This morning we had fabulous plans!! Anne's mom, Ursula, set up a castle tour for us! (The castle is closed in winter, so kudos to her for getting us in!!) We left at about 9:30 to meet up with them (Millers) and the Eraths.
Our first stop would be Harburg Castle. It was a very cold and gray day, but beggars can't be choosers! Here is our first view, from the car.
|Set up high on a hill|
Some views on our way in:
This castle was first mentioned in literature in 1150. Did you get that? 1150!!!! That is so old that I can't even comprehend it's oldness. It's still standing, People!! I am in awe. I almost lost a couple of toes to frostbite, but look at this place!
|YAY!!! Anne's here :)|
|Sisters at heart!|
|I told you pretzels are everywhere!!|
|Imagine how pretty this must be in the summer!|
|Walking on the wall surrounding the castle|
|For your gun, to shoot intruders below|
|Anne's little brother, Jakob, trying on actual armor from the middle ages. It fit him! Dudes were small back then.|
|Our tour guide (that I seem to have cut out of the picture) was really great!|
|You can still see the drawings on the wall that the prisoners made|
|This was the toilet in the jail area. Made of stone, leads directly outside. The guide said whoever used it got "Arschkalt." Not gonna translate that one :)|
|Udo and Karen, aw!|
|What a view!|
The tour was really amazing! We were not allowed to photograph the most beautiful parts - church, courtroom and prince's residence. These were incredibly beautiful! Very ornate, very OLD. Spectacular!
We left for our lunch reservations. Ursula also got us into a restaurant that is usually closed for lunch on Saturdays! (Yes, North Americans. Things are closed at the oddest times in Europe!!) We drove to Noerdlingen to the restaurant. Noerdlingen is one of the few cities that still has it's complete wall around it, built to protect it. This city was first mentioned in 898. Hello? 898? I don't even know what that means. It boggles the mind. (Well, MY mind for sure!)
|Entering the city, you must drive through one of the gates.|
|Kids + Anne table|
|Adults minus Anton who was on the other side of me|
|Some things just DON'T translate well. Lard casserole?|
|Kaesespaetzle, you have seen this before. It's my fave! Lainie had it, too.|
|Brad had a typical Schwabian meal of Spaetzle with Maultaschen. Maultaschen is a kind of ravioli, filled with meat. Then you dump gravy over it all. Delish!|
|Dessert: real Apfel Strudel. It was to die for!|
|Lainie had Apfel something, I can't remember! She loved it.|
|Lea's chocolate cake with cherries. Yummy!|
We were talking about differences in our cultures and kids in particular. Karen shared a story about having tiny baby Christoph in a restaurant, asleep in the stroller, and the owner came up and grabbed him right out of there! She carried him around the restaurant. Different waitresses would walk by with him, too. It was fine for her, but definitely unexpected! 5 minutes later, the restaurant owner walks up with a cute baby and tells us it's a guests' baby that she was taking around! LOL! What good timing to illustrate Karen's story!
Some more pics from lunch:
After lunch, we walked around that famous wall. It goes all the way around the city of Noerdlingen. (I wish I had an umlaut so I could stop adding these "e's" to words!) Again, a gray day, but I did my best with the pics. Very, very cool!
|This one was being renovated and you can see it's "bones." Anton said they have very strict rules about renovating these historic homes. Even renovated, they have a very old look.|
|A sign on one of the towers, says it was built in 1481!! Rebuilt in 1763.|
|Brad got this great one....much of the wall has just this fence stopping you from falling off so I was kind of freaked out. He was brave and leaned over for me for this pic!|
|Back on solid ground :)|
|Looking at the canal|
|Beautiful, but a bit wonky! Looks like it might fall down at any minute!|
|I have no idea. A little cave with a gate, a faucet and little birdbath thingy inside. Religious thing maybe?|
|Another wonky one!!|
|Yeah, my house was built then, too. Plus 500 years.|
So, speaking of old: Noerdlingen is the site of a meteor crash from 15 million years ago. (Or not, depending on your world view. Take this info as you will!) The meteor left a huge crater, about 15 miles in diameter. It is fascinating. We went to a museum about this stuff. Here is a link that expains it all pretty well, if you are interested.
There was some resting going on in the museum.
|There they are again...brothers from another mother|
|A piece of meteorite found near the castle Neuschwanstein|
We were very tired by now, especially Lea! So we headed home. (This is only about 40 minutes away from us, by the way.) Thankfully Brad was driving because I slept all the way home!
Brad and the girls went to the Erath's, again, for dinner. Karen picked me up and took me to her Super Secret Book Club Society :) It's not a group that usually allows visitors, so I was honored to be able to go. Ursula is in it so we 3 were together again! It was really fun. Great women, truly great. And a fancy meal and great discussions! I may just start up a book club like this when I get home! They talk about all kinds of books that they are reading, not all reading the same one and discussing it. The books led to discussions about many things and it was really fun. I got home at 1 am, slept in until 10.
Another absolutely amazing day!!!!