More Festivals!

I’m a little late. I apologize! Things have been really crazy with school and work. But, I am back to write about a couple more festivals I attended in the local area where I lived in Germany.

Another festival I attended was Pig Fest, know as Saubrennerkirmes, which literally translates to Pig Torch Fest. This festival is held every August in Wittlich, Germany.

IMG_0816

The legend goes that back in Medieval times the town of Wittlich was surrounded by a wall and gate to keep out the barbarians. One night the gatekeeper went to close the gate and couldn’t find the lock. In order to keep the gate closed he used a carrot instead.

In the middle of the night a pig came along and ate the carrot, causing the gates to open and letting the barbarians inside to attack. Someone needed to be blamed for the suffering of the people of Wittlich. So, they captured every pig in town, killed them, smoked them and ate them. Ever since the village has kept it an annual tradition.

IMG_0826

If I had to compare the festival to an event in the United States, I would compare it to a county fair in the Midwest. They had tons of food: amazing smoked pig, crepes, ice cream and, of course, beer. There were also games to play where you the opportunity to win giant stuffed animals and blow-up guitars. There was also many carnival rides!

IMG_0852

One thing that completely blew my mind was the rides! A couple of friends and I bought tickets to ride the scrambler. We walked over to the ride to get in line and noticed there was no guardrail!

People were standing along the edges of the ride, waiting for their turn. I mean, they could have just stuck their arm out and hit someone else on the ride. And, on top of that there was drinking going on everywhere you went. I think Germans are professional drinkers or something. It was the craziest thing I think I’ve seen.

IMG_0857

Anyways, Pig Fest was an absolute blast, and I wish I could attend it every year. Go!

Another festival I attended was the Balloon Festival. This festival was actually the same day as Pig Fest only a few miles away at the skydiving club where I jumped. I woke up that morning, went skydiving then watched the balloons launch. After that I went with my friend Bailey to Pig Fest.

217826_4496243086492_1743160114_n

The Balloon Festival was very unique and an insane sight to see. Before the balloon launch I went to the area where they had concessions and games. They had a hot air balloon tipped on its side to where you were able to walk inside of it. That was pretty neat.

557387_4496244246521_1577788587_n 557294_4496244966539_293735813_n 558441_4496247286597_382796539_n

A few of my skydiving friends were qualified to actually jump out of one of the balloons. Way cool experience for them and awesome to watch their footage after landing.

People traveled from all over Europe to come to this Balloon Festival. There were so many I couldn’t even count. All the balloons took off from one location except for the few that the jumpers were jumping from. Those balloons went a few miles off the site and took off from the middle of fields. They then floated over the jump zone and the jumpers jumped out.

377259_4496245766559_1728805791_n 381007_4496251246696_33110619_n 262823_4496252166719_162593844_n

 Festival Season! It’s a wonderful time of year in Germany!

 

 

Advertisements

Festival Season

When summer time arrives in Germany, so has festival season! Many festivals are held all over Germany and many are held in the local area of Dudeldorf, where I lived. In this blog post I will discuss a couple of the festivals I attended.

Medieval Festival

Medieval Festival is held in Manderscheid. Manderscheid lies deep in the rolling hills of the Eifel are in Germany. There are two castles located there; Oberburg and Niederburg, which—if I remember correctly—were castles of two brothers. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty positive that’s the case.

ober_niederburg_manderscheid_1097740312 318712_2383243782830_128996540_n

Because the festival was located in such a hilly place next to a river, parking was limited. We had to park our vehicle at the top of a long steep hill in a pasture. Buses were provided to take people from the pasture down to the festival.

288982_2383238102688_1138752395_o 295932_2383243302818_1257265043_n

The festival sold all sorts of food and trinkets. Turkey legs and nuts and spices were some of the food sold. Along with beer and wine, of course. They also sold all sorts of armor, woven baskets and other random knickknacks.

299711_2383238702703_1795535545_n 299576_2383240422746_722197466_n 306320_2383242862807_1944597736_n

The festival held medieval events such as jousting. That was way cool to see. And, at the end of the night they had a really cool firework display. It rained the year I went so it was a muddy mess, but it was such a unique experience.

