It has been long since I board a plane to anywhere, ever since Covid 2019 hits. My sis diligently planned this trip to Germany and I simply followed through – I shall cite myself as being busy at work. We went from Frankfurt > Heidenburg (day trip) > Cologne > Berlin > Prague > Vienna > Munich (ending with Oktoberfest!).I am also on a career break, full long winded description here
And actually, I am finally jobless as well. It has been a long and tough decision. I had been at my same company for almost nearing a decade (supposedly reaching my 9th year in October 2022). The same department, same project(s), similar job scope. Even though the past year had been much more eventful and enjoyable, with me being in a new team, however, my mind has been set, and I left my company just briefly before the end of September. I am a free soul now~
Yet, I have been lazing off, forgetting my little blog here. I owed myself many late blog posts. I shall try to continue on those delayed ones~
Day 1 – Frankfurt
19th October – we boarded the midnight flight on SIA. We finally reached Frankfurt on 20th October in the morning and was really wore out. Luckily, my sis learnt how to navigate the trains because figuring out the purchase train tickets and which line and direction to board was really tricky for us. We finally then reached the station where we will based our short stay in Frankfurt and set out to check into Memphis Hotel.
It was right then, when I was about to make payment then did I realise my backpack was opened and a little wallet was gone.
Like 3-5 meals in Germany. Plenty of bratwurst it would worth.
Pickpocketed for my first time ever – I felt foolish. We tried back-tracing, being a little hopeful that the little wallet might have just dropped off somewhere instead of being picked away. But no wallet found. I started wearing my backpack in front to be a little more protective.
Anyways, Covid-19 had a positive effect, as many places are more readily to accept credit cards in order to minimise contact. I recommend getting a Wise account and debit card, because you could just directly exchange your currencies as and when you need and go cashless. Definitely their rate is better than at any money changer. Topping up for currency exchange may take a longer time over the weekend, so just make sure you have sufficient balance to tide yourself from Friday until Monday. Cash is still king, so bring some no matter what.
Figuring out water without the sparkles
We were bummed that our hotel doesn’t provide an electric kettle, as do all of our hotels in Germany :(. Their tap water is drinkable though, so you could save some money on buying mineral water. And getting mineral water in Germany is sure tricky. Germans prefers their water carbonated – ie. sparkling water? If you want normal, non-sparking, flat water, look for “still” water (or it reads “Stilles”(?) in german) and doesn’t contain words like such as “medium”, “full” or etc.
We first started at Kleinmarkthalle checking out the local produce such as cheese, bread, liquor, raw pork and etc. While walking through, a very animated spice store keeper kept calling out to us to check out his products – giving free taste samples and etc.
Later on, we got some baklavas to try. These were really nice, less sweet than what I’ve always had in Singapore.
We then settled at an Italian bistro at Level 2 for lunch.
Can’t help lamenting, why did we have Italian for our first meal in Germany?
We passed by this gothic looking cathedral (its part of the itinerary) – so snapped some photos without entering.
“New Old Town” in Frankfurt
What should they name a place which is newer than an old town, but not new enough? New Old Town. I am guessing that was where the name came from lol. But ok, based on what I read off Wiki, the old town was heavily bombed away and destroyed in the World War 2, and thereafter reconstructed. Thus, the name.
We started to take a series of videos with us rotating the New Old Town around us (idk what to call this…).
We spent so much time here for this and photos, such that passer-bys began to start approaching us, one after another, to help them take a photo. Lawls. Hmmm! Can’t let them leave without asking the same as well. So here was us:
This location was quite touristy maybe, but plenty of cafes to do people-watching.
Our sightseeing for the day was basically just that. Afterwards, we went to the supermarket, Tegut, to stock up some stuff. My sis found the icelandic yoghurt, Skyr right there! If you haven’t tried Skyr before, you should definitely get it!
Dinner at Fennischfuchser – Tavern near Frankfurt train station
We had dinner at Fennischfuchser – can’t help feeling odd and out of place the moment we entered the tavern – the patrons in there stared at us, making me feel like we were in the wrong place?? Nevertheless, we managed to tick off apfelwein, pork goulash, and schnitzel from my Germany food bucket list :D. I definitely liked apfelwein!
And, this was the only schnitzel we had in our entire trip. Lol.
Day 2 – Day Trip to Heidelburg
After a train journey and maybe 15 mins of walking, we reached our first stop: brunch at Cafe Nomad.
My rye bread with the hummus was nice, along with the immune booster drink in the background. Anyways, I realised later on that that immune booster drink could be bought in supermarket. Hmmm, maybe try their cafe’s coffee next time. Sis got pancakes.
Btw this meal definitely didn’t feel satisfying enough to skip a lunch.
We reached our main itinerary for the day – Heidelburg Palace – its more of a castle than just a palace~
The ticket salesperson asked how did we get here – we climbed our way up here. And she shared with us, that there is actually a cable car that we could take to enter and exit. And yup, the price was included in the tickets! Woah, did we actually miss that?!
But I am not sure how do people get here by cable car, if they had to purchase the tickets first…Maybe there were other ticket counter outside?
Time to explore:
Btw, there is this interesting looking thing painted/mounted at one of the building. It looked like it could be used to tell the time? No idea~
Venturing down into a little corridor…
…leading to a little restaurant. You could do some wine tasting here. Decided to make it look
dark and ominous dimmed down and romantic here~
Anyways, right beside the restaurant it leads to another sightseeing item within the Palace. A gigantic barrel, aka: Great Heidelburg Tun.
