Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Visit from Kyle's Mom and a Birthday in France

Back in September, the Guynn family met up in England for a nice holiday and to meet our niece, Olive.  After spending some time in a beautiful cottage in the countryside, Kyle and I came home while his parents stayed on a bit longer in London to spend more time with the new grand baby.  From there, Kyle's dad flew home and his mom, Diane, came to spend a couple of weeks with us here in Germany.  We had a great time visiting quaint local towns, and we also took a trip to France!

On Diane's first full day here, we went to the world's largest pumpkin festival held at a palace not too far away, Schloss Ludwigsburg.  The fest is set up among the beautiful palace gardens.  The theme this year was "Royalty," so most of the displays went along with that theme.  While we were there we had a delicious lunch of maultaschen in pumpkin soup, pumpkin sekt (like German champagne), and pumpkin strudel.  It was a great day!

You're never too old to take a children's fairy tale boat ride!

Kyle had to work the next several days, so Diane and I did some sight seeing on our own.  We went to admire the beautifully preserved medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, about an hour and forty-five minutes away.  We also enjoyed the French and Italian import market in the nearby town of Tübingen.  These pictures that I snapped were just on the i phone, so they're not up to Kyle's snuff.



The market in Tübingen

The market in Tübingen

While Diane was here, Kyle had a four day break that just happened to coincide with his birthday! We decided to go to the Alsace-Lorraine region.  We've been to the Alsace several times, but we knew that Diane would love it.  We added a few new towns to the itinerary that we hadn't seen before, so we saw some new things as well.  Unfortunately our first day was pretty rainy.  We had planned to see Nancy, but instead stopped in the small town of Saverne.  It was pretty quiet since it was a rainy Sunday, but the rain held off just long enough to take a stroll through the pretty little town.

We stayed the night not far away at a maison, which is like a French B & B.  It was in a beautiful, old, but updated mansion just down the street from the grand Château de Lunéville.  It was raining pretty hard when we arrived, but we went to check out the palace and the town when it let up.  That evening we had Kyle's birthday dinner at the maison.  It was delicious, French home cooking.  Not too shabby!

The weather the next day was much better, and we headed to the beautiful Route du Vin, or wine road, in the Alsace region.  The wine road is a scenic drive in the valley between the French Vosges mountains and the German Black Forest.  You pass through little fairy tale towns scattered among the vineyards with castle ruins perched high up in the hills.  It was harvest time, so it was neat to see the vintners bringing the grapes into the wineries.

We started off stopping in two little towns that Kyle and I had not been to before: Kaysersberg and Eguisheim.  They were both so quaint and picturesque!



We stayed for two nights in the town center of the pretty village of Ribeauville.

View from our hotel room

The next day we started off in the picture-perfect village of Riquewihr.  (The whole town smelled like coconut macaroons!)  We then headed north along the wine route, enjoying the amazing scenery.

Not a bad place to enjoy morning coffee!

Coconut delicious!

Our next stop was the awesome castle Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg.  It's a beautifully restored medieval castle overlooking the valley. The first time Kyle and I tried to tour the castle, we were turned away because they were having a power outage; so we were glad that we actually got to tour the castle this time!

If you know Kyle, you know that he's a bird nerd.  Since it was his birthday trip, we went to visit a falconry place nearby that is situated within castle ruins.  It was fun to see all of the incredible birds of prey.  We also saw a show that showcased some of the skills of the birds.  A lot of the birds swooped REALLY close to our heads!  We also had a huge vulture walk right across and on our legs!  Not many people can claim that!

He's using a tool to crack open the "egg" to get to the goods.  Pretty smart!

Since it was such a nice day, we wondered around one more town before heading back to our village to have dinner and to rest our feet.

We took the scenic route through the Black Forest to get home. We stopped along the way in Triberg to see the waterfall.  We did a nice little hike, checked out some cuckoo clocks and of course we had to have some Black Forest cake!

On Diane's last day in Germany, we went to the Volksfest, which is Stuttgart's Oktoberfest.  The Volksfest is the second largest Oktoberfest in the world, and it is great!  We've heard from many that the tourists go to the fest in Munich, and the German's go to Stuttgart!  It was a fun and very German last day here for Diane!

A cute prize from the claw machine!

Believe it or not, those beers were the small size!

We were so glad to have Diane spend some time with us in Germany, especially for Kyle's birthday! We had a good mix of sight seeing and relaxing at home.  It's always nice to share some of the things that you always talk about with family and friends! We're always looking forward to our next visit!

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