Our little old man…

Guten Tag!


Ah… it is so nice to have internet again! 


Well, since the post I had planned to write on my birthday got thrown unceremoniously out the proverbial window…  I’ll move on to the next tid bit I had intended to share with you.


My little Yoda man had surgery! 


Look at that groggy old man face and his bandage where they had an IV in his leg.


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He is ten years old (which is old for a schnauzer and he’s turning 11 in January!)  For the last two years we have been told every time we take him to the vet for shots and such that he needs to have his teeth cleaned.  The first time this was ever mentioned to us was only a few short months before our move here to Germany.  It was not enough time to get into a civilian vet in the states so we were forced to wait until we had made the move.  


Almost as soon as we settled in we called to make an appointment only to find that they were not taking appointments but would put us on the list to be called when they opened that part of the practice back up…  Suffice it to say that we jumped through many hoops and did our fair share of waiting and here we are almost 18 months later and it’s finally done!


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Okay so we got him all ready to go and followed the pre-op plan for food and water.  We were thinking that they would just put him under and clean his teeth and maybe he’ll be a bit sore but a few days will cure all…. NOT!


We get him home and he’s all groggy on major pain meds… He has two prescriptions and specific instructions as to what he can and can not eat for the next 10 days!  It turns out that once they got in there they found that he had some major tooth decay.  They told us that it was not from neglect simply age so that was a relief….  But what it comes down to is that they removed 19 of his teeth! 19!!!  And we now have a toothless old man.


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It took him a few days of rest and relaxation before he started acting normal again.  And he kept looking at us with those big puppy eyes that just scream “Why oh why did you take all my teeth… I don’t bite… well, not anymore any how… le sigh…”


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But a few days later he started acting like his cantankerous old self once again and the lack of teeth became apparent!


Look at those little black lips and gums! 


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He still has all four canines in the front so he looks like a little vampire!


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Really how cute is that?


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Every once in a while you get the perfect picture.  You capture a moment that says exactly what you want to say in film.  This is one of those moments.  There is no way I could ever illustrate with words just how funny and grouchy my little old man looks now without his teeth… but I don’t have to since he made the perfect face for me!


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The full ten days have passed and he’s back to normal now.  He can eat his solid food though it’s pretty funny to watch him do that!  He plays with his brother, perhaps a little more loudly than he used to (Our opinion is that he’s trying to make up for the lack of bite with a bit more bark!)  and our favorite benifit of this adventure?… He can lick you or breath in your face and you smell NOTHING!!!  No death breath anymore!  No having to wonder if he caught a mouse in the basement because man that can’t be normal!  His breath smells like dog food at his very worse!


And his dad is very happy…


Why? 


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Because of the very best part… the vet simply did not believe us when we told her he was 10.  She flatly refused until she opened his mouth and looked at his teeth.  Then she exclaimed “Oh… yep he’s 10 alright!”  She said that they did a full physical while he was under and now that his teeth have been taken care of (teeth this bad can cause infections that can shut down the liver, kidneys, heart and so on…) he is the healthiest 10 year old dog she has EVER seen.  She said she would be shocked if he doesn’t see his 15th birthday!!! 


We’ll take it!


So for all of you in Phoenix it looks like you’ll be seeing him again after all!


Okay I’m off to finish up the last of my crocheting and prepping for the trip home.


We leave in 8 days and my sister and Ryan’s brother tie the knot in only 12 days!!!!


Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney 

My Birthday and the Internet…

FATE:  “Hmmm  what should Courtney get for her birthday this year?  Oh I know…….  (points finger and ZAP)


COURTNEY: (Franticly clicking sign in on her IM over and over)  “Nothing is happening?  No NO NOOOO!” 


Yep that’s right folks!  Yesterday was my 27th birthday.  I had a lot of fine philosophical thoughts to share with you on turning 27.  I spent the day leading up to this fine event in maudlin self reflection and had a nice post written in my mind to share with all of you….  Didn’t quite work out though did it!?


Our Internet went down on Friday of last week and worked intermittently until it came back up on Tuesday.  It was on long enough for me to post the last pictures of our visit with Ryan’s parents and then ZAP it crashed completely.  It ended up being a bad line from our Internet provider which they finally fixed today (Friday) at 1pm. 

