Thursday, February 11, 2010

Vacation Memories: Part Two

As we grow older, our memories inevitably begin to fade. But despite our fading memories, there are always a handful of precious ones that stick with us. My brothers, sister, and I were very lucky to have spent some of our childhood in Europe. Living in Germany allowed our family many opportunities to have extraordinary vacations (and even more mini day trips). Although I cannot recall all the details of these vacations, the memories I do have are worth treasuring.

As I start writing part two of this post, my mind is shuffling through the countless fun experiences we had in Germany. My family and l visited too many places to describe in such a small space, but I will share my favorites in hope that some of you may be able to visit Germany one day. There was always so much to see and explore in Deutschland. Although we barely scratched the surface, we traveled from mountains to caves and from castles to forts.

As you would expect, there are many castles in Germany. Perhaps one of the most recognizable castles is Neuschwanstein in Bavaria. Neuschwanstein, a 19th century Bavarian Palace, was the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland. Although I would love to say I remember everything about the castle, I can actually only recall a few minor details. I remember how beautiful the castle was (but that my dad liked the mountains in the background better) and I remember some of us kids whining that we were tired of walking! :)  Oh how I wish I could go back and enjoy it through new eyes. But for now, our family pictures and videos will have to do.
Our favorite castle in Germany can in no way compare to the beauty of Neuschwanstein, but my memories are much more vivid (probably because we went so often). Nanstein Castle, or Landstuhl Castle as we called it, couldn’t have been more than 30 minutes from our house. My parents took us there often to “explore” the ruins of the castle. Our favorite activity was probably finding dungeons to lock each other up in!

I also have a lot of great memories of visiting the Salt Mines in Berchtesgaden (near Salzburg, Austria). Before beginning our exploration of the Salt Mines, we all dressed up in “authentic” miner’s clothes. We may have looked ridiculous, but we had fun. As kids there was so much to love. We took a short train ride to start our journey into the mines. Then after following the tour guide around we went further down into the mines by sliding down a dark tunnel. I remember my mom being very anxious. At the time I thought she was scared, but now that I am a mother, I realize she was probably worried about one of us freaking out. If you want to check out the slide, go to this YouTube link.  

Germany is such a beautiful place to visit. Wherever you go you are surrounded by beautiful nature and architecture. If you ever have the opportunity, I would definitely encourage you to go. Please feel free to share any great memories of your childhood vacations. I would love to hear them all. Tomorrow I will continue with my memories of our trip to Holland.

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion.


Papa said...

Neuschwanstein was definitely cool, and I believe we also visited Hohenschwangau Castle which was near by. I remember you guys thought the secret door in one of the rooms was neat. Yes, I still think the surrounding mountains were the best part of Bavaria - just beautiful. I still remember waking up from our tent, and looking up at the mist all throughout the mountains. Until the mist cleared up, you couldn't even see Neuschwanstein. I'm not sure if you remember, but nearby we went paddle boat riding on a beautiful crystal blue lake, surrounded by the mountains - you really enjoyed it!

You guys were all so cute in your Salt Mine outfits, and that slide inside the mine shafts was definitely fun. Yeah, out of all the wonderful places we saw, everyone (including me and Mom) seemed to like the old small castles close to our house. As I recall, you and Chris locked up Ryan and Amy most of the time, but hey, they enjoyed being locked up. :-)

Papa said...

Neuschwanstein Castle was definitely awesome. I still remember when we camped in front of the castle. We woke up on a cold morning, the surrounding mountains were full of grey mist, and you couldn't even see the castle. You guys really enjoyed it there - the scenery was absolutely beautiful. The castle was really cool, inside and out. I recall we all thought the secret door in one of the bedrooms was really cool, and I'm not positive, but I think part of castle looked like it was in a cave. May have been another castle like Linderhof. That one was really beautiful also with the underground cavern, lake, and swan boat, where they held plays for the king. I'm not sure if you recall, but close by we also rode on paddleboats on a crystal blue lake surrounded by gigantic beautiful mountains. You guys really enjoyed it there.

You kids (and Mom too) all really looked cute in your salt mine outfits with the funny looking hat, and enjoyed going down the wooden slide into the salt mines. That was a great trip.

Yes, out of all the cool places we visited, all of us (me and Mom too) seemed to enjoy the places close to our house, like Landstuhl Castle. We did go there a lot, and as I recall, you and Chris seemed to lock up Ryan and Amy most of the time in the dungeons, but hey, they enjoyed being locked up. :-)

Kel said...

Love you Dad!