Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wedding March

This is seriously one of the coolest entrances I've ever seen to a wedding...if I had seen this before my wedding, my wedding party totally would have been doing this! Renee - be glad you got out of it :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Castles, castles and more castles...Day 3 & 4

I know at this rate it's going to take me 3 months to get the whole trip up...but it's not easy working a full-time job, serving at the church, studying for the Exam, and blogging all at the same time, so something had to give...okay back to day 3 and 4.

On day 3 we headed back to Starbucks, where the English speaking tours meet and took the tour to Neuschwanstein Castle. Due to the train tracks being under construction it was 3 hours out there and 3 hours back...

Kris was ready to hit the road...or train track I should say...

The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner, the King's inspiring muse. The king was rather eccentric (to say the least) and decided that he wanted a romantic, picturesque castle, so instead of having an architect design him a castle, he hired a painter...and then had the castle constructed based on the painting (not always the most practical way to go about things).

The hike up to the castle was soooo steap...not going to lie, it kicked my butt!!

He was notorious for changing his mind during the construction of the castle, thus only 1/3 of it was ever finished. In 1886 he died a mysterious death...he had basically bankrupted the royal family building his extravagant castles and they were ready to put and end to that. They sent the commissioners to go get him from the castle and return him to the Residenz in Munich. The commissioners had a very difficult time getting through the castle wall to him, however after a week of trying a servant finally let them in (that servant should definitely have been fired for that). Ludwig was declared mentally insane by Dr. Gudden, although never having been examined. Why you was the easiest way to remove a king from the thrown.

He was captured and taken back to his Uncles house in Munich where 2 days later his body, along with the body of Dr. Gudden, was found, having drawn in the Lake Starnberg. Claims are that perhaps they tried to make an escape and drown, although unlikely, since Ludwig was 6'3, an excellent swimmer and was found in 4 feet of water. To this day the autopsy results will not be released by the royal family.

Neuschwanstein Castle is the most visited castle in all of Germany, but not because of it's interesting history, but because it is the castle that inspired Disney's Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland. That mouse has some marketing power.

On Day 4 we rented a car and drove the autobahn to the Hohenzollern Castle, outside of Stuttgart. Kris really enjoyed getting to go as fast as he wanted (within reason, you can still get a ticket for recklessness). This castle was very special to Kris because his family is somehow related to the Prussian lineage at this castle. How glad am I that they Americanized their last name to Hohn?

Why are there no pics of this castle you ask? Oh that would be because at the end of day 5 of the trip, while at the pub in Salzburg, I decided to erase all the pictures on Kris's camera from day 3, 4 and 5...not the highlight of the trip...

More to come on that topic later...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 2 - Dachau

On day 2 we got up in the morning and headed to the main train station. In front of the Starbucks is where the English speaking tours left from (I know so American). We went to Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial. Our tour guide was named Matt, he was from California and was working on his PhD in History, he was very knowledgeable.

Dachau was open from March 1933 - April 1945 when it was liberated by the US troops. 32,000 were there at the time of liberation. It was estimated that up to 80,000 had been there the year before.

This was a replica of the main gate as you entered. It reads "work makes you free". The Nazis not only wanted to suppress people physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. People would read this walking in thinking that if they worked hard they would be released, when in reality the harder they worked the faster they became malnourished, dehydrated and exhausted.

Dachau was a main concentration camp, meaning people would be registered here and then could be sent to one of the 123 subsidiary camps in the surrounding areas. Sometimes people would leave for just the day and return in the evening to Dachau.

The bunk houses

"The Showers" - there was never any plumbing installed, proving that they were truly built with one purpose, a gas chamber.

An estimated 250,000 people died at Dachau. 11-12 Million would die in concentration camps during WWII. 6 Million of those were of Jewish decent.

After Dachau we headed to the Hunting and Fishing Museum (I think everyone can guess which one of us wanted to go there). It was actually pretty interesting and the building was beautiful, I loved how it was all displayed.

No...don't bite! Down boy...

After that we headed to the Residenz. The Munich Residenz served as the seat of government and residence of the Bavarian dukes, electors and kings from 1508 to 1918.

I've been wanting to paint my ceiling blue...but gold applique could work too...

After the Residenz we were quite hungry so we decided to walk around and look for a good place to eat...and that's when we found the mothership...

We ended up eating at this place called Spatenhaus. We had pork and spartzels with cheese in a mushroom sauce, it was so yummy I wanted to eat it everyday!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Europe Trip Day 1 - Munich

I'm going to try to recap our super fun, jam-packed Europe Trip day by day...we flew out on Friday the 26th. We got to Munich the next morning around noon. We had a lay-over in Amsterdam and met a couple (Neal and Vanita) that were from Jersey. We were on the same flight to Munich so we rode the train into the city together. We had planned to do Mike's Bike Tours at 4:00, so they said they would meet us there! Mike's Bike Tours was a great way to get a feel for the city and meet lots of great (English speaking) people!
This is the main town square in Munich, this building is so beautiful!

here we are on our bikes and all ready to go...

The famous Hofbrauhaus

All the gold mosaics and status in Munich face West, so if you get lost it's easy to figure out which direction you're facing.

This church was beautiful on the inside

Most of Munich's churches were heavily bombed during WWII, it's hard to imagine the task of having to rebuilt must have been so overwhelming...

English Garden, it's 22 miles long, so you do not want to get lost in it...

We stopped at the Chinese Beer Garden in the English Garden for some food and drinks. This is one of the largest beer gardens in Munich seating up to 7,000 people.

There had been so much rain in Munich lately (it rained just about every day that we were there, the weather was crazy) that you could surf one part of the river that runs through the English Garden.

After the bike tour a group of us headed to the Hofbrauhaus for some dinner. It was a lot of fun hanging out with everyone!

The food was delicious! We had crackled pig knuckle and potato dumplings - yum!!

After that we were pretty tired from all the traveling so we headed back to the hotel for another exciting day in the morning.
Oh yeah, and Kris got attached by a wild boar statue on the way home...good thing he was up to date on all his shots :)

He was very friendly towards me, I don't know why he decided to attack Kris??

Friday, July 3, 2009

1 Week in Europe

This week has been awesome! I´m too tired to write anything else right now and we have to catch a train to Germany in 5 hours - but it´s been fun so far! We´ve been to Munich, Fussen, Stuttgart and Salzburg. Tomorrow we go to Florence! Don´t worry I´ll post pics when we get home.