 

This of course killed all my plans of posting something deep and meaningful on THE day.  I must admit that not being able to talk to any of my friends or family or have any contact with the outside world put a bit of a damper on my day and I had a very quite birthday but nothing a Baskin Robins Ice Cream Cake from my husband couldn’t cure!

 

And so I’m back at the cusp of the weekend.  (In case you haven’t realized by now my rule is that I don’t get online on the weekends so that Ryan and I can spend it together)  And so look for me bright and early on Monday morning!!!

 

Oh and Amy?  I didn’t forget you birthday twin!!!  I too hope you had a wonderful day!

 

Auf Wiedersehen!

 

Courtney

On Exploring Castles…

Guten Tag!


Sorry for the longer than planned absence!  My internet went down on Friday around noon and today is the first day of real service!


And so I left you in Paris!


The few days after we returned were spent relaxing and enjoying each others company around the house since we were tired and our feet were killing us!


On one shopping trip we stopped at a pull off over Huttingen to take pictures!


Denny and Cheryl on the overlook…


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 And of course Ryan and I. 



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The day before Denny and Cheryl were to leave Germany we decided to go see one last castle!  The Mandersheid Castles to be precise.


Ryan and I have been there several times but this time we went inside!  It was a blast and something to see!


Here are Denny and Cheryl at the top of one of the lower towers.  Denny has just scraped his arm on the rock and is joking around about it!  I love this picture… it’s just so them!  (Not to mention you can see where Ryan gets it.)


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And now for the real picture… 


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I’m standing inside the stairwell in the tower.  Notice how narrow it is?  They built the staircases tight like this so that if the tower was overrun only one man at a time could come up. 


Don’t you just love the scarf I got in Paris?


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 Be still my fluttering heart…


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 This castle was destroyed during the French Revolutionary war…


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In the main level of the castle we found a room that had several alcoves with benches and windows. 


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 You could almost imagine tables here to make a dining room or perhaps it was once a chapel?  You never know here.


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 This is the tallest tower.  It was quite a hike!


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 At the top we had a stunning view of the second castle and the surrounding valley.


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 That is the road coming into the castle and the little hamlet of the lower castle.




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  It was a beautiful day for climbing in and out of ruins and exploring!


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Awww aren’t they sweet?  What you don’t know is that she’s trying to shove him off the tower to pay him back for pushing her on the Luxembourg wall!  🙂


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 After we finished climbing about the ruins we went down into the field below the castle where they hold the jousting fest.  The view of the castle from there was amazing!


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 We even managed to get a picture of the four of us together!  A fitting way to end a lovely two weeks.



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 All in all it was a wonderful trip!  We had a lot of fun and are already mourning the fact that they have gone home.  We only hope that they will be able to come again!


And that concludes out visit with Denny and Cheryl!  Just in time too!  We board a plane for Phoenix in just 14 days.  We will spend 8 frenzied days there and then off we’ll fly for home again.  Two weeks later my parents arrive here in Germany and we’ll be off to explore again!


So with that I will bid you Auf Wiedersehen!  I have much to do to prepare for our trip!


Courtney


 

Paris… The City of Lights!

Ah Paris!


In all my life I never thought that I would ever leave the U.S.A.  Let alone for Europe… and when we moved, yes.. I wanted to travel.  Did I think we ever really would?  Did I think it would ever become a reality?  No… I had hoped… but didn’t really hold out hope. 


All my life I have heard about Paris and thought to myself… “Really what’s the big deal?”


Well now I know and I’m here to tell you that… “Paris holds the key to my heart!”


On Monday morning bright and early we went to the train station in Phillipsheim.  We took a train to Trier and then another on to Saarbruken.  In Saarbruken we waited for just under an hour and boarded an I.C.E. train… (Basically a bullet train)  and off for Paris we went!


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We arrived in the City of Lights at about 3pm and walked from the train station, Gare de l’est, to our hotel, La Vieille France.  When we arrived at our hotel it was to find that the lift was broken and our room was on the very top floor!  Yikes!  We hiked all the way to the top, put our bags down, and headed out to find something to eat!


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We ended up in a nice little restaurant that I would NEVER eat in again!  Word to the wise.  If you ever go to Paris do not eat in a restaurant!  If you have to sit down to eat you are going to be sorry! 


