Well, well, well.. You have come back to read the next part of the European-Sovada-Family-Christmas-Break-Roadtrip-Vacation.. Lucky for you, I have a bunch of photos from different parts of the trip and outings, and with luck, I will add some captions and commentary! I do believe where I left of in "Christmas Break Part 1" was the night we stayed in Koblenz, Germany in an apartment on a hill overlooking the city.
The next morning, we woke up and headed down into town. We walked around along the water. Koblenz is located at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle river and has a history going back over 2000 years.
At the confluence, stands an equestrian monument of Emperor William the First. Here is Katlyn posing in the foreground:
Close by, a tram station is located; this brings passengers and tourists across the river and up the hill to the Fortress Ehrenbreitstein. As I said before, the city of koblenz dates back over 2000 years, and because it was at the confluence of two major rivers, it was a fortified military outpost for many different arms and rulers.
Everyone enjoyed going up and then back down from the fortress, as well as the fortress itself. However, I neglected to take any good pictures of the fortress.
Here is another picture in the town of Koblenz.
That evening, we arrived in Tübingen, Germany. That night we had a really great time walking around the "old town" or center of the city. Basically, since we had been on this trip, every time we went into a town, we found the christmas markets and wandered around that area, along with many other tourists. But, Tübingen's christmas markets was only a week long, and the week before we arrived. Although this sounds horrible, to miss the worshiped christmas markets, it was actually really cool. The streets were rather dim and there was not a lot of people, but there were still families walking with their kids, strollers being pushed on the cobblestones, and people just enjoying an evening stroll.
The next day, as we went for another walk around the city, we went new directions but then finally made our way back down a familiar road. As we entered one of the most pretty squares we had seen the previous night, this morning, it had come alive with tents and vegetables! My family thought this was pretty cool, because although I am used to markets in portland, central Minnesota doesn't have a ton of morning markets like this one.
We did some of our shopping, got a whole bunch of vegetables! What would have cost maybe 10Euro or more, was less than 6Euro at this market!
And then we ran into this guy. An excellent sales man who had a great story to go along with all of his spreads canned goods. We may have made a few purchases from him!
Very often, Momma and Katlyn come out of a small shop or store to find Papa and I goofing off..
Tübingen was very pretty:
From Tübingen, with a few stops on the way, we drove toward our Bad Tolz, Germany, where we would spend our next night.
First we stopped in Ulm, and after looking for parking for hours and hours (okay, not that long) we went and checked out the Ulm Church and the Christmas market surrounding it. The Ulm Minster (often referred to as the Ulm Cathedral) is the tallest church in the world, and was the tallest building in the world from 1890 to 1901. The Church was beautiful, and the food we got at the Christmas Market was good but we didn't stay long. The christmas market was packed and didn't have very much space to walk. They did have animals though:
After a quick lunch in Ulm, we headed to the Neuschwanstein Castle. This castle is what the disney castle was based off of. We got to the touristy area below the castle (you can see this are in the below picture, the picture was taken from the Neuschwanstein Castle) rather late, around 4, with the winter sun low in the sky there were no more bus shuttles running up to the castle.. so we took a horse carriage up instead! That was fun.
Then when we got to the top, mom and I ran to capture this sunset view:
The Castle was really beautiful, up on a mountainous outcropping of rock.
After the castle we went to the town of Bad Tolz where spent the night in an apartment out in the country.
Apartments with kitchens and space are much nicer to stay in then hotels. My papa used websites like airbnb.com which allow property owners to post their extra rooms, apartments, or even whole homes. Sometimes the owner just posts their home while they are on vacation themselves. Often pretty cheep too!
For example, the woman who owned this home, she and her family lived in the top (3rd) floor. The three floors were made to be three separate apartments with separate doors. She leased the ground level to a family long term. But the middle floor had no use, so she furnished it and posted it to airbnb.com, and within 5 hours, my father had requested it!
The next day we did the usual touristy walk/exploration of the town:
Then we drove to Austria through salzburg, picking up my skis, and along to St Johann. But, as we approached the part of the trip I was most looking forward to, our longest stay in one place, the first snag in the trip unfolded!
As we drove, my papa had me (the navigator) find the exact address resort thingy. But, as I was looking through the confirmation paper he gave me, I couldn't find an address. So, I began to read more in-depth. And as I stumbles through a message sent in german, I started to realize what it said. After checking with google translate to confirm what I was fearing, there was a sentence in german on the confirmation page from the owner of the hotel that said the days were not available!
