The first weekend in August, we were thrilled to have another fantastic Clough reunion - this time with the addition of Mark, Karen and Sam. Karen and Sam had been visiting Neil and fam in Ramstein for the previous week and when Mark arrived, we decided to all meet up somewhere. After researching various places between Ramstein and Sittard, we decided to go to the lovely Vianden, Luxembourg. I had not heard anything about Vianden before, but it proved to be yet another absolutely gorgeous medieval town, complete with a hilltop castle, river running through town, and flowers abounding everywhere you look.
|Just the 10 of us|
Soon after arriving and having lunch along the river, we took the chairlift to a beautiful overlook of Vianden and short hike down to the castle.
|View of Vianden and castle|
|Karen and Mark|
|Emily and the girls|
And, it so happened, that there was a medieval festival taking place in the castle while we were there. We enjoyed visiting the extensive rooms filled with vendors, activities for the kids, musicians and even sword fights and dancing.
|Jon enjoyed meeting the medieval ladies|
|Sam and Cassie|
|Waiting for the sword fight to begin|
|The start of the fight - these actors were great and so expressive!|
|Medieval sword fight|
|And some dancing - not sure how medieval belly dancing is, but the guys sure enjoyed it|
The castle was quite impressive even without the festival taking place; especially the chapel and gorgeous views of town from the windows.
|Castle by night|
|Vianden and castle by night|
|Vianden and castle by night|
The next day, we spent the morning at the Indian Forest, an adventure obstacle course in the trees. It was so much fun and the kids loved doing the zip lines and various obstacles high above the ground. I had a blast myself, but came away with a massive rope burn. Note to self, when wearing a harness, wear pants! Afterward, we enjoyed walking around Vianden, and visiting more of the medieval festival, which spilled out into the town's squares.
|Gathering the troops outside the hotel|
|A medieval food tent|
|A medieval tavern in the castle|
|Me and Karen strolling along the river|
Come Sunday, Neil and fam returned to Ramstein and we were thrilled to be bringing Mark, Karen and Sam home to the Netherlands with us. We enjoyed showing them our area as much as possible over the next four days with visits to Maastricht, Margraten, Aachen, the Drielandenpunt and the Open Air Folk Museum near Arnhem.
|Aachen Printen shop|
|Drielandenpunt - where the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany meet|
|At the Open Air Folk Museum|
|Open Air Folk Museum|
We are so very appreciative that they came to visit, as we always have the best time with them and it was such a treat to see Sam experience Europe for the first time. It's amazing to see Europe through the eyes of a 9-year-old and he did so well as drug him all over the place. Although he did eventually get somewhat jaded from the many castles we showed him, he absolutely loved the medieval festival and simply playing with his cross-bow souvenir in our backyard. I guess boys will, after all, be boys.
With 10 people and lots of kids, it's always a little chaotic when we're all together, but that's what makes it an adventure. One thing's for certain, I can't wait until our next Clough reunion!