Well, we are back from Germany and we had a BLAST!!! It was INCREDIBLE! I apologize to all our friends and family, but it is very possible that Germany might be our next duty station! It was that awesome!
We covered A LOT of ground in three short days, so I'll break it down by day...
26 November--Day 1
On Thanksgiving Day we got up at four am and headed down to London-Standstead Airport and headed off to Germany. I had gotten maybe an hour and a half of sleep that night. I was scheduled to work until Midnight, but one of my coworkers, Jane, was awesome enough to come in at 10:00 and let me leave early to get some sleep. By the time I got into bed, I was too excited to sleep, so I slept the entire hour long plane ride.
We landed in Frankfurt-Hahn, picked up our rental car and headed to Heidelberg. We actually were driving on the right side of the road...lol So that was pretty interesting.
We drove through Idar Oberstein on the way there, but I was feeling like crap from not sleeping and from the ridiculously curvy roads, so I slept while Christopher drove us to the Heidelberg army base, where we were staying. We checked in, put our stuff down in our room and drove to downtown Heidelberg. We headed to the Castle first. Its built into the mountain and is HUGE. We walked all along the grounds and into where they kept the booze... there were some of THE biggest kegs I've ever seen in there!
After the castle, we drove to the downtown area and set out in search of the Market. Pretty much every town in Germany has a Christmas Market every year. They have all kinds of different things at the market, and TONS of food. We had Gluhvein, which is mulled wine, and bratwurts for dinner that night. I'm not a huge meat eater, but the brats were really good. Christopher LOVED them.
We got back to the hotel pretty early and were asleep before 9, absolutely exhausted.
27 November--Day 2
We woke up really early on Friday and headed to Rothenberg.
Rothenberg City is set behind castle walls. And it is like something out of a Charles Dickens story... it is unbelievably GORGEOUS. The streets are steep and cobblestone, the buildings have the steep rooftops and are just... pretty. Seriously. If you think about the quintessential european village, Rothenberg just fits that picture. Its amazing. We spent most of the day there shopping and eating yummy German fare. We sat down and had lunch in a restaurant instead of eating from the market vendors and had a GREAT lunch. Christopher had bratwurst, sauerkraut and beer and I had pork and mushrooms in gravy and spaetzle... DELICIOUS!!!
After Rothenberg, we drove to Mannheim. We got there after dark (of course, in Europe and during the winter, after dark is like 4pm), so everything was all lit up and gorgeous! The market was only okay. It was CROWDED as all get out, so we fought the crowd, grabbed some dinner and headed back to the hotel and started wrapping presents.
28 November--Day 3
We woke up late on Saturday morning, got ready, packed everything up and headed to the larger part of the base to go to the post office. First of all, I'd like to block out the morning of Day 3... finding the base was a nightmare. We were staying at an annex of the base, so getting to the main Heidelberg base was ridiculous. We spent over and hour, yes over an hour, at the Post Office on base packing up boxes and mailing them home.
After the base nightmare, we headed to Trier. We got there much later than we had originally planned, so we only spent a couple of hours there. We walked around the HUGE market first. In the Center of the Market was the biggest Pyramid ever! If you know me well, you know that National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is my favorite Christmas movie ever and that my grandpa and I watch it EVERY Christmas and we know all the words. Well, a couple of years ago, Mymom (not my mom, my grandma...lol) and Grampy bought me a wooden Pyramid (the whirly gig thing that Randy Quaid touches and all the little pieces come off in the movie). So, those whirly gig things are called Pyramids and they're made in Germany, so we saw them all weekend.
We finished our shopping and headed into Trier Cathedral, which was right in the heart of the downtown area. It was vast and amazing... and quiet. Which is rare, normally when you go in and visit places like that, with all the people, its very rarely quiet. But Trier Cathedral was reverent and awe inspiring. I lit a candle for Marnie (a five year old girl who has Cancer. Her grandma goes to my home church and has asked for prayers for her), and for "Egg's" parents (my egg recipients). Then we walked up some stairs and stood in front of this A M A Z I N G altar. Behind the gates of this altar was what they think is the seamless robe of Jesus! That was incredible. You cant actually see the robe, its not like they can put fabric that's over two thousand years old on display, but you can see the container its preserved in and its just amazing. So, if that is in fact the robe of Jesus, I got to light a candle for Marnie and Egg's Parents at the foot of the robe of Jesus, which is very... cool... well, cool doesn't even cover it, but what word really does?
The altar where the robe is in...
A roman building in Trier
After Trier we headed to Frankfurt City. It was about two hours away, and was incredible. The GPS, though it got us around no problem every where else, had some issues in the heart of the city with all the tall buildings, so we got a little lost and lost some time in there, so it ended up that we only had about twenty five minutes at the market there. Which is sooo sad, because Frankfurt is INCREDIBLE. We will definitely be going back. It was a HUGE market, with anything you can imagine.
We got to the airport and realized how nice it is to have a plane that leaves at 1130 at night. We blew through security and then got to the passport checks. Yeah, apparently the guy at the airport when we landed in Germany didn't stamp my passport. So, that was fun. I had a mini freak out that they were going to keep me in Germany, but they didn't, the guy just didn't give me an outgoing stamp since I had no incoming one. Which sucks, because now I don't have any German stamps in my passport. Its okay, I made it through and we made it into England no problem. We got home, called our parents to let them know we made it there and back safely and then passed out.
We had a great time and really loved Germany! It was on our list of places to visit, but honestly, it wasn't very high on the list, so it more than exceeded our expectations. The people were amazing and ridiculously nice, the food was great, the sights and sounds, everything was incredible!
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