Many years ago my mother started researching our family tree (on the German side). In her findings she found we still have relatives in Germany. She reached out to them and started a correspondence. In 2003, she visited them with my sister Kathy and my cousin Arianne. In 2006, two of our German relatives visited us in America. In 2009, my mom went back with Arianne. This year, she took my family.
Our first destination was Cologne (click on the photos to view larger).
|Authentic Köln graffiti|
Then we stayed at the African themed Hotel Matamba at Phantasialand. Phantasialand is very much like Disney's Epcot Center with it's cultural themes. The kids loved going on the rides. They thought this is what Germany was all about.
|The view of Phantasialand from the Hotel Matamba courtyard.|
Then we went to Koblenz to meet our relatives at the Deutsches Eck (where the Moselle river meets the Rhine).
|Kaiser Wilhelm Statue.|
We met Gisela and Elke and took a cable car to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. (That's my mom all the way on the left.)
|View of the Deutsches Eck from a cable car.|
|At Ehrebreitstein Fortress, Rhineland-Palatinate.|
Elke's daughter Katherina met up with us for a boat ride on the Rhine.
|Casey getting into the German spirit.|
Then we went to Beltheim and met some more relatives.
|Casey and Chloe with Lucas and Leon, in Beltheim.|
Beltheim is so small that once a year the local fire department cooks up a vat of pea soup and distributes it to the whole town. When you hear the vans loudspeaker announcement, you stand in front of your house with an empty pot and they fill it. They give you a choice of 'with sausage' or 'without sausage'. Our relatives chose 'with sausage'.
Then we had lunch at Schmausemühle in Gondershausen. This place was literally in the middle of nowhere. We took a narrow dirt road down a forest mountain for 5 miles and there it was.
Then we went to Castle Kastellaun for dinner with the relatives.
|Casey's becoming a connoisseur of German beer.|
|Leon, Lucas and their dad Christian, with Chloe and Casey at Castle Kastellaun.|
|Family photo at Castle Kastellaun.|
Then we went to Boppard.
|Gisela, Casey, Kim, Chloe, Erik, my Mom|
Elke teaches equestrian vaulting (gymnastics on horseback). We went to a recital.
Elke's daughter Katherina is one of her students.
After the recital our kids got to ride the horses. Chloe's showing us her moves.
Then we went to Beilstein.
|Casey took this photo.|
|Burg Metternich Castle.|
|Overlooking the Moselle from the Burg Metternich Castle.|
|Chloe took this photo of me at Burg Metternich Castle. Great composition.|
Then we went to Cochem.
Then we went to Trier.
|Porta Nigra in the background. Some floating gold-guy in the foreground.|
|The view from the Porta Nigra in Trier.|
Then we went to the Technik Museum in Speyer.
|Inside an actual submarine.|
Then we went to Heidelberg.
|The Old Bridge, Heidelberg.|
Kim was relieved to find a Starbucks in Heidelberg.
I preferred the local Heidelberg cafe.
The Fuscos officially had a great time in Germany. Thanks Mom.