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!

Goin’ to the chapel and we’re… Wait what…?

After feasting on grapes we made our winding way up the mountain towards Grabkapelle Rotenberg. Kenny did some truly impressive parallel parking on a steep incline and we made the remainder of the trek up the mountain on foot. Luckily there were bathrooms just a couple yards up and they were impeccably clean. I mean, we are talking cleaner than the cleanest gas station/fast food bathroom you have ever been in… Anyway, once we turned the corner to the steepest valley we were floored. The view was absolutely breathtaking…

We continued our hike and were greeted by none other than the ice cream man! We (mainly Kenny) were too anxious to stop and decided (I was assured) we would get it on the trek down… Anyway, the structure that we met when we got there was beautiful. Granted, I am no castle expert but I am quite certain they are usually larger than this…

We were curious enough to pay 4 euros to tour the inside. The inside was gorgeously crafted…

Even the floor was beautiful, a rod iron grate that gave a glimpse of a downstairs that we didn’t realize existed!

We finished touring the upper level and headed for the stairs. Then, before we went down, the woman manning the desk handed us a pamphlet in English! Everything made sense… and the story is beautiful. The building (built in the early 1820’s) used to belong to the dukes of Wurttemberg, and it was significantly larger…

(Side note: evidently “grabkapelle” means grave chapel…) Apparently, King Wilhelm I had it torn down and then erected in memory of his beloved wife Catharina, who died at a young age. The location was symbolic as it was one of his queen’s favorite places. This chapel on the hill is now the monument of eternal love and is considered the most romantic spot in Baden-Wurttemberg! In fact, the inscription above the entrance to the chapel is interpreted as King Wilhelm’s promise to his Russian bride: “Love never dies.”

Is that not the sweetest thing you have ever heard?! Moving on… we finally descended down the steps…

(A picture of the really cool see-through grate that is now on the ceiling!!)

…and entered into a beautiful mausoleum. The tombs and effigies were striking white marble.

The best part about that room was the echo-factor… The acoustics were ridiculous and Kenny and I had some completely mature fun with it. Although I will say, if you ever find yourself in the lower level of Grabkapelle Rotenberg do not try and whisper into opposite walls with anyone because it does not work and you cannot hear them.

Kenny and I both loved that old grave chapel; the story behind it was really moving. However, our empty stomachs eventually forced us to begin our descent down the mountain, but NOT without my ice cream!!

Finally, we got back in the car and headed for Stuttgart to have dinner… We were both craving sushi and were both bitterly disappointed when the restaurant we map-quested didn’t exist (except that really it did exist…but was just closed on Sundays and really difficult to find) …So we went to a mongolian buffet (a lot like Flattop Grill) which, while it could never take the place of sushi because nothing can, sufficed because I was famished and Kenny will eat anything. Finally on our way home we stopped at the place with the incredible views just off the highway and took this little beauty with the setting sun illuminating the valley below…

Kenny and I truly had the most amazing day and I am looking forward to our next adventure! Until then! Cheers!