Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Day in Germany

Today we took Mat's parents into Germany.  I had given them some choices of areas within 2 hours of Basel - knowing that was easy for us to get to.  We rented a car again for today so that no matter what they chose we could get there easily.

We found a castle and went there first.  It was beautiful and on a huge hill.  The name of the castle was Burg Hohenzollern.  It is owned by the Prince and Princess of Prussia (yep - still a thing).  They still stay there every once in awhile with their children.  We had a great time roaming around, and we took a tour of the castle (in English!) and learned a lot about the castle and the family.  The original castle was built in the 1200's, but was burned down when there was a feud between the brothers.  It was rebuilt in the late 1800's and stands today.

There was a lot of snow on the ground at the castle, and it made the country side so pretty.  The weather was bitter cold, but I am so glad we went.  Such a beautiful area.

After the castle we headed to the town of Rottweil (where the Rottweiler dog comes from) in Germany.  Mat's dad had found a huge tower you could go to the top of and see around the countryside.  Seemed perfect.  Rottweil is also the oldest town in this area of Germany - founded in 79AD.  The was a beautiful little town.

We did hit some unfortunate things when we went to the town. For one - the tower was closed to the public.  Unfortunately at the door were two people who didn't speak English, so we have no idea why.  Could have been for a private event, but we were none the less disappointed that we couldn't go to the top.  Add another thing to the list for when they return for another visit!

We went into the town and enjoyed walking around.  We saw two beautiful churches and the town itself was sweet and quaint.  But - true to small towns in Germany - on Saturday things closed around 2:30pm.  Not a single shop was open.  Neither were the restaurants!!  So after walking around for a short while, we decided to get back in the car and head back to Basel. 

Travel is always unpredictable and things cannot be foreseen.  So we take it as it comes and are grateful that we live close enough we can return for a better look in the future.

The castle.  Look at that thing!

 View from the castle grounds.

 Entrance to the castle.  We weren't allowed to take pictures inside, but it was so beautiful.

 Mat's parents at the castle with Germany behind them

 The castle had two chapels on the grounds - Protestant and Catholic

 Even though the original castle burned to the ground, the foundation from the 1200's is still intact

 The view is just gorgeous from the castle grounds.

 This is the tower that eluded us.  It will be so cool to go to the top of it in the near future.

 Town of Rottweil, Germany

 Clock tower in Rottweil

 My girls hugging a Rottweiler statue

Friday, February 23, 2018

Day in France

Today we took Mat's parents to France.  Sally wanted to see the little Beauty and the Beast looking towns right across the border, so we obliged.  We battled the cold and enjoyed a day out. 

Today I rented a car to make travel a little more comfortable and also so we could take our time and drive in the French countryside.  One of the towns we wanted to hit you can only get to by car, so it worked best. 

We went to Riquwihr first.  I have been there a few times - took my parents when they visited this past fall and then went to the Christmas market there with friends.  It is a beautiful little town.  Looks like a Hollywood movie set.

Then we went into Colmar which is slightly bigger.  Mat and I went to a Christmas market there in December, and the town is really beautiful.  So we spent a few hours strolling the streets and taking in the sights.

The cold always puts a damper on things, and makes it hard to spend a lot of time outside.  So we were back by dinner time.  It was a fun afternoon, though, and I am glad we had a chance to show them the area.

Mat's mom posing in Riquwihr

 Mat's parents in front of the clock tower in Riquewihr
 Sally is eating a macaroon in this picture - we are trying to stay warm!

 Grape vines on the hillside.  The Alsace region is known for its wine

 Colmar was the home of the architect that designed the Statue of Liberty.  (yes the one that stands in New York City).  So this was at the entrance of the city

 Outside of the home of Bartholdi - the architect who designed the State of Liberty

 Ben and Sally in the "Little Venice" area of Colmar