Sunday, 26th May – Stuttgart to Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Todays trip took us from Stuttgart to the medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The town of Ludwigsburg is conveniently located on the way and has one of the best examples of extant baroque architecture and extensive gardens in the Residential Palace.

We found a parking lot that was within walking distance and wandered through the Marktplatz towards the Palace.

The Ludwigsburg Palace contains a museum but we opted to instead spend our time looking through the Blühendes Barock (Botanical Gardens). Although there is an 9 euro entry fee, the gardens on the 32 hectare estate can take all day to walk through.

After seeing as much as we could with the time we had, we grabbed a coffee and some pastries from the Backerei Konditorei Cafe and then headed off to Rothenburg.

Since we’re using the backstreets more often than highways, we get to see a lot of small random towns on the way. These are often some of our most favourite finds.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a fascinating medieval walled city – the largest in Germany. Even just getting near the city makes you want to stop and take photos.

After battling the narrow cobbled streets full of wandering tourists, we checked in to our amazing hotel.

 

There was an amazing view from the room – we could see the village that we had driven past earlier.

Lunch was in the Bier Garten of the Hotel Reichsküchenmeister which was so good, we vowed to return for coffee and cake later in the day.

We then set off to walk around the Marktplatz and saw sights like the Town Hall and St James Church.

The town is much bigger than it seems and every turn you discover something new – for example, the White Tower or a wishing well.

In this walled city, the fortifications all around the old town are incredibly well preserved. People are able to walk along them and Keith was keen to explore, he then convinced Bec to give it a try. The views over the city are worth the fear of heights and small spaces.

Eventually we returned to the Bier Garten for coffee and cake. Since it was already Keith’s birthday in Australia he decided to celebrate with a piece of Black Forrest Cake which had his name all over it.

The day ended with a spectacular sunset which we were able to enjoy from the garden of our hotel located on a part of the city wall.

2019 European Adventure Germany

Saturday, 25th May – Tübingen to Stuttgart

This morning we took advantage of the big breakfast and late checkout provided, catching up with photos and blogs. We really enjoyed our stay at the Ibis Styles in Tübingen. It’s a relatively new hotel and they’ve done a great job with their menus and all the staff were just fantastic.

Our destination today was Stuttgart, however we’d heard about a Chocolate Museum in Waldenbuch – Ritter Sport. This chocolate company was established in 1912 and still remains as a family business, with net annual income noted as 482 million euros in 2017!

We were chased to Waldenbuch by a loud thunder and electrical storm which hit just as we pulled into the carpark. What a shame to be trapped at a chocolate factory until the worst of it had passed over!

After learning the German words for all the different chocolate, we made our way to Esslingen. With no real plan we enjoyed the short walk into the Marktplatz. The photos below show the Münster St. Paul on the right and Stadtkirche St. Dionys to the left.

Stadtkirche St. Dionys

Altes Rathaus

Some other interesting photos we took in the back streets walking back to the car.

Agnesbrücke and Schelztorturm

Frauenkirche

Whilst we dodged the storm in Esslingen unfortunately it caught up with us in Stuttgart. We did as much sightseeing as we could and then when the rain became too heavy we took refuge in a restaurant (Alte Kanzlei) and watched the storm whilst we had some dinner.

Schlossplatz and the New Palace

We walked down the major shopping district on Königstraße until we reached the Stiftskirche.

As we left the restaurant we managed to get a few photos of the Altes Schloss.

We then made our way to the UBahn at Charlottenplatz via the Flea Market at Karlsplatz.

2019 European Adventure Germany

Friday, 24th May – Strasbourg to Tübingen

This morning we left France crossing the Rhine River making our way into Germany through the Black Forest. The name Black Forest comes from the general dark colour of the numerous pine trees that grow in this region, as you can see from the photo below.

Our first stop today was at Rottenburg Am Neckar, we parked the car, walked across the bridge into the old town and had lunch at the local bakery.

Hohenzollern Castle was on our way to Tübingen. We enjoyed taking photos leading up to the castle, however we decided we didn’t have the time to park the car, get the shuttle bus and then wait in line to walk through the castle. Instead we enjoyed the view from afar and took a sneaky photo of the old castle gate.

Once we arrived in Tübingen we checked into our hotel and made the very short walk into the Old Town. The bridge, Eberhardsbrücke, offered the most amazing view of the Neckar River, where many locals had come out to enjoy the weather and watch the gondolas.

We made our way to the Marktplatz through the old town enjoying the atmosphere.