At out through the back of the palace, there was a really nice area with a good view of the city…it was full of tourists as well 🙂
Afterwards, we wandered out to the garden area. Btw there were better city view points here.
This palace definitely needed a 2-3 hours visit. Don’t dawdle if you were in rush for time. I don’t think we managed to finish 100% of the exploration.
Old Town & Old Bridge Heidelburg & Philosopher Walk
We managed to find the cable car that transported us to the bottom of the town, so thankful for the salesperson who kindly mentioned it to us! My sis however wasn’t done with sightseeing yet, and we had to cross the Old Bridge and go on another little (20mins) walk to another viewpoint – this route is called the Philosopher Walk.
Hmm, but the viewpoint within the Philosopher Walk route wasn’t too good – maybe we because we stopped at one of the lower viewpoints. There was just too much greeneries blocking the city view. Perhaps if you complete the entire path, you might find better views?
Personally, I think crossing the bridge should be good enough – again some shots here of the Heidelburg Palace
Haha, I remembered myself as being really whiny at then. Too much walking – my legs were really sore and I haven’t got a chance to rest my legs. Man, my sis is a marathoner, her legs are made of different things, like muscles. Lol~ Finally, we made the trip back to Old Town.
We stopped at Yufkas kebab for an early dinner, and then bought some other pastries to try as we wandered in the old town area.
Just sharing some interesting food-finds:
Diller – a shop selling snowballs pastries. This is only limited to Germany, and they have only few outlets. The lady manning the shop was really nice, introducing the history of their store and giving us recommendation for the flavours to try. Do check it out!
Puro Gelato – The gelato here was really amazing! I got the pistachio flavour, and it was delicious! But it seems like they only have this one outlet here in Heidelburg. Website here. (I couldn’t find the gelato image here, so just uploading the shop front haha)
Back at the hotel, we stopped by the reception and asked how could we find some hot water. The receptionist, grinned, and whispered sneakily, I know where to get them – he fetched two glasses, headed to the dining area to get us some hot water.
Day 3 – Cologne
Upon reaching Cologne, my idea was to just lock our luggage right at the train station – because we only had 1 night to stay. There were luggage lockers right at the station, and it cost 6 euros per piece of luggage.
While trying to setup our luggage locker, that machine ate our money and I was so furious! I’d just lost 200 euros, and now, another 10 euros were stuck in there, all for nothing! Another tourist came by, also curious and wanting to lock his luggage as well. So we told him that “this locker is bad, it ate our money :(“. He was really nice, then advising us, and also finding something long and thin from his stash to try help us retrieve that jammed euro note. Oooo and in the end, we did retrieve our 10 euros. Happy ending – we did manage to lock our luggage there successfully!
We reached our hotel, dropped off some baggages, and then headed out for our next item – Chocolate Museum!
Cologne Chocolate Museum
This is definitely one of my favourite item of the entire itinerary – learning the chocolates way-of-life from plantation, to the factory, and progression into end-product. Bonus points? There were Lindt chocolates which you could sample!
There were also a chocolate souvenir shop (selling lots of Lindt chocolates) and a cafe. We eventually made our way to the latter, and got ourselves each a cup of hot chocolate with cream. (Yes it is hot, not cold despite the tall glass)
We returned back to Cologne Old Town – did some miscellaneous photo taking of sights within the area.
Lunch at Peters Brauhaus
When in Cologne, order their signature-only-in-Cologne Kölsch beer! Btw, Peters Brauhaus have their own in-house brew:
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting the pork knuckle to arrive in such an impressive form. With a knife stabbed through it lol~
This meal was soooooo satisfying, I think its was our first official hearty German meal! The pork knuckle here was so good! We also asked for a second round of Kolsch beer 😀
Afterwards, we just did some exploration of the town, trying to walk off that amount of calories. Btw, don’t miss the Cologne’s cathedral which is just right by the train station.
But this place had such a messy foreground – so many vehicles and trucks. >< And tons of people and tourists. Really buzzing and busy place.
Btw, if you want to shop at Primark, I would suggest that Cologne is the best place to do so. They have a good collection and it was way neater and had fewer shoppers here, as compared to the ones we visited in Frankfurt and Berlin.
We headed back to check into our hotel, Centro Royal Hotel, and met with a very friendly and enthusiastic receptionist, wow! Can’t help but asked him on some recommendations near hotel, which he very generously shared. Btw, breakfast was also included during our stay, and we were surprised!
Dinner at Brauhaus Em Kölsche Boor
Afterwards, we visited a supermarket, a bakery shop, and it was dinner again – this restaurant was recommended by our friendly hotel receptionist. Honestly, we were just here for the Kolsch beer – since you can’t find it elsewhere, and we may never come back to Cologne again. Let clock one last round of this.
Google Link for the restaurant.
So we got a Kolsch beer each, and 1 plate of sausage to share – we were still very full from our big lunch.
Next morning, after the breakfast at our hotel, we headed to the train station. First things first – collecting our luggage, this time I took a video:
It went smoothly – except for the part where we were figuring out where to stick the luggage ticket in (don’t trust the green light…) – and after that we waited for the train. Meanwhile, I ran to a supermarket (think it was Rewe) and grabbed 3 Kolsch beer to bring home.
Btw, I really like Cologne (and our hotel stay, kudos to sis) – it feels a lot more quieter than as compared to the buzzing Frankfurt and Heidelburg. But with that said, there might just be very limited things to do here as well. Thus there wasn’t much reasons for us to return here other than transiting to another city. I will definitely miss the Kolsch beer.
In the next post, we continued our journey to Berlin for the next 3 days.