Wine Fest

Another festival held in the area was Wine Fest. Wine fest was in Bernkastel, located on the Mosel River. This place was absolutely gorgeous. Natives would bring their wines from all over for people to taste, drink and/or purchase. They even crown a Wine Queen every year.

303169_2390657928179_398847655_n

There’s a fascinating firework display on Saturday of the festival. Fireworks are shot from the castle up on the hill and then from a boat on the Mosel. It’s supposed to be as if they’re in a battle and compete with fireworks. It was quite the spectacle! But, once the “battle” was complete there was so much smoke. It settled after a few moments. Of course, the wine was fabulous. All sorts of different kinds were available: red, white, dry or sweet. I couldn’t get over how many people attended. There were so many people it was almost uncomfortable. It took forever to make your way around the street and losing people in your group was a very easy thing to do.

313267_2390658528194_2141550169_n 304728_2390657688173_1466893161_n 302794_2390660568245_1310168217_n

Along the streets they sold all sort of food, as they do at most festivals: schwanks (a pork sandwich), bratwurst, and much more.  Live music, dancing and even carnival rides were provided for everyone to enjoy. The festival was a great place for people of all ages. It is held towards the end of September so if you’re ever in the area, check it out! You won’t be disappointed.

Skydiving!

One thing I can say for sure is I have some of the best friends anyone could ask for in this world. Two of these friends have inspired me to do great things with my life. One friend, Bridget, inspired me to join the Air Force. I wasn’t interested in joining at all! Until one day she approached me and said we should go to the recruiter’s office in Quincy, Illinois to see what it’s all about. Needless to say, I joined and couldn’t be happier with that decision. I’ve learned so much, have met tons of wonderful people, and have been around the world. Thank you so much Bridget; you rock.

66983_10200655689976992_1840699395_n

In April of 2012 I had just returned from my deployment in Afghanistan. To make a long story short, I did not have a good deployment and was very sad with my life at that particular point. My friend, Walter, lifted me up and suggested we get certified in skydiving together. “What?! Are you serious”? These are the thoughts that ran through my head. My first jump was a tandem jump (when you’re attached to someone else), and I loved it. It happened so quickly that I wanted to go again! This is when I decided to go through the course with Walter. Click here to see my tandem jump.

487311_3999089177955_2023510556_n 198239_4088459172149_263691799_n 301857_4088452491982_2057745131_n

I talked to my boss at work and arranged it to where I would be able to make the two-day course required to start my static line jumps. At first, it was a little difficult to understand our German instructor, only because I needed to get used to the accent. After I got used to it, it was smooth sailing. Walter and I made it through the course and began our static line jumps. For those of you that don’t know what “static line” jumps are, it’s when your rig (parachute) is tied to the airplane and the plane pulls your chute for you.

The weekend finally arrived and it was the day we got to do our first solo static line jump. Talk about nervous!!! The instructors attached radios to our rig so they could instruct us on our turns and movements in our decent, as well as landing. When we arrived to the correct altitude, we stepped out on the wheel well of the plane, ran our hands along the strut, and hung there until instructed to release. So nerve racking, yet so fun.

250623_4088458092122_1206119993_n 521514_4088460012170_1600765589_n 551802_4088460532183_1337924948_n 168571_4088469212400_481394940_n

After six static lines we were able to begin training on pulling our own parachute. I forget exactly how many jumps you had to have free falling on your own, but I spent almost every weekend of my summer training and jumping. I had a blast.

532561_4279754274407_316414761_n

I even took a vacation with the jumping club to Borkum, a small island off the northwest coast of Germany. We spent a week there with another skydiving club, jump, jump, jumping! There was probably over 200 people there and I was the only American. It was quite the experience.

265645_4997233090929_694694928_o 202599_450737821627173_1272785901_o 277977_450738421627113_1962228539_o

My Mom and sister, Kelsey, came to visit me in Germany and my sister jumped with me! I was very excited to have this once in a lifetime experience. We even had a camera guy. But, guess what? He forgot to hit record! You can only imagine upset we were. Regardless, we both had fun. Well, at least I hope she did!

