After meeting Mark in Frankfurt yesterday we starting on our Family vacation...

The last few days Mark had spent time meeting with the Jewish Community of Germany and seeing how the United States could help the non orthodox movement grow.

We then \240left Frankfurt and drove to our First stop Mainz

There are reliable indications of Jewish life in Mainz from the 10th century. In the Middle Ages, Mainz, Speyer and Worms were some of the most important business and religious centers of Jewish life. After the expulsions of the Jews in the 15th century there were few Jews left until the end of the 16th century. In 1662 they were forced into Jews alley.

In the museum we saw gravestones from the 11th century and Judaica from excavated areas. After walking around the beautiful town, entering the cathedral and getting our First amazing view of the Rhine we headed to what is the current synagogue in Mainz which was an amazing building and showed the remains of the original. Unfortunately it was closed so we were \240unable to go inside

Out next stop was Worms where we saw the synagogue still in use today and remains of a mikvah as well as Rashi house which was home to where Rashi taught and had many students. The shul in Worms was destroyed several times from when it was built in 1034. It was destroyed during Kristallnacht but rebuilt in 1961.

In the museum were torah scrolls that had been burnt and recovered from Kristallnacht. Really remarkable and amazing to see this community now active again. We walked across town to the oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe. Still in amazing shape with graves from Rabbi Meir Von Rothenberg from 1293. Was a very peaceful space and so glad to see these people’s graves had not been destroyed.

On our walk back we noticed plaques on the sidewalk. These were dedicated to those that had been deported and where possible it listed where they went and if they survived. Very moving and a way the Germans have to see daily what happened in their history.

Following our walk around town we got some ice cream and watched the Germans all gather round the TV watching the soccer. The streets were empty as we drive to our overnight stop of Heidelberg.

Preserved gravestones of Mainz

Judaica found in Mainz

The cathedral in Mainz

The square in Mainz

Panorama of The Rhine

New and remains of old synagogue

New synagogue

Shul in Worms

Shul in Worms

Burnt Torah scrolls

The reconstructed ark in Worms

Cemetery in Worms

Rabbi Meir Rotherberg grave

Plaques in streets dedicated to those who were deported

The Germans watching soccer in the square.

After arriving in Heidelberg last night we were in awe of how beautiful this city is.

This morning we took the tram up to the top of the mountain and then took about a 3 mile hike down to the castle. It was a great hike even with Dina in her birkenstocks!!!

The castle called Schloss castle was partially reconstructed and partially original. The castle was a beautiful building with some incredible views.

Next on our agenda was a drive to Spier which was the third of the three Jewish centers. Here was the reconstruction of the medieval synagogue and the original mikvah. Some of the original walls of the shul was rebuilt and we could see the ark area, the women’s area and seating.

The mikvah was built in 1120 and is the oldest north of the Alps. We could walk down the ancient steps and there is still water in there from groundwater and rainwater. It was so incredible to see such an old structure that had not been destroyed.

Mark then surprised us with a visit to Deidesheim which is the home of many Reisling wineries. We stopped in this beautiful town and went to a wine tasting room and tasted some great wines.

In addition Mark found that there was an old Jewish cemetery from 1712 in this small town. It was down a dead end street with houses around it but in good shape.

After a day of hiking and sightseeing we went back to enjoy the bustling streets of Heidelberg

The Rhine at night!

View of the castle at night

From the center of Heidelberg up

Views heading up

Inside the old tram

Old tram to the top

Top of the tram

Hiking through forest

Schloss castle

Largest barrel of wine!!!

View from atomic of schloss castle

Archways overlooking the Mikvah

Walls of the old synagogue in Spier

Steps down to the Mikvah

Mikvah in Spier

Village of Deidesheim

Dina wine tasting

17th century cemetery in Deidesheim

We left beautiful Heidelberg after a great breakfast at a little cafe....

