Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Kehlsteinhaus in Berchtesgaden

After we checked out in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, we headed for a short drive over to Austria.  It took a little over 2 hours, but longer than it should have because I doubted the GPS.  I had just vowed to stop doubting the GPS, and then I went and did it again.  Either way- we finally found Berchtesgaden, and drove up a really steep winding mountain road to get to the parking area for the Kehlsteinhaus- known to many American's as Hitler's Eagle's Nest.  The day was so amazing- I didn't enhance the colors on these pics at all!

This is a building across the parking lot from the bus area.  It houses 2 levels of historical information about World War II, with many photographs.  I walked through quickly, because it didn't want the children to see too much- but at the back is the entrance to the underground bunkers that were constructed, but never used.  

We got our bus tickets to the top of the mountain, and ate lunch at the restaurant there, while we waited.  It was a cool and sunny day- perfect weather!

Here we are getting ready for the bus ride up the mountain.

Mav sat across from me.

He also waved at a few strangers.

Then we began going up-up-up!  There is a parachuter (ist?) in the middle of this picture.

When I thought we had to be close to the top, we kept going.

The ride was a little bit terrifying!

Once off the bus we headed into a tunnel that took us into the middle of the mountain.  It was so crowded, and dark, that I didn't think to take any pictures.  After jamming a ridiculous amount of people into a tiny elevator- we came out HERE.  Not a bad view!

This is the view up to the top of the property.  Maverick was on my back, which was the only way I was comfortable up this high, since he's sometimes squirrelly.

Up at the top, this is the view of the Kehlsteinhaus.

Dad thought it was pretty cool.

The parachuter/hangliders were still floating around the mountain.

You know, there were monks in my Venice pictures.  I must be drawn to them.  The year on the cross says 1951.

After the scary ride back down the mountain, we drove into Salzburg.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Neuschwanstein again!

After giving my parents a few days to get over their jet-lag, we got on the road for a big trip to Bavaria, and Austria!  To get to Edelweiss you have to drive through part of Austria- right at the German/Austrian border is a tunnel, and we happened to arrive there right as it was experiencing a stau (traffic jam).  We sat there for probably 15 minutes, but it felt much longer.

The night we arrived we took them to a great restaurant in Garmisch-Partenkirchen called Werdenfelser Hof.  They have fantastic Bavarian food, and even boys who dance.  You can see a pretzel holder on the table behind my dad.

We managed to get a decent family photo.

Maverick kept himself busy in his normal way....

....playing with his cars.

The next morning we got up early and drove to Schloss Neuschwanstein.  We got there so early that we got a fantastic parking space, with this view:

It looked a little cloudy, and like we might not be able to see much, but after taking the bus up the mountain, it had already cleared up.  Here you can see Hohenschwangau, which was the castle where Ludwig II grew up, before he built Neuschwanstein.

After a visit to the Marienbrucke (way too high, way too many people on it....I had to get off), we walked down the path to the castle.

We got another decent family photo!

The castle is nearly done with the exterior renovations, and the scaffolding we saw a year ago was already taken down.  Here is a map of the main layout.

The entrance to the castle courtyard.

That night we ate at a restaurant at Edelweiss.  Mom and Maddox played tic-tac-toe for quite a while, and Maddox got really silly when she realized I was taking pictures.

That night the kids CRASHED.

They sleep alike.

The next morning we were leaving for Austria!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Last Day of School and GRANDPARENTS! *pics added!*

In mid June, the school year came to an end, and Maddox was officially done with her first year of school!  She chose this outfit all by herself (as she typically does).  This picture was taken in my classroom, at the start of the day.

My parents arrived for a 3 week long visit, which was their first visit to Europe.  Here they are with Maddox and the sign she made for them!

The playroom/guest room was all ready for them!

We made lots of plans for while they were here, but the first thing the kids wanted to do with them was have some story time.

Getting comfortable.

Maverick and Gramps.

There is a good reason for this silly picture!  We had our good friends the Kennerlys over for dinner, since they were moving back to the U.S., and after dinner Maddox took control and decided that we were going to act out a story as she told it.  One part of the story had Gramps sitting on Grammy's lap, and I just had to take a picture!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lorraine American Cemetery

Toward the end of last school year we were getting ready for the Memorial Day weekend, and Maddox's Teacher Aide told us that she'd be helping to place flags at Lorraine American Cemetery. We decided to go for a visit, to see the Cemetery with all the decorations, and to show the kids around. There was very strange weather that day, so we didn't stay for long- but I took more photos the next time we went.  Marshall and I have started to volunteer for, which is a website where people can request a picture or information regarding the burial place of their loved ones, all around the world.  If you've never heard of it- check it out!  So far we have provided over 200 photos for families back in the States, just from Lorraine American Cemetery- and there are many more American Cemeteries all over Europe, that we haven't even seen yet.

There are over 10,000 Americans buried here, making it the largest number of graves of American military members from World War II.

The layout of the land is really beautiful, and they provide maps at the Visitor's Center.

Along this wall are the names of 444 missing soldiers.

This is the chapel inside the Memorial Building.

There are some interesting maps showing the path of the war.

This map is huge and very high on the wall.

We found a few Medal of Honor Recipients that are buried here.

Here's something amusing- I was standing at the top of this viewpoint, which is right at the end of the cemetery, and a gust of wind blew my paper out of my hand and down into these bushes.  Marshall had to scale the wall and climb through to get it.  I have him a hard time for trespassing, and he gave me a hard time for littering.

If you ever find your self in Southwest Germany, or Eastern France, definitely take the time to visit this really impressive Memorial.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Eat, Drink, and be Merry

You want to make a ton of money in America?  Open one of these: a walk-in, fill your own container, wine shop.  "Take Away Wine!"  We passed this on the way to our apartment, and went back a few times!  Genius, no doubt about it.

There is a bar with all kinds of wine on tap.  You can bring your own bottle, or purchase one there.  Or you can buy a glass of wine and stroll down the street with it!

It says "No Self Service" because there is an attendant there, and it seemed like he would have let us taste as much as we wanted!

There was also a decent bottled wine and beer selection.

 We also ate at this sidewalk pizzaria.  Maddox loved taking pictures with Marshall's camera.

I got the veggie pizza.

Marshall got one that the waitress said was horse...we thought it surely couldn't be- but it really was!  He said it wasn't that great, and tasted like jerky.  Although we don't eat horse in America, there are many other cultures who do (clearly Italy being one of them).

The kids were so happy we were sitting down for a while.

Mdx would have been fine staying here all day.

Marshall was still happy about the take away wine.

So I said "Show me your grumpy faces!"" and this is what I got. Ha!

Of course, we had some Gelato....many times!

And pizza a few times too!

That's about it for Spring Break- there are some museum photos, but not enough to make up a blog.  Now I need to move on to Memorial Day, and my parents visit in the early summer!