375947_4589300212862_725099844_n 60104_4589303692949_609934493_n 564099_4589299172836_416591171_n 429280_4589304852978_531432356_n

By the end of the summer I did all my qualifying jumps, jumped a total of 40 times out of four different aircraft. It was quite the accomplishment and I was very proud of myself for finishing.  Thank you Walter and to everyone else who pushed me through!

IMG_4619 IMG_4694

 

 

2012 Summer Olympics

When deployed to Afghanistan in 2011, a coworker of mine mentioned going to the Summer Olympics the following year in London. What a great opportunity! I asked if anyone was going with him and he said no. I thought this would be a great chance to see London and to see the Olympics. So, I was on board! We purchased tickets to the bronze medal match of men’s soccer. We were shooting for the gold medal match, but tickets sold out in minutes.

Finally, nine months later in August, it was time for our trip to London! We were both pretty stoked. We drove to Frankfurt after work and hopped on a plane headed to London. After we arrived we got on a train at the airport to get to the heart of the city. We had one afternoon to explore London, for the actual soccer game was in Cardiff, Wales.

Train Tickets Train Ride

We walked all around London to see all the major sites such as: The London Eye, Big Ben, the Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace. And, of course, we checked out those popular red telephone booths. We headed to Olympic Park, but we had to have a separate ticket to enter; our soccer tickets didn’t suffice.

Big Ben Phone Booth London Bridge Buckingham Palace

The city was covered with Olympic signs and apparel and there were people everywhere. Some Olympians were even running around the city.

Ppl Ads 2 Ads Coke

After our afternoon visit in London we took the train to Cardiff, Wales to find our hostel. We had a full day in Cardiff to do some exploring because the soccer match wasn’t until the following day. We walked down to a bay area and even found an old antique store.

Hostel Bay in Cardiff

The day of the soccer match had arrived and we were very anxious for the experience. The soccer match was Japan verses South Korea. For as quickly as the tickets sold out for the match, we were surprised by how bare the arena was.

There were some Koreans sitting in front of us, so I said hello to them in Korean. They were very shocked that I knew some of the Korean language and wondered why. I told them I lived in South Korea for a year and took a language class while I was there. It was a pretty cool experience to be cheering for South Korea with a group of Korean natives. The best part…they won!

Cops Olympic Tickets Game Koreans

After the soccer match, the streets were filled with lots and lots of people. We ran into a couple Cardiff natives who showed us around the town. Considering they were from there, they knew all the great spots to grab a beer. And, they were fun!

After the long day of our Olympic experience, we were exhausted. We grabbed a cab back to our hostel to get some rest. The next day we made our way back to London, grabbed some lunch, and then headed to the airport. It was time for us to head back to Germany. Good-bye, London! You were a great time!

Olympic Rings River

Garmisch in Bavaria, Germany

402179_4503582869982_1920345462_n

It was Labor Day weekend of 2012, and some friends and I wanted to take advantage of the long weekend and go on a trip. We decided to take a trip to Garmisch in Bavaria, Germany. We all hopped in the car very early in the morning to make the five-hour drive out east. Along the way, we picked up my friend Timperince (from the Paris adventure) to join us.

We decided to stay in a hostel because they are nice a cheap! Ha. And, fun. The first day we did some exploring in the local area. We walked to an old Olympic stadium that opened in 1921 and was used for the 1936 Olympics. It was a very neat place.

546060_4503582029961_1079889035_n 216806_4503569789655_545422985_n 418887_4503553429246_179397519_n 644566_4503553669252_706163621_n

From there we asked some local residents where we could go explore. They told us about a large gorge that was only a little ways away. We jumped into a horse and buggy that took us up to the top. It was a nice little ride and a great opportunity to look at the beautiful scenery surrounding us.

551785_4503572189715_793166259_n

Once we got to the gorge we had to walk a little ways to get to the actual site. Along the pathway we found a little hut that sold ice cream, beer and coffee. We decided to stop for a beverage and relax before heading on our way.

523124_4503575949809_32256141_n 558390_4503575189790_409049464_n 399667_4503577309843_1419926319_n

The gorge was beautiful. And, it took forever to walk all the way to the top and back down to the bottom of it. It is so crazy how breathtaking nature really is. Words cannot express how beautiful it was and maybe the pictures don’t either, but I’ve provided some for your viewing.