Tourists and locals alike were gathered around the Stiftskirche enjoying a drink or ice cream in what had turned into a  really warm day.

Around the Rathaus in the Marktplatz people were busy setting up for the night markets.

We really enjoyed Tübingen and is one of the highlights of our trip so far.

2019 European Adventure France Germany

Thursday, 23rd May – Basel to Strasbourg

We left Basel early this morning to make our way to Strasbourg. Usually we opt to avoid highways where possible because there is more to see. A good example is this church in a little town called Dessenheim – the Saint-Léger Church.

There are wild flowers everywhere at the moment as it’s the beginning of Spring, we picked a couple of these orange poppies as we drove in to Neuf-Brisach.

Neuf-Brisach is a fortified town in France intended to guard the border between France and the Holy Roman Empire. Today it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We parked in the free parking space just inside the city gate and enjoyed the very short walk to the centre of town. Apart from seeing the town square and buildings on the way, we found a bakery that sold many pastries and couldn’t resist buying an apple turnover for morning tea.

Another little town we came across was Illhaeusern on the L’ill River. These pictures don’t do it justice, standing on the bridge and overlooking this town was like being in a postcard.

Our next stop was the Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg. We managed to get some great photos as we drove closer leading up to the castle. Trip Advisor reviews indicated that it wasn’t safe to leave the car in the parking lot, apparently there had been a lot of robberies. We managed to jump out and take some quick photos without leaving the car.

That apple turnover was teasing us in the back seat so we found a random village for our coffee stop.

After doing some washing at a local laundromat we checked in to our Strasbourg hotel. We caught the tram (conveniently located across the road from the hotel) in to the Old Town, getting off at Broglie.

We made our way through Kiéber Square.

Gutenberg Platz

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg

Museum of Decorative Arts

We found a great spot to stop and look out over the Rhine River.

The Gate at the Old Strasbourg Hospital

St Nikolas Church

With weary feet we caught the Tram from Homme de Fer to République, seeing the Palais du Rhin and gardens as well as the National Theatre of Strasbourg, before making our way back to the hotel.

2019 European Adventure France Switzerland

Wednesday, 22nd May – Bern to Basel

Leaving Bern fairly early this morning we made our way through quite a bit of fog to Lake Biel. It was worth stopping even just to take a few photos at this picturesque location.

Whilst we had packed a number of items to make our road trip comfortable, for example our 12 volt kettle, plunger coffee cups, cooler bag etc we dropped into Ikea to purchase a few supplies.

The next stop on our way to Basel was Solothurn, an ancient city first established around 15AD. The majority of the remaining buildings today are heritage listed. We enjoyed perfect weather whilst exploring this wonderful town and we couldn’t resist having some lunch by the river.

Through Trip Advisor we found castle ruins that we wanted to get a closer look at. They are the ruins of Neu Falkenstein Castle, built during the 11th Century. You can climb to the top of the ruins but it was noted as a short but difficult hike, we therefore decided that it was a perfect spot for a coffee stop and photo opportunity.

Arriving in Basel we checked in to our Ibis hotel and found ourselves not only across the road from the #15 Tram into the Old Town, but provided with a complimentary Baselcard that gave us access to public transport for the day.

Armed with a city map we set off to walk around the Old Town to see sights such as;

The Elisabethen Kirche

The Basel Cathedral (Münster)

Mittlere Brucke (Middle Bridge)

Petersplatz (Peters Kirche)

Spalentor (City Gate)

The basilisk is the heraldic animal of Basel and there are a number of different sculptures across the city in its honour – this was Keith’s favourite.

2019 European Adventure Switzerland

Tuesday, 21st May – Bern

We had scheduled two nights in Bern so this morning we had the luxury of sleeping in. Tram 9 right out the front of the hotel took us into the Old Town just after peak hour.

The Bern City Map outlined a city walking tour (Stadtrundgang) which we followed. Here are the highlights of our day.

Kornhausplatz and the view from the Kornhausbrücke

Ogre Fountain (Kindlifresserbrunnen)

Clock Tower (Zytglogge)

Einstein House

Nydegg Church

The Nydegg Bridge and Bear Park

Bern Cathedral (Münsterkirche)

Einstein au Jardin – where we had morning tea in the gardens near the Cathedral

Parliament Building (Bundeshaus) which leads to Parliament Square (Bundesplatz) – where we had lunch at the Storchen Bakery and looked through the markets.

