Idar Oberstein ~ Home of the "church in the rock"
We left by 9, and invited Father Mike to tag along. It's always nice to have a religious person with us...for a few reasons...faith and moral support, andan extra adult for myself to have some adult conversation, and to help watch the kiddos.
Idar Oberstein is only about 45 minutes away from home. As soon as you drive into the town, you can see the church in the mountain, so you know you are there. We parked in a parking garage across the street. Anyone who has parked in a parking garage in Europe will understand the hardship that I went through. This was the first time I parked in one...Thom always did the driving, or I parked on the street.
The kids counted the steps to the top of the church...it was 220!! Most of which were outside, until you come to the mountain part, which was a lot cooler inside, and a welcome to the heat outside. Once inside we paid to look around, we were shocked to see the inside. From the outside it
looked much bigger. The picture was taken from the back of the church. They have services here (Evangelical) once a month from May to October b/c church goers have to climb the stairs to get there, and it is not safe or easy to doing the winter time. We only spent about 15 minutes there.
Some of us wanted to do some more exploring, and saw a sign for the Schloss and Burg (castle and castle ruins). Father stayed behind with Feliciti and Emilee. I think they got the better end of that deal...sitting in the cool shade. I had no idea what a trek we had in front of us!! The sign said 0.3 and 0.4 km to each of them. What the sign failed to mention was the steep and steady incline the entire way up. I had Matthew on one hip, and Dominick's hand with my other hand. At one point we were given a chose...left to the schloss (0.2 km) or the burg to the right (0.1 km). In our house we have a democracy..and the vote was 2 to 1, with Matthew and I not voting. So the decision was to go to the Schloss...another 0.2 km uphill!!! If I would have known that we were not allowed to explore in the Schloss, and they turned half of it into a restaurant we would have opted for the Burg!!! But on the positive side, we found a cute little souvenir shop and the kids all picked out a gem. Idar Oberstein is also known for the gem mines..woo-hoo!!
So once we met up with Father, Feliciti and Emilee (this time the walk was much easier, going down), we started for the bottom of the hill. I made a lunch, so we found some tables, ordered some cold drinks and ate our lunch there...yeh, I asked if we could sit there before we got too comfortable. Maybe she felt sorry for us, because we were all sweaty and I had 6 kids, so she let us eat our lunch there and just pay for the drinks we ordered. I found an info brochure from a small shop next to the cafe we ate it. The brochure gave us an address for the mines...or so we thought.
After lunch, we headed for the mines. Father stayed in the car with Matthew, b/c he fell asleep. I took the kids to the gem museum and asked them how to get to the mines. They said it was a 30 minute walk or a 10 minute drive up the mountain. I also asked them (from reading the brochure) where the activity for the kids is...gem hunting. They told me they do it there, but we needed an appointment. I must have looked disappointed b/c she then proceeded to see if they could "squeeze" us in. She probably also saw that I had 5 kids with me, and that is their typical group size...see it pays to have a lot of kids. So instead of going to the mines, we stayed there, and let the kids "dig" for their own gems. Good thing...b/c I might have found my own treasure in the mines..... hint-hint babe!! The kids had a great time digging for their own gemstones. Everything they found, they were able to keep. After about an hour of looking, we decided to finally call it quits. The kids ended up finding about 80 pieces!! At the end, the part of the fun was the kids were able to pick out a rock...at least thats what the kids thought it was. They thought..wow thanks a lot (sarcastic)!! But then the man took their rocks they picked out, put it in a big "plier" looking tool, and cut it in half...and then they got some great looking crystals!!
I found a neat looking jar at the Homberg flea market yesterday so the kids can display their finds!!
We had a great time in Idar Oberstein. There are still a few things we would like to do...if we get the chance (mines). Till next time!!