When I took German in Junior High School, my teacher told us that Saarland was very industrial and dirty. Well, that may have been the case 35 years ago, but now it is BEAUTIFUL!! Saarland is the smallest German state and borders France and Luxembourg. While there is industry in the southern part of Saarland, most of the coal mines and steel factories have closed. We did drive by a Ford factory today, and I read in the paper today that they plan to work a regular work schedule for the rest of the year.
We are staying in northeastern Saarland. It is somewhat hilly here and very agricultural. I've seen lots of cows, some sheep, rapeseed, and what I think are potato plants (which would make sense, as potatoes are VERY popular here). There are also nice wooded areas and recreation areas.
Today we visited Bostalsee. It is a man-made lake with many recreational opportunities. There was a sightseeing boat, sailboarding, motorboating and paddle boats. We took a couple of paddle boats out on the lake for an hour. Then we went to the playground so Caroline and Jana could act like little children :-) Next we rented bicycles and rode around the lake. We stopped at an art gallery/museum to look around.
After returning the bikes, we got in the cars and drove to a little town to have the compulsory afternoon snack. Today I had Apfelschoerle (sparkling apple juice) and strawberry cake. Next we drove to Marpingen and visited the place where, in 1876, the Virgin Mary appeared to 3 young girls. There is a shrine and a small chapel there. Then we hiked up a hill, looking at the Stations of the Cross until we got to a well of Holy Water and an open-air chapel--very pretty.
We came back to the house for a barbeque. There were several different kinds of sausages, a few kebabs, and some grilled pork. We had frozen french fries, tossed salad, Caprese salad and bread. Not much different than an American barbeque, and very tasty! I tried an interesting beer--Schoefferhofer Grapefruit. I was a little skeptical, but it was very good!
After dinner Jana, Lena and Caroline dyed and decorated Easter eggs.