Thursday, March 24, 2016

Drew's Reenlistment Ceremony

If you've been reading my blog for a bit, you know that my husband Drew is in the U.S. Army. (For those unaware, surprise!) With this move coming up I've been slacking on blogging, but I just had to be the proud wife that I am and write a post about my amazing husband.

Drew's been in the Army for 7 years, for those who don't know him, being in the military has been something he has always wanted to do. He lost 165 lbs so he could join the Army! On Monday, he reenlisted for another 6 years!

Since Drew is changing jobs, he wanted one last hoo-rah with his battery. Since he has spent 7 years as an artilleryman he wanted to reenlist with the cross cannons and because we don't know if we will ever come back to Germany (I'm crossing my fingers for one day) he thought it would be a great idea to do it on the field with the iconic Grafenwoehr Tower behind it.

When we drove up the field he was so happy to see how things looked. He was even able to get his favorite Lieutenant to administer his oath of reenlistment. Unfortunately, Drew had to wait 2 months for this to happen, due to scheduling conflicts and the constant training (gotta love the Army, it never stops). But in the end it all worked out for the best.

I asked Paige if she would take pictures, (I swear I'm not sure what I'll do without her! ) of course she took a video of the day, she's been working on a piece of artwork for us, as a memorabilia from our trip to Kotor, you'll get to see it (and Bravo) in her video.

It's hard to believe that when this contract is over, Drew will have been in the military for 13 years! Time is flying by. I can't wait to see what our next adventure brings! 

**Photo Credit; Paige Ramsey, to see the full Gallery: Click Here

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Bolesławiec, Round Three

Last weekend on a spur of the moment trip, Drew and I decided to head to Bolesławiec, Poland for Pottery! On my last trip, I brought home pottery to cook with and we fell in love with how easy it was to clean. Since we are leaving soon, I knew it was now or never!
Friday, after work we made the 3.5 hour trip to Bolesławiec. We thought about just leaving early Friday morning, but driving 7 hours in one day was just way to much. If you're within driving distance, I'd suggest staying the night on Friday and having all Saturday to go shopping since all the shops are open on Saturday. 
I convinced Drew to come with me, on the condition that he would get to eat Perogies! Our first night we ate at Opalkowa Chaata, the parking lot was empty, except for a tour bus, so of course the restaurant was full! Drew and I got an amazing bacon and cheese platter, potato periogies and a chicken and fries dish to share. It really hit the spot, and we were to head to the hotel. 

We stayed at Pensjonat U Janiny, if you read my last post on pottery shopping you would know that it's where I stayed back in November on my girls trip.  It's nothing fancy, but it really does have everything you need. The staff is very friendly, and Drew even commented about how homey it feels. It is about 5 minutes away from the shops which included Parking, WiFi and Breakfast. It was only $35 for the night! They even have rooms for 3 and 4 people!

After filling up on breakfast and checking out of the hotel, we headed to my favorite store, Manufaktura Outlet. It's my favorite because it is an outlet and I can't walk away from a great deal! 
Here I found some cute souvenirs to bring back for friends and we even found more plates for our dinner set! I have to warn you that this place is a hit or miss sometimes. The first time we went in 2015, the rooms were full, things were 50-70% off, the last time I went the rooms were pretty empty. This time, I was lucky again and the rooms were pretty full, but not too full that I couldn't find anything. I have more luck in the 30% off room. Everyone loves a discount right?

Right next door is Henry's pottery shop. I just love the look of this shop. Especially because they have pottery just sitting outside!

I'm pretty sure the pieces outside are on the crappier end, but I just love the look! I've gotten great dishes from this place. They offer the best unique patterns, even though all the pottery tends to blend in at the end of the day. This tie around I didn't find anything I wanted, but it was still nice to check things out.

After price matching, we decided to head to Andy's. I told myself that this time we HAD to go to Andy's. I've heard such great things about Andy's, a lot of wives speak highly of the pottery from this store, but every time we've gone, it's been closed. 

Andy's has come to the PX here, but the prices are ridiculous, they are almost triple what you would pay in Boleslasweic! Andy's was not what I was expecting. From what I heard about it, I expected a bigger shop, but it was tiny and the shop is in the middle of no where. It was the first shop where we ran into multiple groups of American's. I've heard horror stories about people fighting each other for pieces, so I geared up for a fight! 

Luckily there was none of that. There were so many pieces I fell in love with. I know why a lot of spouses speak so highly of this place. If you're looking for unique pieces, definitely check this place out. I got my large serving platter set. When Andy's come to visit last year, I fell in love with the set and wanted one, but the prices were insane. Come to find out Andy's is the only place that makes them!

 I sat with the piece for a long time, trying to figure out if it was worth spending all that money. The pieces are priced individually. After a while, I finally said screw it, it's my last time in Poland. I'm buying it. I must have said it out loud because one of the ladies next to me started giggling. 

Another store we headed to was Sklep Shop. It's one of the stores next to the round-a-bout. They have a discount store on the outside.

 Prices are great. I got an large serving platter. (Thanksgiving is going to be huge this year!) This store also sold Boleslawiec wine. I got some last time I was in town and gave some to a friend. They said it was really sweet. So if you're not into sweet wines. I wouldn't suggest picking it up. I like this store because all the pieces are arranged by patterns, but I noticed it was one of the more expensive stores. 

