Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

I have a wonderful husband who happens to be an awesome Dad! The kids really look up to him and he is a great role model to say the least. He has patience, is fair, has a real knack for explaining things, loves to spend time with them, and gets really silly with them!!

This year we surprised our favorite Dad with a Rhein River Father's Day tour. The trip began at the 11th century Burg Reichenstein which is one of the oldest castles on the Rhein.

The castle is not normally open on Sundays, but it was for us today! Our tour group had the entire castle to ourselves which was really nice. Our guide was full of information and had a great sense of humor.

There were 70 castles or fortresses on this section of the Rhein River (one every mile). They controlled the passage of boats along the river by charging a fee to pass the waters in their one boat could potentially pay up to 70 times!! They ships would lose 1/3 of their cargo due to the tolls they were charged.

Traditional German breakfast in the courtyard of the castle.

There were over 1,000 antlers on display in the castle. The collection was the unusual shaped ones because they were more interesting. Have you ever seen antlers like this?

This happens when there is no testosterone in a male which drives the growth of the antlers.
Instead of growing properly they twist upon themselves eventually covering the eyes!

After the castle tour, we visited a wine and Christmas store that was near the dock for our boat. This area has MANY vineyards and is a leading producer in German wine. They gave out samples of Eiswein which is wine produced from grapes that are frozen and shriveled up at the end of the season. These grapes make the best we were told. I must say that we don't drink so this wasn't too exciting for us, but we did try a sample. It was very good....we were both surprised!

We boarded a ship and enjoyed a 2 hour cruise through the most scenic part of the Rhein valley.

The views were beautiful!! There are so many castles in this area and we had the best view from the river without a doubt. There are some that we're planning to go back and tour.

Here is a sampling of some of the castles we saw today:

Check out this one!

Do you see something dangling??

Not a place I'd like to be "hung out" in!

Once ashore, we took a bus drive along the beautiful shore to our restaurant.

We enjoyed a special Fathers Day feast. We had broccoli and cheese soup, salad, pork steak with a pepper gravy, rice, and dessert which included a scoop of rasberry eis, whip cream, and fresh fruit. The kids ate schnitzel, french fries, and the same dessert. It was very good and we were VERY hungry!

After lunch, we visited Rudesheim. This little town in full of awesome restaurants!

Our tour included tickets to ride the cable car up to the top of the mountain to enjoy more awesome views. This was a nice surprise because I didn't realize these were included! The ride took us over more vineyards up to the top. We were not disappointed!

We had a wonderful time as a family. My husband loves going to new places and was very excited about the entire trip. The kids had a good time keeping today a secret.....although I wasn't sure it was actually going to remain a secret at times. This was the first year we have done something like this on Father's Day. My husband said it would be fun to start a tradition of taking a trip on Father/Mother's Day so we may have started a new tradition for our family today!

My husband took a picture of this flower today. I had to share it because I thought it turned out so pretty.

We love you very much and are so proud that you are our Dad!!


Jacque said...

Thanks Babe! It was a lot of fun and I can't wait to do it again!

The Mom said...

WoW! I am really jealous! There is nothing that beautiful in south Texas! What a vacation!

Proud Mom said...

Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL photos of what must have been a marvelous day that I think the kids and dad will remember forever! Those castles are incredible! I'm going to put that on our list of places in the world we want to visit! (And you are right, that flower shot is gorgeous!)

Andrea said...

Very cool! I will keep that in mind when I am traveling with family next month.

So, are you a wine convert now? If so, we will have to get together and have some. I love it. Even Allen started liking wine after he lived in Crete.

I'm glad that you had a great day.

Jennifer said...

They offer these trips a couple of times a month. It would be great for your visitors! I was a little leary being with a tour group with the kids, but it worked out really well!

Lisa said...

Wow!! Those are beautiful pictures! We may have an opportunity to move to Brussels, and your photos could help me convince DH there we need to go!

Jennifer said...

If you have the chance GO! We have been here for 1 1/2 years and it is going too quickly. You can easily visit so many countries on those 4 day weekends or block leaves. We LOVE it fact we are already working on ways to stay!