Friday, December 31, 2010


I've really taken my time getting all the posts from our trip to Germany posted, but I couldn't leave out the city of Freising. It's the city we stayed in and it was wonderful.

On our first full day there we walked around down town. This big open area was packed full with the farmer's market. It was amazing. Everything you could imagine. Not only did we see tons of fresh produce, but there was also baked goods, eggs, flowers, and meat. I would love to have a market like that here.

These bears are all over the city.

This is only a small sampling.

Here we see the bear with St. Corbinian.

I'm sure you won't mind a couple more....

This one is my favorite. Would wouldn't love a giant bear made of cheese?

I don't recall the name of this fountain. I just thought it was beautiful and I needed to share it.

I found out while we were there than Aldi is a German company. I had no idea! This may have been the most familiar thing we saw in the "normal" every day stuff while we were there. In the U.S. we have Aldi South, as does Bavaria. I'm not sure what the difference is between Aldi North and Aldi South other than they are two separate, yet connected companies. At one time there was only one company, the brothers who started the company split it in two after a dispute.

We saw many water ways in Germany. This one was one of the prettiest pictures I took while there. I'd love to see it in late spring when the foliage is green and everything is in bloom.

This was a 'green grocer' in Freising. I'm not sure what it would be called in German though. The whole store was nothing but fresh produce. How wonderful that would be!

Rob pushing our friends twins up the steep climb to the Freising Cathedral. He was so nice to do that for us.

Here is the court yard area at the top of the hill. You can see pictures of the inside in my previous post here.

And here is just some grand fun! Someone in the city sets up this little gnome and figure village in their yard. I'm told that they change it around a bit from time to time to keep with the holidays and seasons. Kind of like those geese that you can get different outfits for, but on a much grander scale. They even have a little bench so the children can get a better view over the fence.

Our trip to Germany was great. We had a wonderful time there and hope to go back again some day to see the things we didn't have time for this time around. However, the very best part of it was getting to spend time with dear friends. Huge thanks again go to Thomas and Leslie for opening their home to us.

Monday, December 27, 2010

How did THAT happen?!

I woke up this morning the mother of a 10 year old. WHAT?! I could have sworn I forbid her to get older when she was about six. Sigh......I guess I really have no control. She's getting older and I'm just going to have to accept it.

Sh no longer drinks from a sippy cup, but spaghetti is still almost as messy. It's just not fun if you don't slurp the noodles so that they flap all over your face, even when your 10.

And see where the door handles are in this picture? Right above her head? Now they are somewhere below her arm pits. She's going to be quite tall when she's done growing.

And what a smile she had when she was little. Always ready to grin for the camera.

OK, so not everything changes as she gets older. She still have a beautiful smile ready for the camera no matter what.

Happy birthday Jade. I love you.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Traditions

It seems that along with the usual traditions of Christmas, such as opening presents Christmas morning, many of us have unique traditions as well. In my family it has become a tradition to watch the movie Oscar when we have Christmas with my mom.

(This picture has nothing to do with the rest of this post. I just wanted to show off my snowman cheese ball.)

I barely remember the first time we watched it on Christmas. I know it's been more than 12 years because I hadn't started dating my husband yet the first time we watched it. We laughed so hard that we had to watch it again the next year. And somehow it has become something we strive to do every year.

I think maybe one of the things that makes it such a great tradition is that no one planned for it to become a tradition. It was just something that we enjoyed so much that we did it again. Then we found that we enjoyed it just as much the second time so we did it again. Before we knew it, it was just what we do.

So what are some unconventional traditions your family has?

Now if you have never watched the movie Oscar, get over to Netflix and add it to your queue.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Family History- Ansbach

WARNING: This post has a lot of pictures.

One of the things I was most excited to do while I was in Germany was to visit the city of Ansbach. There really is not much there that would make it a huge draw for tourists in general. Like all of the places we were able to visit while in Bavaria, it was beautiful. The old buildings, the cobble stone streets, the shops, etc. were all worth seeing on their own. But that's not why I wanted to go there.

