More autobahn driving! We top out around 100 MPH, but there are cars whizzing by us going even faster. I have to say, the cars make it a very smooth ride and it really feels like we're only going about 70 MPH. Side note: The autobahn = nice. But the backroads to get to the castles, around town, and to and from the autobahn = CURVY (translate, Xander gets car sick a lot). We hear stories about how several kids have gotten sick on these roads. Xander only feels ooky, and to be honest, I don't feel 100% either. We normally don't get car sick, so I'm not sure why we're getting so sick here. Out of practice. Windier roads than we think. All I know is at each stop, poor Xander needs about 10 minutes to perk back up.
Along the road, we come into more fog. The sun hides for a while as we get deeper into the Mosler Valley and closer to our destination of Bernkastel-Kues.
We must find parking. It's a busy day, so we don't find spots next to each other. What a concept! Parking!
And we walk around. The kids are hungry (and admittedly I am too) so we pick a restaurant for lunch. We are a group of 10, so they walk us downstairs and we have the entire bottom floor to ourselves. It's next to the bathrooms too, bonus! We settle into an adult table and a kid table, which amazingly went really well. Everyone ordered for themselves and it was a lovely lunch.
It's fun to hang out with people who, as Americans, have dealt with similar issues of living in Germany. We share funny stories. We ask a lot of questions about how it is to LIVE in Germany, about their jobs, catching up on life... and how we have to practically beg for the restaurant bill... which is what we had to do now...
To walk off our lunches, we window shopped the main area. And literally, we window shopped, remember, it's Sunday, so 90% of the stores are closed. We do find one or two stores that are open (just for us tourists) and we wander through a few. And, thank goodness, the coffee shops are still open, so everyone who needs it is able to get their caffeine fix.
We all took a ton of photos. It's hard not to. I feel like it's similar to Salzburg. Venice is reminded of Italy. In any case, the buildings are fun to look at with their fresh flowers and paint (we did wonder how often they had to repaint to keep them looking so fresh? The sun peaked out once in a while, giving us a glorious view of the golden-yellow vineyards in the background. And thanks to our thoughtful hosts for offering to take family photos for us. Some of our only full family photos while on the trip! So, we are very grateful.
|Our restaurant (left), a square (middle), all the kids (right)|
We cross a bridge and in order to look back onto the town. The sun shone down and we were afforded more beautiful views. Thanks to Holly for taking a big group photo (and sacrificing herself to be absent from the photo).
|I love the photo on the right (taken by Holly)|
And this brings an end to the town visit. Now it's time to head up the hill to visit the castle at the top, Burg Landshut.
We were able to drive up the hill to a parking lot not far from the castle. It's nice to not have to walk too far! We are treated to a lovely view, again. More photo opportunities.
Now it's time to go back, one of the kids has an obligation that we need to get back for. After a bit of car-swapping, we settle in for our drive home. We're on our way to the Ramstein Airforce base. We will use our passports to get through the gate check (at least Chris and I will... kids under 16 "don't count").
Tim gives us a tour of the base, which is the largest U.S. community outside of the United States. We are reminded, a lot, that all overseas bases are NOT this big and do NOT have this many services. It's very interesting to see where the kids go to school, where their activities are held, where those "on base" live, where they fly in and out, etc.
And, we got to see the big mall! With all the shops and fast food restaurants! A glimpse of what home will feel like when we get back. Our eyes are wide as we take it all in. And, yes, we all ate Popeye's chicken and/or Taco Bell. Whoo hoo!
We also bought a few souvenirs from the store.
And we end our day by doing... laundry! But, I'm so amazed. After just a mere 50-60 minutes, the clothes came out dry! Thanks to Kristie, I am able to do a lot of laundry and we're going to head back to Berlin with only one extra load. Thanks, is not enough.
As we pack for the next day, I am struck with the ending of our time here in Germany and I'm filled with sadness. I didn't think I'd be like this, but here we are, about to leave, and I'd love to stay a little longer. On the other hand, I like leaving a place feeling like this. I'd rather leave wanting more than get to the point where I'm desperate to leave.