The morning started very early with all the couples piling onto our buses for the six hour drive to Garmisch. It was a beautiful drive though! We saw a castle along the way and even got to cut through Austria for a little bit. When we finally got to the actual resort, I was amazed. Edelweiss is surrounded by mountains. Everywhere you look around the resort, you are able to see mountains! It is truly a breathtaking scenery you have to see for yourself.
The reason we were able to go to Edelweiss was, of course, because of the marriage retreat. Now I have to be honest, I wasn't expecting much from the retreat part of the trip. It was hosted by the Army chaplain and I just honestly wasn't expecting to get very much from the whole seminar. Boy was I wrong though! First off, I would like to say that we have an awesome Chaplain. He is a very down to earth man who has a heart for serving the Lord. The way he runs his service is more like the church services I went to growing up than the standard Army chapel service. I did not know this though because I had not met the chaplain yet. During the retreat we did two awesome studies. The first was Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage by Mark Gungor and the second was the Five Love Languages. If you haven't done either of them, I highly recommend going through them! They are wonderful!! We watched the video series for Mark Gungor and he is very entertaining but truthful! As for the Five Love Languages, I had heard of them but had never actually gone through the book. I am very glad we did that weekend though. To know how your spouse receives love and is trying to show you love is crucial. We were both blessed by the conference that weekend and we learned so much about each other.
The majority of our time was taken up by the classes during the retreat; but we did have one afternoon set aside as a mandatory date night. Because all the tours and much of the popular attractions in Garmisch were closed by the time we were let out of our class, we decided to go with the one thing that was always open...the bike rentals. We rented bikes along with another couple from the retreat and we started riding around the paths that surround Edelweiss. Biking turned out to be the best activity! We were able to cover a lot of ground without walking! It was the most beautiful bike ride I have ever been on. The whole time we were surrounded by snow capped mountains and green hills. Honestly it reminded me of some scenes from The Sound of Music (the dad does sing a song called Edelweiss in the movie doesn't he??). We came across a ski jump that hosted the 1936 winter Olympics. I have seen the ski jumpers on tv; but I am telling you that until you see the jump in person, you cannot grasp just how crazy those people must be to jump off that thing! It is very impressive in person.
We continued our bike ride through the town and made it just in time to eat dinner and shop around a little before the stores closed. We ate pizza at this quaint shop that we were told had the "best pizza in Garmisch." Of course we had to try it out and I will admit it was very good. We stopped by a chocolate shop called 'Amelie's' and browsed through their two stories of chocolates. It all looked so delicious!
Our weekend ended with a couples massage at the resort. It was my first massage ever and I loved it! It was so relaxing! I actually fell asleep right at the end. They do the massage in special rooms on the floor that you're staying on and I was very thankful for that. We were both so relaxed and drowsy after that we didn't want to walk very far!
The whole weekend was amazing! Not only did we get to see some beautiful sights in a gorgeous city; but we were also blessed by the classes during the retreat. The time spent in the conference was just as memorable as the bike ride through the city. We had a wonderful experience through it all! We definitely want to go back sometime and see the other sights we just didn't have time to hit this go around.
Through this retreat we were able to meet the Chaplain and get to know him a little bit. During the weekend we learned that he was starting services at the Patriot Chapel and they were just starting out with about 30 couples attending. He invited us to visit. We went and checked it out and we both thoroughly enjoyed the service. We have continued going to his services and now Tyler is helping to get a live worship group started for the services.