Hello! It feels like a long time since I have written a blog post. We’ve been back in Würzburg for a little over a week after a trip to the states to celebrate with my sister on her wedding day!
Summer lured me away from blogging, and thankfully it did. It is a nice season in Germany, with even more open-air markets, festivals, and every cafe is full. I’ve mentioned before how leisurely this region is, the pace of those around me reminds me to slow down and enjoy the details. The students have two separate school breaks during this time and many businesses close for the month of August. It is the most common time to take vacation, and nearly everyone does. So, now on to my two month update! July. Okay, let’s see where I left off.
In early July we prepped for our second visitors, Derek’s parents!
July in Bavaria tends to be warm and humid, with most days in the mid-to-upper 80s. But the first week of July was an oddball. Damp cool weather and overcast skies. Derek’s parents flew in after the 4th. On their first night in town, we went to a busy place that we have wanted to try – Alte Mainmühle – “Old Mill on the Main” a restaurant on the pedestrian bridge that crosses into the Altstadt “Old Town”. The restaurant has terrace seating over the river, amazing food, and endless Franconian wine. The best part: They have a street walk-up window where you can order wine from 9am til 10pm and stand on the bridge among tourists and locals, drinking wine, watching people, and listening to musicians who set up and play. It is my favorite kind of happy hour 🙂
We drove to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for a few days mid-week to see the Bavarian Alps and to visit one of Germany’s most famous landmarks, Neuschwanstein: the Fairytale Castle of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Wow to both. read more here
Weltmeisters! World Champs!
Germany won the World Cup in July!!!!! This is the fourth time they have won. The Germans were subtly content.
Fans decorated the city with hints of enthusiasm. It was TOTALLY an exciting time to be in the country as nearly every game is televised and crowds cheers (or groans) could be heard through the night.
The remainder of the month, we kicked-back in Würzburg. We biked to Würzburg’s public city pool a mile or two away. This place could be a model for what cities should aim to create with their public spaces. Dallenbergbad is nice. A spacious park, picnic area and pool. The pools were surrounded by grassy spaces, sand volleyball courts, and enough open space to kick around a Fußball. Carryins allowed! so a social BYOB is totally cool.
A Driver’s License
Unabashedly, a big part of our summer has been… duh duh duh da… the Führerschein. So here is how it works: there is grace period for US drivers licenses, meaning Derek was able to drive with his MN license on German roads for 6-months from time of arrival. We knew his license would be expiring in early August, so in JUNE, he began preparing for a German translation of his license and the subsequent driver’s test. The process was postponed for 3 weeks because there is one person that completes foreign translations for Bavaria, and that person was on holiday most of July. The translation came after the cutoff date, and his test was two weeks away. He turned in his keys and started carpooling with a very nice coworker who lives nearby.
He studied his butt off for this test, taking notes, using their online practice questions and simulations. There are close to 1000 possible questions, tricky backwards questions, and only 30 on the test.
And he failed by one point. ONE POINT.
So he rescheduled the test, and studied again. He took it again this week and PASSED!! Whooo! This man is as happy as a 16-year old.
In early August, we celebrated Derek’s birthday with a long weekend in the northern Hanseatic cities of Hamburg and Bremen– more coming soon.
My flight to Atlanta departed at 11am on Friday 8.15. Seems like a pretty easy morning, as far as flights are concerned, right? Sorta. The fast ICE trains to Frankfurt begin after 6am. I ended up taking one of the sporadic late night 2.5hr regional trains to the airport departing at 4:20 am. I don’t usually go to the Bahnhof at this time so I thought it would be pretty quiet. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to have company– There were quite a few other travelers and lots of highschoolers heading home from the clubs.
Actually, This is one example of what I love about Germany, even in the middle of the night, most of the train stations are profoundly safe. I must have appeared determined (or weary?) with my 75 lbs of luggage in tow (essentials!)- because two early morning commuters offered to help me with my bags. Germans are quite good-natured.
It was nice to be in America! My first hour in the Atlanta airport was amazing, I could hear what people where saying and interact with language for the first time in 6 months. I ordered a crispy Chick-fil-a and a lemonade and soaked it all in until my flight to Milwaukee. On Thursday Derek arrived and most of the wedding fun began. I went biking with my dad and this is a photo he took of me at the harbor of my hometown on Lake Michigan. It’s a cheesy shot, but check out those amazing colors.
After the wedding we stayed a few days with my sister in Northeast Minneapolis. I went for a run around Lake Calhoun and took in some Uptown, we made a stop at Bun & Isles bakery, Spyhouse Coffee and ate lunch at Colossal Cafe. We drove by our house in Saint Paul and enjoyed a cookout with some pals. With a fresh perspective, we immediately noticed how outdated our infrastructure seemed compared to German cities and the impeccably maintained autobahn. If you were new to the area you would be surprised that the Twin Cities is a prosperous area and a nice place to visit if you only drove along it’s crumbling roads and sidewalks.
To wrap up our trip, we spent a day with Derek’s parents in Door County Wisconsin before heading toward Milwaukee. Our flight home was together- which was awesome! We have flown separately the handful of times we’ve been abroad.
With the arrival of September, we are savoring experiences that we will have only once. Just one ‘Fall’ in Germany and looking ahead we have a few fun excursions planned. In a couple of weeks we will be taking part in a grape harvest at a friend’s family vineyard. I am sooooo excited! For future travelers to Lower Franconia, this week has been absolutely gorgeous. We now have 11 months left in Germany, less than a year! Can you believe it? The kids here go back to school in a week (we live next to a school), my day always involves a direct hit of school letting out en masse.
Planning to blog more in the coming months with bits of daily life, hope this will be interesting. So much to share.