I've finally completed the circle of seeing all three countries of my heritage. Germany was the last stop, but definitely nowhere near the least interesting or beautiful. Of course we saw it during its snowy season but it actually made it all the more gorgeous. This country side was much different than that of Italy or Ireland. As opposed to the rolling green hills that those two countries have, Germany is more like a forest. The mountains are rockier and more rugged and filled with pine trees. The second that you start your driving or walking excursion, you feel as though you are within the setting of Hansel and Gretel. Within the cities, everything is well manicured and maintained; everything cut to edge and prim..much different from Italy's uneven stucco buildings with laundry hanging out of windows everywhere you turn.
The eating habits in Germany were very difficult to adjust to, especially being a vegetarian. We had bread and meat for breakfast and dinner. Sometimes a big lunch, and cake and coffee in between every meal. One thing I loved about the food was the salad..for some reason the salad dressing was delicious and I don't know that I'll be able to find anything like that in America. I tried sauerkraut for the first time and loved it. Although it was homemade and I know for a fact that if eaten out of the jar, I wouldn't even get it past my lips. The apple strudel in Germany straight out of the oven is to DIE for.
One of my favorite parts of Germany was meeting the other side of my family. My Dad's side all live in America, but most of my mom’s side never left Germany. Most don't speak English so it was a little difficult to get things across, nonetheless, still an experience. Tante Ingy still looks the same, cute and witty as ever. When we were all talking about her hair, she says something in German, and Chris(our translator/Toni's grandson/Michaela's son) informed us that she said "What the hell is so great about my hair". haha. All of Toni's grandkids are so cute. Chris, the punk rocker and most like me, Florian aka Flo, the soccer player and definitely going to be the ladies man, and Timmy, the baby and has the cutest and biggest smile that is enough to win anyone over. I loved meeting Michael, who is now 36, because last time I saw him, I can't even remember. I was 5 months old, and he was visiting America and carrying me around on his shoulders.
One of the days that we were there we took a drive down to one of king Ludwig's castles. I can't pronounce or even come close to spelling it so I'll just describe it as the one that Walt Disney designed Sleeping Beauty's castle in DisneyLand, CA.
It was beautiful. All the way on top of a mountain and of course the bus was down, so we had to hike all the way up. On our trek, we saw a woman walking a dog that appeared to be a yorkie, so we were like awww a yorkie. Well, bad move. This woman was extremely offended by this and rudely shouts "NIEN YORKIE". We didn't let that down for the rest of the trip, and it never got old. Rolf took pictures the entire time that we were in Germany and gave us the CD of pictures at the end of the trip as a surprise, along with a book of Nuremburg, which was so nice of him.
So story of the trip. We left early enough to return our car, sit down to eat, and go wait to board. We got to the airport in about 2 and a half hours, returned our rental, and went inside the airport to find a place to eat. We're looking around for RyanAir, and figured we must have been in the wrong terminal, so we asked someone where the right terminal was. They replied that it was in a different airport, and not only that, but 90 miles away. We freaked out. I was about to cry because I was without a computer for a week and just wanted to get back and talk to Nick, but needless to say, a crazy cab ride on the autobahn and 170 euros later, we made it to our plane.
Mom and Dad went to Venice the next few days while I was in classes, and when they got back I was finally able to show them Florence. We went inside of Santa Croce where Michelangelo’s tomb is, I took them to the engagement spot, San Lorenzo's market, Dantes and Ponte Vecchio. We also went wine tasting on Saturday morning up at Verrazano's castle in Chianti. It was pretty interesting even though I don't like wine. It was absolutely beautiful up there and the true image that I had in my head of Tuscany.
Mom and Dad are gone now, but I enjoyed their visit and am so happy that I got to show them the lifestyle that I've been living for the past few months.