Wednesday, September 30, 2009


We took a long train ride today (Well, it was extra long because we had a two hour stop in Verona while switching trains) and now we are up in Kufstein. (Well, actually a small German town right across the border from Kufstein. (Which is in Austria.) We are now staying with Kevin's family again (His Grandma's brother's family) and I am back on a German keyboard so I am going to apologize in advance because I keep making errors as I type. Hopefully I will catch them all, but incase I don't you will understand why!

The train ride was nice..however one of the trains we took was older and the bathroom was


but the second one we were one was like our first train and wasn't completely full so that was nice. I think the best trains we were on was when we went from Venice to Rome and the one from Rome to Florence. They must have been newer trains because they were really comfortable and clean.

I finished the Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters book last night (Still not sure what I thought of it. It was entertaining-but maybe too much silliness for me!), so I started a new one this morning on the train and have nearly finished it. (A mystery-never heard of it before and don't know the author-it was in the $1 bin at Borders before we left and so I picked it up. I have liked it so far!) I only brought three books so now I will need something else to do for our last two train rides and the plane ride home. I am glad I didn't bring more though, because even though we packed light, it has been a lot to carry on all the trains and everything. (In fact, I thought Kevin was going to kill me when we were heading to and from the Florence train station to our B&B becuase it was about a 20 minute walk and his back was killing him since he was left carrying the bag with all the books!! We ended up purchasing a rolling bag yesterday evening at one of the street stands so that it would be easier to lug our heavy stuff around for the rest of the trip!)

I have a ton of pictures to share, but I think for tonight I will just post the ones from tonight.(From when we got into Kufstein.) I will have to go back (as time permits) and show the pictures from the rest of our time. Just on my camera alone there are ton...and Kevin takes WAY more pictures than me! You will be pictured out by the time our vacation shots are all online!! (Well, not all of them, because that would be more than even I would want to look at!!)

A fortress in Kufstein (I thought it looked so pretty with moon shining so bright over it-sorry I am not a great photographer so the street light is kinda distracting!)

Kevin and I after a long day traveling the rails of Italy (and Austria)!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Internet drama in Italy

So we have internet access in Florence!


That is what I thought at first as well, then we realized I couldn't connect my camera to upload pictures!!

Boo hoo!!

I am so sad!

I have so many great pictures to share and no way to get them to you until we are somewhere else!

We are here (Florence) for two nights and then we head up to Kufstien, Germany to stay with some of Kevin's other family members, so maybe I can upload them there. If not, I will have so much picture uploading and blogging to do when I get home I will need a week of vacation time to get it all done! (Not to mention all the t.v. we have to catch up on, hopefully all the rain in GA didn't knock out our DVR or we will be out of the loop with all our shows!!-Oh well, we have lasted this long and so far I am not having withdraw issues!! I will say my choice of books was only o.k. I of course loved the Lisa Scottoline (which G&G Binkley got me hooked on) book I bought for the trip, but I haven't been impressed with the Sense and Sisibility and Sea Monsters book. The parts Jane Austen did are great, just all the silly sea monster stuff is too much really! I guess I should have known what I was getting into after having read the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but that one was actually entertaining (maybe since I know how much Betsy loves Zombies), this one I just try to forget all the sea monster nonsense and enjoy the rest of it!)

I will say time goes by very strangely while on vacation. In a way it feels like we have been away from reality for ages because we have done so much, yet we didn't even get everything done I would have liked to have done! (Although, I don't think there will be any disapointment with our overall trip, it has been sooooo wonderful!!) But also time flies because we have already been gone two weeks!

We are down to our last week and I again want to say thanks for all the prayers and keep them coming because we have a lot of traveling to do this week!!

Oh! I wish I could post some pictures!! Link

Venice was soooo beautiful and soooo different from anywhere else we have ever been. The canals and waterways (and the lack of cars was fun!) We took a water taxi around and also did a TON of walking. All the alleyways are tiny, since you can't have a car anyhow (I guess) and it felt like another world! I am not sure if I can really say for sure, but I think that is my favorite spot in Italy. (Of the three places we have been, all were AMAZING, but I think Venice wins!) It is just so unique!

Rome was amazing!! (Even just because of the age issue alone!!) Such an ancient city and yet, modern as well! There is so much to see and do your senses are on overload, (and our feet are killing us!! Well, actually mine are fine, just Kevin, because his shoes are giving him blisters, not cool!!) Everything we saw was great! I actually even loved the Hard Rock Cafe! (Best bathrooms in town!!) Speaking of bathrooms...I don't think we have gotten any pictures of the bathrooms so I will say a bit about that now. Italian bathrooms are very....interesting.

