Tom & Shirley's Page -- 2014 Germany Trip
  Shirley and I have settled on a preferred travel style that we feel provides a good balance between visiting interesting spaces and minimizing the number of pack-up and moves.   We like to take about three weeks, would like to take more, however budget and work schedules are limits.  We like the base method;   settle on the area, find a place to stay for a week and use that as a base from which to explore versus moving from place to place every few days.   This also allows us to seek out less touristy and off the beaten path places.
  The Mosel valley was our first destination. Lots of castles, picturesque, great wine region and a bit less touristy than its big sister the Rhine Valley.  It was everything we desired.   We chose Cochem as our base and it was a very good choice as it turned out.   Stayed a week with Roswitha Pellny in her Pension Haus Andreas.   Close to the center, clean rooms, a balcony, parking and a wonderful breakfast all fit the bill just fine.   Roswithita was a very interesting and cordial hostess and bit of a character.   Energetic from dawn to dusk she also was a wealth of information that added immensely to our stay.   We’d highly recommend her Pension when visiting the area.
  Then it was on to the Northern Black Forest for a week.   We chose to base at Loßburg, an interesting and somewhat off the beaten path town of a pretty good size with a nice mix of small family run restaurants.   Sincerely each dinner was better that the last and all of modest cost.   Our accommodation was with the folks at Gutshof Armbruster.   We stayed in the Backhäusle Holiday House which was perfect.   Cozy yet quite large as it has two floors.   Bedrooms above, living and full kitchen on ground floor and a bathroom on each level.   It also offered a really nice large patio to relax and enjoy the outdoor space.   Inquisitive cows in the pasture checked us out and roosters made daily visits looking for hand outs.   This was our best accommodation of the trip.   Although a working farm, the Armbruster’s still managed to find time to be very cordial hosts, gifting us a jar of of locally made honey as a departure gift.   Shirl and I can definitely recommend this place to anyone considering a visit to the North-Central Black Forest.
  Our final week was spent in the Odenwald an area in central Germany with rolling high meadows, deeply wooded countryside and some well-preserved medieval towns.   Naturpark Bergstrasse-Odenwald is a huge area of 775 square miles that is loaded with hiking trails, idyllic scenery, castles and a lot more.   Here we based at Farm Käsrah a B&B and working farm near Reichelsheim.   They do speak English but their web site is in German only so you may need to use Google Translate to navigate around.   Our hostess was Christel Schwöbel, a hardworking lady who somehow manages to balance the day-to-day demands of running a farm and providing great B&B service.   Her breakfasts always featured some products grown and/or harvested on the farm.   It was a nice way to begin each day.
  This is a quick summary of our adventure to Germany in 2014.   Below are a just a few of the pictures from our trip.   If anyone wants more detail or info on anything just email us at luvtworoam@yahoo.com   Shirl has a posted a detailed day-by-day account of this trip on Fodors.   We always like to help other trip planners as many have provided help and good advice to us.  
    – Tom & Shirley Draeger
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  Mosel Valley
  Haus Andreas in Cochem was our Mosel Valley base A parade in Cochem many in period costumes. Fireworks followed. Cochem Reichsburg castle from afar
  Us at enterance to the Cochem Reichsburg castle Descending panoramic viewpoint "Pinner Kreuz" above Cochem using Chair Lift (Sesselbahn) The impressive medieval Berg Eltz north of Cochem has never been plundered. Been in the Eltz family for 850 years.
  The tranquil Mosel Valley 700 hundred year old Jewish cemetary just above Berg Mattermich in Beilstein. Very sad that During the nazi era all of the jews of Beilstein were evicted and none ever returned. Met the cordual folks from Weingut Schauf who produce exceptional Reisling wine on Bremmer Calmont, the steepest vineyard in all Europe.
  Zell is ground zero for the famous “Black Cat” Reisling wine (Schwarze-Katze). The Black Cat is also the city symbol of Zell, and it's everywhere! The impressive Porta Nigra gate in Trier was built without any morter. Only iron pegs hold this impressive 2nd centuary Roman fortification's sandstone blocks together.
  Black Forest
  Our Black Forest base was Gutshof Armbruster in Lossburg. A working farm. We stayed in their roomy and comfortable 'Backhäusle' house The Mummelsee is a pretty little lake surrounded by trees in a peaceful setting. A very scenic drive up to the lake is a bonus.
  The cascading Allerheiligen waterfall is very cool. Also the interesting Gothic Abbey Klosterruine ruins is on the path. Paragliders waiting out the fog at the Kandal Summit, central Black Forest's highest mountain Baroque interior of St. Märgen Augustine abbey
  Hexenlochmühle in Furtwangen is the only mill with two water wheels in the black forest The Todtnauer waterfall is impressive, easy to access, and offers nice scenery Dinner at off the beaten path Griestal-Strauße near Opfingennear. This popular resturant is in a vineyard where people sit around on the grass waiting for space beneath the walnut and cherry trees.
  The Alpirsbach Abbey is nice but unfortunately the brewery(Klosterbräu) was not yet open this day. This abbey has a 900-year history beautifully kept intact.
  Odenwald / Neckar Valley
  While in the Odenwald, Farm Käsrah (B&B) in Reichelsheim was our base Doing a bit of trip planning on our Farm Käsrah balcony Balcony view from Farm Käsrah
  Hirschhorn is a lovely medieval town built within the still almost intact walls of the castle. Lack of space forced some houses to be built on the wall itself. View of Schloss Hirschhorn's medievel stone tower Like the rest of Germany, September in the Odenwald means festivals. Stumbled upon this small Potato Fest(Kartoffel Fest) in Ober-Ramstadt/Modau. Fun, and very local.
  The famous Michelstadt town hall (1484) is one of the oldest oak-beamed buildings in Germany The 16th century Gallows outside of Beerfelden. Local history says the last execution was in 1804 when a gypsy woman was hanged for stealing a chicken and two loaves of bread for her sick child. Bad Wimpfen. Superbly carved arcade of the Imperial Romanesque Palace.
  One of Neckarsteinach’s four castles, this is the "Hinterburg" ruins. Climbing some stairs offers a fantastic view of the river and the village. Miltenberg's "Marktplatz" has several half-timbered houses, most dating to the 16th century. One of our favorite towns on this trip. Could not pass on Burg Frankensteinnear 20km se of Darmstadt. Densely wooded, it is covered with winding trails and popular with families taking afternoon walks.
  Roman 'throne' at Villa Rustica Haselburg 5 km west of the village of Höchst Heidelberg's double-armed Old Bridge gate is from the late middle ages. The towers served the bridge keeper not only as an apartment, but also as a dungeon for prisoners.