We went in, sat down, and ordered. 


For the appetizer course we all ordered a raw veggie salad… thinking or course… “Salad, okay I can do salad.”  It ended up being a massive plate of cold; corn, peas, carrots, beets, and several unidentifiable things.  All cooked mind you but served cold in some kind of gravy…  SHUDDER!  It’s okay though since they didn’t bring me the cold veggie salad I ordered I didn’t have to eat it.  Oh no… instead I ended up with the cold MEAT salad.  Which is, of course, PATTE!  Oh, there simply are no words.  NO WORDS!  Suffice it to say that I have eaten real Pate in Paris, France. 


For the main course (feeling a bit cautious after that appetizer fiasco!)  Cheryl and I ordered chicken and Denny and Ryan ordered fish.  Safe right?  WRONG!  The fish were these small limp pieces of the kind of fish they put in fish sticks covered in a lemon butter glaze.  It was kind of like ordering fish at Denny’s… Then Cheryl and I got our chicken.  Yep just a thigh and leg of a chicken baked.  It had no flavor and was dry.  Not terrible and not wonderful. 


Dessert was another thing all together.  It was AMAZING and we all almost died!  It was this super thick, super dark, super RICH, chocolate mousse.  About three bites and we were so done but of course we had to finish it all and so we were all about to explode when we left. 


So sounds bad but not terrible huh?  How about if I tell you that between the four of us to eat in this small sidewalk cafe with terrible food that didn’t even really fill us up we paid over $100.00?  Now it’s bad right?


Okay so moral of this little story is… eat at the sidewalk vendors!  They are everywhere and they are CHEAP.  There is every kind of cuisine from all over the world on the streets of Paris and the food is amazing!


Anyway… back to the trip!


After dinner we set out with our maps and cameras!


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 The streets were amazing… Every building was something to see… Even in the poorer neighborhoods.


Restaurants you recognize from home… and many you don’t…


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 Restaurants with logos you recognize from the pictures you can buy in Target…


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And after a lot of walking and some very scary moments (such as walking through the red light district of Paris at dusk) we found the most famous brothel in the world! 


The Moulin Rouge!


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 Needless to say we contented ourselves with pictures from a distance and then hoofed it out of there before full dark!


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 So again we headed out on foot with maps and tour pamphlets.  After about 600 miles and 4 billion stairs (just being dramatic) we stumbled upon the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur on the Montmartre.


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 It was an awesome sight to behold.  Pardon the fuzzy pictures but it’s hard to get good pictures in the dark!


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 This one ended up being too cool to not use!


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And from the Montmartre (a hill 130 meters high, in the north of Paris, primarily known for the white-domed Basilica of the Sacre Coeur on its summit and another church on the hill called Saint Pierre de Montmartre, which claims to be the location at which the Jesuit order of priests was founded. Many artists had studied or worked around the community of Montmartre such as Salvador Dali, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh.) you can see all of Paris spread out before your feet.


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 Seeing the city of lights from the Montmartre and feeling the crisp fall breeze was almost surreal.


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 Who would have ever thought that I would stand upon this hill looking out over Paris in perhaps the same spot as some of the greatest artists of all time.


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 When we were done taking in the sites we slowly walked back down the hill into the teeming nightlife of Paris.


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The lights and sounds and smells of Paris at night can be summed up in a word… Charming!


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We finally found our way back to the hotel and fell on the beds just to get off or our feet!


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The next morning, bright and early we were up and about.  We walked to the Gare de Nord train station and caught a bus for the Arc de Triomphe.  The Arc de Triomphe is a monument in Paris that stands in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle at the western end of the Champs-Elysees. 


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The bus stop for it is about half a kilometer away from the actual arc so we walked along Champs- Elysees and looked at all the shops.  We even saw the Louis Vuitton store.  We went in for just a moment and the cheapest thing we found was a small medal keychain that was priced at 220 € (about $315.00) how crazy is that?


Back to the Arc de Triomphe.


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The arch honors those who fought for France, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars.


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And today also includes the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


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 It is lit with an ever burning flame.


