New blog!!!!!!!!!

I have a new blog and each of you will be getting an email at this address. In order to receive the new blogs you need to click on the link in the verification email and…….you will then receive the new blogs just as you do now.
I hated to do this but it is a much better blog site so I had to change over.
Be on the lookout for the new blog email:)
I hope you enjoy he blogs and would like to continue receiving them. http://www.Germannolagirlblog.blogspot.com this is the new blog
Have a great weekend!!
Go Saints!!!!

Prague, Czech Republic

Actual dates: November 8-11

On Friday the family headed to Prague!!!! We took the train from Stuttgart to Nuremberg then they put you on a huge amazing bus from Nuremberg into Prague. The bus has someone walk around like the planes and offer you things, snacks, drinks, and beer, wine and champagne. We loved it and needless to say are sold on traveling this way now.
Prague is only about 5 hours away but doing this way it took closer to 7.i will say though it was much more relaxing to have a beer and not fight traffic, and so nice to not worry about parking when we got there or finding our way!!!!
We arrived in Prague on Friday at 4 and started out for our apartment building. We were about a mile from the train station and found a cool park with a zip line for the boys. They loved this and we had an hour to kill before meeting the guy for the keys. Yes, we do NOT stay in hotels on our travels here, we have learned to do like every other European and rent apartments/flats. It is way more economical and being a family of 5 we need the space. Also, we usually utilize the kitchen by making sandwiches for lunch and having breakfast, although his trip was busy and we barely even walked into the kitchen.
We had a 2 bedroom with a living room,kitchen and enormous bathroom in the 4thfloor of a super old building, yep stairs stairs stairs. Added bonus, in the underground level there was a bar:)
The first night was not very cold, upper 40s. We went to a brew pub called the New Town Pub. There was a man walking around playing the harmonica and it was a very authentic restaurant. We tried a few of their beers, coffee beer, caramel beer, ginger beer, banana beer. Billy really liked the banana, I liked the caramel and ginger and Blair liked the Ginger. We had somewhat authentic Czech food! Billy and Blake had the meat with the dumplings, very authentic and pretty good.
After dinner we walked over the Charles Bridge, interesting with lots of statues(12) to be exact. We also puppet shopped, Prague is known for puppets and the boys wound up with a Harry Potter one on the last day(pics below)
Around 11 we headed back to the flat for the night but not without a quick accidental walk through the Red Light District. Didn’t even know they had one. The boys found it very interesting why women were in lingerie hanging out of windows talking to groups of men, Blake asked if they were selling Boobs??? OMG embarrassing moment:/
Saturday we decided no restaurants, vendors and beer with sight seeing all day. This is exactly what we did. From 10am until 11pm. The weather was a bit chillier but not awful, upper 30s but a mist. We grabbed beers in little stores throughout the day, some of the stores had the large Czech beers for less than a $1!!! We ate such delicious food on this day. We had the grilled sausage on baguettes, crepes, wings and an overstuffed burrito that made us feel like home. There is virtually no Mexican in the Stuttgart area so this was a major treat. We walked to the Charles bridge again to see in the day and ventured up to the castle area. We saw the changing of he guard and also visited a few museums. Saturday night we had an underground tour scheduled that we booked prior to our trip. This was very interesting. Prague is basically a city built literally on top of another city, so interesting. If you have time Prague is very interesting to read about. It dates back as early as he 900’s and wasn’t destroyed in the war so the architecture is just beyond words.
Around 11 we headed back to the apartment and once everyone was settled Billy and I went to the bar in the basement. Super smoky and crowded but we had to do he Absinthe shot. Apparently many countries have banned the real version of Absinthe but Prague has not. Disgusting is all I will say.
Sunday was raining and cold and we headed out to breakfast at a cafe. We visited St.Nicholas and St.Vitus churches . St.Vitus is he famous one, next to the castle and huge but St.Nicholas, in our opinion, was way more beautiful. We toured everything around the palace this day, the weapons history room, the military room and the tower. We also visited the John Lennon Wall and the famous swans of Prague.
The first night we came across several Thai spas that offer the fish tanks that you put your feet in and the fish suck off the dead skin so on Sunday we all did this. It is very clean, the water is filtered. Neat experience and it definitely helps.
Sunday night we met up with some friends from Germany for dinner. We ate an old railway restaurant named Vytopna Railway. There are little trains that run through the whole restaurant and on the tables. The trains deliver your drinks and can hold up to 12 at once.
On Monday we trekked through town with our belongings. Everyone was allowed one backpack for the trip and kudos to the kids because they did not complain once about carrying their backpacks all day. We visited the Jewish part of town and the old Jewish cemetery and saw the Astronomical clock go off. We ate from the vendors in the famous square and did some shopping before heading to the train station.
Again,amazing trip home. To Nuremberg we had a double decker bus AND we had the front seats because you have reserved seating:) it was dark almost immediately but it was neat regardless.
Once we got off our train in Stuttgart it was about 1am and freezing, 26 degrees://///BRRRRRRR
Yes, at 1am we walked home, about a mile.
This was an amazing trip and the only mode of transport we used while in Prague was our feet.i cannot begin to guess how many miles we walked but it was ALOT and through cold and rain our kids never once complained . So proud of them!
We all loved Prague, probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen and hopefully I will head back there in January when Rachel visits????? We will see.
Interesting fact : Prague had a TGI Fridays, Hooters, and Hard Rock Cafe and a James Dean Restaurant. We did not eat at any but it was cool to see, None of that in Stuttgart.
Now we are awaiting Grammys arrival in4 days. Next up France, Nuremberg, and Garmisch.

