We have a senior couple here on a military relations mission that we ran into and met at the USO one day last week. They invited us over for dinner on Saturday night and we showed up about 6 p.m. only to be told that they were going to take us on a mystery and so here's a peanut butter sandwich and some chips and let's get in the car!
Ok first of all, we did NOT ride in the mission car -- it's against the rules. And it wouldn't fit us all anyway. Another sister in the ward who has a van drove us in her car and we all went together.
We drove on the Autobahn -- dang!! Chopper and I have been learning the driving rules in preparation for testing for our licenses hopefully soon. One big rule is that you DO NOT pass on the right and you DO NOT sit in the left lane on the Autobahn. There really is no speed limit, REALLY, and we were passed A LOT by very fast driving cars so I totally see the point in the laws but it was kind've crazy!!
Anyway, I just love looking out at the countryside anyway because it's hilly and forested and then there are villages everywhere peeking out of the trees and usually with either a church tower or rathaus tower rising above everything else. But we came to a town called Nabburg that literally had the old town portion on a hill with the church at the top. I should've taken a picture from the car but it was awesome to see as we drove up. Turns out this is a medieval town that does a medieval market every two years for two days only and it was Saturday and Sunday!! So we wandered this amazing town and there were cool booths selling awesome stuff, musicians, dancers, lots of people dressed in costume, and demonstrations of various crafts and occupations. It was a little crazy keeping all the kids with us but we had a great time!!
Ok this is actually the road that we parked off of before walking up several flights of very steep stairs and then winding still upwards through the oldest part of the village. I'm showing it because this is what German village roads are like: narrow and twisty! And German drivers go fast! There's been several roads that Chopper and I have been on and have asked if it's a one-way road. Nope. But good luck fitting two cars. Side note -- yes there are a great number of mopeds, smart cars, Fiats, and other small cars, but I've seen plenty of regular size and larger cars. Maybe not Suburbans or the really big trucks, but even my mini-van shouldn't pose a problem for the most part -- except in the villages and we've been told just to park outside the villages and walk in.
Ok all my pictures are filled with people -- it was really crowded!! Next time we'll go during the day. But the crowd was not rowdy or obnoxious and there were plenty of kids around. And if that's a German drinking crowd -- it's 10 times better than an American one!
Working blacksmith -- fun to watch
One of the random entertainments -- I don't think there was a schedule or anything, there were just random performances and they were really good. Although we missed the fire juggler :(
This house has 1939 at the very top -- I don't know if that's the age of the house or the decor but it was gorgeous!
Rathaus is town hall and they're always nearly as big as the churches and with a bell tower at the top as well. Bells in every village everywhere! I love it!
Since we were there at dusk, I've lightened up a lot of these pictures so that the details are clearer. They're all from my cell phone so I hope that they will enlarge with good clarity!
This beauty says 1939 at the top - I don't know if that's the age of the building (doubtful, it's probably older) or the decoration. So I know that it's been about 70 years from World War II and we haven't really been anywhere but we haven't really seen any evidence of war time destruction. I don't know if that's because we're in a rural area or because Bavaria wasn't affected much -- I have so much to learn about local and country history!
Ok so seriously there were so many people walking around in medieval costume and it was awesome (and you know I was completely jealous!). But the thing I noticed most? It was believable and modest! I don't really enjoy renaissance fairs in the states anymore because so often the women are exposing way more than I think is necessary and it's all about the sexy princess or wench or whatever. But it just seemed like the costumes here were understated and realistic and we didn't see a lot of boob! It was awesome!! And it was old and young, male and female, elaborate and simple. I think my favorite things were the flower crowns. Sigh. I'm such a costume fanatic!!
One stall was selling honey and beeswax candles and had brought this small case of bees to show. The kids watched them for 5 minutes and we had to drag them away.
Once you get up high there are alleyways that had INCREDIBLE views! Pictures never do this kind of stuff justice but I just can't even imagine how glorious it would be to actually live there and wake up to this every morning. Maybe people in general would be a little more laid back if they had this kind of view to soak in every day!
The Catholic church at the top of the hill -- Chopper said it was a cathedral and I guess I don't know the difference between a church and a cathedral but if it's measured in ornamentation, then yes, this is it. The missionaries told us that there's another amazing one closer to us that I need to ask about again and write it down so I don't forget!!
The inside of the church was mainly lit with candles which Megan said was creepy but was actually really soft and beautiful! But with the interior darkened and it still being light outside the stained glass windows were brilliantly beautiful. There was a line to go up to the tower and we decided not to -- we probably should have!
And it's not just the windows! The arches! The stonework!
The statues? The church in Grafenwoehr has a crucifix on the outside that the girls think is pretty gross. They're really not used to seeing portrayals of Christ with the blood and piercings. This one had some statues that weren't too bad in that respect but these individuals are apparently all saints. Elder Johnson thought the middle was Saint Sebastian and the left end was Saint George.
The next day was Sunday of course and we went to church down the street. Abby wanted to know why we weren't going to "that church we went to yesterday". I think for the first time every I explained to the girls that not everyone who goes to church has the same beliefs as we do. Of course they have friends who are different religions or not at all, but they're all been generally Christian and we haven't been to tour any of their churches!! It's only been a week and already their worldview is expanding and I love it!!
This is part of the original wall and I think dates back to the 1500s. And when we went up the stairs and stood on the wall this is the view we got:
One of the stalls was selling more of the "dark" side so to speak -- Harry Potter, dark arts kind of stuff. The kids thought this dragon skull was cool.
A tower in the village with a stork nest at the top!
This would be an incredible city to see even without the medieval market. And they have a Christmas market so we may be going back!! The surprising thing about it was that it was cheap! I always associate fairs and festivals with spending an arm and a leg but entry was only 4 euro for adults, kids free, and they kids all got gelato and giant pretzels (which they LOVE -- ok I do too) for a euro each. Actually, I feel like food here is either about the same as America or cheaper. We have a bakery and a gelato shop on the same street right around the corner from where we're living right now and they are both delicious and both inexpensive. Our entire family gets single scoop cones of gelato for less than 5 euro. And they change their flavors and have some I've never heard of before we we've liked every one that we've tried. Although I think right now the zitrone (lemon) is my favorite.
Also, the language. I feel it necessary to learn what we can and to try to speak Germany but I am admittedly woefully inept and Chopper isn't any better. Yes, so many people speak English and I am so grateful and impressed! It makes my life easier certainly but I often wonder if they are laughing at me later or if they appreciate the effort. I guess it doesn't really matter but we are trying!