Thursday, March 8, 2018


most of the next 2 days were spent in little german towns. by far my favorite day trip was rothenburg ob der tauber (rodt), a medieval town along the romantic road. i did not know what to think. from what i remember, rick steves (the king of travel advice for europe) described it as the disneyland of old germany that is worth the visit but crawling with corniness and tourism. for me, the crowds were really not that bad and appeared later in the day. it was not any busier than berlin and less busy than prague. overall, the city was charming, walkable, and very pleasant. i felt like i was in disney's snow white. i really enjoyed myself.

i left in the wee hours of the morning, so i could arrive before the supposed crowds. it was an hour and half commute and involved 3 different trains. here is where i learned toilets on german trains often have automatic doors. i embarrassed myself and tried so hard to open a door that i thought was stuck. turned out, you just needed to press a big green button, oops. i also think an old lately assumed i was german. she looked and talked directly and me. i just smiled and nodded, she seemed pleased with that. i was a little nervous trying to navigate and was lucky that when the first train ran late, the other two waited (my guess was that rotd is the most popular destination in that area). the last train i took only carried me and another tourist who did not speak english. we communicated a little just to make sure we were on the right train. when i arrived before 9, i walked in the wrong direction, but finally found my way.

one of the town gates to enter the old town.

i was also able to walk up one of the towers and around the wall. rotd was the only town i was able to do that. i do remember tripping a few times (it's a very uneven pathway), but i did not fall off the wall. i call that a success.

the view.

i then stopped by a little church. there were some chatty cats in the courtyard.

i continued my stroll and stopped at plonlein, the most photographed landmark of the city (the yellow building in the back). it was a shame there was an ugly fence around it.

i stopped at a cafe to get some coffee. it was the cutest place and i also got myself a treat, an apricot strudel. i think this was my favorite dessert of the trip.

and my pretty view.

next, i walked towards the main square. this was really the only area that was pretty busy. every once in a while, i would see a big tourist group, but they always keep moving.

the old town hall

the ever so popular half timber buildings of germany. the store to the right has been a pharmacy since the 1800s.

a cute little secluded alley right behind the busy square.

this is the ever so popular christmas workshop. there are stores all over germany and the world, but this is the main shop. i bought a cute wooden coo-coo clock ornament :)

next i headed to the castle gardens. this is at the top of the hill and overlooks the countryside.

the gardens. i was surprised by how many flowers were still in bloom in september.

the doors to an old one room church.

next i walked down the hill via outside the old wall. there is a nice little dirt trail where you can see the architecture of the old wall and the towers connected to it. you can also see the countryside. rotd is quite isolated and is not connected to another city or town.

the courtyard of the imperial city museum. i did not end up going inside, but was floored by the rainbow colors of the wildflowers.

sexy st. james.

st. james church, the only historic site i entered  

i was overdo for a meal, so found a quickie pastry shop (one of the best things about my trip). you can find them everywhere and all have serve coffee and sandwiches with little meat and tons of cheese (sliced and a cream cheese spread). 

my meal (pretzel as sandwich bread is genius).

i got lost, but found this cute little shop.

the last stop before the train back was alt-rothenburger handwerkhaus, a craftman's house built in the 1300s! craftsmen lived here most of the time living downstairs while working upstairs. a hermit lived here until 1968 and therefore had no interest modernizing it. because of this, it still does not have electricity, nor running water (there is a 40 foot well inside).

the attic

i then took the train back to nuremberg. at the station i saw policemen with helmets and shields. turns out there was a big football game and the city was taking precaution. i met with my australian hostel friend. she was nice enough that after only knowing each other for half an hour invite me out to eat the next day. we went to a little turkish place and talked about the differences between practicing law in our respected countries and the nazi era bullet holes in the surrounding buildings.

now for a song. i'm gonna choose a snow white song for obvious reasons. "i'm wishing" is my favorite. i love a good hum. enjoy!

Saturday, February 24, 2018


i woke up in the wee hours of the morning; so early i could barely see the streets. apparently berlin does not care for street lights. i arrived at berlin hauptbahnhoft, the main train station in the city, for my first db train. it was a 4+ hours trip, but i did not mind. i learned i really love train rides. i love how smooth it is, seeing the countryside, and just hearing the train noises. i think i love how it is efficient but yet feels like the ye old days. it's like taking a step back in time. i also started listening to my first audio book, 'north and south.' i looovvvee the mini series and though it was appropriate because it involves trains, or so i thought (spoiler: only the miniseries involves trains).

my train arrived late (something that happened to me pretty much every time). when i told people this they seemed surprised, but i live in la la land and always expect transportation to take longer than expected. when i arrived, i felt a little overwhelmed (a trend you will see), but i knew this was because i was dropped off in a new and unfamiliar city. it also does not help that the train stations are always bustling.

i took the short walk to the hostel. i stayed for four nights in five reasons hostel & hotel (more on that later).  when going to my room, i met a nice ukranian girl who just moved to germany for work. it was so interesting talking to her, but i never got her name. she loooved hearing me talk. interestingly, she said americans have the most beautiful english accents. i was flattered. i also taught her two phrases, 'bueno' (i know its spanish but we say it in california), and 'slowly but surely' (with a comeback of 'my names not surely/shirley). my humor is an acquired taste.