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Keith & Joyce

Actual date of the event: October 26-29

First, I just want everyone to know how proud I am of my boys. They both won their last games of the season on Saturday so Trey’s team is undefeated. Trey will play 3 championship games his Saturday.

After a morning of soccer Saturday, Keith and Joyce landed. Keith has been here 2 times already since I arrived, because he is a pilot, but it has been great seeing him so much. This time was a real vacation though, with his wife:)
We picked them up from the airport and went to downtown Stuttgart, on the train. We took them to the famous Stuttgart markets that take place every Wednesday and Saturday. They were able to sample local foods and a drink or two. Then we hopped a train, then a bus and headed to Rubble Hill. There is a previous post about this hill, it is a hill built with the remains of the buildings destroyed in the war AND best view of Stuttgart. It was perfect that it was such a clear beautiful day. For dinner we took them back to Stuttgart and ate at Vapiano, it’s a specialty pizza/salad restaurant. We love them and everything is fresh.
We then brought the kids home and took them out in our town for the night. We were able to sit outside at a Biergarten on the lake, we saw a band and the Irish pub, then finished the night with Cuba Libres at Cuba Libre. Well, technically, we finished the night when Keith got his doner kabop.

Sunday morning we had a huge German breakfast for them. If you aren’t sure what this entails hen you need to visit. It was a beautiful morning and we headed out to explore Heidelberg , about 1.5 hours away. Keith asked us to go here and we had never been so that was great. The weather quickly turned cool and rainy but that didn’t stop us. We walked the town and toured the castle. We had bratwurst sandwiches for lunch and a typical German dinner at White Swan(the English translation)of potato pancakes, sauerkraut , schnitzel and goulash suppe. We loved Heidelberg and can’t wait to return.

On Monday the kids headed to school and we headed to Strausburg, France for the day. We have been here but it is one of our favorite places and only about 1.5 hours away. We had champagne and beer in the famous square , in the early hours of the day, while viewing the Notre dame of Strausburg , a magnificent church. We took the boat ride tour the through the canal and we toured the Notre Dame. We then ate dinner at St.Martins on the canal, this is our favorite restaurant in Strausburg. We returned home about 10 and had a really fun night hanging out having wine, beer and a few German specialties. Keith mapped out our entire trip to Prague in 2 weeks, since they were there for a few days before coming to us. We have every map and guide possible and are super excited now for that adventure.

Today, Tuesday we had a lazy morning and then went for doner kebaps for lunch before heading to the airport:(( we had a great visit but the worst part is when people leave, I get a little homesick each time. Yes, life is amazing here but we do miss everyone!!! I know that we will see Keith and Joyce in Europe again so I will find comfort in that for now!!
We hope they had a great visit and a are having a smooth flight home!! You guys are awesome.

