Europe - part 2

December 18th
Breakfast at the hotel in Hamburg.  Breakfast at every place we stayed was pretty much the same - cold cuts, bread, yogurt and granola.  They all LOVE Nutella, so that was in abundance everywhere as well.  It was really good, but hard to get used to lunch meat early in the morning.

After breakfast we packed up and drove to Hamelin, Germany.  This was one of my favorite towns.  The town is famous for the folk tale of the Pied Piper, a midevil story that tells of a tragedy that befell the town in the 13th century. The version written by the Brothers Grimm made it popular throughout the world. In the summer every Sunday, the tale is performed by actors in the town center. Their are lots of little towns around here where different Brothers Grimm tales are depicted.
All the churches and buildings are so stinking OLD!!  It's amazing the workmanship involved.  Made me realize how young America really is.  This Christmas market was around this awesome old church.  The booths are so cute and picturesque.
We went to a glass blowing demonstration, and afterward all the kids got to blow their own glass ornament.
Amazing how he can go from that little hot ball to the little bird below in a couple minutes.

The kids thought it was pretty awesome to blow their own glass ball.  They got to pick out what color they wanted.  Noah picked green (it's red here, but hardened green).
After they blew their ball, the guy put a little extra glass on the top to make a hole so we can hang it.
Ava did a white one.
Grant did an orange one.  We just got them back and they are pretty cool.  I'll have to add a picture of them.

After glass blowing, we had lunch at a little corner store.  Caitlin told us to try a Doner, and they are everywhere.  They're really yummy.
A Doner a sandwich with this meat cut really thinly.  They crisp the ends and only cut off those pieces.  Pretty tasty.

We decided to stay a little longer in Hamelin and walk around a bit more.

The advent calendar was started in Germany, so they are all over.   The Pied piper comes out and dances from that square in the middle every hour, but we missed it each time. :)

Those Scandinavian stars are all over too.
These buildings are so old.  Look how bowed the cement walls are on the building to the right. 
This is the plaque on the building to the left in the picture above.
These mice symbols are scattered all over the town, and you can do a mice hunt to find them all.
Ava and I liked this window display. 
The kids went ice skating at a little rink behind the old church. 
The scene was pretty spectacular.  Seemed very surreal.

Noah spend half of his time on his bum, but he loves it anyways.

The Pied Piper giving tours around the town.
We left Hamelin and headed to Kassel.  The drive was so cool.  We went through lots of pretty tiny villages that were so old.  Lots of old houses and quaint farms. I wish I had taken pictures. :/  We stayed at the Wyndham Garden hotel.  Big rooms, but a little dated and slightly dirty.  The breakfast was good though.
Adam and Luke picked up Mc Donald's for dinner and the kids and daddy went swimming in a really disgusting hotel pool.
December 19th
After breakfast in Kassel we started our drive Rhens. Many times on our MANY hours of driving, Adam and I mentioned how similar the scenery is to California in the winter and spring - rolling green hills.   This picture was taken when we stopped for gas and realized Luke and Jan weren't behind us.  We went on a side road next to the freeway to see if we could see them.  At the very end of the road, there they were on the side of the freeway.  Luke was pacing around.  We found out Jana and the girls were feeling sick (it was a really windy road and the boys really used the no speed limit to their advantage) and needed to pull over to puke.  Luke got out to help her and stepped in poop. HA!!!  He was adamant that it was human feces.  He was so mad. :)  We all thought it was hilarious, of course.  He ended up putting is shoes on the outside mirrors so he wouldn't have to smell them. 
Pulling into Kassell.  This place is splattered with castles.  It's so strange to be driving by and see an enormous castle right there. 
This was the hotel we stayed at.  It's across the street from the Rhine river.  It's an old (circa 1699) house that they've turned into a hotel. The rooms were tiny, but we were getting used that.  American standards are much different than European.  We like everything bigger.

The other part of the hotel across the street.
Looks like a postcard, right?!
We walked down to the Rhine river to stretch our legs.

Went to a little corner pizza place.  It took them forever to make our food, but it was good.  Like I mentioned before, they don't really care about efficiency.

Back part of the hotel.
After lunch we went to the Marksburg castle. Started in 1117!!!  Isn't that crazy?!  It's the only castle on the Rhine that has never been destroyed.

It was definitely not a princess castle.  This was used for war.

View of the Rhine from the castle. Our tour was in German, but the guide told us a few things in English.  Probably a good thing, since it was pretty graphic (hot tar being poured on the enemies from above, etc.).

The stove/fireplace in the kitchen.  The whole castle was pretty dark, so not the greatest pictures.  It was crazy to think about people actually living this way and what they did in those time periods.

The 'queen' or lady of the house bedroom.  The beds are really short, because back then they didn't sleep lying down. They believed that if you slept flat it was like a corpse, and you would die. 
Adam's favorite part of the tour.  The 'toilet room' is right next to the dining table.  They would go in there and do their business while still carrying on the conversation with the people eating at the table.  They also didn't close the door, because they thought evil spirits would get them if the door was closed.  Also, when you went to the bathroom, it was just an open hole that would drop off the side of the cliff. 
Ceiling detail.
There was a little round room just off the queens room where she would worship.  This door is super tiny, because if they were invaded the soldiers wouldn't be able to fit thru the door with all their armor. 
Past that little door you enter a sewing room and then the armor room.  They have all the different era's depicted and how the armor would have been.

The torture chamber was quite gruesome.  They had the tortures there, but the pictures on the walls really showed what they did. The guide asked if we wanted him to explain it to us in English.  We opted out, since I think the kids would all have nightmares forever.
We went back to the hotel and had dinner in the little restaurant.  The kids, and adults, are finally starting to sleep at the appropriate times at this point. Yeah!


mammasweet said...

I can't believe what a great story this is. The pictures are amazing. You need to make this into a book for the kids to remember all they saw. I think it's cool that you have the glass they blew at your house now.

bethany said...

This is like watching a national geographic special. Good work, punji.