Germany…what can we say about this incredible country? Becky’s home for 7 years and Robby’s home for 9 years (Bad Krueznach, Wiesbaden, and Sindelfingen). We both have endless fond memories of this amazing European nation. Landlocked by 9 neighboring countries, we used Germany as our base of operations to explore all of Europe, be it by foot (volksmarch), by car (a few hours drive to Luxembourg, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Denmark, France, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, etc), or by plane (Frankfurt Airport’s Terminal 1’s Last Minute Reisen is fantastic). We became certified experts at donning our lederhosen to join in the revelry at Oktoberfest (for tourists) and Cannstatter Volksfest (for Germans), imbibing in way too much liquid fun at Bad Durkheim’s wine fest and Bosenheim’s strawberry fest, thrashing our way through schaum (bubble) parties at Europalace, slathering on baby oil and soaking up the glorious rays of the ever too short Summer sun at the numerous schwimmbads, memorizing the locations and hours of the best bakeries, donor kebab stands, and gelatos (yummy Italian ice cream), and partying like rock stars at countless hip and funky discotheques. We survived several Love Parades in Berlin, the Italian groping session at the Hofbrau Tent in Munich’s Oktoberfest, speed racing down the autobahn, and over-indulging in Germany’s fine eats. Yup, neither one of us will ever forget the good times of Germany…one of our favorite countries on earth!

Cargo is transported down the Neckar River; Heidelberg Finding street parking in downtown Heidelberg requires a lot of luck, skill and patience! We could only afford to window shop in Heidelberg as we found prices to be inflated due to the high influx of tourists year round An evening view of pretty Heidelberg Becky and Robby get behind the cockpit of a helicopter at the 2003 Land Combat Exposition at Patrick Henry Village; Heidelberg John, Jessica, Meredith, Joe, Becky & Robby at the 141 Signal Ball in Wiesbaden, Germany Becky enjoys a horseback riding lesson courtesy of Nadine, our French/German neighbor The half-timbered buildings (fachwerke) and cobbled streets of German towns always thrilled us...we love this type of architecture! Esslingen's gorgeous city center is a fantastic place to explore on foot After enjoying Esslingen's city center for a few hours, we drove up hill to the vineyards, for a gorgeous panorama of the city We love the city of Esslingen am Neckar, a scenic city about 10 km from Stuttgart. The small town is situated within the Neckar Valley Becky takes a breather from snow boarding to soak in the sunshine What a gorgeous view! And only a few hours drive from our Sindelfingen home The date on the building reads "1592". This was the former town hall of Sindelfingen and is now a museum We fell in love with Sindelfingen at first glance...and instantly knew we'd call this place home The Funzel Restaurant in Sindelfingen has delicious local Swabian and Austrian specialties...and its was a 2 minute stroll from our home! Robby rotates the Friendship Fountain figurines in Sindelfingen Rob, Becky, John, Mere, Joe and Linnea wait for a train to the Cannstatter Volksfest Bad Cannstadt is #1...Robby and John boy are feeling good at this point Can't have beer on empty stomaches...we devour our mid afternoon meals in no time; Cannstater Volksfest Meredith holds up a stein of beer while Linnea looks on in curiosity! John Boy, Sylvia, and Robby. John terrorized poor Sylvia, who was unfortunate to be our waitress as we devoured liters of beer Not sure where these goofy hats came from but all of a sudden, Joe & Becky were sporting them inside a fest tent John boy and Robby smile while they are still sober! Wooden log village at Europa Park, Europe's second most popular theme park (after Disneyland Paris, of course!) Robby poses next to a "giant"; Europa Park Since we could get Exxon gas coupons at a military rate, we were always on the lookout for Esso stations...yup, Exxon Mobile is called "Esso" in Germany On our way back up to Stuttgart from Oberammergau, we passed by this beautiful, emerald colored lake We weren't the only ones enjoying ourselves in this Garmish-Partenkirchen district of Bavaria...Oberammergau remains a popular tourist destination year round It was a spectacular, summer day when we visited Oberammergau, which made our visit even more pleasant The colorful frescoes really add character to the homes and business buildings of Oberammergau Oberammergau is also famous for its spectacular luftlmalerei (frescoes) that showcase traditional Bavarian themes The Passion Play is performed here in Oberammergau. This is the result of a promise made to God that if he spared them from the effects of the bubonic plague, they would perform the play once every 10 years Pretty spring blossoms soak up the sun's rays; Oberammergau Gabi, Becky and Maria strike a bridesmaid pose at Barb & Steve's Stuttgart Rodeo Wedding Barb and Steve get married at their Rodeo Wedding; Stuttgart's Robinson Barracks Luke and Bob stand under a "STOP EATING ANIMALS" sign in Feuerbach The boys sport silly smiles after a few glasses of wine at Feuerbach's AugustKelterfest (wine festival) Bob, Luke and Becky strike a pose at Stuttgart-Feuerbach's wine festival Bill and