In June, my parents arrived for a visit, so July was full of activity together with them. The kids aren't big on driving around a lot, and we didn't have a vehicle large enough to hold all of us all of the time, so I spent a good bit of time alone with my folks. We visited a beautiful garden called Landhaus Ettenbühl one morning. We arrived there around 10:00 and then walked the grounds. Many of the roses were already done blooming in the older garden, but the grounds themselves were really beautiful. The new garden had LOTS of flowers in bloom. It seemed to me from a sign I read, that this side of the garden was watered whereas the other side was maybe left to do its own thing a bit more. After we were done touring the garden (which took almost two hours!) we stopped at the tea house by the gate for a snack. My Mom and I had scones with clotted cream and tea, while my Dad tried out the bread pudding. I think we were all satisfied with this snack. Also, we felt very fancy. :) After the Rose Garden we went over to Badenweiler to see the remnants of a castle there. My Dad and I walked up to the top, while Mom enjoyed the view from a bench. After this castle, we were going to see another castle, but we were all tired and hungry by this point as our only "meal" was at the Rose Garden!
We had a couple of days of rest, and then on Sunday after church we went on the Kanderthalbahn, which is Kandern's steam engine. The ride goes from Kandern to a place called Haltingen, and then returns. It was a neat little experience, and even nicer once the clouds started rolling in and kept the train a little cooler. :) Unfortunately, Doug wasn't feeling well that afternoon and so he stayed home and slept all afternoon. Thankfully, by evening he was feeling better because he and I had a birthday party to go to!
We stayed home on Monday and then Tuesday Mom, Dad and I took a day trip through the Alsace Region of France. We were never more than an hour and half from home, but it felt like a different world! We drove through vineyards, as the Alsace Region is known for it's wine, and visited a number of cute little villages - Eguisheim, Colmar, Riquewihr, Ribeauville, Kaysersberg, Munster. A favourite was Riquewihr, where my Dad bought the three of us tickets to ride a little trolley and learn a little of the history of the village. The best part was being taken up through the vineyards and taking in the view of the valley and vineyards below us. It was breathtaking! Another highlight was parking illegally (without realizing it!) in Kaysersberg and just wandering around for a bit. It was another quaint little town with a castle on the hillside across from us. It was SUCH a great day!
We stayed home to recover for a couple of days, and then headed back in the same general direction to the Chateau du Haut-Königsburg. This castle has been restored and it also is furnished the way it was in its' prime. Beautiful castle, and we'd definitely recommend people visit it if they're in the area.
Doug and I snuck away for a date night the next evening. We took the train into Freiburg and spent a little time walking the streets before having dinner together.
The following week we headed out to Adelboden, Switzerland where we stayed at the Janz Team Chalet for two nights. We enjoyed doing a puzzle, walking into town and also hiking to the Engstligenalp Waterfall. We had perfect weather while we were there! On the way home, we stopped in Interlaken to eat our picnic lunch. We'd hoped to find a spot on the lake, but we didn't, so we ate in a little park where we could enjoy what we think was Jungfrau, and watched sky divers land in the field in front of us.
The day after we arrived home we headed out to the Rüttehof for breakfast. We enjoyed a great buffet with scrambled eggs, bacon, breakfast sausage (not typical German breakfast fare at all), müsli, fruit salad, fresh fruit, a variety of cereals, antipasto platter, cheeses, meats, fresh breads and assorted jams that were made in the Black Forest. It was delicious!
Mixed in with these activities, Keegan also attended the birthday parties of two friends, we did a little shopping in Kandern, had ice cream at the Eis Cafe, and took numerous little walks in our neighbourhood.
My parents left on July 23 in the morning and on the 24th in the evening Doug's cousin and his family arrived to spend a couple of days with us! We showed them a little bit of Kandern, did some shopping, had some ice cream at the Eis Cafe (you can never have enough!), and everyone except Nadia and I went up to Hochblauen. We enjoyed pizza and a movie together on Friday night (our weekly tradition) and then on Saturday morning had a nice big breakfast together before saying farewell to them, too.
We have been here for almost one year already, and have had so many visitors - we feel incredibly blessed that people have taken the time out of their travel schedules to come and see us, and to make us their destination! Since August we've had six sets of visitors! Thank you to each of you for coming to see us! It is always good to get a little taste of home.