William continues to lose his mind over every little thing that doesn't go exactly the way it's supposed to in his 4 year old mind. And I can't escape from it because I can't drive!! We're going to remedy that this week though.
Actually, that's some good new too -- we got a 2nd car!! It's a Honda CRV (we do love our Hondas) and it's kind've a maroon color. All the car seats do fit in the back seat although just barely but it works and since it will mainly be for Chopper going to and from work, it's not a big deal. He is taking it to work of course so I'm still stuck without transportation other than my own two legs but we're finding more parks and taking short trips to the Germany grocery or on to the base to the library so we'll survive. And it means that we can really start house-hunting!! That's the exciting thing -- I'd love to find a house and know where I need to register the kids for school and where we're finally going to call home for good!!
Vilseck and Grafenwoehr both host army bases that are connected by what they call the "tank trail" and currently we are living in Graf but Chopper works at Vilseck. So Saturday we drove to the town of Vilseck to look around and get a feel for the area. I think that we'll be concentrating our house hunting in that area -- it is absolutely beautiful -- farming country and hills and forest. Vilseck itself has a whole system of walking and biking trails that we'd like to explore (2 out of 3 children yesterday were grumpy so we didn't do a lot except figure out they are there), but we stayed in the city center for the most part and wandered a little bit.
Ok this is actually a picture from Nabburg that Georgina took. You can't really tell but that's a sandstone carving of a monk or something behind us.
How we squeeze into the car.
The city center of Vilseck with their clock tower.
I just loved this door!!! There are a lot of interesting doors actually -- a mix of old and modern, double, and teeny tiny -- we don't know why some of them are small!
Closer on the tower.
Vilseck actually boasts a castle! It's not a castle like what you get in the "bring tourists to Germany" pictures, but it's a real castle. And this was one of those moments where I wish that I could speak and read German because there were informational signs and I have no idea what they said!!
A view of the castle from far away. We did watch a video online about Vilseck and the inside of the castle has been renovated and is used for various community functions. The banner hanging from the tower is about something that's coming up I think. It has a whole bunch of people's faces on it.
I just love these windows in the roof!
We took a bit of a walking trail and found this piece of art at a resting point. It makes me wonder if there are others along the rest of the trail.
Going along the curtain wall
When we went around the square, I looked down this alley and there was a church at the end!! So we had to go check it out.
Inside, another elaborate church!!! I found out after our last excursion that a cathedral is the church that is the seat of a Bishop (thanks Krista!!!). Since I'm pretty sure that these two small towns are not seats of Bishops, I'm assuming that these churches are just regular churches. But the thing is, this particular one was built in 1407 and renovated in 1752 and so you have the accepted style for churches in that day, not to mention hundreds of years for people to make donations for ornamentation and upkeep. So really, it makes sense. Especially as a community probably revolved around the church. It's certainly not like that now, but historically I think it makes sense. I really REALLY want to take some classes in European history. Maybe get a master's degree while we're living here. Now that would be awesome!!
There was no one inside but there was evidence that it is still a used church -- hymnals and prayerbooks and bulletins with announcements stacked neatly in the back.
View from the back with Megan for scale - also because she won't take any pictures looking at me and smiling so I do the best I can!
Don't know if this is a relic or a piece of the church that has been preserved perhaps from a war or fire or something. It was definitely a burned something or other. The history behind these places and I have no idea!!!!!
Yay an English translation!!! I think (but I'm not sure) the third language at the bottom is Czech. We're only an hour from the border of The Czech Republic and a lot of people go to Prague for vacation.
Even these little towns we could probably spend hours just wandering all the little streets and I totally wood but the kids get really whiny about how much walking we're doing . . .
At the back was a small graveyard with very nice headstones with what appeared to be family names on them. It's behind a gate so I couldn't get any further in than this.
I love cobblestoned streets!
Tower view again
Abby and the flowers -- she likes to take pretty pictures!
We stopped at a bakery on our way back to the car (surprise surprise) and then drove home. Chopper took the kids to a park to play so I could get some quiet alone time and they got caught in a rain shower so I didn't get as much as I wanted/needed but it ended up being a good day for everyone. Now as we start the house hunting in earnest tomorrow, I'd really like to live over there. I like this side of the base too and in the end it probably doesn't really matter, we'll bloom where we're planted, but it would be nice to be close to work and school especially. They will bus the kids to the schools on base but I don't want a really long bus ride for them if we can help it.
I haven't seen the rest of Germany yet of course but I love this area. I love the peace and quiet and laid back feeling. I love the bells that ring in every town and village, the winding streets, the green landscape, the views, the history. Chopper and I have wanted to visit Europe for a long time and we've always said we've wanted to do England and Germany especially. I am constantly grateful right now for this opportunity to live here and explore so much of an area that I've wanted to even just visit! William's screaming will hopefully come to an end and the kids will adjust -- oh Megan made a friend today!! Quick story -- there's a woman in the ward who has been amazingly helpful to me online and she told me that her 8 year old daughter has been praying for more friends. Today we met them at church and I told Megan after we met them briefly and were getting ready to go to primary that this other girl (Eliza) looked shy too and perhaps she could be friendly and get to know her. At the end of primary, I asked how the day had gone and she told me that she and Eliza are already friends! They apparently bonded over the fact that they both collect and play with Littlest Pet Shop toys. It warms my heart to see how well she is doing when I have been so worried about her. I think that school in the fall will still be difficult but she's really doing well overall and that's another blessing to be grateful for.