548159_4503580509923_136881195_n 558585_4503579389895_922645446_n
561524_4503579909908_863390470_n

In the evening we traveled into the downtown area of Garmisch and ate at a traditional German restaurant. The food was amazing! They also had live German music and slap dancing. Slap dancing is where boys or men or both dress in their lederhosen and do a traditional German dance. Click here to see an example of the dance on YouTube.

255417_4503582389970_1033706777_n German Rest

The next day we went white water rafting in Austria! Now, that was way fun. It was a bit of a bus drive, but the tour guide was wonderful and we had a blast. Our tour guide even pointed out the actual Paramount Picture Mountain during our adventure. I don’t know the actual name of the mountain, but it was pretty cool to see it in person. At the end of the tour we were served German Schnapps! Mmmm…

32325_539665746048007_522872435_n 65364_539665912714657_636173120_n 543435_539664062714842_208481743_n 554557_539663979381517_1627900378_n maxresdefault

The following day we packed our bags and headed to Hohenschwangau, Germany to see the Neuschwanstein Castle. Construction on the castle started on September 5, 1869 and was “completed” in 1862. The castle is actually unfinished due to King Ludwig II’s death. Furthermore, (and I personally think the coolest part) this castle was Walt Disney’s Inspiration for building the Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. If you’re ever in Germany go see this castle!

403998_4503589470147_77791254_n
564737_4503585470047_619198746_n 395224_4503590630176_313174864_n

Labor Day weekend of 2012 was a great success. It was a very long weekend, but a great time well spent with friends.

Paris!

Memorial Day weekend of 2012 was arriving and I needed something to do with the long weekend! I called my friend Timperince whom I met when I was stationed in Korea to see what she was up to. Timperince was in the Army and we met when we both joined the Osan Air Base basketball team. It just so happened that we both were stationed in Germany afterwards. Timperince told me she had gathered up a small group of friends and were going to head to Paris for the weekend. It was my lucky day! They had to pass by my neck of the woods to get to France and agreed to pick me up along the way.

After a four-hour drive we finally arrived in Paris and couldn’t wait to see the sites! We dropped off our luggage at the hotel and made our way towards the downtown area near the Eifel Tower. Oh my goodness! Let me tell you…I am so happy I was not driving. The French drive like maniacs! I’m pretty sure we went through a roundabout that was approximately 12 lanes across, and there were no lane marks! It was nuts. I thought I was going to die that day. I’ve provided a picture below that I found on Google to give you an idea of it’s insanity.

Roundabout

After what felt like three hours, we finally found a parking spot and made our way on foot to visit the sites. We walked around the corner of a building and there it was…the Eifel Tower. Huge! So tall! So beautiful. After we walked around the Eifel Tower area we walked all around Paris to see all the sites the beautiful city had to offer. We ate at several small restaurants we found tucked away on quaint side streets. The food was so incredibly tasty. And, the way one waiter pronounced, “mojito,”…mmm…I thought my knees were going to buckle. Such a sexy accent! Seriously though, I’ve had the best mojitos in Europe. The best!

Eifel Tower & Me Eifel Tower 2 Eifel Tower 1

Because Paris is huge tourist city, there were several means of transportation: bus, taxi, bikes and even water taxis. Our group chose to walk everywhere we went. It was good exercise; there were several things to see on the streets as far as books, trinkets, art and musicians, and it just started warming up in Europe. The weather was perfect. Besides, if we didn’t walk, we wouldn’t have found all those delicious cafés.

Books Boat in Paris 545033_4098300778183_1341881219_n Photos

We visited Notre Dame, the Louvre and Arc de Triompe, but never went inside of any. The lines were terribly long and we really had no desire to go inside the popular landmarks. Some people say we probably should’ve, but others say it’s a waste of time. We were only there a day and a half and didn’t want to spend them standing in lines. No fun…

Notre Dame Eifel Tower 4
Louvre 2 539969_4098300418174_1202674919_n

Overall it was a great city. It was beautiful. It was also nice to hear the French language for once instead of German. I would definitely go back to the City of Love and I would recommend it to anyone visiting Europe.

