Annnnnd we’re back! You might have thought that our holidays were fairly uneventful, but no; we were just distracted by the opportunity to eat, drink, and celebrate for awhile without judgement. WITHOUT JUDGEMENT, we said. Our story resumes at the end of October…our end-of-the-year blowout trip to Hawaii for Kelsey & Matt’s wedding was getting close enough to get really excited about, but we wanted one more weekend getaway to tide us over in the meantime. Mere had been to Rome once with her mom & sister, and she thought it was okay for the short time she was there. I’ve been to Rome several times, and it’s hands-down my favorite city in Europe. I love the history, the food, the language, the people, and the lifestyle, and I really wanted to share my view of Rome with Mere. So, off we went!
When we first learned that we were moving to the Germany/Netherlands border, Mere & I reacted somewhat differently. She began looking for trip ideas, and I immediately googled 1) ultimate teams in the area, and 2) how far we would be from Essen, Germany. Why, you ask? Each year, Essen hosts International Spieltage, which is the largest board game convention in the world. It turns out that we’re less than an hour away from this wondrous city, so this year we finally got to go!
While this year we opted not to travel south for Munich’s mad celebration, there was still plenty of revelry to be found in our neck of the woods. The base’s Oktoberfest party was supposed to be quite an affair, so we resolved to check it out in order to satisfy our fix for trachten and liters-o’-beer!
Once Mere’s parents (Jim & Becki) had gotten a feel for Maastricht, we thought it might be nice to see some of the sights in the surrounding region. Keeping the World War II train rolling, we decided to head over to Belgium to check out the highly-recommended museums of Bastogne, where the Battle of the Bulge was fought. Add a night in Luxembourg City, and you’ve got yourself a nice little road trip!
Two weeks after Chris’s family came to town, my parents took a quick jaunt across the pond for their own European adventure with us! After catching up with some friends in Munich, they made their way to Maastricht for a long weekend visit. We had made reservations for a late lunch, so we took a leisurely stroll around the town during the morning, showing them the ramparts, the Plague House, and the dead giraffe statue (obviously). Maastricht gained a couple of new fans, for sure!
The Party Van road trip continues! After we left Pont-à-Mousson, the final destination was Paris and a rendezvous with my Uncle Stu and his girlfriend Shawn, but we had time for a quick stop in Metz to check out the cathedral (Saint-Étienne de Metz). It’s a good thing we did, because it’s an absolutely stunning piece of art and architecture!
The first weekend in September, my parents (Phil & Jane) and my aunt & uncle (Dave & June) were finishing up a lavish Rhine river cruise that ended, conveniently enough, just north of us in Amsterdam. They had a few days to spare before they needed to make it to Paris to fly home, so it was exciting for us to show them our little town, and also do some World War II-related adventuring with them ourselves!
The last weekend of August found us a bit road-weary after all of the amazing places we’d seen in the heart of summer, but we had plans to tack on one more before taking a bit of a break: Copenhagen, Denmark! Mere’s sister Kelsey had studied abroad there, so trusted recommendations in hand, we packed our bags and set out for Danish delights!
While Switzerland was just fantastic, our nine-hour drive to get to Switzerland was somewhat less-than-fantastic. That being the case, once we said our goodbyes to Rois & Travis, Mere & I decided to break up our trip by stopping in Colmar, France for the night. It made the drive much more bearable, and we got to see a cool little town!
Life Lesson: when a family member asks you to meet up in Switzerland, you do it! In July, my cousin Rois asked if we could meet her and her new husband Travis in Gimmelwald, a little town above Interlaken. We decided to drive down to Lauterbrunnen to to begin our Swiss adventure, and as we wound through the waterfall-filled valley, towering mountains all around, we were awestruck. Pinterest find and gorgeous travel location for the win!