Off we headed to a stop in Stuggart where we visited the Mercedes Benz Museum. Even for non car enthusiasts this was a great museum. We learned where the name Mercedes came from which was from one of the buyers and then salesman of Daimler. He was a Jewish guy and his daughters name was Mercedes and he asked them to build a sports car and use Mercedes as the name brand. The two companies merged in 1926.

We saw some incredible cars and fascinating facts.

Then we went to the mall where we went to visit Brandy Melville in Germany.

After lunch we headed off to our overnight stop of Baden Baden. On the way we stopped at Karlsruhe which had an incredible castle with gardens that went on for miles.

Baden Baden \240is known for its ancients baths and mineral springs and was one of the coolest places to vacation in Europe before people started to travel outside the country. Now it is still very elite and cosmopolitan place to stay.

After dinner there was a summer festival going on right outside our hotel. Germany Coachella.... we’ll not exactly. We did enjoy some strudel and my new fav drink a Chorle which is a wine spritzer.

Outside the museum

First car

Castle at Karlsruhe

Gardens at Karlsruhe


Streets Baden Baden

Overlooking the water



Today being Shabbat we slept in and and did not wake up until 10. We enjoyed breakfast at our hotel and then went on a walk around town and visited the old Roman Baths and some of the new spa like places.

Then we headed back to use the spa at our hotel where we enjoyed a sauna, steam room and pools as well as a rest outside.

Following a very late lunch more like dinner in the town in a small cafe which was awesome we started out drive through the Black Forest. What an amazing scenic drive.

We stopped for a late dinner in Ulm just because it was a big city. Little did we know it was he birthplace of Einstein and also has a church with the largest steeple in the world.

Then onto our overnight stop near Ausberg.

What a perfect Shabbat

At Night

Worlds largest steeple in Ulm

Baden Baden

Outside one of the baths

Roman baths

Roman baths

Feeling the hot water coming out of the walls

View from above!

Spa at hotel

Lounge area

Drive through Black Forest

Today we had an early start since we had to get to Neuschwanstein Castle (sleeping beauty castle)

This is something that needed to be pre booked since there are thousands of visitors a day.

The castle is from the 1800s but was basically never lived in because Ludwig 2 died at age 40 before it was even completed. This castle was used by Disney to inspire Sleeping Beauty castle.

We hiked up and then headed to a bridge to overlook the castle. Felt like we were at Disneyland with all the lines!!!

Some amazing views and pictures

Believe it or not we had our first pretzel at lunch which was delicious and then onto our drive into Austria and Innsbruck.

More amazing views

Upon arriving in Innsbruck we went to the town hall and climbed the towering 150 steps and had some great views of the area. Then we walked around, grabbed some dinner and then more walking and dessert of sachertorte and strudel.

After dinner we went to this outdoor area where everyone was watching World Cup. Great atmosphere

Streets of Innsbruck

Clock tower we climbed

View from the tower

Castle as we head up

View from the castle

View from the bridge

Hike down

Yummy pretzel

Entering Austria

Austrian Alps

Old castle on the way

Today started with our morning with nature as we took a tram followed by two gondolas to the top of Innsbruck at 7400 ft high.

The ride up was fun but the views at the top breathtaking!! This is a ski resort in the winter but in summer many people were hiking, biking and rock climbing. We could have spent all day hiking around but we did hike to one peak and the girls hiked down to touch some snow!!!

Enjoy the pictures

Then we travelled to Salzburg, the home of Mozart. We first stopped at Mirabella Palace and their beautiful gardnes. This has become famous because the scene from sound of music for Do Re Mei was filmed here. We visited his home and birthplace and learned more about this incredible composer. We walked around the beautiful city and before dinner stopped into the incredible cathedral and actually got to hear the members of a worldwide choral fest practice.

Gardens at Mirabella Palace

Fountain that was danced around in the movie

Mozart first piano

View of old town and castle in Salzburg

Locks on the bridge

More soccer!!!

Where we should all go to camp!!!

