Welcome to Germany!
"There is no moment of delight in any pilgrimage like the beginning of it." - Charles Dudley Warner
This page covers Day 1 - 4 of the tour with stops in Trier, Baden-Baden & the Black Forest!
After months of waiting and anticipation, it was time to take off! Our first stop on the tour... Trier! It's the Deutschland's oldest city and an excellent place to get acquainted with Germany and each other.
For the planners: We flew into Paris, took the train to Luxembourg and stayed there overnight (read more about that on the "A Little Extra" page!). We then took a bus to Trier. It was supposed to be a train, but the line/track was down that day. The bus dropped us off at the train station (Trier HBF) and we caught a taxi to our hotel. If I remember correctly, the ride cost around €10 for the three of us. We could have walked it, but chose the taxi since we weren't familiar with the city... yet!
Kristin's Take: Trier was quite a surprise! Easy to walk and not get lost... which was a big plus until we picked up a couple SIM cards for our phones. The hotel (which doubles as apartments for seniors & students) had shockingly big rooms. No A/C, but a good breakfast. The first tour meeting was fun and a good introduction of what to expect. My tip...don't be late to anything, but really don't be late to this meeting! The included meals & what we ate on our own was great (even for this notoriously picky eater!). Our local guide, Judith, was super sweet and very informative.
Our Take: We feel very fortunate for the two wonderful people who guided us through this adventure! Rolinka is the ultimate pro at her job...she even directed traffic to get us out of a jam! She knew everything and everyone which made our tour more than we could have hoped for. Ricky was outstanding at getting us from point A to point B, but he was much more than that to our group. He became one of us...making him the friend who just wouldn't let anyone else drive!
Beilstein, Cochem & Burg Eltz - Just the Basics:
- Short visits during day trip from Trier
- Provided Meal: Lunch in Beilstein at Hotel Haus Lipmann
- Overall Impression: Fascinating look at real German life today and centuries ago
John's Take: Lunch in Beilstein was outstanding and the homemade dessert was the cherry on top. I worked some of it off by hiking up to the castle ruins that overlook the town. Amazing views of the Mosel River and surrounding valley! We hit a traffic jam in Cochem, but it allowed us to watch the local parade to celebrate the upcoming wine festival. Everyone seemed to enjoy the "delightfully fun" moment as Kristin puts it.
As Rick Steves puts it, Baden-Baden beckons on day three of the trip. What felt like a short bus ride from Trier (it was actually about 3.5 hours, but a well timed break made it seem quicker) gave us plenty of time to explore on our first "free" day. We started by checking into our new, "bad" hotel. The rest of the day was filled with our orientation walk, a tasty lunch, exploring, some relaxation and rejuvenation and finally a delightful dinner.
Our Take: Baden-Baden was an unexpected gem on this trip! It's a vibrant, but small city. Our meals were delicious and the hotel was amazing. But our favorite part of this stop... visiting Caracalla Therme! We spent close to three hours moving from pool to pool while soaking up the experience of this Baden-Baden bath. We each had our favorite...the thermal bath & steam room for John, the lazy river for Barbara and the main pool for Kristin. Thanks to our Kurkarte (or guest card through the hotel) we got a discount and the hotel even provided towels so no need to pack one!
Black Forest Open Air Museum - Just the Basics:
- Short visit during travel day from Baden-Baden to Mürren
- Provided Meal: Black Forest Cake (lunch on your own at a nearby sandwich shop)
- Overall Impression: Wonderful walk through time and the famous Black Forest
Barbara's Take: One thing I knew all along about this trip... I wanted to try a slice of an authentic Black Forest Cake. It did not disappoint and our guide even gave us a taste of cherry schnapps to wash it down. The Black Forest Open Air Museum was a fantastic find and you have to ask for Frau Schmitt to guide your journey back in time!