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Vianden, Luxembourg

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When we left Baden-Baden and drove through the country side of Germany to Luxembourg via a stop in Trier, we had no idea how beautiful the agricultural areas were. A young man in Amsterdam (actually at the Hemp, Hashish, and Marijuana College- I had to go in and see if the place was for real or not and it is- OMG) asked about our travel itinerary and when he found out we were driving through Luxembourg/ Belgium, he informed us that one of the two countries had pink cows. Well, he was wrong. We kept looking for pink cows and never found any. It occurred to us that maybe he had been partaking of some of the various herbs the college he worked at educated people on. Funny dude, huh? I know there shouldn’t be pink cows but what if a white cow had a sheen to it that made it appear to have a pinkish hue? Anything is possible…

The cows are beautiful- quite stocky, muscular, and well fed. Not pink. The horses are stunning, and the sheep look like little chunky piglets. And the corn fields go on forever. Every farm and little town we drove through is immaculately cared for without any of the junkiness we see at home. Nothing here has the disposable feel, everything is well built and intended to last forever. Not a single trailer house or mobile home to be found. Vegetable gardens are growing happily and the flowers that we only see in certain seasons at home are abundant. Everything is neat and has its place. Everywhere.

As you read in a previous posting I drove us into Vianden and was fine until we reached about halfway up the tiny town where the streets became so narrow and steep that we decided Kris needed to take over. We found the Hotel Heintz, checked in, and then had to deal with finding parking. In most everywhere we have been so far parking is an issue. Eventually we found a spot up the mountain and walked back down to the hotel which is probably one of the prettiest hotels I’ve ever stayed in. I think the owner said it had formerly been where the nuns lived. Sounds right as it is next to the biggest church in the town.

We explored some of the town that afternoon, had a nice dinner, and went to bed fairly early so we could tour the castle the next morning before we left for Maastricht, NL. The breakfast spread at Hotel Heintz was spectacular as was the small tour the owner gave us of the hotel before all of the other guests awoke. I wish I were a better photographer to do justice to everything that we have seen this trip but I am not. Occasionally I snap the pictures at a bit of a lop-sided angle because that is just how I am. Slightly off, I suppose. Just bear with me and use your imagination or better yet, think about coming to visit all these incredible places yourself one day!

                

                                                 

                        

There are a lot more pictures of lovely Vianden but I think you get the idea. The history lesson will have to wait also because I am supposed to be packing today as we leave for Karlsruhe, Germany in the morning. I will come back to the posts and add information in to each picture when we get back to the states for those of you that are interested but for now I have to run. Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Till next time,

Karen Raye

Architectural beauty in Cologne

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Cologne Cathedral in Germany when you walk out of the train station

We left Amsterdam at 8:04am last Weds. and arrived fairly quickly in Germany on the ICE. A fast train that is comfortable and efficient. I like trains. They allow you to see the countryside. You also have more leg room than airplanes these days unless you pay a small fortune to upgrade.
Anyway, after we found a ladies room, a locker to put our luggage in, and checked in at Avis for the rental car we walked outside the train station and beheld the beauty of magnificent Gothic architecture. Wow. I read somewhere that it took 600 years to build this cathedral but from the looks of all the scaffolding, there is more work being done. The sun was shining crazily this morning and the light was bouncing off of every piece of stained glass in sight. It also was August 15th which is Assumption Day and the lines were forming to attend Mass. We took a quick look around before we headed out of the city. I know Kris wanted to tour more of the inside but the crowds were steadily getting thicker and we finally gave up.

Then it was time to leave so I could refresh my skill at driving a standard and get on the autobahn. And away we went detouring through Koblenz to get a bite to eat, then heading on to our destination of Baden Baden. Kris kept telling me my German roots were coming out in my driving skills. She must have meant my heavy foot, huh? I kind of liked the autobahn. The funny thing is the cars doing the actual speed demon thing are Mercedes, BMW’s, Audi’s’, and Saab’s. The little tiny toy looking cars behave. Somewhat. And- in all the time we’ve been here we have only seen one big ‘ole pickup truck. We figured it had to be an American driving that thing. Also, at different points in the drive down towards the Black Forest I felt like I was in an old Burt Reynolds convoy movie with all the big trucks filed in the far right lane due to highway rules.

And then we were there with the mountains surrounding us, vineyards all over the countryside, and a really loud church bell that dinged every morning at 6am. It was okay though because we get up pretty early anyway but what if you didn’t? It stormed one night when we there and lightening was lighting up the sky. The next morning the church bells rang more than 64 times. I quit counting but they went on for so long we figured that maybe lightening had hit the bell tower. Makes you wonder.