Prison Tower (Käfigturm)

Bern is known as the city of fountains with over 100 of them staged across the city, some dating back to 1550. Here are some of Keith’s favourites.

We then completed the loop back to Kornhauspltaz catching the tram back to the hotel.

2019 European Adventure Switzerland

Monday, 20th May – Annecy to Bern

After such an incredible time in Annecy with Blake and Peter’s family and friends it was time for us to commence our European Adventure.

We enjoyed one last huge breakfast at the Imperial and began our trip to Bern. Firstly though we stopped in at the most adorable little medieval village, Yvoire.

The charm of this quaint little village made up for the drizzly weather. Our early start meant that we were almost the only people walking around and as we left the first tour busses were arriving.

From Yvoire we left France, making our way to Montreux, the Swiss city on the side of a mountain. It is a confusing maze of one way streets but we eventually found the parking garage – Parking du Marché-Forum. This parking garage was well researched for its proximity to the promenade and the Freddy Mercury statue. It’s a beautiful location and despite the rain we really enjoyed the walk to the Queen Studio Experience.

The band Queen recorded a number of their albums in “Mountain Studios” in Montreux. Being a huge Queen fan Keith was keen to see the exhibition where the studios have been converted to a museum: Queen The Studio Experience.

On the way to Bern we drove passed Fribourg and couldn’t resist stopping to take a few photos.

2019 European Adventure France Switzerland

Friday, 17th May to Sunday, 19th May – Annecy

This post is a pictographic journey through the weekend spent in Annecy.

On Friday we circumnavigated Lake Annecy via Montmin. The views of the lake were even more breathtaking from up high.

Keep a look out for the sculpture of a face and the petrol station with the best view in the world.

Saturday was the big day! We had been so excited in the lead up to Blake and Peter’s wedding and we woke up thrilled to share their special day. The morning whilst starting off a bit foggy ended up being absolutely perfect.

Sunday morning (post wedding) Bec enjoyed some extra sleep while Keith cleared his head by taking a long walk around the lake. The view of Annecy from the other side of the lake gave a new perspective.

A generous brunch provided by the happy couple gave us the fuel we needed for the walk into the Old Town of Annecy. It’s easy to see from these photos why the city is referred to as “The Venice of the Alps”.

 

Witnessing two of the best humans get married in such an incredible location and meeting some truly great people was an awesome way for us to start our adventure in Europe.

2019 European Adventure France

Thursday, 16th May – Travelling to Annecy

After an unexpected 2 1/2 hour delay due to baggage issues we finally arrived in Geneva. Not withstanding the delay, our first flight with British Airways was very impressive. The staff kept us informed at all times, the service was great and the meal offered was delicious.

The process through customs was very simple. It took longer to work out which side of the airport was the French side versus the Swiss side than it did collecting our bags and proceeding through immigration.

We were then collected by a minibus to go and pick up the car that was to be ours for the rest of the trip. Now named “Pepe”, we packed everything in and headed off to Annecy on the wrong side of the road!

Only a short drive from Geneva we were excited to arrive in Annecy and check in to our hotel room at the Impérial Palace Hotel. We are commencing our holiday here for a very special reason, dear friends of ours Blake and Peter were getting married at this breathtaking location.

 

Our “day” seemed to start such a long time ago and has ranged across a number of countries and cities. We ended the day with a meal surrounded by friends, old and new at a Crepery near to the hotel.

2019 European Adventure France Switzerland

Wednesday, 15th May – Travelling to Heathrow

After considering the pros and cons of flying business class with Qantas for our next European Adventure, we decided it was worth the money. The extra cost is offset by the opportunity to have extra baggage allowance, chauffeur drive to the airport, access to the business lounge, express lanes through customs, priority boarding, an impressive menu and a fully flat bed to get enough sleep to arrive refreshed.

For this trip we thought it would be a great opportunity to check out the QF9 Melbourne to London via Perth with Qantas.

Once arriving in Perth we were directed to the Transit Lounge. It’s a brand new lounge that Qantas have built with this flight in mind. It’s a lovely space and there is also a ‘refresh area’ with Aurora Spa products including a face cleanser, hydrating face mist and moisturiser. There were chef prepared hotdogs along with a buffet and many different beverage options, showers and a yoga/relaxation room!

The flight from Perth to Heathrow is non stop so after dinner service we utilised the flat bed and managed to get between 8-10 hours of really good sleep. Once arriving at Heathrow we found ourselves shuttled to terminal 5 where we were to await the last leg of our journey to Geneva.

2019 European Adventure England