The Insel Mainau: The Flowering Island

Along the beautiful Lake Constance you will find a beautiful little island. Complete with a castle (still owned) and incredibly beautiful gardens that take you to another place. It actually didn’t even feel like Germany. The water around the island is a really crystal blue and with the palm trees and vibrant colored flowers it almost makes you feel like you’re in another world!

Luckily it was a little adventure we got to take with Toblerone’s parents also. The castle is occupied at the moment so it’s not something that is opened to the public for tours with the exception of a small area they set up for a gift shop and a restaurant attached to the orchid greenhouse.

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It was a bit too early in spring for all the flowers but regardless, it was just a beautiful day. It started off with a bit of rain but as we arrived on the island we put our umbrellas down and walked the grounds guided by sunshine.

My absolute FAVORITE part of the entire island is the butterfly house. There are thousands of butterflies in this man-made jungle house. It was just incredible to see so many different types of butterflies happily flying around and a few different vegetarian birds to add to the atmosphere.

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Walking around the grounds we saw these massively large trees called Mammouth trees (also found in the states) which were planted in the late 1800’s and have grown to the giant masses they are today! Channeling my inner hippie I gave those big guys a squeeze.

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We walked around the castle, went inside the church which was decorated in beautiful floral arrangements,  and made our way around to a little farm..where of course I had to pet all the animals. These furry guys are used to all the people I think so they just made their way right over to me and waited for bite to eat!

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We ended the day with a little train watching which I thought was just adorable with all the German homes stacked around. Very cute! There are also great playgrounds  which would make for a fantastic place to bring the kids to run out a bit of energy.

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It was a really beautiful place and thankfully the weather held out for us! It was a perfect start to our vacation. More to come!

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

 

 

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A Lake, A Castle, And A Church Walked Into A Bar

As I had mentioned to you in my last post, my buddy RyRy  came to visit me here at my new home! We had a great time but the most important thing was to see a familiar face in a very unfamiliar place. RyRy has come to visit me when I lived in South Beach – Miami, Maine, Maryland, and now Germany. He’s always been that friend that when he says he’s coming to visit, he means it. Other people throw around the idea and then never end up coming so it’s good that I have him!

Of course he loaded up his bag with peanut butter and fun things from my family! So excited to see everything and hold onto the things I know just hours before my family was holding. I’m starting to miss them more each day. Thankfully I’m heading home in August for a few weeks! YES!!!!!

The first day RyRy arrived Toblerone picked him up from the airport and threw him into a car full of 4 other guys and cold beers. Off they went to a soccer game and then to Frühlingsfest (a Spring festival similar to Oktoberfest but on a much smaller scale.) I went out with the girls and prepared for RyRy to arrive at the house the following day. As soon as I saw the car pull up I was SO excited to see him and was prepared to pack in as much adventure as possible! Let’s not forget that I don’t venture out on my own normally. I usually have someone taking me places, etc. So this was also a good time for me to pull my act together and start exploring!

Due to the fact that we took so many pictures, I have to throw them into a slideshow! First, a run down of what we did so you can see this in the pictures.

Day One – RyRy and Toblerone to a soccer game and Spring festival
The girls dress in their drindls and the boys in their lederhosen but it’s not as expected of you as it is during the Oktoberfest. There’s lots of terrible songs like “Take Me Home, Country Road” by John Denver and the “YMCA.” As described by RyRy though – he has never seen so many people completely uninhabited in one place. I’m saving my christening for the Oktoberfest. 

Day Two – Old Church and a walk around the grounds, Geo-caching, Lake Constance, Amazing dinner, and buildings older than we can understand! 

         This church is beautiful and on a great sunny and clear day the view is spectacular! Of course, my favorite are all the paths mowed specifically for the avid walkers, trekkers, or hikers. Great place for mountain biking too! We walked up there with a few beers and walked around for a bit, cursing ourselves for talking about high school and really loving the sites around. You can’t find a place like this in the US. There is nothing like it. Sorry folks! All you get is pictures until you come and visit!!  Then the Geo-caching was a good time! For those of you that don’t know what it is: People hide things from trinkets to the rights to a brand new car. You’re given exact coordinates and then have a small clue to go and find it. RyRy is big into this so we’ll be doing more of this when he gets back. We ended up finding one that wasn’t anything special but you log your name and the date you were there. Very fun! 

      After this we went to Lake Constance again for more excitement! We walked the streets just checking out the sites and down to the lake. Making our way to a great restaurant right on the River Rhine. Perfect weather and cocktails to go made this trip incredible. Not to mention the mix of modern architecture with the old world houses/buildings. We were literally standing up against buildings that were from the 1300 and 1400’s. I can’t even begin to picture that in my mind what it looked like back then. Some of the old look of it was still there. We’re talking about peasants, medieval times, disease, non-existent sanitation, women in long dresses, medicine was based on superstition more than anything. I mean, crazy crazy times. Talking about it in school or watching movies doesn’t give you a real sense of this until you see the villages with your own eyes. You can almost hear the sounds from that Era. Eerie to say the least. 


