Aug 29, 2010

Anne & Steve in Frankfurt

After a week of traveling around Europe, Anne and Steve came to stay with us in Frankfurt for a weekend! Friday was Anne's birthday, so we took her out to celebrate. We started at our house with a bottle of champagne that they had picked up in France, and then we went out to a steak restaurant where you cook your own steak on a hot rock at the table. It was so much fun to go out in Frankfurt with our good friends!

On Saturday, the four of us went to Wiesbaden for a wine festival. It was a gorgeous day, so we had a great time sitting under a tent, enjoying tasty German wine, and listening to a guy play guitar. Brian and I have experienced quite a few German cover bands, and they're usually not the best. However, this guy in Wiesbaden played so well from a giant song book that was about 6 inches thick! We were all impressed.

Anne and Steve had to leave after breakfast on Sunday so that they could make it to their next destination, but we were so glad they came to stay with us for a couple of nights!

Aug 24, 2010

Normandy with Anne & Steve

Our good friends, Anne and Steve, spent a couple of weeks traveling around Europe, and they were so nice to let us join them in France!

Brian and I drove to Reims on Friday to split up the drive. We loved Reims the last time we visited, so we were really excited to go back. Our hotel served us a "Welcome to the Champagne Region" glass of champagne!

For dinner, we sat outside along La Place Drouet d'Erlon and once again feasted on a fabulous French meal.

On Saturday, we drove to Paris to meet Anne and Steve at the airport. After hugs and "I can't believe we're in France together!" we made our way to the rental car desk, where the French proved to be a bit slow in the business of handing out cars. But after some time and patience, we successfully got a little Euro-car for Anne and Steve. Time to caravan to Normandy!

I was ecstatic to be returning to the bed and breakfast that we had previously visited with the Wolff's. I couldn't wait for Ian's cooking, Maureen's funny stories, and relaxing in the cozy chateau with friends. It was really random how Anne and Steve picked the same B&B that the Wolff's had chosen, but Brian and I were thankful for the coincidence. We couldn't wait to stay there again! (And if anyone is wondering, we're dying to go back again. If you want to go, we'll go with you!)

On Saturday evening, we decided to relax and catch up with our friends. Ian had been working hard in the kitchen for us all day, so we wanted to be there and hungry when the meal was ready for us! We had gone on and on about his cooking, so we were all looking forward to dinner, and Ian didn't let us down.

Getting ready for the feast!

Later that evening, we enjoyed some after dinner drinks. Steve had given Brian a Fes hat as a gift from their time in Morocco, and the hats were automatically declared to be their drinking hats.

And of course the ladies had to join in on the fun :) But we were only allowed to wear the hats for the picture. What a fun night!

On Sunday, we enjoyed our bountiful French breakfast, and then we took off for a day of sight-seeing. First we stopped in Bayeux, where we saw their towering cathedral and their quaint streets full of adorable shops and restaurants.

Anne and me, marveling at Bayeux's cathedral. I love this picture!

Streets of Bayeux

Next, we made our way to Omaha Beach. Since Brian and I had already seen the museum, we wandered around the perimeter of the cemetery, soaking up the sun and taking in the serenity of the place. I did stop in the museum to take a quick picture of my favorite display. It might not look like much in the picture, but when you see it in the museum, you can't help but just stand in front of it, think about all that happened on D-Day, and feel proud to be an American.

After Anne and Steve made their way through the museum, we met up near the cemetery's center pond. A tour guide randomly found us there and asked if we wanted to hear some stories. Of course! He proceeded to tell us all kinds of really cool facts and interesting accounts of the war. He started out just talking to the four of us, but by the time he was finished with the tour, he had accumulated a group of at least 40! After our tour, it was time to head down to the beach.

It was a gorgeous day, so the beach was actually quite crowded, especially considering how large it is when the tide is out as far as it was. We had learned that the first waves of soldiers arrived at the beach when the tide was out on D-Day. I cannot even begin to imagine how scared I would be to try to make my way across that HUGE (almost 300 yards), flat beach with people shooting at me. We stood there in the middle of that beautiful beach, just trying to fathom it. What a nice day for a walk on the beach.

After Omaha Beach, we found our way into a little town to see if we could get some groceries. Since dinner had been so magnificent the night before, we had decided to just buy some snack foods (French cheeses, meats, wine, etc) to eat for dinner back at the B&B. But first, we had to stay outside just a little longer to take advantage of the great weather.

We were quite successful in our grocery finds! Check out this spread! We figured out that our eyes had been a little bigger than our stomachs, but we feasted on all of our Frenchy favorites.

And of course we had to enjoy the back porch!

The next day, Brian and I enjoyed breakfast with our friends, and then we headed out for our drive back to Frankfurt. On our way back to Germany, we stopped in Versailles to check out the sights and have lunch. At lunch, Brian and I tried escargot for the first time. Our conclusion: we can appreciate it, but we don't enjoy it :)

I love goooooold

After Versailles, we bee-lined it back to Frankfurt. It was a great weekend - you can't beat traveling with friends! And, it made us even more excited to host Anne and Steve in Germany the next weekend!

Aug 15, 2010

Nita and Donnie, Part Two

After touring around Germany, Nita and Donnie returned to Frankfurt to spend a few more days with us! Luckily, the weather had cooled off quite a bit from when they were here last, so we were able to enjoy the outdoors a little more.

On Saturday, we drove to Aschaffenburg, a town about 45 minutes away from Frankfurt that has a very interesting history. We spent the afternoon walking through the Johannisburg Castle, which was ginormous! We also saw the Basilica Church of Saint Peter and Saint Alexander.

Johannisburg Castle

After Aschaffensburg, we drove to this restaurant in the middle of the countryside called the Brathanchen Farm, or the Chicken Farm. I can't believe I forgot to take pictures, because this place was awesome. As we were driving there, Brian kept asking, "Now, who told you about this place?" because it felt like we were driving out to the middle of nowhere. Once we arrived, we decided to sit outside in their garden since it was such a nice evening. We, of course, ordered the chicken - can't go to a chicken farm and not order the chicken! It was delivered to our table on this huge skewer-type rod that they had used to cook it over a fire. It was perfectly tender and smokey and delicious!

On Sunday, we went to Mainfest, a festival in Frankfurt on the river (the Main). Leave it to the Germans to come up with such a clever name for their celebration :) We walked through all of the typical German-festival booths, and we introduced Nita and Donnie to a few of our favorite German treats: candied nuts, freshly-grilled bratwurst, and crepes! And naturally we had German beers to wash it all down. Once again, I unfortunately forgot my camera!

Brian and I had to go to work on Monday, but we left early enough to take Nita and Donnie to the Kleinmarkthalle (small market hall) in downtown Frankfurt. After a long day of work, I was starving, so I thoroughly enjoyed the samples of food that the different vendors handed out! For our last dinner together, we ate Italian at a cute little restaurant called Girabaldi's.

We really enjoyed our time with Nita and Donnie and were so glad that they got to experience Germany!

Braunfels, Germany

For a day trip, Brian and I rode the motorcycle to Braunfels. We had beautiful weather, and the town couldn't have been cuter! A relaxing day of biking and enjoying this little town was just what we needed. Braunfels also had a nice park, so we went for a stroll with ice cream cones. It was so great to soak up some sun!

Town square

Braunfels Castle