My Next First Kiss…

My sister asked me a question the other day and it got me thinking.  I sometimes don’t realize that there are many things I don’t really talk about and this is one of them. 


My sister asked, “Are you nervous to see Ryan again?  Do you have those first date jitters since it’s been so long?”


My answer is yes!  That is exactly how I feel…


Let me try to nudge you into my shoes for a minute so you can see where I’m coming from.


For those of you that are married imagine what it would be like to have no contact with your spouse for six months…  No hugging, no kissing, no other funny buisness!  No casual touch when he walks by, no holding hands, no one brushing back your hair, no one to listen to you ramble on about your boring life or listen to you laugh.


Today pay attention, how often do you and your husband touch?  How often do you speak or just take notice that you’re not alone in the room? 


Imagine you have six months of solitary existence with those things gone from your life and then answer me this.


Would you be nervous?  Would you have doubts in your head that you still remember what it’s like to kiss your husband?  Would you have doubts that you even remember how? 


The funny thing is that I always do.  I panic for days ahead of his return that I won’t remember how! 


(Now I have to say before I get a lot of strange instructional comments that I know that I know how, it’s a little hard to forget!  I think I just close off that part of myself so that I don’t go nuts while he’s away.) 


It’s funny that I don’t worry about anything else… I just get wiggy over that first kiss!


In fact, it feels a lot like the nervous anxiety before your actual first kiss!


So YES I’m nervous and excited!  AND, I fully believe that I’ve discovered the secret to a GREAT marriage!


Frequent separations! 


You know what they say, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder!”


For us at least it’s true! 


Well, I’m off to finish up my preparations!  I’ll be back when he’s home! 


Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney


 

Baby Come Back

It has been 184 days and a few days over 26 weeks since Ryan left…  In short…


A LONG TIME!


It won’t be long now… things are revving up in my world and I’m beginning to prepare for his homecoming.  Today I’m working on a crocheted bed spread.  I promised Ryan that I would have it done for Christmas….  Of 2006!  I thought that it would be a good thing to have done when he got home… and of course I waited until the last minute to finish it!  The rest of my time will be spent cleaning and doing yard work.


I won’t be around much but I’ll let you know when he’s home!


Song for the day?


Baby Come Back by The Little River Band


For obvious reasons! 

Summer in Deutschland: Part IX

This will be my final entry for this last trip…  Serves me right for taking so many pictures! 


The final day of adventures dawned bright and clear.  We made our way back to Zeltingen and bought tickets to take a river boat tour!


We sat next to the dock and waited for our ship to come in…


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Finally, it did!


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We sailed up the Mosel River towards Traben-Trabach.  


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 What a day for a boat trip!


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We spent another day admiring the many vineyards…


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And the cute little villages…


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 Look, it’s me! 


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 Every bend in the river brought beautiful views…


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 And sights to remember!


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We passed many other river boats along the way…


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We moved around the boat… from shade to sun, 


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 From aft to stern…


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 Wherever the best pictures awaited! 


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 After a few hours we finally made it to Traben-Trabach.


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 We docked and left the boat to walk around the town.


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 We headed up a side street in search of a place to eat! 


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 It kept going and going and we were getting hungry!


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 Finally, we stumbled upon a little donner shop.  We ducked in, ordered, and proceeded to head upstairs to await our food.  It was the tightest and steepest staircase we’d ever seen!


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 The view from our table was awesome!



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 Once we finished lunch, we headed back out onto the street and found an Eis cafe.  We bought some ice cream cones to enjoy on our way back to the docks.  I have only this picture of Aunt Betty heading in because, understandable, my hands were a bit too busy with my yummy pistachio and tiramisu ice cream to worry about my camera!   


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 We came back out on the river and spent the last few moments eating our ice cream and enjoying the view.


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 I want to come back to this place with Ryan and explore it a little bit more.


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 As we were standing there we were approached by another old friend!


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 He put on quite a show for us! 


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 Stunning bird isn’t he?


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 What a picture!


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Finally our boat arrived, we boarded, and headed out for the ride back downriver. 


Along the way we saw a campground!  We couldn’t help taking pictures… this was just such a great way to camp!


