Monday, June 13, 2011

Where Did We Leave Off?

Ahh, yes, we finished our weekend at Legoland, and our family headed off towards a week on our own in southern Germany.  On our way there, we stopped in a city called Ulm.  A friend mentioned that Ulm has the highest steeple of any church in the world, and that it made for an interesting stop.  While doing some research in a vacation guide book that a fabulous friend sent us after her family's couple of years abroad (thanks Katie), I saw it mentioned as well, so we added it to our list of destinations.

We mostly winged it getting there--following signs to Ulm, which we didn't know would actually lead where we wanted to go (wouldn't you know, that for the life of me I could not find it mentioned in the guide book while we were heading there needing some concrete information?), but I figured if we were going to the tallest steeple in the world, that perhaps it would kind of, you know, stick out/up.  And it did, so we began exiting and turning down streets that seemed to be leading us closer to the destination.

The kids at this point, realizing that we're not zooming straight down the interstate during whatever movie they're watching, begin to whine and complain in the back seats.  They do NOT want to go on this adventure.  They are perfectly content to go straight to Garmisch (which they've heard from countless people they will LOVE).

Scoff, we say, and find a parking garage.  Again, I have not found in my little book the reference I remembered reading, so we wing it...look for the tall steeple kids.  We bribe them by stopping at a bakery stand and getting something yummy with apples in it, which worked for 75% of the crew.

Once at the church, we walk in and look around, and cast lots for who will go to the top.  Some 768 steps (530 ft) to the top, as I recall. 

Mary and Cory are in, Lucy and Riley opt out.  So, Ted pays for tickets, and up they go...however, I stick close in the gift shop (perhaps a misnomer, however they had gifts, and I shopped, so I guess not) in case someone changes his mind.  Which he does. (No, I'm not talking about Ted).

Now it's Ted and Mary heading up the steps.  The other kids and I wander around outside the church.  We hear the bells toll at noon and comment how fun it must be to be going up the steps while the bells are ringing.

Eventually we head back to the large square in front of the church and hang around outside a tourist bureau--and look for them.  After a while Riley announces that she can see them, so we all wave.  And we watch them come down through the little windows.  There's Mary!  There's Daddy!  There's Mary again!  And there's Daddy!  And Mary!  And Daddy!

Finally, they emerged from the front doors and made their way to us.  We asked questions, took pictures, and before long Ted says, "I need to sit down, my knees are shaking."  We went in the tourist building to find restrooms and then stopped to watch a short video about the church.  Interestingly, during World War II over 70% of the city of Ulm was destroyed.  The church, however, remained standing.  Wow.

Their climb afforded them great views of the city, and Ted encouraged us to walk towards the river.  So we headed that way, found a restaurant to have some lunch, and then strolled along a wall alongside the river that appeared to have remnants of an old city wall.

In the end I think the kids thought it was a pretty okay detour.
But they made sure we knew they didn't want to make anymore extra stops.

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