German Adventure - The Family!

Trip Start Aug 30, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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What I did
Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin
Reichstag, Berlin
Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
Jewish Memorial, Berlin

Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Friday, December 28, 2012

After wonderful Christmas celebrations in Pella, the whole family (Vince, Monica, Brett, C.J., and Kyle) headed to Munich, Germany, on Thursday, December 27, arriving on the 28th.  Our first day was spent familiarizing ourselves with downtown Munich, sampling traditional Bavarian cuisine at Weisses Brauhaus in the Marienplatz area, and enjoying the hot tub and steam room at our hotel. 

Saturday was a big day...a trip to Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian countryside.  We stopped at a Roccoco style church in an old abbey along the way and arrived at King Ludwig's famous fairy tale palace by noon.  It was a cold, clear day and the views were spectacular!  




 A stop at an organic cheese farm for yummy meats and cheeses rounded out this splendid day.



Sunday was another one for the record books...a train ride into the German Alps, where we boarded a (crazy, scary, can't believe we did this!) cable car that zoomed us to the top of Germany's highest mountain peak, the Zugspitze in only 10 minutes.  Unfortunately, a cloud hovered over the peak the whole time we were there so we didn't get the panoramic views.  We did, however, enjoy lunch at the top.  We happened to sit with a Marine and his family who are stationed in Stuttgart--lovely people!  And they gave us some more travel tips for Europe!  

We finished off the day with a stop at the Hofbrauhaus, famed for its Oktoberfest celebrations.  It was a real "cultural" experience for us.  Picture a giant, noisy beer hall, with everybody wearing lederhosen and dancing and singing.  Throw in a table of rude Italians, lots of beer and pretzels, and you've got the picture.  Incidentally, this is the site where Hitler and his cronies first started their propagandizing... 

Monday, New Year's Eve Day, we did a little shopping, visited Olympic Park (site of the '72 Olympics) and climbed a church tower for great views of Munich.  We spent New Year's Eve at the Tollwood Festival where we roamed from tent to tent enjoying 5 different music concerts.  We welcomed in 2013 with 45 minutes of fireworks all around us, music, dancing, and one good New Year's resolution for each of us. 
A five hour train ride to Braunschweig, unpacking at "home", followed by dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in our hometown, Wirtshaus, rounded out New Year's Day.  

Wednesday:  Vince off to work; Mom and sons to downtown Braunschweig for a little shopping and sightseeing; lunch at Vapiano's; a stop at Welger to see where Dad works; Wernigerode Castle in the Harz Mountains; a game of Ticket to Ride Germany.  Whew!  The fatigue is setting in...

Thursday, the last day of our vacation, we were up early for a quick breakfast and then the 2 hour drive to Berlin.  This was a "last minute" decision, but we managed to make the most of it, cramming in Checkpoint Charlie, part of the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate, Jewish Memorial, Reichstag, and Alexanderplatz.  A highlight of our time together was the conversation we had during each and every meal.  We had a fantastic time of blessing each other as we enjoyed delicious schnitzel and pasta back in Braunschweig at Vier Linden, a pub just a few blocks from our home.  Thank you, Brett, C.J., and Kyle for a glorious vacation in Germany!  The German Adventure Continues...
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