Monday, June 28, 2004

I would love to be writing in to tell you something very exciting we have done but unfortunately that is not the case. Jacob had a bad cold, which he passed on to me so we haven't been up to much. The weather has been really nice so at least we can sit outside and soak up the sun while we are both feeling yucky. Kenny has been so busy at work, and is off to another post tomorrow to make some part for the aircraft. Hopefully he will make it back tomorrow night, he may have to stay a couple days to get it finished. Jacob will miss his wrestling partner if Kenny doesn't come home tomorrow, that is their after-dinner activity. This weekend the Army community is having the German-American fest for Fourth of July. Should be a lot of fun, they always used to be. Apparently they haven't had it for a few years due to security measures, but this year it's back! Carnival rides, food, a beer tent with music, and of course fireworks on the 4th. We can't wait!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Just thought I would check in and let everyone know we were still alive! We have been busy with Bible School at church, we leave at 8am and get home about 1pm. Then Jacob crashes for a few hours, and I usually just enjoy the quiet after all the kids at church. He's loving the nursery time, they color, play outside and just have fun. He pushes his way in there in the morning, and tells all his teachers "morning". He's going to miss it next week. We have a great group of kids and a fun program, they are learning a lot. So, that's about it for our activities this week. Maybe we'll do something exciting this weekend, so the blog will liven up a little!

Sunday, June 20, 2004

We haven't been up to much, just hanging out. Today Kenny went fishing early in the morning, Jacob and I met up with him later. Jacob enjoyed fishing with a really long reed Kenny found for him, he was convinced it was a fishing pole. It's still in the back of the truck since we had to bring it with us, he didn't want to leave it at the lake. That's a picture of the champion fisherman in training above. This week Jacob and I will be busy all week at Vacation Bible School, it should be a lot of fun. It will for sure keep us occupied. Jacob and I had a nice quiet week this past week, we went to the market and visited some different playgrounds. Went for some bike rides and played in the backyard. All fun stuff and a nice way to pass the summer days. Which, for the record, required long pants and light coats the past few days. So not too summer-like but still nice!

Thursday, June 17, 2004

I had a couple people ask me what a rodelbahn was so I thought I would post it here in case there were others wondering...

Here is a link to an article in a recent Stars and Stripes about a rodelbahn just north of Nurnberg. The one in Garmisch is very similar to it Sommerrodelbahn

The days are getting away from me so I thought I would post about our final day in Garmisch before it's really old news. We got up Sunday morning to more clouds but no rain so decided to head for the Partnach Gorge. You park at the Olympic Ski Stadium and from there you can walk up a road to the base of the gorge, or ride in style in a horse carriage. There is also a Summer Rodelbahn there, but it wasn't open due to the wet weather. We are dying to try it, so it is a must for the next trip. Anyway, we decided to take the easy route of riding in the carriage instead of letting Jacob make the walk. We probably would still be there if we had done that. They let you off at the base of the gorge and then you have a few options. Go right into the gorge and make your way up and then turn around and come back through it, or keep going up to the hotel Forsthaus Graseck (scroll down and click on the English button) about a 1/2 hour hike past the gorge and take the cable car down, or take the cable car up and make the hike about 1 hour total back down and through the gorge. We have done the second option, so this time we decided to take the cable car all the way up and then hike all the way down. The cable car "Graseck Bahn" is a small thrill ride in itself. Even more so now as I was searching the internet for info and I read that it is 50 years old! Here are some photos I found of it, to give you some idea. It is a gondola or cabin type cable car, only room for 4 people standing. Sways a bit in the breeze, creaks and groans, all those exciting things. But it provides a few minutes of some beautiful views, and then all you have to do is make the hike down!
The bahn takes you right to the yard of the hotel, and then you just start your hike, following the signs on the paths. They are very well marked, with destinations and apx hiking times. We decided the best way would be to have Jacob ride in the backpack so we wouldn't have to worry about him sliding off one of the edges on the trail. He was quite content up there and it made for a more relaxed hike. The trail down to the gorge is really nice, very scenic. We met a few hikers along the way, even a couple Americans coming the opposite direction. We finally reached the gorge and took our time walking through the tunnels and enjoying the open areas where you could watch the river rush by. Jacob enjoyed the waterfalls and drips from the roof that he could catch. We would have to squeeze by the other hikers as people are going both directions on the trail. At the end there are some little shops with refreshments and souvenirs. We enjoyed the atmosphere a little more, than headed for the car. We loaded up, grabbed some lunch and hit the highway, going home. We hit a big "stau" (traffic jam) as we neared the Nurnberg so we once again took some back roads on home. (Not the same ones as we took on the way down either) It was basically following the path of the Altmuhl River, so it was a nice ride, once again made us realize how much there is to see within a few hours of our house.