You see, my heritage through my paternal grandmother is German. Some genealogy was done many years ago on the family and that history has been published on line HERE. In reading this, I discovered that the oldest traceable ancestor of that branch of my family was born in Ansbach some time in the year 1680.

When you reach the center of the city, this is what greets you. I have no idea what this building is called. When you walk through the archway it's easy to forget that the hustle and bustle of everyday life is happening in the rest of the city.

Edit: One of the landmarks of the city of Ansbach is the Herrieder goal. The massive baroque gate was built between 1750/1751 by the court architect Johann David Gruber on the foundation stone of a previous building.

This Gothic foundation is still visible on the ground floor. With the four flanking town houses on the promenade side is the gate of a Herrieder the most important Baroque building ensembles of Ansbach.

Thank you to commenter RenateS. for finding this information and translating it into English for me!

Right in front of the above building was this fountain. We saw several fountains while we were in Germany, but since it was starting to get colder, many of them weren't running anymore. It was nice to see this one still flowing.

Some of the alleyways were so narrow that it was easy to see why so few cars in this part of the city. In some places the buildings were literally only a couple inches apart. I suppose that is what happens when a city is built and maintained over so many hundreds of years.

This is nothing more than a manhole cover, but I thought it was interesting set in the cobblestone like this with the city crest on it.

The various crests on the building here show the history of the city. I can't remember what they all mean, but it has to do with what country it actually belonged to during the dates listed below each crest. Apparently it traded back and forth quite a bit through the years.

I think this was St. John's Church, which is a Lutheran church. I have to admit I'm not entirely sure though. I didn't really take notes on most of what we saw here. I was too busy marveling that I was possibly walking down the same streets my ancestors did over 300 years ago.

You can see how the buildings connect to each other yet are very distinct at the same time. It was very easy to just enjoy the beauty around us and forget about time.

Something about this reminded me of my Megan. Maybe the happy face that's just slightly tilted down as if she's a little shy. I'd love to replicate her clothes into a costume for Halloween next year. You know, in spare time. (HAHA!)

Again, I do not remember the name of this building at all. I do remember that it was inspired by the Palace of Versailles. It was so long I couldn't get the whole thing in one picture, but it was just more of the same going out several more feet in each direction.

Right behind me as I was taking the picture of the building above were these fountains. If you look real hard, you can see one more further back. I wish that the pictures could really capture the beauty there. Like so many other places we saw there it was simply breathtaking.

We saw this sculpture as we were walking back toward the parking garage. Even though it's a very modern sculpture I loved it. Something about it being a horse seems to tie together now with the past.

There was really something sort of surreal about being in this city for me. Even now thinking about it makes me long to know more about my family history. Most of all, I wish I could share these pictures with my Dad.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Three Weeks!!

That's how long it's been since I last posted. YIKES! Sorry about that. I guess I've been busier than I realized. There are still a couple posts waiting to be written on my trip to Germany.

Also there will some new posts coming to show off my kitchen renovation. It's not something we had been planning, but when you have a small kitchen fire, things need to be fixed. Everyone is OK and there is nothing horribly damaged. I'll post more on that soon.

For now, I need to get back to cleaning up the mess left behind. See you soon....

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Concert

The main reason that we took the trip to Germany when we did was so that Leslie and I could see a-ha together on their farewell tour "Ending On A High Note".

It was a truly wonderful experience. My pictures aren't the greatest as we were sitting up rather high, but I thought I'd share a few with you anyhow.
I was secretly a little worried that Morten Harket wouldn't sound as good live as he does on CD. I had no need to worry. He sounded great!

The concert was at the Olympic Hall in Munich. It was a nice venue with great acoustics. It would have been nice if the speakers and cords hadn't been in the way of the big screens though. Not that I'm complaining. It was my last chance to see a-ha live. No complaints from me at all.