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Do you see how that tent is attached to the trailer?  There are also potted plants and patio furniture!  Each person is also responsible for mowing the grass around their area!


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We rounded a bend into another town…. 


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On the opposite bank we saw these ruins!


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At one point we passed under a cliff only to see this on it’s face…


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We were also privileged to see some workers toiling in one of the vineyards.


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This was an excellent idea for the last day!


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 We got to relax and enjoy a beautiful day and sightsee at the same time!


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 We even got to peek in on a Floh Markt (Flea Market!) 



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And then we saw again the docks and the cataract.  We were back again!


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We made our way home and enjoyed a restful afternoon…  It was a lovely trip!  One I’ll long remember and be grateful for!


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And in the end my Aunt Betty survived my driving!  (She was nervous that riding on the Autobahns would scare her.)


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This ends the last of my pictures!  I hope you’ve enjoyed them all.


Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney


 

Summer in Deutschland: Part VIII

One fine morning a drive along the Mosel River Valley Road (the B53) seemed like the perfect thing to do…


And so we did it!


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 There were lots of things to see along the way.  The Mosel Valley is one of the top producers of wine in the world.


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Vineyards cover nearly every sunny slope of the steep-sided valley. Rough stone terraces, some large enough only to support a few dozen vines, rise precipitously above the river and vineyards cling to the hillsides at crazy angles 


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 Grapes have been grown in this valley for over 2000 years, since Roman times.


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Many of the technological advancements that make the lives of vineyard owners so much easier today cannot be applied here in this terrain.


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As a result of this little has changed over the last 2000 years.  Almost all of the work;  from pruning and weeding to the harvest itself, is still done by hand.


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Above one of the River cataracts, in a little town called, Zeltingen, we stopped to have lunch.


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The town was full of flowers…


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 Cute little buildings…


 


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 Hotels…


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And sidewalk cafes…


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Such a cute little place!


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We ducked into a sidewalk cafe for lunch.  You’re not going to believe this!  They had the BEST cheeseburgers I had ever had the privilege of eating.


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As we left the cafe we saw an Erdbeeren stand!


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 Erdbeeren = Strawberries  YUM!!!


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 We set back out onto the B53 (The Mosel valley road) after lunch.


 


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 It was a beautiful day for a drive.


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There were dozens of little towns along the way… 


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Each place with it’s own little charms…


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It’s also camping season here in Germany!  They just have mown fields along the river and people pull up and camp!


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The road wound through little towns…


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and alongside ruins from the war.


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One place we drove through was just too pretty not to stop.


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 So we did!  For what, after all, is a driving tour all about?


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Not to mention we needed to stretch our legs for a minute!


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 We ended our drive in the shadow of Cochem castle where we had been just a few days before! 


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 I can’t wait to take Ryan there!


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 We walked along a little walkway to get better pictures…


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 I went a little farther than I had intended!


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 From Cochem we started our hour long drive on the Autobahn back home to Moetsch.


On the way we hit a rest stop and made a new friend… or three!


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Not seeing the third?  How about now?


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Ready?  Set?  Googles down?  Let’s GO!


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 Well that was the end of our adventure for that day.


Until next time… Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney


  

Summer in Deutschland: Part VII

We woke, one morning, and got ready to take a tour of our last castle.


We piled into the car and made our way, one last time, into Luxembourg and Vianden Castle.


 


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The day was cool and windy so we were glad that we had chosen an indoor activity!


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 We parked the car and started out for the castle.


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 It was quite a climb and a sight to behold!


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 We stopped for a rest before beginning our tour.


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 When we had caught our breath, we started in…


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 And began our tour…


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 The Arms Hall.


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 The Archeological Crypt.


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 The Lower Chapel.


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 The Knight’s Study, with it’s weapons from the ages of the castle.


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Then we made our way out onto the balcony.


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 Yolanda’s tower.


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 The Upper Chapel


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With it’s view down into the Lower Chapel.


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 The Byzantine Gallery. 


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With it’s amazing view of the valley.


 


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 The hall that holds the history of the castle and famous visitors!


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 The Dining Room


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 The Royal Bed chamber



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 The Festivity Hall


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 The Kitchens


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 The Knight’s Hall


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 Our new buddy


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 Aunt Betty was smitten!


