Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The First Guests of the Guynn B & B

Sorry it's been a while since our last post, but we've been very busy with our first guests! My sister and brother-in-law, Kristin and Richie, came for an awesome two week visit. They had a very long list of places they wanted to visit, so we were always on the go, squeezing every last minute of German (and Czech) fun into those two weeks!  All of the pics from our travels while Kyle was at work are thanks to Richie's photographic artistry.  Thanks, Richie!

Richie came ready with some lederhosen!
Kristin and Richie arrived on a rainy Sunday morning, and to get them acclimated to the time change, we started off with a full day. After some strong coffee and pumpkin coffee cake at home, we headed to a nearby castle, Hohenzollern. What better way to start a German vacation? Although we didn't get good views because of rain and fog, we toured the inside of the castle which was very impressive. After our castle tour, we headed to Tübingen, our favorite local town. We strolled the quiet streets and Marktplatz and had some hearty German food at a great brewery, the Neckarmüller. We spent the evening at home getting ready for the first of several trips. A castle, a quaint town, and lunch at a brewery; not too bad for a first day in Germany!

The fog made the castle seem moody and mystical.

Kris and Richie in front of the Rathaus in Tübingen


Early the next morning we headed out to visit the German Alps in Garmisch on the southern border of Germany. It was about a three hour drive full of beautiful scenery of mountains, rolling hills, cows and sheep in green pastures, and the colors of fall leaves. Once we got tho Garmisch via a short jaunt into Austria, we headed straight for the train station to buy our tickets to head up to the Zugspitze, the tallest mountain in Germany. We made our way up to the top on a cog-wheel train followed by a surprisingly fast moving tram. (Richie was ultra excited to ride the cog-wheel train! You could tell by the grin plastered across his face the whole time!)

The tram to the top of Germany!

Stepping out onto the peak of the Zugspitze takes your breath away, not only because of the thin air, but the indescribable beauty that surrounds you. It was a clear and sunny day, so we could see over 400 mountain peaks in four different countries. There was already some snow at the top, giving it that distinct Alpine look. We ate a really good German lunch at the top, and had probably the highest beer (and wine for Kristin) that we've ever had. We spent a while up there, getting pics from every angle, but not really being able to capture the beauty.

The actual peak of the Zugspitze

Garmisch in the valley below

That evening we spent window shopping and walking the quiet streets of Garmisch. It's a quintessential Bavarian town with Alpine style buildings covered with beautiful paintings. We found a nice little Italian restaurant for dinner (I was a little bit tired of sausage and kraut!). There were several shops we wanted to visit that were closed, so we hit those the next morning including a chocolate shop, a Christmas shop, an old hardware store, and a shop where you choose a bottle, and you can fill it with a number of things like liqueurs, scotch, olive oil, vinegars, etc.
We stayed in an upper floor apartment here in Garmisch
View from our apartment

On our way home, even though it was rainy, we stopped for a visit to Neuschwanstein castle, Germany's fairy tale castle that inspired Disney's castle. Despite the rain and the scaffolding on the castle, we had beautiful views from the top and we got a cool tour of the inside. We'll definitely go back to see the castle after the restoration is complete! At the beginning of our tour, we got to see someone propose to his girlfriend. So sweet!

View from a window of the castle (we weren't allowed to take pics inside)
View on the way to the castle

We spent the next couple of days in the local area. Kyle had to go back to work. Kristin, Richie and I spent a day shopping at a local grocery store, a drink market, a mall, and a Home Depot type store. (Guess who wanted to visit the hardware store :-) We went to downtown Stuttgart and visited the central Schlossplatz and a cool indoor marketplace. After that went spent the rest of the day at the Volksfest. It is so much fun!

Enjoying the Volksfest.  Prost!

