Adventures in Deutschland
I returned from Germany last week with a camera full of pictures and a new appreciation for the rolling green pastures of Bavaria. A more picturesque place, I can hardly imagine; there were window boxes and gardens full of roses and every other beautiful flower imaginable, fields of barley, quaint, colorful little houses, and bicyclers coasting along neatly-kept trails. A castle presided over the village where my brother lives, surrounded by a moat, and swans glided along the peaceful waters outside the small church. Basically, I wanted to pack up and move to Germany by the end of our twelve days in Bavaria. However, my German skills don't extend far beyond danke and Hallo, so I don't think a trans-Atlantic move in is my near future.
After a looooong flight across the Big Blue, we landed in Frankfurt and drove to the aforementioned village where my brother, sister-in-law, and niece live. In order to accomplish this, my mom and I were introduced to the autobahn—for those of you who aren't familiar, this is the stretch of road on which Germans may speed along at speeds of 100, 120, 125, etc. But fear not: that's kilometers, not miles per hour ;) Still, it was an experience.
Upon reaching my brother's house, we settled in, unpacked, and met my wee niece for the first time! She was still very new and tiny but has been able to raise her head and look around from day one; she's extremely alert and likes taking in all the new sights. She even gave me a smile or two while I was holding her :)
The next day, my brother's mother-in-law (MIL), Mom, and I went to the train station and rode to Nürnberg, where we viewed a cathedral or two, shopped in the vegetable / fruit markets and stores, and walked along the wall that surrounds the city. When it came time for lunch, we met my brother, SIL, and niece at a little restaurant, at which I had sausage goulash and some crepes. Germans love their potatoes; apparently every meal in Germany includes some type of spuds, whether it be French fries ("pommes") or something a bit fancier.
My brother took me to the castle when we returned, and we strolled around the premise admiring the swans and trying to keep Zuri, my brother's German shepherd, from plunging into the water after the ducks. The walk back to the house from the castle is a pleasant one through some fields and along a few budding pomegranate trees; I made the trek twice over the course of my stay and thoroughly enjoyed the trip.
Next we ventured to Ansbach with the crew. Here we visited St. Johannis' cathedral and one other (whose name escapes me) with a decidedly French flair and a mega-amazing pipe organ. I probably spent more time gawking up at the organ than paying attention to anything else. We also toured The Orangerie, a glorified mansion and ballroom often used for military balls and other such fancy events. It included several fountains, lush gardens, weird statues, and a restaurant.
My dad joined us shortly afterwards, having stayed in the U.S. longer so he could attend to work stuff. Once he came, we all packed up and went to Rothenburg via train. This place was pretty darn cool; it's the oldest walled city in Germany and boasts almost as many shops as Italy ;) We toured a few more cathedrals, ate in a hotel restaurant (where I had lamb ravioli), and enjoyed the profoundly German flavor of the city.
It was here that my SIL noticed an ad for a medieval shop nearby, and I, being the weapons fanatic that I am, dragged my poor family to see it. This place was basically Heaven. Swords, bows, knives, pistols from wall to ceiling, a basement stylized like a medieval prison, The Lord of the Rings chess sets, medieval clothing—goodness, it was amazing. Now, I've had my eye on a flintlock pistol for the past year or so but never imagined finding one (at an affordable price!) in Germany. Only decorative, but still beautiful and now mine :) I also procured a German knife (I collect knives from each country I visit), so the day was doubly productive. Definitely my favorite store that we visited! We ate dinner at an Italian restaurant overlooking a pristine golf course, on which my brother and dad played over the weekend.
During our last days in Germany, we got in lots of time with the baby, enjoyed my brother's cooking, and took Zuri on many long walks. We spent our last night in Frankfurt and then headed to the airport the next morning. On the 10 and a half hour flight home, I watched The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Annie, and Frozen. And wrote, as always. It was a great trip, and I look forward to hopping the pond next year when I venture to Scotland, England, Ireland, and Wales! Have I mentioned how much I love traveling? An expensive love, unfortunately, but well worth it, I think! Well, that's all for now, lovely readers of this blog. Hope you enjoyed hearing about my adventures in Deutschland! :)