Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Burgruine Hohenberneck

The day after Christmas, or boxing day, is usually spent either lounging at home or off shopping. In Germany, December 26th is a Holiday. So of course what else could we do on a beautiful day, but check out castle ruins?Google is such an amazing tool. I wanted to check out a new castle ruin so in Google Maps, I typed in Burgruine, and Burgruine Hohenberneck popped up. Actually a bunch popped up, but Hohenberneck was the one that caught my eye, and the best part about it, it was only 35 minutes away from me! On Google it says that the Ruins are only open until 12:30 pm, by the time we figured out where we had wanted to go, it was already 12:30 pm We decided to take a chance and check it out anyways. Luckily it was open! That the best thing about ruins, they're usually always open. I'm not sure why Google tells you it's closed, It's open every day, unless there is an event going on, but that's only during the summer.When looking up an address for the Castle ruins, I had to put in a nearby resturaunt, since there was no real address for the ruins. Luckily, we parked right next to the entrance of the pathway. (Side note; there is a little parking lot at the entrance, and during the weekday you will have to pay for it.)The hike up to the ruins is pretty easy. Once you get to the top you'll see the Tower Castle, or Alt Berneck. Don't stop there, keep walking! The ruins are located on castle hill in Bas Berneck. There are actually 3 ruins located next to each other. The Hohenberneck, the "Old castle", and the "Tower Castle" or Alt-Berneck.Burgruine Hohenberneck is the furthest away. We checked out the Old Castle on our way to Hohbenberneck, but at the time had no idea which was which! There are of course some signs and information placard at each of the three ruins, however, it is only in German, so they won't help if you can't read German.The Old Castle is a simple ruin consisting of a single structure with a few rooms. Although it looks, today, nothing like it did in it's prime, it is easy to see that the building must have been very beautiful. Interestingly enough, the "Old Castle" is where the Chapel used to be located, and during the height of the castle's reign, was located within the castle's defenses.

Hohenberneck is located in the North. To enter the castle ruins, you have to cross a small wooden bridge that stands where the original drawbridge once stood. The drawbridge itself clearly shows the late Gothic style of the castle. It is probably one of the smallest castle ruins we've ever visited, but it was unique in that the ruins themselves were a little unique. Just by looking at the pictures, you can see how the castle is slightly different than other ruins we have visited. One interesting feature that you can't see in pictures is that in 1506, the castle was fitted with tubular wells. Meaning the castle had running water! This is a very interesting feature, and actually helped to provide some historical records of the castle.In the east, the circular tower was incorporated into the construction of the wall. There are two circular bastions at the sides of the eastern tower, which are all that remains of the former towers in the castle ramparts. The powerful cannon tower in the northwest is popularly known as "the dungeon", but in fact, it never served as a tower dungeon, but was instead incorporated into the base of the wall as a defense structure. The most prominent building on the castle was the "Palas", or residential building. It is worth note that the unequal arrangement of the window and door openings, which corresponded to the taste of medieval nobility. The relative comfort of a castle of the late Middle Ages can be seen today by the beautiful bay window above the entrance on the south side, and the two embedded wall openings on the ground floor, which historians interpret as former fireplaces. The beauty of this castle can still be seen today. In comparison to other Castle Ruins, Hohenberneck is relatively new. The castle period is considered to be mid-15th century.The views of the town are absolutely beautiful. The sun was not cooperating with me when I wanted to take pictures. I was half joking that the sun is only out when I didn't want it to be. Since all the best photo opportunities involved staring the sun in the face, we didn't get as many good pictures as I would have hoped. But at least the sun was out! I got to use my fancy new USF sun glasses! :)
After checking out the ruins, and letting Rylie run off some energy. We headed off to the Tower. There is a seating area, and a stage. I wondered why, after doing some research I found out that during the summer they host open-air concerts!
What an awesome view!

Drew caught Rylie and I taking selfies!
Here's the picture! haha
This is the third ruin we've visited where they hold concerts during the summer. I think it's such a a great idea. I would love to attend an outdoor concert as a castle ruin! Unfortunately, we haven't had the opportunity, yet. One day though. If you ever get the opportunity, make sure this castle ruin is on your list!--Additional Info:GPS Address: Hofer Str. 12, 95460 Bad Berneck in Fichtelgebrige (Address to Hotel, you will see the ruins next to it)Cost: FreePet-FriendlyKid FriendlyParking: Next to the Hotel, pay to park during the week

Best 9 of 2015

I saw this on Instagram and loved the idea! I love Instagram. I think I share more photos on there then I do on Facebook! If you don't already do so, follow me here@tapsx09
From Left to Right, top to bottom, here are my  best 9 photos on Instagram of 2015!

It's been the perfect year for travelling! I can't wait to see what 2016 brings!

