Josh’s Blog – Back 3 Europe! Terrific Transportation

Hi all,

As I’m sitting here trying to recount in a nicer way the great day we had yesterday, I happen to glance over at both my brothers’ works – about how terrible writing a blog is. So I will try and make this one seem enjoyable, and to be honest it was. But apparently it is actually two days that I am recounting so here goes.

Day 1: Walking and shopping
These would have to be my two least favourite activities. Why walk when you can bike ride, and why shop at all? Shopping is actually okay, but only when German chocolate is involved. In this case it was. I bought about 10 euros worth of it (courtesy of our language competition) and am going to stock up some more with another 7 euros when I get the chance. After this we went for a walk up our local mountain range. We walked along the top for a while and then came back down because it looked like it was going to rain. Such a shame. But no, the walk was okay, and the day was great because I got chocolate!

Day 2: Terrific transportation
Today was begun with a 3 km each way bike ride to a town where we had a hot chocolate. Upon completion of this delicious beverage we rode back to our town and had a game of soccer. After this we drove to a really pretty town. We were going to order spaghetti Eis again but Mum and I had a schololadebecker instead (basically a massive ice cream with lots of cream and cholocate sauce. Then we drove back home

So that was our two days, and somehow I took the longest time of everyone to write this blog, maybe this is because I put more thought into it?

Josh

Looking through Caleb’s lens. Last day in Europe

Dreaded Drudgery as I Dutifully do my dumb, disastrous, blog.
Yesterday, I neglected to do my blog. Today, I am doing it in the car. So goodbye scenery and the point of being in the Mosel! I say goodbye to the beautiful countryside, and to anyone not paying attention, I could well be back in Melbourne. Yes, leaving the joys of Germany is hard, but what can one do? Stand up to the cruel taskmaster that plagues the household? Certainly not! So here goes. Yesterday morning we were woken up at the crack of dawn, on the point of Mum’s whip, and frog marched around the house until we where ready. After this truly hair-raising ordeal, I was left at home with Poppy and Matthew as the others went on a bike ride. The three of us left went to the playground to wait for them to finish. When they did, we went home and had lunch, did the chores and with that we where off to a town 10 and a 1/2 hours away. When we got there, it was well after midnight, so after buying a souvenir, and looking around, we turned around and went home. 10 minutes after I went to bed, we where woken up again and now here I sit, with the blog in my hands, when I am told I have to do the blog the day before yesterday, AS WELL!!! Goodness me, it’s going to be a long day. The day before yesterday, I went for a walk up a cliff (Mum’s idea*), and surprisingly, there was a view actually worth looking at. I thought this was what we had come for, but as usual I was stopped in my tracks. Many hours later, we stumbled back into our house, exhausted and dispirited. As this is my last day of writing my blog, I would love to write a quick recap of everything that has transpired in Europe. We have: stayed in a two star hotel, been to Alsace, seen the storks, tasted fine Rhine wine (just kidding!) been to Switzerland, been on the steepest railway track in the world, seen Verdun, and WW1 trenches, seen Tivoli gardens, had an $8 coffee, been to Copenhagen, experienced Danish design, been to the round tower, seen Nyhavn and many other famous canals, been on a cruise ship that holds 4000 people, seen Berlin and many, many scars of WW2, seen St Petersburg, been checked thoroughly by the Russian police, indirectly paid bribes, seen the Vasa, and the rock church, experienced the many wonderful attractions on the Norwegian Getaway, seen the marvellous Mosel, and been on a river cruise…GASP!!!! pant, pant, pant. What a mouthful! And not too bad for three and a bit weeks. Really, we have had a wonderful time in Europe, and I have been blown away by all their is to see on a continent that is smaller than Australia itself. See you all soon!
Caleb

