Wednesday, June 23, 2010

German Adventures, Day 3 - Riessersee

On our third day in Germany, Ben and I decided to rent bicycles and ride up to a pristine little alpine lake called Riessersee. We got outfitted at Edelweiss and hit the road. At first the ride wasn't so bad, but then we hit the mountain, and the trail went straight up! Needless to say, we walked the bikes up that hill. It was tough work, and HOT (mid 80s and quite humid), but when we got to the lake, it was so worth it.
The water was crystal clear and so still, the mountains and sky reflected in it beautifully. We rode around the lake a couple of times, sat and enjoyed a snack on the bank, and then headed back down to town.
That day we were treated with a variety of fantastic views of the mountains, including the hill where mom and dad first learned to ski (the first picture below).

German Adventures, Day 2 - The Zugspitze

Day 2 was one of the definite highlights of the vacation - a trip to the top of the Zugspitze, the tallest mountain peak in Germany. We started off walking to the train station, enjoying the magnificent views and the warmth of the day. Then we got on the cogwheel train which took us most of the way up the mountain, up to the point known as the Zugspitzeplatz, a bit below the summit. The views of the mountains, small villages, and alpine lakes along the way were amazing.

When we got off the train - wow! The sun sparkling on the snow was brilliant, and it was actually warm up there, even with all the snow. We explored the Zugspitzeplatz for a while, walking up to the tiny chapel, throwing a snowball or two, enjoying a snack of pommes frites (fries) and Spezi (a yummy drink that's a mixture of coke and orange fanta) and even sledding.

Then came the last leg of our journey to the summit - the little cable car. In it we climbed to the very top, and up there it was quite chilly and windy. Not to mention, the clouds were beginning to take over, so there was even a bit of mist. Not too much to impede our fun though, just enough that we couldn't necessarily see to Austria or Switzerland like you can on a clear day. But what was really cool was how you could see patches of sunlight glistening on the snow through the clouds. So neat!

After taking another (slightly bigger) cable car and the train back down into Garmisch, we wandered around the town for a while, explored the Olympiastadium and the ski jump from the 1936 Olympics, and then met Dad (after his conference) for a schnitzel dinner at a local Gasthaus.
(Because Mom ended up leaving early, this is the only family photo we managed on the trip.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

German Adventures, Day 1 - Edelweiss

GrĂ¼ss Gott (Hello), Germany!

After a 2.5 hour flight to Atlanta, a 2 hour layover, and a 9.5 hour flight to Munich, I finally boarded the train to Garmisch. I took photos of the Alps out the train windows to try and keep myself awake.

At last, I arrived at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch. It is an absolutely gorgeous resort, located right at the base of the Alps, looking up at the Zugspitze, the tallest peak in Germany. The grounds are pristine, the environment so relaxing, and we all loved it there. The hot tub was outside looking out to the Alps, which was so cool. And we had a fabulous view of the Zugspitze from our room, which made it even better. The only thing lacking was air conditioning, and on the unexpectedly humid and hot days (mid 80s), we definitely missed it.

We didn't do a whole lot that first day, other than walk around the grounds and the area right around Edelweiss, relax in the hot tub, and take pics. My priority was trying to stay awake until around 9:00 at night. I made it, and then I crashed. The best night of sleep I've had in quite some time...

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

The Friday night before I flew to Germany, I joined some friends for an evening at the Ballpark in Arlington, cheering the Texas Rangers on to a 9-6 win over Tampa Bay. After living in Texas for 11 years, I have finally become a Rangers fan. They won't replace my beloved Braves, but I'll cheer for them otherwise. It was a HOT evening - in the mid 90s - but our seats were great, the fellowship was sweet, and the Rangers won!

The night ended with an amazing fireworks show over the stadium. The Rangers definitely know how to do fireworks!
What a great night at the ballpark!

Cooper Lake

On Memorial Day weekend, a group of my friends decided to go camping at Cooper Lake, about 2 hours from here. Now, I'm not sure what possessed them to camp in the 90 degree heat. I decided I wasn't up to sleeping in the heat, but I did drive up on Saturday to spend the day with them at the lake. We spent most of the day hanging out at the beach area, enjoying the feel of our feet in the sand, soaking up the rays, cooling off in the water, and playing on Amanda and Amy's kayaks.

As the afternoon went on, Bethany and I went out exploring in the kayaks. We started out just puttering around in the beach area, but then we headed off to the backwaters. It was so amazing! It got cooler and so quiet as we got into the shady areas, and we relished being away from the crowds and enjoying God's creation... oh, and laughing at each other's antics.

It was a fabulous day of cooking out, lazing in the hammocks, enjoying the summer, and fellowshipping with great friends. This is what summer is all about!