Well, we made it to our destination without our rental car. We would’ve loved having it but we made due without it. When researching this part of our journey I had neared the end of my rope. My eyes were crossed looking for destinations and hotels. I knew our objective was to explore Schwarzwald, Germany’s Black Forest, and I thought a car would get us to the exciting places a bit easier than the train. I also felt we needed to rent a car to justify lugging two car seats around with us!
Well, no car so I would have to research some more. We took the train to a small station in Ringsheim. There was a bus waiting to take us to Rust, our ultimate destination. Plastered on the side of the accordion bus were advertisements for Europa Park. I vaguely remembered seeing something about that place in my research. I looked in my German travel book but saw nothing. Our first stop was Europa Park Resort. It looked like some place E would want to stay, featuring a monorail to the park and a splash pad/swimming area. Then we passed the park, not quite Disneyworld in size, but nevertheless a monstrous world of roller coasters, rides, and shows, complete with a mouse mascot. The bus dropped us off in front of the park and after studying the map (with the incorrectly marked ‘you are here’ dot) we walked toward what we hoped was our hotel, Gasthaus am Sonnenplatz. The walk was a bit…well, odd. The houses were in the old German Fashion, but it was hard to tell if Rust was an old town or just made to look that way because of the park. We were pointed in the correct direction and arrived at our destination a few minutes later. The owner met us and showed us to our apartment. It was a nice, large apartment, complete with a kitchen, bathroom with separate shower and tub, and television. E was excited after 4 days in Lucern without TV. The cartoons may be in German but she’s quite happy to have them.
After napping, we decided to take a stroll. We were hungry for dinner, needed to find an ATM, and were nearly in desperate need of diapers. We happened upon a Greek restaurant and decided to eat before heading up the street to see if we could find a supermarket. When we got to the market it had already closed. Cory checked out the times and it appeared that Sunday was not on the hours. We stopped back at the restaurant and asked the waitress and she said, “Well, yeah, nothing is open on Sundays.” Ackkkkk! We need diapers before Monday! Well, we’ll just have to get them in another town tomorrow.
I researched what we would do the next day and found an open air museum accessible via train I thought E would like as it is very interactive for children. While Europa Park sounded intriguing, it was too expensive (€80 for all of us) and not likely very enjoyable for English-speaking tourists and a nearly 3 year old that can’t ride most of the rides. We asked the hotel owner about diapers and she said our stop, Offenburg, might have them. Well, they didn’t. So we had to backtrack and then go beyond back to Freiburg. We bought some things and decided to call it a day without any sight seeing. I did, however, get a slice of Black Forest Cake at the Freiburg train station. It was quite delicious!
We left for Frankfurt in the morning. The hotel owner was even kind enough to drive us ten minutes to the train station instead of us catching the bus! The traffic flocking into the park was insane! Apparently Europa Park is the second most visited theme park in Europe, following Disneyland Paris. in 2011 there were 4.5 million visitors! And not even a mention in my guidebook! Maybe we’ll have to come back when the kids are older and stay at Gasthaus am Sonnenplatz and visit the Park.
Here are some photos of our time in Rust and Cory took some photos of the apartment I included to show it was a nice little apartment even if our time there wasn’t very exciting, if not a little strange.