Two days into one

Hi all. This blog may seem to be written differently and that is because it is a recount of what happened yesterday. This is because we had such an exhausting day that the governess mother, forgot about the tyranny of writing such an awful blog.
Day 1: My least favourite activities include shopping, and walking. Well, I couldn’t imagine a worse combo than what we did. First after being harassed to get out of bed, we rushed to the shops only to find we weren’t going to by anything. So we set off on our journey around the town, thought the villages and finally back to the shops again where I blew my money on a soccer ball and lollies. The two typical combos that most people would associate with me. Mr Latte also bought his share of lollies for himself as well. With an assortment of spoons and coffee machines he seemed to have the most money in the family. When we finally arrived home, “someone” came up with the great idea that we should go hiking. Well, Josh and I didn’t think much of this idea but alas, we were forced to go. So we started faking injuries. While waiting for Gran at the playground, Josh Mr Latte and I “broke” different parts of our body like arms, legs, mug handles, until what we thought was enough to stop us coming. Well our mother saw straight through our ploy and punished us by making us carry the dreaded backpack. When we finally reached the peak we saw an amazing view from up there and finally I relished why we came. From all the views that we have seen, from the Swiss Alps to Hitler’s Birdseye I single out this view to be the most amazing view of all. The tiny white houses with their triangular roofs to the glistening Mosel river were all part of this amazing experience.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog.
Love Daniel
Day 2:To start our day we were called up out of bed only to find that we had a few hours before we would start to tour. Well, because of an unfair descision, we were made to organise everything, that’s right, everything, before we could have our iPad time. So, Josh went back to bed, Caleb did so too and of course the darling dead-on Daniel decided to do the right thing, he made himself organised. When our family finally became ready, we decided that two thirds of our eight would bike ride along the Mosel. We eventually found a place to bike ride to and set off. As we had no helmets, Josh and I could not accelerate down the hill. Our destination was a small town named Berg which was an exhausting 3.4km away. After our bike ride we decided to tour a small town named Bernkastle-kues. Surprisingly this though, this town was Mr Latte’s hometown. As we arrived, we heard a small cheer from the many latte cups in the town welcoming him home. We also heard an assortment of growls coming from the coffee machines. After walking around the town we decided that we would buy a one euro ice cream. While Matthew, Caleb, Gran, Poppy and I decided that we would either have single or double scoop comes (which cost 2€ each) Josh and Mum decided to go all out and buy and buy chocolate ice cream with cream and chocolate syrup laced around the large milkshake cup that they were given and a wafer dipped into this extravaganza. After this exhausting day we jogged (slowly because of Josh) down to the park to play soccer. After this we headed out for dinner which all of us ordered a pork schnitzel.
I hope you have enjoyed this recount
The End

Love Daniel

Burg Eltz

4th Oct

Burg Eltz was on the agenda for today- described as the ‘best castle in Europe’ by Rick  Steves (the kids’ preferred travel guru- not!!). It was a big call. We left about 8:30am, as Google told us it would be 1 hour 15 mins (therefore we expected it would be at least 2 hours). After wandering up and down mountains for a while, we discovered a tiny sign that pointed to the castle with an icon of people walking 🚶, and another sign pointing in another direction with a bus 🚌 on it. We deduced from that that the bus sign was for bus parking, and the walking sign was for the hike up to the castle (from where we had read you can catch a shuttle bus). No shuttle bus appeared once we parked however, and after asking at a local restaurant we realised that we had somehow come to the wrong place. No matter! We strapped on our shoes and set off for the 2.4kms to the castle. I was delighted to see that the hike was part of our old friend, the Moselsteig. The kids were less impressed. Although a beautiful path through the forest and next to a bubbling stream, we soon discovered that some in our party were going to find the path tough as it was slippery and very uneven. Mum and Dad decided to retrace their steps, and the plan was that they would drive around to where the bus sign was directing, take the shuttle, and we would meet them at the castle. The boys and I hiked on. It was a stunning surprise when we rounded the final corner and glimpsed the castle.

Once up at the castle, our initial euphoria dissipated as we awaited Mum and Dad’s arrival. The plan was that if they didn’t show up, the boys and I would see the castle and then walk back on the path where they would be waiting for us. After at least an hour’s wait, I was becoming a little concerned. Shuttle after shuttle arrived with no sign of Mum and Dad. Just as I booked tickets for the kids, thinking I would sit out the tour in case Mum and Dad appeared (and then didn’t know where we were), they arrived. It turned out that they had had to travel at least another 20kms to find another route through to the castle, from which the shuttle went (nothing to do with the other sign which had led them on a wild goose chase). What a relief!

