adorable with every window bursting with flowers - we just had to get a photo. I decided to step inside to get a business card in case Brian and I wanted to come back to this area, but I took two steps inside and realized that we would never be staying there. Bri isn't a fan of Victorian decor, and this place was absolutely filled to capacity with Victorian trinkets and furniture. I wish I had taken a picture of the inside - it was comical!
After some very windy, narrow roads, which Bri handled like a pro, we arrived in Binn! It was a sleepy, adorable town - exactly what we had been hoping for.
Once we were settled into our rooms, we went for a walk around town.
I've never seen a cemetery like the one that was outside this church. I loved how uniform and colorful it was. Someone obviously was very diligent about taking care of it.
Exploring made us thirsty, so we sat down to consume some beers at a little cafe next to the river. Then we returned to our hotel for dinner. What a day! I loved sleeping in our hotel in Binn because with the windows open you could hear the river. It was so peaceful.
The next morning, Bri and JM woke up before sunrise to take some pictures as the sun came over the mountains. But...it was cloudy that morning. Bummer! But that didn't stop us from enjoying our coffee and breakfast outside! The view was still gorgeous.
On Monday, it was time to head back to Frankfurt, but the vacation was far from over! We drove a different route on our way back so that we could swing through Interlaken. On our way, we came across this awesome dam. I love the color of the water - it was so unique.
As we continued on our drive, the view kept us very entertained! We came upon one of the lakes of Interlaken, and it was gorgeous.
And Interlaken did not let us down - we purchased plenty of Swiss chocolate and enjoyed a delicious pizza lunch in this adorable town. For some reason, we were all craving pizza for lunch, but after some wandering, we found the restaurant with the best pizza in town, and it really was great!
After Interlaken, we started to head out of the mountains and back toward Germany. The autobahn wasn't nearly as fun as the mountain roads. But we did stop in Heidelberg for dinner! One more destination before returning to Frankfurt :) Heidelberg is always a fun city to visit. We showed JM and Holly the highlights.
After giving the tour of Heidelberg, it was time for one more German dinner for JM and Holly. The guys looked around and found this restaurant that had all of the German delicacies we were looking for. Brian convinced Johnmark to get the pig knuckle meal!
After dinner, Holly presented JM with a "special gift" that we had found in a gas station earlier in the day. German gas stations usually have some pretty weird, funny stuff, but Holly hit the jackpot with this item :) JM obviously found it hilarious as well!
We spent Monday night at our apartment in Frankfurt, and then sadly, JM and Holly had to leave on Tuesday morning. What a whirlwind weekend! We had the best time with them and can't wait to see them again in December!
Sep 12, 2010
I had found a couple of possible choices online, but when we went to the first one and it wasn't quite what we were looking for, we decided to just start driving around that region to see what we could find. We drove up and down some tiny, windy roads with amazing views of endless vineyards.
We ended up finding Schloss Vollrads, the perfect spot we were searching for. This vineyard had umbrellas outside in a nice garden area where we could sit and enjoy a relaxing afternoon.
When we first arrived, it was sunny outside, so we wandered around the beautiful property.
Then we picked our table and just relaxed! It was a perfect afternoon. We enjoyed some sun and some great rain storms, too.
After a few hours, it was time for dinner. We wanted to go back to a really great restaurant that we had previously visited in that area in December 2008. Because it was a couple of towns away, we thought it would be cool to drive the tiny roads through the vineyards instead of taking the main "highway". The roads were mostly paved, but some of them looked like this!
On our drive, we discovered an abandoned castle! I mean, it wasn't hidden or anything, but only one tiny road leads up to it, and the brush surrounding it is overgrown. Royalty obviously hadn't lived there in a long time :)
We couldn't just drive by, so we went inside to check it out. We had a great time wandering through it - castles are way more fun when they aren't touristy!
Of course Bri wanted to go higher to see if he could get an even better view :) This man sure loves to climb!
On our way back to Frankfurt, we got stuck in traffic behind a big group of bicycles, so we pulled into this place for a cup of coffee and dessert to give the traffic time to clear up. I think it was a great reason to extend our day trip just a little longer :)