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 We left the castle and came out on a parapet…


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 Look at that sky!


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 The wine cellars 


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 After a fun tour we headed back down to the car.


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 Whew what a hike!


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 After we made it down to the car, we discovered that we were famished.  We found a little french bistro and settled in for a meal.


This is the Maxi Parisian! Fabulous!


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 Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney


 

Summer in Deutschland: Part VI

One morning we decided it would be the perfect day to explore a castle. 


For those of you who are long time readers of me will enjoy this!  It is an entirely new place for me!  So, new pictures and new stories for a change!


We headed out bright and early towards Cochem and it’s castle.  It is known as the pearl of the Mosel.


We topped a ridge and suddenly the valley spread below our feet.  What a view! 



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Awesome isn’t it?


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After looking our fill at this castle from above we continued our drive down into the valley to see it from below! 


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We strolled along the Mosel river for about a mile.  We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day for it!


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Blue skies, gentle breeze, balmy temperatures, and the gentle lapping of water… 


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The town spreads out on both sides of the river and the waters are full of swans! 


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 Beautiful creatures…


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 The town is charming…  full of unexpected turns and tight squeezes.


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 And color!


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We walked into the heart of the town and were instantly charmed…  Doesn’t it just look like something out of a story book?


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We followed some sings and ended up climbing a steep staircase.


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At the top I popped into this wine store to ask directions…


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I was hoping that she would point me DOWN this street…


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But alas, it was UP this street we were to go. 


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 And UP… 


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 We had to stop for a rest, it was such a steep climb!


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Just when we thought we could go no further there was a charming Imbiss.  We sat down to have a light lunch and catch our breath. 


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 Then we set out to concur the last bit of our climb. 

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 The view from the top was stunning… 


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Can you imagine living here? 


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 Seeing this every day?


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 Hey look!  Speaking of a view… there’s where we had lunch! 


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 We then turned our sights upward. 



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On to the castle!


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We could see a long way up and down river from the top deck. 


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One of the original cannons still stand sentinel atop the wall…


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 As do the statues of lions wearing armor and the coat of arms that have stood there for ages, never changing, watching as the world moves on.



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Wanting to see more of this place, we went up to the castle and bought our tickets for the tour. 


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And in we went!


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We spent a moment in the outer courtyard waiting for the tour to assemble.  


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 It was to be given in German so we were handed papers with the basic tour material in English.  We ended up having a GREAT guide though, that translated almost all of it for us anyway. 


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 After a short introduction and history of the castle we headed in.  Right from the first staircase it was amazing!


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 Something to see in every corner…


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 We headed into the dining hall.


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 The walls were painted and the windows were stained glass…


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 The ceilings were awesome.  This is called pokerwork.  The take a hot poker and burn the patterns into the wood, let it cool, and then paint it. 


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 Aunt Betty sat down for a rest while the guide told us all about the customs of the day.


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I don’t know enough Germany for my interest to be completely caught so I snuck a few pictures.  What else?


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 Then a moment of suspense.  He talked about a room so guarded that we couldn’t even enter it.  He told us we could look in, even take pictures, but he could not allow us to enter the room.  Breathless suspense filled the room and he flung the door wide to reveal…


A wall!


The false door was added to give the room symmetry.


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The royal Delft ware. 


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This is the ceiling of the Gothic room…


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 And the ceiling of the Romanesque room… both small but famous for their ceilings.


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 This is the mermaid lamp.  It hangs in a corridor leading out to the courtyard.  The legend is that the soldiers reached up and touched it on it’s stomach on the way out the door.  For it gave them strength and luck in battle.


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We then entered into the Hunters’ room.  It is covered with trophies.  Also those huge beerstiens on the table?  They are 5 liter beerstiens.  They were for the Monks that lived in the castle at one time.  That was the amount of wine allotted to each monk per day.  5 liters!!!   


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This boars’ also hung on the wall there.  It was the largest boar ever recorded in this part of the world.  It weighed over 600 kilograms!  That’s a big boar! 


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Next was the Knights’ Hall.  It is the biggest room in the castle.


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And has some of the best preserved pieces.


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 Look at the plaster ceilings!