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As I said in my previous post, so many things here in Europe are so large that they don’t even look big.  It’s as if your brain can simply not comprehend the true size so it scrunches it down to something understandable.  Just to give you an idea of the size of this monument it is over 51 meters (165 ft) in height and is 45 meters wide.  Still can’t grasp how big that is?  That’s Ryan and his dad at the bottom there.


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 And here are Denny and Cheryl.


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 Ryan and I in the center next to the tomb of the unknown soldier.


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 It is the second largest triumphal arch in existence.  Its design was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus. The Arc de Triomphe is so colossal that three weeks after the Paris victory parade in 1919, marking the end of hostilities in World War I, Charles Godefroy flew his Nieuport biplane through it, and was caught in a newsreel.


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From the Arc de Triomphe we walked back to the bus station and headed for the Eiffel tower. 


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Again it is hard to explain just how large this is so I’ll show you.  This is a full park and pond under the tower with full grown trees! 


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Suffice it to say… it’s big! 


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It was an amazing sight to see.  My only regret is that Ryan and I never thought to get the classic picture of us kissing in front of the tower! 


We’ll have to make due with this great picture of Ryan and his Dad overlooking the Seine river with the tower in the background… NOT kissing.  (snicker)



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After taking in the Eiffel tower and strolling along the Seine river we made our way to the Louvre!



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 The Musee du Louvre in Paris is the most visited and one of the oldest, largest, and most famous art galleries and museums in the world.


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And of course the Louvre pyramid which was built in 1989 and serves as the entrance to the museum!



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 The Louvre was once a palace.  It’s construction began in 1535 and was completed in 1876.  It is quite a site to behold.


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Unfortunately, as luck would have it, the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays… and that happens to be the day we were there!  If we ever go to Paris again you can be sure that the day we see the Louvre won’t be a Tuesday!



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After seeing as much of the Louvre as we could we walked onto the Ile de la Citi, the island in the center of the Seine River.



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To the front doors of Notre Dame de Paris.


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Notre Dame was built between 1163 and 1345 and is widely considered one of the finest examples of gothic architecture in the world.


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It is still the seat of the Archbishop of Paris.


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I have to say that this was perhaps my favorite stop in Paris.


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The interior of this church took my breath away.  Here are the pipes for the organ in front of one of the famous stained glass windows.



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Can I just say that I love my camera?  Flash cameras are not allowed inside as this is still a functioning church so all of these were taken indoors without a flash!


The windows were phenomenal. 


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 The archways and ceilings just stagger the mind.  It is not hard to believe that this building took 172 years to complete.


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There were many alcoves with statues and paintings and of course stained glass.


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 It was surreal to look up into this church and have images of Disney movies flashing through your mind.


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Don’t you expect to see Esmerelda walking down the aisle seeking sanctuary? 


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 Breathtaking…



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 I wish that the pictures could portray just how amazing the experience was…



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 But I’ll have to settle with telling you that the actual sight of this place is much grander and awe inspiring than my camera (without it’s flash!) can show you.


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 This is the Crown of Light or the Great Chandelier that has been taken down for restoration.


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I think this is one of my favorite pictures from the trip.  It looks like it should be a postcard!  (And in light of my recent encounters with Nuns it sooths my heart a bit! 🙂



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The great Rose window of the Notre Dame cathedral.


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The length of the cathedral from the Narthex.


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 This is one of the two iconic bell towers of Notre Dame.



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 The bells are some of the only things that survived the looting and destruction during the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century.


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 The outside of the Rose Window.



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Us posing in the gardens behind Notre Dame.




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After Notre Dame we spend some time perusing the little sidewalk shops and buying souvenirs.  We had a wonderful time…  We then walked back to the bus station and caught a bus back to our hotel.  We collected our baggage and walked back to the train station to catch our train home. 


As we boarded our train and looked back over the city of lights just beginning to come awake I realized that a piece of my heart would always belong in Paris.


I never understood how people could be so enchanted with a city, I have always been a mountain and lake girl myself.


But in the short two days that we walked it’s streets I fell in love with the city of lights, the city of L’amour.


Not to mention that Ryan and I can hold each other close, look deeply into each others eyes and say…


“We’ll always have Paris!”


Au Revoir!


