Sunday, October 19, 2014

Storknesting Sightseeing: Lembach, France

Will and I have a number of travel bucket list items we hope to check off in our lifetimes. One that I didn't know of Will's was to see the Maginot Line. 

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I did not do a great job of paying attention in my high school history classes, so I had no idea what the Maginot Line was. 

It turns out it's a pretty interesting piece of history. After World War I the French built a system of underground bunkers to prevent a German invasion. However, the Germans ultimately came in through the Belgian border, conquering France in about 6 weeks time, causing the intricate structure to become one of the biggest military failures in history. 

We missed the tour, but were able to see some of the structures and tanks.

The historic site was located just outside of a town called Lembach, where we decided to stop for lunch.

The town was dripping in the most colorful flowers, and looked like something out of a picture book.

We stopped at a quaint little restaurant and dined on a massive lunch of duck, roast beef, and creme brûlée. 

It was one of the best meals we have ever had, and felt so special to us. Sitting at a little corner table, listening to the rattle of French as conversations filled the air around us, eating delicious food, and feeling the love between was a special moment.

We couldn't believe the color of these flowers, and were convinced they were faked somehow. But then we saw them for sale a few weeks later and the colors look real! No idea what they are.

I think somehow we knew it was our last date before our lives changed forever. That sounds morose, and I don't mean for it to. I'm so glad that we spent our last few days as a family of two doing the things that we love best. It couldn't have been more special, and made me feel more complete and ready to welcome our little one.

Not to mention we've always had a soft spot for France :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Storknesting Sightseeing: Heidelberg

We knew our time was getting close, and each day we woke up trying to determine how I was feeling and if we could venture out again. Luckily I made it to the weekend and we were able to visit Heidelberg for it's annual Fall Festival.

This town was just incredibly beautiful, with a gorgeous river running through it, complete with sailboats and kayakers. 

The festival took place in Old Heidelberg, an area filled with the traditional German style buildings and loads of character, which provided a stark contrast to the new Heidelberg area that boasted lots of modern concrete structures.

The streets were packed, music blasted through the air, and the beer was flowing. 

In spite of the crowd we somehow managed to get a seat at one of the cafes on the square...and a window seat where we could watch all of the action. We acknowledged that had I not been pregnant we would most definitely have been staying the night there and partaking heavily in the ample number of biergartens filling the streets. 

The weather was incredible, with just a touch of Fall starting to hint in the air. Leaving we had the thought that we would return to check out the town without all of the festival commotion, but time ran out on us. Either way we're really glad we had the chance to see it while we were here. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Storknesting Sightseeing: Trier

I had intended to do a series of posts with all the places we traveled before Miss A made her arrival, but now that she is here you can imagine time to sit down in front of a computer and actually type (with both hands at least) is a little hard to come by. So, my recaps will probably be a little shorter than I had planned.

Before Aubrey was born, Will took a few extra days of leave so he could come up to Germany a little early. We decided to do this so in case she came early he would be here, but also, in the case that she just came on time or late, we would have a few days to spend together and enjoy the country. 

Lucky for us she allowed us about a week to get some traveling in and make the most of our last bit of time just the two of us.

Our first adventure was to the city of Trier, which is just over an hour away from where we are staying in Landstuhl. I put a 1.5 hour drive limit on the places we could go, assuming that if I did go into labor that would more than likely at least give us enough time to get back to the hospital, even if it was a fast labor. 

Trier was a beautiful little town, with a large area designated to pedestrians out to enjoy the various restaurants and shops lining the cobblestone streets. 

We toured a church, bringing back memories of our high school trips abroad where we felt like we saw every church in Europe. Seeing the exquisitely designed churches now, I have a lot more appreciation for the stunning detail and craftsmanship that it took to create them. 

We didn't do much other than walk around taking in the scenery and meandering through stores, then stopping for lunch and coffee on the square. 

Being 39 weeks pregnant, and pretty miserable, I could only go so far at a time which meant we were a slow moving pair. 

I don't think I will ever get over the ornate and colorful German buildings around here. They make our concrete skyscrapers back home seem so boring. 

After our coffee we made our way back to Landstuhl. After spending weeks alone, it was so nice to have my partner in crime back with me and the opportunity to explore a little bit. Even if it did result in swollen feet and an aching back :)