Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Travel To: Eltville, Germany

Eltville is a small town on the river Rhine about 15 minutes from Wiesbaden. While it is not a tourist destination in itself, it is definitely worth a stop if you are in the area. There are a few streets with shops and restaurants, though we did not stop anywhere to eat while we were there. It was a lot more quiet than the towns we have visit so far which was really relaxing.

Like many towns along the Rhine, it has it's own castle. The castle is not very big and part of it seems to be used for weddings and other gatherings. There was a wedding going on there when we visited this past weekend. There is also a tourist information center inside. 

The best part of Eltville was the castle gardens. The gardens had the most beautiful flowers I've ever seen. We spent quite awhile wandering the gardens and looking out over the Rhine. The weather was perfect for it.

So if you're in the area, stop by Eltville and check out all this little town has to offer. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Travel To: Heidelberg, Germany

This past weekend we went to Heidelberg! We mostly went there on a whim to see Heidelberg Castle. It was beautiful! Totally worth the trip! The weather was beautiful which made for great pictures.

One thing I would suggest when going to visit the castle is to be prepared for walking up steps or a huge hill. There is supposedly a funicular train that goes up there but we just walked. I would recommend good walking shoes although I wore flip flops and did fine. You can walk up to the castle and in the gardens for free. The castle gardens were closed when we went though. Once you get down the first hallway you reach a ticket booth where you can pay to go inside or go on a tour. We could not go on a tour because we had our puppy with us, which was fine because we'd rather explore on our own anyway. It was 6 euro each for us to go in the castle. Not a bad price considering we spent almost 2 hours there and got a ton of great pictures! There's a pharmacy museum inside as well as a cafe and a bar. There are also food vendors at the back of the castle which sell refreshments.

After the castle we walked around the city for a bit. There were restaurants and shops lining the streets.

Heidelberg boarders the River Neckar which leads to the River Rhine. There were many people on the river canoeing and boating. There are also several bridges that go over the river. We stopped on one that seemed to be for pedestrians only. The view was spectacular!

We ended our trip with dinner at a restaurant called Mohr. This restaurant had a menu that was numbered with different toppings and you could pick whether you wanted those toppings on a burger or on schnitzel. We had burgers and they were pretty good. I would eat there again.

We only spent an afternoon in Heidelberg but had a great time! It would definitely be worth visiting again.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wednesdays and Puppies

Chloe takes up a lot of time but she's super cute! She spent a lot of time outside with us yesterday cleaning up around our building. 

Below is a really pretty rose from this organic market we went to yesterday called Domäne Mechtildshausen. It is an organic farm. There is a meat store, bakery, and produce store as well as a restaurant and a café. The stores form a square with a courtyard in the middle which is where this rose was. We just took a look around.  I'll definitely be going back soon!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

PCSing: Household Goods

Haven't posted in a few days because.... our household goods are here! It's pretty exciting! We spent all weekend finishing unpacking and putting everything in it's proper spot and our apartment still isn't completely put together. Here are some tips for shipping and receiving your HHG.
  • Ship your HHG as early as you can. It is really hard waiting for your stuff to arrive once you get to your new location. you'll end up buying stuff just because you need it. It'll be a lot easier to go without for a little bit before you leave rather than keeping everything until the last minute and suffering for over a month after you arrive.  
  • If you have room in your weight limit for it, bring it! Since we PCSed overseas we thought we wouldn't be able to use a lot of stuff such as some small kitchen appliances, yard equipment, some tools, etc. We ended up having to buy a lot of this stuff. Don't leave it behind if you can bring it with you, chances are you'll have plenty of storage for it if you end up not being able to use it. We have two whole storage rooms here.
  • If they took it apart, make them put it back together! The movers are supposed to assemble anything they took apart to ship such as desks, bed frames, etc. However, they won't do it. They typically have more than one delivery a day and they do as little as possible at each one to save time. At least that's how I see it, it could be that they are lazy but I'm being nice. You can bribe them with food and soda. Especially here, the Germans love coca-cola from the states since it's a little bit different.
  • Make them take the boxes! Just as they are supposed to put everything back together, they are supposed to unpack the boxes and take them away. They won't. My husband was inside directing them on where to put the boxes. While he was doing this, he also unpacked them. Just put all of our stuff in a pile and stacked the boxes separate so they would take them away. He didn't have time to get them all unpacked but now instead of having 50 boxes to recycle, we have about 10. The movers also say they will come back to pick them up if you call them. However, my friend did this and they stood her up at least 3 times. 
  • Keep calm! If you're like me and hate clutter, try your best to stay calm, it doesn't all need to get put away on the same day that it arrives. Relax and be happy that you finally have your stuff!
Happy shipping!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

PCSing: Shipping a Car Overseas

Shipping a car overseas is kind of annoying but totally worth it in the end. We shipped our car from Baltimore to Germany. We dropped it off at the dock on the 26th of March and it arrived here on the 6th of May.

All you need to ship the car through the military is your orders, registration, title, and your passport. If you don't have a title you need a letter from the lien holder stating that you are allowed to take your car overseas. It also has to be cleaned thoroughly inside and out, with nothing in any of the compartments.

Picking up the car seemed to be more of a hassle. The website for our military installation does not give good instructions on what to bring with you to get the car registered or pick it up. You need proof of insurance (unless you have USAA which can be looked up), drivers license, stateside registration, and all the paperwork that they give to you when you drop it off. Looking back I don't know why I didn't just bring absolutely everything with me the first time, but you live and you learn. 

I am so excited to finally have our car. I wish we had been able to ship it earlier so that we would have had it earlier. I'll definitely try to do that next time.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Best Friends

It feels like it's been more than 5 days since we got Chloe.  She is doing great! She does some really silly puppy stuff which is entertaining, like barking at herself in the mirror. She is also getting better at sleeping at night,  although we still have to get up about 3 times to take her outside.  Cooper is getting along with her pretty well and the two of them are really cute together. I'm excited for Chloe to get a little bigger so they can play together. I think it's the start of a beautiful friendship!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

That Puppy Life

So....We must be crazy because we got a new puppy.  She is about 7 weeks old and absolutely adorable. We named her Chloe.  She is a essentially a mutt but specifically german shepherd, collie, lab, husky,  and pointer mix. She should be about Coopers size when she's done growing if not a little bit smaller. 
Cooper is getting along with her just fine. At first he was a little slobbery and stressed about it but he showed no aggression towards her and will even let her lay on his bed with him. As long as she doesn't touch his toys. We put the toys away for now until they get used to each other. She's still a little too small to let them play together and Cooper doesn't understand the size difference.
She cries a lot at night. She loves her bed but hates being locked in her cage. So it's taking us all a little time to adjust.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Travel To: Wiesbaden, Germany

I am going to start a series of posts on places we have traveled or explored while living in Europe, called "Travel To". This first post is going to be about the town we live in, Wiesbaden, Germany.

Wiesbaden is located along the Rhine river in middle-western Germany. You could say it is an affluent community. There are a lot of upscale shopping centers and restaurants. But there is also a lot of beautiful architecture.

It is hard not to enjoy the many parks Wiesbaden has to offer as well as the markets that take place in the plazas on a regular basis.

There is also an extensive night life in Wiesbaden, but drinks can get pricey (for us at least), at about nine Euro for mixed drinks. Beer is cheaper though, this is Germany.