Finished with the Dolomites
With our mountain outings in the Dolomites now complete, we turned our attention to the third chapter of our trip: visiting the Germanic countries to the north - Austria and Germany. Here, I handed the trip planning and execution reins over to Roland, who, being a German immigrant, had the more appropriate knowledge and skills.
Roland tooks us first into Austria, where we explored the history and beauty of the Salzburg area, birthplace of Mozart and powered by the proceeds of that most useful condiment, salt.
North and east into Austria
After a short 24-hour visit to the Salzburg area, we turned west, crossing into Germany and generally heading back towards the Frankfurt area. We stopped in the Franconian city of Nuremberg for two nights. An important center during the Holy Roman Empire and then later during the German Renaissance, Nuremberg is home to many beautiful structures: castles, churches, fountains, and other historic buildings. After booking us into a very centrally-located hotel in the historic city center, we visited several of these attractions - among them the Imperial Castle, the central marketplace, and several excellent gothic churches.
Beautiful Riverside Views
Nuremberg was also very important to the National Socialists (ie - the Nazis), and a large part of Nuremberg's recent history is defined by the events leading up to and including World War II. Several large-scale constructions of the Nazi era remain in Germany, and we visited several of them. Although disturbing and grim, I was glad we visited these locations. All the better to remember how we as humans should not behave and what we should strive not to become.
Nuremberg and the National Socialists
From Nuremberg we hopped an hour's drive further to the west to visit the little town of Rothenburg. Although aspects of Nuremberg's old downtown were repeated, Rothenburg's old center was a smaller, much more densely-packed helping of medieval German townishness. Rothenburg was like a combination of Grimm fairy tale aesthetic, gingerbread-house styling, and the board game Agricola, all wrapped up together in one medieval wall-wrapped package.
Exploring quiet alleyways
Our visit to Rothenburg marked the last outing of the Jennifer-Andrew leg of the trip. From here we drove to the house of Roland's cousin Eva, where we stayed the night before catching a flight from Frankfurt back to Canada the next morning. Stephanie and Roland stayed on for a while longer, visiting family and friends and having a bit more private time to themselves.
If you found this overview interesting, I encourage you to read the main trip report
. There is a lot more detail in the main report, along with [literally] more than ten times the number of pictures. Alternatively, you can use the table of contents to look at any one of our days or outings in greater detail.