Sunday, October 13, 2013

1st Visitors! Schnell Family in Germany....

We had our very first visitors from the States this past week!!  Eric's dad, step-mom, older sister, and younger sister came to visit us in Germany after they spent a week in Ireland.  It was so nice to see familiar faces!


Eric, Nikki, Ray, Sydnee, & Deb

Eric and I had 4 days to make them fall in love with the area we live in, in the hopes that they'd want to come back for another (or maybe a few more) visit.  Since the options are endless for sightseeing we needed some direction as to what they wanted to do/see.  Their requests: World War II history and castles!  The rest was up to us...  No pressure....?! 

Day #1:  BURG ELTZ & COCHEM:  "Castle Day"  


This was the nicest day of the entire week for weather.  It was cool, but not cold, and somewhat sunny.  The sun disappears in the fall and winter here, so even a tiny bit of sunshine makes for a great day!  
The walk to Burg Eltz is a steep one, so on the way back to the car Deb & Sydnee took the shuttle, but Nikki, Ray, Eric, and I hiked through the trails.  It was a gorgeous walk and gave us a chance to catch up.  This is where I snapped a picture of Eric and his dad....they were talking/walking just a little ways ahead of me and Nikki and I noticed this:




They were walking exactly the same....truly a father/son moment.  ADORE!

Next we went to Cochem and hopped on a shuttle bus up to their castle.  There was a pretty walk through town and a vineyard, but we were on a time crunch so the shuttle was the best option. 








Day #2: BASTOGNE, BELGIUM & LUXEMBOURG CITY, LUXEMBOURG:  World War II History:
Bastogne, Belgium is one of the sites of the Battle of the Bulge, the Memorial of the Mardasson is a monument signifying friendship between Belgium and America who were united by battle.


"Opa" Ray & Isabelle 


Nikki and Isabelle

Because it was very cold and very windy on this day we didn't stay too long, just long enough to get a few pictures, climb to the top, and say we saw it.  
Next we went to a Battle of the Bulge museum, where thankfully, most of the tour was indoors.




Our tour guide was awesome!  He was so informative and passionate about World War II history, we had such a great time!  I wrote in the guest book how grateful I was for his dedication to preserving our history.













My girl is drawn to all animals, so of course during the tour she spots probably the only caterpillar in all of Belgium.... and she was giddy about it.



We had planned on visiting the Luxembourg American Military Cemetery & Memorial but because of the government shut-down that was a no-go.  Now, I'm not going to get into politics on here, I am an Obama supporter, but this whole shut-down thing is extremely embarrassing. 



My sister-in-law 

Ray and Eric

Anyway....

Instead we went into Luxembourg City.






I really love this picture.






Day #3: STRASBOURG, FRANCE:  France!  This was Eric and I's idea.  We hadn't been there yet but we heard the city is a must-see!  We didn't have a set plan, I just thought it would be nice to stroll around the city and see what we see, do what we do.  This plan would have been perfect if it was just my little family, but I think the other Schnell's thought it may have been better to have an actual plan..... Well, I loved it!  Walking, breathing, looking, absorbing....people just don't do that enough.  Perfect!!









This little street made me feel like I was in Hogsmeade.  




 

Day #4: ROTHENBURG:  For the family's last full day in Germany we wanted to show them the best (that we've experienced so far, but there are really so many "bests").  It was cold and pouring rain so I didn't take a single picture on my camera, not a single one!  I only took these two pictures from my phone.


Schnell!  Means fast/quick in German.   


Eric and I spent most of our time in Rothenburg looking for drindle and lederhosen.  We are going to Oktoberfest and Stuttgart's Oktoberfest next year and will be fully decked out in traditional German attire!  {That should give you a hint about what our Christmas card will look like next year ;) }

So we visited four different countries in four days, Eric's family got to see the best and the worst (traffic) of where we live.  They got to see our apartment and the village we live in and a little of what we see and do every day.  It was so great having them here and spending time together.  It made my heart happy to see Eric with his dad & sister.  We sincerely hope they feel the same way!  

Hey everyone, y'all are welcome any time!  There's LOTS more to see!



8 comments:

  1. I just read that you want to go to the Oktoberfest in Munich and the one in Stuttgart. Forget about the one in Stuttgart. It is horrible. I have been to both. My mum was born in Munich and lived there until she was six and I go to Munich regulary. I am not just saying that because my mum is from Munich. I am an open person to such experiences. And before I judge something I want to experience it myself. The Oktoberfest in Munich is special. It is a lot of fun for the whole family. The beertents are awesome and to see all the people there, it is sometimes scary but most of the time a lot fun. One is not able to describe it with words. It is just special in a very positive kind of way. And the one in Stuttgart is just a cheap copy of the real and only Oktoberfest. I was soooo shocked and disapointed to see it. And I never ever want to see that again. They act like wannabee bavarians with the accent and all. It was just horrible. Don't go to the Oktoberfest in Stuttgart. Save the money for the real one in Munich or go to visit the city of Stuttgart, which I actually enjoyed very much.

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  2. Thanks for the tip! I love getting all types of travel advice! :)

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  3. You are welcome :)

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  4. Gorgeous photos! I have to get to Luxembourg...and you are so right, I think the most fun is to just walk around and take everything in! Especially if you have a couple pre-planned "must-sees" and then everything else sort of happens organically...I had the best time in Paris just wandering around, having a crepe here, an ice cream there, and just exploring random things we happened upon. So fun! Looks like you and your family had an awesome time!

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  5. ohh and btw I love your blog :) (I am the one with the travel advice)
    I am German and live near Frankfurt am Main. I love reading your blog and how an American Military family has to get used to our German way of life. And I think it is very brave of your family to live off base. But it is a very good experience for all of you. How long will you stay here? Was it 3 years? I just came back from my 6th America visit. And I am in love with your home country. Hopefully you will be in love with my home here.

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  6. Hey Melissa,
    alaways so beautiful pictures, do you know when you will visit Bavaria?
    Please let me know :D
    Stephanie

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  7. Hey, I live in the north of Germany in Hamburg. I love watching Teen Mom 2, especially Chelsea and Aubree. Today I saw you blog for the first time and the photo of you visit in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It's the home town of my baby's dad. We spend there a lot of time during the year. He is half US-American. A part of his family lives in the state Washington. His father joined the US-army, too. Just want to let you know that you have a great family. Hope we will anytime meet by pure chance! :)

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