All posts by ejb

Day 13 Amsterdam

We had breakfast and left Sevenhoven for Amsterdam for a day of sight seeing.  While only 37 km away, the traffic as you get closer to the city is very congested.  Once you are on city streets, it is gridlocked and basically every man for himself.  Bicycles and pedestrians have the right of way, they know it too.  Don’t be surprised to have someone just step into the street (because they have somewhere to go).  Add to this rain and no parking to speak of and you have a stressful day.

 

We were finally able to find parking, and made our way to the Royal Palace at the city center.  We then walked to the Anne Frank house.  As we walked back we got a bit to eat and explored some shops.  Then it started the raining, no pouring on us.  By the time we got to the parking structure we looked like drowned rats.  Leaving Amsterdam was easier than the drive in.  Had the weather cooperated it would have been nice to rent bicycles (the boys were very interested in this activity), but in the end we had to head back to Sevenhoven.

The Anne Frank house

Day 12 Kasteel and Windmills

Slept in this morning, it was much needed after all the driving yesterday. In the morning we went to the local market for provisions, always get a kick out of finding things they don’t have in the US. Like:

And scary clowns:

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There was a powering zoo right next to the market.

After lunch, we were off to Kasteel de Haar.

For as many castles as we’ve seen Kasteel de Haar was one of the best. Absolutely beautiful.

Ingrid in the rose garden of Kasteel de Haar

The grand canal

After the castle, it was off to Kinderdijk

 

 

Day 11 travel to the Netherlands

We packed up and sadly said goodbye to St Goar.  We were able to successfully navigate around the road closures as we were familiar with the local roads by now. We had planned there events on the way to Amsterdam: Draconfels, the cathedral in Cologne, and a bridge in Cologne.

We arrived in Honigs-Winter thanks to our gps. Unfortunately, or gps also took us onto a private nature trail to the top of Draconfels.  We dropped Joe and Ingrid off at the top and drove down to town to catch the tram to the top. Sounds nice and easy. Not! Road construction again conspired against us. After an hour we were able to find the tram station.  Laurie went to the top and retrieved Joe and Ingrid, by now we were way behind schedule.  

We decided to stop at a McDonald’s for some fast food. The McDonald’s here have the McCafe with coffee and baked goods. By now we needed to make up some time and decided to forget about Cologne as we had to meet the cousins in Amsterdam. 

Traffic and construction on the autobahn put us way behind schedule.  We arrived at our farmhouse about 5:40 pm. It is absolutely beautiful. 

The boys were so excited as the host explained the features of the house.  Especially the part about being able to pretty and hold the animals (chickens, rabbits, goats, pigs, and goats). There is also soccer balls and am area to play soccer. 

Day 10 castles

We got up early, and were on the road by 9.  It was a bit cooler with an estimated high of 67 for the day. We had only two destinations in mind for the day, Castle Eldz and Rudesheim.

We had originally wanted to take the ferry to Rudesheim, but the times did not work for us.

The rains continue to give us troubles as almost every road we want to take has closures due to falling rock and mud slides.  Our original 58 minutes, turned into over two hours. 

We got to Castle Eldz and took to tour.  The tour was very interesting, but I think the boys prefer to explore ruins.

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After Castle Eltz, we headed to Rudesheim.  Unforgettably, and unfortunately there were two Rudesheim listed in our GPS. Of course we drive all the way to the wrong one before realizing we it was not the one we wanted.  We were able to reroute and get back on track.

We arrived in Rudesheim and found a great place for lunch.

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Rudesheim

Day 8 Thunder, Lightning, Rain, and Sirens

The rain started in the night around 4:30 am. It grew steadily from a light rain to a full downpour.  Lightning and thunder accompanied the drenching.  Laurie got up and closed the windows closed up on our floor (we are on the 3rd floor of the house).

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Joe standing next to the high water marks at a shop.

We all slept in a bit and got up around 9.  After breakfast we set of four town and it was still raining lightly.  The rain continued to slowly increase in intensity, going from sprinkles, at a light rain, to full on raining. We shopped for a bit and made our way down to a Christmas store where we were treated to some peach flavored brandy by a shop owner.  He explained that his family makes the brandy along with other things they sell.  It was delicious and we bought a couple bottles, maybe it was just good marketing? But we’re enjoyed it. He invited us back to try another flavor next time.