So that was our weekend in Garmisch, you can see why we can't wait to get back. Hopefully in the next month!

Monday, June 14, 2004

Now that I've had a good nights sleep and a productive day I will post about our weekend trip.

I dropped the dogs off at Frau Krut's Friday morning, which resulted in a whole lot of tears from Jacob. Guess he thought we were giving them away or something. I told him that we were going to the mountains to see waterfalls and he was okay after that. He watches cartoons that have waterfalls in them so he was very interested. Also one has "Froggy rocks" so he thought for sure we would see those too. We left as soon as Kenny came home and headed south. We drove some back roads to the autobahn for about 1/2 hour, just to see some areas we hadn't driven through. We saw some really neat towns that we plan to go back to, one had a castle/fortress up on high hill, really looked interesting. We made it onto the autobahn and headed through Munich. We drove by the Olympic Stadium and soon were entering into Oberau, where our hotel was. Not even three hours so it was an easy trip. We checked in to the Forsthaus and then went downstairs to have some dinner in the restaurant attached to the hotel. It's a good restaurant, serving the typical German fare but a little more variety and great atmosphere. The hotel is really nice too, we had stayed there once before and liked it quite a bit. Lots of Americans stay there, it is owned by an American/German couple. It's small and comfortable and affordable, and if you need anything they are happy to help. Much better than dealing with the crowds at the AFRC (Armed Forces Rec Center) hotels in Garmisch. They have their high points too, but this is more pleasant I think. Anyway, we walked around outside for a little while then headed in and went to bed, ready for Saturday.

When we woke up Saturday it was cloudy and looked like it was going to rain, although it never did more than sprinkle. We drove around and reacquainted ourselves with the town, and also went to see what had changed on the military post there. They have a nice campground, and a great sports store there. It's even better than before, now with a bookstore and coffee shop too. And a gas station which is a nice convenience. They have really reorganized it for the better. We headed to Oberammergau to sightsee a bit, they have really beautiful paintings on the buildings there. All over the area really, but they have a few spectacular ones. No pics this time, we didn't wander around too much. We did visit a Reptile Exhibit, what could be more Bavarian than that? (<--that was a joke) It was really nice actually, and Jacob had a big time. He kept pulling Kenny all over the place showing him all the snakes and turtles and lizards. Kind of located in a strange place, tucked into the middle of the town center. Not what you would expect to see there I guess is my point. After that we drove out into the countryside towards the Austrian border and just enjoyed the mountain views. It is really so beautiful there, it never gets "old" to look at the mountains. We finally headed back to the hotel for lunch and then let Jacob take a nap. After he woke up we went back to the bookstore for some reading material, and then to our favorite restaurant in Garmisch - "Da Renzo" Pizzeria/Ristorante. If you have been to Garmisch with us than you have eaten there, it is awesome. Pizza is made in a stone oven heated by wood, and the pasta dishes are great. The service is super as well, I think that is the best part. Jacob charmed the waiters, and managed to swindle a lollipop out of them. Probably because he told them "Ciao" as we were leaving, they laughed at that... Everyone we've talked to about Garmisch says "while you are there you have to eat at this italian place", it seems to leave an impression on everyone. We windowshopped a little after that, and then headed back to the hotel for the night.
Next post : The Partnachklamm

Sunday, June 13, 2004

We have arrived safely back at home after a wonderful weekend. The above photo was taken on the German/Austrian border, everywhere you looked was equally as beautiful. I will post a "play by play" later, but I have put all the photos over on the photosite so you can check those out. We are already planning to go back soon, it was so nice and so close, there is no reason not to take advantage of it. Now it's time for bed, the only drawback of the weekend was the feather pillows. I love the down comforters, but feather pillows are the worst. You might as well not even have a pillow! So I am tired, after fighting all night with that pillow. I can't wait to lay my head on my cheap P/X synthetic filled pillow tonight.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

I have been gardening like crazy the past week or so, I have gotten flower boxes done for the windows. Also some hanging baskets for the back patio and some tomato plants in a big pot. Our lettuce is finally big enough to make some salads and my herb garden is coming along nicely. And the weather is finally hot enough that everything is growing, not just barely hanging on. Here is a shot of one of the window boxes, they all look basically the same. Red geraniums on the ends, a pink one in the middle, some little blue flowers and a silvery one to fill it in. Geraniums are "the" thing to plant here I have observed, everybody has at least one. And most have even more. There is a small bridge in the next town over that has flower boxes full of red geraniums hanging on it, really looks nice.