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 Next up was the weapons room.  This chest is the most expensive piece of furniture in the castle… 


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 This armor was made for a giant in Austria!  Check out the normal sized armor on it’s left!  Holy smokes!


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Then we walked out onto the balcony for a view of the Mosel.



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Could you imagine this being the view from your porch?


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 After a wonderful tour of the inside we headed back out to the courtyard. 


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 Beautiful!


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In the fall these vines turn blood red…


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We headed over to check out the well.


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It’s over 150 feet deep, which is quite an achievement in those times.  Luckily they hit a natural spring at 150 feet because the Mosel river is over 600 feet below the castle!


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 Only one stop left on our tour…


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 The witches tower! 


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 This tower is said to be the oldest part of the castle.  Surviving all the bombing and destruction.


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 That ended our tour of the castle. 


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 We set out on the long trek back down…


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 This time we took a back way.


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Amazing how quickly the castle could shrink from view!


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 The back way was well worth it… 


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 Just look at that view!


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 Boy was it steep though… 


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 We were just up there? 


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 And then, suddenly, we were back strolling along the river on this perfect day… 


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And I got out my telephoto lens! 


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Every once in a while you get a picture you just know is spectacular… this is it for me!


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 Visiting and exploring Cochem and the Reichsburg castle was a great adventure!  By far, one of my favorite things I’ve done here in Europe… so far! 


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Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney


 


 

24 Weeks


Today marks 24 weeks since Ryan left.  24 Saturdays in a row I’ve woken up alone. 


Why are Saturdays the hardest days? 


I was thinking last night about him being home again… all the things I’ve seen and done that I can’t wait to share with him.


And then it hit me…


I can’t remember all that has changed.


He’s been gone long enough that things I’m completely used to will be new to him…


Things I’ve bought, new buildings in town, the rearranged Bx, new clothes, the way I clean house, food I’ve learned to make, people who were here when he left have gone for good, stories that I so longed to share and have now forgotten…


And with even more force it hit home that I don’t think I remember how to just ‘be’ with another person.  I haven’t had someone to talk to any time I want, I haven’t shared my bed, I haven’t had to consult anyone on what to eat or watch on TV,  I haven’t laughed or been hugged, I haven’t shared my life with him for six months.


As these thoughts were racing through my head it really sunk in for me, that no matter how quickly time seems to go by, six months is a LONG time.


All that said, I can hardly wait.  I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas.  It will be so much fun to share with him all that has changed and to experience the excitement of it all over again because I’ll be seeing it all through his eyes!  I can’t wait to cuddle on the couch watching a movie he’s never seen before and feel him playing with my hair.  I can’t wait to have his feet to warm my icy toes on.  I can’t wait to laugh out loud and not feel like a nutter.  I can’t wait to not be alone again!


So today is my 24th Saturday alone.  For reasons of OPSEC (Operational Security which is much more strict over seas)  I can’t tell you when he’ll be home but I can tell you this…


I will not see a 27th Saturday alone!


I’m getting so excited!!!


Courtney


 

Summer in Deutschland: Part V

One day we loaded up and drove the hour down to Ramstein Air Force Base. 


We spent a lovely day shopping and on the way home stopped to see a view of the Mosel River Valley. 


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Another day we loaded up and drove into Belgium.   The drive was absolutely breath taking but as I was driving I have no pictures to share… Maybe one day when Ryan is home we can drive it on the Motorcycle and I can take pictures from the bike…  Hmmm there’s a thought!


While in Belgium we visited the town of Sankt Vith. 


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 I brought my camera but had not replaced my SD card in it when I had downloaded pictures the day before and so I just used my aunt’s camera to take a few shots.


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 We had a lot of fun poking around somewhere new… and of course we had a lovely lunch!


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 We even poked into a church that was rather pretty, though the pictures didn’t really turn out… except this one that is!


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The next day we decided to go into Bitburg and explore the town that I call home… kind of.  (Moetsch, where I actually live is on the outskirts of Bitburg, so all of my shopping is done in the city!)


This is the Walkplatz.  It is several blocks that are dedicated to pedestrians only and it’s full of shops!


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We walked through town, looking into shop windows and admiring the sights.


