brb, Vilseck

I have to say, I’m already very fond of the German lifestyle.  As Mary put it this weekend, they “really know how to do the outdoors.”  You hike up a mountain, eat at a little restaurant, have a few drinks, then hike back down.  Or in our case, ride a ski lift up to the top, then toboggan down the foothills of the Bavarian Alps (although our new German friend Wolfgang says, “Mountains? No, these are not mountains. These are hills. You haven’t seen anything yet.”), eat at the little local restaurant (potato soup and gluhwein [mulled wine, i.e. god’s greatest gift to mother earth]), then nap on the way home.

     Sidenote/one reason to add to the list of why I am an idiot:  You know how people talk about “The Autobahn”?  This whole time, I was thinking the autobahn. One giant German highway (5+ lanes) on which everyone drives like a maniac to get where they’re going quickquickquick, right?  Well, we asked Wolfgang (one of the teachers at Vilseck, Paula’s, German boyfriend) where, exactly, is the autobahn?  He laughed. Autobahn is just the German word for highway. “Errhhmm, every-vare, heh heh!”  Dumb Americans!

Bahh, I can never go in order when I write; this entry is pure stream-of-consciousness. I’ll attempt to restore some order, ahem:


Elizabeth and I woke up fairly early and wandered into town to look around during the day. (Our days are so short here during the week; we go to school at 7:30am and leave at 3:15ish– we only have a couple hours of misty grayness [not even close to sunlight, so I can’t bring myself to say daytime] in the afternoon before it’s pitch black again. Vitamin D supplements: on my grocery list.)  We walked around the neighborhoods and saw crazy cute houses and lots of dogs (weee!).  We got a phone call from Patty (another teacher at Vilseck Elementary) who wanted to give us her old television (score!).  We told her we were walking around town, and she said, “Oh, great! My husband and I are in town and going to Amberg for a couple hours. We can take you there if you want to walk around and shop, eh?”  So, off to Amberg we went!

Elizabeth's Colaweizen and my WinterBier

our lunch; toast with cheese and cranberry sauce, and two small pizzas-- tomato and mozzarella and salami and cheese

the open square in Amberg on the main shopping street.

so many beautiful bridges in Amberg! This is looking down one of the "alleys" off of the main street. beautiful.

Shopping was a good adventure (did you know the cashiers will cut off the tags for you if you want? so convenient!), but eating was even better.  In Germany (in Europe?) you walk into restaurants and find open seats–often at the same table as other people enjoying meals.  Elizabeth and I chose a long table hoping some interesting Germans would come sit by us, but no one did.  However, we did see many, many dogs!  Outside stores, inside stores, in the pub, in our restaurant…  I did a lot of squealing and pointing (“PUP PUP!”) that day.


We went to Garmisch on Sunday with Paula (teacher), her boyfriend Wolfgang, and Mary.  In the morning we went tobogganing, as I mentioned before, which was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in the snow.  Germans are super serious about sledding; picture Narnia, all downhill, with built-in bumps and ramps. My tailbone is sore today, for real!  You have to steer with your feet out in front of you, and hold on to the toboggan behind you.  It was quite a ride, and we went twice!  What’s crazy is that we only had to drive about an hour and a half out of wet, rainy Vilseck to get to Garmisch where there is 5+ feet of snow.

Skis all lined up

Ready to Toboggan! Can you tell who's who?

Coldest part of the whole day was riding the ski lift up up up. Goggles went on immediately after this photo.

We then went to the snow and ice church about an hour away from where we tobogganed in Garmisch. When we bought our tickets (only 5 euro) and prepared to hike up the big hill to the church, the workers at the window asked if we wanted a shot of Schnapps!

looking up at the church from halfway up the hill

inside the church! actually warmer than you might think; no wind.

ice blocks for pews


me, duckbill hood and all, walking like an Egyptian

On the way home, I took deep breaths when we drove over 100mph on the autobahn while Wolfgang explained and then quizzed us on how to tell which country and city each car is from.  The thing about the autobahn, though, is that everyone follows the rules.  No one drives in the left lane unless they’re passing someone, and no one passes on the right, no matter what.  Paula said that it was easy to learn to drive (fast) in Germany because there’s no weaving in and out of traffic.  Makes sense.

I got home Sunday night around 8:30 to find out that I have two new nieces!  Elisabeth and Alaythea McGraw, two little twins that I love so so much.  There will be two tiny German somethings coming your way!  And I’m keeping my eyes open for small lederhosen for Benjamin. Can you imagine? So cute.

Alright, blogging is hard. Goodnight, goodnight.





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11 responses to “brb, Vilseck

  1. Becca

    omgoodness, insanely jealous. when i went there as a 14 year old i vowed to move there forever, and you are reminding me why. i will be dreaming of your adventures in my german class as we repeat pronunciation constantly back to the professor. Gute nacht, meine Freundin!

    • Becca

      also, i think i may have called you my girlfriend, in a romantic sense. i am not sure how else to say it, though. (meaning we learned was female friend) just wanted to let you know in case you said it to anyone else lol

      • hahaha, who knows. alek said i should use more german, but it’s hard to learn! everyone speaks English, plus i live on an american military base (so everything here is english). i’m gonna start doing this mocha live thing online i think!

  2. Suzanne McGraw

    Really enjoying your blog and all the links! I feel as if I am right there with you (wish I were and soon I will be!)

  3. Lisa Chamberlin

    wow, the church looks amazing!!!! and tobogganing sounds like so much fun! i would be in heaven with all those dogs around. keep up the posts, and glad to hear everything is going well!

    • lisa, i love your comments! and i am totally in heaven with these pups, you have no idea. i feel like most of the ones we’ve seen are HUGE dogs, too, which are my favorite.

      i hope your internship is going well!

  4. I want to toboggan!! what time does it get dark there?

    sounds like you are taking advantage of all the possible experiences offered to you, i’m so proud of you! just make sure you leave something for us to do when we come 😉

    also, i think noell may be changing her mind about coming on the trip!! she is liking the thought of one ling flight to see many places….germany, paris, switzerland, italy…the list goes on and on. yay. love you

    • i’m SURE there will be teachers doing awesome things while you’re here, and everyone is really good about inviting us places. are you guys renting a car while you’re here in Vilseck? (Vilseck is like Kirksville, except wayyy closer to bigger towns. Train is always doable, but sometimes pricey if you’re going somewhere close. Hopefully we’ll just be able to find rides to get around the couple days we’ll be staying here!)

      NOBEL! ohhhh, she could totally do the airbus flight– that was the one i was most nervous about because of how huge the plane is, but it literally felt like i was sitting at home watching television (just on a less comfortable chair with limited leg room). have you found any “cheap” student universe flights yet?

  5. Suzanne McGraw

    Your first package is on its way to you. Let us know when it arrives so we can figure out how long it takes. The guy at the post office gave dad some special boxes–anything we can fit in them and only $12 to send!

  6. Aunt Katy

    Loving your blogs Kait!! Am bumming I am not coming along with Meg and your Mom (and maybe Noell) on the overseas adventure. Love you!


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