Following my four days in Kraków, I flew from Poland to Stuttgart, Germany on my way to visit a roommate from Madrid in her hometown of Gengenbach. Gengenbach is in the southwestern part of Germany, in the Black Forest region. It is about 1 hour by train from Strasbourg in France, sitting close to the western border.
It was January 1, so I was starting the New Year off with many modes of transportation. I had a long day of planes and trains, but I got picked up from Offenburg station and was welcomed into my friend’s home by her lovely parents and homemade tiramisu.
The next morning, on my first full day in Germany, my first activity was to accompany my friend to pick up some bread at the local bakery. Though the January air carried a chill, we walked the short distance into the town centre where we picked up the loaf that was waiting for us. In true German fashion, our breakfast bread had to be fresh and good quality. And if I’m not mistaken, that bakery had been baking bread since before my own country was established.
That afternoon, we went to Europa-Park. This amusement park is themed with various European countries so visitors can travel “Europe” as they make their way through the park. We entered after 4 pm to get discounted tickets, and arrived in Germany. I got a pretzel here before we moved on. We spent the first half of our visit walking through the various countries, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, and when we arrived in Scandanavia we decided to ride one of the roller coasters.
The entire park was still decorated for Christmas, with extra lights around. The park was really cool to see and I really enjoyed it. I would’ve loved more time to explore the different countries, but we had to catch our bus back home. It is definitely a pricier activity though, with current ticket prices around 55 euros per person (or 32 euros for the evening pass).
The next morning we stayed home and made waffles. My friend invited her other friends to come over and meet me, so the morning was spent in a mix of German and English conversations. After the brunch, three of us made plans to go in to Strasbourg for dinner and to see if we could catch any remaining Christmas markets.
The city was still completely decorated for Christmas, with each street out-shining the next. Although we were too late for any Christmas markets (they didn’t continue into January), we did get to see the impressive displays in and outside of the buildings. We also had some delicious ramen for dinner. We spent a couple hours in Strasbourg wandering the city before returning to Gengenbach. I had only 2 full days left in Germany before returning to school, which you can read about in Part II.