Sunday was election day here in Germany, but apparently they don't do the whole "get out the vote" thing that we do in the states. So we went for a short hike to Burg Eltz, a castle near the beautiful Mosel (or Moselle for you Francophiles out there!) River.
Here's the castle in all its glory. Pay no attention to the scaffolding behind the curtain! Yes, they are in the process of renovating the castle. Inside it was pretty sweet, but unfortunately you're not allowed to take pictures. There was all kinds of old furniture and weapons (the castle itself was built in the 12th century). What is singular about this castle is that it has never been attacked, and thus it is in very good condition. The castle was used as a luxury retreat and is thus not in a strategic location, but rather in the middle of the woods. Also, a family still owns the castle and actually lives in it!
Here's a view of the castle from which you can't see quite as much scaffolding!
An introduction of my host family is LONG overdue! From left to right you see Dieter, his wife Tina, their daughter Laura, and her boyfriend Stefan. Dieter works for the city of Koblenz in its environmental protection department (yes, a whole city department for environmental protection! And Koblenz is only about 100,000 people). One thing he does is help schools build solar panel roofs, and he showed me some around town. Sunday was also Dieter's birthday, so they had a birthday/election party. Tina teaches computers and IT at a local school. Laura is 18 and still in school; she hopes to work in the hotel or tourism business. Stefan is in school training to be an electrician.