Friday, October 21, 2016


Every day we walk to the bus stop and cross over the Vils River.  Some days there are swans out there!!  We always get really exited about that.

Some ladies in our ward have started a mystery group.  One person posts that they have a mystery and includes any relevant details without giving it away -- time, location, proper attire, money needed, kid friendly, etc.  I've been to two mysteries so far (and missed the one where they talked about how Elvis Pressley performed during WWII in the building that is now our church!!  True story!!) and they've been  a lot of fun, educational, and great for getting to know people!

On Friday, William and I went to a mystery that made the girls jealous -- a cave!  It was about a half hour from our house and it's called Maximilian's Grotto.

This is our guide -- his English was not good at all but another German helped a little and I think we learned a few things!  At least we understand that during one war sometime, the cave was used to dump the bodies of Spanish soldiers (who are no longer there), a woman was lost and had fallen in, and now they make cheese in the cave!  Well they make cheese somewhere else but they age it in the cave.

Of course he pointed out the major features of the cave including this wall of "animals".  There's an eagle right in the center and an owl on the side.  The whole cave is pretty black because of the centuries of use with torches.

This cave also boasts the largest dripstone in Germany!  Woohoo!

It had some good open rooms and fun narrow spaces.  William really enjoyed it even without a jacket.  He basically refuses all the time.  The rest of us were in coats/jackets, hats, and gloves.

And then we came out into the beautiful Bavarian forest.  I love Bavaria!!!

We're starting to get more and more fall color but it's actually still pretty green.  Afterwards we ate at a restaurant that's just down the hill.  When it doubt, order the schnitzel.  I really like schnitzel!  And doners.  And bratwurst!  Believe me, we're not starving!

Saturday turned out to be an amazing day!  We started with a trip to a pumpkin patch -- literally a field where you cut your own pumpkins.  We spent some time picking out perfect pumpkins.

This is not Megan's perfect pumpkin but she did choose a small white one.

We paid 30 Euro for 4 big pumpkins and 4 small ones -- I think that's pretty good!  Then we washed them up and went out for a little more exploring.

Not far from the pumpkin patch are some castle ruins called Burgruine Wolfstein.  I'm sure that we'll see plenty of ruins over the years but this was our first and we all loved it.  After we explored, the kids' imaginations went wild and they ran all over getting thrown in the dungeon and rescued and stuff.  It was chilly but a beautiful day too.  This whole fall has been amazing.  Everyone keeps warning me about how awful winter will be and I don't doubt it but we're loving the cool weather and the fall colors.  We haven't had fall colors in years!

Everyone's trying to escape from the dungeon.

We translated the sign and found that mention of the place was in the 1100's and the castle itself was in full swing in the 1500's.  The tower was the first piece and it was built mainly for defense and of course keeping prisoners.

The kids were convinced that this was the real skeleton of a prisoner from long ago!
The tower is big but narrow on the inside because there are stairs that wind up between the outside and inner wall.  Now they're a combination of metal stairs that have been put into place and the original stone steps between the walls.  

About halfway up

Now we're headed up the narrow stone steps!

The view from the top was incredible!  Dizzying really.  They had signs up pointing out all the cities and apparently the view goes all the way out to Nuremberg!

This is looking down from the tower onto the castle keep walls -- it was high!

I love this picture of Abby backlit with the tower and that amazing sky!

Just a lot of pictures really but it was pretty breathtaking and we had a great day together.  The kids have declared that they want to go to more castle ruins rather than nice castles.  Well they're just going to get both!!!

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