Travel

How to spend 24 hours in Toledo

 

 

These are photos of my second time in the lovely Toledo but my first time doing any sight seeing! It’s only about 40 minutes driving from Aranjuez, and just under an from Madrid, and the route there is also so so lovely.  I wasn’t expecting the weather to be as cold, because in my head Spain is always hot, right, even in late October? Toledo was bright sunshine but only around 12 degrees, windy and definitely freezing in the shady spots. That didn’t dim the fact of how charming it is, and why you should go.

Why should you visit?

The old town is small enough to easily walk round and comfortably feel that you have seen a good amount if you were to go for a short weekend trip.

It’s also a place where you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money. There is tons to see and enjoy as you walk around- it has a great atmosphere and lots and LOTS of historical buildings.

It’s been named a World Heritage Site and has a culturally rich heritage with a mix of Jewish, Muslim and Christian influences.

Where to stay?

Well our hotel was in a very peaceful location, overlooking the water and hillside, but it was also a bit of an uphill walk to get into the heart of the old town. Basically, I think we are fairly fit and it was an effort for us so if you choose to stay here be prepared for that! The hotel itself though (apologies for no internal photos) was very nice inside. The staff were lovely and the breakfast was plentiful. Perhaps I wouldn’t rave madly about it as there wasn’t anything that made it stand out or be unique, but we had a solid nights sleep, the room was lovely, and filled up on the buffet breakfast,  so it’s certainly not a bad one! It was also very reasonable at around £50 for both of us for the night, and breakfast was an additional £6 each a night. The prices appear to change throughout the year- we booked via booking.com. Consider staying on a Sunday night, around your plans, as that will bring the price down.

Have a look at the hotel directly at: https://www.casonadelareyna.com/en/

I’ve previously mentioned that we have wanted to stay at the Alfonzo XII https://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/toledo/hotels/hostal-alfonso-xii/a/lod/eb7e5c82-5d9d-493a-8ae8-aa20e09f5aaa/360759

 

What to see?

The top things to see in Toledo include the Cathedral as per most cities, and the Alcazar.

You can also buy a ticket for just 9 Euros which encompasses a great range of attractions including the Monastery, Maria El Blanca Synagogue and the Jesuits Church. I had seen photos of the Monastery and really wanted to go, so we chose this one, but I dare say they are all amazing and what tremendous value! See the below photo for details of the “Tourist Bracelet” offer. We didn’t buy this as didn’t have long enough. Instead, we just chose one, which we loved.

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The Monastery

We paid only 2.80 Euro each for entrance to the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes which is quite incredible when you see these photos and how beautiful it was! We arrived here at about 10.35am on a Monday morning and were among the only people in the building to enjoy it properly and get some awesome photos. It is sheer peace and serenity and well worth a look. It wouldn’t take you more than an hour to walk around it.

http://www.sanjuandelosreyes.org

And I really loved playing with the light coming through the windows here:

 

The Cathedral

Built from the 13th century, entrance to the cathedral and the bell tower cost us 25 Euros for 2 people. The entrance fee came with free audio guides. We left here having completed viewing of the caethdral and the tower at around, 1pm and at that time on a Monday, the que was huge! So go early where you can.

Going up to the Tower was cool- there was only 10-15 of us in the group.  Here are some of the views from the top.

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We were able to fit in the Monastery and the Cathedral on a Monday having stayed over the nigh before from 10.30am-1pm comfortably, get back to Aranjuez and then onto Madrid for a 6pm flight! Anyone who knows me knows that rushing around, as well as relaxing, is TOTALLY UP MY STREET!! 🙂 But for your first time, I totally recommend a nice Fri-Monday visit and soaking up the Toledo charm at a steady pace.

I don’t have any “where to eat” recommendations unfortunately, and felt that there was a dearth of nice restaurant’s here. Anyone have any they’d like to suggest? Please comment below!

London Living

How to spend a weekend in London

Oh wow. I have got 101 (thousand) suggestions of what you could do with your time, but here is just one set of options for you! I hope to come up with many more!

My cousin Joanne was coming from Cork and we wanted a bit more of a girlie time. Here is some of our our itinerary. A lot of London is free in regards to museums and main attractions and therefore you can definitely budget according to your needs.

I’ve included some free things (Sky Garden, walking around Fortnum and Mason, and the Daunt Book shop/Marylebone/Regents Park areas.