i thought i was just gonna call it a day (i was a little bummed the train arrived late), but i decided to go out and i'm glad i did! i did not realize how close the castle was i did not plan on going inside, but was immensely intrigued. this was the fist time during my trip i felt like i was going back in time. there were winding cobblestone streets (and no sidewalks!), ornate architectural details, and many window flowerbeds.

 i got a quick espresso shot in front of the square and made my way up the hill to the castle. this is when i realized castles are up hills. it makes perfect sense (a good vantage point for potential enemies), but the thought never crossed my mind.

i survived the walk, but had to take off my jacket.

nuremberg castle

i really loved nuremberg castle.  the original castle was built around 1000, but replaced in the 1200s. much of the castle was destroyed during the bomb raids of wwii. i talked to other people in my hostel who had visited, and they were not as impressed. i think it was more than just being my first castle visit. i saw more during my trip, but i really loved nuremberg. it looked lived in. also, it was not busy at all.

this was the first time i had ever seen such red leaves. fortunately, there were more occurrences during my trip.

 i did have an embarrassing moment though. i bought tickets to enter but did not realize i had to open this really fancy door to start my tour. i thought it was part of the museum and therefore was a no no to touch.  i had to ask security at the door how to continue the tour. whoops, silly american.  

THE door.

the castle's 2 story chapel, which was left largely intact during the bombings.

i also climbed up to the top of the tower.

after, i ate at the burgwachter restaurant bordering the castle wall. this was probably my favorite restaurant of my whole trip. they had a nice patio, good food, and nice workers.

i got a pretzel with different dips. my favorite which i thought was cheese was actually lard. imagine my surprise. my main meal was a franconian potato soup. my meal was lovely, but two unfortunate events occurred. a bird shit on me and a wasp attacked my currant juice.

next was a stop at the albrecht durer haus. durer was a renaissance artist from nuremberg. i knew nothing about him in advance, but i had a good time and got a free postcard! after, i strolled around and just looked at the buildings.

i also visited a church, but i don't remember which one this is.


the city has an open market all year.

this statue describes the different stages of marriage. this is my favorite part :)
i then walked to the hostel and called it a night.

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the next day was my only full day in nuremberg. i woke up really early in the morning and learned that bavaria is not such an early bird. nothing opens, not even a coffee shop until 8. i also learned that sunrises occur later than in california, at around 7. i strolled around old town with the minimal morning light for a good hour, got lost, and found my way back by following the old wall.

schoner brunnen, the gargoyle fountain.

hangman's bridge.

i went back to my hotel and met a new friend, an australian law student. she ended up being the only person i shared a meal with during my entire trip. next i took a trolley to dokumentationszentrum reichsparteitagsgelande (the documentation center nazi party rallying grounds). here is the unfinished congress hall of the nazi party and a museum about the rise of hitler and the party.

it's an interesting building. a mix of the unfinished traditional center with modern additions to make the building functional.

strangely, enough they had a cafe inside (a very german thing) and i had my first try of a nuremberg rostbratwurst. now i am not a sausage person, but i was persuaded by my australian friend when she said it is more of a breakfast sausage. unlike other sausages, it is sweeter. i had it the traditional way, in a bun. i enjoyed it.

the congress hall and main room. it would have seated 50,000 people.

i planned on visiting the zeppelin field, where several nazi rally's occurred, but realized i was walking the wrong way around the lake (woops), and was too lazy. it was eery how this area was a nazi breeding ground, but today is a municipal park.

after, i took the underground to the nuremberg trials memorial inside a still operating criminal courthouse. luckily, court was not in session so i was able to go inside courtroom 600, the exact room the trials happened.

outside the courthouse.

next door was a cafe (it's a chain and i wish i remembered the name). here i tried my first german strudel.

this day was a special day where i had 2 strange occurences. first, when i went to the train station to use the atm, a man approached me and asked for money in english. i knew he was shady because who approaches a woman alone when her debit card is inside the atm? i cancelled my transaction, showed worry on my face, and he left me alone. the second occurred when i was walking back to the hostel. i was walking against the old wall and a man approached me, said something in german. as a reflect, i got in a self-defense stance and took a step back as he took a step forward. i then walked away and he yelled something. i had someone in the hostel tell me they noticed prostitutes would hang around there, woops. strangely, i never had anything like this happen again during my trip let alone twice in one day.

i walked back to burgwachter for an early dinner. i knew i a wanted potato dumpling and decided to order the pork dish. i never knew a pork knuckle was so massive.

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during my visit in nuremberg, i stayed in the five reasons hostel & hotel. it was hard to find, down an alley inbetween the german museum. this is the fanciest hostel i have ever stayed at, including in the states. the pros: the rooms were abnormally large (and modern), there was a large table in the room, female dorms available, the lockers were huge, nicer bathrooms than any hostel i have stayed at (and gender split), serves a good breakfast and espresso (even though it's extra), location is prime (inside the old wall). cons: i really can't think of anything. maybe i would nit-pick that the workers were not the friendliest, but that is standard german customer service. 

the wall and the hostel.

my room

an artsy photo of my bunk.

the kitchen.

now a song. at this point of my trip i realized i had random songs from my old ipod (circa 2008) on my phone. at i had my phone for 9 months and never even realized it. a song rediscovery for me was 'opposite direction,' by union of knives, a song i found by watching grey's anatomy (like how i found most of my music in middle school). anyhoo, enjoy!

p.s. i will try to post at a more regular rate. i am so slooooww.