Heidelberg

With the end of this most recent rotation, it was time to get out and do some traveling again! We decided to spend a couple days in Heidelberg, which is about three hours from Hohenfels. I wanted to see the city after having heard so many wonderful things from my aunt, Sandy, who studied there when she was in college. Since there is an Army garrison in Heidelberg, we thought we’d try staying at Army Lodging. This arrangement had its pros and cons. The location was fairly convenient to the Altstadt, the price couldn’t be beat on the economy, and breakfast was included. The major con was simply getting on the garrison! Their vehicle search is much more intimidating and we were searched twice the first day we were there. (Thankfully, we must have looked less threatening after that because we weren’t searched again.) Since we arrived around 7pm on Thursday evening, we found dinner at a restaurant near the garrison. The Schützenhaus had large portions of delicious schnitzel and the waiter even helped us with our German pronunciation.

We explored the city on Friday. Our day started at the Schloss (Castle). Construction started on the Schloss in the 13th century, but was destroyed in the 17th and 18th centuries by the Thirty Years’ War, the French, and a fire. The interior of the Friedrich Building, which was damaged in the fire, was restored between 1897 and 1900. We took the guided tour of the interior to see the restored sections and learn a little more about the castle. We also saw the Großes Fass, which can hold 58,100 gallons of wine!! Our tour guide explained that the Fass was used to collect the peasant’s harvest tithe to the king. All of the different varieties of white wine, red wine, and even cider were mixed together in the Fass and served to the court. Although I was excited by the prospect of that much wine at first, the unappetizing mixture made me quickly change my mind! Also at the Schloss, we walked through the Deutschen Apotheken-Museum (German Pharmacy Museum) and the Schlossgarten (Castle Garden).

After the Schloss, we went down the hill to the Altstadt. We ate some lunch at the Dubliner, an Irish pub along the Hauptstraße. The Hauptstraße is Europe’s longest pedestrian zone and is lined with shopping, outdoor cafes, and restaurants. We stopped at the famous Universität, Studentenkarzen (Student Jail), and Heiliggeistkirche (Holy Ghost Church) on our way to the Alte Brücke (Old Bridge). At one end of the Alte Brücke stands a brass monkey holding a mirror and surrounded by mice. Legend says to touch the mirror for wealth, the outstretched fingers to ensure your return to Heidelberg, and the mice for many children. We enthusiastically touched the mirror and outstretched fingers, but we weren’t quite ready to touch the mice! We ended the day with dinner at Vetter im Schöneck, a microbrewery right by the Alte Brücke. It was a fun day of sightseeing at just the right pace.

On Saturday, we took advantage of being on a larger garrison with a visit to the PX. We had also visited the Commissary and Shoppette while we were there. We found several things that we couldn’t get in Hohenfels that we thought we needed. 🙂 We went back down to the Altstadt for lunch before walking across the Alte Brücke to the Philosophenweg (Philosopher’s Way). The beautiful views of the Schloss and Altstadt across the river made the steep path worth the climb.

View from Philosophenweg, Heidelberg

View from Philosophenweg, Heidelberg

Unfortunately, after that it was time to drive home. I had to play for Mass the next morning and Brandon was anxious to actually be able to watch the Huskers play football that evening.

We really enjoyed our time in Heidelberg and hope that we will be ensured a return visit!

Großes Fass, Heidelberg Schloss

Großes Fass, Heidelberg Schloss

Pulver Turm (Gunpowder Tower), Heidelberg Schloss

Pulver Turm (Gunpowder Tower), Heidelberg Schloss

Studentenkarzer (Student Jail), Heidelberg

Studentenkarzer (Student Jail), Heidelberg

Brass Monkey, Alte Brücke, Heidelberg

Brass Monkey, Alte Brücke, Heidelberg

If you’d like to see all of our photos, please visit my Picasa Web Album.

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News Briefs from Germany

I have done a very poor job of updating this blog lately! However, there hasn’t been too much to write about. I will try to fill you in on the highlights:

Rotation Torture

Beginning the day of my last post, Brandon was involved in a huge rotation that basically demanded every hour of his day. There were many nights when he only came home to sleep for a few hours before heading back out and many other nights when he didn’t come home at all. In a way, this schedule is harder to deal with than the typical deployment when you just know you won’t see your husband for weeks or months at a time. At the beginning of the rotation I tried to have dinners to prepare and would leave the outside light on in case he came home. I quickly figured out that this was not necessary, and I should just go about my daily routines. If I saw him, great! If not, maybe he’d be home tomorrow! The rotation finally ended this past Saturday.  Brandon came home exhausted and with a cold.  We spent Sunday doing nothing and are now looking forward to two four-day weekends before the next rotation begins.  Thankfully, there shouldn’t be a another rotation this draining until February!

Online Classes

I started taking online classes on August 27th.  I am working on the requirements to sit for the CPA exam.  Since I wasn’t an accounting major in college, I need some prerequisites before I can start the Masters in Accountancy program.  I am taking these prereqs through Baker College in Michigan.  This first class is an intro to online classes, is only three weeks and ends tomorrow.  Needless to say, the material has been pretty basic and is designed to get you comfortable with the online resources.  It also contained a lot of basic student skills, like time management, learning styles, goals, etc.  If I didn’t know these things, I would not be working towards my second Masters degree!!  My “favorite” part of the class was the group project.  (Have I ever mentioned that I hate working in groups??)  At least the class is almost over, and I will be ready to begin take Auditing and Principles of Marketing on September 24th.

Holiday Bazaar

I experienced my first Holiday Bazaar here and it was LOTS of fun and hardwork!!  The Bazaar is sponsored by the Hohenfels Community and Spouses’ Club (HCSC) and Morale, Wellness & Recreation (MWR).  More than 30 vendors from all over Europe came to sell their merchandise here on post September 10-12.  As the treasurer of HCSC, I felt it was important to be a significant volunteer at this huge fundraiser so I worked all-day, every day beginning with set-up on Tuesday, September 8th.  However, spending that much time around the various vendors was extremely tempting and I did my fair share of shopping also.  I can’t reveal all of my purchases since some are being reserved as Christmas presents, but I will say that my favorite vendors were the German wine, the Belgian cheese & chocolate, and the Polish pottery.  There were also antiques, furniture, rugs, artwork, crafts and much more!  Most Spouses’ Clubs in Europe sponsor Holiday Bazaars, but ours was the first of the season and one of the smallest.  I’m already planning a trip to Grafenwoehr’s larger bazaar in October!

Happy Birthday to Me

Finally, I turned 30 on September 10th.  Thank you to everyone that sent cards, emails, and greetings on Facebook!!  It all helped to brighten my day since I was working at the Bazaar all day and didn’t think I would see Brandon at all that day.  He did manage to get away around 8:30pm and didn’t have to go back out again until 2:00am!  I’m spreading out the celebration as I receive more cards in the mail and my gift from Brandon is still en route.  We will also go out to celebrate sometime soon now that the rotation is over.

So, that’s the news from Germany.  Hopefully I’ll be able to post more frequently again as we get back to a “normal” routine.