Options to try: 

Sky Garden. This was my 5th visit and I won’t get bored of it! I booked online roughly 2 weeks ahead and selected a 2.15pm slot. It’s free to go up here! There is a brief que downstairs, which looks long when you first arrive, but they get everyone moving quickly. You then go through airport style scanners. We spent a bit over an hour here, walking round, talking, admiring those views and sipping a gin and tonic (2 G&T’s roughly £13-14.00 so fairly standard London prices). It was gorgeous! I believe they are starting to take bookings for New Year’s Eve right now which would be totally epic. One piece of advice: wear shoes if you got for an evening slot, otherwise I don’t think you’ll be let in. There is food throughout the day and teas/coffees and most things are genuinely quite reasonable: https://skygarden.london/

 

Fortnum and Mason Café. This old historic building sums up Britishness to me! It’s well worth a visit, just to have a look around the beautiful shop floor and especially at the Christmas shop! Trees are up, handmade advent calender’s are out and the baubles are glitzy. It’s Charles Dickens type fab.  It’s at a great location between Piccadilly and Green park tube stations, and I only visited this shop for the first time this year! It’s special and photo worthy. Everyone raves about the afternoon teas here, so it’s on my “to-do” list.

We then took a visit to the Parlour cafe on the first floor, and chose the ruby and salted caramel hot chocolate with respective marshmallows! It was busy as it was Saturday so we had to wave a bit to get our waiters attention, but everyone is super nice here and there were lots of happy groups around us sipping on Prosecco and clearly taking part in special occasions so it has a really nice feel to it. I think our hot chocolates were around £6.50 each, and well worth it for the quality and surroundings: https://www.fortnumandmason.com

 

Daunt Book Shop. This lovely Edwardian bookshop is a little haven from the shoppers on Marylebone High Street. It has a lovely little balcony area upstairs where you can sit and my cousin got a lovely free bag with their gorgeous shop facade on it with her purchase! As original and independent book shops go, this is the place to visit! https://www.dauntbooks.co.uk/

 

Regents Park. It’s cold but it’s still beautiful! I realized how much of it I don’t actually know! Contrary to popular belief, London has so many parks and green spaces and a lot of them immaculately kept. Plus a lot of these parks like Regents are huge! The sun was going down as we arrived, hence the darker photos. It’s always lovely to take a little stroll through one of these parks. It is one of the more popular, but due to the size you’ll always have plenty of space and you time moments!

 

Afternoon tea. If you are going to do it anywhere, do it in London! As a special final day treat, we took in a Beauty and The Beast themed afternoon tea at the beautiful Town House Hotel in South Kensington, which I have to say was absolutely glorious! My cousin bought me the Disney film when it came out when I was 10 and it’s been a favourite of both of ours since then. The interior of this hotel is wow-ing, the staff were just the loveliest (we had an explanation of everything we were eating and it’s connection to the film explained!), it’s of course a super cute theme and the quality of the food was awesome.

They change their themes periodically, but The Tale as Old as Time tea will run until the end of December 2018. If you book soon, you’d always get the theme with a festive twist during December, for extra magic!  https://townhousekensington.com/

 

Hope this has been a useful and enjoyable read! If there’s anything about the above you’d like to know more about, feel free to send me a message or just leave a comment anyway! Be great to hear from you x

London Living

London at Christmas Time

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Me and some dancing friends at “The Mighty Handful Christmas Singalong” back in 2014! This year it’s at One Kew Road, Richmond and it’s on my agenda! Pre requirement: cheesy Christmas jumper and singing voices at the ready

I love London at any time of the year, but Christmas has to be up there as one of my favourites. I plan far ahead and often get the cheapest seats (which is the bit where planning ahead is most advantageous). I don’t find planning stressful, I enjoy it and I also enjoy maximizing my cash where I can too, especially in this more expensive time of year. I do a lot of these every year and I’m aware that in some cases the tickets will be released back in April, and I’ll even book then!! A lot of these shows and things may still go on throughout the early days of January too, so you can always consider continuing the Christmassy love for a bit longer if you find you look today and the December dates seem a bit compromised. I always find checking the earliest dates of the month or the latest at this point would be your best bet as honestly, as it’s London seats really do fly. Hence mentioning the “C-word” today, when here in the UK we are still awaiting bonfire night and other autumnal activities! But if you don’t want to miss out you need to get booking asap.

This is going to be a word only blog post on some of my favourite London activities I have enjoyed over the last few years. I hope you like it and can make use of it!

