June 26th- My lovely friend, Nicole, arrived from the States.
June 29th- Rhein River Cruise
Our local USO office was holding a group Rhein River Cruise that we decided to tag along for. It was a great deal to be able to see all the awesome castles along the Rhein without worrying about the hassle of getting there. A couple of really crazy things happened during our trip. It was hot and humid on our way down the river and we were cursing the sun the whole way. But as we waited at a port for the boat to pick us back up and take us home we were hit by a torrential downpour and ended up soaked to the bone. Luckily we had brought umbrellas but they didn't do much good with the water slapping at us from every angle. While we were at our stop in St. Goar, we also found an awesome wine and brandy shop where we dwindled away our spare Euro.
June 30th- Neroburg, Russian Orthodox Church, and downtown.
Since we missed our flight for Ireland we did some rearranging and ended up doing day trips at the beginning of her stay and ending with our big trips near the end. Neroburg is a park that overlooks the city and it sits just above the Russian Orthodox Church. I had been wanting to see both since we arrived but never quite made it up the hill. On the way back down the hill, we swung by the downtown district so Nicole could take a peek in some of the shops.
Believe it or not, my husband and I had yet to make a trip to Ramstein. Although the PX is a lot larger than the one back home, it was not near as exciting as others has led it to be. I was expecting so much more and was quite disappointed when it came down to it. Alas, I did find a cute sun dress that I got to wear on July 4th!
July 2nd- Heidelberg
I had already been to Heidelberg once and loved the city so when Nicole said she was coming I knew that I wanted to show it to her as well. We had a great time and saw all the tourist sites including the castle, the bridge, and the shopping district. It was also great for me because I got second chance to take pictures because the first time we visited I only had my point and shoot and didn't come back with too wonderful of pictures. I was much happier this time around with how my pictures turned out.
July 4th- Independence Day Celebration
I already did a post on this so I'll just post a link for you to read about and move along. Here's a picture from the day just for laughs though.
We were looking at a calendar of events for things going on in Germany one day and discovered that Angelbachtal was hosting an annual Highland Games. We knew instantly that we wanted to go and planned to go to the games in the morning and then hop over to Rothenburg and visit for the rest of the afternoon. It would save us a trip and would be a very eventful day. Now, before this trip we purchased our first GPS and let me say... it was quite an adventure when the GPS decided to give us the wrong directions. Long story short, we ended up going to Rothenburg first and then swinging by the games on the way home. It was still a great day and ended up being a lot of fun.
If you're unfamiliar with Rothenburg I would recommend you take the time to go out to the city. It is a medieval walled in city and it has retained much of the medieval charm. My husband is a history buff and didn't want to leave!
July 8th-11- Paris
I'll get around to posting an individual post about Paris because sooo much craziness happened while we were there but I do want to leave a brief word about the train system. This time around we opted to take the train versus drive. Aside from the mishap due to a problem with the train (more on that in the post), it was so much easier. It cost a total of around $300 for both of us but considering to drive would have cost $250 or so, I feel that it was a fair trade.
July 13th- Game Night
Nicole and I became friends through playing the game, Twister. We met for the first time at a mutual friend's birthday party and then she invited me to her place for a game night. From that night on we always considered ourselves twister buddies. When I got word that she was coming to visit I knew instantly that I wanted to plan a game night. It was a great success as 12 people showed up and we played a variety of games (including Twister!) and ate snacks until we were about to burst.
July 14th-16- Southern Germany (Munich, Garmisch, Neuschwanstein Castle)
The next morning we were on the road headed to Southern Germany. I plan on doing an additional post of this as well as we learned many lessons but I will say that I underestimated the complications of driving to this area. The trip turned unnecessarily stressful after we encountered many obstacles along the way that could have been prevented given that we prepped more before-hand.
July 20th-26th- Ireland
Ohhhhh Ireland, how I love you. Also going to have a post about this trip as it was the most daunting yet exciting trip that we took. We stayed in Ireland for 5 FULL days and spent our time hoping around to different cities and towns everyday. It was so much fun but was absolutely exhausting at the same time. I was ready for a 3 day nap by the time we got home. I have lots of tips about traveling here coming your way though, so keep an eye out for this post. It's going to be a doozy!
So there you have it. My month of July. I have never traveled this much in such a short period of time and I hope that I wont do so again in the near future. Aside from my pocketbook aching, my mind and body was absolutely worn out from all the action and is beyond ready for a break. Don't get me wrong, I had a blast and loved all the places I got to see but I'm just not used to all this excitement!