I've been spending some time in Germany particularly the Rhineland-Palatinate state since late October and even though I am here for work, during my free time I try and explore the country as much as I can. I haven't written in awhile but since I have been able to venture out and explore I can share with you some of my experiences so far in Germany.
If you have not been to Germany, I would highly recommend it. Pretty much everyone speaks some sort of English if you are like me and can't speak a lick of any foreign language, this helps. If you like history and castles, holy shit there are a bazillion of them and I haven't even scratched the surface! I remember driving along the beautiful Mosel river and I shit you not, within an hour drive I saw roughly 10-15 castles. If there is an overlook of some sort then a coin flip chance there is a castle there.
This article is about a few spots I have been so far in the Rhineland (Rheinland) area which houses Ramstein Air Base. So there are plenty of Americans in the area as well.
Eltz Castle, unlike most castles along the Mosel river, is set a few kilometers away from the river basically in the middle of nowhere surrounded by beautiful trees and a stream that borders the Castle as well. The day I went it was closed during winter. I have learned that all the cool things to do and see are closed during the winter. Don't expect to hop on a gondola in a city. I encountered that 3 times already. Anyways, Eltz Castle has probably been my favorite castle I have seen so far. It may not have the best views, but aesthetically it appealed me the most. Just look at it!
Cochem Castle is pretty badass. It has that medieval look which I always loved and it was sitting on top of a big hill in the middle of the valley next to the river. Driving up to it you have to drive through the small town of Cochem and then it's literally next to a middle school. I mean, it would be pretty sweet going to school next a beautiful castle. The only way into the castle is a 6 Euro tour that takes you through a few rooms and outside. I was not impressed with the tour because there were so many rooms we didn't get to check out. I did, however, buy an Atlas Sculpture I've been dying to get my hands on in the gift shop they had there. It also is a cafe with bakery goods in case you are hungry.
Next up, Geierlay suspension Bridge is the longest pedestrian bridge in all of Germany and it recently just opened up in the beginning of October 2015. The bridge is in the middle of nowhere that connects Mosdorf and Sosberg. The Bridge is over 360 meters long and 300 feet high. I have a feeling some adrenaline junkies will be bungee jumping from this bridge in the near future. To get to this sweet little bridge, you have to park in town at the link above which makes no sense.
Once you pay for parking, there is a store/cafe you can go into but guess what? it was closed when I arrived. Who would've thunk? After you explore the store and whatnot you just follow the signs which turn out to be roughly a 3 and a half mile hike to and from the bridge. There is a map that shows you the route so you can extend it if you please. If you do go, go early or very late. I got there around 9 a.m. and spent an hour taking photos with my new camera (Sony Alpha 7) and once I was leaving a group of 10 plus showed up. Ok, time to leave.
Bremm Horseshoe Bend was another place I really enjoyed. This was my first stop before I checked out the bridge. The small town of Bremm is surrounded by vineyards in the valley of the Mosel river. I consider it the "Napa Valley" of Germany. Very steep valleys of vineyards line the river for miles and miles. I arrived at sunrise trying to find the photo-op I found online and let me tell you it was a fucking fiasco.
It's all about the journey to a place. This instance I went off roading, hiking in freezing weather and drove along the extremely steep narrow through the vineyards. One wrong move and I could have rolled down the hill in a fiery death. Ok, i had to be a little dramatic but it was pretty damn narrow and steep. Once you enter that road, there is no doing a 3-point turn. I had to back out about a half a mile after I got to my viewpoint "Calmont" I wanted which took over an hour driving through the mud and whatnot. Guess what? It's all worth it for that incredible view. That is what I am about and will conquer, the struggle for "that" view.
A few updates since last time I wrote is that I am here till April and recently upgraded cameras. I still have my GoPro as my right-hand man but also invested in the Sony Alpha 7 Mirrorless camera for more close up photos. I had the Sony a6000 for a few months but wanted a full frame and wow a huge difference. If you are looking for an excellent camera but can't afford the expensive ones I would go with the a6000. The ratings are through the roof and mirrorless cameras are the future of DSLR. Sorry Nikon and canon, take a back seat. If you have any questions about them feel free to get in contact with me. Until next time, Murica!