Saturday, July 31, 2010

Summer as a Local Part 2

June also brought our first family visitor...Zach is Ben's second cousin and we were thrilled to show him around southern Germany for 2 weeks of his summer break before his senior year of high school. He was quickly christened into our household by our lovable little Rascal.

Zach's first weekend coincided with the Ehrwald Fires (Austria), a summer solstice celebration.
We enjoyed the views of the fires from the Panorama restaurant with a group of American and German friends.

Before we settled in for dinner we hiked a bit up the mountain and took some pictures of the beautiful evening.

The fires are pretty indescribable. They make new shapes every year, and you try and guess what they are as they are being's amazing.

Summer as a Local Part 1

Since we traveled out of Germany a good bit in May, we decided to spend more time in our own area over the summer, exploring and enjoying what is right in our own back yard. This will help us avoid the crowds of tourists as well as save some money in our travel budget so we can start back on our road trips when the fall rolls in. So most of what you will read about and see pictures of this summer is done in day trips.

But before we get into that...we have learned that summer will also be a time of goodbyes. Many military families move, or PCS (permanent change of station) over the summer. Since we have only been here since October, there were not many families leaving with whom we had made strong attachments...but there was one student teacher who we already miss a lot.

Danielle was a student teacher at the American school on base during her last semester of college. We got to know her because she attended chapel and became a member of our small group. She is a delightful young woman who I became attached to very quickly because of her open heart and ready laugh. She would often come and visit me before Ben came home from work during the time my foot was healing and I wasn't getting out much. So when it was time to send her home to Arizona, we were sad for our loss but excited to see what God had in store for her new life as an elementary school teacher. She is the first of many friends we will say goodbye to in our time overseas. I don't look forward to this part of life here, but we do our best to treasure the friends we have while we have them.

Ok, back to what adventures we've been up to this summer. Storm and I have been taking lots of walks and hikes...she loves the mountain streams and meadows just as much in the summer as she does in the winter.

Ben and I joined our friends the H family on a hike through the Höllentalklamm, another local gorge. It was a gorgeous June day, not too hot, but just warm enough to make the cool gorge feel refreshing.

The views were stupendous, even if we didn't reach any peaks.

I call the H kids "my smileys" because the three of them are always smiling, and have the most beautiful, sincere smiles of any family I have ever seen. They make any activity fun...especially cooling our feet in the freezing snow melt when we stopped for lunch.

Storm and I both needed to relax and cool felt pretty close to paradise.

Here is Megan, Mama H, as we were leaving the gorge. You can see that the water came from everywhere and raincoats were a must!


A beautiful way to spend 6 hours with wonderful friends and an exhausting workout just a 10 minute bike ride from our door.