Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Visit from the Sis: Part 1

Last month for two weeks in October, my little sister, Kari, came for a visit on her fall break. Kari is 16, so this was her first trip outside of the US. While she was here we saw a lot of great stuff in Germany, France, and we even made it to England! Not too shabby for her first travels outside of the States!

Kyle had to work for the first two days Kari was here, but we did a good job occupying ourselves. On her first day, of course it was raining. (It seems like it always rains on everyone's first day here!) It wasn't just a drizzle, it was solid rain. To keep Kari awake we went to browse around the mall. We also went to have lunch at the Ritter Sport cafe. ( If you haven't tried it, Ritter Sport chocolate is really good! You can get it in the States, so try it the next time you see it! It's made about 15 minutes from our house! ) The Ritter Sport cafe is really known for their hot chocolate and chocolate cappuccinos. They make it by pouring in their melted chocolate into steamed milk. It is so good! After browsing the gift shop, we headed home to hang out with Kyle before he headed to work.

The next day we went to walk around Tübingen. We picked up some veggies for dinner at the farmer's market and had a delicious German lunch at the Neckarmüller Brewery. They were actually doing some brewing while we were there, which is the first time I've seen them brewing out of the many times we've been! (All of the pics in this post are from Kari, except the ones in France and at the fest. Those are Kyle's. I've gotten so bad about taking pictures myself since I'm used to Kyle doing it! I have to get better about that!)

Kyle had to work again that evening, so we spent a little bit of time with him at home. Kari and I enjoyed making dinner together during our evenings at home! That night we made pasta all' amatriciana, which is a type of pasta we tried and loved in Rome. It has a simple bacon and tomato sauce that's extra tasty. We also had sauteed balsamic zucchini, Kari's bruschetta and salad using the veggies we bought at the farmer's market. A couple of our evenings at home we tried our hand at some German cooking, and it came pretty naturally to us! :-)

Being goofy eating our homemade shupfnudeln (like German gnocchi)

The next day was pretty chilly, but that didn't stop us from heading to the Black Forest! First, we went to hike Germany's most beautiful waterfall in Triberg. We checked out some traditional cuckoo clocks and headed to lunch. Kari saved some of her fries to feed the ducks outside of the restaurant. (Probably not much healthier for ducks than for humans!) Then we couldn't resist playing on the teeter totter at the little playground!

These are traditional Black Forest hats.  The red baubles mean your're single or unmarried.  I'm wearing black since I'm an old married frau.  :-)  I don't know why I look like an oompa loompa in this pic.

We then went to get our Black Forest history lesson at the Vogtsbauernhof, which is an open air museum. It has a lot of traditional Black Forest buildings such as houses, barns, mills, chapels, etc. that date anywhere from the 1500s through the 1800s. It's really neat to walk through the homes and imagine what life must have been like back then. Afterwards we warmed up with Black Forest cake and hot chocolate. 

Mmmm, Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

We were glad that Kyle was off the next day! It was the last day of Volksfest, which is Stuttgart's Oktoberfest. We definitely had to go! Volksfest is Germany's second largest Oktoberfest, second of course to Munich. Most people that have been to both usually like the Volksfest better. It's pretty much the same thing, just less crowded, less touristy, and more German! We walked around taking it all in. Kari and I rode a fun little roller coaster while Kyle waited with our purses. (He wouldn't hold them. He sat next to them.) We ate some great food, heard some music and had a wonderful time!

That's us!

Kyle had a couple more days off, so we decided to head to France! We drove through the Black Forest to our first stop in the beautiful city of Strasbourg. We then headed south along the wine road through the picture perfect medieval villages. The lighting was incredible, with rays of sun shining in between the clouds. It was absolutely gorgeous! We were staying in the town of Ribeauville in a quaint hotel on the main town square. It was nice walking around the quiet village after all of the day trippers had left. We had a deliciously French dinner that was perfect until the people behind us ordered some extra stinky cheese. Luckily at that point we were just waiting to pay! 

Hotel du Mouton, where we stayed

The next day we walked around the pretty little village of Riquewihr. (This is the village that smells like coconut macaroons!) We went home a different way through the Black Forest this time, and stopped in the college town of Freiburg. It's a wonderful town that is well known for its Münster, or cathedral, as well as the university. We just spent a couple of hours there, but we definitely could have spent much more time! 



Freiburger Münster

Kyle had to go back to work the next day. Kari and I decided to see some of Stuttgart's sites. We climbed up the Birkenkopf, or what the Americans call Rubble Hill. It's made from piled up rubble and debris from WWII damage. It's the highest point in Stuttgart, and has beautiful views over the city. After our little hike, we headed downtown for some lunch and shopping.

Stylin sisters in Stuttgart

There was a pumpkin festival going on in the Schloss (palace) Ludwigsburg gardens, and I definitely wanted to see that! We headed there the following day. We walked around the beautiful gardens and checked out all of the sculptures made from pumpkins and gourds. It was really cool! We had pumpkin quiche and pumpkin rice for lunch, and we even sampled some pumpkin sekt. (Sekt is German champagne.) Of course we couldn't go to the palace gardens without touring the palace! The palace is huge, and on our 2 1/2 hour tour, we saw only 75 out of 450-ish rooms! It was beautiful, and reminded me of Versailles outside of Paris.

Gourd skiers

Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair!

Kari and I were both looking forward to our plans the next day! We hiked up to castle ruins at Bad Urach, about 40 minutes from our house. It's in a gorgeous area surrounded by rolling hills and small mountains. I think the fall leaves were at their peak, so we had wonderful scenery. The hike isn't too bad until you get to the top. It gets really steep at the top, and I failed to mention that to Kari. I thought she was going to hit me when she turned the corner and saw the path! She agreed that it was worth it. It's really cool to walk around the castle ruins and imagine what it must have been like back in the 1100s. 

Before the hike
After the hike

After our hike, we headed to a rodelbahn! A rodelbahn is kind of like a bobsled on roller coaster tracks. It was so much fun! We rode it seven times, and most of the time we were the only ones there! The old German men sitting at the bottom probably thought the two shrieking and giggling blondes flying down the hill were kind of nuts! 

That evening after our hike and rodelbahn adventure, we packed our bags for our trip to London the next day!  That will have to be another post. We saw a lot of wonderful things while we were there! I'll be posting about the London trip soon!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful, and great pictures. There are so many unexpected things and places in this region.