Gemstones of Germany

Idar-Oberstein is an interesting town not far from us, maybe 15 minutes away. We often take visitors to hike the mountain there, but more regularly we go to Idar to shop at the home improvement store for our garden and hobbies. I’ve been meaning to blog about it for some time, but I keep pushing it off since it has become a regular place for us. But when Danielle visited last month, we toured the gemstone mine, one of the few things in Idar-Oberstein I had yet to do, and I was reminded of how wonderful the city is. I decided it deserved a blog post!  Continue reading

Accidentally finding Brock’s one fear

Last weekend we unexpectedly scared the pants off of poor Mr. Brock. Here in Germany we have started to view the sun again, so naturally we went out exploring. We set out to Morsdorf, just about an hour away, to see the Geierlay suspension bridge. At 360 meters (about 1,200 ft) long and 100 meters (over 300 ft) high it is not only the longest suspension bridge in Germany but it was perfectly terrifying to Brock. The original idea for this bridge was abandoned in 2006 because it was deemed infeasible, but in October of 2015, only 130 days after construction began, the bridge was opened.

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One writer said that it was “chicken soup for the soul” but we disagree. Fil seemed fine, but immediately I could tell that Brock was scared. We got about halfway across and I said I wasn’t going any further. With each step we could feel the sway of the bridge below us and it was a bit much for me. Me, a motorcycle riding, high speed driving, white water rafting adventurer was not game to walk all the way across. Brock and Fil walked a bit further before Brock lost it and started screaming.

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Brock’s face says “WTF guys, NOT COOL”

Not that he melts down a lot in public, but this was the first time we weren’t embarrassed by it. Other visitors just laughed and smiled at him until we got him calmed down. As soon as we got off the bridge he slumped in his stroller and held on tight. Poor kiddo. We were not expecting that at all. Brock is so fearless and loves rough and tumble play, jumping across our couches, bellyflopping on our bed, and swinging high at the playground. Not only that, but I have plenty of friends to have also hiked to the bridge and crossed with little ones with no issues. We felt terrible.

That experience was a week ago, and he still points to the bridge post card on the wall with a scared look saying “bridge”—he doesn’t interact with any of the other almost 50 postcards we have. But I think I have a way to make up for the trauma…. Brock and I are headed to Disneyland Paris in a few days while Fil is away (again) for work! I am so excited and I just know Brock will love it!

Below is a tourist video for the bridge… it’s pretty dramatic and cheesy, but you get great views of the bridge:

Flinging Christmas trees at the Knut festival

Happy New Year and merry Epiphany! Growing up Presbyterian, I had never heard of Epiphany or Three Kings day, but now that I know I will share– my apologies to anyone who understands it better than I, this is just a quick intro to how we experience it in Germany. January 6 marks the epiphany, and brings the 12 days of Christmas to an end. In some states in Germany it is a public holiday, but for all Germans it marks the beginning of the carnival or festival season.  Continue reading

Sunday Fun-day in the woods

Hi friends! It has been a while since my last blog, for sure! Brock and I spent about a month back home in New Jersey and Fil has been away in the Czech Republic and currently Norway, BUT Brock and I are back in Germany and back to exploring!

We jumped right back into the swing of things by planning a Halloween party for Fil’s company, which was a huge hit, carved pumpkins AND met Brock’s kindergarten teacher. That’s right, Brock is going to start attending the German kindergarten in our village! We are very excited, and he seemed to really like being there when we went the other day for orientation.  Continue reading

Jousting at Manderscheid

Last week we traveled back to the Middle Ages. It is a bit embarrassing to say this was our first medieval festival because of the amount of these festivals that happen, but alas we made it to one.

About an hour away in the Eifel region of Germany we found Manderscheid. It could not have been any easier to get to. Just a few kilometers off the autobahn we parked in a field and took a bus right to the entrance of the lower castle ruin, Niederburg. I think I can easily say these ruins were the best we have seen. Continue reading

History and fun in Nuremberg

Part two of our little getaway was just as fun as the first day in Rothenberg. We had three days to explore Nuremberg and the weather prediction for the last two days was to be rainy and/or snowy, so that means we started off our trip with our one nice day at the zoo!

Tiergarten Nurnberg was really great! I planned to rent a wagon for the day, and it halfway worked out. My wonderful plan was to pull Brock around and not have to wear him for the whole day. But he was a bit tired from the late night before and cranky so I ended up pulling an empty wagon and wearing him about half the day 😕.

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Rothenburg ob der Tauber

There was no way I was going to sit home for 3 months without traveling just because I would have to do it alone. I looked into quite a few options but in the end decided to pick someplace I could easily drive to and someplace with plenty of “kid friendly” activities. I figured the best way to keep my sanity was to keep Brock happy which means fewer castles and museums and more playgrounds and places to run around. With a tip from a friend I landed on Nuremberg, but as I looked at the map I realized not too far from there was Rothenburg ob der Tauber and simply had to add a day to the trip :).

I couldn’t have planned a better trip! I absolutely loved Rothenburg and am so glad we had a day there! The old part of town is surrounded by the original medieval walls with 4 access gates that date to the 1300’s. It is not uncommon to see city walls like this but it is pretty rare for the wall to be standing in its entirety and safe enough for visitors to climb the steps and walk the length of the wall.  Continue reading

Christmas 2015 Wrap-UP

Merry Christmas everyone! This Christmas was really special- although this was technically Brock’s second Christmas, it felt like a first since last year we were still living in a hotel and could not do any traditions or even have a tree! Brock was really excited about our tree this year and we played a little game where he would take all the ornaments off that he could reach and I would put them back on ;).  Continue reading

Autumn in the Rhineland-Pfalz

It feels like it has been forever since I have posted about our adventures, but rest assured we have not been sitting idly at home. October was a busy month for us. Brock and I have really been filling up our social calendar and Fil was away for work again for a week. We started off the month with a culinary beer hike through the woods from a castle to a small lake, and ended the month at the World’s Largest Pumpkin Festival at a palace. The best way to share these events is photos, so enjoy :). Continue reading

Powwows, Mulan, and more!

I remember mentioning in an earlier post that festivals were bountiful and so I have saved a few for a summer festival wrap-up post. Over the past two months our village hosted the Schubkarren-Rennen (wheel barrel races), a fireman’s celebration weekend, and a German-Chinese Cultural day. We also went to a Native American powwow at a nearby lake.  Continue reading