Our 1st guest! More, please!

Happy Halloween errbody! A couple of weeks ago Kenny and I played host to one of my very best friends (and future bridesmaid!), Laine Mello. She stayed for a short week and I missed her as soon as she was gone… It was so nice having her here. Some of you might have seen the album I posted on Facebook of our little trip to Paris: a magical experience that I cannot wait to have again! After we returned, Laine, Kenny, and I had the amazing opportunity (thanks to Dave Mello and, of course General and Mrs. Repass) to visit one of the locations for the US Army in Stuttgart: Patch Barracks. It truly was a mini-America; it was almost like being home! It was really cool to see how those who serve America live, it was like a small town within Stuttgart; they have one of everything they need. Plus, it was really nice (and strange) to hear English all around us! General Repass explained to us a bit of what he does on a daily basis. It was really incredible to hear how much these guys deal with that we, as citizens, don’t even know about. The Repass’ showed us around Patch, cooked us a delicious meal, and even gave us gifts of things that Kenny and I have been missing from home, little things like (REAL) Diet Coke and (REAL) Ranch dressing. Lastly, Mrs. Repass (whom I decided may or may not be Superwoman) took us “thrifting.” -Mom, I cannot wait to show you these places- There are several dirt-cheap amd authentic antique stores around Stuttgart! I seriously could have spent hours in there. The Repass’ were very wonderful and down-to-earth people; we cannot begin to express our gratitude for such an excellent day!

After Patch, Kenny and I wanted to take Laine sightseeing. One of our favorite places near Stuttgart was the mountain from our previous posts that holds the Collegium Wirtemburg Weingarten and the Grabkapelle Rotenburg. Kenny and I have always wanted to go back to the winery during opening hours and buy a couple of bottles!

First we drove up the mountain to the Chapel. I know I have already posted many pictures from this place, but we arrived just before sunset, and the view was remarkable.

We walked around the “Chapel of Eternal Love” a few times appreciating the views before we asked Kenny to be our photographer…

Then a nice old German lady took a picture of the three of us!

Stupid bags in the picture. Now… to the alcohol! We were all very excited to discover that the Weingarten was having a wine tasting, only €5 to taste 5 different wines, and generous portions I might add! Laine (proudly) took this little beauty when we sat down…

It was a lot of fun trying the different wines! Lainey, whose alcohol repertoire consists mainly of vodka and more vodka, even liked a few of them!

We passed around our wines in an orderly fashion so we each got a chance to try them all. Laine and I have quite opposite tastes in wine, and Kenny, true to form, pretty much liked them all. Before we left we stopped to enjoy the view and have a few more pictures taken by photographer Kenny.

Then, Laine took some adorable pictures of my darling husband and me:) Thanks Lainey!

That’s not an endearing kiss people, he is about to lick my face.

That’s better! Why was he holding two wine glasses in the pictures you might ask? Because the wine was awesome. Until next time! Cheers!

Further (albeit random) updates***

Guten Morgen! Ich möchte sprechen Deutsch. Wir haben gelernt, ein wenig. Act like you’re not impressed. Kenny and I officially began our German lessons last week. Slowly, but surely we are learning the language… it really is exciting. We, including a few of Kenny’s American teammates (basically whoever shows up), meet every Tuesday at the office for lessons.

Also, today marks the start of my new job: Kenny’s chauffeur. For those of you that haven’t already heard Kenny got a speeding ticket the other day. Germans do NOT mess around with speeding. Not only did we have a very hefty fine, but also Kenny has to give up his license for a whole month! I mean c’mon Germany – no warnings or nothin’?? …Pretty unreasonable if you ask me. Anyway! If he gets caught driving without a license it is a whole month’s pay and possible jail time! Again, Germany… really?! Needless to say, we are not risking it. Thus, begrudgingly, I am his driver.

Despite my frustrations, I will say this on Germany’s behalf, though they are pretty ridiculous with some of their laws and customs (do not get me started on separating garbage); I have never seen a safer, cleaner, or more environmentally conscious place.

Anyway! That is all for tonight/today! I will leave you with a few pictures I took of the fields behind our village when I was on my run a couple of days ago:)

Plus, we have a horse in our back yard…

I named him Phillip.

Also, one last (and even more random) thing: I am proud to say, Kenny and I finished our Disney puzzle! Here is proof:

TA-DAA! Our next posting will be about our visit to the beautiful Schloss Lichtenstein! Cheers!

It was no Hogwarts but…

Sunday was magical! Upon arriving in Europe I was most taken aback by it’s natural beauty. There is myriad of hills, valleys, trees, and flowery fields all along the drive from Stuttgart’s airport to our little town of Dußlingen (ß = “ss”). However, what I really wanted to see was a castle. Thus, Sunday we set out on a castle hunt. Obviously, we have no castles in the ‘Mericas (unless you count Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas… which I know my mother does) so I was doubly excited! These “castle hunt” pictures will be the first of many!!

Our first excursion outside of Tübingen began with a lot of insanely fast driving (not my fault) and a near trip-cancelling experience due to some spilled McDonald’s coffee (possibly my fault). Anyway the expedition made us quite thankful for our GPS… that of which I have decided to name “Navi”. Our drive through Stuttgart was nuts… there is no rhyme or reason to the streets here. Kenny was very impressive and ninja-like with his newly honed manual shifting skills. Although the roads were confusing we enjoyed very spectacular views just off the highway. However a minor speed bump hit us when the address we searched via iPhone and entered into Navi brought us to a large industrial building… sincerely hoping this was not our castle we drove around the corner to a beautiful park and stumbled onto Schloss Rosenstein.

This particular castle was destroyed and made anew in the 1900’s thus it appeared almost modern looking.

Rosenstein has ornately carved stone lions on either side of the castle… As I was taking pictures I had to wait because so many kids wanted their pictures taken on the lion’s back…

The castle itself was beautiful but I thought the sculptures surrounding it were the real gems there.

Also, these statues instituted the “don’t give the camera to Kenny” idea…

unless you want pictures of stone butts…

Anyway! As you may see in stone butt picture #2 there is a beautiful garden behind me; featuring blooming red roses (my favorite flower), ivy laden stone pillars and hedges trimmed to perfection.

We even (albeit awkwardly) asked a couple to take our picture in the garden…

and also my attempt…

Schloss Rosenstein was beautiful and an excellent first stop on our “castle hunt”! Cheers!