Courtney




 

A Housefull of Laubes…

*EDIT*


Okay ladies I’m leaving this one up for one more day.  I have spent all day visiting everyone and responding to emails and messages that have been neglected in the last few weeks.  So I’m out of time and must get some other things done!!!  I’ll post a new picture post tomorrow!


Oh and to answer the questions about my camera I use the Kodak EasyShare Z740 5.0 megapixels.  I love it!


*END EDIT*


~~~~~~~~~~


*EDIT*


I’m out of time for the day!  The editing of all the pictures from this last two weeks has taken the better part of the last two days.  Plus there are other things demanding my attention which I will also talk about later.  In any case I don’t have time to visit everyone and at dinner so I’ll be around to visit tomorrow and catch up!


*END EDIT*


 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Guten Morgan!


The saying that time flies when you’re having fun is true!  I can scarcely believe that more than two weeks have passed since our last meeting… and I have so very much to share!


Ryan’s parents, Denny and Cheryl, arrived on the 2nd of October.  After being switched from flight to flight and airline to airline (due to some mechanical issues) they finally landed in Frankfurt at 1pm.  We gathered them and their belongings and set out on the 2 and a half hour car ride home.  It was so good to see them again and be able to share this place so different from home!


The first few days we spent showing them around base and shopping in our little slice of Germany.  We had a ton of fun (or at least Cheryl and I did… I think Denny might still kill me in my sleep for always saying “Oh this is the little shop I buy….(you fill in the blank) at…”  and so on!)


One of the things we did in that first few days was to go down by the river to take a walk in one of the prettier parts of our little town.  And finally the cameras came out! 


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Ryan posing on top of the water fall…  It was so chilly out but the water was warm!  


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 Ryan and I of course…


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 The bridge at the bottom of the waterfall…


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 The mist was so thick we even caught it on film!


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 Ryan climbing a fallen tree… 


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 The waterwheel out back of the Abach Muhell…


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The fall foliage is stunning…


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 The next day we went down to the Main square of Bitburg…


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It was fun window shopping, eating ice cream, and showing them around our home town!


~~~~~


On Friday we hopped a train from Phillipsheim to Trier to take the walking tour of all the Roman ruins! 


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There are many more pictures than I’m going to share but since Ryan and I have done this walk before, I’ve shown pictures of everything we saw that day.  I choose to not post duplicates since there are so many other things to share with you in the next few days.


We started out by the fountain outside the train station…


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 Our first stop was the Porta Nigra!  Do you see us?


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 How about now?


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 It is a stunning building and it never fails to amaze me just how large it is and how much history it represents.  We bought the tickets that allowed us to tour all of the Roman ruins in Trier, and spent some time walking through the inside of the Porta Nigra before moving on…


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 Our next stop was the Dam.  The gardens were amazing this time of year!


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 Next we went to the Basilica and the Electoral Palace.  Here are Denny and Cheryl in the gardens…



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 and in front of the Basilica (On the left) and the Electoral palace.


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 It was nice to see the gardens in the fall.  The last time we were there the ponds were frozen over.


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 We learned something new and interesting about the Basilica this trip.  Things here in Europe are often so large that they don’t look big at all.  To give you an idea of just how big this building is… we learned that you can literally fit the Porta Nigra inside of it and still have room to spare!


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 Our next stop on the tour was the Roman bath…


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 Here are Ryan and his dad on the over look.


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 Me with the main structure behind me.


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And then on to the Roman colosseum.  By this time we were so exhausted from walking (and being hot as the weather played a trick and got warm, which was lovely, except that we were all in sweaters or coats!) that we decided to sit on a bench at the top and enjoy the day and each other’s company for half an hour…. 


And I discovered the most amazing thing!!!  I can drink European soda!!!!  I haven’t had a soda since September of 2004 because I can’t have the carbonation with my surgery.  I took a sip of Ryan’s soda because there was no water in the vending machine (at least none that wasn’t carbonated) and would you believe it?  European carbonation is much more mild… in fact most American’s think it tastes flat… but that means I can have it!!!!  (I won’t be drinking much though since I won’t be able to drink regular soda after I leave Europe…  Ah well… back to the real business at hand!


