My husband and I recently vacationed in Germany with a side trip to Amsterdam. We went to visit my daughter and her husband who’s stationed in Germany. We left on a Tuesday afternoon, flying Jet Blue out of RDU to JFK.

Flying over New York was not what I expected. For one thing, I thought to see tall buildings and crowded streets. I didn’t expect to see oceanfront property. Yes, I know New York is a coastal state and that Long Island and Manhattan are, well, islands. But the expanse of sand took me by surprise. So did the empty beaches. It was 80 degrees when we flew over. NC beaches are packed when the temps reach that high. But I could barely see anyone on these beaches. And the sand looked almost concrete. Is it paved like a sidewalk? I don’t know. But the view from the air was incredible.

Once we reached JFK, we rushed to our next gate to wait for our connecting flight on Swiss Air that would takes us to Zurich where we’d change planes again. Our experiences on both Jet Blue and Swiss air were great. Planes left on time. The flight attendants were friendly. And the view of New York at night was awe inspiring.

It was an overnight flight and I awoke in time to see Paris. Or not. The plane had dropped below its 37,000 feet cruising altitude but we were still too high to see much of anything. And it was cloudy. But I got a glimpse of the Swiss Alps as we entered Switzerland. Seeing the tops of those jagged, snow-capped mountains jutting high above the clouds was a sight I’ll never forget. It reminded me of that movie, Alive. Alive is based on the book Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors and details the events surrounding the Uruaguay rugby team whose plane crashed in the Andes mountains in 1972. A fellow writer posted this blog after hearing one of the survivors of the crash speak at a lecture. It will give you cold chills and make you think.

From Zurich, we caught a connecting flight to Nuremberg where my daughter picked us up. I’m in the process of writing the sequel to Out of the Darkness, my paranormal vampire romance. There’s a scene in the book set in a cemetary in Nuremberg. And so, my daughter took us to the cemetary so I could take some pictures. She thought it was creepy, but I love old cemetaries.

I find them incredibly peaceful and beautiful, not like modern cemetaries with the plastic grave markers or flat foot markers. I love the artistry of old grave yards. And there are always beautfiul statues.

And in Germany, there are many gorgeous old churches, some that date back to mideival times.

This particular cemetary had some new graves and some from WWII and older. My daughter said some victims of the plague were buried in mass graves on the church grounds. We did see some family graves and I wasn’t sure if they were headstones to mark the family plot, or if they were indeed, mass family graves.

This grave, for instance, had no other markers near it. And nothing that looked like additional plots. So, I can only guess about the Sebald family and how/when they died and were buried.

Visiting cemetaries may seem a bit macabre, but luckily for me, my husband enjoyes it too. He says walking through cemetaries makes him feel grateful he isn’t sprawled out in the dirt getting eaten by worms. Then, I remind him he wants to be cremated.

After spending a relaxing afternoon touring the cemetary, we walked through Nuremberg and discussed plans for our week long visit with my daughter and her husband. Nuremberg is a beautiful old city, but I think I like Beyreuth better.

Check back later in the week, when I post day two’s adventures in the beautiful city of Beyreuth, Germany.