The castle itself I found a little underwhelming – perhaps because of Rick’s big build up and the stress of my parents going missing! It has been in the same family for 850 years, and many of the ancient weapons, tapestries and furniture were on display. The castle has never been attacked (perhaps because it’s so difficult to find!). A guide took us through, explaining everything in English. It was certainly magnificent from the outside, but quite small inside the part we were allowed to see (a member of the family still lives here).

Waiting for Gran & Poppy

We took the elusive shuttle back to the car, ate (or mostly discarded) our warm salami sandwiches, and headed for home. Tonight my pen friend and her family are coming for tea, and then we are off tomorrow morning, headed for home. Thanks for coming along for the journey and your comments Ian and Sue!!

Bike riding the Mosel

3rd Oct

We arose to a beautiful day. There was a slight change of plans, as Caleb decided he didn’t want to bike ride, while Mum decided that she did. So Mum, I, Josh and Daniel set off for a short ride along the Mosel to a small town a few kms down the road. It was stunning, with the river on one side and the vineyards on the other. Even though we had hardly earned it, we stopped at the town for a cup of tea/hot chocolate, partly so that Daniel could earn some points in the language competition. We met Caleb, Matthew and Dad back at our local playground for morning tea twenty minutes later. It seems our habits on the cruise ship are hard to give up!

In the afternoon, our other plans for a walk up to a castle ruin (another part of the Moselsteig) were thwarted when we discovered it would be too tricky for Dad. Instead, we kept driving to the next major town, Bernkastel-Kues. It took us ages to find a park, because it seemed every German and his dog (literally – there are a lot of dogs here) were out for lunch in this town on what was a public holiday. Bernkastel-Kues turned out to be worth visiting; it is an unbelievably quaint old town, with half-timbered houses everywhere. The kids could not pass up the opportunity to have another go at ordering something (due to the language competition of course), and consequently enjoyed ice cream while watching numerous bike riding tourists descend on the town in large packs. Driving to the town and back along the Mosel valley was extraordinarily pretty.

As Ankie (my pen friend) and her family are joining us tomorrow night, we had a celebratory ‘almost last’ meal out at a local hotel. I could not believe how cheap it was – about AUS $5 for a kid’s meal of schnitzel and chips (very German!) which was so large it could easily have been my dinner. We apparently entertained the other guests in the hotel, as they spent most of their time staring at us, as well as frustrated the waitress with our insufficient grasp of the German language (until Josh stepped in). All in all, a delicious and cheap dinner. Everyone rated the cruise segment of the holiday vs the German part, and for most, the cruise came out on top (but only just). We have enjoyed our time in Enkirch very much. Tomorrow, we leave early to tackle what is described as ‘the best castle in Europe’ – Burg Eltz.

Admiring the grapes: ‘they have wine in them’

Enjoying our ‘eis’
Bernkastel-Kues

Walking the Moselsteig

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    Traben-Trabrach
Pondering the view

2nd Oct

Dad was sick with a cold today – it has gone through most of the family now – so we canceled our plans to do a castle. Instead, we left Dad behind to recover and spent the morning at a nearby town (Traben-Trabrach) looking at the shops and buying food. We could not believe how cheap Lego was; Matthew scored a Cars set. After wandering around there for a while, and planning the meal that we will cook for my penfriend and her family (visiting us on Wednesday), we went home for lunch. This afternoon’s project was ‘the hike’. One of Germany’s most beautiful and longest hikes, the Moselsteig, goes literally past our front door. This 365km hike runs the entire German side of the Mosel river, from the Luxembourg border to Koblenz. The boys took a bit of persuading (apart from Caleb who was very keen), even though I wasn’t planning to do the entire 365kms today. We left Dad at home to rest, and set off. A strategically positioned playground a little way up the path provided a good incentive for Matthew to set off without complaining (unlike Josh and Daniel who were feigning injuries at every turn).

Within 20 mins, we were walking the ridge of the hill with spectacular views down to the Mosel across the vines. The path was clearly signposted, with many park benches to relax and enjoy the view, as well as huts providing shelter. Unfortunately, the weather looked as if it might take a turn for the worst, so within an hour and a half we were almost back at home. Matthew proved a trooper at walking (altogether he walked around 13kms today). I wish we could have gone for much longer.

One of Daniel’s purchases at the shops was a soccer ball, so I took the kids down to the river for a quick game before tea tonight. I still can’t get over the beautiful setting.

