Germany has been quite the experience.
It started for the Kooman’s in Trier, a beautiful city (the oldest in Germany actually) and stayed in Hille’s Hostel. The price was right, and we cooked a great meal in the common kitchen. From there, we thought we moved to Heidelberg. We knew that Grandma and Grandpa Kooman would be joining us there, fresh from their tour of the Rhine, however we were unsure of the time as we hadn’t had great internet connection (any at all really) since entering Germany. Even McDonald’s, the usual stalwart, only offered pay Internet, and darn it all, we are too cheap.
We stumbled upon a little campsite on the Neckar river. Like the Mosel, it’s a wine growing region, and summer is hot! We set up our little tent that we took as a checked bag on the flight, and pulled out the $4.99 roll mats we found in a little store on our last day in Holland. The whole family had a great laugh at 11:00 as we felt what a $4.99 mat feels like – not much. Needless to say, our first order of business was to find a camp store and purchase a couple of air mattresses.
A beautiful outdoor pool was only a few minutes from the campsite, so we spent two consecutive afternoons soaking in the rays and jumping in cold water for the first time on our trip. Spencer, who loves swimming, was in his glory.
We enjoyed the twists and turns of the beautiful city on the river, and even ventured to the local zoo. The famous residents (elephants, tiger, lions and gorillas) were all absent – the 35 degree heat must have been too much for them, so our family sweat it out with the lesser stars: lynxes, flamingos, donkeys and kangaroos.
We enjoyed a great burger on main street, and then hustled to the train station to pick up the parents! They were sweaty and tired, but they quickly found a Gausthäus in close proximity to the campsite. The next morning, the EIGHT of us ventured to Heidelberg castle for a guided tour. It was amazing. With only the sense of wanting to move on, we ventured towards Münich, and after checking many hotels, found a quaint roadside hotel behind a diner that had one room left (four single beds) in which we all slept (Thank the Lord for air mattresses). After a late start we took some beautiful back roads towards the south-eastern corner of the country, Where King Ludwig II famously built his Newenshweint (spelling totally made up by Chris from memory) Castle. It is an amazing piece of work. We hiked around to bridges and creeks, and through the castle itself. It truly is a wonder, and a must-see if touring the area. It famously inspired the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty and much of the artwork in the castle has been used in Disney films.
We had a late supper, dropped off a cute Italian couple in a local town (they missed their bus) and found a perfect European hotel in south Munich by midnight. The crew was tired and sweaty, but the rooms are perfect, and we are all ready for bed. We will see what Olympic coverage we can, and get some shut eye before heading to Austria on the way to Hungary!
In other exciting news, Fischer and Pierson turn 15 today! They’re nearly drinking age in Germany, and most certainly will be in Hungary and that’s scary.