Thursday, July 31, 2008


Enough blogs, already, huh? Chris and Craig are at the mall, so I had them drop me off at Paneras so I could get some computer time. I've posted some more pictures - we've finally organized all of them. We created 3 slide shows of about 200 pictures each to show the highlights of our trip.

Benajmin and Alexander are still at camp, while Jonathan enjoys his time as an only child. Right now he is at Bible School at my parents' church. Craig came over yesterday, as did my friend Tom. We hung out in the afternoon and played a little four square. Then Tom left and the three of us played two games of Ticket To Ride. Chris and Craig stayed up until 1:30 playing a Settlers Card game, too.

Today we walked the mall and then played Ticket to Ride again. We're playing Settlers tonight, and will probably play something else tomorrow morning before Craig goes home. Keeping busy keeps my mind off Alexander, whom I hope is having a great time at camp!!!

Serengetti Park

We took a day to go to Serengetti Park, a combination safari ride (on a bus) and amusement park. We started with the ride, and got off at a stop to feed the animals. Benjamin had his hands full!
The Shiller family - Matthias, Inid, Elias, and Joel
Alexander made a new friend, who liked to chew at the strings of his pants.
The giraffes came right up to the bus, as you can see. One even stuck his head in the bus as the guide fed it some greens.
On top of a ride, I took this picture of the park. This is about half of it. The big boys' favorite ride is the one in the middle.

Ottersberg pictures

Ottersberg is where we spent a week and a half. We stayed with Hermann and Judy, Chris' dad's cousins. Right next to them live Inid and Matthias and their two children, Joel and Elias. The boys probably liked their time in Ottersberg the best; it was relaxing, and there was plenty of room to play and run around.
The family owns huge greenhouses, and produce 20% of Germany's Heather (as seen in this picture.) On our first day, Elias, who is 4, took me on a tour of the greenhouses and told me (in German, of course) how all of the machines work. When I got the English tour later, I realized that he was right - he knows how everything works.
Jonathan thought this was cool - it moves down the rows, watering the plants.
Besided the greenhouses, they have beautiful plants and flowers all around their house.

Here Benjamin is teaching Joel how to blow dandelion seeds. I'm not sure if they appreciated all of the seeds flying around...
We went to two big parties to watch Germany play in the semi-finals and finals of the European world cup. We all got into the spirit with face paint and Germany clothing.

The boys with Frank, Hermann and Judy's son-in-law, who owns the greenhouses behind him. They grow plants for cemetaries.

Some local TV reporters came to the party, and I think we were on TV. Notice here he is interviewing Kiersten, while hiding the beer bottle behind him so the camera can't see it.

Munich pictures

This is Dachau, a concentration camp. It was a work camp, not an extermination camp, but it was a powerful visit.

Artwork; never again

While the Seabreeze group went to Dachau, I took the kids to the Munich zoo. They spent as much time at the playgrounds as they did looking at the animals (which was fine with me because I could sit!) This is the coolest slide the boys saw all trip. You climb up inside, then go down the slide!!
They loved this one...notice it is flush to the ground so you can't get dragged under it while going around.

While walking around, we looked up and saw this monkey above us. They fed it granola bars as Benjamin proclaimed it was the highlight of his trip.
Downtown Munich, the famous glockenspiel.
This is one of my favorite pictures. As you can see, Jonathan made friends with many of his "teenagers."
Benjamin and I saw a ballet here in the Munich opera house. We were sitting on the top tier. It's quite a grand house, and we loved the ballet.
After visiting Dachau, the group went to the BMW plant. How's that for a unique building?

As usual, Alexander shows remnants of his ice cream.

Monday, July 28, 2008

State College

Chris and I are in State College, visiting Jeff. He took us on a tour of the campus. It's gigantic. We even got our picture taken by the famous Nitany Lion. We took him out to dinner at BigBowlNoodle House, which is appropriately named. Yes, our food came in big bowls. We the walked a little more, up to the famous creamery for huge ice cream cones. (I'm seeing a pattern here.) I had "death by chocolate," but should have gotten my money back since I'm still alive. 