Monday, December 28, 2015

SpouseLink Guest Post: Homesick for the Holidays

There is no time of year filled with more family traditions than the holiday season. Years of memories of waking up on Christmas morning and running to the tree to see what Santa has brought you tend to come to the front of your mind. You look forward to big sit-down meals with your parents and siblings by your side, a table laid out with secret recipes passed down by Grandma, Dad carving a crispy golden turkey, younger family members noisily playing with all of the treasures they’ve unwrapped, and continuing the holiday magic in the New Year.
So what are you to do when you’re stationed in another city, state or country, and not close enough to home to experience any of it? On a daily basis, traveling to live in a faraway location may feel like an adventure, but during the holidays, it can make you long for things to be different, closer and more familiar. The trick is to not let your holiday memories keep you from enjoying all of the end-of-year winter activities you have always enjoyed. But how? Here are a few ideas that may help you keep your mind in a happy place:

1) Embrace where you are. Yes, you may be fond of your family holiday memories back home, but there’s no reason why you can’t experience or create a new personal or family tradition of your own where you are right now. Make your current home as festive as usual. Bright, twinkling lights can go a long way in lifting your mood. So can the scents of gingerbread, cinnamon sticks and sugar cookies baking in the oven… or the fresh, inviting scent of pine trees. You can also look around you to see what other traditions are happening in your area. Not only will you get a unique glimpse of the way others celebrate the holidays, you may also be inspired to incorporate those activities into your own traditions.

2) Plan out your winter days. Find out what’s going on in your area and be a part of it. Are there local tree lighting ceremonies? Fireworks displays? Caroling? Winter sports? Holiday museum tours? Theatre performances? Exercise classes? Walks in the woods? Find out and put those fun events on your calendar. Having activities to look forward to helps take your mind off of what you are not doing. It also keeps you active -- mentally, emotionally and physically. After the holidays, you can even schedule a mental-break day for yourself. A great way to start fresh in the New Year is to visit a spa in January for a massage that will alleviate the stress of the preceding one. Or, indulge in some other special activity that you and your family can look back on in the years to come.

3) Remember that everything is temporary. That is, unless you choose to make it your new normal. While you may be away from home now, there will be a day when you won’t be. You may even have friends who would love to be where you are right now, instead of “stuck” in their usual routines. So embrace the joy of the season and be part of it. It will all be over before you know it, and you don’t want to find yourself wishing you had spent your time differently. Also, don’t forget: Focusing on what you’re doing here and now will give you something to share with others in the future.

Final thought: Don’t be a stranger. You may not be at home, but you can still stay connected to everyone else who is. If you can’t be with your family for the holidays, bring them to you through apps like Skype that can make it feel like they’re just next door. Phone calls, emails, greeting cards, videos posted online, and the like can have the same effect. So when the blues start creeping in, that’s your cue to start calling, writing and posting. Focus on the fun, not the distance, and you’ll get by without a hitch.

"This post was provided by SpouseLink. SpouseLink is a free website for Military Spouses that was created to support, inform and inspire users with a variety of content–anything from pop culture to important Military information. SpouseLink.org was created by AAFMAA, a non-profit, membership association that supports the American Armed Forces community with affordable insurance and widow survivor assistance services."By Cath

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Rothenburg o.d. Tauber, Germany

Messina, Italy

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas! It has been a nice day at home with my little family. I made a Prime Rib Roast with mashed potatoes, green beans, and bok choy! 

It's been a quite Christmas at home, but some times those are the best ones.

No big travel plans for this weekend. But no fear, New Years is right around the corner!

Merry Christmas!
Love the Sidles

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Ansbach Weihnachtsmarkt

On our way to Rothenburg, we stopped of to check out the Ansbach Christmas Market. Ansbach is located about 40 km South West of Nuremberg. Since the 1800's the Ansbacher Christmas market has been held annually during the festive season. From 1836 they only allowed local merchants to sell items at the market, they mainly sold Franconian products like Christmas cakes, toys, nativity figurines and ornaments, books, pictures, nuts, apples and mulled wine. 

Since 1983, the Christmas market has found its location on the Martin-Luther-Platz between the two churches, and in 2009 it was extended through the Montgelas Square.

I found parking at the Altzplatz Parking Garage (Am Mühlbach 2, 91522 Ansbach), since we have an SUV I like to know where to park. This parking garage is a 5-minute walk from the Market.

We arrived early on Sunday morning and there were next to no people there. The Christmas Market has a wide range of arts and crafts, Christmas decorations, candles, and winter accessories. Drew was even able to find mitten/gloves for himself!

The best part about the market was that we were able to find Gluhbeir again! We've only been able to find it at one other place, the Wildenreuth Christmas Market

In the center of the market is a giant Christmas Pyramid, on top of a Gluhwein station. It was an adorable place, and it seemed to be where everyone wanted to hang out. Throughout the market there are also fireplaces/ fire pits that contribute to the cozy atmosphere.

I really liked the feel of this Christmas Market, it wasn't as big as Nuremberg, but not as small as Weiden. I think it was a good mix of both.

The Christmas Market is even perfect for Children. They have a little play area, that has a curling rink, a Wagon Train and Carousel for them to play with.

Even though we didn't stay for very long, we left the Ansbach Christmas Market feeling very happy. I would suggest checking out this Market!