We departed State College, PA at April 30th at 2:45 pm and arrived at the Munich airport at 7:40 am May 1st. Thus we arrived in Munich with little sleep and immediately drove to and checked into our hotel in suburban Munich. Great location - we could actually see the Alps off in the distance from our room! There is a nice wooded walking path with a little stream which we enjoyed after all the hustle/bustle of flying, landing in the immense airport, and then driving on the autobahn to our hotel! They drive really FAST in Germany!
We left the Munich area quickly to drive northwest to the Rhineland region of Germany, where my BEIHOFFER, MUELLER, AND SCHMIDT ancestors lived prior to coming to the US in the 1800's. They lived in tiny towns in very rural areas near the now bustling city of Karsrhue.
Our first stop was our hotel outside the small medieval town of Ahrweiler. The Hotel Zum Zanger is surrounded by vineyards and across the street is the River Ahr- a beautiful creek winding through the valley and into the nearby town of Ahrweiler. The surroundings were beautiful, tranquil and breathtaking! Vineyards climb both sides of the roadway as the area is well known for its wines. The river attracts wildlife of all sorts - I loved the bird song serenades we heard there. The friendly and gracious hostess could understand and speak enough English for us to communicate successfully on the important things! Her husband was the chef, and a very excellent one, at that. There is a restaurant attached and the couple resides within the building.
Ahrweiler is a beautiful little medieval town surrounded, in part, by a stone wall that was common practice in the 1200's. The town has grown beyond the walls, but retains the historic feel of days long past. Inside the city wall, most streets are for pedestrians only and much of the city is a shopping mecca for tourists, older homes and historic buildings, plus the gorgeous Church of St. Laurentius, built in 1269.
The Church of St. Laurentius, within the city walls, was built in 1269 and is celebrating the 740th anniversary of it's existence. It's a magnificent example of the architecture of the time, with some newer windows, possibly damaged during the war. Here are a few photos to show the expansive beauty and grandeur of this church.
Outside the city walls, the rest of the town is still quite old, for the most part. However, the new wine industry has changed this area to a thriving community. Newer homes are springing up, sometimes right in the midst of the vineyards. The vines are everywhere, stair stepping up steep hills and remaining stately in the valleys of Bavaria.
To Be Continued: resuming next time with our adventures from May 3-6.