Hallo, Germany! Where's the sun?

January is almost over and I am happy to report that our family has been here for almost five months! Wow, that was fast. In December, we received a lot of snow with the rest of Europe. Now that it is almost February, the weather has been unusually Spring-like. The December snow is long gone, causing many of the rivers to swell and flood. We have had many days in the 40s (Fahrenheit), but the sun is hiding. Since late November, the days have been dark and cloudy. The picture of my husband (above) was taken a couple weeks ago at around 2:30 in the afternoon - we considered that a sunny day! We just try to stay as active as we can despite the overwhelming feeling like we should take a nap. I try to remind myself that at home (South Dakota) it is in sub-zero temperatures with lots of snow on the ground.
We are feeling a bit nostalgic lately, as we can already look back on the past months and feel really great about the things we've seen and done. There is still so much to do!

The above picture is of my son, Alexander, in Frankfurt. We love this picture of him because it shows his personality - very silly at times - Mr. Giggles. His most memorable experience was at BMW World in Munich.

My oldest son, Aaron, is head over heels in love with German public transportation. We do not have a car, so we rely on the buses and trains to get us places. Aaron can tell you from memory the bus routes in Marburg. A boy from South Dakota, Aaron has enjoyed the Deutsche Bahn. He was thrilled when we went to London at the beginning of January and got to ride the London Tube AND a double decker bus! We heard much analysis of how the London Tube was very different from the Munich subway (he prefers Munich's underground).

Since our arrival, we have traveled down Germany's Romantic Road, visiting fabulous towns along the way - Wuerzburg, Rothenberg, Dinkelsbuhl and Fuessen. We took a train to Munich with family, enjoyed Frankfurt's sights like the Goethe museum and the Dom, and even took a train down to Salzburg, Austria- which is so lovely in Winter.

Wuerzburg shopping area (above)
Rothenburg (below)

Neuschwanstein the Fairy Tale Castle (above)
Salzburg, Austria (below)

We are planning out our time this Spring, knowing that we have to choose the places we visit wisely. Nuremberg, Berlin, Heidelberg and Koblenz are on our list this Spring. We have received many suggestions - thank you! Take care, stay warm and rest assured, Spring is around the corner. I can hear our family and friends at home saying, "Yeah, right, dream on!"

Hello from Germany!

This is the organized sister, Diedre, writing to you from Deutschland!

This is the first post in our series, Impressions from the Heart of Europe. I am living in Germany until Summer 2011 with my husband, Joel, and our two boys, Aaron and Alexander. We were brought here by a Fulbright scholarship, awarded to Joel to teach courses in American Studies at the University of Marburg. Marburg (pictured below) is located north of Frankfurt, in the west central German state of Hesse.

We arrived in Marburg about one month ago, with just a few suitcases to our names. In that time, we've managed to get settled into our modest apartment, start our boys in German school and figure out where to find the basics for everyday life.

Marburg is a beautiful place, featuring a towering castle atop the city's biggest hill. There is a thriving university, stunning churches and an Altstadt (old city) well-preserved. Walking and biking paths abound here, in and around the city, home to many great hills and deep forests.

One morning not long after we arrived, Joel and I took a stroll up into the Altstadt before the stores had opened. It was a foggy start to the day, the air still and quiet. Up and up we walked, through narrow alleys that seemed to hug you with their rich history. At the top of our climb, we found ourselves at the Pfarrkirche (Lutheran Church, see below) that shared with us a panoramic view of Marburg and the neighboring communities. It took our breath away. We are very fortunate to be here.

More pictures from Marburg's Altstadt...

During the upcoming months, I will be traveling throughout Germany and other European destinations yet to be decided, sharing my impressions with you along the way. So far, I have fallen hard for the architecture (of course) and colorful artistic designs found on the outside of homes. This is what all tourists take pictures of when they come to Europe, right? Well, it is what is so strikingly different from where ever we call home.

That's all for now. If you have blog post suggestions, please write to me at spark@letterpresslove.com. I am happy to listen to your ideas and willing to offer my novice, albeit heartfelt, findings.

Until next time!

Goodbye Diedre and Hello Deutschland!

Today Diedre and her family fly to Germany for their 11 month adventure in Marburg. We all held an awesome party at Valerie and Jim's place on Saturday which was a really nice opportunity to visit with them one last time.

We will miss all her, but look forward to her blog posts on the German experience and her European inspiration and finds!