Saturday, August 10, 2013

Europe - Deutschland

On June 13th we drive from Belgium into Germany. As we drive we can see the Kolner Dom (Cathedral) in the distance. Love! As I said in my last post, this is one of my favorite cities in Germany. I love how clean and inexpensive it is, and the Rhein is so beautiful. We visited the Cathedral and decided to climb to the top. I have done this twice before, and each time I say I am never going to do that again. Well I did it, haha! Jon and I walked up 509 steps to the top of the bell tower and then we took some incredible pictures of the city. The view and the breeze were both very nice. Then we had to come back down to see the rest of Cologne.

We ate at a small restaurant called Oma's Kuche. I had schnitzel and Jon had a special with sausage, sauerkraut and an egg. It was very good and I got to practice ordering in German! After lunch we went to see a free concert at the Kolner Philharmonie. This was a beautiful concert, but it was interesting because we were dressed in street clothes, and so were the musicians. They played beautifully. 

We only had about an hour left before we had to leave, so we took a quick tour of the Lindt Chocolate museum. Here they explain where the chocolate comes from and show you how it's made. We like learning about how things are made, and of course eating chocolate. 

On our way back to park we saw an Eis shop and got some Spaghetti Eis. This is vanilla ice cream that is pushed through a mold that makes it appear like spaghetti noodles. Then they put strawberry sauce (to look like tomato sauce) and white chocolate shavings (like Parmesan cheese). This was one of my favorite things when I studied in Germany, so it was so nice to have it again.

We left Köln and drove through the forests to Friedrichsdorf, just outside of Frankfurt. This is where one of the LDS Temples is. We got to attend the temple there which was a really neat experience for us.
From there we drove toward Stuttgart. We had made plans to stay with a friend of Jon's from High School. Maike was a foreign exchange student at Jon's high school in Ault, and they have kept in touch, so instead of staying in Stuttgart, we decided to go stay with her and her family just outside of Stuttgart.

We arrived about 9pm to a wonderful Swäbian dinner, roast meat, späzeln with sauce, and vegetables. Maike's parents and boyfriend were very nice and hospitable. We chatted for a bit and then retired. Our room was very nice and the house was incredibly huge for Germany.

The morning of the 14th we had a wonderful breakfast with Maike and her parents. We then headed out to see the Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart. Maike drove us so we can look around while we go. The museum was extensive. It took you through the history of the automobile and what was going on at that time around the world. I really enjoyed the museum and the cars were nice! 

We headed to Ludwigsburg and ate lunch at a traditional restaurant. I had käsespäzlen and it was very good. Jon had a dish that was noodles stuffed with vegetable mix and sausage. The idea was that on Fridays one couldn't eat meat, so they made this noodle dish where you couldn't see the meat because it was wrapped up, that way you could still eat it and be in harmony with God's law. ;)

After lunch we went to a palace in Ludwigsburg that housed the Schwäbian kings. We went on a tour, which was entirely in German, so I got to practice my listening skills. :) I though I did pretty well for being as rusty as I am in German. The palace was just stunning and the artwork incredible. Maike was very kind and translated for Jon.

After our tour of the Palace, we got some eis and then headed back to the house. We took a quick stop at a supermarket for apfelschorle and schwipschwap and also chocolate and an ATM. 

After we got back to Maike's we started our journey to München. This was a 2 hour drive only because the autobahn is awesome! My top speed was 180 kph (112 mph). We arrived about 10pm and didn't do much there but sleep. 

Saturday in München was great! First thing in the morning we went to Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial. This was a great exhibit and very sobering. When you see the site and all the barracks that were destroyed and where the prison was, it was just haunting. We also saw gas chambers disguised as showers (which they say were never used for mass killings but maybe for experiments) and then the crematorium, where countless dead were cremated. Dead from starvation, beatings, shootings, maltreatment, or exhaustion. 

Dachau was a reminder never to forget the atrocities of mankind lest we make the same mistakes again. I'm glad we went and experienced that, it made the day sobering, but was a good reminder.

We returned to Munich and ate at Augustiner Brau. They had a bier garten, but we opted to stay inside because there were no spots in the shade. The food was great and we enjoyed the atmosphere with the waiters and waitresses wearing traditional Bavarian garb. 

On Saturday, Munich has an open air market, so we got to eat through the Crowded streets and purchase food and items from market stalls. It was a lot of fun. 

In Munich we saw a couple churches and went to the Residenz, where the dukes of Bavaria lived. This was an extensive building, much like Schloss Ludwigsburg. We were there for some sort of music festival as well. The atmosphere was much like you would expect in Bavaria. 

We left Munich about 6 pm and headed to a little town called Kolbermoor, just outside Rosenheim. We decided to stay the night here because it is halfway to Salzburg from Munich. We ate at a small cafe restaurant run by an Italian man. I had pizza with spaghetti as a topping and prosciutto. It was delicious! Jon had much fun talking to the man, and he didn't know much German, so it was interesting. It started raining while we were there, but we didn't get too wet. 

We stayed the night at a nice comfy home in Kolbermoor and left early the next morning, Sunday the 16th to drive to Austria. Just two more days until Praha!

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