Laverne visited us in Sindelfingen and took a walk through our small neighborhood We were happy that Laverne and Bill could pay us a visit in Germany. We really enjoyed their company Becky, Robby, Bill and Laverne get ready to have fun at the Stuttgart Wine Festival The choices of wine to try at the Stuttgart wine fest are varied...Riesling, Trollinger, Schillerwein, Rulander to name a few Bill, Becky and Laverne enjoy themselves at the annual September Stuttgart Wine Festival in downtown Stuttgart Bill and Laverne enjoying an Esslingen day trip Laverne really digs the Smart Car...yes, two people really can fit inside it with room to spare! Bill and Laverne stand next to the Esslingen town hall Sunset over Sindelfingen Despite the frigid fall temperatures, crowds will pack in to celebrate at the Cannstatter Wasen Every year without fail we'd make it a point to go to Oktoberfest or the Cannstatter Volksfest/Wasen...our acquisition and subsequent collection of empty beer steins is impressive The fall foliage is quite pretty with the ivy covered building slowly changing colors; Dachau We explored Dachau on foot and were able to see the entire old town in the afternoon Robby looks super awesome in his lederhosen, a beer drinking must! Even though the trip was depressing, we simply had to pay a visit to Dachau to visit the Concentration Camp. Afterwards, we drove to Dachau, the Bavarian town, which is seen here Ludwigsburg is a pleasant city located near the Neckar River. Its about 12 km north of Stuttgart, making for an easy day trip The gorgeous Ludwigsburg city center After relaxing in the town square for a few minutes, we strolled over to Ludwigsburg's famous sight, the Ludwigsburg Palace There are numerous detailed statues such as this one atop Germany's largest baroque palace, the Ludwigsburg Palace Inner courtyard of the Ludwigsburg Palace On our short stroll from the Ludwigsburg Palace to the Schloss Favorite (hunting chateau), we passed by pretty fall foliage Enjoying the fresh blanket of snow outside our Sindelfingen home Sindelfingen is a quaint town of half timbered homes, cobble stoned streets, and friendly residents. Our section of the neighborhood was predominantly Turkish, and we enjoyed the wide variety of food available here Winter in Germany is especially beautiful, with pristine snow covering everything in sight We really miss our Sindelfingen home We joined John Burns and his family for a delicious dinner in downtown Wiesbaden The ever efficient Stuttgart airport served as our base of operations for our long weekend getaways and jaunts to elsewhere in Europe and the Middle East Gargoyles on an old cathedral; Munich Relief of "The storming of the town of Sens, 11 February 1814"; Jubilee Column for the 25th anniversary of King Wilhelm I's accession and his 60th birthday; Stuttgart Our pretty half-timbered home in Sindelfingen Looking over downtown Heidelberg as seen from the castle on a snowy, winter's day Heidelberg's Neckar River Jim and Robby strike a pose next to a colorful VW bug A frosty morning's visit to the Heidelberg Castle Becky stands in front of a remarkably well preserved section of the ruined Heidelberg Castle Becky & Jim are dwarfed by the enormous vat of wine; Heidelberg Castle On a clear day, the Heidelberg Schloss offers fine views of the surrounding area. Today, we have to settle for a romantic, hazy view The Fussganger Zone (Pedestrian Zone) of Heidelberg is a shopper's delight The Church of the Holy Spirit is the most famous church in Heidelberg and dominates the old city center Jim and Becky on Heidelberg's Old Bridge Downtown Munich with view of the Frauenkirche (Cathedral of our Blessed Lady) in the background Corner view of the massive Marienplatz (Mary's Square), which is a central square in the heart of Munich An Oom-pah Band playing at the Hofbrau haus in downtown Munich Munich is Germany's third largest city whose motto is "Munchen mag dich" (Munich Likes You). Well, we like Munich too and don't have to look too hard to find an excuse to pay a visit Frontal view of the Feldherrnhalle. Our tour guide informed us that this is the site where Adolf Hitler and his supporters got into a confrontation with the Bavarian State Police (who opened fire and killed sixteen marchers); Munich View of Munich's city hall; Marienplatz A grotesque gargoyle has a wide open mouth to convey water away from this Munich Cathedral Jim and Robby sport cheesy grins after several liters of beer; Hofbrauhaus Another view of the Hofbrauhaus' brass instrument Oom-pah Band, playing lively Bavarian Music Jim and Becky strike a pose in downtown Munich A lion with crest dominates the corner opposite of the Feldherrnhalle; Munich St Kajetan (Theatinerkirche) Church is a fine example of Italian Baroque architecture; Munich A sentiment celebrated world wide... The Cannstatter Volksfest is a lively time to be in Stuttgart...the Cannstatter Wasen occurs from the end of September to the beginning of October, while the Spring fest is a more subdued and smaller version...good times to be had at both festivals! In addition to the roller coaster rides, revelers partake in large quantities of beer, candied almonds, pommes frites and whatever else suits their fancy; Cannstatter Volksfest We love festivals in Germany...lots of good times, hazy