Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mom & Angie's Little Visit

I hate airports.  I hate everything about them!  I hate flying, I hate airplanes, I hate airplane noises, I hate long lines, I hate waiting, I hate crowds, I hate heavy luggage, and I really hate how everything is so damn expensive.  Like, do they really expect me to spend triple the price at an airport Starbucks just because I'm a complete mess about flying and coffee could be the difference between my ass getting on an airplane or getting arrested?!? 

Okay.... soooo yes... yes, I will spend triple the price on your airport Starbucks coffee.... you jerks. 

The way I see it, there isn't anything to like about airports, except.... except when you spend 4 hours waiting for your mom & sister's flight to arrive because your sister "forgot" to forward you their new flight itinerary, and you get to spend those 4 hours watching a lot of loved ones greet each other as they arrive and jump into their loved ones arms.  Because that is actually a really adorable way to spend a morning drinking your stupidly expensive coffee at a stupid airport.
Isabelle embraced her grandmother the same adorable way that everyone else embraced the happy faces they were anxiously waiting for; she could not have been more excited to see her!

My mom & sister came to Germany!  For 5 days.  If you're visiting Europe 5 days is pretty much no time.  But hey, I was just happy that they came, and even if it was for a split second, I was going to soak up every micro second I could get.  Eric's dad, step-mom, and sister's have visited, Eric's best friends have visited, my good friend from college and her fiance visited, and Eric's mom and step-dad are planning a visit this Christmas, but my mom & sister are the very first of my family to visit!  And it had been more than 2 years since I had seen them (sad face).

But there was no time to dwell on the insane speed at which time passes, or the absurdly short amount of time they were going to be in Europe, we had to hit the ground running!   

First up: Trier, the oldest city in Germany!

The Porta Nigra 

Angie & mom in front of the Porta Nigra!

Miss Mary in Trier! 

We spent our day wandering around Trier's Marktplatz and the Porta Nigra, where mom was introduced to Riesling, and both my mom & sister had gelato (first time for Angie), and we all shopped until we dropped!  We couldn't tour the oldest cathedral in Germany because they were having services, and even though they were fighting through jet lag, and we made it an early evening because of it, mom & Angie felt that their trip started off exactly right!

Next, they wanted to see a castle, and Angie's birthday made for the perfect day to see a castle!  Since I was in charge of planning, I selfishly did not want to take them to castle ruins or a castle I've already been to (I kind of feel like once you've seen some of the world's best, everything else pales in comparison).  Neuschwanstein was too far to visit, and I've been there anyway, so when I came across Schloss Drachenburg in my planning I figured it was the perfect castle for the birthday girl!  Especially since it's known as the "Neuschwanstein of the Rhein River!"  So off we went.... in the rain, to celebrate my sister's 33rd birthday in Germany!

The birthday girl at a castle!

The castle was beautiful, but the view and scenery surrounding it was even more beautiful!  And the rainy gloomy weather added a sorta creepy cool vibe to the day.  I had hoped to be able to hike the trails all around the castle to get great pictures from different angles, but the rain was getting worse by the minute, and by the time we had finished touring and started back to the car, it was in an all out downpour, so we headed home for a birthday dinner at Burg Nanstein. 
Would you believe that I didn't take a single picture of Angie's birthday dinner?!  Not a single one!  But dinner was great- we ate a traditional German meal with more Riesling and beer, and Angie said that visiting the castles were her favorite part of her trip!   

Since we live so close to France but had little time to branch out too far, I figured that crossing the border so that my mom & sister could say that they went to France was a must!  Mom arrived in Germany with a little bit of a bucket-list and eating escargot in France was on it, so we headed to Colmar- one of France's most enchanting villages in the middle of champagne region- to eat escargot!  

Escargot (a.k.a snails)- it's actually really good!  I tried it when I was in 7th grade and remembered liking it, and this time it did not disappoint!  But I love just about anything soaking in butter and garlic.

3 days into their visit jet lag had started to take it's effect.  Up until this point they had adjusted remarkably well and I was starting to think that maybe I really had caught some hasn't-been-discovered-yet-will-kill-you-in-your-sleep virus when I first moved here, but then mom & Angie hit a wall and I laughed a little knowing how sucky that wall is.
Baden-Baden is a city in the black forest and it was on the agenda for their second to last full day in Germany.  The weather was perfect, and the city was just as Rick Steves said, "the perfect place to stroll with a poodle," but mom & Angie were in charge of deciding how far and fast they wanted to go, and after a very short couple of hours we headed back home.  
We didn't get to see the casino, the baths, Lichtentaler Allee, or ride the funicular to the summit of Merkur.  I left Baden-Baden feeling really disappointed.  Eric and I are already planning on going back as soon as possible!

Another train ride! 

My time with my mom & sister was quickly coming to an end, and with a very early morning flight the next day, we opted to stay close to home and show them a little of our life here for their last day in Germany.  Isabelle went to school for part of the day and then happily spent the afternoon with her grandmother and auntie at the big mall downtown, getting entirely too spoiled.  

Along with some more shopping, there was a pub that I had spotted a few months ago that I was excited to show my mom.  Her last name is 'Kneip' and I knew she'd love to see this pub!  Kneipe is German for 'pub,' but for my mom, this was a pub just for her!

I took a smidgen of a fraction of the amount of pictures that I normally take on just one of our day trips the entire time my mom & sister were in Germany- can you believe that?!  But there was just too much talking, gossiping, and laughing to pay attention to my camera.  Memories were made, and will forever be cherished, even if I can't show you them.

An early morning ride to the airport just a few days after we had picked them up brought about the dreaded goodbyes.  This time, Isabelle was not as excited.  I left the airport without a stupidly expensive cup of coffee....and without my mom & sister.  I hate airports.

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