June 15, 2013

Road Trip, Part 3

Day 6:
Today was Eliana's birthday, so Joy had planned for us to celebrate by going to a fun place called Yabadoo starting around 10:00.  There were a number of homeschool families from their Classical Conversations group, so lots of kids running around at a place similar to Pump It Up or something like that--an indoor mega play place that would never pass U.S. OSHA standards, LOL!  It was so nice to have the place to ourselves; it opened to the public at 2:00, and we stayed the entire time.  The lunch food was quite good, and we were amazed at how the kids just kept going...and going...and going!  We had naps in the afternoon and a special birthday dinner for Eliana (with more cake!).

The pictures from Yabadoo didn't turn out great because of all the action and the not-so-perfect lighting, but if you want an idea of what the place was like, you can check out this album.

Day 7:
Today we hit the road--for a little while--for some more sight-seeing adventures!  Brian picked out a great place for us to visit, Rick Steves' favorite castle in all of Europe:  Burg Eltz.  It was about a two-hour drive, which wasn't bad since we did a kid shuffle and let the little girls ride together while watching Ellie's princess movie that she got for her birthday and the big kids watch Cars 2 in our Suburban.

This amazing castle is extremely well-preserved and nestled in a beautiful yet secluded location, which helped it survive intact over 800 years despite being in an often war-torn region.  It has been in the same family for 33 generations, and they still own and use parts of it today while obviously allowing tourists to enjoy it as well.  It looks like a fairy tale castle!  We began the tour in the entryway decorated with arms and armor.  I WISH we had been allowed to take pictures inside!  Just incredible what all has been preserved!  Paintings dating back hundreds of years; original woodwork; toilets that flushed using rainwater drainage systems; original stained glass; these things and more allowed us a realistic glimpse of what life was like for the occupants who lived there over the centuries.  You can putter around on the link above (assuming your browser will translate for you if you don't speak German!) for more information, and for our complete picture album, you can go here.

We had a good lunch of brats, fries, potato salad, and pea soup at one of the castle cafes before our tour, then did the guided part of the tour minus Brian when the tour guide noticed he was wearing a backpack with their dog Bella inside...the guide was not impressed with that!  So Brian waited outside with Bella while we toured, and then the kids enjoyed climbing around the castle with Bella while Brian did the tour.  There was a self-guided walk through the treasury--again, centuries of history and art beautifully preserved!  We finished off with a round of ice cream before heading home, opting to order pizza and have a movie night since the weather wasn't cooperating when we got to the town where Brian and Joy had wanted us to have dinner.  We had some tuckered out kiddos, though, so it was best we went home anyway...had to rest up for more adventures the next day!

View of the castle from the pathway leading down from the parking lot.

Tobin, Ian (holding Bella), Kenna, and Joy

Arden, Tobin, and Lucan, demonstrating how short some of the doorways were!

Tobin, Lucan, Kenna, and Eliana

And the gratuitous forced perspective shot!

Eager to go exploring!

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