The last few stores we went to, were the first row of stores you see when you're heading into town. We saved those for last. There are about 5 stores just on that strip. 

I found some pretty cute pieces. We checked things out in all the stores before doing a second loop and figuring out what pieces I liked. It's a little over whelming, if you find a piece you like, take a picture of it, with the price tag, then make sure you take a picture of the store. Some places have similar pieces, others don't. The patterns are the same. But like I said, things get over whelming and everything seems to mesh. 

One cool thing that happened was, when I was browsing and waiting to pay, someone who follows my blog stopped me and recognized me and said she liked and read my blog. I tend to forget that people actually read this. Haha. To have it happen in Poland, made my day! It was great to meet you, Cindy from Ansbach!  :D

By 2:30pm, both Drew and I were done shopping. The trunk was full and I was tired of looking at pottery. Haha I picked up a piece for my friend (Polish Pottery makes perfect wedding gifts!) and we headed off to Kaufland (grocery store) to pick up frozen Preogies. In November I brought some home for Drew and he loved it, we decided to do it again this time. It was the perfect quick last trip to Poland. I'm really going to miss being driving distance to Boleslawiec, let's hope the movers don't break my pieces!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Rauher Kulm, Neustadt am Kulm

Drew and I have been talking about hiking up to the tower pretty much since we got here, but for one reason or another, we never made the trip. So, on a beautiful Saturday Drew decided to take Rylie for hike to the top. I got him to guest post! I love the fact that he's so supportive and willing to contribute to my blog. #besthusbandever

Rauher Kulm is located only 5 km away from Kemnath (about 20 minutes north of Grafenwöhr). Technically, Rauher Kulm is the mountain (well, if you want to get specific; it's a 21 million year old extinct volcano), but when people talk about Rauher Kulm they are referring to the tower that stands atop the mountain.

I put in an address close to the base of the tail. At the base, there are multiple road-side parking spots. From the parking area, it is about a 20 minute hike up to the top of the mountain. Just follow the trail markings, and you will find the path leading up. Once you get to the top, there is actually the ruins of an old fort!

Burgstall Rauher is the name of the remnants of the medieval fort built in 1112, whose tower was part of the Margravial signal system established in 1498. Interestingly enough, the fort on Rauher Kulm was besieged by Waldeck in 1554. There really isn't much to see any more. It is really just a few walls standing no higher than 4 feet. However, it does make a good place to stop off, take a breather, and enjoy the view. I used it as an opportunity to take some pictures of Rylie, since I know Teanna love pictures of her! Haha.

Throughout history, the Rauher Kulm has had several towers sitting atop the mountain. The first wooden tower was built in 1807 and housed a movable
gilded sun, giving the tower it's nickname; the "Sun Temple". By 1895 the "Sun Temple" was dilapidated and replaced with a new tower which stood until 1937, when it was replaced by a tower 6 meters higher.

Due to weather conditions, the tower's platform had to be replaced, and in 1962 a new steel framed tower with wood paneling was built. In 1984, an arsonist set fire to the tower, and it burnt down in a half hour. To this day, the arsonist has not been caught.

The tower that stands today was built in 1987, is 110 steps to the top where you can get a complete 180 degree view of the whole area. From the top, you can see Waldeck, Kemnath, and on a clear day you can even see Eschenbach and as far as Netzaberg! The view from the top is amazing! It is well worth the trip up the stairs.

GPS Address: Am Sporrer 20
95514, Neustadt am Kulm
Cost: FREE!
Open All year round, During winter months it is an icy path

Friday, March 04, 2016

Burgruine Kallmünz

After leaving Burglengenfeld we decided to head over to the Kallmunz ruins. Kallmunz and Burglengeneld are only 11 km apart from one another. Just in case you want to combine the two runs on a day trip. I didn't have an address for the Kallmunz ruins, so we put in an address that would bring us to the town, then followed signs for "Burg". Burg in German means castle.

We ended up parking in font of the Apotheke. I saw a sign that said "Zur Burg". I've seen enough ruins to know that means the ruins are close by. On the outside of the Apotheke there is even a sign that points to the entrance. I guess they get asked a lot about where they are.

Kallmünz is located in a dominant position over the confluence of the Naab and Vils. The relatively large area bounded on two sides by cliffs, the third, the plateau facing side protects a now relatively shallow moat with kennel and wall towers, consisting of rubble and were added until the 15th century. The impressive city walls is almost completely preserved.

To my dismay, to get up the ruins, you have to climb, stairs! I've had my share of stairs. If I never see another staircase again I will be a happy camper. But it's Europe so stairs are everywhere.
The stairs were a little dangerous, there were guard rails,  but the stairs were so big that they weren't helpful.

When we finally made it to the top I was disappointed to see that majority of the ruins were closed off! We tried to see as much as possible. Rylie even got underneath the gate because she wanted to explore more. 

We debated hopping the fence, but there were so many people there, I'm sure one of them would've told on us. There were so many people at the ruins. It's been the busiest ruin we've visited. To be honest, I enjoy visiting castle ruins when hardly anyone is there. I get a better feel for them.

We explored as much as we could before calling it a day. I really wish the rest of the ruins and the tower was open. But my guess is that it's closed for the winter.
On the bright side, we got to see another ruin. It's always a good day when we go out exploring!

GPS: Burg Kallmunz, 93183 Kallmünz
Free Parking
Pet Friendly