One part travel blog. One part nerdy history lesson.

Mannheim, Bretten, Miltenberg and small towns

Sorry for the almost two week delay. Technical difficulties uploading pictures on the blog, but I found a work around so here we go!

On Sunday, we were ending up at Tiffany and Mike’s house, so we just drove by a couple places we wanted to see on the first day. The city of Bonn- the home of Beethoven- was nothing much to see other than being a city on a beautiful river. Sort of like the riverfront in Louisville… and I’m sure the Beethoven museum would have been fun…but maybe not with a 4 year old. 🙂

We also drove to the town of Remagen, which is where the Ludendorff bridge was located- the final barrier in WWII for Allied troops crossing the Rhine river during Hitler’s retreat. The bridgehead today isn’t much to look at…and you’d look right over it without knowing the history, but during WWII, as the Germans retreated, they destroyed all bridges across the Rhine to buy themselves time to establish their positions inside Germany. The Nazis had placed over 6000 lbs of charges on the bridge by the time the US troops arrived… and the bridge was heavily damaged but still standing as most of the charges didn’t detonate, so unexpectedly, the US Army had a bridge and began conversion works to allow for truck and tank crossing since it was currently used as a train bridge. This changed Eisenhower’s entire attack plan and he diverted 5 battalions to the bridge to enter Germany and engage German troops about two weeks ahead of schedule, definitely shortening the war and the casualties involved for the Allied side.

But…the German army didn’t leave the bridge without a fight. They dive-bombed the bridge with planes, firing rounds at the bridge, fired V2 missiles at the bridge- that killed troops-but didn’t take out the bridge. They even sent soldiers underwater using breathing apparatus to place charges on the bridge, but the Army was ready and the soldiers were captured or killed.

The Army Corp of Engineers continued working on the bridge endlessly and when military vehicles crossed that bridge, it was the first time troops had successfully crossed the Rhine since Napoleon did it in 1805.

Sadly, after a few days, the bridge finally gave way…while engineers were on the bridge making repairs and many men died or were injured…but by this time, the floating bridges were complete and the bridge did its job, allowing the Allieds to progress, shortening the war and keeping Germany from digging into position.

The Remagen bridge as it was in 1945

There is a short 4 minute YouTube clip of of old Army footage that shows the area and the Remagen bridgework pretty well

And if this is your thing, there is even a movie made about the Battle of Remagen:

We drove through the town of Bitburg-famous for Bitburger beer. They have a fountain dedicated to beer brewing in front of the brewery

We passed a lot of greenway bridges in Germany. I think they are an awesome idea! Not quite sure how you direct the animals to the bridge… but I guess they just use what feels like the safest place.

We ended at Tiffany and Mike’s and spent some time with them for Sunday evening and Monday. We had some good German food and spent some time with baby Elliott who is just such a good baby and sooo adorable. Norah really enjoyed a baby being around. She wants a baby sister.  I hate to break it to her….but I’m not sure I’m up for that. ha


On Tuesday, we headed out towards Mannheim, Heidelberg and Stuttsgart. Just did some driving and touring as it was rainy. I really, REALLY wanted to find construction work going on in Mannheim… (Mannheim Steamroller) but not luck. haha

We drove up the hillside in Heidelberg to the castle. We didn’t get to tour it, but maybe one day 🙂

We ended at a Radisson Blu that was just a chain hotel and had dinner at restaurant that just belonged in a chain hotel. haha Nothing too crazy but this time of year and this area is known for its white asparagus, so I had that.

Wednesday, we drove through some small villages. Found an adorable town called Bretten where we walked a marketplace and found deli meats and sausages, pretzels, a cheese shop and some ice cream.

We made the best spread of pretzels, cheese and meats!

We drove around for a few hours winding through lots of little villages, some of which I don’t even know the names of….

So much of the countryside in this area is covered in Rapeseed (used for Canola oil…as Rapeseed oil sounds..well…terrible lol) Its such a bright yellow, it’s just beautiful.

We drove to Amorbach which has the most fabulous and beautiful Baroque cathedral.

Ended in the most adorable town of Miltenberg

Kegan and Norah went exploring and some older lady ran inside and washed an apple and came back to give it to Norah. haha

We stayed in a suite right on the town square and it was soooo nice.

Ate dinner at a little German cafe, Kegan had some legit Saurbraten

The last day was a short day- buffet breakfast at the hotel and more gifts for Norah. The waitress gave her a little bottle of kid fingernail polish. Haha Norah loved it.

We just drove through a bunch of small villages in the Rhine-Neckar region. Wonderful half-timber houses, cute markets… found a playground along the way and then headed to the airport.

We had a great trip. Loved seeing Germany for the first time. Back to the home remodeling for a couple weeks and then we’ll be headed to Spain for 11 days. I’ll be back shortly with some more sightseeing! 🙂


  1. Bob

    I was worried that the Ransomware epidemic had infected your work. No mention= no problem, I pray. Thank you soooooooo much for sharing!!

    • Erin McKinney

      Nope, no ransomware issues over here, just a finicky website. WordPress is awesome until it isn’t 🙂

  2. Susie

    Love reading about your travels Erin. We are leaving in the morning for Germany. Going to a wedding in Goslar on Saturday. Hanging around the Harz mountains for a few days after, then on to part of the Grimm Brothers fairytale route and then heading north to Bremerhaven and Hamburg. Back home June 10th. We layover in Dublin for two hours on the way over

    • Erin McKinney

      Ohh, that sounds so fun! I was just thinking about Grimm’s fairytales while we were there and wondering if it was a Bravarian thing or a Black Forest area thing… now I have to go look it up! Have a great time! I can’t wait to go back next year and do the German Alpine Road and maybe some of Austria… so much to see!

  3. Patricia Woodward

    Loved your pictures, especially the one of Norah and Eli! I am sure Tiffani & Michael lived every minute of your visit. (The King and Queen reunited! LOL) Love reading of your adventures. Stay safe. Love you guys.

    • Erin McKinney

      Hahaha the king and queen! I love it. I think Anita said “can you believe two of Thelma Carmichael’s grandkids are in Europe at the same time??” Haha

  4. Deana

    Thanks for that – I’ve always complained that there was no such thing as a canola and so refused to buy the oil – but now that I know it does indeed come from nature, I’m ok. Lol.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *