Sunday, May 31, 2009


Wayne and I both arrived for breakfast at the appointed time of 8:30, again with no sign of the others. They came staggering in one at a time until we were all together in the very large dining room, deserted except for our party of five. The meal was set up buffet style and was beautiful. Much variety in the foods and drinks available but still mostly cold meats, breads and cheeses. I had become quite accustomed to that type of breakfast but was longing for fried bacon and eggs, biscuits and gravy. After our breakfast we headed to Lichtenstein. I just like the sign above at the parking lot. The oddest things seemed to interest me.
This view from the castle grounds down onto the village was breathtaking. I could stand there and watch for hours.
I still think of the construction of castles like this and marvel at how many man-hours it must have taken to design and build such a magnificent structure.
At the bottom of the huge "hill" from the castle and located adjacent to the parking lot was a large "zip line" park and it appeared as if several youth groups were spending the day there. We just watched for quite a while.

It was amazing that no trees were damaged with this fun sport. The trees were all protected with wooden shints (for lack of a better word) with the supporting wires then wrapped around them. I never saw a nail or screw INTO a tree anywhere. What great fun for kids on a Sunday afternoon, zipping through the trees.

This was just a beautiful view and I wish everyone could experience it. It was almost surreal that this gal from western Kentucky was standing where so much history had taken place.

Hello down there! Winding paths leading up to the top were beautiful, too, and ever so much easier to navigate than hundreds of stairs.

We were able to find a cafe at the bottom, also, where we had a nice lunch before striking out again. This time Bridget had a nice sausage and a more traditional yellow potato salad with a croissant. (Okay, I branched out and had a slice of pizza.)
Back to the cars and on to the best part of the day. We headed farther south and east toward Austria and I cannot begin to tell you the majesty of the Alps! We found a gorgeous guest haus with an apartment available where we slept. The guest haus was situated at the foot of the Alps right near the Austrian border in the village of Nesselwang.
It had a restaurant where we enjoyed dinner and then retired back to our apartment for another exciting night of Scrabble and computer time. What an exciting group of folk we are! Oh, I got a "Spesi" a drink looking very much like a Pepsi which turned out to be cola with lemon and orange. NOT good! How I longed for a Diet Coke in a can!

Wayne's maps spread out to study on the sofa made me glad I was not the one planning our next stops!
The train rail right outside my window concerned me for no reason. The trains are almost silent and "whooshed" by all night. I went to sleep that night feeling nestled in a warm room at the foot of the Alps in a setting so picturesque it was too beautiful for ME to adequately describe.

Friday, May 29, 2009

On To Heidelburg

After our serenade, we set off for Heidelburg and its famous castle. We found an underground parking garage and easily found a space. Damion and Crystal were not far behind us. Exiting the parking garage onto a beautiful town square with a central fountain, we made our way to a souvenir shop and bought a few things before beginning our ascent to the castle. Yes, this was indeed a famous castle as evidenced by the hordes of people paying 3 Euro each to enter! Ah, it was excruciatingly beautiful! The history of this castle and maintenance of it make it unique. We visited the old Apothecary and the huge wine cellar where Crystal and Wayne tasted wines (and bought glasses).

The climb UP to the castle was very hard and steep. I wasn't even sure I could do it. But going down was much easier. Crystal helped by reminding me to lean BACK when I walked to slow down my descent.

We got to the bottom to find a stage had been set up in the town square along with food and drink tents and MANY people there to enjoy the entertainment. We had a light lunch there and then BACK to the car and on our way to yet another historic place in Germany.
We headed toward a couple of places Wayne had researched and was very anxious to get to, but almost before we knew it, it started to get late and we had not secured lodging for the night. We started stopping at various inns and guest haus along the way but had trouble finding a vacancy anywhere! We finally ended up in an old hotel that looked as if it had been a very elegant place at some point in time, but no more.
My single room was down a very dark hallway and was the only room occupied in that whole hallway for the night. I had a brief thought of Jack Nicholson running down it with an axe! It was situated very strangely but opened up to a patio I somehow shared with the rest of my party. The view from that balcony was of a castle high upon a mountain above us. This hotel was actually in Hohenzollem, according to my receipt.
After getting our bags up and semi-settled, off we went in search of dinner. There was a restaurant in the hotel but since no one else was eating there, we took that as a cue and decided to strike out for something better. As much trouble as we had finding a place to sleep, we had MORE trouble finding a place to eat.

We finally settled on an almost-deserted place that was still serving dinner so we took it. It smelled pretty bad inside so we decided to eat on the patio even if it was already dusk.
The food was reasonably priced and tasted great, well, until I found a hair in my plate. Thankfully, I was full enough to stop eating since I was thoroughly nauseated after that!
Back to our hotel rooms where we all gathered in Damion and Crystal's "suite" for a game of Scrabble and a glass of wine. I'm not a very good Scrabble player so I opted out to download some pictures to my computer but stayed and enjoyed the company for awhile.
Damion found a BUNCH of ants and a spider in his room, so of course he called to complain. It was really very funny. We got the little guy back up to the room and he ended up comping them a bottle of champagne.
I certainly checked my bed and room before I laid down to be sure of no bugs! All was well and I slept fitfully again, just a strange place, I guess.
Next post will be our night in Nesselwang near the Austrian border with a grand view of the Alps!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Party Night On The Rhine

When I left you last night, we had found a Guest Haus combination with a restaurant/bar overlooking the Rhine to stay in for the evening. The bartender/host/server/owner gentleman pushed two long tables together and we ordered dinner. It was certainly an "old-style" German-looking place (whatever that means). I had sauerbraten tonight with red cabbage. It was good but not nearly as good (to me) as the sauerbraten served in Evansville, IN at Gerst Haus.
Okay, so here begins the story. During dinner we had a couple of bottles of wine opened on the table and were enjoying it when an older man burst through the door and asked everybody if they wanted to go up to the castle with him to a wine-tasting. Damion, Crystal and Wayne decided to be adventurous while Bridget and I stayed at the bar/restaurant. We'd had a LONG day in the car and traipsing up mountainous hillsides to tour castles.
They were gone for a VERY long time... an hour or maybe even two. MUCH later they came back in the door followed by a group of 10 or 15 other "new" folks, all singing and laughing and having a great time.
It seems that they just "moved" the wine-tasting down to the now- bar only .
Crystal was certainly enjoying her wine here. She's a fun, pretty girl.

This man, it turns out, had a very colorful past. He and his wife were from the EAST. And before the wall came down, he had his own television show. He also was a musician and proved it by singing through the night. The rose in his hand is actually a microphone. He was staying there for the weekend and had a concert coming up that weekend. At one point in the night he went to his room and retrieved copies of his CD (which he autographed for us) and gave them to us. I have already packed the CD away and cannot for the life of me remember his name. But the CD was about Nordic-Walking. Apparently he had lost over 100 lbs. after he took up the sport and then recorded songs to walk to.
This was the proprietor of the place and no, I don't remember his name, either, but he was a great host to all of us. Of course, making some money at the bar all night didn't hurt his mood.
The lady with the bright red hair was the wife of the musician. By the way, I saw a LOT of hair dyed this color in Germany. After a while I got used to seeing it, but no, I wouldn't consider it.
This man was a chemistry professor and he and his wife had come to stay there for the concert weekend as well.

This is the "famous" couple. Apparently time has caught up with them, as it will us all if we are fortunate. They were a unique and happy couple and I am glad to have met them and spent time with them.
Ah, this was my room for the night. It was certainly not much to look at, but again, it was very clean. AND my window overlooked the Rhine River. I didn't sleep much that night as I couldn't tear myself away from the window and the river traffic.
As we prepared to leave the next morning, some of the other guests even helped with my bags. Six flights of stairs and no elevator was not easy. I saw very few elevators in all of Germany but LOTS of steps wherever I went. Our celebrity brought his accordion and serenaded us all the way to the car and out of the parking lot. Our other new friends and guests there were all waving good-bye from the balcony.
What a night! And one can never have too many friends!
Until next time!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Movin' On Down The Road

Friday, April 24, 2009
I awakened at about 7 a.m. to learn that Wayne had been up for some time. This was evident in that he was already outside. I repacked my luggage, showered and got ready for the day as soon as I could and joined him only to learn that Bridget was still asleep and he was waiting for her to get up. After another hour or so had passed, we were famished and decided to go on to the restaurant (where breakfast was included with our stay). I was fearful of a headache (caffeine withdrawal). We were instructed where to sit as the table was already set for us. Even though we never ordered breakfast, it began appearing anyway. First a tall, cold glass of orange juice followed closely by a large basket of a variety of freshly-made breads. Then came a tray of various cold cuts and a plate of mixed cheeses. Two hard-boiled eggs and fresh peach preserves along with a pot of hot coffee rounded out the meal. Still no Bridget.
We were seated next to a large window with a great view of the main street in Braubach and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast while "people watching". There was an older gentleman on the corner opposite the restaurant selling flowers. Wayne said he was there at 6 when HE first went down. As the sleepy little town awakened, we saw lots of ladies walking and riding bicycles and most had baskets with which to purchase fresh breads and other items for their day. Even older ladies rode bikes! I found that so refreshing.
Wayne and I enjoyed our meal and afterwards, he went to check on Bridget again. She finally rose at around 10:00 a.m. and was profoundly embarrassed at her tardiness since our hosts had gone to so much trouble for us.
After breakfast we loaded the car and set off to join Damion and Crystal. We finally succeeded in the early afternoon, but only after exploring the quaint castle of Braubach. It was huge to me and was only to be determined later in the trip that it would actually be the smallest we would visit.

We enjoyed a lunch in an outside cafe situated along the Rhine River. We did walk/drive to two more castles and decided to start looking a a place to have dinner and sleep for the night. The car tour with no schedule was fabulous!

Me enjoying lunch at the outdoor cafe. Okay, I had already eaten here and was just enjoying BEING there.
We found another Guest Haus right on the Rhine for the evening. It was the strangest evening of the trip yet and there is so much to tell about it that I will wait for the next post to fill you in! Good night all!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Frankfurt and Braubach

I woke up early on Thursday morning, at least I THINK it was Thursday. I was ravenous so I made my way down to the advertised "breakfast buffet". To my surprise, at 6:30 a.m. there were several people already there.
This is certainly like no breakfast buffet I had ever seen. The meats offered included a selection of thin round slices of salami, ham and something else all resembling bologna at Kroger alongside some white sliced cheese. Fruit was an apple. There was a bowl of sliced tomatoes and another bowl of sliced cucumbers. A chafing dish held hard-boiled eggs in their shells. Cold hard rolls (two varieties) and a huge bowl of something white that looks fluffy like Cool Whip and a selection of cold cereals.
I would have killed for a cup of coffee so I tried the machine set up there and took a guess. WRONG! I got instead a cup of warm, frothy milk. Hey, it was actually pretty good. I went back and tried again. Bingo! Evidently since coffee is not at the top of the list, it is not the beverage of choice here.
I honestly do not know how to "properly" eat a boiled egg, in its shell, from an egg cup. My intense staring at an older man for my "lesson" go me a hard look so I commenced on my own. Of course I guess it didn't matter to anyone else, but it mattered to me.
Breakfast was filling and interesting. I went back to my room to retrieve my bags, checked out and waited for the shuttle for the return to the airport hoping to meet my family. Lucky me! It turned out to be the very same driver from the day before who had been so kind to me.
The trip to the airport was uneventful and quick. My driver let me out right at the door and in I went. I went directly to a currency exchange booth and got some Euros', then on to the Hertz booth. It was still a little early to look for Wayne and Bridget so I found myself a seat and waited.
While waiting, I had a nice "sign language" conversation with a gentleman who spoke no English. I surmised he was waiting for his sister to arrive on the same flight that my brother was on. He had brought flowers for her. Such a nice man.
A few minutes later I felt a tap on my shoulder and it was Bridget. Wayne and the others were at the rental car booth. When they finished, we proceeded to find our car. Since they had been delayed for a day, Hertz did not hold the car they had ordered so we had to take what was left. Alas, poor us. Turned out to be an Audi 6 Series, lol. NICE ride!
Damion and Crystal (Wayne's son and daughter-in-law) were in a separate car and took off behind us. Down the road we went toward the city of Frankfurt proper. It wasn't long until we no longer had Damion and Crystal following and we made it into the city. We could not find a parking space on the street so we found an underground parking garage.
To the middle of the city and totally awed at the architecture and people everywhere. We couldn't help but enter some of the shops. The sights and sounds and smells were mesmerizing. Bridget did buy herself a pretty cool pair of shoes.

After shopping for a while, we exited and found a nice outdoor cafe where we had a late lunch. I had some kind of pork and potato salad with a cup of coffee.
We then made our way back to the car and out of the garage without incident. On our way to Koblen!
Instead of taking the Autobahn, Wayne decided to take a more scenic route through the tiny towns and quaint villages along the way. I saw so many acres of vineyards it was unbelievable (wine country here)! Most of them were situated on grand, steep hillsides and seemed to be endless at times.
We did indeed pass through many small towns, each of them seeming to have their own personality. I was still unaccustomed to the rate of speed at which everyone travelled and was constantly impressed with the careful approach drivers used.
About 10 K or so from our destination, saw a huge castle up very high on a steep bluff. The little town resting under it was Braubach, and it was gorgeous. Since we were NOT on a schedule we decided to stay there and explore the little village.

We managed to find rooms in a very old building. The hotelier operated a restaurant also and said our room rates included breakfast, too. Wayne and Bridget, a room for two was 65 Euro while my single was only 40. Wow! The room is simple but very clean with plenty of hot water and all the amenities I needed. I loved being there! (I thought the sign above was FUNNY).

Bridget was exhausted from the flight and decided to take a nap before dinner. Wayne and I went to the little balcony surrounded by pansies and talked while he enjoyed a couple of German beers and Bridge enjoyed the nap. She awoke refreshed a little later and off we took for a stroll.
We happened upon a restaurant/bar and entered to an overpowering cloud of tobacco smoke and several men playing a card game of some sort. Be assured that wherever we went in Germany, there was sure to be much tobacco smoke. Indeed, it seemed as if there was a cigarette machine on every other corner. They are unique to Germany in that they are attached to the wall somehow.
We ordered and enjoyed very nice dinners. I had stuffed green peppers (the special of the day) with potato salad and like them very much.

After dinner we took a much longer walk and discovered lots of little interesting things and places. I took lots of photos.
Back in the hotel I tried to call Mother again. I do not think she has been home since I left.
Yes, I could tell how worried she was about me!
Good night, my friends!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Alone in Frankfurt

Okay, it really was Wednesday. The plane landed very smoothly. I departed and walked what seemed like a very long way (just following the crowd, really) and determined we were headed toward the baggage retrieval area.
Between the plane and that area was a cavernous room with LINES of people so heck, I got in line, too. As I got closer I was able to determine they were simply checking and stamping passports. The fellow there was quite grumpy. He stamped my passport and I resumed my trailing along behind the hordes of folks who were headed SOMEWHERE.
Aha! THE baggage carousels! I retrieved my bag and now where?? The crowds of people had thinned so I just followed EXIT signs and thankfully located an Information Desk. I waited in line and met the nicest man. He listened to my dilemma, spoke English and got me a hotel room for the evening at a Holiday Inn Express and even ordered me a shuttle to get me there. He directed me to find out when my party would arrive, then return via the shuttle for the return trip and just meet them back at the airport. YEAH!!
I still have no Euro's so am unsure about what to do for dinner. There is no ATM here in this hotel. I found that strange. Stranger still was that I had no electricity in my room. I finally called the front desk and it was determined that I had not been instructed in how to GET electricity. There was a small white box located very near the door and I had to insert my door card key in order to connect the electricity.

Cigarette machines in the lobby of the hotel? Cigarette machines on every corner?? Drive-up cigarette machines? Okay, this helps that I quit smoking before I left home.
I had no concept of time. I DID know how exhausted I was so I took a nap before I regrouped.
Upon awakening I called April who was extremely concerned about me being here alone. The sun was shining gloriously, the foliage was in full bloom and God was in His heaven. I decided to take a shower and figure out how to get something to eat.
Typically me, I changed my mind and decided to take a walk to check out my surroundings. I took off down what looked like the safest street but nothing interesting there to see so I eventually turned around and came back the way I started. I crossed a street with NO speed limit and very heavily travelled which took some time.
I ran out of sidewalk but kept going, keeping close to the shoulder of the road. I saw a sign that looked like a Campground with lots of cars parked on both sides of the street. Okay, so enter I did. And I was certainly rewarded as I came upon a very old-looking quaint German restaurant stuck back in the woods.

Even with a distinct chill in the air, several groups of people were dining outside on a well-lit area with picnic tables, a bar, a play area for children and plenty of seating. I was not inclined to eat outside so meandered on up some stairs and struck pay-dirt. A pretty girl addressed me in German, I answered in English and she invited me to be seated anywhere I chose (her answer was in English, of course).

There were several people in the little dining room, but I easily found a table and made myself comfortable. The pretty German girl came to get my drink order and when I asked if they served Diet Coke, she quizzically answered no. Then I asked for Cola and she knew what I meant. I had enough alcohol on the plane trying to calm down to do me for a WHILE.

I still had a little trouble with the German menu, but my waitress was kind and I settled on a Gorgonzola Schnitzel with fried potatoes. Oh my! I was so glad I took that walk.

After my order was placed, I could hear the mallet in the kitchen as they beat the ordered meat to tenderize it. Only then was it prepared to be served. The Gorgonzola sauce was just an extra while the fried potatoes looked to be tiny golden Yukon rounds fried in bacon grease. I thought then about how much weight I would probably gain on that trip.
My walk back to the hotel was good for me after such a great dinner. I went straight to my room and got ready for bed. The time difference still had me really mixed up. I got a text from Wayne's group. They would arrive on the same flight as I had arrived on the day before. So I called the front desk and arranged to be taken back to the airport the following day.
I slept fitfully as there was a lot of noise there and I really was not tired. I did finish reading a book I had brought along for just that reason.
More escapades tomorrow!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Take A Little Trip With Me

As most of you know, I just returned from my first trip to Germany about a month ago. Life has finally calmed down to the pace that I can catch my breath and share my trip with you. I "journaled" while I was gone and am going to share much of that on my blog. So for those of you NOT interested in my MOST interesting trip, you can check back in a week or so and I should be on to something new.
Day 1 - April 21, 2009
Off I go! I didn't sleep well at all last night. I'm sure just thinking about all that lies ahead today and didn't actually lie down until about 2:00 a.m. I slept late, though, not getting up until about 6:30 a.m. Ha, ha!
Caught up with all my email, finished packing, took a LONG bath and finished all the last minute chores. I called Mom about 8 and she actually seemed fine today with my going. I have been concerned. A friend came over with an Egg McMuffin to share, but I declined so he didn't stay. That was a nice gesture.
Teresa came to clean and got here before I left. I fixed Mother another weeks' worth of medications and Teresa will take them to her for me tomorrow.
Jim P. was my designated driver today from the funeral home. He arrived promptly at 10:00 a.m. and we took off without delay. Wow, he is a SLOW driver, lol. We ended up arriving at the airport in Nashville at 11:10 with my flight to Newark scheduled for 11:55. Of course there was a long line of people at the check-in counter! Woe is me! My turn, my turn.
Upon completion of check-in, the man at that counter told me MY FLIGHT HAD BEEN DELAYED 2 HOURS !! Hallelujah! This will not affect my connecting flight to Newark as I had a scheduled 4 hour layover there. Now instead of four hours in Newark, it will only be 2. Could not have worked out better for me.
Security checkpoint was uneventful. Of course I had to let several people get in front of me, though, because I'm so dang slow. Well, THAT and the fact that they had to search all my bags???? So now I plug up my little "mini-pc" and catch up here.
I am hungry and might even go find something to eat - or not.
TWO hours later, still waiting. It appears all these delays are due to the weather in Newark. I am worried about getting there in time now to make my connecting flight to Frankfurt.
Okay, here we go. I have been sitting in Nashville all day!
Smaller jet than I had imagined. One seat on my side of the aisle so I didn't have to sit with anybody and two seats on the other. Turbulence was BAD. Got on the ground and had to take a shuttle to Concourse C, we had arrived at Concourse A. What little I saw of the airport in Newark was filthy and jam-packed with people. Raced to my gate as they were loading.
What next? Text message from my brother Wayne (who I am meeting in Newark with his family and all fly over together). Their flight has been delayed even more than MINE and they will NOT make the flight. WHAT ?!?!? I am going to Germany alone ??? I'm on the plane so , yes, I'm going to Germany alone.
What am I supposed to do when I get there? Foreign country, foreign language, alone, hmmmm.
At least this plane is huge. I had chicken with penne pasta for dinner. A little bottle of Skyye and cranberry juice, small side salad and for dessert, a cup of coffee with Bailey's to zonk me out. No luck, no sleep.
Still on the plane but almost to Germany now. Lost about 6 hours coming this way, it is already daylight here.
They actually served us breakfast on the plane (unscheduled) right before we landed. I had a warm croissant with butter and strawberry preserves along with four or five small chunks of fresh fruit. I did not have coffee but instead chose tomato juice to help my morning meds go down a little easier.
More tomorrow!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pool is Open

My niece Bunny called this afternoon, bored, and asked if I was interested in hosting a "spur-of-the-moment" cookout. She would bring kids, husband and food if I would supply the pool and the Granny. Well, as luck would have it, I had worked all morning to scrub up that pool and even had the water tested. All was perfect for a beautiful afternoon/evening of pool fun. Mom had a full day starting at the beauty shop for her regular Friday morning appointment, then on to the nursing home where she "helps" the "old" people play bingo every week. (I think that's so sweet.) Bunny's son Brandon sure loves his Granny and would even stop for a picture with her.
But BEFORE I started the "pool boy" job today I called my personal physician and made a quick trip. I've been worried about how the ears look in the back and I'm glad I went. He said I had developed a little infection and put me back on an antibiotic with instructions to go BACK to the surgeon who performed this little procedure next week. I called and am scheduled for Tuesday while dutifully taking the Keflex.

I know she doesn't look too thrilled in this picture, but she WAS tired and actually is still recuperating from her big birthday bash last weekend. Oh, after the bingo at the nursing home, she came back home, grabbed a bite of lunch and was off to the Community Room for Chapel House's monthly "Birthday Bingo" where she was one of the "birthday girls" this month so HAD to go.
Bunny makes an interesting relish for the grill. She takes a can of sauerkraut and mixes it with fresh chopped green and red bell peppers and a red onion along with a few pats of butter, folds it in aluminum wrap and throws it on the grill. It was YUMMY!! I will remember to do that. Oh, she added a dash of cinnamon (of all things) for an interesting bite.

Sophie the cat is still with me! I am amazed! It has been 6 whole days now. She still LOOKS pretty ferocious but today knows who feeds her and that I am NOT leaving. She had a great time playing with the kids and actually killed a bird in my yard. Now I really don't know what to think about that. It was really funny to watch her (sorry, bird lovers) but she just played with it till it died. Then even after it was dead she would throw it up in the air and leap for it just to smack it. I think I like this cat! But what do I do with dead birds after she's tired of them?

Brandon really enjoyed the pool, too. He has grown so that he can walk all the way across the deep end. The boy is TALL. Of course it is just a cocktail pool so is not TOO deep anywhere. Over MY head but still not deep.

Harmony Lynn and Bunny opted for the hot tub alternating with the pool for the "bubble" effect. It was almost dark before we could get Harmony out of the water. She will probably be shriveled up for days to come.

The kids had hot dogs on the deck while we old folks opted for the dining room table but still enjoyed watching Sophie try to eat their dinner.

Okay, it was a LONG day and Darrin was pooped, especially since he got to do the cooking tonight. Okay, there are SOME pluses to having a guy around. I just don't want one permanently, especially since Bunny said I could borrow hers whenever I wanted :)