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 After the Colosseum we went back into the main square of Trier, found a lovely little corner bakery and bought some sandwiches for lunch.  We couldn’t find anywhere to sit so we went back into the main square to sit on the fountain.  We had a good time just talking and eating and people watching…  We even ended up trying Chestnuts roasted on an open fire (no lie) for the first time!  In the time we sat there we saw two people from the base!  Talk about a small world!


Once we were done with lunch we hiked back to the train station and headed home.  We had a great day!  During that day we made plans for a trip I honestly never thought we’d take but I’ll save those pictures and stories for another day!


~~~~~


On Saturday we piled into the car and took a trip across the borders to tour Luxembourg for the day!


Here is one of the views from the top of the Wenzal Walk Wall.


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 The gardens across from the abby.


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 Since we were so tired of walking we decided to not do the tour and instead walked along the wall to get some pictures!


Here are Denny and Cheryl posing over the valley.


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 A huge and horrible wind picked up and we almost lost her… or was he trying to get rid of her?  Hmmmm


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 Uh oh… She seems to think it was his idea!


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 And then of course Ryan and I had to take our turn…


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  And this time it was my idea! 


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 After we finished in Luxembourg city we piled back into the car and headed for the far north of the whole country… (about 45 minutes in the car) and went to see The Castle Viendan!


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 It really is such an awesome castle!


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 And a beautiful little town…


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 One of these days we’re going to get there BEFORE they close and actually go in!


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 And maybe walk the little town…


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 But it was worth the drive any how!


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 ~~~~~


The next day we headed south to Ramstein to shop… We made an easy day of it since we were all tired from our very busy week…


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 and we were about to embark on an amazing adventure!


And so that is where I’ll leave you for today! 


Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney

An afternoon indulgence…

*EDIT*


I was going to try and visit everyone but I don’t think I’ll be able to!  I finished up all my grocery shopping a little while ago and sat down to relax for a few minutes (and post) and I just looked up to see it’s already 5pm!  and I haven’t even started cleaning house yet!  Holy Cow I had better get moving since we have to be out the door at 8am tomorrow for out 2 1/2 hour drive to the airport!  I’ll try to at least keep up with everyone!


*END EDIT*


 


Guten Tag!


And suddenly my mother inlaw, Cheryl, and my father inlaw Denny will be here tomorrow!!!  Where does the time go?


I probably won’t have a lot of time to write in the next two weeks so I wanted to get one last post in before the adventures begin.  As part of the preparations for Denny and Cheryl’s visit I ripped out my summer garden and planted all of my fall flowers…  All that’s left is to buy a few pumpkins for my front steps!


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My new planter box…


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Snapdragons… mums… daisies…


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Sunny yellow daisies!


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My window box…


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The trees our front yard are starting to change!  Aren’t they awesome?


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The only thing left to do is clean house.  I have been reorganizing closets, pantries, (Nothing like a visit to get you to do those pesky little things you put off over and over.  I am now the proud owner of perfectly organized pantries!  LOL Can we say Sleeping with the Enemy?) doing laundry, working in the yard…   So since I didn’t want to do the big clean until today I found myself at loose ends yesterday evening.  Ryan worked until midnight since it was the last day of September and therefore the fiscal year so I harnessed up the dogs and took a good long walk!


The fields have all been harvested and the trees around town are just starting to change…


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Enjoying the last of the summer grass…


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All the corn has been harvested and the ground is waiting to be tilled…


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The summer flowers are beginning to fade and the spiders are spinning the last webs of summer.


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For some reason this picture reminds me of a horse calendar I had as a little girl…


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The trees down by the river bottom are changing almost daily now…


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Thanks to a friendly fence post I decided to get a picture of me and my boys… It doesn’t work as well when you have to hit the button and get them to run with you a certain distance and then turn and look…  They simply weren’t interested! 


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The next attempt had Gandalf chasing a bird he saw as soon as we started off from the camera!  Still managed to smile though! 


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I gave up and squatted but still never got a face shot of the dogs… but it made for a fun adventure in photography!


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The air is starting to take on that misty quality and it smells like wood smoke… I love this time of year!


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This is the church on the top of the hill in Moetsch…


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And as we walked home and the sun began to set I looked out over the fields behind my house and saw this…


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And so with that I will bid you Auf Wiedersehen!


I will be back in a few weeks with a ton of pictures and stories!


Courtney