memories, and roaring laughter. Gather up a large group and party hard! A large Oom-pah band entertains the crowded tent at the Walter Weitmann Fest Tent (5000 seat capacity...although countless patrons take to tabletop dancing after a few beers) Robby and Becky take a self portrait at the Walt Weitmann Fest Tent A massive robot giant thrills the crowds at the Bad Canstatt Festival Germany has strict building codes, resulting in some very quaint and well preserved towns Cornerstone detail of a city center Cathedral Embracing the old with the new is something that Germany has excelled an old Cathedral remains untouched by the surrounding neighborhood; Ulm View of an astronomical clock dating from 1520; Ulm Ulm's rathaus (town hall) was originally built in 1370. Later, in the mid-16th Century, beautiful murals were applied to the exterior of the building Swans grace the Danube River near Ulm View of Ulm as seen from the Danube River Ulm's massive munster (Lutheran Church) is the tallest church in the world with a steeple measuring 530 feet View of Schiefes Haus (crooked house), a 16th Century house converted into a modern day hotel, located in the fishermen's quarter; Ulm Ulm's fischerviertel (fishermen's quarter) on the Blau River is full of half-timbered houses, cobble stoned streets, and quaint footbridges We really enjoyed wandering through this quaint section of Ulm Spring time in Ulm's fishermen's quarter is so pretty Becky & Maria at one of our favorite restaurants in Stuttgart Our day trip to explore the Odenwald region of Hessen was a charming day where we paid a whirlwind visit to Erbach, Michelstadt, and Miltenberg An impromptu Spring festival at Erbach'sschloss (Palace) was a great way for us to get acquainted with this fine city We joined in the festivities at Erbach and after stuffing ourselves silly, decided to walk around the city to burn a few calories This corner of Erbach is surprisingly crowd-free! Everyone has gathered in front of the Erbach Palace instead Erbach is very proud of its history, as is evident by its incredibly well preserved half-timbered buildings and cobblestoned walkways A large crowd gathers for Erbach's spring festival Erbach used to be known as "Ivory Town" because it sponsored the carving of elephant and mammoth ivory. Once the ivory trade was officially banned in 1989, horns from other animals were used instead The town of Michelstadt is one of Germany's prettiest. It is a well preserved, medieval old town with a charming town square Becky strikes a pose at Michelstadt's main market square with the town's four landmarks visible (the city fountain, the pink New Town Hall, the Pfarrkirche aka "reformed church" whose red brick steeple is in the background, and the half-timbered Old Town Hall View of Michelstadt's city wall which surrounds the entire downtown It was a glorious Spring day when we visited this perfect corner of Germany. Michelstadt is the stuff of dreams The brightly hued half-timbered buildings add so much character to Michelstadt's downtown area! We wandered around Michelstadt's charming downtown and enjoyed the historic buildings View of Michelstadt's town square, as seen from the stilts of the Town Hall This eye-catching mansion caught our attention as we were leaving Michelstadt We took one final look at our dream project Even though the mansion seemed to be in a state of disrepair, it had a ton of charm and we'd love to take this project on as a "fixer upper" We bid adieu to beautiful Michelstadt before hopping in our car to head towards Miltenberg The town church of St Jakobus is a great reference point when wandering around Miltenberg City center of Miltenberg Miltenberg's town square is one of Europe's most scenic View of the Main River as seen from the hilltops of Miltenberg Becky fell in love with Miltenberg's gorgeous old town market area. It really is a pretty section of Germany Miltenberg is a charming, old-world town with a gorgeous central square Miltenberg is a popular disembarkation point for Main River cruises Christin, Larry, Nate and Robby visit the Dicker Turm (Big Tower) of the Esslingen Castle Esslingen is wine lovers country! It is surrounded by vineyards that envelop this 13th Century town Close up view of Esslingen's Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady) Cathedral We had a fantastic panorama view of Esslingen from this lookout point at Esslingen Burg (castle) Parking in Esslingen was a bit tricky, but we found two free spots on this back alley road The Schelztor gate-tower was built in 1286 at Esslingen's northwest corner Esslingen am Neckar is one of the few old towns in Germany that survived WWII unscathed. In the background, the Protestant Parish Church of St Dionysius' two towers are connected by a bridge Esslingen is definitely a pedestrian lover's delight and is easy to explore on foot Esslingen's Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) served as the former market hall and tax house Its always great to see friends we used to serve with in the army! Larry, Becky, Nate and Christin hang out in our Sindelfingen home Our Turkish neighbors celebrate during a Sindelfingen festival by lighting up flavored tobacco in their shisha (nargile/hookah) pipes foto gallery lightboxby v6.1

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