Do you like the curtains hanging in the window? They are my favorite ones in the house. Most of the curtain rods are mounted right on window frame so you can open the windows without fooling with your curtains. That way they don't block the air coming in either. If you would like to see those curtains up close you are in luck, they are hanging in the guest room. So come on over and visit and you can enjoy them too....

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

It has been so warm the past couple days, Jacob and I have been hitting the playgrounds. There are some new pics of him on the photosite, here is a link. Sorry, no Germany pics just Jacob. I broke that album up into chapters so you can find the most recent of him.

We are planning to go down to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for the weekend, so as long as the weather is good I should get some nice photos. If you follow the link you will see "english" in small type, just over the mountain. Click it and you will get to their english site, with lots of info about the area. It's about a 3 hour drive from here, we will stay Fri and Sat night. We are really looking forward to it.

Monday, June 07, 2004

The town down the road is having it's 775th Jubilee this year - that's an old town! I think it is a really small town, I'll have to drive by and check it out. I just saw the sign today and it always amazes me how old things are here.

Bavaria (the area of Germany we live in) is mainly a farming region, not as much industry as northern Germany. It is very apparent in our area, there are more tractors than you can imagine. Not a day goes by that I am not behind one on the road, usually more than that. Jacob calls them out as he sees them "red tractor" "orange tractor" "green tractor", so at least it gives him something to do while we are driving.

Today we went by the vet to get Chloe some more vitamins. She has been having some back problems, it got pretty bad a couple weeks ago. She has had acupuncture (yes - you read right) and a cortisone shot. Now she is taking some "natural" supplements for arthritis and her ciatic nerve. But whatever it is seems to be working, she is playing and wagging her tail again.

Just to FYI everyone, Kenny is about to die he is so excited. The Tampa Bay Lightning play game 7 of the Stanley Cup tonight......win or lose they've come a long way since we used to watch them in the dome in St Pete. That was the year of the $99 season tickets.....

Thursday, June 03, 2004

I forgot to post about our trip to the Playmobil Fun Park while Mom was here. It is basically a giant playground themed around Playmobil toys. Jacob enjoyed it, there are giant sand pits with water and toy tractors to play with, water play areas, swings and playground equipment to name a few things. Also a pirate boat which is rather treacherous to get on, I thought. Jacob had no fear though, he marched right across the skinny rope bridge! It's only about 1/2 hour from the house, so I imagine we will be spending more time there this summer. They are building a huge indoor play area that will be open year round, so that will be a nice break from the snowy days too. Of course there is a store with anything Playmobil that you could want, who knew there was so much..

I got a camera today at the P/X, it was a good price and I don't have to worry about it getting lost in the mail if I had ordered it online. I'm excited about it, it's a little more complicated than our other one, but has some neat features. The battery is charging right now so hopefully I will be able to post pictures again real soon!

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Today Jacob and I went to OBI which is like a Home Depot, it's even got that orange theme color throughout. We were getting some flowers so we can put out some window boxes like everyone else has. There were really too many flowers to choose from, so it took us quite a while to pick what we wanted. And of course Jacob made sure to say "Hi" to everyone that went by the cart, so were drawing an audience at one point. Afterwards they have a kiddie ride out front, it's a donkey named Lucky with barrel of tequila strapped to his rear. Only 50 euro cents and it even plays music! Pure Jacob joy!

On a side note, I have decided that our Toyota Highlander is awesome for cobblestone streets. Actually makes driving on them fun, instead of a teeth rattling experience. The thing about cobblestone streets is that they are quaint the first 10 times or so, and then they are just bumpy! Especially in our Opel we had last time we were here - you had to hang on tight. But it is smooth sailing in the Toyota, it really helps make up for the fact we are a little too big for many parking spots here.

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