March 28, 2011

Heidelberg and the rest of our trip

After Worms, we went to Heidelberg and hiked up to Heidelberg Castle.  It doesn't look as impressive from the outside but once you walk inside it is huge and has lots of balconies with beautiful views of the town and river.  This castle was one of my favorites because of the courtyards and accessibility to the outdoors.

The view from the town of Heidelberg

Looking down from the main balcony of the castle.  This is the large Lutheran Church of the city

Us girls enjoying the view

This is a keg. It is stored in the "basement"  It is at least two and a half stories high.  No joke.

 Part of the castle has been turned into a medical museum.  Each room chronicles the changes in medicine throughout history.

 The distillery part of the museum

 Inside the courtyard

 Walking through a vaulted tunnel to get to the main courtyard

 Oz with his girls

A beautiful fountain in the main courtyard

Well, we are at the end of our trip.  This is my last post of Germany. It was an amazing trip.  We both are already thinking about going back in the future.  We had lots of fun with Lauren and Doug and miss them so much already.  Our flight back to the states was exhausting.  It took us 30 hours to get home.  We had a 12 hour layover in Vancouver over night and ended up sleeping on across a row of chairs.  Not very ideal but more comfortable than the plane ride.  Stay tuned for a special blog post in the next few days from Mannheim the traveling gnome.  He has his own pictures to share with you along with facts of Germany and some helpful tips if you find yourself oversees.

 We found some friends in the Vancouver airport

 He's so tall

This is a picture Oz's niece drew for us when we got back to Oregon.  She is so cute.  She drew us in Germany with the Notre Dam church and the green stove from Cochem castle and she is on the other side of the ocean missing us.  So sweet.  I think we are going to frame this!

March 26, 2011


Friday morning we made a quick trip to the town of Worms.  Only 30 minutes from Hemsbach is another town where important events in history have occurred.  Martin Luther, the forerunner for the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century shaped a huge part of our religious practices away from Catholicism.  He translated the Bible into languages other than Latin, allowing common people access to God they had not experienced before.  In April, 1521, Martin Luther's presence was requested to the city by order of Holy Roman Empire.  Charles V declared Martin Luther an outlaw but that did not stop the spread of Martin Luther's Protestant teachings.  Today the town of 85,000 is mostly Protestant.

Also in the town is St. Peter's cathedral.  What made this church so fascinating is the stained glass.  In a few of the glass pieces there are images of Nazis carrying people away.  A very unique theme for a Catholic Cathedral. 

 St. Peter's Cathedral

 The courtyard

 More of the courtyard

 A statue in the front of the church

 Nazi soldiers in the stained glass

In the basement was a room with coffins of saints from 512 A.D.


On Thursday, March 24th, we had a dose of history and seriousness to our traveling adventures and drove to another spot in Bavaria.  Nurnberg, Germany is famous for its connection to Nazi Germany during WWII.  Adolf Hitler chose the city to be the site of Nazi Rallies and parties.  After the war it was the location of the Nurnberg Trials, where leaders of the Nazi party were tried for war crimes.  Today the same buildings that were used as Nazi headquarters are now turned into a history Museum of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party's rise to power.

The museum impressed all of us.  The interior itself was powerful and aggressive.  The walls were brick and the floors were wooden.  The information and paraphernalia was red and black and had lights to accent  the features and add drama and force behind the content.  We all learned more than we had even been taught in school on how Hitler was able to fool the German citizens and how the German troops were really treated.  It focused on the contradictions of the Nazis party:  how the pubic saw Hitler through propaganda and what his intentions really were.  There was some information on the Holocaust but mostly it focused on his rise to power and the actual buildings they used for headquarters.

 This is the building today, now turned into a museum

 A first edition copy of Mein Kampf

 Larger than life images of the S.S. intensified the force of the Nazis party

 Displays of German troop paraphernalia were in cased under the floor

 This is how the building looked during the 1930's and 1940's.  Today the Museum makes up part of the building

 The courtyard today

After the museum we walked around the lake to check out the rally grounds where thousands would march and where giant parties where held.

 On the other side of the lake you can see the rally grounds from the Nurnberg Museum

 Lauren and Doug

 This is another view of the museum.  It was never completed.  Hitler had plans to add a roof over the whole courtyard and add a giant eagle statue on the roof.

 This is the rally grounds.  It is still mostly intact today.  There is a race track in front.  The podium at the top is where Hitler would give his famous speeches to his troops.

 This is me on top of the bleacher stands.  On the other side is a main street of Nurnberg and train tracks

 The giant door on the top of the structure

 Oz is standing right where Hitler did

 From the ground, this structure is massive.  I can see why it was so impressive when Hitler would address the crowds below.  You can barely see Oz and Doug standing there.

After the rally we walked back around the lake and we started to realize that even with all the bad and destruction that happened on these grounds we could still find beauty in the place.  The day was warm and sunny.  There were people out walking and enjoying the water.  Beautiful swans and geese were swimming in the lake and there were lots of families on outings in the surrounding parks.

 A swan swimming


Grass blowing in the wind

At the end of the day we all left with a feeling that we experienced something larger than ourselves.  As hard as it was to image the terrible things Hitler did to the world, we had an appreciation for the beauty that still continued in the town and how the people still used these historic landmarks as functional spots.  Instead of hiding from what happened they are embracing the past and moving on to the future.

March 25, 2011

Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein

Wednesday's adventure took us to the farthest point of our trip to the Bavarian Alps just along the German and Austrian border.  Nestled in the Bavarian Alps is one of the most enchanting castles in Europe.  I have to say I haven't been too impressed with the German countryside, it might be that the trees are still naked from winter, but driving through Bavaria has been my favorite part of the trip.  The Alps rise above the valleys and lakes, covered in snow.  Quaint villages are busy with tourists hoping to feel part of an enchanting past.

Three hours from Hemsbach we arrived at Hohenschwangau castle resting in the hills next to Alp see lake. This castle was originally built in the 12th century.  It was destroyed by Napoleon and rebuilt 1836 by King Maximilian of Bavaria.  The royal family used this castle as their summer vacation home.  The queen was a mountaineer and climbed the steep hills and mountains surrounding the castle.  Their sons, Otto and Ludwig II were unfortunately later committed for insanity.  Otto, when he was around 10, and Ludwig, when he was nearing 40.
 Hohenschwangau from the village

 The Alps

 Lake Alp see behind us

Coat of Arms

His son King Ludwig II would be king by his 18th birthday and later built his own castle Neuschwanstein, located higher in the hills.  Ludwig was a very rich man and built his castle with his own private money.  It was designed by a painter first and then by an architect.  This can be scene by great details that went into each and every room.  King Ludwig eventually ran out of money, was committed for being insane when he was about 40 years old, and died old days after from unknown circumstances.

On the way up the hill to Neuschwanstein Castle

See the Hohenschwangau castle behind us

 Neuschwanstein entrance 

 Inside the courtyard

 Close to sunset in the alps

 Mary's Bridge. It was closed for construction but offers an amazing view of the castle

I'm pointing out a huge spelling error in their english version 

Areal view of the Castle in Summer
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