Tomorrow, the plan is to bike ride along the Mosel, and to climb over an abandoned castle on our way up the hill in another part of the Moselsteig walk. I hope the weather holds!

Looking through Caleb’s lens

Hi all, day three was scheduled for a river cruise, and this took just about the whole day. The river boat passed through many beautiful vineyards, some of them situated on cliffs, terraced for easy access. What really capped the cruise off, though, was the passing of the “wine capital of the Mosel”, on a bend in the river. This stunning bend was chock-a-block with vineyards, and even had a castle on a hill. Near the end of the cruise we tried our first hot chocolate made with pure cocoa. Incredibly bitter! At the town at the end of the cruise, Zell, we found one of Germany’s famous spaghetti ice shops, and (after eating a roll for lunch) we decided to $plurge on $paggetti ice. It was delicious, although incredibly unhealthy. Oh well, it’s a holiday, isn’t it? As the boat was leaving in ten minutes, we headed back to the boat along a nice-looking waterfront bathed in sunshine and colourful bunting. Back at the boat, we enjoyed our cruise home, where Matty learned a new German word: Bitte! After this cruise, we spent some time on a playground, complete with a Flying fox, and a seesaw. After this we went home, with Matthew still a bundle of energy. I don’t know how he does it! We were all exhausted.
Caleb

A new traveller and something to write about

Hi all. Today I have been offered a bribe to write a blog instead of being forced. The bribe was to watch a movie if I wrote my blog. I asked Mrs Mug about this and she agreed with me wholeheartily. After I told her about this, she texted back that her long lost cousin, four times removed, husband’s second cousin would be happy to fill in for her. I graciously accepted as I didn’t have anything to write about. She said his name was Mr Latte.

We started our day with a late start. We eventually worked our way out the door at a snail’s pace to make our way way down to the playground that is next to the Mosel. The reason why we made our way to the playground at that late time in the morning, is that we were catching a boat ride at 12pm. As it was only 10:30am we had a mammoth of time to play on the playground. 90% of this time was used riding the flying fox until Caleb fell off. Typical. Finally when the boat ride came, the comp started for who would win the most points for speaking German. Was it the catastrophic Caleb, the geeky Josh or the darlingly dazzled dead-on Daniel? Please guess who won in the comments below. Today’s hint:The person who is the best at languages won by a massive margin. While watching the scenery, I realised that the Mosel is massively underrated for its natural beauty. I also realised that Mr Latte was just about to fall in to the monstrous Mosel. The river itself sparkled as if the sun was shining onto a thousand jewels and then, only then, I realised that it was time for a hot chocolate laced to the top with whipped cream. Once we had arrived into our little town named Zell, we traipsed around looking for something to do. Well, little might be a small understatement because this “town” was nearly as large as a small city. After buying a delicious Spaghetti Ice we decided to head back to our river cruise and head on back to our house. When we docked at our port, Matthew and I ran ahead to catch two minutes on the playground before the other hoard come back. Mr Latte also joined us for this activity, but because he is only a Latte cup he couldn’t run at the fastest pace. So we left him behind. When we finally arrived back at our five story house we all had about 15 minutes before we were forced to write our blogs.

The End

Love Daniel

Josh’s Blog – Back 3 Europe 2017! The majestic Mosel and zig-zagging streets of Zell

 

Hi all,

Today was a ‘day of relaxation’ as mum put it. Apparently relaxation involves taking a two hour round trip of the river Mosel plus an hour play on the playground (for Matthew not me) plus an hour and a half being dragged around the streets of a typical Moselian (is that the right word?) town, Zell.

Actually it wasn’t that bad at all. The boat cruise was really pretty. In addition we ordered hot chocolates making the trip 150% better (they did have whipped cream on them too). Then we arrived in Zell and wandered around the streets eventually finding an ‘Eis Cafe’ (ice cream shop) where we had spaghetti Eis. Yes, ice cream and spaghetti do mix together. It was delicious. Everyone else (including Matthew agreed). Later we took the boat back and then strolled back to our house for some actual relaxation. Well that’s what I thought – until the blog part came in.

So that was all for our relaxing day. Yes, very relaxing.

Josh

if you look closely enough you can see Caleb’s ‘Spaghetti Eis’