Well, I’ve been here in Germany four days and I’ve managed to visit three castles in two countries, if those numbers don’t get you, try being seven hours out of schedule! Russ turfed me out of bed at midnight Monday and poured me into the car to head for Dallas, I managed to get a few hours sleep, but DFW showed up far too soon. Since you can’t spend time in an airport anymore, Russ headed back to Richland and I waited in the waiting room until 8:15 a.m. which is when my flight to Atlanta was leaving.
I haven’t traveled to the Atlanta airport for a long time. I had forgotten how big that airport terminal was. I had a four-hour layover, so I wandered around and visited the many shops that do business in that place. Finally the attendant called for passengers to board the plane for Frankfurt. By this time, I had already been up fourteen hours and I was beginning to feel a trifle pinched. The flight was packed and we were packed. I wish I could say I had a comfortable flight, but it was just too close! Delta gave us a great meal and took good care of us, but I was unable to sleep. I watched Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Gulliver’s Travels. That took care of a few hours, but I was still too tired to fall asleep. So around 12:30 a.m., I landed in Frankfurt totally exhausted. My sisters Bev, Dee and her husband were there with my son Scott. We had a grand reunion gathered our bags and headed for Mackenbach.
Scott did not want us to sleep because we needed to set our clocks to the new time span, so we wandered around a local castle called Nanstein Castle. It is a ruined castle set on a hill like so many of the castles. My grandkids came home from school and I have to admit seeing them after all this time left me a little teary. I love my little sweeties and I’m going to have a lovely visit full of memories to take home. We went out to a local restaurant and had some Jaeger schnitzel. Schnitzel is a breaded chop. Usually it is pork, but it can be turkey also. Mine was served with a yummy mushroom gravy. By the time 9:00 p.m. came around, I had been up 33 hours and I can’t be sure I was making sense anymore. We all hit the hay early and I woke up at the crack of dawn feeling worn out.
Since then we have gone to two to other castles. Today, which is Saturday, we went to Monkey Mountain in France and Kintzheim Castle, which puts on a show called the Flight of the Eagles. Monkey Mountain is a preserve of Macaque monkeys that studies these primates and houses them in a natural outdoor environment. The area is maintained by vets and biologists as well as teams of scientists. The park is open to tourists who are given popcorn to feed the animals. It was a truly unique experience! Those rather ugly monkeys take the corn ever so delicately out of your hand. We left the monkey enclosure and headed for Koenigsbourg Castle.
The government has been restoring this castle and there were scaffolds in several different areas. I wish I could describe, in great detail, the wonders of these ancient castles, but they are just a must see. I have a hard time putting my mind around a beautiful piece of furniture that was made in 1594. Can you believe something that old could be in pristine condition? The mechanics on the gatehouse were excellent. Each room had these beautiful tile furnaces to keep those drafty old halls partially warm. I’ll have lots of pictures to show my kids next year!
We left the castle and headed for another castle area which had the Flight of the Eagles show. Handlers use vultures, eagles, hawks, owls and condors to demonstrate their hunting and foraging skills. They fly right over, and I mean right over, your head flying from handler to handler for meat treats. I sat on the ground and had a giant Andean Condor walk across my legs trying to get a piece of meat. Those dudes are heavy!
After a long day of traveling, we arrived home in Machenbach. I’m typing this up right before I go to bed. We will be up around 5:00 a.m., which is really10:00 p.m. Richland time to get on a bus for a Black Forest tour. We will tour the forest and have lunch at a local castle. I hope I will get to snooze on the bus. Planned for that trip is a stop at a farm museum. We return Sunday evening, catch our breath for a day or so, then we’re off to France again. This time we are going to visit the beaches of Normandy, stay in a wonderful converted barn and go visit Paris. I’ll write to you next week about this trip and of course our Rhine River Cruise on Father’s Day.
As always, I appreciate our way of life even more once I’m away. Lunch today cost me over $20.00! This is a beautiful country, the houses are uniquely European, the flowers brilliant and plentiful, but the standard of living is just not the same. Gas is over $6.00 a gallon and groceries are not cheap! I am enjoying myself greatly, but I’m glad God has blessed America so richly. Please pray for our sick, our government, our President and our community. May God continue to bless America and protect our precious warriors.