The showers are





Mom, you could NEVER take a shower in Italy! (or at least not any of the ones I have seen!) You would die of claustophobia! (I don't know if I spelled that right, and there is no way to check it because this computer doesn't like anything I type-since it is Italian! So far the Italian keyboard is actually easier than the German!) I feel so tight in the shower, I really can't tell you how Kevin fits, I guess he hits his elbows alot while trying to wash!! The toilets, pretty much everywhere, have no toilet seat!! (Except in the Bed and Breakfast's we have stayed at & at the Hard Rock Cafe-hence that is why it is my favorite!!) Even the public restrooms, where you have to pay to get in (like in Germany-although here it is even more! It is 1.50€!!) are this way!!

(Isn't it fun hearing about Europe from the view of a person with IC, you get to hear about all the great and not so great bathrooms!!! Believe me, I have seen a ton!!!) Thankfully, I have been feeling better, so have only had to use a few of the pay-for public restrooms while in Italy, most of the time I just go when we are at a museum, or restaurant and don't have to actually pay extra! So far, the most interesting one I have used was at a monestary we went to today (in Florence) where I had to squat Indian style. It brought back the good ol' days (and smells) of India. Maybe someday I will get Kevin there, highly doubtful, but never say never right!?! (Kevin's he is watching me type this..."Keep trying!! Especially after the Indian couple sitting behind us were smacking their food the whole time at dinner!"-One of Kevin's biggest pet peeves!!-I can't eat cereal around him, or else he wants to throw me out the nearest window!!-Oh yeah, food...I will comment on that in a moment...Mom asked me about that!)

While we are on the topic of tight spaces...the lines and crowds to get into the Vatican city would have gotten you (Mom) as well! Hopefully we got some great pictures (which I will eventually be able to show you) and that will be enough, because you are literally SMOOSHED and SMASHED against what feels like a million other tourists. (And in warm weather too!! I couldn't imagine doing it in August!!) I don't think you would have made it to see the actual chapel. Sadly though, you can't get pictures inside, so I can't show you that! (Although, we did see people taking pictures, so rude!!)

Florence so we have only been here since around 2 this afternoon (it is just after 9PM here), and I like the fact that I have internet access, and I think this is the best bathroom we have had in our B&B's, but other than that I think Rome and Venice beat out Florence on my list. I may change my mind after our day tomorrow, but so far, I am not overly impressed. It is still a neat city, but there seems to be a ton of grafetti EVERYWHERE and maybe we are just already over seeing all the churches after churches after churches. They are beautiful, but are all starting to blur together into one image in my mind! (Kevin was over them already after our first day in Venice, but he is a trooper and has come along as I dragged him all over the rest of Venice & Rome & now Florence to see more...which yes, there are more on the schedule for tomorrow as well!!)

O.K. so now for the food update:

(Which means if you are not Mom, you can just click on out of here, because I am sure you don't care!)

While in Gemany I was able to eat some bread and some noodles and veggies that I got our first day in Munich.

I bought some corn cakes (like rice cakes, but made with corn) and some carrots the day before we left Germany and I ate on those while in Venice. (Although one night in Venice and one in Rome I was too exhausted by the time we got back and didn't bother eating-but I have been really tired on this trip and I think that is most likely why!-There is also all the walking we are doing!) I actually have some of the corn cakes left because I purchased two packages and have only eaten one.

While we were in Rome I was able to eat REAL food two of the nights. The B&B we stayed at ran a restaurant as well (It was a little family ran B&B and Restaurant), so we stopped at the market and bought a Zuchinni and some plain noodles and they cooked that for me (along with the carrots I had brought from Germany). However, last night we were too late getting there, so back to just rice cakes. (Which I had found at the grocery store where we bought the zuchinni and noodles. Thank goodness for English writing on the packages or else I wouldn't have felt comfortable getting them, but there is was in plain English that these were plain ol' regular rice cakes!!)

On our way out of Rome today we stopped by the grocery again and made sure I had enough rice and corn cakes and some more noodles and carrots, but sadly the noodles and carrots will be of no use to us here in Florence because there isn't a kitchen I can use. Oh, well. Rice & corn cakes & some raw carrots will be my food for the next two days until we get to Kufstien, then I am sure I will be able to cook up the noodles (and get some more veggies) while we are staying with Kevin's family. I don't think I have really lost any weight, but my bra is not a filled out as it used to be. That is always the first place I lose and the last place I gain! Oh well!! It wouldn't be so bad if I lost some of the Binkley arm massiveness...but I think my arms are still as large as always!! Thankfully, Kevin loves me anyway!

