Gabi's Page 2003

Hi everyone...sorry it's been so long since the last update. All is good with us. Still trying to see as much of Germany as possible before moving to England. Some of these trips are from earlier in the year. I kind of forgot about them!!

In March, Mike & I decided to take a day trip to one of the oldest medieval castles along the Rhein, Marksburg Castle. Marksburg was built around 1100 and is the only fully preserved medieval fortress on the Rhein. The interior of the castle is still decorated in medieval fashion. To enter you must take a guided tour, which it is only offered in German, but you can get some information written in English. We had wonderful weather for March - little did we know this would be one of the prettiest and driest Springs in recent history and lead to a drought in the Summer.

Also, in March we took the dogs, by train, to Cologne. It's about an hour ride from our house and was the first train trip for Lady & Shep. We walked through the beautiful park across the river from the Cologne Cathedral and stopped for lunch at an outdoor cafe. Shep was a little nervous so he mostly hid under the table. He only peeked out when he thought Mike might give him a treat. We had a wonderful day.

I'm still hanging out with my English speaking friends in the American Women's Club. One of our members moved back to the states recently so a few of us took her to dinner in Cologne. We had a great "girls night out". Most of the women in the club are "lifers" meaning they are married to German men. They offer so much to the club because they can actually read magazines and the paper and they let the rest of us know what's going on around town! One thing I'm really looking forward to in England is being able to read, have conversations and participate in a community setting again. It's really hard not understanding what's going on around you!!

Another friend from the women's club and her husband (LeeAnne & Peter) invited us for a bike ride along the Rhein. With the heat wave finally over, we loaded up our bikes and headed to Cologne a couple of Saturdays ago. Our route was to Bonn and back. The round trip was about 70 kilometers (40 miles). We stopped several times to stretch our legs and of course to take bathroom breaks. The path along the Rhein is beautiful and well maintained (like everything in Germany). We also stopped for lunch at a very nice biergarten along the way. It was an all day affair but lots of fun!!

In August, a couple of expat friends (Martha & Amanda) from the Netherlands visited. Our destination was a small town close to the border of Germany and the Czech Republic called Neustadt an der Waldnaab. Amanda heard from a colleague that there is a Nachmann Factory (Crystal) with an outlet store that offers good deals to the public. It took us about 5 hours to get there and as promised were some great deals - we were extremely overwhelmed as we entered the store. We shopped for about two and a half hours and then decided to head back toward Cologne with a couple of stops. The first stop was Bayreuth (pronounced Byeroot) home of Richard Wagner, the famous composer known for his German operas based on old Germanic sagas. If you remember from our Ludwig's Castles page, we talked about the portrayal of these sagas on the walls of Castle Neuschwanstein. Originally, Wagner moved to Bayreuth because of the Margraves' Opera House, but when he arrived he found it too small for his operas and decided to build his own Opera House. Bamberg was the next stop and was recommended by a friend of Martha's. Unfortunately, the sun was going down as we arrived, and we just made it to the Cathedral (Dom) in time to take a couple of pictures. The Cathedral is unique because it has four steeples and dates back to the 11th century.

That's all for now...check back for updates!

Mike with Marksburg Castle in the background:

Gabi at Marksburg overlooking the Rhein Valley:

A small chapel in Marksburg Castle:

Mike walking up the spiral stairs in the tower at Marksburg:

Mike posing in front of the huge fireplace used for cooking at Marsburg:

Gabi with Lady & Shep on their first train trip to Cologne:

Gabi, Lady & Shep standing next to the Rhein River with the Cologne Cathedral in the background:

Eating at an outside cafe - Shep is hiding and also hoping for a handout!!:

Going away dinner for a friend from the Women's club, Margarita (next to Gabi on the right):

Biking from Cologne to Bonn along the Rhein (LeeAnne, Peter, Gabi & Mike):

Gabi & Mike in front of the Rhein on the way back from Bonn to Cologne:

Gabi & LeeAnne headed back to our bikes after a little break:

The Margraves' Opera House, Bayreuth, Germany:

Fountain in front of The New Castle in Bayreuth:

Richard Wagner's home in Bayreuth:

Wagner's Opera House, Bayreuth:

Front view of the Cathedral in Bamberg:

Side view of the unique Bamberg Cathedral:

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