"I don't think it's funny. It's not something to laugh about," he stated factly to me as tears fell down my face and hysterical laughter clogged my throat, the smell of burned rubber filling my nose as the car tires spun yet again on the steep, grassy incline. We were in a slippery situation. The hill we tried to turn on was steeper than it looked at first glance, and as Erwin again pulled the handbrake into action, we both knew that searching for the Ginsburg castle ruins was definitely not worth it. "You're going to have to push," he said again as I unbuckled my seatbelt and told him to try riding the hill horizontally as I stepped out of the danger of our car. The first try was unsuccessful as the car slid on the freshly-mowed, wet grass and I was thinking of walking to the farmer I saw mowing another hill to ask for him to pull us out when Erwin gunned the engine yet again and as the tires slipped, they finally found solid ground and he veered back onto the narrow roadway. I got into the car, tears streaming down my face. It was relief mixed with shock, and it was quite funny once I knew we were safe. Yes, that was the high point of our trip to Sauerland, Germany. One of those moments when we could ahve been left hanging, but managed to come through stronger than before. We headed for the main road and cussed the brown sign telling us we'd find the gem 700 meters further. Signs are not something Germans do well. We happened upon this experiece time and again looking for castles.
So, we managed to have a great trip. Except for the middle of our last day when I decided to be stubborn and didn't tell my husband where to turn off the highway and we had to backtrack to end our day and trip on a happy note after driving an extra 50km. But okay, for the rest, it was terrific. We visited castles, toured the Warsteiner beer brewery (and drank a few steins full), took a ride on the bobsled, walked through walking paths with waterfalls and canyons, saw so many beautiful mountains my head was cleared with fresh air, visited the Hennessee and Biggessee, walked on a high in the trees hang bridge, and learned that our Tom-Tom cannot be counted upon in little German mountain villages! Oh, and we got lost in a mine. Another incident that the laughter came heartily from within.
We visited an old mine and took a tour where we went in a train deep into the mine. We were in a carriage with 6 other people and suddenly we were no longer moving, it was dark and quiet, and we kept looking out the locked train doors wondering what was happening when the tour guide was heard chanting from somewhere in the mine "Hello??? Are you lost???" as the beam of his flashlight lightened the dark,wet walls of the minign caves. It was the most fun I had on the trip. It was a bit scary, a bit uncertain, but quite the thrill to be "lost" in a tunnel with no light and locked in a little cage. As the tour guide started up the engines and drove our carriage to the remainder of the group, we heard them discussing whether they had a rope to reconnect the carriage to the rest of the train. Erwin refused to get in the last car when it was time to end the tour and return to the museum.

We also saw the Willingen ski jump which was a great thrill for me. After climbing to the top, 500+ steps up the mountainside, I felt very accomplished. After declaring that there was no way I was gonna make that climb, it turned out to be one of the msot memorable experiences of teh trip. We were able to stand on the jump itself and look down the mountain and feel the adrenaline rush that teh skiiers themselves feel as they jump from off the jump into the air and not be able to see the landing as it curves down at a scary angle. The breathless feeling overcame me as i climbed those steps, but once I made it to the top, I knew it was worth it...seeing mountains upon mountains before me and I knew I had no regrets.

We ate out at a panorama mountain just as the sun was setting...it was breathtaking. And I had a noodle pancake with ham that, though I had no idea what to expect, was mouthwatering! Our little pension in Nordenau was quaint and quiet and we awakened each mornign to the sun rising over the mountain right outside our window. We visited Altena castle which was brilliant and grand, and then headed to the marketplace where bombs started erupting around us..."The Germans sure know how to bomb," my husband matter-of-factly said with a twinkle in his eye. They were doing some kind of re-opening of a bridge and that was their "fireworks". And tehn we headed into the sunset again to home, where we had one last night before the grand finale of my son's arms around my neck in a tight squeeze! Back to heaven after a heavenly adventrue with my husband.

Sauerland, land of 1000 mountains. It is beautiful, quiet, restful, and lush. And so were the days away alone with my husband.

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