The three of us also took a train to Munich for a day.  The weather was decent when we got there.  We checked out the main sites and had lunch at a nice biergarten in an awesome outdoor market.  After lunch, it pretty much rained the rest of the day, but that didn't stop us!  We toured the Royal Residence, saw the Glockenspiel in the Marienplatz, saw the relics at St. Peter's church, and of course we checked out a couple of Munich's infamous beer halls.  

The Glockenspiel
Relics at Peterskirche

We had dinner at the Brauhaus of one of Richie's favorite German beers, Ayinger.
Enjoying beer and pretzels at the infamous Hofbrauhaus
 We were pretty tired after our Munich trip, so the next day we took it easy and stayed local. We did a little bit of shopping in Tübingen since most of the shops were closed when we were there on Sunday. We ate lunch outside at a Mexican restaurant. Based on our previous experience at a German-Mexican restaurant, I didn't have high expectations. However, the food was very good even though it was very different than the States' delicious version of Mexican food. Our tacos looked more like enchiladas, but I would still go back. We also took a walk on our usual path along the edge of the park across the street from home where we usually walk Gizmo. It's so beautiful, it's hard to believe that it's just out of our front door! That evening we cooked some amazing, homemade German food. We made sauerbraten, which is a beef roast marinaded for a couple of days in a vinegar based marinade with vegetables, homemade spaetzle, and red kraut. It was absolutely delish!

Enjoying fall colors along the path by our house

Some sis time in the kitchen making homemade spaetzle, which turned out amazing!

Sauerbraten, crumb coated spaetzle, veggies, red kraut, and bread from the bakery

Kyle had the next four days off, so we took a trip to Prague.  It is such an amazing city and Kyle took tons of beautiful pictures, so we're saving it for a separate blog post, coming soon!  The evening before we left, we dropped Gizmo off at the dog sitter's house in a cool village called Weil der Stadt.  We took a walk around town to check it out; here are a few pics of the beautiful little town. 

When we got back from Prague, Kris and Richie only had two days left in Germany, both of which Kyle had to work.  The first day back we enjoyed the beautiful weather and fall colors by taking a walk through and outside of the ultra scenic and quaint Monastery town of Bebenhausen, about 10 minutes south of us.  We did some tasting of local wines just outside of Stuttgart.  We met the owner of the winery and got to see a little bit of  the wine-making process.  Usually when you do a wine tasting, you get to choose about 5-8 wines.  At this place, she just kept pouring samples, and we must have had at least 12 different types!  That evening we made good, old-fashioned grilled American burgers for dinner.  Sometimes, a burger just hits the spot.  

The cute town of Bebenhausen

Unfortunately Kyle had to work, but the three of us took a trip to the Black Forest for their last day here.  It was about an hour and a half drive to our first destination.  We went to an open air museum (kind of like a German Connor Prairie for you Hoosiers out there) where we saw a lot of really neat Black Forest homes and buildings dating from the late 1500s through the 1800s.  There were homes, mills, blacksmith shops, and outbuildings from the Black Forest set up like they would have been during those times.  

Richie is quite proud of himself posing on the john in the outhouse

 Our next stop was Triberg, where Kyle and I had visited earlier in the Spring.  It's a cute, little town where you can shop for cuckoo clocks, master wood carvings, Black Forest ham, and schnapps.  By far, the best thing about the town is Germany's tallest waterfall at the top of the main street.  We hiked to the top, stopping to take pictures along the way.  Every turn of the path has an amazing view. After our hike and a bit of shopping, we of course had to stop for some Black Forest cake and coffee. Mmmmmmm!!

Black Forest Cake and coffee, mmmmmmm!!
 For their last dinner in Germany, we could think of no better place to eat than a biergarten.  We went to the one in the park by our house.  It was already dark when we got there, but we still enjoyed our curry wurst with pommes and maultaschen with potato salad along with our beers and apple strudel for dessert.  We had an awesome time with Kristin and Richie and were sad to see them go.  We already know that the next time they come out we're heading to Belgium!  

Stay tuned for the Prague post!

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