We went back to our house for a light lunch and headed for the near Castle. Rain or no rain. The waterfall we saw the evening before was raging as we made our way up the hillside. 

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Enjoying a traveller in the rain

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Castle Rheinfels is a ruins and a present day hotel. We had a great time exploring the ruins, from the mineshaft below to the top of the tower. It’s amazing how accessable these historical sites are to the public. The boys love exploring the castles, by far their favorite activity in Germany.

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Random

Saw something interesting while driving on the autobahn. In Germany, they have a lot more rest stops on the side of the highway. Many of them have picnic tables.  While driving to Austria the other day, clicking along at about 130 kph, I looked over to a rest stop and saw a group of nuns. Their car was stopped next to a table and they were relaxing. Relaxing by DRINKING BEER.  Imagine the décor inside a Buca de Beppo restaurant. We just saw it in real life, I’m not sure why it seemed so I’d when I think about it. But the unexpected sight of those nuns enjoying a poor stop on their journey was very entertaining.

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Day 7 travel to St. Goar

Up early this morning to pack after two fun nights at the farm.  We were on the road by 10 and headed for the worlds largest Kuchkoo Clocks at the House of Black Forrest clocks.  We arrived just in time for the 11 show. (Video will be uploaded on our return).

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After shopping, yes Cindy got a real clock we were of to an Alpine slide we had passed. Second time is the charm, this one was open. Rides and lunch then of for a 2 hour, 50 minute drive that turned into 4 1/2 hour drive due to a downpour and flooding.

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St. Goar on the Rhine was very much worth the drive! There are 3 castles and a ruins immediately accessable to the city.  Aidan saw the first castle and exclaimed “Hogwarts!”

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Or house is an amazing 3 level near the city center. Above the house is a nature trail that leads to a ruins and the bluffs above the Rhine river.  Along the way were waterfalls engorged by the rains from earlier in the day.

We had dinner in town and set of on an evening hike.  It is very warm and humid, but so worth it.

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We can’t wait to explore the city tomorrow!

Day 6 France

We left our farm house this morning and set of for Strasbourg, France. Destination La Petite France, a very quaint, tourist friendly of the city.

Travel was very easy, we crossed over the Rhine river into France. We arrived at the city center and had a bit of an ordeal trying to park.  Once parked we got directions to LA Petite France, which was only two blocks away. All the walking was playing hell on Joe’s knees so we settled him into a cafe while we set out to conquer bakeries and candy stores.

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It was outrageously hot!  90 degrees, we were soaked and in need of some refreshments. We stopped at a cafe, if course.

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Ice cream and desserts were the order of the day. We ended up staying for about 3 hours before returning. 

Back at the farmhouse we set off for a local castle: Burg
Hohengeroldseck. It was very close to the farm, after a bit of trouble trying to read the information signs we decided it was still open for exploring. The boys are loving the castles, being able to get their hands on history.

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We returned to the farmhouse and the kids ended up with frozen pizza.  The adults all went down to the Gruber Hof for an amazing late dinner.

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Cindy and Laurie had schnitzel, Dave, Ingrid, and Joe had the venison goulash; and I had the venison back strap.  Sorry no pictures.  Tomorrow: travel to St. Goar.

Day 5 travel day

Today we said goodbye to our beautiful house in Remshart and hello to our beautiful farmhouse in Oberharmersbach! What an amazing find Laurie happened upon on Home Away. We woke up this morning and packed or belongings and cleaned up (the boys fed the neighbors chickens one last time)
before leaving around 10:00 am. We made it easy down south and west of Munich to the small town of Titisee, the beginning of the Black Forrest.

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We took the long way around to the Black Forrest, stopping at a Gasthoff for lunch along the way.

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We arrived at our farm house at 6:00 pm, we had stopped for more provisions before landing. The boots had a great time checking out the cows, chickens, goats, and farm cats as the adults enjoyed a child beverage on the balcony overlooking this pasture.

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This place is a working farm, the have a store/butcher shop. They have REAL Black Forrest ham, and an assortment of sausages that they make (from scratch hint, hint) on the premises.

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The house is huge, comfortably accommodating our large group. Tomorrow, France.