• Children,  Europe,  Travel

    But Do They Appreciate All They Have?

    If the title of this piece caught your eye, a number of things could have crossed your mind. Because you are most likely part of the military family, you may have thought it referred to civilians whose spouses are not at risk of dismemberment and death on their “work trips.” Or perhaps you thought it referred to other military spouses whose active duty member hasn’t deployed seven times in the last ten years. No, I’m referring to the children many of us are raising today. Like many Americans I cannot get enough of Stephen E. Ambrose’s Band of Brothers. He perfectly captures what Tom Brokaw coined “The Greatest Generation.” Following World…

  • Army

    The Never-ending War

    Every two or three years a battle happens for military families who are PCSing. That battlefield is your home, and the casualties are not only your possessions, but your sense of calm, serenity, and sense of right and wrong. I’m talking about moving. Some battles are so epic, it spawns a Facebook group with thousands of members consisting of military families that have faced moving horror stories. They turn to this group not only for retribution solutions, but also to simply share their grief, anger, and bewilderment. In my short military life, we have only “suffered” two moves; however, if there is one common discussion you will have with friends…

  • Army,  Bavaria,  Children,  Europe,  ExPat,  Germany,  Travel

    Naab River Rope Swing

    If you’re old enough you remember those Mountain Dew commercials where the 20 somethings swig their Mountain Dew while swinging into a body of water on a hot summer day, you’ll appreciate this swimming spot on the Naab River. For those not familiar with the Naab, some days it’s warm, some days it’s chilly, and some days its off the coast of Maine chilly.  Your best bet is to make sure it’s sunny and hot and if it’s one of those days where the water is Maine cold, well at least it will be refresing. The drive from Hohenfels to Duggendorf is approximately 25 minutes and the town is just…

  • Army,  Bavaria,  Children,  Europe,  ExPat,  Germany,  Travel

    Etterzhausen On The Naab

    Just down the road from Kallmunz and before you get to Nittendorf is a swimming spot located in Etterzhausen on the Naab River. For those not familiar with the Naab, some days it’s warm, some days it’s chilly, and some days its off the coast of Maine chilly. I still haven’t figured out the cause for this variance. Back in New England you may find the swimming waters slightly cooler following a rainstorm. The rain would elevate the water levels and cause more movement (think rushing brooks) which would allow less time for the water to pool and heat on sun drenched afternoons. We had passed this swimming spot numerous…

  • Army,  Bavaria,  Europe,  ExPat,  Germany,  Travel

    Rothsee

    Being a kid from Vermont I seek the water.  I grew up swimming in lakes, ponds, swimming holes, brooks, rivers, streams, gorges, and quarries. Here in Hohenfels I’m looking for those same water opportunities for my children. That’s why on a sunny day with temperatures in the 80s, Hunter (11), Eva (9), and Acadia (7) and I jumped in the car for the 80 minute drive to Rothsee.  Had we taken the Autobahn the drive would have been 60 minutes but what’s the point of racing to a place where you are trying to relax?  Why not take the backroads?  Indeed.  And the drive was beautiful. Just before arriving at…

  • Army,  Children,  Europe,  ExPat,  Germany,  Travel

    Thinking About Living Overseas?

    Maybe you thought about living overseas before you had kids. Maybe you thought about living overseas before you were married. Maybe you thought about living overseas before you stopped dreaming. What this piece is not about are those Facebook and Instagram posts you’ve seen from your friends stationed or living overseas where the entire family is standing in front of the Eiffel Tower or in the Neuschwanstein Castle upon which the Disney castle is modeled (see featured image). If living overseas was filled with those type of moments every second of every day, then who wouldn’t want to live overseas? No, this piece is about the little adjustments we as Americans must make every…

  • Army,  Bavaria,  Europe,  ExPat,  Germany,  Travel

    Kallmunz Castle Ruins

    In anticipation of moving to Germany I scoured the internet for tips on how best to prepare for the move from one culture to another.  Among the internet resources I found was a military spouse blog that used a featured image that became lodged in my head.  Living in America at the time, it looked like a German fairytale.  There was a seemingly medieval bridge in the center of town, castle ruins high above the town, and charming structures dotted throughout the town.  I would revisit that blog after living in Germany in a hotel 25 minutes away only to realize that village was Kallmunz.  I have hiked the Kallmunz…

  • Army,  Bavaria,  Europe,  Germany,  Travel

    Castle Brunneck

    The beauty of living in Hohenfels Germany is the ability to daytrip to a magical location or locations and sleep in your own bed at night. Our day started with a wakeup at 0800 for the children (Hunter age 11, Eva age 9, Acadia age 7) and a departure time of 0830.  Departing thirty minutes after wake up was only possible with a quick stop at the Rewe in Hemau to grab fresh pastries and bread.  Jules and I appreciate living in Germany where you can stop in any town and and find a great bakery. In America, we don’t think twice about traveling 3-5 hours to visit children or…

  • Army,  Bavaria,  Europe,  Germany,  Travel

    Castle Bechthal

    Just a short 17 minute drive from Burgruine Brunneck in Bavaria Germany are the ruins of a 13th century Irish castle.  Well not exactly but this is the most Irish looking castle we have seen during our one year of living in Deutschland. This was the second leg of our three castle day trip and had we driven straight from Hohenfels, the journey would have been 70 minutes one way.  The drive is beautiful and will feel less than one hour. The quickest route through Google led us down extremely narrow roads which I enjoy so that was a bonus.  The approach to Bechthal is unlike any other castle ruin. …

  • Army,  Bavaria,  Europe,  ExPat,  Germany,  Travel

    Hohenfels Castle Ruins

    Located in a small historic village in Germany….okay, wait…all villages in Germany are small and historic….lies a castle ruin set upon a rock rising high above the town below. The town I speak of is…..Hohenfels.  Which translated to English literally means high (hohen) rock (fels).  Bet you didn’t know that.  And if you are stationed in Hohenfels chances are you have never visited the Hohenfels castle ruins. Just prior to writing this piece, I tried unsuccessfully to convince two friends who were PCSing back to America to join me on the hike to the ruins.  I knew they had not visited the historical site so I begged them to join…