Being on vacation I thought I would have heaps of time to update you on my Germany trip, but… I really should know better by now. There is always something else to do. Such as windsurfing or taking photos – very important! Anyhow, after part I and part II here is now the final episode of my Germany trip.

Mannheim, Wasserturm, water tower

Christuskirche, Mannheim, churchI cannot stress enough how very familiar this last leg of my journey felt. Flashback: When I met David we had a weekend relationship for two and a half years. I was living in Switzerland, while he had his apartment in Mannheim. So every weekend one of us would take the train ride from/to Mannheim from/to Waldshut via Basel, meaning half an hour in a local train then rush, rush, rush through the Basel station to get the ICE. You only had five minutes to change the train. It didn’t always work out. Luckily, this Saturday it did and I could relax for the next two and a half hours and have a coffee, before arriving into the station of my old hometown Mannheim.

David, who had flown into Frankfurt from New Jersey just that morning for a conference starting the following week in Dusseldorf, picked me up and we drove to our friends’, Sigi and Tina, apartment to spend the day and evening with them. First we took a little bicycle ride into town, stopping at a small Cafe to have breakfast or rather brunch while catching up on the two years we haven’t seen each other. After a quick trip to town we rode back and while Tina and I enjoyed sitting and chatting on their deck, Sigi and David extended the bike ride for another hour or two. By then it was time to prepare dinner. Just like old times, all of us were in the kitchen cutting, washing, trimming while chatting and sipping wonderful champagne and Riesling wine. And so the evening continued until we all collapsed happily into bed.

Watertower, Friedrichspark, MannheimMannheimDetail Watertower, MannheimHDR Watertower, Mannheim

grapes, close upgrapes, close upThe next morning we had breakfast together and then we left to visit our friend Markus. He lives in a small town by Bad Duerkheim, right in the Rhineland-Palatinate wine region, close to the German wine route. It was a beautiful Sunday and we stopped in the vineyards so that I could a few shots of grapes. Markus was already waiting for us, enjoying the sun in his backyard. Christiane, his partner, couldn’t make it, but was so very kind to bake an apple cake – just for us. So sweet of her! And it was sooooo yummie… between the three of us, there was not too much left over. Coincidentally this was the last weekend of the annual wine festival in Bad Duerkheim, called Wurstmarkt. Needless to say that we had to go there later in the afternoon. Due to the fantastic fall weather it was probably one of their busiest days. We had a couple of Riesling Schorles (= wine mixed with mineral water), sat on the benches back to back with hundreds or thousands of other people from all over the place and enjoyed the company, drinks, food and weather.

Wurstmarkt, Bad DuerkheimWurstmarkt, Bad Duerkheim

Watertower, Friedrichspark, MannheimAll too soon it was time for us to leave though, because we still had to check into our hotel for Sunday night, drop of the rental car and then meet our friends Peti and Michael at the Onyx, a restaurant right in the middle of Mannheim, next to the Watertower, which we used to frequent pretty often while living just around the corner. Following the sunny day was a beautiful late summer evening and we enjoyed sitting at a table outside, watching the lights on the water fountain and people walking by while chatting, eating and drinking. Life is good!

Monday morning came quickly and David hopped on another train to go to his conference while I wandered around Mannheim to take photos and do a little shopping. I left my suitcase at the hotel and started the day with a toasted bagel and a cafe latte at StarCoffee. Again sitting outside watching people hurrying by, while I was enjoying my breakfast in the sun. It was another very hot day so late in the year and I got a few nice shots of Mannheim. I was worn out by mid afternoon when I collected my suitcase and boarded a local train to Speyer. There I was going to be staying with Catharina, Dan and their kids, Moritz and Linus until Thursday morning.

Just like during all the other stops on this trip I joined my hosts’ normal day to day life, which gave us plenty of opportunity to talk and take photos. This time mostly, of course, of Moritz and Linus, which with permission of their parents I will show you in a later post. One of the days a couple of friends, Petra and Sebastian, joined us for an evening of catching up over a relaxing glass of red wine. Other than that we spent lots of time outside, visited Neustadt/Weinstrasse, where I was informed about the strange, mystical creature that lives in that region called ‘Elwetritsche‘ and since our friends live close to the town center we also walked through Speyer a couple of times, had ice cream and had a look at the world famous Speyer Cathedral, dating back to the 11th century. I also made it for the first time to the Rhein-Gallerie in Ludwigshafen, which is a mall that got built just when we left Germany.

 

ElwetritscheNeustadt/WeinstrasseNeustadt/WeinstrasseNeustadt/Weinstrasse

Elwetritsche fountainRhein Gallerie, LudwigshafenRhein Gallerie, Ludwigshafen

And then – it was time to leave again, my Germany trip was over. Thursday morning Catharina and Dan dropped me off at the Mannheim train station where another ICE train brought me to Frankfurt airport. Here I met with David, we checked in, boarded and arrived into Newark on time, after another pretty bumpy flight. Tired, but happy to have been able to meet so many of our friends and family and see so many places (again) in such a short time. I am very grateful for that! Thank you all!

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self portrait, Claudia Willison, ImagesByCW

Claudia is founder, owner and soul of ImagesByCW Photography. Born in Germany, traveled though Europe and Australia, she currently lives with her American husband in New Jersey, USA. She blogs about what she loves: Photography, art, internet and computers in general, as well as cooking and windsurfing. When not working she enjoys reading, music, windsurfing and listening to the sound of waves and the wind, preferably together with her husband.

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