This weekend we went to check out a nearby town, Idar-Oberstein. It is known as a gem mining town and also has a castle and a historic church cut into the mountain. It's only about 20 minutes from us and we had heard it was a neat town, so we went to see what all was there on Saturday. We had a little bit of a challenge finding the downtown part at first....we went up the wrong side of the mountain and then back down....a little crazy and scary in the narrow, winding residential roads. But they have mirrors around the corners so you can at least see if another car is flying around the curve - because they do drive up and down the mountain fast! Anyway - we finally found the right area, parked, and got a chance to figure out the German parking meter and the new meter sign we had to buy for our car.
Idar-Oberstein has a really neat little downtown area, with lots of shops and restaurants. We looked at a lot of beautiful, one of a kind jewelry with the local gems, and I told Andy he could come back and buy me something there for my birthday. We stopped and had some ice cream in the town square and got some info on the gem mines that we can go tour another day.
In the background you can see the church cut into the mountain.
Then we decided to go up the side of the mountain and see the castle (the church was closed, so we'll go back and see that another day). It was another long, wind-y, ride up - but gorgeous views at the top!
We had a fun day and will definitely head back there often now that we know how to get there and what all is there.