Tuesday, July 31, 2018


Once we got home, we spent the next week doing mostly day trips to places that we've been before and that Jenn and Bronwyn wanted to see. We had a day in Rothenburg ob der Tauber (without kids because Chopper was home for the 4th of July!!), Regensburg, they took the train one day down to Nuremberg, and then we did a day at Flossenburg.  

I love the view of Rothenburg from the tower on the Rathaus.

We followed Rick Steves walking tour which I hadn't done before because, well, kids, and it was pretty good!

But probably the best part was the night watchman's tour!  It's every night at 8 pm and he takes whoever shows up.  There was a musical group from Colorado (I think) visiting and performing and so we had a huge group of people.  Probably close to 300!  But he projects his voice well and the crowd is quiet when he speaks and he's got a great dry humor that makes his tour really entertaining. It has made me want to be a costumed tour guide now!

Our day in Regensburg started with a boat ride on the Danube in Kelheim. We thought we would get off at a monastery and have lunch or snacks but it didn't dock, just turned around and went back!  Oh well, it was a pretty trip regardless!

In addition to Flossenburg concentration camp, we hiked up the Flossenburg castle ruins.  They're pretty steep in places but fairly intact.

From the ruins you could see over to where the camp was and the places where they quarried the rock - that was the main purpose of the camp, to quarry granite for Nazi's building projects. 

And what would a visit be without a night of tea drinking and card playing?  I had to introduce them to Marrying Mr. Darcy!  It was a more relaxed week for me mainly because I realized that they wanted more informational tours than I could do, especially with the kids. But I think they enjoyed the places that they saw and the days off for the kids were good to refuel them for our last trip to Prague!

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Königsee and Berchtesgaden

Our second day in the area we drove to Berchtesgaden and bought tickets to take a boat on the Königsee to St. Bartholomä. It was rainy and foggy going out there so we didn't get the amazing views but I still think there is something magical about fog and I never regret when we have that experience.

The boat was enclosed so that was good! 


So funny story -- kind've awful too. The boat was pretty crowded despite the weather and I ended up with the kids at the back among a group of Asian tourists and Chopper was somewhere else with Jenn and Bronwyn. About halfway through the ride, William starts majorly dancing and it turns out that he didn't go to the bathroom AT ALL that morning. Of course there's no bathroom on the boat and the guide has just finished telling us that the waters are so pure they are drinkable - plus although William is very fond of peeing in the wild, he can't do it without pulling his pants entirely down and is not discreet in the slightest.  So I start to panic that we're going to end up with a puddle on the floor and I'm texting Chopper that we need help!  So he comes over and drapes his raincoat over William. I take out a water bottle from my backpack and drink like half of it right there and then in the middle of that crowd Chopper helps William pee into the bottle, covered by his raincoat. Our European adventures with kids can be quite interesting.

The church of St. Bartholomä is really beautiful coming to it along the lake but when you get there, it's small and the interior isn't spectacular. There are some good hikes in the area, including one to an ice cave but that wasn't going to happen so we got some pictures and then got in line to wait for a boat back. 

This one turned out pretty good!!


The green of the lake is like glass! And that's a little patch of grass with a house and a stream into the lake. I think I could live there.

 The rain pretty much stopped by the time we got back to Berchtesgaden and we explored the shops along the lake a little bit before decided we would do the short hike out to a view point.


At the viewpoint we started to get some sun!

The viewpoint was fantastic!
And of course the kids found lots to look at.
Chopper has been teaching the kids about skipping rocks and so everywhere we go now they have to search for good ones.

 Then we drove into Berchtesgaden center and explored a bit. This saint (?) being boiled in oil was fun.  


This cemetery had a whole wall with plaques dedicated to soldiers who had died in WWI and WWII and it was so sad because their pictures were so young. Entire generations across Europe were killed in both of those wars.

We introduced our friends to Döners for dinner and then had some obligatory ice cream. We also stopped in at a church where they were having a rehearsal and we were told to come back for the concert later so we did. Turns out the concert was a mass. So we didn't stay very long. But it ended up being a really good day and that was pretty much the last of the rain until a few weeks later in Prague so I can't complain!! 

Salzburg in the Rain

It's been a month since I've blogged and a lot has happened!  I'm hoping to catch up entirely this week because I have a class starting next week and my spare time will be reading and writing. Honestly I've been debating whether or not to continue blogging. If I don't, I will continue to "blog" my entries into the book format I use with Blurb so that we have our family journal every year. I just don't know if I want to continue doing both. If you actually read the blog, leave me a comment letting me know!  Maybe then I'll decide.

Anyway, this summer we had visitors!!  Two of my very good friends came over from Texas. They flew into Paris and spent about a week in France and then took the train through Switzerland and on into Salzburg, Austria. We drove down and picked them up from the train station and then stayed for a few days in Salzburg and Berchtesgaden seeing the sights. Well trying to! It rained steadily our entire day in Salzburg!

We really just wandered. I took them to a few of the places I remembered from the Sound of Music Tour that we could get to on foot (and we saw a bike tour en route - all covered in rain ponchos!) and we went into some churches and stuff that we hadn't seen before. It was a little bit miserable but still amazing and there are a few things I would like to go back to. That area of Austria/Germany is so gorgeous!

This is the Salzburger Dom. It was lovely inside of course but I think one of the highlights of our visit her was that as we were wandering around, a group began singing in the middle of the cathedral. It was like a reverent flash mob! And it's incredible how the sound carries simply because of the way the building is built. The artistry and excellence of these buildings always puts me in awe.


We always enjoy a good statue. Megan declared that this one has Grandpa's forehead. 
Mozart was the organist here for two years and composed several masses that are still used today. There are five organs in the church and I imagine that when they are all played together it is an incredible experience.
Ok this is probably really irreverent of us but that bronze basin in the background is where Mozart was baptized!
In the rain, this statue was crying. Seemed appropriate.

There's a great view of the fortress from the Kapitelplatz.  We didn't go up because I read that it's not really an enclosed fortress and we were trying to find inside things to do!

But we walked up the hill to Nonnberg Abbey - the Abbey where the real Fraulein Maria was before she married Captain Von Trapp and there are great views of the city as you go.


This is the entrance to St. Peter's Church - the birthplace of Christianity in Salzburg. It's a whole complex with a monastery actually and a restaurant in one part that claims that Charlemagne ate there in 803.

But actually my favorite part of this one was the amazing cemetery behind it all with the cliffs one one side and the city on the other.

To the right, the arches? Those were the inspiration for the cemetery where the Von Trapps hide when they're escaping the Nazis. 

You can see how you have the large memorials behind the gates. The movie didn't do a replica but you can definitely see how they were inspired by this. Especially when you stand back and see them all in a row. They're up against the wall but I could totally see how they made spaces to hide behind!

Jenn and Bronwyn did the museum tour here at Mozart's birth house and I took the kids next door to an H&M to find sweatshirts and keep out of the rain!  Nothing like old and new as neighbors!

Then we wandered into this very interesting church that is undergoing renovation. I don't know if they have plans to paint or gild this stucco work but I love it the way it is with the clouds spreading out and up.

We found a great restaurant to warm up in and this is the only picture I have of the three of us!  I think someone has a few more of us in the rain somewhere though. We had soup and warm apple strudel!  It was so chilly and we were all pretty much soaked through.