Penn State is very impressive, and Jeff really likes it here. He walks everywhere. Right now he is taking intensive German, so he and Chris talked German for awhile. Now we have to get on the road so we're home before midnight. It was a fun visit, though, worth the three hour drive.

Friday, July 25, 2008

We're in Allentown/Heidelberg

We have made it to Allentown, after 16 1/2 hours in the car. Believe it or not, we did it in one day, and the boys were fabulous. That's actually an understatement. We hardly heard a peep or complaint out of them, probably due to the 3 DVD screens and 3 Nintendo DS's. Whatever works. We arrived on Tuesday evening and have spent the last two days relaxing in the beautiful Pennsylvania summer weather. This morning we walked to a neighboring berry farm and picked about 11 pounds of blueberries. Now we're sitting in Panera bread, getting a fix of the internet. This afternoon we'll take theboys to Wehr's dam to play in the river.

We have also managed to sort through and edit the rest of our Europe pictures, which was quite a chore. Posted below is a picture from our short stop in Heidelberg, where our bus took us to the top of a mountain to see an old castle. We then walked down an incredibly steep stone street to explore the town. You can see from this picture how old the castle is and how high up we were. What an amazing view!

Monday, July 21, 2008

We're off again

Okay, I promise this is the last post of the night. I tried to add as many pictures as possible, because tomorrow we are leaving for Allentown, and my parents don't have internet access at the moment. We're going to attempt to drive straight through, leaving at 4AM. We'll go until we get tired, and will hopefully make it to Allentown before midnight. I'm hoping to use some of the time to edit the rest of our pictures, or at least look at them. We'll be going to Panera periodically to check email and update our blog, but it won't be daily. We return on the 8th, 3 days before I start my new JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


At the risk of picture overload today, here are a variety of pictures we took in Rothenberg, a medieval city. The town has been kept in its orignal state since then, and was a real treat to visit. This is one of the few cities that was not bombed in WWII, due to its historical significance. This year, Alexander will study this time period, so we were sure to take a bunch of pictures he can share with his class.

A world-famous Christmas shop. Yes, we bought a few ornaments here. Couldn't resist.

We had a quaint (and expensive) lunch here. We sat in this little gazebo, surrounded by a beautiful, peaceful flowergarden. At least it WAS peaceful until the Weinrichs came. Alexander took some of his flower pictures here.


I'm busy tonight - This is the second batch of pictures I've gone through, from our day where we visited the famous Neuschwanstein Castle and the old city of Oberammergau.
The Castle was quite impressive, even from a distance.
After a LONG climb up the mountain, we finally made it to the top. We posed by this old looking gate.
We had a guided tour of the interior, but no pictures were allowed. Bummer.
Alexander took lots of flower pictures, and here is one of them.
More Neuschwanstein

In Oberammergau, the majority of the buildings have elaborate paintings adorning them. They perform the passion play every 10 years, and they are gearing up for 2010.

Everywhere you look there are mountains, and we never tired of it. Imagine living there and waking up to the moutains every morning. How incredible that must be.

Innsbruck Pictures

On our travels to Innsbruck, we drove through the tiny country of Liechtenstein. Here's proof that we were there.
Akexander and Benjamin also got their passports stamped. It cost 3 Swiss Frank, but one of the other parents had extra coins and gave them to us. When exchanging money, you cannot exchange coins! I didn't know that until this trip.
At night, Benjamin, Alexander, and I went to an Austrian folk performance. it was very similar to what you see at EPCOT's Germany pavillion.
Our hotel was located up a moutain next to this church. The ride up was harrowing - on a huge tour bus, going around hairpin turns on a one lane road. I'm glad I was a passenger!
Benjamin took this picture of us standing on our hotel deck (!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Another view from our hotel
And another. That is the city of Innsbruck you see at the bottom.
Innsbruck was hosting some of the European (soccer) cup games, and they had a huge pedestrian area set up for spectators. Benjamin is the only one of the five of us who dared to try the bucking bronco. He stayed on for a good thirty seconds, I think.
A view of the street - with a mountain the in the background and soccer balls above.
The architecture was amazing, and there were flowers outside just about every window.
Inside St. Peter's Dom
Here's most of our group (except those who were snapping pictures).