  1. Matthew Bournes all male cast of “Swan Lake” at Sadlers Wells is on this year. I’ve seen Matthew Bournes “Red Shoes” (my favourite- it actually made me cry) and “Cinderella” and this all male performance is reputed to be his best. Seats from £12 and also running throughout January 2019.  Get in quick as these have been on sale for several months https://www.sadlerswells.com/whats-on/2018/matthew-bournes-swan-lake/
  2. Tues 6th November is when the lights on Oxford Street are turned on. Eek! It might seem early, but I love the angel lights that adorn Regent Street in particular and it’s beautiful to walk here to Soho and onto Covent Garden.
  3. Enjoy the window displays at John Lewis and Selfridges as you walk up towards Marble Arch. Enjoy the window displays EVERYWHERE but these are extra special, especially for children.
  4. Have a mulled wine and meet a friend at the hustly bustly and very Christmassy feels at St Martins Crypt, right in Trafalger Square. Their Christmas shop is also gorgeous and the church above of course offers lots of carols and advent services.
  5. See a play. I’ve booked to see “A Christmas Carol” at the Old Vic- seats were from £12. i heard this was brilliant last year from a friend, so ear-marked it for this year: https://www.oldvictheatre.com
  6. Release the inner child in you and go to see a pantomime. The older I get, the more play I need to bring in! Last year was Cinderella, this year it’s Aladdin at the Hackney Empire Theatre, running from the 24th November until early January and I’m totally looking forward to it! https://hackneyempire.co.uk/whats-on/aladdin/
  7. Visit Somerset House- there is ice skating if you enjoy it and if nothing else, take a drink with friends and enjoy the Christmas tree and iconic surroundings https://www.somersethouse.org.uk/whats-on/skate-somerset-house
  8. Go and see the Nutracker at the London Coliseum. The London Coliseum is such a beautiful building and I’ve seen this enchanting ballet a few times here and loved it. Seats from £14. https://londoncoliseum.org
  9. Visit the Christmas displays of Selfridges, Harrods, Fortnum and Masons and Liberties. Just to peruse, just to enjoy all the prettiness of it.
  10. One I have not done, but would very much like to: check out the “After Dark” display at Chiswick House, listed as one of the must-do Christmas events of the year: http://chiswickhouseandgardens.org.uk/event/5541/2018-11-15/

This has been written for the Christmas of 2018 of course, but aside from No 10 I do the rest every year, some play changes of course but these are my London Christmas traditions and staples!

What are your Christmas traditions whereever you are and if you’re London based is there anything you’re doing here that might also be worth a mention?

London Living

Why you should visit Chiswick House in leafy West London

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I used to live beside Chiswick House for 2 years, on Burlington Lane. Its beautiful gardens became like my own back garden, as it was only a 3 minute stroll to get there, but I never went inside the house itself. Instead I have happy memories of sunny days on the river bank that runs down from the house and also lying near the cricket pitch when it wasn’t being used in order to have extra privacy- though in comparison to standard London parks these grounds are super quiet anyway and big enough to kind of get lost in and feel like you’ve escaped from the world.

In my photos today as Autumn falls there are so many fallen leaves, but just a smattering of families, couples and dog walkers. In contrast on the hottest days of July and August the bank is covered with picnic blankets, the sounds of music being played and sun lotion being applied as Londoners bask in glorious heat! It’s simply beautiful all year round, in whichever season, however cloudy or bright the day is.

Today was a happy day to enter the house which always made me stop and pause when I saw it. I always plan ahead and bought my ticket for entry to the house quite some time ago when an offer came up via Travelzoo, BUT the walk-in cost of entry is super reasonable at only £7.50 for adults. The Gardens alone are free and stunning- as I say, you can totally get lost for a while in them.

I wasn’t disappointed with the house. Inside, the Neo-classical sculptures, art and decor reminded me to the style of the Victoria and Albert Museum. It’s small and easy enough to walk around fairly quickly, but it’s also stunning, has been carefully restored and on a Sunday was not hugely busy so I had plenty of space and alone time in each room. One of the workers told me that a lot and almost all of the furniture is original and that they have restored the paint work by matching it back to what the paint colours would have been in the 18th century and therefore in its heyday. When this building was completed in the early 18th century by the 3rd Earl of Burlington, it was something of a master piece and people flocked from all over London to come and see it. It was inspired by his visits to Italy and the work of the Italian architect Andrea Palladio, and “became the model for every gentleman’s semi rural retreat”. The Red Velvet and Blue Velvet rooms on the first floor are sumptuous master pieces. If you have done the usual parks and seen the typical London tourism it would be well worth checking out the house either this month or indeed when it reopens in April next year http://chiswickhouseandgardens.org.uk/

NB- I haven’t been able to include many photos from inside the house itself, as after taking a few I was told you weren’t allowed to. Oops!