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Quick Update

We are heading into our BIG season of visitors, travel and holidays.
This week Blake received his first badge in Boyscouts , he earned the Bobcat badge and he was so proud. For those of you that do not know the Transatlantic Boyscout pack is a really neat thing to be a part of. For example, this is the 70th anniversary of Normandy had his troop along with all of the European troops will be camping on the beaches of Normandy in April, such an amazing experience. I am so happy we are able to give the kids these experiences.
Tonight we have a Halloween bowling party and tomorrow the kids have a pumpkin drop at their school. Each class created boxes to put their pumpkins in and added whatever they thought would provide good cushioning:). The fire fighters come to school and drop the boxes from the roof, seeing which class has the pumpkin that will not burst. So fun!!!
On Saturday we have the last regular week of soccer. Treys’ team is undefeated and will be in the championship next Saturday, 3 games. Blake’s age group is finished this Saturday, no tournaments. When soccer is over, the winter sports will be Blake is doing wrestling and Trey is playing basketball.
Blair is thoroughly enjoying her senior year in Europe and has a group of girls that she hangs out with. She is doing great in school this year so that in itself is great.
On Saturday is the much anticipated arrival of Keith and Joyce, very excited!!!!! They are visiting Prague right now and come to us Saturday:)) and will leave on Tuesday:((
On November 8 my family and I will be traveling to Prague for 4 days, we are excited because we will be traveling by train.
The following week my mom arrives, FINALLY!!! We will be visiting MANY places and staying for a weekend in Garmisch to ski. We are hosting Thanksgiving at our house with my mom and some of our Stuttgart Friends.
Then after mom’s 2 week visit, Billy and I are headed to meet our friends Debbie and Luke in Amsterdam for the weekend. They live in London so it’s a place we all wanted to visit and what a great meeting place. Ironically, we will be there for Billy’s birthday, lucky him.
After hat we will be busy with Christmas markets, skiing, ice skating and holidays.
We already have people coming over to celebrate Christmas and we have New Years Eve plans already!!! It’s awesome to think of the friends we have made in such a short time.
And then into 2014, we immediately celebrate the new year with Rachel’s visit, my friend not sister in law. And then in February we have the Carroll family!
We have several trips in the works for next year and I am hoping, crossing my fingers, that I can make it home at the end of April to celebrate jazz Fest. We will see but definitely sometime next year.
Have an awesome weekend everyone!!!!!!!

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13 years!!!!!

