Week 8.

FullSizeRender.jpgUlm, Germany. What a beautiful place. Never was this city a part of my bucket list, but I am beyond glad to have had the chance to experience the life here.

The travel day to Germany was a bit jumbled due to a suicide on the tracks, a missed bus, another close call, but we managed to catch the very last train to Ulm that night. Johannes, Nancy’s husband, kindly waited up for us to arrive. Their home is located on a quiet yet accessible road up the hill from the city. We were so grateful for some cool days in a quiet, dark basement bedroom. Actually getting to wear our pajama pants was a highlight for sure. My feet were icicles at one point so thankfully we escaped the fiery heat that has surrounded us thus far. The forecast read 65-75 degrees and scattered showers all week. Yes! Rain!

We began our sightseeing here at the Ulm Minster, which currently holds the title for the world’s largest steeple. There are rumors that the La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is on its way to taking that beloved title away but for now, this is it.FullSizeRender.jpg

A lively farmers market fills the square where the hustle and bustle thrives. Around the corner are more giant antiques to look at like the Ratskeller. IMG_4412.JPGWe were pretty starved and salivating over the sights and smells that filled the streets. Sausage. Bread. Beer.  Where do we find such delicious things? This place seemed fitting. IMG_4420.JPGWhere this is what our first proper German meal looked like.

 

Tasted pretty dang good, especially the lentils. YUM. How I didn’t gain 20 pounds after 5 days in Germany is a miracle.

As we kept wandering around this fine city, we noticed some gorgeous structures. IMG_4425IMG_4437IMG_4459We didn’t quite get history lessons explaining what these awesome buildings were, but this tower was one of the original gates to get into the city. It is the only one still standing after 700+ years. Crazy!

EINSTEIN

On our way to Ulm, Mike mentioned to me that it is in fact the birthplace of Albert Einstein. He also noted how cool it would be to check out an Einstein Museum, which sounded amazing to me. There must be a museum to pay tribute to one of the most influential physicists of all time in his birth town! Well, there is not such a thing, not quite yet. As we got to chatting with Mike’s cousin, Nancy, we were told of this big project she is working on. We noticed a picture of a building that resembled something we saw in Valencia, Spain. When we showed her pictures of what we saw, she explained that the same architect is working with her on this endeavor. Guess what this giant project is?!?…….

An Albert Einstein Museum!!!! How incredibly serendipitous this moment was. Nancy is a PHD physicist who thought the same thing we did. Why isn’t there an Einstein museum here?!? So, she’s making it happen. IMG_0655.JPGFullSizeRender.jpgWe have already planned to come back in 5 years for the grand opening. Pretty exciting stuff. IMG_4452.JPGThis is one of the two ‘tributes’ to Einstein in the city. The other is literally a tower of granite that stands about 5-6 feet with a plaque on the bottom. We walked past it 4 times and did not notice it once. Lame. Go get em Nancy!!!

This is the fam. FullSizeRenderThey took us here to see the magic that seeps from this place. IMG_4611.JPGWhat once was a monastery is now home to museums and a boarding school but here is a glimpse of the grounds.

And, of course, this magic blue water!!! IMG_4699

It’s the kind of place where my pictures are actually more beautiful than the postcards! No filters needed!

The town itself was filled with happy energy. We ran into a parade on the street. IMG_4678.JPGIn the museum, we discovered the oldest musical instrument on this planet!!! A flute that just happens to be 40,000 years old. One of the first, if not the first, fertility objects is located here as well.

Pretty impressive town. It felt like we were transported to a time hundreds of years ago and I absolutely loved it. Speaking of hundreds of years ago, this place was neat too. FullSizeRenderThe Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany, is seen here from a somewhat sketchy bridge where hundreds of people were capturing this very scene. I quickly snapped the shot then jumped off. I wondered how many people loose phones or cameras due to someone knocking it out of their hands with an elbow. Lots of elbows being thrown on this bridge. Regardless, beautiful huh?!? This is the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. I can see why.

You see views like this there as well. Not a bad place for a king to live.

Heading back into Ulm, Nancy informed us we are in town on a weekend where something extraordinary happens. Once every four years this event draws some big crowds. FullSizeRender

People from the surrounding villages dress up as certain personas from the past and they duke it out from the back of a boat such as this. IMG_4756IMG_4766

The whole town and then some shows up for this thing. A band plays the same drum beats for each round, the winner moves on to battle a new character, and this continues for hours. We got the gist of it after an hour. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

There is a great trail on top of a ridge in Ulm where we wandered to a Beer Garden with Nancy’s son, Simon, and his classmates. Beauty was everywhere.

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The food was amazing at this farmhouse/beer garden. This is their lamb salad, homemade ice cream and of course the kiddos and their schnitzel.

A lovely stay with family in Ulm. It was an honor to meet these wonderful people that are a part of Mike’s world. I definitely felt like I was home. Thank you Nancy and family for a perfect introduction to Germany. See you back here for Einstein!

We had just a few hours to check out Munich as we left Ulm. FullSizeRender.jpg

The giant market around the corner from the Glockenspiel was a nice way to eat and drink our way through the  afternoon. Off to Prague from here.

The oldest working astronomical clock in the world resides here. These mosaics are displayed in the base of the clock’s tower. We were there at noon to watch all the characters fulfill their duties. Unfortunately, the tower itself is under construction so it is not possible to capture the full experience.

Prague is filled with amazing architecture and gothic vibes. IMG_4819IMG_4822IMG_4826

The castle that overlooks the city is quite impressive as well. IMG_4869.JPG

 

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Mike found it appropriate to leave a lil something with the Lennon Wall. More Oregon Love being spread around the globe. Something worth seeing while in Prague. Musicians, artists, transients, tourists, photographers, all gathered here to take it all in. Lots to read here. Lots of love here. IMG_4830.JPG

IMG_4832IMG_4834IMG_4835That about sums up our eighth week on this adventure. Five more to go. From here we head into Poland to soak up some friend time and to enjoy some camping on the Baltic Sea. Should be a rockin’ good time.

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