Extra handy things to know

The House is only open from April to October (so get cracking if you want to visit now!), but the grounds are open all year.

The house does two free tours with the price of admission on Sundays only at 12 noon and 2.30pm. I missed this unfortunately- it would be super to have a guided tour around the house for extra information, though they have lots of information throughout the property and staff you can speak to if any questions.

How to get here

-Chiswick Overground station is literally a 5 minute walk.

-If coming via underground get the Piccadily line to Hammersmith (zone 2) and walk across the platform to take the District line to Turnham Green (Zone 3) which is literally 3 stops away from Hammersmith. (You will see Turnham Green also exists on the Piccadily line BUT it only operates super early in the morning or after 22.30pm at night for some odd reason so do make sure you do the swap to District at Hammersmith!) From here, take a quick left outside Turnham Green tube station, and stop at the bus stop there to take the E3 in the direction of “Edensor Road”. This will take you up into the heart of Turnham Green where the church is in the middle of the green, and the stop you need to get off will be, lo and behold, “Chiswick House”, about 7-8 minutes later (traffic dependent!)

Where to eat

Chiswick House has a cafe next door BUT you might also like to head on the E3 back into Turnham Green/Chiswick Police station bus stop areas and check out the variety of little independent bistros and cafes there, leading down in the direction of Hammersmith.

Nearby attractions you might want to add on

Fancy some shopping? You have the very large Westfield in nearby Shepherds Bush https://uk.westfield.com/london

Gorgeous Kew Gardens- https://www.kew.org/

Considering Richmond? You should! Check out further details at: http://www.visitrichmond.co.uk/

What else is going on at Chiswick House this year?

There are evidently things going on at Chiswick House all year round! I’d recommend taking a look at its website as its super comprehensive and will give you a lot of detailed information and ideas, including volunteering

Something that jumps out however and that I discussed with one of the guides there is that from the 15th November to the 30th December there is an exciting event taking place called “After Dark” where Chiswick Houses’ exquisite grounds are illuminated in beautiful lights for us all to enjoy the grounds, with food and drink stalls available too to perhaps buy a mulled wine from! Tickets are on sale now and I think I’ll definitely be getting mine 🙂 http://chiswickhouseandgardens.org.uk

If any of this was helpful for you and you decide to visit, please enjoy, and let me know!

 

Travel

How to spend a weekend in Manchester

So, Manchester- have you been? It took me until I was 36 to go! It’s the 3rd most visited city in the UK, after London and Edinburgh. Famous for its music scene above all else, and as I write this I’m playing the Stone Roses for added effect. Oasis, Morissey and The Smiths, New Order and Joy Division and in recenter times The Courteeners all came from here.

Prompted by the birth of a baby (now a year old) I had such a wonderful time visiting friends here, who made a very sensible decision and relocated with their family to Manchester from London a couple of years ago.  They now have the loveliest house at half the cost, in the loveliest street of Levenshulme (an up and coming suburb), with the loveliest sounding community around them. Lovely lovely lovely all round! It’s a great place to have a family. And it’s always funny to go to places where people have actual space in their homes, where they actively know their neighbours, and where the rat race of 3 zillion people all trying to get to work at the same time as you just isn’t the norm- as it of course is in London. It’s so refreshing!

I came up the day before staying with them, in order to do some much needed Manchester city tourism. I stayed at the Hatter Hostel on Newton Street and would only recommend it here for its location in the Northern Quarter – it was pretty dire inside! A new hostel friend who I met there said the place had a certain “charm” to it, but I think he was being polite 🙂 Charmless living area, freezing cold and barren bunk rooms with broken curtains and single pane glass letting some more of that lovely cold in, ahhh and did I mention dirty?!? The duvet poking out from the duvet cover was a very dark shade of grey- yuck!!