Actual date of event: October 13&14

Billy and I like to take a trip every year for our anniversary, we are not gift givers so we have always chosen to celebrate this way instead. Some of the trips we have done over the years include staying at a plantation, Monmouth Plantation in Natchez, it was actually rated one of he top 10 most romantic places in America by USA Today. We have been to Destin, Florida and Biloxi, Missisippi numerous times. Some of you may not know this but Imperial Palace in Biloxi is actually one of my all time favorite places. Another year we drove to Tennessee and stayed at a B&B and went white water rafting on he Ocoee River. We have also been more simple and stayed in New Orleans and done a really nice dinner or a Saints game, that was last year. So……as you can see we look forward to this every year.
Well! Here in Germany it is wine producing time from mid September through mid October, so about a month ago we booked a place on the wine road in Kallstadt. I had been trying to research but it just felt like so much work and I had no clue where we were going or what we were going to do so last week we thought maybe we should just goto Paris for the night. Paris is 5 hours driving and a little under 3.5 hours on the train. Driving was not an option so we looked into the train, :(, not happening. Although Billy was willing to spend the last minute inflated price I was not. Thankfully, Billy spoke with a friend at work who gave him some wine road tips and told him how much we would love it AND we did.
Oh my gosh, this trip exceeded every expectation we had. We have been to Napa Valley and Sonoma a few times and that was nice but triple that and you’ve got the German wine Road. It literally just goes and goes until it hits France and turns into the French wine road. Since this is the big time of year and it is fall he scenery was beautiful. All the trees are different colors and all the grapes are blooming. Every town you go through is unique in its own way but it is so interesting how there are large wine establishments down to people that live on their winery and for this month decorate their garages and driveways and serve wine that way, so casual and you can also buy bottles from them.
All day Sunday we stopped in different towns, our favorite one heading there was Rhodt, it was very quaint so we went in a few stores, had lunch in what looked like an old hideaway and tasted and bought wine. The arch in the restaurant had a date on it of 1645.
When we reached Kallstadt we fell in love with how charming it was. There were people and wineries everywhere, now to find our hotel. We stayed at the Kallstadt Haus. Hands down one of the nicest places I have ever been to. We couldn’t believe we actually almost canceled this trip. Our place had a nice restaurant, although we had already eaten and was very quaint. Once you went up the stairs there was a sitting area for about 4 rooms and the keys were totally old school, see pic below. Our room was very spacious and the bathroom was gigantic.
We put our things down and headed out, we wound up wine tasting in a garage, delicious . We have found our favorite German wine to be a red Cuvée , don’t ask because I probably don’t know, but very good. We walked a bit and popped in a place for a little food and more wine. I wanted a cheese plate, Kasse in German. Billy found something with cheese soaked in Riesling wine and onions, we thought it was a salad….it was listed under salads. Well, what a crazy dish, it was like 2 big rounds cheeses, kind of tasted like Parmesan, soaked in the wine with a pile of raw red onions on top. Billy tasted it and was like “who in the world would eat that?” He has had a struggle with the cheese here, it is stronger than home, I love most of it. While this dish was certainly not my fav, I did eat one whole circle of cheese and onion. It was not that bad.
After we returned to our hotel and decided we would have desert, but along with desert we ordered a 40 year old Brandy made right there in Kallstadt. Our desert was considered a desert variation with chocolate and white chocolate mousse, Creme brûlée with caramel and Grand Manier on top, fruits with cream and different sorbets. Desert was great, the Brandy, eh…..pretty rough, it literally burned our throats and everything as it went down, how do people drink that and enjoy it?? Wow!!
Paths next morning we woke up and went down to breakfast. We were served the traditional German breakfast….boiled eggs, meats, cheese, cucumber, salmon, granola, sausage and tons of fresh baked bread. All served with all juices, champagne, coffee, and sparkling water. We stayed at breakfast for about an hour and a half, it was just so nice.
Once we checked out we visited another winery where we bought the bulk of our wine. We stopped in different towns throughout he day, Bad Durkheim , was where we spent the bulk of our day, what a neat town, we walked and walked and walked. We found a resort that would be fun to take the kids to for a weekend in the summer.
Definitely one of the best anniversaries yet and we both said we want to make this place a tradition while we are in Germany,, it really was like a fairy tale .
Interesting fact: this is the third place we have stayed where they do not even have a credit card number for you and you sleep and eat but do not pay until you are literally leaving. It is so unbelievable to me but all they had was my name and phone number, very different from the states.

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Rothenburg

Actual Date: October 4

Sorry for all of the blogs at one time but I had time today and wanted to get them all caught up.
Last week was hectic with the government furlough and being the chair of the school photos. We had school photos scheduled last week and since Billy wasn’t working he was able to come help me on one of his “off”days.
Anyway, everyone was off Friday so Billy was determined we were going somewhere . We decided on Frankfurt. We figured it’s only about 2 hours away and it’s the financial district of Germany. I have read you can tour their stock exchange and it’s a type of city like New York, with an underground mall, not that we shop much here.
Well, we were all exhausted and woke up to late to make that trip so we decided on Rothenburg. The kids and I went there with Tanya when she visited in June but we loved it and Billy had not yet been AND it’s only like an hour away so that was the decision.
We got there and ironically enough parked in the same parking as we did over the summer. We did some different things this trip though. For those of you that do not know Rothenburg is a walled city and was only 40% destroyed in the war! everything around it was leveled. To this day the wall remains and the town has been kept very original and unique. We climbed the tower and walked on top of the wall when we entered the city, so cool to see from up in the air, not to mention you are looking down on where many people live. We visited St.Jakobs church, built in the 1400’s and absolutely beautiful . We also visited the toy museum, there were toys dating back to the 1300’s, Mamere, if you haven’t visited this it is a must for you. Again, ironically enough we had dinner ya the same Italian restaurant as over the summer, delish.
As night time approached it became quite chilly so Blair, Blake and I purchased some warmer gear and with our coffees and hot chocolates in hand we did the night watchman tour. This tour lasts an hour and I couldn’t begin to say how enjoyable it was. The tour guide was such a character and he walk you throughout the town and tells you about all the historical facts BUT he made it so interesting. This tour is a MUST for our visitors.
This was another AWESOME day for the entire family. Once again, thanks Germany.

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