Bridge in Paris Louvre Eifel Tower at Night 4

Dudeldorf Was My Fairytale

After a yearlong tour in South Korea, I spent a month back home in Missouri before moving to Germany. After visiting with friends and family I hopped on the plane to head to Germany, landing at Ramstein Air Base on December 2, 2010. I found my luggage, made it through customs and found my sponsor. My sponsor was a future coworker there to pick me up and drive me the hour to Spangdahlem Air Base, where I would be living for the next two years. I remember being very tired from the long flight, but trying to hold conversation with my sponsor at the same time. As we drove to Spangdahlem, I noticed how bare Germany was. It reminded me of home; nothing but rolling grasslands and lots of trees. Only Germany was so green! I learned later that that’s all it does in Germany…rain, rain, rain. I was very curious to know where the autobahn was, so asked when were driving. “You’re on it,” my sponsor said. What?! I couldn’t believe that was it. I was thinking to myself, “This is it? What’s the big hype?” It looked like nothing more than an interstate in the United States. Until…VROOM!!! Cars were flying past us at such high speeds; it was insane. Later, when I finally received my German driver’s license I got to experience first hand driving on the crazy highway.

Anyway, my sponsor got me settled into lodging on the airbase. This is where I would stay until I found my own place to live outside of the airbase’s gates. I was very nervous and scared at first. It was a new place, I was uncomfortable and I didn’t know anyone. It didn’t help that it was pitch black by 3:30 PM every afternoon—talk about depressing. I was tired all the time too; jet lag really got to me this time. People at work were very helpful with showing me around and getting me settled. One coworker spent a lot of time helping me find a place to live after work. He lived in Germany for six years at the time and really knew his way around. He could even speak a little German. Let me tell you…hearing two Germans hold a conversation for the first time made my jaw hit the floor. It sounded awful! It was almost like they were hacking up loogies and yelling at each other.

080621-F-2616H-001 Autobahn Sign

Autobahn
After being in Germany for ten days, I moved into my little apartment in Dudeldorf, just five miles off base. I chose a very small apartment located above a small pub in a building built in the 1400s. Many guest of the pub were old men coming to get their daily bier (beer) and the latest gossip after work in the afternoons and sometimes throughout the day. The owner’s of the pub were an older couple that lived on the other half of the building. The husband was a disgruntled old man who didn’t know a lick of English. He would always yell at me in Deutsch when I parked my car in front of the pub to unload my groceries. I was obviously going to move it when I was done; I just didn’t want to have to carry my groceries all the way across the street and through the arch from my car. One day he came out, started yelling and I just yelled right back, “Eh! Old man river! Zip it or I’ll break your hip!” You know? The classic line from “Big Daddy?” Anyway, I couldn’t understand German and he couldn’t English, so I thought “screw it” my as well have some fun with it. His wife was a sweet lady named Matilda. She knew a little bit of English and could somewhat carry on a conversation with me. I used to sit on the steps with her right outside the pub. We would talk for a while while she smoked her cigarettes. She always wanted me to pick her up some ice cream from the base. She claims that American ice cream is way better than German ice cream. So, I would pick her up a tub and she’d repay me with a bier from the pub.

IMG_9367 (1)

[^^My apartment is the top five windows on the white building to the left^^]
[If you were to take this road and turn left you would find the arch on the left]
[If you were to go right you find the arch on the right]

Arch #2 in Dudeldorf Arch #1 in Dudeldorf

Dudeldorf is an old Roman village that used to be surrounded by a brick wall with two entrances (arches) and a mote. Some of the wall still surrounds the small village and the two arches remain. In World War II, General Patton and his Third Army drove their tanks through the small village of Dudeldorf. Their tanks were too wide to fit through the arches and left scratches in the stone. I walked through this arch every day from my car to my apartment. It’s crazy to run your fingers through the marks and imagine them passing through the village.

