Friday, September 29, 2017


My Dad served in Idar-Oberstein.  A very hilly mining town.  Amazing bakeries and cute little town. This was his apartment at the top of a very steep  hill.

We stayed in this hotel that used to be a beautiful house and was converted into a Best Western not too long ago. 

Rhine River

I found these on Jer's camera pictures.  I love it.

Jer had the picture of us eating Calzones on the train.


This is the photographer's shop. 

I thought this building was funny... it says Gimli on it.

Thursday, September 28, 2017


We got back on the boat and made our way down to Boppard.  Boppard has a beautiful river walkway, a Carmelite Church, towers dating back to the Romans, and a fascinating history.  It's also the first time that I'd ever eaten Turkish food.  YUM.  Seth ordered for us in Turkish.  That was fun. Apparently, this city is the wine country center.  Everyone that we talked to asked how our wine tour was going.  It was pretty funny.  One of the store keepers was taken aback when we didn't accept his peach schnapps offer (that was it St Goar though).

My Mom was done, so my parents and Janelle took the train back to Mainz and Jer, Seth and I wandered.  We went to the church and saw from the street the Roman tower that they took apart and rebuilt in 1900 so they could put the railroad through.  
This city's past is really interesting.  They've dug up artifacts from 13,000 years ago during the Paleolithic time period.  Since then it's belonged to everyone and no one.  It was Roman, and when the Roman's withdrew to protect Italy they granted the area their independence.  They were independent, then given to Trier, given back their independence, occupied by Swedish troops, occupied by the French, given to Prussia, occupied by the US soldiers and eventually given to Germany after the Nazi regime. The Nazi's had burned the synagogue, killed or deported the entire Jewish population, closed down nunneries and a monastery.  They were bombed during WWII and the US had built an emergency bridge from one side of the Rhine to the other here in Boppard.  Even though that's just from the 1300s till now, that's quite the turbulent history.

This is Saint Severus's Church.  Built in the 12th century and redone in the 15th.  People kept looking at us funny while we took this picture.  Ends up that the fountain is fairly odd and we were sitting on part of it.

This is the Karmeliterkirche (Carmelite Church).  It used to be a monastery built in the early 1300s.
I misplaced the picture of us eating our gigantic calzones with Turkish doner in them.  We thought that a calzone each would do us.... I think one would have done all three of us.  It was pretty funny when we opened the boxes and saw them.  We then got on the train and made our way back to Mainz, where Dad had a couple of memories triggered when he saw the Mainz train station.

St Goar

We got off the boat at St Goar for lunch, to do some souvenir shopping and to explore the castle on the hill. 

Giant Cuckoo clock.  This store had little $12 clocks to clocks for $7,000.  It was impressive and definitely a sight to see.

This is Castle Rheinfels... built somewhere between the 1200s and 1300s. 

View from the top of the tower at the castle.  My Mom broke her toe just a couple days before we left on our trip.  The cobble stone streets plus 5-7 miles of walking a day was a little rough on her.  Sometimes we could do things that made it easier.  This time we were able to pay a couple Euro each to catch a ride up to the castle and avoid the uphill hike.  By the time we were done, so was her toe.  She was a trooper, that's for sure.

I think this was Jer's favorite part of this castle.  It was a VERY steep stairway up to another stairway to get to the tower.

A shot inside the tower.

It wasn't too hard to imagine the hustle and bustle of people everywhere when this was a functioning castle.  We explored the stable, Apothecary, cellar, the well, a museum area about defenses and famous visitors, even the spot where they forced all visiting merchants to be baptized before they could stay in the castle. What is hard to imagine is that this was once much bigger.  You see bits and pieces.  I found this drawing from the 1600's by Wilhelm Dilich.  It helps you get the idea of what it was in it's hey day.
We climbed the front right tower in this picture.  Now it's the highest point on the castle and it's missing it's roof.  The highest point back in the day looks to be 3 times that size.

I kind of loved watching Jer's enthusiasm.  Everywhere we went, he wanted to see more, do more and know more.  I caught him giggling to himself more than once.

Because of my Mom's foot, these guys headed back to St. Goar's while Jer and I climbed the tower.  Here Jer was threatening to flatten my brother Seth with his backpack.

If you look in the window of the bakery right behind us, they have this fun and gigantic collection of tea sets.  They were all very beautifully painted and fun to look at.  The lady didn't even mind if we didn't buy anything, she just showed us into the second room of her shop that was completely lined with tea set after tea set.

One of our few pictures with all of us together.  There was a Japanese fellow on the boat that chatted with us part of the way.  He was a very efficient traveler... trying to see as much in as little time as possible.  We both got off at St Goar and kept running into each other.  He offered to take our picture for us.