The page was a confirmation page from booking.com or something.. It had the final prices, the dates, the room, everything! But there was a message, that seemed to be just a thank you from the owner, was actually the opposite.
When we get to the hotel/resort/thingy, the owner lady was so nice about it. She completely understood the misunderstanding and felt horrible. She didn't like how the external booking site formatted the messages to look like confirmation pages.
She was so helpful, and although she didn't have room for the whole 5 night stay, she set us up for the first two nights, the 23rd and 24th.. and then she helped arrange the rest of our stay somewhere else.
She also was helpful with finding places to eat, shop, walk, church, and ski! So we went skiing!
It was a fun day, I had my own gear and papa rented at the base of the area, and then Katlyn and momma got pedestrian passes.
So far, this area in the alps has gotten virtually no snow, so we all rode the 15 min gondola ride up past the treeline to the snow!
Momma and Katlyn bunkered down in one of the huts up there, and Papa and I went skiing!
The snow wasn't the best, mostly icy artificial snow, and it was crowded because of such few runs open, but skiing is still skiing, and we made the best of it.
The view were absolutely incredible!
And we had an awesome time skiing in the alps on christmas eve!
After lunch, I took my camera out for a few runs and took some of these pictures, here my dad snapped one of me:
We enjoyed our christmas holiday, even Katlyn enjoyed being up on the mountain a little.
My mom went for a hike to all the different huts and chapel on the mountain while we were out skiing too!
Then we had an excellent time out for a christmas eve dinner. Lots of stories and fun chatting and spending time together (not that we haven't been spending A LOT of time together this trip) ;)
And after dinner we all were dressed up a bit and so we took this family picture.
Then on christmas, we checked out of our current accommodations, did some town walking, saw this cool carriage:
And made our way to our next accommodations. The picture below is where we stayed for two nights. Although, I must note, that on christmas, when we got there, there was no snow on the ground, zip.
The next morning, we woke up to this, maybe 8 or so inches, it was magical!
Ohh- but I am getting ahead of myself! So this place that we got to was awesome: It was about 10 minuets out of the town of St. Johann, and up into the hills off the main road a ways. It is run by a little old lady that spoke no english who lives on the farm with her husband and maybe daughter or someone. And the coolest part, the house is connected to the barn!
We had been seeing these farm house/barn combos and had been wondering about them, and next thing we know, we are staying in one! If you look at the picture, the 2/3rds on the left side holds 28 cows on the bottom and hay up top, and then the right 1/3rd was three stories of living space. They lived on the ground floor, and then the middle floor had individual rooms that she had available and then the top was an apartment that we stayed in!
The next handful of pictures are from our three days staying here:
As you can see, lots of snow, and nature and goodness! I didn't go anywhere during the whole 3 nights we stayed there. I took a lot of walks in the woods, to take pictures or just to relax. With all the time spent in cities and being a tourist, during the past few weeks on vacation and also during my first semester, it was really nice to spend some time living simple.
Below is a picture of our host lady (back between her and katlyn, you can see a wooden door, that goes to the cows!)
After that, we left for the 4 hour trek to Lucern, Switzerland. Basically it hadn't really stopped snowing so the roads were still snowy. That night, we just went for a walk along lake lucern, but it had already gotten late so we just called it a night.
The next day, we spent trying to stay warm walking around Lucern:
One of the cool things that I really liked in Lucern was the wooden bridges that crossed the river feeding from Lake Lucern. There was also a wooden dam that was cool.
Here is a Selfie while walking across the bridge: (if only we had a selfie stick)
After withstanding the subzero (subzero Celsius, that is) temps and snowy winds, we went to the transportation museum. So Coool!
Papa and I rode a penny farthing bike.
The Museum was huge, it had like 4 or 5 big buildings, each for different things. First trains, and then automobiles, also planes and boats too! The best part about the museum was how interactive it was, it seemed like every other exhibit was moving or let you move it.
I even sat in a real car (on tracks) with a regular seatbelt and crashed into a wall at the speed of 10 km/h, and the impact and jolt hurt way more than expected, i even had a small mark on my shoulder!
After the two nights in Switzerland, we headed back up to the Munich area and stayed at a Bnb and then now are in Salzburg for a bunch of days!
Stay tuned for the last part of the trip, after it is over!
Also I figured out that my hair is long enough to do this:
So I am excited! Peace!!