• Germany,  Hohenfels Day Trip

    Burgruine Kürnburg

    Prior to COVID-19, we traveled extensively across Europe year round.  So much so that my wife Jules often lamented how infrequently we enjoyed the confines of our own home.  With travel restrictions in place across Europe that is no longer a problem.  In some ways we are now under house arrest. Unfortunately, this time of year is not ideal for being under house arrest. When the last rays of summer warmth dissipate into the brown and crumbling leaves of Autumn in November, the fog descends on Bayern like a cheesy 1980s horror movie set.  Our little river valley in Deutschland can be a very foggy place.  For days on end. …

  • Germany,  Hohenfels Swimming

    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…

  • Germany,  Hohenfels Swimming

    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…

  • Germany,  Hohenfels Swimming

    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…

  • Germany,  Hohenfels Day Trip

    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…

  • Germany,  Hohenfels Day Trip

    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…

  • Germany,  Hohenfels Day Trip

    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. …

  • Germany,  Hohenfels Day Trip

    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…

  • Germany

    UVM’S THE CHANCE

    As I walked up the stairs of our local brewpub on the Naab River, the cold air hit me straight in the face.  Cold because I had left the relative warmth of the cozy low ceiling eating area but also because it was 32 degrees Fahrenheit outside. I turned at the top of the stairs and headed for the Herren Room (or Men’s Room…it helps that the other option is Damen and I can remember dames from Turner Movie Classics).  As the door swung open the temperature did not increase one bit. As I approached the urinal I looked over nervously towards the stall where the cold porcelain toilet sat.…

  • Germany

    MALLS – DEUTSCHLAND STYLE

    Crazy, but the mall fifteen miles from our house is always packed.  And that baffles me.  Malls in American have been on such a steep decline with their empty storefronts and low foot traffic are depressing dinosaurs. Not so in Deutschland (this photo was purposefully taken just after opening to avoid having many people in the shot). Part of it is Amazon and how they are driving all Americans, not just those that use Amazon, to do more and more shopping online.  Germany is Amazon’s number two market but Amazon.de is not the same in matters of convenience. But part of it I think are the store offerings.  As detailed…