Black Forest Getaway

A miracle happened. As you all know, Fil came home for a week around Halloween but was due to go back to the Norway. He was due to leave on a Sunday, and I somehow convinced him to come away with us to the Black Forest Friday through Saturday. Most of the day Friday I could tell he regretted it. At that point he still did not know where nor when to meet on Sunday for his flight and was anxious it would get moved up while we were 3 hours from home. Around 4 pm, just as we came down from the mountain waterfall, Fil got a call and relaxed. They had it covered and he could stay home with us! Now, fully relaxed we really enjoyed our little getaway to the land of smoked ham, chocolate cake, and cuckoo clocks.  Continue reading

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Bernkastel Best Life

I mentioned in my last post that during my friend Elaine’s visit we hiked the Mosel Valley vineyards in Bernkastel-Kues and had one of those days I will remember forever. This was completely unexpected but I am so glad it unfolded as it did.

Until now, Bernkastel-Kues has been somewhat of an awkward town for me. In all of the groups I am in online over here for Americans, Bernkastel is consistently listed as a favorite destination for so many people not only as a great place to visit, but also as a top Christmas Market town. A few years ago we went one afternoon to check out the market, and aside from the fireworks once it was dark, we were left unimpressed. The town was absolutely stunning with the endless half-timbered buildings and charm oozing from every crevice, but the market seemed small, crowded, and overall just did not make our top 5 list. I was baffled why so many Americans say this is their favorite.  Continue reading

Shopping along the River Saar

Sometimes things just work out perfectly. Towards the end of July, the moons aligned and a really good friend of mine was able to come visit. Timing was perfect for her, but also me… Fil had 4 days off so she and I were able to explore Germany sans Brock for a few days, and when she left it led right into a crazy week so it was nice to be out adventuring.

As with everyone who ventures across the Atlantic to see us, I try to find new adventures so that we can share the new experience. For Elaine’s visit, we did a treetop walk with views of the Saar river, a wine hike in Bernkastel-Kues, Schloss Drachenburg, and finally a day trip over the border to Strasbourg, France. We really filled everyday with adventures and I am so grateful she came to share these with me. Big plus—Elaine is a photographer so we have amazing pictures! Most of the pictures I will use in these blogs about our travels are hers, and you can see them all and more at this link (this is a temporary album so make sure to look at them soon).  Continue reading

Musical Alpine Weekend

For us, Julie Andrews’s voice rang true. The hills were alive with the sound of music on our trip to Berchtesgaden earlier this month. I only wish we had more time to capture all of the beauty of the German Alpine Mountain region. It was truly breathtaking. Our trip was far too short to do even half of the things on my list, but I left in-love with the region and so glad we had ticked the destination off of my list. You could almost hear the music pouring over the Alps and through the valleys, running with the glacial rivers, and then leaping across the grazing fields that were bursting with wild flowers. Germany is a beautiful country, but this corner of Bavaria is by far the most beautiful. The icing on the cake was the alpine chalets with masses of flowers pouring over the balconies. I am not one to take many pictures of homes, but I simply could not stop. Continue reading

Castle Picnic… Because we can

The fact that I can pack us a picnic lunch, and drive no more than 30 minutes in three separate directions and end up at three different castles is the best example I can give of how spoiled I am living here. It is nearing the end of the school year so there are all sorts of days off to help everyone ease into summer… field days, teacher training, and yes, more German holidays. On one of these days recently, Brock, Poppy and I packed up and had a picnic lunch at Burg Frauenburg, a castle just a mere 15 minutes away, just outside of Idar-Oberstein.  Continue reading

Is that the sun I see again?

Spring has sprung in Germany! The wild flowers are starting to pop up, bumble bees are busy at work, we can actually see and feel the sun AND we are jumping with both feet back into traveling around Europe. Our days are quite busy now with Brock’s schedule, but I am really feeling great! The better weather has encouraged Poppy, who is now 6 months old, to really enjoy walks so we go on a good 2 mile walk every day after putting Brock on the school bus. Oh, did I not mention that? My little 3 year old, well almost 4, takes the city bus to school and back 4 times a week! His teacher rides the bus and helps the kids buckle up and get on/off and he absolutely loves it! Here is a video of his first time getting on the bus:  Continue reading

Gemstones of Germany

Idar-Oberstein is an interesting town not far from us, maybe 15 minutes away. We often take visitors to hike the mountain there, but more regularly we go to Idar to shop at the home improvement store for our garden and hobbies. I’ve been meaning to blog about it for some time, but I keep pushing it off since it has become a regular place for us. But when Danielle visited last month, we toured the gemstone mine, one of the few things in Idar-Oberstein I had yet to do, and I was reminded of how wonderful the city is. I decided it deserved a blog post!  Continue reading

Accidentally finding Brock’s one fear

Last weekend we unexpectedly scared the pants off of poor Mr. Brock. Here in Germany we have started to view the sun again, so naturally we went out exploring. We set out to Morsdorf, just about an hour away, to see the Geierlay suspension bridge. At 360 meters (about 1,200 ft) long and 100 meters (over 300 ft) high it is not only the longest suspension bridge in Germany but it was perfectly terrifying to Brock. The original idea for this bridge was abandoned in 2006 because it was deemed infeasible, but in October of 2015, only 130 days after construction began, the bridge was opened.

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One writer said that it was “chicken soup for the soul” but we disagree. Fil seemed fine, but immediately I could tell that Brock was scared. We got about halfway across and I said I wasn’t going any further. With each step we could feel the sway of the bridge below us and it was a bit much for me. Me, a motorcycle riding, high speed driving, white water rafting adventurer was not game to walk all the way across. Brock and Fil walked a bit further before Brock lost it and started screaming.

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Brock’s face says “WTF guys, NOT COOL”

Not that he melts down a lot in public, but this was the first time we weren’t embarrassed by it. Other visitors just laughed and smiled at him until we got him calmed down. As soon as we got off the bridge he slumped in his stroller and held on tight. Poor kiddo. We were not expecting that at all. Brock is so fearless and loves rough and tumble play, jumping across our couches, bellyflopping on our bed, and swinging high at the playground. Not only that, but I have plenty of friends to have also hiked to the bridge and crossed with little ones with no issues. We felt terrible.

That experience was a week ago, and he still points to the bridge post card on the wall with a scared look saying “bridge”—he doesn’t interact with any of the other almost 50 postcards we have. But I think I have a way to make up for the trauma…. Brock and I are headed to Disneyland Paris in a few days while Fil is away (again) for work! I am so excited and I just know Brock will love it!

Below is a tourist video for the bridge… it’s pretty dramatic and cheesy, but you get great views of the bridge:

Flinging Christmas trees at the Knut festival

Happy New Year and merry Epiphany! Growing up Presbyterian, I had never heard of Epiphany or Three Kings day, but now that I know I will share– my apologies to anyone who understands it better than I, this is just a quick intro to how we experience it in Germany. January 6 marks the epiphany, and brings the 12 days of Christmas to an end. In some states in Germany it is a public holiday, but for all Germans it marks the beginning of the carnival or festival season.  Continue reading

Sunday Fun-day in the woods

Hi friends! It has been a while since my last blog, for sure! Brock and I spent about a month back home in New Jersey and Fil has been away in the Czech Republic and currently Norway, BUT Brock and I are back in Germany and back to exploring!

We jumped right back into the swing of things by planning a Halloween party for Fil’s company, which was a huge hit, carved pumpkins AND met Brock’s kindergarten teacher. That’s right, Brock is going to start attending the German kindergarten in our village! We are very excited, and he seemed to really like being there when we went the other day for orientation.  Continue reading