In Bruges

Angie’s first of three visits (with hopes for more) was quite an adventure. She was brave to trek around with us as we were new at just about everything European back then.

A review of old e-mails shows the itinerary I planned out for us, and I must say: Dang, I’m good! I’ll just paste it here, and add photos and comments…

Saturday, May 2
Soccer game – Nap for jetlaged tourist…followed by a walk through Wiesbaden and yummy Italian dinner at a favorite spot.
Sunday, May 30
Drive to Brugge (about 4 hours)

Brugge, Belgium
Here’s the view from our table, where we enjoyed snacks and Belgium beer.  My husband and one of my very best friends, in Brugge, drinking beers on a sunny day, with three more years of European adventures awaiting us – I’ll admit it: I was so happy I cried.

Kwak - a local brew

Beer, waffles, chocolate… Belgium is delicious!

Big D and Ang ready for boat tour

Neither of them will love this picture, but I do. Big D is only kind of joking when he says he “doesn’t like people.” It’s obvious how much they love goofing around and making each other laugh.

Brugge, Belgium

Brugge was breathtaking and we had a blast. The trip was marred by a weird situation during which Angie snapped a fantastic photo of guy in a full length leather coat riding a bicycle down an alley. The coat was blowing back behind him, the scenery was beautiful, the picture was outstanding. Sadly, the dude (whose attire should have been a giveaway) was… well, let’s just say unstable. And he was not pleased that a stranger took his photo. It’s funny how one 90 second incident can have an impact on a trip. Anyway: we recovered and made our way to the North Sea for lunch.

Monday, May 31
Return home; Dinner at Big D’s favorite pub (vow of secrecy required!)

Big D, me & Angie

Tuesday, June 1
(We did not stick to the plan but went to Mainz to tour around and got food poisoning instead. Lesson learned. Next time: stick to the plan!)

Wednesday, June 2
Wiesbaden Farmers Market in the morning followed by…a day at the Spa.
(There are no spa photos. You’re welcome.)

Thursday, June 3
Tour around Heidelberg

Heidelberg

view from the castle

Entirely too much food!

Tricia’s friend Christy and her mom were visiting from Georgia at the same time Angie was visiting from Alabama. We joined southern forces and toured Heidelberg together. And ate entirely too much food.

Friday, June 4
Wiesbaden Wilhelmstraße Festival
Wilhelmstraßenfest

Wilhelmstraßenfest

stinky cheese bread

Flaming stinky cheese on thick bread. So fantastic!

Saturday, June 5
Drive along Rhein River w/ stops at towns like Rudesheim, Bacharach and more.

GPS and Rick Steves book = ready for touring!

I’m only including this goofy photo because it shows all of the necessities: Rick Steves tour book, GPS, black shirt (everyone’s uniform here) and my Reisenthel bag. I take that thing everywhere.

Harley Rally

We had no idea we were wandering into a Harley festival along the river. Not really our thing, but great for people watching!

Rhine

panoramic from Bacharach Castle

Sunday, June 6
Eltville Rose Festival

Rosenstadt Eltville

Rosenstadt Eltville

Big D, Angie, me, Jen & Gary

Opa! Jen & Gary joined us for the afternoon and we rounded out Angie’s visit with a great Greek meal. This might be the first picture ever taken of all five of us together. If only we knew what great times really did await us…

More photos from Angie’s first visit are on Flickr.

Dom and Lex

When we announced we were moving, we invited anyone and everyone to visit us here. Our brother-in-law is a USAirways pilot who wasted no time bringing our niece on a German adventure. Everything was still new to us, so I was unable to answer a lot of their questions and I was (and still am to a certain extent) a nervous driver. But I’m confident they had a great time. And: they unknowingly helped us as their visit framed itineraries for those who followed them.

We stayed local the first day and explored Wiesbaden and neighboring Mainz.

Dom showing the way to the Dom Museum
Dominic was excited to see he had his own museum!

I was at a bit of a loss when it came to day trip planning; thankfully, our neighbor Dana suggested driving up the Rhein River Valley to her favorite town, Bacharach. It was on this drive that the GPS told me “Turn left in 500 meters. Then, take the ferry…”  for the first time. But we figured it out and had a great day.

Bacharach

Day three had us in Heidelberg as I knew the route, shopping and sites would be fun and easy to navigate.

Alexa & me on the bridge

Big D joined in on the final day of their visit – we rode the train to Frankfurt for more exploring, shopping and eating.

hilarious street performer

This performer gave a hilarious, wordless comedy and magic routine, communicating only through whistles and the squeak of his red nose. He’d stop people as they strolled by and incorporated them into his act. We were throughly entertained while trying to remain invisible so we didn’t become part of the show. It worked, and we were happy to toss a few Euro in his hat at the conclusion.

More photos from Dominic & Alexa’s visit are over on Flickr.

Willkommen in Deutschland

We crossed the big pond and moved from Jacksonville Beach, Florida to Wiesbaden, Germany on March 10, 2010. Though it seems routine for families like ours, its not exactly normal to have everything you own boxed up by strangers at one location and delivered to you by different strangers on another continent.

Good bye, 5th Avenue North…
loading our bookcase

moving day
…Hello Virginiastraße.

Big D was so stressed the day our household goods were delivered that he tried to converse with our movers in Japanese. Too bad they were a bunch of Polish guys.

Looking through the first few sets of photos I took while we were getting acclimated is surprising. I was so excited, enthralled and enthused with all things German when we arrived – I took pictures of doorways, fountains, rooftops… While I’m glad I feel comfortable and as if I’m a local, I should really maneuver through my days with the wide eyes I had back when everything felt so new.

I found these in a folder called “Wiesbaden: first walk.”

Wiesbaden

Market Church

We bought a car, a GPS, and a guidebook and on the first Saturday we were in our apartment, we took a day trip. I’m fairly certain that given a cold, rainy weekend these days, we’d stay in our pajamas drinking coffee and watching mindless junk on Hulu rather than trekking to Heidelberg. This post has really reminded me to adventure locally.

Heidelberg

Heidelberg