See, even with the cords in the way Morten still looks good on the screen. Nope, not complaining at all. :o)

Most of the pictures were very dark because the lighting was low. I'm guessing that was so all the stuff they were showing the the big screens would be easier to see. But I did manage to get a couple shots with good light.

One last good-bye. They ended the show with Take On Me. But the song that got me the most was Manhattan Skyline. As an American that song hits a little different now than it did before 2001.

Friday, October 29, 2010

An Afternoon In History

We found out that in Germany most everything closes down on Sunday. However, that doesn't mean there's nothing to do. The first Sunday we were there, we spent afternoon seeing the historic city of Landshut.The historic look of the city is maintained so well do to the celebration of the Landshut Wedding every four years. In German it would be called Landshuter Hochzeit. This celebration and reenactment is to commemorate the marriage of 1475 wedding of The Duke of Landshut's son, George, to the Polish King's daughter, Hedwig Jagiellon.
From the city's center you could see Trausnitz Castle. The view was marvelous no matter what direction you turned.

All of the main section of the city is required to maintain the outer shell of the buildings so that the historic look remains. Every four years in preparation for the wedding, the buildings get a fresh coat of paint and any needed repairs.

I do not remember what this building was. There were just too many things to remember it all. It was just too beautiful not to share.

I'm sure we've all seen the cobble stone that is bricks laid in a pretty pattern. This is a much older type of cobble stone made of actual stones. It's just so beautiful. I now want all my pathways through my herb garden (the one I don't have yet) to be like this.

Now back to the castle. As I stated earlier, most everything is closed in Germany on Sunday. So when we made the trek up that steep hill to see the castle we were fully expecting to just take pictures of the outside portions. We were pleasantly surprised to find a tour available when we got to the top.

Now my husband is very tall. 6 foot 5 inches tall to be exact. The castle was built in the 13th century. The average height of a man was much shorter then than it is now. So that really makes doors short for a man of above average height today.

Here is a view of Landshut from the outer walls. The tall tower you see is St. Martin's Cathedral that I showed you in my previous post.

And here you can see the inner court yard of the castle. If my memory serves, we were told that only the Duke was allowed to ride his horse into the inner court yard.

The outer walls of a castle were usually considered a castles first and main defense. Here you can see the path way between the outer wall (on the left) and the inner wall. The inner wall provides one more layer of defense to protect the castle in case the fortifications the outer wall were breached.

Even though we weren't here for the wedding there was plenty to see and enjoy in Landshut. I'm glad that we visited on a Sunday when the shops were closed. I think if the shops had been open I would have been too distracted by them to really take in the beauty around me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


There are two things in Germany (and probably all of Europe) that are more plentiful than beer and chocolate.....castles and cathedrals. We visited 2 cathedrals and toured 2 castles. Today we'll focus on the Cathedrals.
The first that we visited was St. Martin's church in Landshut. (More on Landshut later.) Construction on St. Martin's began in 1389 and took around 110 years to finish. St. Martin's boasts the tallest all brick tower in the world. The tower alone took 55 years to build.

The tower didn't sound like any big deal until I was standing at the base looking straight up it. That was rather dizzying.The crucifix is one of the largest and oldest in the world as well. It's completely carved from wood. It was put up in 1495, five years before the church was dedicated. The body is carved from the trunk of a lime tree.Along the outside are essentially grave stones. For a price, people can be buried in the cathedral. I didn't think to ask if there is a tomb below if there is some other place they put the bodies.

The other cathedral we visited was the Freising Cathedral. I'm sure that Leslie told me a different name for it, but I can't remember it now. The outside was not nearly as elabroate as St. Martin's, but the inside was breath taking.
I don't think any photograph could do justice to the frescoes on the ceiling. The colors and detail are amazing.
The walls are decorated just as elaborately.
Being American, I don't often think about how old the structures are in the rest of the world. To think of the age of these buildings is mind boggling. Regardless of your faith, you can't help but marvel at the art and architecture. It had to have been an amazing feat do build like this without any of the modern tools we have today.
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