Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Tale of Schloss Weissenstein

It started out a sad story, but in the end the Tale of Schloss Weissenstein is a happy little story about three adventurers in Germany. 

We left the house on a mission to find some ruins to wander through...  2 hours later we were discouraged and a little grumpy.  (I wasn't grumpy...JOHN was grumpy.)  Ok...I was grumpy...  We had made it to our destination via GPS coordinates and was the middle of a town and there were zero castle ruins to be found.  So we got out the map and plotted how we might get to the "red triangle" from where we were.  I suggested just 4 wheeling it...but John didn't think our little Subaru could handle the uphill wooded terrain. 


Instead we just kept driving...and just when we were about to give up and turn around we saw THE SIGN.

Schloss Weissenstein!

It was rainy and super humid.  Yucky combination for those of us accustomed to Pacific Northwest rain with no humidity.  We hopped out at the trailhead to see how far the ruins were from the parking area and Bella and I did a little happy dance when we discovered it was only 1.5 Kilometers!  That's less than a mile. 

I think their measuring was wrong...we walked much more than a mile...but then again it might have been the paths we took...that is one bad thing about living in Germany and speaking German as badly as I speak it.  I can't read the signs...unless they say things like, "W.C.", Toilletten, Gasthaus...  But if it says, Castle is this way....  I can essentially read the word castle and thats about it.

Anyhow...we started off...and would you believe it when I saw this...

Here we are spending family time walking down a gorgeous wooded German trail and he's texting?  There is something very wrong with this picture.  He put it away quickly...I think I shamed him into it.

Part of the trail was incredibly fun to walk on...roots, rocks, reminded me of the kinds of woods I imagine in the Little Red Riding Hood story...

We were just getting to the point of thinking we must have made a wrong turn when we turned a corner and saw this...

Taduum!  The ruins of Schloss Weissenstein....aren't they amazing.  Essentially it was a castle built into those giant granite rock structures.  It wasn't very big, but it was incredibly interesting and beautiful....

We explored around the bottom was mostly tumbled rock wall, overgrown vegetation (with WAY too much stinging nettle for my liking) and little dirt trails down to the lower walls...and then we found her...

She was just sitting there in a little clearing...with some German inscription I couldn't read, but I thought she was beautiful...she reminds me a little bit of my sister, Emma.  Its the hair and the face...  Beautiful.

We found some hidden nooks and crannies and I had to examine the precarious nature of the overhangs.  Huge holes where there must have been rock at some point.  It was just amazing to me how much work went into shaping this castle home.

And then it was time to go up...

All the way to the top structure and then up the scariest stares ever that were about 5 inches deep to the tippity top of the castle...

But the view was amazing and totally worth the climb...

And then we looked down....

And then we WALKED down...and took a picture of our humid trip to the ruins...

And went home happy and satisfied.  :)

The end.


Teeth!  Zähne!

Our first German dental experience was perfect.  It was Bella's first time to the Dentist at all so we had Maddie go first...

Ewwwww....look at all that purple plaque!

She escaped the dentist's chair with one cavity...we go back for a filling in August.

Next up was Bella...
She was a little nervous at first, but thought it was cool that she was allowed to climb up on the table all by herself.

Open WIDE!  And she did!

John thought he was funny playing with the dental props...until he said, "hey...take a photo of me," and I responded, "Sure...SMILE!"
ha ha ha...about as corny as it gets.

I can check the dentist off my list of things to do now...our Zähne are magnifique!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Just keep swimming...

Bella and I decided we were going SWIMMING!  So, we asked our neighbor and her daughter to join us and headed out to the Weiden Schwimmbad to spend a few hours in the pool. 

Here is what I LOVE about German swimming pools.

1.  Kids don't pay until they are 6 years old.
2.  There are always multiple pools (lap pool, kids pool, non-swimmer pool, wave pool, lazy river pool, pools with waterfalls, hottubs, etc.)
3. They have fun the enclosed tube slides as well as regular slides.
4.  They are just the right temperature.
5.  They have chairs deckside that you can lounge in and even tan under sunlights if you want.
6.  They are always connected to a spa.

Its like a bigAmerican waterpark only its not crowded beyond belief because just about every good sized town has one.  I love it so much that I think the USA should adopt the German schwimmbad plan.

Anywho...we took a few photos from our fun few hours at the pool that I can't resist posting...The other two in the photos are our neighbor, Kim and her daughter Alyssa. 

Alyssa just turned 4 and her and Bella have become good friends...In fact they regularly call each other "best friends" (which I love because these two girls are so cute together!)
Awww...Bella's first "best friend."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Oh blog...I've missed you!

Its true...I really have missed blogging for the past few weeks.  It has been such a whirlwind of "getting used to" things again with a man in the house that blogging was sadly, but necessarily put aside for a little bit. 

However, life at the Larson household did not get put on hold...It's highly focused and concentrated on the man in the it should be.  We went a whole year without him and now we can barely get enough of this mug...

Or another favorite...we call this one the one-eyed snarl.  Except when he starts talking like a pirate...(its a little strange, but we are giving him some leeway since he just got back from a war zone.  ha ha ha)

Or the pouty one when he doesn't get his way...

 Or silly daddy when playing with the kids...both Maddie and Bella can copy this face perfectly.

And, of course, my favorite...the big smile...what I can never tire of seeing.

He's such a camera ham...

More Larson adventures on the trips, castles, medieval towns, swimming, birthday parties...see...?  Aren't you excited now?