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After having to initially postpone their trip in early September, my parents were able to reschedule for mid-October.

I wanted to take them on a couple of our favorite day trip adventures while we were here, plus we visited the town in Alsace that my dad’s family comes from!

On their first day, we took the train to Bingen while Randolph was at work and went on the same Rhein River cruise that I went on over the summer. I didn’t take any pictures this time, since it was cloudier and we were sitting indoors to keep warm. But I still love that tour! It never ceases to amaze me when I see all those castles along the Rhein, nestled in among all the vineyards. It’s definitely a gorgeous area. If any of our friends and family come visit us while we’re here, know that we’ll be sending you off on this cruise!

Before we got on the boat


After the cruise we had dinner at our favorite local German restaurant, Spinnrädl. It’s housed in the oldest building in Kaiserslautern and they have great local German cuisine.

As a side note, check out this ridiculous review of a very similar cruise on another nearby river – the Mosel. I found this over the summer when I was looking up activities do to with visiting friends. Apparently, this reviewer bothered to travel all the way from Florida to Germany and then complained that there were “too many castles” ruining their otherwise nice river cruise. I mean, if all they wanted was to float around in a boat, they should’ve saved their money and stayed in Florida. Some people just don’t know how to enjoy themselves, I guess.



Seriously?? Why bother??


The next day, we left for a little overnight trip to Alsace. Our first stop was Gunstett, France – home of the Keem family (since around 1700, anyway)! Amazingly enough, it’s under an hour and a half to drive from our house to Gunstett. I’d been wanting to visit the town, since it’s so close, but hadn’t yet gone. And since my parents were visiting, that seemed like the perfect opportunity for all of us to see Gunstett.

It’s a pretty tiny town; I think Wikipedia lists its population as 600-something people. I’m not even entirely sure whether anyone from our family still lives there.


It was a Saturday afternoon and Gunstett was definitely not a happening place. We saw one little bakery, which we were going to go into… but it was already closed for the day. The only place we were really able to visit was the church. The doors were open (I guess that’s probably normal for such a small town) so we were free to walk around. It was surprisingly nice inside for being in such a small town.


the inner door
Look at those musical angels! Must be in my blood 😉
the ceiling
I assume this was locally made, since it’s a common type of pottery in the area


We did find the name on a couple old stones next to the church and on a war memorial plaque inside the church.

(*side note: the name was “Kim” in France; it seemed to have become “Keem” upon arrival in the US)

Laurent Kim, brother of my great great great-grandfather (who moved to the US)
I think Antoine would have been the son of one of the other brothers?
No Kims here, just cool looking

I would like to go back sometime to walk around more. There were only a few gravestones next to the church, but I think I had seen an actual cemetery elsewhere in town when we were driving through. But we needed to get going to Strasbourg, plus I really needed a bathroom and there did not seem to be any available whatsoever in Gunstett.

We spent the rest of the day in Strasbourg. My mom wanted to see the cathedral, which is still one of my favorites. Last time, I took pictures of the entire outside of the giant, majestic cathedral. This time I wanted to get some close-ups of the carved stone details.

Look at all those carved figures!
It only took my entire life (literally), but I finally got her to smile in a picture 😀


We also had a very nice Alsatian dinner at Le Tire Bouchon, just down the street from the cathedral. Frequently, restaurants so close to tourist attractions are so-so, but this one was a pleasant surprise. The food was delicious (and huge) and they had lots of great French wines to choose from.

The next day we took my parents to Colmar (our third time there, now, after this time and this time). Colmar is another place that I think will be a staple for taking friends/family visiting us. I mean, who doesn’t love seeing those charming pastel-colored half timber houses?? All I can say is that there’s a reason Disneyland put copies of them in “the Happiest Place on Earth.” In our first year in Germany I have now seen many, many half timber houses (some in touristy places, some in random towns), but none compare to how striking the ones in Colmar are. Definitely a European gem!


It would have been nice to show my parents even more while they were here if we had more time, but at least we got the chance to show them a couple of our favorite places!


UP NEXT: I still have one more mini-trip post in the backlog before I’m caught up!


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