Streets of Salzburg

Mozart statue

Salzburg Cathedral

View of the castle

Tram in Innsbruck

View from gondola

Top of Innsbruck

Making me nervous

Touching the snow

Olympic village

Before leaving Salzburg we had a couple of stops. The first was the abbey where Maria from the sound of music actually went and also where it was filmed.

Then we climbed up to medieval castle with beautiful rooms and towers and views of the city.

Great tour learning more about the city and how it was built.

We then journeyed out of Austria back into Germany to our next stop Munich. Another gorgeous drive again.

Once we arrived at our hotel we headed to lunch and found a great vegetarian restaurant.

After lunch we headed to the Jewish Museum which is only been opened since 2006. In the same square is a new synagogue and JCC. We saw how there are really no ritual objects left from the Jews of Munich since most were destroyed. The community has been rebuilt by mainly Russian immigrants.

Then we headed towards the Birkenstock store for some shopping therapy!! We crossed over the great market square with come incredible stalls.

We then walked through downtown and stopped into the cathedral.

After a rest back at our hotel we went to a Biergarten to watch the beginning of the England soccer game. What an incredible place. Packed with thousands of people!!!

After a great dinner where I got my vegan schnitzel we watched the head of the game and went a little crazy in front of most Germans who were rooting against us.

An amazing packed day!

Walk up to the castle

View from the castle

Abbey chapel

The abbey

Top of the clock tower at the castle

Looking down on the coty

Yummy vegan lunch

The new synagogue

Market area


Town Hall


Massive Biergarten

No comment

Vegan schnitzel


This morning we started with a visit to Nymphenburg palace where Ludwig 2 lived and followed by other Bavarian leaders.

The grounds and gardens are incredible. Very much like other European Palacea with lakes, gardens and statues. All kept in prestine condition.

We then went in search of the Munich Massacre Memorial. We first went to the Olympic Village area where two of the Israelis were killed in 1972. We then read there was a new memorial just opened last September in Olympic Park. Since it is a new it is not on any map.... we eventually found it and sat and watch the video archives from back in 1972 and the history of those who were killed. 11 innocent victims!!!

Onward now to Dachau concentration camp which was one of the first camps set up and was liberated by Americans in 1945. Many non Jewish prisoners were kept here and most Jews were deported from here to death camps. As in any place like this you walk around in awe and can’t believe how this happened. It was crowded and felt good that hopefully no one will allow this to happen again. The weather there was gloomy and thunder while we walked around which seem very appropriate for the mood.

Never again!!

Then we drove to our next stop Reigensburg. I had never heard of this town but what a town it is. The old part of the town was spared destruction in the war since no factories were in the city. This was a major Jewish city during the Middle Ages but nothing of it exists today.

Most of the city is pedestrian and was great to walk probably 3-4 miles along small cobbled streets with cafes, bars, shops and more. We could have walked for hours. We then can across the old bridge which is about 800 years old.

Another great day. Love this stop...

Nymphenburg Palace

The palace

Munich 1972 memorial


Names of those lost in Munich

Entry to Dachau

Entry gates


Ashes of those lost

Where the barracks once stood

Train stop

Jewish memorial

Square Reigensburg


Entry to bridge

Below the bridge

Streets at night

Never again

We started off our day with a visit to the cathedral which as in many others was beautiful and grand. Following that we stopped for donuts of course!!! Then off to the castle. We only visited the chapel of the castle which was itself incredible with painted ceilings.

Along our walks saw more plaques of people who had been deported. This was two families. Interestingly we saw a post on this and the history behind it with one man who cleans all 388 in Salzburg. Check out the link below.

Then off to our next stop Nuremberg where we went to lunch in a Biergarten on the lake and then off to where the Nuremberg rallies were held with a museum with all the documents and history of the Nazis. Unbelievable place with so much information. Great to see school trips of German students walking around. One of the exhibits was a train tracks with cards on it with names of Jews who died in the Holocaust. There were 6,000 cards which multiplied by 100 represented the 6 million. If they had placed 6 million then the train tracks would have covered miles.

