Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Our European Vacation--Days 1 and 2

The Eagle has landed!

We have been planning a trip to Europe as a family for 6 months or so.  Aaron's parents are living in Frankfurt for a few years, so it was a great excuse to come.  We hemmed and hawed about who to take, whether to go at all, and eventually decided that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to take our kids on a great trip that they will always remember.  Or at least, being realistic--that the older ones will always remember.

We arrived on Sunday and spent the day at Aaron's parents' house.  His mom made a delicious dinner for us, and then we went to the Alte Stadt in Frankfurt.  It was the first sunny day they'd had after a long, long winter, so practically all Frankfurters were out enjoying the sun and the many street performers who gather in the square.

Even in Europe, Starbucks is everywhere!
We walked across the Eisener Sterg, a pedestrian bridge where thousands of couples have attached a "love lock", usually engraved with their names, and then thrown the key into the River Main below to symbolize their devotion.

We then walked down the Fussgänger Zone.  Most cities in Germany restrict the main stopping districts to pedestrians only, which makes them a convenient place for shopping and relaxing.  Nearly all of the shops were closed because it was Sunday, but it was fun to window shop.  We took the long escalator up in the My Zeil shopping mall and got to marvel at a little German engineering.

Then we went back to Aaron's parents' house and all started to feel like a truck had run over us.  Seriously.  We had some ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce, which gave us just enough of a bump in energy to get us back to our hotel in one piece.
Croissants at breakfast.
On Monday (after a broken night's sleep that reminded me of this article, as well as the best free hotel breakfast ever), we headed out to the first part of our trip--Southern Germany and the Bavarian Alps, with a stop in Heidelberg.
Driving over an old cobblestone bridge on the way into Heidelberg.  Aaron was driving, don't worry...
Heidelberg Castle hasn't been occupied full-time since the 18th century, but it is a beautiful, beautiful building up a very, very steep hill.
The trudge up the hill to the castle.
After touring the castle and doing some grocery shopping, we drove three hours to the house we'll be staying at for the next few days.  It is kind of in the middle of nowhere in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, but it is just lovely.

The view out of one of the old battlements at Heidelberg Castle.

Another beautiful view down the hill.

Damon and Lucy snuggling up at the top of the hill.

Some of the kids atop the largest working wine flask in the world at Heidelberg castle.
Sun dial on the side of the castle.
The Renaissance wing of the castle, with the clock tower.
I loved these shutters on one of the buildings near Heidelberg Castle.
"Women Parking space."  Those Germans are so chivalrous.
I made a delicious German dinner of wurst, spaezle with onion gravy, rotkohl and salad.  Aaron whipped up some quark with cherries and whipping cream for dessert.  Yum.  I may or may not have come to Europe just for the food.

I clearly need to learn how to take good indoor pictures at night.  But here is our dinner.  Yum.
Cool barley twist column in the house we're renting.
Slippers provided for guests in our vacation home.
Lucy digging into some wurst.
Our table by the morning sunlight.
We are going to take some fun day trips over the next few days and just savor the ambiance. It is so fun to be here--listening to people talk and feeling some of my language skills come back, people watching, architecture watching and noticing all the cultural differences, both big and small.

The view of the Bavarian Alps from our back balcony.
Gute Reise!


  1. Oh my goodness Erin, what a wonderful family trip and the house you rented looks amazing. What a great way to see Germany, to feel like you live there. I look forward to your future posts, I miss Europe so much, I will live vicariously through you. As the Italians say Bona Fortuna with the rest of your trip :)

  2. Amazing!! Have a very wonderful time - what a great opportunity for you all.

  3. Thanks, Katrina! So far, so good :).

  4. Thank you, Nicole! We have been putting off traveling here because we'd rather live her--it spoiled us. But this has been such a fun adventure so far.


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