OK, I’ll just chop off my toe then…?

So, guys! Believe it or not, Kenny and I have friends! Kenny’s teammate, Nico, and his fiancee, Dominique, joined us on our Lapland adventure. Said adventure started off a bit rocky. Ironically, the most annoying part was the fact that Kenny and I … Continue reading

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Kenny Frease

Fall has fallen in Deutschland, people, and the Frease’s are Herbst-ing it up. The fact is, as much as it pains me to be a part of the stereotype, I truly treasure this season. In fact, if you take Christmas out of … Continue reading

Sümela Monastery is in Middle Earth

Last weekend, prior to the discovery of our fabulous new dog-friendly digs, Kenny and I were feeling pretty blue so we decided to get the hell outta dodge and explore a new area. We drove about two hours down the eastern … Continue reading

Further (albeit random) updates***

Guten Morgen! Ich möchte sprechen Deutsch. Wir haben gelernt, ein wenig. Act like you’re not impressed. Kenny and I officially began our German lessons last week. Slowly, but surely we are learning the language… it really is exciting. We, including a few of Kenny’s American teammates (basically whoever shows up), meet every Tuesday at the office for lessons.

Also, today marks the start of my new job: Kenny’s chauffeur. For those of you that haven’t already heard Kenny got a speeding ticket the other day. Germans do NOT mess around with speeding. Not only did we have a very hefty fine, but also Kenny has to give up his license for a whole month! I mean c’mon Germany – no warnings or nothin’?? …Pretty unreasonable if you ask me. Anyway! If he gets caught driving without a license it is a whole month’s pay and possible jail time! Again, Germany… really?! Needless to say, we are not risking it. Thus, begrudgingly, I am his driver.

Despite my frustrations, I will say this on Germany’s behalf, though they are pretty ridiculous with some of their laws and customs (do not get me started on separating garbage); I have never seen a safer, cleaner, or more environmentally conscious place.

Anyway! That is all for tonight/today! I will leave you with a few pictures I took of the fields behind our village when I was on my run a couple of days ago:)

Plus, we have a horse in our back yard…

I named him Phillip.

Also, one last (and even more random) thing: I am proud to say, Kenny and I finished our Disney puzzle! Here is proof:

TA-DAA! Our next posting will be about our visit to the beautiful Schloss Lichtenstein! Cheers!

A castle? Yoshi can’t go in those.

The winds and bends of the roads and the surrounding fields of wildflowers and orchards made for a lovely drive from Hechingen Village to Burg Hohenzollem. As we were nearing the castle and snaking up the mountain I was so excited I kept having Kenny stop the car so I could take a picture of the nearing castle at every bend… I will spare you the majority of these photos, as they are very much alike. However, here is my favorite! The seemingly endless coiling road came to an end about ¾’s of the way up the mountain. We were met with the neon vest and open hand of a parking attendant. We paid 2 euro to park and wait for the next shuttle up the remainder of the mountain. Meanwhile they had a little pub and a shop of some of the most random castle paraphernalia you can imagine. Here are a few examples…

There were also ridiculously sharp swords and battle-axes labeled unconvincingly as fake, as well as dragon figurines and the usual wall of alcohol that has become a commonplace of sorts in the German shops we have happened across. After dress-up we headed towards the shuttle. We got on the bus and sat down in the teeny seats. Poor Kenny barely fit… but we were so excited!

…and then a wonderfully ridiculous human being sat down right in front of us. You haven’t seen a bowl-cut until you have seen this guy. It was incredible…

I have never seen it’s equal.

Anyway! We finally made our ascent. The shuttle arrived at the castle grounds and we bought a ticket for the “tour grandeur”. We were informed we won’t be able to understand a word of it (obviously), but they gave us a castle guide in English! Which was all we needed:) The way up the castle was really cool; consisting of a drawbridge, another winding path made of stone, and a charming garden courtyard.

I knew the view was going to be amazing, but there are not words to describe the feeling I got when I looked over that edge. Kenny and I, both being from Midwest America, will always appreciate such things. You could see for miles and miles all the way around the castle. We sat on a bench in silence for nearly five minutes just taking it all in. I was freaking out during this picture… He wanted to lay down!? I said nooooo way!