Day Three – Hohohenzollern Castle (where the single 35yr old (HOT!!!) prince still lives), tour of the castle and checking out a family tree and heirlooms that dates back to year 1027 of the royal family. Old as dirt!

The castle is one I went to during the winter months for the famous Christmas markets here. This time, I brought Ryan and the sun was shining and we would take a tour! For 10 Euro we could do all of that. Since there’s some hot prince dude still living there most of the castle is off-limits but we got to see quite a bit I would say. This one isn’t huge like some other ones I’ve seen in England but it’s obviously much bigger than anything I’ve ever lived in so I’ll shut up now about that. The first room you walk into though is incredible. Every wall is covered with the family tree dating all the way back to the year 1027. Reading some of the names you can see the Frederich family was a big part in this and is not the current residents of the castle. Although this castle has been restored it was fun to see the old clothes of the Queen and tobacco boxes of the princes that once lived here – oh and of course the crowns. ( I knew I put them somewhere!!) 

So for now enjoy the slideshow! It was too hard to post that many photos one by one so the slide show is the best option. Also known as me being too lazy.

As I’m writing this our bathroom is being installed!!! YIPPEEE!!!! If you remember back from the previous post about our choice of sink and etc…well folks…it has been built and arrived!! I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally have drawers for all my make-up!! More on that tomorrow!

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Lake Constance – Vacation 30 Minutes Away From Home

Who knew there would be a vacation spot so close to my house. Well, duh, I know…I know. I’m living in a vacation but I mean something different from the ‘Sound of Music’ hills and old churches. My best buddy RyRy from the states is here visiting, which is AWESOME! My first friend from the states – he just happens to visit me no matter where I live which is fantastic! Nothing like a piece of home to soothe the soul. While he’s packed up with Peanut Butter and other goodies from my momma, right off the plane Toblerone snatched him up and took him to a soccer game with 7 other guys and then to the Fruhlingsfest (Spring Festival) in Stuttgart. Similar to Oktoberfest but on a much smaller scale! I’ll show you a picture in the next write up!  This allowed me to have a little girls day out! 🙂

In the morning we had some of the guys over for breakfast which was large pretzels, honey mustard, and white wurst (sausage)…shown here. I lived it up with a pretzel…no wurst for me! Not my style Normally you peel the casing off the sausage which seriously creeps me out!

The girlfriends of two of the boys and I headed off to the train station for a ride to The Bodensee or also known as Lake Constance. I’ve been hearing about this from many people about how beautiful it is and of course that there is a MALL!!!!! Man, I miss those! So, off I went with a pocket full of cash to this place EVERYONE is talking about.

We arrived and immediately walked into the mall which definitely made me feel at home.  In Germany, you can normally only find malls in larger cities, everywhere else is more boutiques and plazas I suppose you could call them. I didn’t know where to look first! It was interesting for me because here I was in this mall, something familiar, but yet everything felt so unfamiliar! All the stores were names I had never heard before and the style and clothes were different. Then we came upon the motherload… H&M!!! Home!!!!! Although it was way too packed in there and too chaotic we decided to head in there and make it fun anyways. What’s a shopping trip with the girls without a weird sunglasses picture!

I realized how old I am because I was more interested in the home decor stores than anything else. Not cool! I’ll be 27 and the idea of wearing cute dresses and shoes has somehow slipped me by. Instead I’m like, “Ohhh look at this cute tablecloth!! Ohhh and this pattern would go perfect in my kitchen!” People, the day has come to admit, I’m not longer that fun girl that you all used to hang out with. I’m OLD and decrepit!

Onward we went through the mall and then outside to find a good Icecream place. Not before we went into a bookstore that had a small section for English Books! AH!!! AMAZING! For a quick moment I felt at home once again! Trust me when I say, when you are surrounded by a different language constantly…it’s everywhere, the radio, T.V., friends, restaurants….finding a book written in English is like having an old friend. Familiarity…it’s all so important when you’re far away from what you know.

Back out on the streets it looked like something out of Harry Potter. Very old buildings with just enough walking space for a herd of cows. Incredibly beautiful.

So to sum it all up we went for icecream and then down to the water for paddle boat ride. The weather was absolutely beautiful and I finally got a little color on my very glowing white skin! I just may be tan this year. Watch out folks! :-))

Now I’ll throw some pictures your way of my day and let you sit and think about how you wish you could be here doing this as well! It was SO much fun…..so much that I’m actually going back there today with my buddy RyRy and Toblerone! Should be a great time! And, since I was able to go back…MORE photos of the old buildings and cobblestone streets to come! Stay tuned!

Until next time, Readers!

xoxoxoxoxoxo

The Alps in the background

Lady of Justice

Building from the year 1523