We're back in the USA where I'm working on finishing the blog. We did not have Internet during our last stay.
July 31 - Drive to Longuich, Germany.
We reluctantly awoke early and left our wonderful little farmhouse outside of Brugge, Belgium. We had a three-hour drive to our next destination - Longuich, Germany. It's a little wine village just outside of Trier. Trier is the oldest town in Germany and has some amazing Roman ruins.
DH and I both enjoyed some fast driving on the Autobahn.
We arrived at one of the many weinguts that are throughout the Mosel River Valley. The small town of Longuich must have had a dozen weinguts. We rented a spotless apartment for three nights. The balcony was a perfect place to enjoy a glass of white Mosel wine.
Our balcony is on the top left:
There is a fridge with local wine at the bottom of the stairs. You can help yourself to wine on an honor system basis.
We arrived for lunch in Longuich. DH had big plans for the day - the Nürburgring Nordschleife! He had arranged for a BMW Ring-Taxi. A professional track driver took him on a wild M3 ride around what is probably the most challenging track in the world. After the taxi tour, DH took a lap around in the new car. Yikes! One lap amongst many other track drivers and motorcyles was enough. I was never so happy to have him return to the sleepy Mosel River in one piece!
Here is the taxi just outside of the BMW Pavilion at the 'Ring.
Someone caught a picture of DH driving our car around the 'Ring.
Meanwhile, the kids and I were enjoying a quiet day in Longuich. We were able to walk the entire town and found a few parks along the way.
We were lucky to stumble across a festival in the town. There was a live Germany oom-pah band! Naturally we stopped for a beverage and snack.
The band was pretty good!
We were all safely reunited after having very different afternoons! We had dinner just up the road and started to settle in to the relaxed Mosel River pace.
August 1st - Trier!
I started the day with a great run along the river. The bike/running path is really beautiful! I made a stop at the local bakery on the way back. We will REALLY miss the high-quality bakeries we have found all across Europe. Yum!
Today was all about exploring the nearby town of Trier. Here's the Porta Nigra gate. The best-preserved Roman city gate anywhere!
The city was much bigger and vibrant than I expected. I love how you can stop in the middle of the pedestrian area for a glass of wine.
It was a lovely summer day and we enjoyed walking around and exploring.
The girls bought these cute bandanas with tooth fairy money.
This is the oldest Christian church in Europe.
We found a popular fast stop for giant bratwurst. Yum! We all ate every single bite.
After all this sight-seeing, we found a playground and a great public pool with a waterslide, once again!
Just love how you can get a beer - anywhere!
We stopped for groceries on the way home. I'm already missing the double-sided row of yogurt products so common in European grocery stores.
August 2 - Mosel River Villages
Today was spent meandering along the beautiful Mosel River just stopping wherever we felt the need and desire. It was a hot day - probably near 90 degrees. The first stop was at one of the plentiful playgrounds that we learned to appreciate in Germany. We love those zip-lines!
We drove up to a castle overlooking the town of Bernkastel. Beautiful!
Next stop was the town of Zell. I had read about their Black Cat wine. Since I love cats, I knew we had to sample the wine!
Our last stop was in the pretty little town of Beilstein. DD#2 fell asleep while the rest of us enjoyed a refreshing drink. We also had an early dinner before returning to our little Longuich apartment.
I almost forgot about our pit-stop just outside of Cochem. Cochem is the most touristy of the Mosel villages. We stayed in Cochem for a night about nine years ago and had this same picture taken. We had our kids recreate the shot!
Now the kids have the same picture as well.
Tonight was packing night in Longuich. It was quite a process figuring out how to cart home 6 1/2 weeks of stuff! Luckily, it wasn't as bad as expected and bringing that empty duffel bag was a terrific idea.
August 3 - Frankfurt, Car Drop-Off, and Family Dinner
We had an uneventful drive to Frankfurt today. DH and I were feeling a little melancholy about leaving and eager to go home all at the same time. We enjoyed the Autobahn and our lovely new car for the last time for a while. The BMW was checked into Frankfurt (after a wash) and will take around eight weeks to make it to Oregon.
4898 miles on the odometer after 42 days with the car.
DD#2 and I stayed at an airport hotel and played games while DH and DD#1 returned the car. Afterward, we took the train to Dornheim to visit family. My step-siblings live in this Frankfurt suburb.
Sadly, I have no pictures to show from this amazing dinner of German goulash, dumplings, salad, etc... We were so excited to see familiar faces and catch up with family that we completely forgot about taking pictures. The kids were relaxed in their home and made a mess of yarn and who knows what else! We were so thankful to relax in a home and were definitely getting out of vacation mode and back to normalcy. We can't thank our family enough for taking us in and making us feel welcome! They even drove us back to our airport hotel after a long and leisurely meal and visit.
Despite having one bed in a very small hotel room, we slept soundly and were eager to get on the plane to Oregon!
August 4 - Our Journey Home!
We flew Lufthansa home on their largest plane, an Airbus A380. What a beast! We'd never seen such a huge plane. We were all thrilled with our own TV/movie screens and got into the travel groove easily. DH was the only one among us who napped on this 11 hour flight. I watched three feature-length movies!
Poor DD#2 was out in the SFO airport. We were stuck there for nearly six hours due to delays.
We were more than thankful to land at home around 9:00pm. My dad and stepmom were there to pick us up in a newly cleaned and serviced car along with grocery staples. What a welcome!
This blog is nearly complete. I've been compiling a list of last thoughts, things I'd do differently next time, favorites, and thank yous (especially to all you blog readers). I will complete that last post in a few days once I fully collect my thoughts and recover completely from jet-lag. In a nutshell, it's WONDERFUL to be home among family and friends. However, I'm already missing a few things about Europe and find myself thinking of our next trip across the pond.