Also, Kenny downloaded this really cool app (he was obsessed with it) that allows you to take panoramic photos! Though, as you can see it’s a little on the squiggly side and it couldn’t exactly figure out where I was every time… Side note: Above I am imagining those little stone hobbles along the wall to be where Legolas would stand and just murk people.

Here, a nice (and fluent: low levels of awkwardness) German couple took our picture too! Surrounding the castle were several statues representing kings that have ruled here in the past dating back to the 16 hundreds. Kenny was bound and determined to take a picture of every last one. However, (for the sake of my sanity in trying to read the crumbling inscriptions) I am only going to post the first and the last out of the ten. It was rather interesting to see how the different fashions have changed over the centuries. Why would people ever stop wearing capes?

1640-1688

1861-1888

Since the castle was at the very peak of a mountain it was difficult to get a decent picture… not for lack of trying of course…

So incredibly beautiful. Moving right along, as you can see Kenny is headed into the building. Unbeknownst to us, the internal guided tour was to begin at 6:00. There is no such thing as “Mayers” time in Germany… I mean, this thing started at 6:00 sharp. Naturally, Kenny and I moseyed in around 6:06. I’m pretty sure it was uncomfortable for everyone involved. The door was locked so we had to knock. The kindly old man that was to be our tour guide let us in, and was most likely reassuring us that it was alright to be late… although of that we can never really be sure. We just kept shrugging our shoulders and saying “English, sorry,” then pointing at our English guide book… total idiots. Also, to make matters worse we were just snapping photos in every direction only to discover this sign when the crowd dispersed to head into the next room…

Oops…

So that is our excuse for the poor quality of photographs you are about to see. We had to be in stealth mode.

All four walls of the first room were adorned with an elaborately painted family tree. Naturally, it reminded me of the Black family tree in the fifth Harry Potter film… R.I.P. Sirius. 

The room below featured beautiful paintings: depictions of both actual historical events and fables from centuries past. Unfortunately, due to the big and bright windows, they were overexposed.

However, the next hallway had a couple of fancy mirrors…

Also, there we found the weirdest stained glass window in existence… Seriously though, quadruple high-five for anyone that can tell me what this thing is.

Every room we entered was more aesthetically pleasing than the next.

The last stop of the tour was an armory and a room full of display cases. Each with various artifacts from the different time periods of the castle’s existence.

(Ignore the panoramic squiggles.)

Although we did not understand a single word from anyone throughout the tour, it was still an amazing experience. The inside of the castle was just as magnificent as the outside promised. Kenny and I had another unforgettable day together:) Plus, we finally quenched our thirst!!

Cheers!

I love wine. Wine, wine, wine…

After Schloss Rosenstein we continued our adventure with more help from Google and Navi. Grabkapelle Rotenburg was listed as a “must see” so we plugged it in and began our ascent up a winding mountain. En route to our next castle we met with hills upon hills of rows upon rows of some “wein” plant. As it happens we came to find out (according to our Google translate app) that we have entered into a mini wine country. Needless to say I was pumped. I love wine. We had to stop anyway, because the landscape was stunning….

(Side note: I am 99% sure I was on Kenny’s shoulders for this picture) Now, one annoying thing about Europe is that it completely shuts down on Sundays: everything, aside from restaurants, is closed. So when we walked up we were not surprised to discover the “weingut” wasn’t open. However, we still had our fun!

I am not sure which I enjoyed more: the magnificent views, or getting to sneak a taste of all of the different grapes! I made sure to get a picture of our Cabernet grapes for you, Liz.

They were certainly the best grapes we had ever tasted, it was really cool to taste the differences between the grapes that represented each separate wine. The Reisling grapes were just as sweet as the wine itself! Go figure! The endless rows all along the mountainside were truly incredible.

We cannot wait to go back to the Collegium Wirtenburg when it is open and buy a couple bottles of the wine from the grapes we tasted! Onward to our castle! Cheers!