O.K. That was for you Mom! Now you know I am fine and eating while away!! I will tell you I am going to be sooooo ready to eat some Bryers Ice Cream and some chicken & rice cheese and maybe even try adding some food groups again once I am home, because I miss eating regularly!! All the foods Kevin has eaten while we have been in Italy looked absolutely delicious!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


We haven't had access to the internet while in Italy, but I have for a moment tonight so I wanted to say thanks for the prayers, I have been feeling better and please keep them coming!! We have absolutely loved Italy so far and are excited about heading to Florence tomorrow! I will have a ton of pictures to show next time I am able to really sit down and share!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Schloss Nymphenburg

(Our sad attempt at a self portrait in one of the mirrors)

Today we enjoyed a slower pace and didn't go out until well after noon. Deitmar drove us into Munich to check the train schedule so we could get reservations. The only thing available for tomorrow was one that leaves at 9:31AM and doesn't get into Venice until 5:10PM. It is going to be a long day on the railroad, but I am excited to see the beautiful areas that we will pass to get there. Hopefully I will be feeling better by the morning for our trainride because I really don't know if I could handle anything like our plane ride over!!
(Which I just have to mention here that Deitmar, Elisabeth and the kids (Felicitas and Constantine) have been the greatest hosts!! I hope we get to host them sometime when they come to GA so we can try to repay at least some of their generosity! Kevin and I feel so blessed to have such wonderful family!)
After we got our tickets reserved and exchanged some more money we went over to the Nymphenburg Castle for a tour. It is in the outskirts of the city (Munich) and it has some really amazing grounds. We only got to see a small amount of the castle grounds because of the time we had, but it was really neat to see. It was started as a present for the queen (I can't remember which one-it was sometime in the 1660's) when she gave birth to a son, but went through two hundred years of add ons, renovations, and changes until it grew into what it is today. The king who built Neuschwanstein (:udwig II) was actually born in this castle and was named after his grandpa (Ludwig I) who had the same birthday! I love it when you find cool stories about the places you visit!
I am not sure if I will be able to post any while we are in Italy, but I am hoping so. If not than it will be over a week before I am back online because we don't get back to Germany until the 30th...and then we are staying with the different family members in a different city and I don't know if we will have internet access there either.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Update on our time in Germany so far

Neuschwanstein Castle 9\17
Here are the start of the pictures from Salzberg 9\18
(Ingrid and Micki)

(beautiful gate into a beautiful cemetary)


(Mozarts birthplace)

(Kevin and Micki goofing off outside the museum at the top of the mountain we went to for some great views of the city-which the parking deck was built inside the mountain!!!)

(The bride to be getting Kevin's phone number!)

(Sorry this is blurry-this was a pretty bridge in the town where Silent Night was written)
The Octoberfest Parade in Munich 9\20

(The second from the right is Kevin's great aunt Ingrid)

(Kevin and Deitmar in one of the beer tents at Octoberfest)

So we have been busy little travelers since my last post, and haven't had internet access, so I wanted to post some more pictures while I had the chance. (You never know when you will have internet access while on vacation-especially overseas!) God has been hearing your prayers and I will beg to have those continued so that we can enjoy this beautiful world (and some of the most amazing churches!!) on this trip-because trust me it is hard to appreciate anything when all you can think about is finding the next bathroom and hoping you have enough Euro's to make it through the day! (Since you usually have to pay to use the restroom in Europe!) Today we saw the big Octoberfest opening parade in Munich (München) and came back to Deitmar's house, yesterday we were supposed to see the Bavarian forest but I wasn't feeling well and Kevin had a stomach ache, so instead we stayed home (Ingrid's house) and just visited with his family, and Friday we (Ingrid, Micki, Kevin & I) went to Salzberg! (LOVED IT!) We actually got stuck in a small town (village) right across the border back into Germany on our way home. (It is where the song Silent Night was written) Apparently Ingrid accidentally put unleaded gas in her car that is supposed to take deisel! (They have two cars and one takes unleaded gas and the other takes deisel and she always gets them confused!!) She had mostly deisel in there, but put about 16 liters of unleaded in before she realized it. Afterwards she just went on with it and wasn't worried, well when we stopped for dinner at that small town, the car wouldn't start again for us to leave. After waiting for awhile in the car Kevin took part in a local Bachelorette party...then we took a walk over the beutiful bridge, and got Kevin some cake (while waiting for the tow truck) when the car decided to start (Yay!) and we drove on home!! (Back to Ingrid's) Adventures in traveling is what we do!! Well, I didn't mean to write so much because I wanted to post some pictures so I better get to it!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A few pictures from our trip so far & Füssen (actually just Neushwanstein)

Today it was overcast and rainy all day long, but we didn't let that keep us from seeing the sights! (Neither the weather, or me feeling bad again today kept us from having fun and seeing another beautful part of Bavaria.) Deitmar drove us down about an hour and a half from his place (which is right outside of Munich) to see the fairy tale castle built by Ludwig II. Schloß Neuschwanstein was so beautiful! It was never actually completed (worked on for 17 years, but in the meantime he was also building two other castles and using up money that the country didn't need to spend, so I can see why it wasn' finished!) but the areas that were finished (as well as the amazing location) was breathtaking!!

Well, we are actually getting ready to run out the door to head over to Ingrid's house so I will have to post the pictures of what we saw today later. I am not sure if we will have the internet where we are staying the next few days, so it may be awhile!!