Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Europe 2014 - Eisenach, Germany

Time to leave Cologne on the train leaving at 13:53.
Military time/24 hour time.
America...why aren't you doing this?
I'd imagine almost every English speaker that ever visits Germany gets a good laugh or two from the use of the German word "fahrt".
It's pronounced just like you would imagine, but it means "ride" or "journey".

So, on this train signage, abfahrt means departure (ab = from / fahrt = journey)..."Where you are journeying from".

But wait...there's more fahrts!
  • Auf Wiedersehen und gut fahrt!  (Not a blessing for happy working bowels, but actually "Good bye and good journey")
  • Radfahrt (Just a bike ride folks - a totally rad bike ride!)
And the very silly...
  • Ausfahrt (meaning yea, that one's more translatable I think!  Ha!  
Anyway,  on our way to Eisenach, we made a change of trains in Frankfurt - had about 2 minutes to do it since our train was late leaving Cologne - but we made it!

The views on the train rides from Cologne to our final destination that day were beautiful.
For much of the way it followed the Rhine (Rhein) River.  
It was so cool to be riding through the countryside and see castles and pretty villages nestled along the river or in the green hills.
It actually sort of bothers me that I won't ever know what those castles were for...or what they are still being used for.
I love castles!

And I also love train rides that are so smooth you don't have to worry about your cool German beer from the Rheinland spilling.
We arrived in Eisenach and our sweet host, Jasmine, was waiting for us at the station with her absolutely tiny old (seriously old) car.
I had just been saying to Hannah that it seemed like all the Germans had amazing cars!
But, alas, it wasn't one of those! 

She drove us to the studio flat that we would be staying in via Eisenach's downtown so that we could see the market squares and shops and museums.
I thought that we might actually die in this tiny town as a result of a car accident.  
She was a very distracted driver.
I'm talking driving up curbs and having to break very quickly to stop before red lights.
Then once AT the red light...getting honked at from behind because she hadn't noticed it was green.
Waving at friends on the sidewalk and pointing out all the sites (and looking at them while she pointed!)
Oh...and shifting all the while!

BUT...we lived!
And she truly was a sweetheart!

She had a pretty flat for us to stay in...
(awww...I kinda want to go back there!)
And it was nice to cook breakfast - she had a fridge full of things for us to eat.

The town had so many pretty homes...
And unusual ones too...

This is the Narrow House (Das schmale haus).
Only a little over 6 feet wide - and apparently inhabited, although we didn't knock!
Now I want to go back and go inside!!
And even some homes that really loved America!
Our flat didn't have wi-fi (or wee-fee as they pronounced it), so when we went into town, we stopped at an internet cafe to catch up on a few emails.
Don't think we've ever seen a more interesting collection of people hanging around a business before.
I'm talking the "Honey Boo Boo" families of Eisenach, Germany.
We stayed for about €1 worth of time and decided that everyone back home could wait another day to hear from us!
We might have gotten lung cancer just in the few minutes we were there too.

Also while in town, we noticed a suspicious looking vehicle.  

No television or internet meant that we weren't able to watch the World Cup finals on Sunday evening.
But we were able to tell when Germany scored because we could hear the people in neighboring homes cheering!!
At the end of the game, firecrackers were set off, so we knew that they had won!

The next day, 14 July, was Hannah's 15th birthday!!
It was low key and she was really fine with that.
I mean, being in Europe is a pretty cool birthday celebration anyway!! 
We walked through beautiful woods to Wartburg Castle.
Believed to have been founded in 1067, Wartburg seems to be most noted for Martin Luther translating the New Testament from Greek to German in 1521.

Ahhh - castles!
This one didn't disappoint (except for the atrocious scaffolding!)

But once inside - it was really gorgeous!
Look at the detail on this incredible water well sculpture.
Perfect white doves!!
I climbed a tall tower (had to put €.50 in a turnstile...wth?) to get even further up to see the village around the castle.
Worth it! (but still...a turnstile??)
We were staying in that area below.

And just a few more pictures from this beautiful place...
Can that please be the doorway to my house??
Verdammt GerĂ¼st!!
LOVE this wall!!
 Oh hey there!
photo by Hannah

When we returned to our flat after the castle tour, we saw Jasmine leaving and she said that she had been there to give Hannah a little surprise for her birthday!
Is that seriously sweet or what??  
Chocolates and fruit and the nicest card.
"Dear Hannah!"

After getting something to eat, we took off on a late afternoon hike to see something called the Drachenschlucht (Dragon's Gorge) - a hiking trail with "amazing rock structures" that we will have to take "their" word on.
Unfortunately, it wasn't well sign posted and we were unsure of what direction to go.  We decided not to take the risk of being caught out in the dark on a trail.
So, we walked back towards Eisenach to chill out for the rest of the evening.
It was a treacherous trail as there were many of THESE creatures to dodge (and zombies...right Hannah?).
photo by Hannah
Seriously...they were somehow being called out of the hell that they normally live in and were all over the place!

After we went back to our room, I left Hannah and went to a little restaurant with an outdoor patio by a pond.
I brought a book and had a local Eisenacher...and just enjoyed the solitude in this beautiful amazing country that I was quickly falling in love with!
Cheers Germany!!

Nachte Halt:  Dachau, Germany

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps the excessive amount of cigarette smoke is to cover up all the German fahrts? Just a thought. It's also a good thing you weren't trying to enjoy a beer while enduring the erratic driving of your hostess. Or were you? Happy Birthday, Hannah!