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 Then we ended up at the city center which sports this statue.   It has a story… everything here does… that’s why I call it The Land of Fairy Tales you know!


The story is that at one time (I can’t remember the year it happened in but suffice it to say, long long ago!) The town was under seige by an attacking army.  The town and it’s people were surrounded and protected by a wall but the enemy was camped out in the fields and therefore had all the villagers food!


The people were slowly starving to death and knew that they could not last much longer.  They formed a desperate plan…


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 The dressed their children in the skins of slaughtered goats and had them walk the tops of the city wall.  The enemy, seeing that the villagers had so much food that they didn’t even protect these goats gave up and broke off the seige.


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 This bit of deception saved the lives of the villagers and has passed into legend in this corner of the world.  I wonder if this is why we call baby goats kids?


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 After taking in the sights and history of the town we headed for the Eis Creme Haus (Ice Cream Parlor!)  and had some lovely ice cream. 


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 It was so yummy that we were finished eating it before I remembered that I wanted pictures!


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 Then we were off for home…


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 And a lovely afternoon of summer sun and breezes!


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 Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney 

Summer in Deutchland: Part IV

One morning we decided to explore Luxembourg.  We spent the day in the Hamm Memorial Cemetery and in Luxembourg City.


Our first stop was the cemetery.


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We walked all around the entrance and chapel areas.


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This was the first time I ever got good pictures of the chapel ceiling.


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Isn’t it beautiful?


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We walked along the paths and enjoyed the beauty of the place.. 


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 The roses were all in bloom.


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 And it was a lovely day for it! 


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It is such a thought provoking place…


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 A place where history reaches through time and space and touches the present.



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  Then we visited General Patton’s grave.


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It was a great visit!  One I’m glad Betty and Mike got to experience. 



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 ~~~~~


Then we were off to Luxembourg City.  We climbed to the top of the wall and looked down on the sights. 



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 Beautiful isn’t it?


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Then it was off into the town to find somewhere for lunch!


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We found a small french restaurant and bar.



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 I was not feeling adventurous… so I had a Cola Light (Diet Coke)…


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 … and spaghetti bolanaise.


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Mike and Betty were feeling a little more adventurous and got a meal described as hams, salad, and french fries.  It came…


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I think they were quite surprised at how different it was from what they had imagined!


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After a good lunch we ducked into the church on the square.


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 We took a few pictures…


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 Enjoyed the architecture…


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 Reveled in the peace and quiet…


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 This place had beautiful stained glass windows.


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Stunning! 


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After we finished poking around we headed back down the hill to the car.


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What a climb that was!


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What fun we had!


Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney

Summer in Deutschland: Part III

I’m getting terribly behind in sharing this trip with you!


So, to continue…


One night we went to dinner at the Landhaus Biehl.  We had a wonderful time enjoying an authentic German meal and atmosphere.


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The worst part about having dinner here is choosing what to eat!


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 The next morning we boarded a train and headed out for a day of exploring in Trier. 


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 The first stop wa the Porta Nigra!


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 See right there at the bottom?  In the middle?  There they are!


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We then wandered into the Hauptmarkt or market square…  Here you can tell it’s summer in Germany. 


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The markets are full of flowers…


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 and fruits and vegetables!  Gorgeous aren’t they?


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 Our next stop was the Cathedral of Trier.


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 We went in and took our time exploring.


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 I have always loved these pipes!


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 Everywhere you look there is something amazing to see. 


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 Something that has a story.


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 Even if you’re not quite sure what that story could be!


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 Stunning!


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 We then explored the gardens. 


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 So much to see! 


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 So much detail!


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 I love this little chapel.


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 We sat down for a quick breather before heading out.


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 We walked back to the Porta Nigra to catch a tourist train to go around the city.   Unfortunately it started pouring rain so we didn’t get too many pictures, but it was a nice tour. 


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 We saw the supplicant hall.


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 The Roman bath…


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which was surrounded in pink roses! 


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 So pretty!


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And then headed back through town… 


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 We then put the cameras away and walked the mile back to the train station in the rain.  Next time I go to Trier I’m taking an umbrella even if it’s sunny!  We had a lovely day together though, despite the rain.


Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney