Hello my loved ones! I am writing about this weekend on Sunday, so I’ll actually get this post up in a timely manner! Yay!
This weekend was a wonderful, low key, relaxing one and it was much needed. I am heading into my eighth week tomorrow of my internship and of being in Germany. After this week, I’ll be halfway done with this experience. Time is flying by!
First and foremost, we slept in on Saturday. Except the first weekend after arriving, I think this is one of the few times I’ve actually gotten to do that. We didn’t have a strict agenda for the weekend, which perhaps made it even better.
We traveled a short two hours to a quaint town called Rothenburg (the ‘h’ is silent in pronunciation). My fellow interns who have lived in Germany before have been raving about this town, so I was excited to see what all the fuss was about. Let me just say, I can completely understand why they would praise the town, and I am now one of them. A beautiful, quaint city that is as picturesque as it gets if you were to imagine an ideal German town. A unique trait about this town is that there is an area that is the most photographed/photogenic area in all of Germany. It wasn’t hard to find that spot, as tourists came in swarms to take photos and selfies of that area.
We spent the majority of our afternoon walking the streets and wandering in and out of shops. Many shops were still closed, as tourist season doesn’t start for another month and a half or so. I’m fortunate to have had people recommend this town, because I feel like it doesn’t get the credit it deserves. If one didn’t know how adorable this town was, they wouldn’t feel the need to visit it. So here’s my recommendation: if you go to Germany, GO TO ROTHENBURG. I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.
We went into a teddy bear shop and it was the cutest thing. They had every time of stuffed animal from lions, to bears, to rabbits. They all had adorable outfits on and you could choose from your basic teddy bear, to a collector’s item. I wanted to be a kid again so I had a legitimate excuse to buy one. Sigh.
Not only are there shops and winding roads leading to nowhere and everywhere at the same time, but also there is a wall that surrounds the city. You can climb stairs and walk around the wall to see spectacular views of the valley and the outside of the city. This town would appease young and old.
After we left Rothenburg, we headed to a nearby city called Ansbach. There is an American military base in this city and our boss is the supervisor for this site as well. She showed us around the town a bit, we got what she claimed were the best dönners ever, and made our way to the shopping area.
Side note: dönners are amazing and if you need another reason to come to Germany, there it is. It is comparable to a cheeseburger back home (minus the cheese because who likes that stuff anyway) except it tastes 100x better and is authentic German food. It is delicious bread with meat in it (usually pork, sometimes chicken or beef) with a creamy yogurt sauce, choice vegetables, and either hot sauce or sprinkles of spice. It doesn’t sound like much, and it’s definitely not a fancy meal by any means, but they are quick, cheap, and there’s never a time where a dönner doesn’t sound good. I think I can consider myself a ‘dönner snob’ now after eating them, because I’m very judgmental about them when I try new places. I’ve even found my favorite place to get a dönner.
After wandering in Ansbach for a couple hours, we made our way to Illesheim, where we were going to stay the night. It’s a town of about 500, you blink and you miss it. What brought us here was a family that my friend, Karina, has become very close with. When she was placed in Illesheim at the Army base there, she lived with this German family and the other Camp Adventure interns in their guesthouse. She has been back to visit numerous times, and they always welcome other guests. The hosts, Simon and Gisela, own a restaurant that is in the downstairs of the guesthouse. They were hosting a gathering for the town’s firefighters when we arrived. Karina half-joked, was half-serious when she commented that every male who lived in Illesheim was at the gathering. LOL.
Simon and Gisela were the perfect hosts, sweet as can be and they welcomed us with open arms. We did what we could to help, mostly sticking to pouring beers, washing dishes, and drinking wine. Simon brought out the memory books he’s kept over the years of all the Camp Adventure interns he’s housed. It was amazing to see how much they meant to him and his family, and vice versa. Just another neat thing about Camp Adventure, it leads you to so many people who remain prominent in your life forever. He has people he’s housed who continue to write him and e-mail him and visit him, like Karina does. I have to say I’m a little jealous of all the interns who have gotten to live there and create all those memories with such a sweet family
The night came to a close, but not before many memories were made and much laughter shared. It was the most perfect way to detox and relax, while also feeling like we were a part of something. It was a home away from home and we can’t stop raving about Illesheim. We already have plans to return on our last weekend here.
We slept in again this morning and leisurely got ready to head out. We packed up the car and chatted with Simon and Gisela a bit before heading off to Würzburg. They saw us off and it was hard to leave such a wonderful place. Knowing we would be back made it a little easier. I can see why Karina continues to revisit and consider it a home here in Germany.
With nothing urgent on our agenda in Würzburg, we parked the car and started walking to the palace on the hill. It was quite a walk, I must say. The best part? Uphill switchbacks and taking the wrong path that lead us 80% around the entire palace before finding the entrance. When we finally reached the entrance, we realized we could have just driven. I can’t complain, though, because the sun was shining, it was WARM, and, like I said, we didn’t have a schedule. We walked around the palace, did some dancing (yes, we were stared at), and lounged in the sun for a while.
When we walked back down to the town, we strolled through the streets. Almost all the shops were closed, but it was nice to walk around with nowhere to be. We eventually made it back to our car and headed home.
To top off a wonderful weekend, we witnessed the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen on the way home
What an incredible weekend in the most unexpected ways. Life has a way of showing you what really matters if you choose to appreciate the little things and life and live to cherish the moments that aren’t planned.
My dear friend Erika shared this quote with me before we both left for our adventures. I think this weekend it really applies to me, and I hope someday you can all relate it to yourselves:
“Travel brings love and power back to your life.” –Rumi
Stay happy and keep your eyes open.