Across the road from the hostel however is the sublime Esra and Gill café and I urge you to go. Stay somewhere ELSE in the Northern Quarter, and go! I tried a few of the very lovely cafes in the area and this was definitely my favourite. The veggie breakfast and the cakes are to die for though. Prices on a par with London, but well worth it. Check out their website too: http://www.ezraandgil.com/Home.html

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Here is my list of recommendations for other places I loved:

Tourism

The Town Hall looks super gorgeous, but FYI is unfortunately closed at the moment for refurbishment, until 2020. It had been on my list!

However, John Rylands Library was also on my list and that was very much open. This neo-gothic building doesn’t look like your typical library! It can take as little as an hour to visit and is free to visit, seven days a week so well worth adding it on your list to admire this beautiful building. Its linked to the University of Manchester, so you will see some students studying in there too.

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Food

Mackie Mayors had been recommended to me by a few Manc’s who had simply described as a food hall with nice food.  Also situated in the Northern Quarter (are you seeing a pattern?!) Well the food is amazing and the setting is an old market hall built originally in 1858- a very gorgeous period building, perfect for dates and special occasions or just a chill out with your friends on a Friday night.  We were over-awed with the choice- Italian, Spanish, Vietnamese and more. http://www.mackiemayor.co.uk/

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I had a voucher for Gingers Emporium. The Salted Caramel and Peanut butter- oh my goodness! Sheer heaven. Honestly, you have to go and enjoy this. It’s definitely up there on my best ice cream experiences. Not much seating area- perks of going during the day if you can. They also sell milkshakes and other sweet treats- http://www.gingerscomfortemporium.com/

 

No photos I’m afraid, as I think we were too busy talking and eating but my friend and I ate in My Thai and that was gorgeous, authentic, wholesome- and cheap! http://mythairestaurant.co.uk/manchester-john-dalton-street/

Shops

Afflecks Palace: a popular shopping mall in the Northern Quarter with all things alternative. Here you will find cool clothing shops, tarot readings, tattoo parlours, crystal shops, and much more (and Gingers Comfort Emporium is also located here on the first floor!) https://www.afflecks.com/

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Visit “Oklahoma”- an independent and unique gift shop, with bright, fun, novel gifts. I picked up a gorgeous picture of Frida Kahlo in here 🙂

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Experiences

Richmond Tea Rooms. My friends treated me to an afternoon tea in this gorgeous building with its Alice in Wonderland theme: https://www.richmondtearooms.com/ with yummy scones and really friendly staff.

 

Recommended to do:

-Do stay in the Northern Quarter. It’s where it’s “at”! Avoid Hatters of Newton Street, unless you want to feel a bit icky and depressed! Not worth it, not even for one night.

-Walk! I walked from John Rylands on one side of the city centre, took in the City Cathedral, China Town, through to Canal Street, the cities beautiful, trendy and LGBT friendly area https://www.canal-st.co.uk/ There are so many old buildings, you’ll find yourself constantly stopping. I do wish I’d walked by the Opera House though (https://manchestertheatres.com/operahouse.htm) as this looks small bit beautiful and worth checking out.

-Coming from London? Yes it’s 5 hours on the coach but if the trains are expensive which I was finding when checking 12 weeks ahead, check out the Mega Bus for cheaper options.

-Wrap up warm! It was pretty cold when I went 😀

Travel

How to spend 3 days in Nuremberg

First of all, if you’ve chosen to come to Bavaria for your German excursion, you’ve made such an excellent choice and I am so happy for you. It’s beautiful- you’ve seen that already on your online searches!

I first came to Munich in 2007 and so it has been 11 years since I’ve made it back to this region. I have had a longing to visit the old city of Nuremberg for some time. It sounds odd, but initially I was keen to see the court house which took down the war criminals who destroyed the lives of so many. That and how “chocolate box pretty” the area is- quite a contrast in reasons hey? Flights are only around £45-50 if booking ahead with Ryanair from London Stanstead, so an absolute steal.

First of all, if like me you are travelling alone, you might like to have a think about whether this is a week of required alone time for you, or how social you want to be. For instance, I decided on my arrival in Nuremberg I would stay for the first night in a hostel in the old town, to orientate myself to the city and be in prime location for exploring. Then I decided on 2 nights in an Air BnB, to be able to write and read, and walk around in my undies basically without any disturbance! I think I made an excellent choice 🙂

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Where to stay:

Take a look as I did at Air Bnb, but should you fancy a hostel then The Five Reasons Hostel and Hotel is an excellent find, at just over 25 Euros for a dorm room per night http://www.five-reasons.de/home It’s at the bottom of the Old Town, literally 20 steps from the Opernhaus UB station and right by the Old Town wall. As it’s a cross between a hostel and a hotel, it’s magnificently clean, high ceilings and modern minimalist décor. The staff are super nice and the showers and bathrooms are probably the best of any hostel I stayed in! It actually felt quite luxurious. Each room has a locker with a key provided (1 returnable Euro to use) and a night light beside each bed which is also super handy so you don’t have to worry about your valuables.

