Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day 13 Lorrach

Saturday we all decided to take it easy and sleep in before heading to Lorrach for the day.  Jonathan made us his famous homemade pancakes.  After breakfast they took us to one of the local resale shops and Chris found a beer stein for himself.  After that we dropped the guys off at the disc golf course and Valerie, Eli and I headed to their local outdoor mall.  We didn't realize it but they were celebrating Oktoberfest in Lorrach.  So after Valerie and I finished shopping at H&M we all headed over to eat some German food.  I don't think I'll ever find brats as good as what we had in Germany.  We also enjoyed some yummy pumpkin soup.  After lunch we did a little more shopping before stopping for an ice cream snack.

They then took us to Rotteln Castle which is located in Lorrach.  We thankfully made it before the castle closed for the day.  From the top of the castle you could actually see the Alps in the distance.  After we finished up at the castle we headed back to Kandern to grab some pizzas at the local grocery store.  We then came back to their house and watched the Razorback game on the computer.  It's really strange to watch the game live when it's dark outside!

The white mountains in the background are the Alps.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day 12 Heidelberg

Jonathan and Valerie wanted to take us to Heidelberg, Germany but it's normally a 4 hour car ride.  Since they were doing a lot of construction on the roads they decided that the best way to get there was by train.  Jonathan got us all train tickets for the day to head to Heidelberg.  They figured out the best route to get us there by train and we started our journey.  We boarded the first train with no problem and when it came to take the next train, an ICE train we ran into a little problem.  Apparently the tickets that we had were only good for local trains and not any of the high speed trains like the ICE train.  So at the next stop we got off and we had to take all local trains the rest of the way.  It's kind of hard to navigate the trains especially when you don't speak the language.  So when one of our stops that we thought we were supposed to take came up we all got off.  Well apparently there were two stops with that name one for the outside of town and one for the main station.  When the bigger train that was suppose to take us to Heidelberg speed past us we knew we must have gotten off at the wrong stop.  We had to wait for another little train to take us to the main station so we could board the train to Heidelberg.  It may have taken us a little longer to get there but at least we got to enjoy the countryside of Germany.
 When we arrived in Heidelberg we asked at the train station what route we needed to take back to their car.  We bought a map and we were about to leave when Chris saw a brat at one of the restaurants.  He couldn't resist having one so we all got one to go.  We stopped and asked directions on how to get to the Heidelberg Castle.  Thankfully a local told us the best way to get there which was along the river so we stopped and had a picnic and enjoyed the beautiful fall day.  After our lunch we headed up to Heidelberg Castle.  The streets that lead up to the castle were closed so we had to take 331 stairs to get up to the top.  Jonathan and Chris took turns carrying Eli's stroller up all the steps.  Once we got to the castle we paid our admissions and started our tour.  Heidelberg Castle's ruins are among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps.  After we finished touring the castle we headed back down into the city to find some food.  We ended up eating at an Irish Pub.  We didn't realize it but we only had an hour to eat our food and make it back to the train station before our train left.  The next train that would come would bring us back after midnight!  So we woofed down our food and then started speed walking back to the train station.  We had to run when we got into the train station and we barely hopped onto the train before it took off.  It was a long train ride back to their house but I think that we all slept well that night.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Day 11 Vow Renewal and Kandern

Several months ago Chris and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary.  I told Chris that I wanted to renew our vows when we went to Germany since this was really our anniversary trip to ourselves.  So we asked Valerie and Jonathan about it and they found the perfect location to have it and someone to perform the ceremony.  We renewed our vows on top of one of the hills that overlook Kandern, Germany.  It was a pretty steep hike up the hill and thankfully the rain held off during the whole ceremony and the hike up and down the hill.  Before the ceremony Valerie took me to one of the local flower shops to get a bouquet.  The flower shops in Germany are totally different than the ones that we have in the United States.  You tell them a price of what you want to spend and then they make the arrangement based on that.  They did a great job putting together the bouquet; I wish I would have been able to take it with me.  But I took tons of pictures of it.  After that we drove up to the hill and started making our trek up the hill.  I had to wear flats to get up there but we all thankfully made it!  Pastor Art Mellie performed the ceremony and Jonathan and Valerie were the photographers.  It was a simple ceremony but the most heartfelt part was when we spoke to each other.  I thank God for Chris every day and he's my best friend.  I don't know what I'd do without him and I know that Chris feels the same way about me.  I liked when Pastor Mellie said that this was a mile marker in our marriage that we could look back on and hopefully we'll able to enjoy another 50+ years together.  Thankfully Jonathan, Art and Valerie took a ton of photos so everyone who wasn't there gets to enjoy.  Plus we didn't get really good photos of our wedding 10 years ago.
I love this one!  If you can laugh about anything you'll have a great marriage.

After the ceremony we headed back to their house to change and then they took us on a tour of Black Forrest Academy.  We were surprised at how big the campus actually was.  I figured that all of the dorms would be next to the school but they are spread out all over town.  We wanted to be able to sit in on a class to see how the teachers and students interact but everyone was at lunch.  So we headed over to the local Asian restaurant called Asia Wok.  After going almost two weeks without Asian food it was a nice treat especially since it was really good!  When we finished up with lunch we meet Pastor Mellie who dropped off some photos from the ceremony and to give us a document for our vow renewal.  Then we headed back to the school to sit in on a Holocaust video.  The teacher was talking to the students about a field trip and if they were good they would stop at McDonald's as a treat.  These students rarely ever get to enjoy American food so they erupted in shouts when they heard this.  After watching the video we headed back to their house to relax.  This was one of the few times during our whole vacation where we weren't going 90 miles an hour.  They took us to a really nice local restaurant called Funfschilling.  It was interesting trying to order off a menu all in German but thankfully they had an English menu. Valerie and Jonathan didn't know that there was an English menu!  We finished up dinner and headed back to the house.