Day 8 Thunder, Lightning, Rain, and Sirens

The rain started in the night around 4:30 am. It grew steadily from a light rain to a full downpour.  Lightning and thunder accompanied the drenching.  Laurie got up and closed the windows closed up on our floor (we are on the 3rd floor of the house).

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Joe standing next to the high water marks at a shop.

We all slept in a bit and got up around 9.  After breakfast we set of four town and it was still raining lightly.  The rain continued to slowly increase in intensity, going from sprinkles, at a light rain, to full on raining. We shopped for a bit and made our way down to a Christmas store where we were treated to some peach flavored brandy by a shop owner.  He explained that his family makes the brandy along with other things they sell.  It was delicious and we bought a couple bottles, maybe it was just good marketing? But we’re enjoyed it. He invited us back to try another flavor next time.

We went back to our house for a light lunch and headed for the near Castle. Rain or no rain. The waterfall we saw the evening before was raging as we made our way up the hillside. 

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Enjoying a traveller in the rain

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Castle Rheinfels is a ruins and a present day hotel. We had a great time exploring the ruins, from the mineshaft below to the top of the tower. It’s amazing how accessable these historical sites are to the public. The boys love exploring the castles, by far their favorite activity in Germany.

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Random

Saw something interesting while driving on the autobahn. In Germany, they have a lot more rest stops on the side of the highway. Many of them have picnic tables.  While driving to Austria the other day, clicking along at about 130 kph, I looked over to a rest stop and saw a group of nuns. Their car was stopped next to a table and they were relaxing. Relaxing by DRINKING BEER.  Imagine the décor inside a Buca de Beppo restaurant. We just saw it in real life, I’m not sure why it seemed so I’d when I think about it. But the unexpected sight of those nuns enjoying a poor stop on their journey was very entertaining.

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Day 7 travel to St. Goar

Up early this morning to pack after two fun nights at the farm.  We were on the road by 10 and headed for the worlds largest Kuchkoo Clocks at the House of Black Forrest clocks.  We arrived just in time for the 11 show. (Video will be uploaded on our return).

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After shopping, yes Cindy got a real clock we were of to an Alpine slide we had passed. Second time is the charm, this one was open. Rides and lunch then of for a 2 hour, 50 minute drive that turned into 4 1/2 hour drive due to a downpour and flooding.

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St. Goar on the Rhine was very much worth the drive! There are 3 castles and a ruins immediately accessable to the city.  Aidan saw the first castle and exclaimed “Hogwarts!”

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Or house is an amazing 3 level near the city center. Above the house is a nature trail that leads to a ruins and the bluffs above the Rhine river.  Along the way were waterfalls engorged by the rains from earlier in the day.

We had dinner in town and set of on an evening hike.  It is very warm and humid, but so worth it.

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We can’t wait to explore the city tomorrow!

Day 6 France

We left our farm house this morning and set of for Strasbourg, France. Destination La Petite France, a very quaint, tourist friendly of the city.

Travel was very easy, we crossed over the Rhine river into France. We arrived at the city center and had a bit of an ordeal trying to park.  Once parked we got directions to LA Petite France, which was only two blocks away. All the walking was playing hell on Joe’s knees so we settled him into a cafe while we set out to conquer bakeries and candy stores.

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It was outrageously hot!  90 degrees, we were soaked and in need of some refreshments. We stopped at a cafe, if course.

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Ice cream and desserts were the order of the day. We ended up staying for about 3 hours before returning. 

Back at the farmhouse we set off for a local castle: Burg
Hohengeroldseck. It was very close to the farm, after a bit of trouble trying to read the information signs we decided it was still open for exploring. The boys are loving the castles, being able to get their hands on history.

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We returned to the farmhouse and the kids ended up with frozen pizza.  The adults all went down to the Gruber Hof for an amazing late dinner.

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Cindy and Laurie had schnitzel, Dave, Ingrid, and Joe had the venison goulash; and I had the venison back strap.  Sorry no pictures.  Tomorrow: travel to St. Goar.

Day 5 travel day

Today we said goodbye to our beautiful house in Remshart and hello to our beautiful farmhouse in Oberharmersbach! What an amazing find Laurie happened upon on Home Away. We woke up this morning and packed or belongings and cleaned up (the boys fed the neighbors chickens one last time)
before leaving around 10:00 am. We made it easy down south and west of Munich to the small town of Titisee, the beginning of the Black Forrest.

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We took the long way around to the Black Forrest, stopping at a Gasthoff for lunch along the way.

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We arrived at our farm house at 6:00 pm, we had stopped for more provisions before landing. The boots had a great time checking out the cows, chickens, goats, and farm cats as the adults enjoyed a child beverage on the balcony overlooking this pasture.

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This place is a working farm, the have a store/butcher shop. They have REAL Black Forrest ham, and an assortment of sausages that they make (from scratch hint, hint) on the premises.

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The house is huge, comfortably accommodating our large group. Tomorrow, France.

Day 4 Castles

This morning we woke up a bit early, and got on the road by 9:00 am. First up was Neuschwanstein Castle.  We were on a tight schedule, and didn’t have time to tour the castle, but we wanted to at least so for a photo opportunity.