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I just loved the location of this hostel- right next door to the Old Town Wall

I  also recommend Air Bnb whether you are travelling solo, a couple, or as a group. For £35 a night, I stayed in Muggenhof. The UB station is only a few stops away from the centre of Nuremberg, and the UB is so so simple to use. It’s a guaranteed option for a good nights sleep and sometimes THAT is priceless!

What I did

-I visited Albrech Durrer’s house https://museums.nuernberg.de/albrecht-duerer-house/ Built in the 15th century, it’s in remarkable condition and amazing to see the size of the home where artist Durrer and his wife Agnes lived. The audio guide and rooms are lovely and as always, visit early for more space for your imagination. It’s in a beautiful part of the old town, nearby some of my favourite streets.

-The Memorium Nurembrug Trials are sombre, poignant and necessary for us to reflect: https://museums.nuernberg.de/memorium-nuremberg-trials/  It felt surreal when I was there. CourtRoom 600 where the trials took place was open and free that day, as sometimes it gets used. (* note, both this and Albrecht Durrer’s house are on a special card where you can pay 9 Euros for them and 5 other museums, or 6 Euros separately. Information at the reception desk of all places. For further information go to http://www.museen.nuernberg.de )

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-The Castle. Great vistas from the top looking down on Nuremberg. I didn’t pay to go inside so can’t comment on that!

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-I visited the area marked the Zirkelschmiedsgasse area- streets such as Mostgasse,Schehengasse and Pfeifergasse. All just 5 minutes from the Five Reasons Hostel incidentally and fairly close to the Hauptbahnhof. Built in the same age range as the castle- mid 11th century, so one of the oldest existing parts of the old town. I got the impression it’s an area that a lot of tourists don’t visit as I was alone and in bliss snapping away! This is a must see if you like tiny doors, cobbled streets and colourful buildings such as this one:

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-Following on from this, keep WALKING!!! Inevitable and a must if you want to capture the many many beautiful houses and old areas still available. If you’re good at walking, covering the Altstadt or “Old Town” is easy. I walked and walked, and walked on repeat! Here’s where I absolutely loved and recommend:

1) Walk from Weisser Turm UB station past the BlackBean Café just behind the water fountain at Ludwig Platz (I stopped here for a kasekuchen and tea and it was delicious). If you’re looking at the BlackBean café, take a left to Josefplatz and continue down what I believe was Muhlgasse until you find the area of Unschlittplatz as mentioned. EPIC: my favourite part of the old city.  2) Linking on from this, the area of Karlstrasse and the area near Karlsbrucke (the bridge) is also a quaint and quieter area away from the Townhall or Rathaus area. There is a cafe here overlooking the river- I think it was called Kulmbacher. Didn’t try it, but in the morning it was so peaceful- heaving come afternoon. Walk on to Unschlittplatz as you have to walk over a wooden bridge which will gives you some epic sights either direction. This is in the area near the Hangman’s Bridge, just south of the river  3)As  you walk up in the direction of the Castle or Albrecht Durrer’s house stop to enjoy the street of Oberekramersgasse on the way. I visited this street several times, I couldn’t get over the houses!

These little areas are fairly close together and if you get off at Weisser Turm UB station this all flows through nicely 🙂

-I didn’t want to leave Nuremberg without eating the infamous little sausages it’s known for (with sauerkraut) and I couldn’t leave Germany without stuffing myself with their cheesecake or Kasekuchen that I adore! For a gorgeous dish of the sausages, and waiters and waitresses in traditional Bavarian costumes, try the Bratwursthausle just by the Rathaus area: https://die-nuernberger-bratwurst.de/willkommen/

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What else I recommend

-Buy a 10 travel ticket multipack from the machines (which you can click to change to English) for around 12 Euros, a steal as each journey is 3.10 Euros and therefore makes sense if you are planning to stay for a few days. Otherwise- if staying in the Old Town throughout your stay (my Air Bnb was just outside) this might not be needed for you! You can walk in and around the Old Town easily enough.

