We were able to spend some quality time with Alex AND see some of Europe that is right out our back door. We had an awesome week of conversations, laughs, travel and of course blazing trails in Europa (aka getting lost...lol)! Alex flew into Amsterdam (a two hour drive from our house) on Monday and we spent the day in the city. We visited the Anne Frank Haus and saw the annex where she and her family spent about 4 years in hiding during World War II and the Nazi rule in Germany.
|Anne Franks House|
|One of the many canals in Amsterdam|
|Paul and Alex|
Tuesday we traveled south down the beautiful Rhine river in Germany...we saw lots of castles and cute little towns. Everything around the Rhine is very old and charming. We spent the night in a hostel that used to be a castle in the city of Bacharach. Hostels in Europe are the way to go. They meet your basic needs and are generally inexpensive.
|View from the Marksburg|
|View of the city of Cochem|
|Paul and Alex in the Marksburg Castle|
|On the ferry|
|Our Hostel on the Rhine|
|Little village we went by on the ferry|
Wednesday we drove down the "Romance Road" to the Neuschwanstien Castle. Neuschwanstien Castle is the most epic, fairy-tale castle one could imagine! It was built by King Ludwig of Bavaria. He was a frustrated romantic who loved all things theatrical. His closest friends were opera writers and composers. He was obsessed with swans, which was an old crest of that area of Bavaria. Walt Disney modeled the Disney castle after the Neuschwanstien. It was truly a fabulous place tucked up in the Alps. Not gonna lie...totally have a new liking for swans.
Thursday we roamed about the city of Salzburg, Austria, another gorgeous place on the planet. The city is remotely small but it has lots of history. The Sound of Music was filmed on location in and around Salzburg. It was cool walking through some of the scenes. Surrounded by the Alps, the city boasts breathtaking views, a cathedral, catacombs, fortified castle….not to mention it is the home of Mozart.
We spent two nights at the Schloss in Spittal, Austria. It was bought by Calvary Chapel some years ago and is now a Bible College and Conference center. The Schloss is actually a castle on the side of a mountain looking out on the Alps. Again, pretty awesome setting. We really enjoyed meeting the students and staff and the accommodations were very nice and affordable.
Friday, we drove just a little further south to another breathtaking city…Venice, Italy. This city is amazing in every detail! The staff at the Bible College gave us some really helpful tips and we had an awesome day. The weather was warm and breezy and we could smell Italian food on every street….perfect for Paul and Alex. Walking around and just taking in the sights is easy in Venice. We took a water taxi down the Grand Canal, wandered through little alleys and over little bridges….it was delightful. We also, seriously, ate THE best calzone we’ve ever tasted in our lives in Venice…..so good that words cannot describe it!
Saturday we headed north and back to Münster by way of Münich. We arrived just in time to see the Glockenspiel ring at noon. A Glockenspiel is a large music box of sorts. While bells rings out a melody the little people and horses dance and twirl. It is really neat!
Arriving back home in Münsterland late Saturday night we just felt so blessed to have been able to take such a sweet trip. The Lord just provided everything we needed in such an unexpected way. After such a great week, we were excited to get back to our church family in Munster and introduce Alex to everyone. The Sunday service was wonderful and everyone was so happy to welcome Alex. We spent the afternoon showing Alex the downtown area of Munster and then went to Chris and Nada’s for supper later in the day. Monday morning we dropped Alex off at the Amsterdam airport for his flight home to Washington State. Although we were sad to have to say goodbye, we were so happy to have been blessed with such an amazing week together. We praise the Lord for His abundant blessings in all things!