What an incredible week! Ethan and I got to see and experience so much during our time in Germany and Austria as well as meet a lot of really great people. Maybe it has something to do with my German heritage, but I felt very at home there! And I found out at the first place we stayed that I really did need to pronounce my last name in the correct German way of “Kowf-man” for them to find me in their computers.

Munich was our first taste of Germany, and I absolutely loved it. We spent a good day and a half walking around the city seeing beautiful buildings and parks and trying great German food.


View of Munich from the top of the Rathaus-Glockenspiel


Ethan made me put this one in…


Nymphenburg Palace in Munich


Classic skipping rocks photo: the gardens and pavilions behind Nymphenburg Palace

From there we took the bus to Füssen to visit the castles Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, which was one of my favorite days. Both castles were quite enchanting.


Hohenschwangau (yellow castle) and Neuschwanstein (in the distance)


The view of Neuschwanstein as we walked up to it


Also in Neuschwanstein…


Our lunch spot 🙂

We spent three days in Austria in the middle of the week, one in Innsbruck and two in Salzburg. Innsbruck was beautiful; it was nestled in the middle of the Alps and had a medieval town center made up of painted buildings, fountains, and market stands.


Medieval town center of Innsbruck


Medieval town center of Innsbruck

The day started off a bit rainy but it cleared off around lunchtime, allowing us to see the peaks of the mountains while we ate in the park.


More of Innsbruck across the river


Playing chess in the park

Visiting Salzburg was especially special for me due to my lifelong love of the Sound of Music! We were able to visit a lot of sites that were used in the filming of the movie, like Mirabell Palace and Gardens. That’s where the fountain, musical steps, and hedge tunnel are that the children and Maria dance around, on, and through during “Do-Re-Mi!” For your enjoyment, I’ve pieced together some pictures with the movie clips on top and mine and Ethan’s photos on the bottom. 😀


Mirabell Palace and Gardens


The Pegasus Fountain (We went back again at night.)


The Hedge Tunnel!


Another of the palace and gardens


The Mozart Bridge


The Residentz Fountain, where Maria stops during “I Have Confidence”

My favorite stops though were the ones off the well-used tourist path: the original home of the real von Trapp family and Nonnberg Abbey, the convent where Maria stayed before leaving to tutor one of the von Trapp children. Though some filming did take place outside of the abbey (at the gate for instance), none took place inside the convent or at the von Trapp house. So there weren’t any other visitors at either place when Ethan and I were at them! Between that and thinking about the stories that unfolded at each place while we were there, they were very surreal experiences. Especially when the nuns started singing from further inside the convent while we were in the sanctuary…


Front of the original von Trapp house!


Back of the original von Trapp house!


Nonnberg Abbey…the gate in the movie. 🙂

We also climbed up to Hohensalzburg Fortress where we got a great view of the city and saw Mozart’s house in town.


On our way to the fortress.


Looking out over Salzburg from Hohensalzburg Fortress


Mozart’s birthplace…and the grocery store where we got our lunch

We spent all of Saturday in a bus headed to Berlin, but it was worth it! A friend of Ethan’s from Pennsylvania opened up her home to us for the three nights that we were there which was a great blessing. She gave us some tips on places to visit, and we also got to attend church with her on Sunday morning. It was the first time that I’ve worshipped at a church where another language is spoken, and that was such a neat experience! The pastor is actually from Britain though, and the sermon was interpreted into German, so that meant we could understand the message. 🙂

We visited some different museums of World War II history in Berlin as well as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews. Both were very harrowing experiences. Other stops included Checkpoint Charlie and the East Side Gallery, which is the longest standing portion of the Berlin Wall.


The Berlin Wall

And thanks to our friend that we stayed with, we learned that Wittenberg is only an hour train ride away! So we got to see the church where Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses exactly 500 years ago come October!! And Wittenberg was where I got my long-awaited spaghetti eis. I saw a picture of it when I was in high school in my German textbook and had been hoping to get it when we were in Germany. It didn’t disappoint!


Where Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses! The original door is gone but his theses are now etched into this plaque inside the original stone door frame.


Spaghetti eis (ice cream)


…and döner kebabs, of course.

Well, I can’t believe that I actually fit all of that into one page. It was really an amazing experience and these few paragraphs don’t do it justice… Hopefully the pictures add a bit more substance to it! Feel free to ask us more about any of our stops.

Thank you all so much for your prayers while we were away and also for your continued prayers as we finish up our time in Scotland. There’s still so much that we want to see and do and we’re also very sad to think about leaving the friends that we’ve grown very close to since we’ve been here. God has big plans for us though, and I’m already blown away by how He’s used our time here to grow us closer to Him! Looking forward to tomorrow!!

Kara Kauffman