Thursday, May 10, 2018

Partnach Gorge

Emily is a Girl Scout now, and recently went on her first hiking trip at Partnach Gorge in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The trip was paid for, including a fat room discount, through cookie sales. I wish I could have captured the look on Emily's face when she said our hotel was "so great!" and I told her she helped pay for it. Your cookie money goes toward activities, but the benefits of learning business skills is what girls will carry with them long term. Thank you to everyone who buys Thin Mints every year!

Partnachklamm

The trail is really easy. It starts at the parking lot to the Olympic Stadium, and meanders up to the entrance of the gorge, where there is a small entrance fee. I hadn't been interested in this trail before because I had assumed it to be slippery and not kid-friendly, but the path over the powerful rush of water is well protected and includes neat walks through natural tunnels. Emily liked it so much she asked if we could visit again. The girls all had a blast. Our turn around point was at a rocky embankment just out of the gorge. The trail continues quite a away, though. The troop spent a little while resting by the stream, and we built a couple rock castles before walking back. Along the route are a few restaurants and souvenir shops, so it's a really nice place for a day out in Garmisch.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Lucerne and Rheinfall Switzerland

Over the three day weekend, we packed up and piled into the car for a road trip to Switzerland. It's so close, just about 3 hours, and a beautiful drive. I pictured Lucerne being somehow more rural, with visions of cows and chalets in my head, but found a small, opulent, and bustling city on the most beautiful translucent blue-green lake instead. Street cars and buses, bicycles and pedestrians in constant turns and crossings carried visitors back and forth to the piers of Lake Lucerne. On the water is every kind of boat, all at once oscillating allowing for one boat to move and another to stay the course.

I could not have loved it more.

The Hotel

We stayed at the Ibis Styles, as the location was excellent, and I could accumulate a few more points toward a free stay. The room itself was a little run down, but the service and free breakfast was excellent. At check in, we were given a visitors card, allowing for free public transportation, museum discounts, and access to wi-fi throughout the city. I can't even tell you how much of a difference hopping on a bus makes even in a walkable area while traveling with a little one. Check ahead, but it seems like this might be something a lot of hotels or possibly the tourist office offers.

Hofkirche St. Leodegar

After check in we walked over to the water and saw this church along the way. "You wanna go inside?" Emily asked. You know it, kid. It was built between 1633-1639, bright, with saints watching from the arches, and church bells whose music echoes throughout the lakeside. But what was really special about it? They had an area for kids to color! There was quite a bit of artwork by children in various displays, which Emily liked, as well.

Boats!

All I have been dreaming of this long, gray, drab winter was of getting out into nature; water and sunshine sounded so perfect. After checking out the church, we stopped for lunch aboard the Wilhelm Tell. It was perfect for a kid who had been sitting in a car for-kid-ever. With lots to look at on board the ship, the restaurant was a hit. It was just a bonus that the food was also excellent.


Following lunch, we walked over to the pedal boat dock, and hopped aboard. Cody and I pedaled, while Emily bounced between steering (lot of left turns) and lying in the back splashing water and reporting everything she saw below. She had an incredible time. I however, was on high alert between worrying she would fall overboard, and keeping an eye out for motor boats in every direction. Still though, you couldn't beat the view, the fresh air, and the time spent together making lasting memories.


Sunday we walked all over. One of the highlights of Lucerne is the Kapellbrücke, a long wooden bridge that leads from one part of the city toward Jesuitenplatz and the historic church there. Affixed to the beams are paintings of martyrs and other images of death, a contrast to the chatter and steam boats whistles carried on the breeze.

After a good wander, we pulled off for lunch at Rigi House, which I highly recommend for some amazing fondue and great service.

Löwendenkmal

The Lion Monument is a commemoration of the hundreds of Swiss Guards who died fighting, or were massacred in 1792 at Tuileries Palace protecting the royal family during the French Revolution. The monument was commissioned by Carl Pfyffer von Altishofen, who had the good fortune to be on leave at the time of the massacre, and the ample resources to oversee the relief sculpture's creation. The carving and enclosed garden space is very peaceful, and a nice stop off point for midday. Nearby is a bar with sidewalk seating and an eis stand.

Another Boat!

We rounded off the day with a ferry ride just to see the views from the water one more time. With a number of points to stop, we went with Weggis as suggested by the hotel clerk. As the day was winding down, we had time to get there, enjoy a nice but rushed dinner, and run back to the dock.

Lucerne by Night

After Emily went to bed, I stepped out to see the city on my own. At my turn around point, I came across a bride leading a long candle lit procession. Music was playing over a loud speaker as the solemn crowd moved toward the Jesuit church. The bride disappeared inside, and completely confused as to what religious feast day this could be, found someone who explained it was a production of Schumann's Scenes from Goethe's Faust which had started at the city theatre. The theatre tech kid in me was totally awed.



Rheinfall

On the way home, we stopped at Rheinfall. It is the largest waterfall in Europe, and the pathway takes you right up to the edge of the rushing cascade. There is a lot to see and do beyond the waterfall, but we kept it pretty simple to keep on schedule-just a walk and some playtime.

Emily found a beetle, and named it Albert Bug. She took him on an adventure all around the property (She wants me to make sure you know she returned it to its home before we left).

Thanks for coming along for the tour! Our next trip is in the works, plus I'm looking at summer road trips. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Tübingen

Yesterday was wonderful-the first nice day of the year, and one in which Emily and I found ourselves in Tübingen, a gorgeous old city that sits on the Neckar river just southwest of Stuttgart. It is a university town, and known for its river races: one for boats helmed by costumed teams, the other by rubber duckies. The historic center is about as charming of an Old World feel as you could want, with festivals and markets through the year.

We didn't plan on stopping in Tübingen, and had no plans other than enjoy the park, eat some vegetarian food, and grab an ice cream cone. It was lovely, and the energy of student activists are felt throughout public spaces. Enjoy!

Running the length of every stair. :D

A falafel sammie with cabbage, carrots, and a sweet peanut sauce at Vegi. The food and atmosphere was nice, but our dishes came with a side of eyerolling.

Schwarze johannisbeer eis (black currant ice cream), and smarties ice cream for Emily.

Piraten Spielplatz! There were a ton of families, and even a photographer from the local paper to capture everyone out enjoying the nice weather. She asked if I minded being in the shot, showed me the picture, and...well, I moved from the frame, but she got a bunch of cool close up pictures of Emily and another girl on the web swing. If it gets published, I will add it here.

Feminist, anti-Nazi, pro-immigrant messages:

Tübingen is very much my speed, and I look forward to sitting out on the cobblestone marktplatz at a cafe, or sitting on the rock wall along the river as much as we possibly can.