-If in Air Bnb, try the shops Norma, Aldi, Lidl for cheap and good food buys. Water in these shops can be as little as 11 cents for a bottle!

-If needing to pick up extra toiletries try the stores DM and Muller is a bit like Superdrug or Boots (Pharmacy/chemist equivalent)- also at good prices

-Brezen Kolb are great for cheap and tasty filled breaded pretzels if looking to buy something out and quick and easy for lunch!

-Stay in the old town for the first night- it is a great way to orientate yourself to the city!

-Enjoy Konigstrasse in the evening for people watching, and an ice cream stop as a few Gelatria’s along here. I stopped at Dao’s, an Asian restaurant for a meal and it was gorgeous food- and very reasonable too!

-Look at the Flixbus to leave Nuremberg, if like me you are planning a trip out! https://www.flixbus.com/  It was 8 Euros, and 16 Euro return at the time of my booking for a 3 hour journey to Heidelberg. It cost 20 Euros on the train on a spur of the moment decision to visit a friend in Bamberg which was an hour away also- so also not too bad.

If you go, be sure to tell me if you tried and enjoyed any of these areas or trips!!

Travel

How to spend 2 days in Heidelberg!

I have to admit, despite having planned Heidelberg as part of my trip to Nuremberg, I was initially a little sad to leave Nuremberg and arrive here. But then I woke up!

This is a super beautiful little town, with lots of similar and beautiful colourful houses and cobbled streets and a definite romantic vibe. The OldTown or Aldstadt also felt to me maybe about a quarter of the size of Nuremberg, and therefore was really easy to quickly become familiar with it.  In the end I was sad to leave!

Here’s a few things I recommend for you to do during your stay:

-Enjoy a drink at Café Grano- overlooking the Kornmarkt Square, and watch the world go by. Soon as I saw it I wanted to go in- you know when you just have one of those instant love affairs with somewhere? It’s simple, but it’s lovely. I sat reading and sipping an amaretto and coke in the window seat here and that afternoon it lashed down with rain a bit and I was cosied up inside. One of those “my life is bliss” moments.

 

-Stuff yourself with the best cakes at Café Gundel, a bakery since 1896. https://www.gundel-heidelberg.de/ So good, I came here several times! The bakery is ALWAYS packed out which says a lot. There is a lovely space for seating outside but inside is pretty roomy and beautiful too. I recommend anything with erdbeeren (strawberry) here, the kasekuchen (cheesecake) and a pastry if looking for a morning desert called the Mohnschnecke which was delicious!

 

-Visit the incredible Schloss Heidelberg: https://www.schloss-heidelberg.de/en/home/ Amazingly and as I experienced, this is captivating and free to visit at night which i totally recommend (but you cannot go inside at night time, just around the castle and its grounds). In daytime, the daily tours to take you inside are AMAZING. An adult ticket was only 7 Euros, plus I paid an additional 5 Euros for the one hour tour (the options were either a tour with a guide to see inside the castle, or the same price for an audio guide to take you outside the castle). The tours at the time of writing are from 11.15am, on the hour every hour (see website for further details). I walked up twice, but the cable car price is included in the ticket. This was my favourite part of Heidelberg and I was sad glad to see it by day and night. The castle has been burned down, looted and hit by lightning twice! Therefore what remains is really quite spectacular.

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The incredible facade and structure of Friedrich’s Palace

 

-Walk over the Alte Bridge and cross over on the over side of the River Necke for gorgeous views of the Aldstadt and the castle.

 

-At night time stroll down the Hauptstrasse or “main street”- for people watching and gorgeous buildings such as the Hotel Ritter. Get a cocktail from Dr Flotte. Happy Hour is there daily from 6-8pm, and they offer take away cocktails (yes you read that right- welcome to Germany where you can enjoy a drink legally on the streets!) for just 5 Euro- mm and strong ones too!! 🙂

-As always, I love the tucked away streets which run parallel to the main street, the Hauptstrasse. Get walking and check out Unterestrasse and Pfaffengasse running down to the river, the Necke. They take your imagination roaming free ….mostly because not everyone is on them, and the buildings are simply divine. I walked around here at 9am on a Saturday morning snapping away and was the only one doing it, which was lovely. Heidelberg is a really lovely place to chill out in 🙂

 

As always, please let me know if you go and if you found any of these recommendations useful!

x