Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bavaria {Garmisch}, Germany

So, Matt had a dental conference in Garmisch, Germany. This is in the Bavarian region or as the Germans say, Bayern. The Bavarians are known for their clothes, their beer, their cows, their mountains, their kindness, and their faith. Matt was gone for the whole week, but I pulled the kidlets out of school for Thursday and Friday and we headed on down. This town is nestled in between the Alps and just made my heart sing. It was gorgeous! I think this might be my favorite German spot so far. The people were so friendly and Matt and I got a real kick out of the men in lederhosen and women in dirndls {or the bosom dress, as we like to call it}. We enjoyed a real Bavarian feast where we watched Bavarian horn blowers, dancers, whip boys, cow bell songs, and yodeling. It was great fun! My kids LOVED it. The food and desert was especially yum. You can see a picture of my kids casing out the desert table! The women definitely had bountiful bosoms! A Bavarian saying is "they have nice wood stacked out front!" We might have purchased some Bavarian outfits so we will be sure to fit in next year! {Don't worry, mine is modest!}

Next, we headed into Garmisch. There is an Army base in this town. The hotel was fabulous. It's called the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort {sorry, only open to military}. There was a giant hot tub outside. It was fun to sit in while the cold air and snow flakes surrounded you! Matt surprised me with a massage at the spa. It was awesome! The town itself was a ton of fun too! There were tons of cute shops. We got an authentic, Bavarian cow bell {actually hung on a cows neck!}, and rolling pin from a wood carver's shop. I've been needing a new one b/c the handles broke off of mine. We enjoyed yummy cream puffs, spatzel, and bought tons of yummy dried fruit {pineapple is my new fav!}

Our last day was filled with a trip to Neuschwanstein {a.k.a. Disney or Cinderella Castle}. This is where Walt Disney got his idea for the castles in his logo and theme parks. It's easily the most famous castle in the world. It was spectacular. We couldn't stop thinking of Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang too! This was also filmed here in Bavaria and scenes were from this castle. I know King Ludwig, II wasted a ton of money on all his castles, but they are sure fun to see. We also saw his other castle, Hohenschwangau. We just enjoyed this one from afar and only entered Neuschwanstein.

We are TOTALLY going back here. There are tons of opportunities for skiing, and Zugsptize {Germany's tallest peak and it reminds me of the Matterhorn} is calling for us to journey to the top! It's interesting in Bavaria too because all of the tallest peaks on every mountain have a cross on top to remind the people that God is higher than the mightiest mountains. They are very God-fearing people, and like the rest of Germany, all things are closed on Sundays. I kind of like that.

Till we meet again, Bavaria!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Strasbourg, France

Over the weekend we decided to take a day trip to Strasbourg, France. It's right on the border of Germany and France. It's so funny how the minute you cross the border, everything looks more French. We enjoyed seeing the beautiful Strasbourg Cathedral in it's 450 foot glory. It was very Gothic and beautiful. I can't believe all the stone carvings in it. It truly is magnificent. It was fun seeing the vendors, the people statues, and listening to the locals playing music in the town center. We also enjoyed some amazing crepes. You can see the evidence all over my kiddos faces. The kids rode on a carousel {which was slightly dangerous, but tons of fun!} We took a boat tour (the glass covered on in the picture with J) and even got to use the lochs in the river to rise and sink. That was cool. We enjoyed our time in France. Can't wait to go back and see more French cities.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuscany, Day 5: Lake Como & Lake Lugano

On the way home, we decided to stop by these beautiful mountain lakes in Northwest Italy. The views were just lovely, and the drive was a super tight squeeze through the streets with our van. We had to pull the side view mirrors in so other cars wouldn't tag us. They just don't make Italian streets with Honda Odysseys in mind {what were they thinking hundreds of years ago...sheesh!} We saw our dream car too, an Porche Panamera Turbo, baby. {If we only had an extra 150 G's laying around!} I just love all the ancient architecture along the way as well. I might have cried a little on our way home. We LOVE Italy...but then I realized, I still live in Germany...ha ha.