After this tour we headed Over to the courtroom where the trials were held. You could actually walk into the courtroom which is still active today.

This was the first time rain had happened on our trip and boy


An anti Semitic depiction of Jews suckling from a cow. This has been left to remind the town of what was

Donut store

5 plaques of deportees

Classic street

Ceiling of chapel at castle

Chapel at castle

Biergarten on lake

Where the Nuremberg rallies were held

Memorial to 6 million

Court room 600

We started out the morning since it was raining with a visit to the National Museum. They had a huge collection from the Middle Ages as well as art from the 20th century and so much more.

The Worlds oldest globe was there also.

In addition there was a room which had fashion through the ages and we could see shoes and hats through the years.

After the museum Dina met up with some friends from UCSD. Then we took a walk up to the castle, and around the market place. We visited the cathedral which had been built on top of the site of an old synagogue destroyed in the 1709

After we said goodbye to her friends we drove to our next stop Rothenberg. Not a city visited by many Americans probably but what a cute place. It had been completely protected from the war. We got in late but found a great place for a nice Italian dinner and then walked along the city walls.

Walls of the city

Shoes thru the ages

Oldest globe

Bridge in old town

The castle

View of the city

Castle gardens




The upper walls walkway in Rothenburg

Our little breakfast spot

Memorial to the fallen JCC

Recovered old gravestones

Gravestones in the museum from 12th-13th century

Castle entry

Memorial in grounds of the castle to the Jews lost in 1298 when the community was nearly lost completely

Castle gardens

We started our Day with breakfast at this cute cafe.

Then we walked over to the memorial of Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg and where the previous JCC was. It had been bombed in 1945 but most Jews were already gone.

Then we went to the Jewish Museum which housed some Judaica from the 12th and 13th century as well as gravestones that had been recovered. We then continued to walk around this incredible town which really felt like Disneyland since it was so picturesque.

Then off to an amazing drive along the ronatinque road to a city outside Wurtzburg. First we stopped in Wurzburg and visited the outside of the castle and the town which was bustling with people. We grabbed a table at a bar by a bridge and watched the second half of the England and Sweden game. Had some great drinks and views and England won!!!

Then onward into town to find our dinner stop. We found a yummy casserole place.

After dinner we drove to our final hotel stay. We got upgraded into a tower suite. Girls loved it!

View of Wurzburg as we were leaving


Castle at Wuzburg


View of the castle from across the river


Watching the game

More stones in Wurzburg

Our tower

Living room

View from the tower

Our last day. We drove into Frankfurt and went to the Jewish Museum which has been built on the site of an old synagogue that was destroyed.

There were some excavations of the homes from the 13th century that had been completed and we were able to see these as well as some relics that had discovered.

Then we walked outside and on the way to the cemetery is a wall with bricks of the names of people of Frankfurt lost in the Holocaust. There were thousands!

In the city today was the European champions of the IronMan so a lot of roads were blocked but it was fun to this in action .

What was amazing about this trip was seeing so much Jewish history in this country. So much is now being excavated and shown to the world which is great.

Of course much of the history is bad and involves ignorant people taking action against people but to see the brass squares of the streets all over the country even in small towns have us hope. To know a mom Jewish man in Salzburg cleans these to help keep the memories of theae families alive.

Other fun facts

1. All double beds have single comforters.... not a bad idea

2. The pillows are terrible everywhere

3. Alcohol is cheaper than water

4. Public bathrooms in restaurants are downstairs.... not handicap friendly.

5. Birkenstocks are way cheaper than in USA

We had a great time and for a country that I had thought did not have a lot to offer it certainly did with beauty, cuisine, history and the people.

Inside the museum

Relic of the old synagogue

Walls of the homes

Broken China

Memorial wall

Gates to the cemetry