Scratches from Tanks DSC08001
[These are scratches from the arch on the right shown above]

IMG_0312 IMG_9374 IMG_0230

Overall, Dudeldorf reminds me of the village you see in the Walt Disney film “Beauty and the Beast.” The streets are made of cobblestone and the houses are brightly colored. The village is located down in a valley with green hills surrounding it. There are running trails everywhere around Dudeldorf as well. I used to do a lot of running there and I think I counted seven different routes I could take just to exit the village. There also three natural springs that enter Dudeldorf. Older women of the village would take their pales to the spring to fill them up to water their flowers. One old lady—who also knew zero English—always greeted me to say, “Hallo” (this means “hello” in German). She would ramble on and on with a smile even though she knew I couldn’t understand her. Matilda tried to translate one day and told me that the old woman said I was a very pretty and sweet young girl. I was touched. As my time went on in Germany I made several German friends and they taught me the saying, “Hatschi mein Schatzi Putz Näschen mein Häschen.” It is a German riddle you would say to someone—usually a small child or your significant other—when they sneeze. The direct translation to English makes no sense, but it means something a long the lines of, “Bless you my dear, wipe your nose my little bunny.” See? It makes no sense. I wanted to show the little old lady that I knew something in Deutsch, so I would say this riddle to her and she loved it so much. She would giggle with delight. From that day on I had to say it every time I saw her. She would even put her hands up and move them back and forth like an orchestra conductor.

IMG_0017 (2) IMG_0022 (1) IMG_0251 IMG_0232

Dudeldorf is really like a fairytale. The day I had to leave I became really sad. I stood in my empty little apartment and wondered if I would ever see it again, if I would ever come back to visit. After handing my keys over to the landlord I went downstairs to the pub to have one last bier. Below is a snapshot of my Facebook status from that day.

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 1.25.17 AM

Sometime in April of 2011 when the weather started getting nice and warming up, I made a video of Dudeldorf with my iPhone to remember the beautiful place where I once lived. Click here to watch.

A Small Town Country Girl Takes a Euro Trip! Many, Euro Trips.

Hello there! My name is Heidi Tuley and this blog is called “An Air Force Chick’s European Escapades.” Why, you ask? I was an active duty Air Force Airman for seven years and while in the service I had many opportunities to travel the world. My career kicked off in Texas and then I headed to Utah for a few years. Eventually, I made my way to South Korea and then on to Germany. I was stationed in Germany for two years and took advantage of the easy traveling in Europe as much as the job would let me.

I was stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base, located near Luxembourg, in the rolling quiet country hills of Germany.

I’ve decided to blog about my experiences in Europe, because there are so many! It is possible that I will branch out and write about my entire Air Force career in the future.

Air Force

I was raised in a small town called Philadelphia in northeast Missouri. I went to a school that consisted of kindergarten through twelfth grade; with a graduating class of a grand total of 19 people. The place is tiny! It’s a large farming community; therefore, the school mainly consisted of tiny towns and family farm children all across the area.

HS Graduation

Put yourself in my shoes! A small town gal venturing all over Europe?! It was intimidating at first, but eventually I grew to love it and embraced the culture where ever I went.

I moved back to the United States a little over a year ago, and experienced a bit of a reverse culture shock. Wal-Mart…Oh my! I almost thought about sitting down indian style in the middle of an isle and just start crying…uncontrollably. As Americans we have so much stuff! And, the connivence of acquiring items is so much easier and faster. In Germany there was no such thing as Wal-Marts. In fact, the small village I lived in didn’t even have a grocery store. Your options were to visit the Bäckerei (bakery), the meat market or the small convenient store. Otherwise, you would need to travel 10-15 kilometers out of town for better conveniences.

Old German House

After spending a year back in the United States, I separated from the Air Force and became a full-time college student for the first time in my life! My major is Digital Media Production with a minor in Photography. I am very excited to see what’s in store for my future here at the University of Central Missouri and my future thereafter. 

In this blog I will be writing about many adventures I experienced in the two years I was in Europe. I will be sharing with you many experiences I had the opportunity of enjoying. I will tell you about my tiny apartment in a small old Roman village, my trip to Amsterdam with my Mom and our experience with a live sex show, a huge German rock-in-roll festival, castles, the London Olympics and more! I am very excited to be sharing all of these unique adventures with you. There will be a new blog post every week, so keep an eye out for new exciting escapades!