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We paid for parking and walked around the village below the castle. We walked around the lower castle and could have easily spent an entire day there.

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Then we were off, headed to the worlds longest Alpine slide in Imst.

We luckily had a malfunction in our vehicles GPS. As we were driving down the road we were told to make a U-turn.  This fortunate mistake took us the back way into Imst, over the Alps.  I’ll add pictures later, as I was driving I couldn’t take any pictures with my phone.  The closest thing I can compare it to is the train ride though Whites Pass between the Yukon Territory and Scagway Alaska.

Long story short, we got to the slide and they were closed.

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They only open 7 days a week starting in July, they are only open Thursday to Sunday right now.

We made up for it by going for a hike in Imst.

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We headed for home disappointed and happened upon Ehrenburg Castle.

What an amazing time! We got to get up close and personal with castle ruins. And bonus: they were open until 10:00 pm!

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We are packing up in the morning and headed through the Black Forrest to our next site.

Day 3

Our internal clocks are pretty much in sync with the sun. We made it up and it if bread earlier this morning. As we were ready to leave for our destination, the airline called and informed us that our one missing bag was to be delivered within the hour.  All bags are now accounted for!  The time delay however, forever us to move today’s activity’s to tomorrow. We planned to head back to Dachau and also hit Neuschwanstein Castle.

We arrived at Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial with plenty of time to spare. Pretty had to describe the place, well worth taking the time to visit and learn.

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The entrance to the Dachau Concentration Camp, the gate reads "Work Sets You Free"

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We left for the castle with no time to spare.  Unfortunately, we encountered an accident on the autobahn.  It was very interesting to watch all of the German cars, once it was evident that there was a stoppage ahead, pull to the center divider and right shoulder.  They were parting the Ref Sea to make room for responding emergency vehicles. Without being asked/told to do so. Nothing like that would ever happen in California.

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We were stopped long enough to miss our opportunity, so we passed on this castle.  There will be more later along the Rhine river. 

Back to our house and then dinner at the Gasthoff Adler. Amazing dinner.

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Today is the first day of summer, the summer solstice. We came back and sat on the deck before being forced in by mosquitos. The moonrise was orange and beautiful. 

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Day 2

We woke up to a beautiful Sunday morning.  Bonus points for being Father’s day.  We had a very good German breakfast of fresh bread , cheese and cold cuts.  We say on the deck after, it was nice listening to the church bells ringing about a block away.

We loaded up and headed for our first stop, Rothenburg.  Rothenburg is unique in that it has retained the wall surrounding the inner city as it did in medieval times.  You could walk the distance around the perimeter of the city as if you were part of the Nights Watch.

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It was well worth the drive to see and explore the city. The clock tower peak is accessable from the city hall, we got our stair climbing in for the day and braved the heights.

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Rothenburg city hall (with three bell tower in the background)

After exploring we were of to Dachau, we decided to take the “Romantic Highway” back down instead of just flying on the autobahn. Beautiful country, with a small town or village every few miles.  We also had some heavy rain showers, but no thunder or lightning. We ended up reaching the front gate of Dachau at 5:10 pm. We may have well seen this:

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Sunday, 5:10… missed it by that much. On to Munich and the world famous Hoffbrau House. After the two waiters literally laughed when the heard we didn’t have reservations for a party of 11 (they run 3-4 days for a reservation) we were able to snake a table and all squeeze in on the second floor.

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After dinner we walked down to the city center to watch the clock tower. It was very festive with a band playing.  Unfortunately the
clock tower only rings twice a day, noon and 6.  Check YouTube if you want to see it I guess. 

Got back to the house late, 11:00 PM.  Tomorrow, the Alps…

Day 1

All of the planning and preparation during the last year has lead to this, the start of our adventure to Germany. We even had reassurance in the form of a fortune cookie.

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We were up at the crack of 3:00 am to be out the door by 4ish. We got to Opa and Oma’s house and waited for the shuttle, which arrived exactly at 5:00 am. Record time to LAX (zero traffic), check in, baggage, and security were a breeze. Joe, Dave, Heather and I had time for a pre-flight cocktail before boarding or flight to ATL.
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Or flight to Atlanta was just over 3 1/2 hours and uneventful. We had just over an hour wait until our next departure, luckily we arrived very close to our departure gate. 30 minutes to stretch before boarding or 767-400 to Munich. Our 8 hour and 42 minute flight took off on time.
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Fling in style

Jumping ahead to a time zone 11 hours ahead of what your used to is rough. While it makes perfect sense to believe that you will sleep on the plane, the reality can be a bit different. The sub coming up with London on our left and Paris to our right, 2 hours to go until we land.

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After arriving in Munich, we took care of one missing bag (had to be checked at the gate in Los Angeles), rental cars and sim cards for cell phones we were of to  Remshart. 

Remshart is not a city or town, it is an old hamlet. We spent the afternoon relaxing, walking, and shopping at the market.

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We walked down to Ristorante Pizzeria Am Silbersee.  Sorry no before pictures as we were starving at this point.  We had schnitzel, jagerschnitzel, and pizza for the kids.  Took the long way back to the house to relax and turn in early.  Made the most of a “travel” day.

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the adventure begins