European Adventures: Jennifer Edition

The long awaited, much-anticipated visit from my friend Jennifer!  Our first event was attending a tea party for the church ladies, a “hello/goodbye” event, as military congregations are very fluid. Here, Jennifer met my family away from home, as well as some of the most amazing prayer warriors I’ve ever known (though some of those warriors left Ktown before this event). Apparently, I was too caught up in all the love and support of my sisters to get any pictures.

Ynbztrsj6kgxypdx4yctk66ca0zdoe8tOur first trip: Paris! We took the train, stayed in a cute hotel, found an amazing chocolate shop, ate at an adorable café, and used the Hop on/ Hop off bus to see the whole city. A whirlwind, but about all the kids could handle. Dietrich really liked seeing the Eiffel Tower. It was on this trip, we learned our potential for disaster and began keeping count of incident free days. On the train from central Paris to our hotel, Jennifer thought the seat was down, but it was not, and she slid right onto the floor of the train, laughing all the way down. The rest of the train was silent, yet we were cracking up. On the escalator ride back up to the street, Dietrich ran ahead of me while still connected to me via monkey leash. The result was him falling on the escalator, me doing the splits and falling as well, Jennifer having to push me back into an upright position with her leg because there was nothing to grab, and the escalator shredding part of her small rolling suitcase. I ended up with the most scratches/scrapes from this (which I would prefer to my children being harmed). Madilynn was completely unscathed, thank God (I was praying a lot during this fall). Dietrich learned a very hard lesson about not running away.

Gzi5boy66q0tg4gpw648mmk0acdpja0wOur next stop: Switzerland. Jen had a Eurail Pass, which included Switzerland. I searched for something fun to do and found a chocolate/cheese train. In addition to seeing the snowcapped Alps, we saw how they make cheese and chocolate. We ate fondue in the village of Gruyeres. This old village is beautiful. Just behind the restaurant, a small courtyard area with what seemed to be part of the city walls provided lovely views. The chocolate factory tour ends with being able to sample almost every kind of chocolate made there, before giving you the opportunity to purchase in the gift shop. Jennifer spent about a week on her own in Italy and Greece. When she returned, she added time to her trip and ended up staying in Europe for most of May.

Pysd0kvfr4oz3lz7gybr8q7un1w3s0dzWe planned the Salzburg trip before she extended her time, otherwise, we would have stayed in Salzburg at least another day, as the city is so rich with beauty. We took a walking tour of Salzburg as well as doing the Sound of Music tour. I think the Mirabelle Gardens (where much of Do-Re-Mi was filmed) was my favorite part of the tour. The whole city is amazing to see, then watching the movie and saying “I’ve been there and there and there” is a really exciting feeling. The city is also Mozart’s claimed home. Salzburg was originally founded as a church-state (independent from Austria) and has 42 Roman Catholic churches! The buildings, cemeteries, and sculptures are incredible architectural works.
Jennifer and I took a day trip to Dachau Concentration camp. Most of our time that day was spent in the car.
W8gbtgwb8j7veorvxho0tkmhvbjckcfb7e listened to Acappella and Dennis Jernigan and other music (incredibly eclectic) from both of our playlists. We enjoyed making fun of traffic signs (Deer Crossing), playing the English game (finding English words on signs, trucks, buildings, etc.), and just immersing ourselves in our friendship.
We spent the last few days of Jennifer’s stay just hanging out. She said she enjoyed just seeing what my everyday life is like. I enjoyed having her be a part of it. We went for Flammkuchen and played at Yabadoo, she stayed in the car with the kids while I went in the commissary (talk about a vacation, grocery shopping in peace!), watched movies, and otherwise “hung out” at home.
Jennifer has had a really tough couple of years and this trip was a new beginning for her. I am a very proud friend, rejoicing in her ability to
overcome. Jennifer, I am so glad you were able to spend this time with me, meet my husband and kids, and experience a full month of joy. I loved being a part of your healing, watching your mourning turn to dancing, sorrow to joy, tears to laughter.  Perhaps our next adventure
together will be stateside. Until then, keep moving forward.

You might see some of the scenes from our adventures used throughout this blog. The beauty of God’s creation is evident in many scenes throughout the European countrysides.