Wednesday, September 17, 2014

While I Was Visiting Castles and Climbing Trees

The boys got to visit Grandma's art room.  This is something they look forward to every time we step foot in Texas. I'm not sure how they will manage when my mom retires and that becomes someone else's art room.

 They started with some clay.  They had to roll the clay and coil it to make little bowls.

 Anders looks like he had a good time putting holes in his clay.

 John did his bowl all by himself.

 Gus had fun making snakes.

 After they assembled their bowls they got to paint.  Grandma is a whole lot nicer than Mom.  She gives them each their own paint and other supplies.  I generally host a free for all.  This is much better.

 Anders abandoned the painting before his brothers did so he could play with the blocks.

 As if clay and paint weren't enough they also got to make a fun rock/clay creation with the hunks of left over clay.

Then they went home and had blueberry pancakes and bacon.  At this point I'm sure they were hoping I would never come home.

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Travels Abroad: Hainich Tree Top Walk

After our 2 castle tours we made our way to the Hainich Nationalpark for the Canopy Walk.

 There were two rope bridges.  My mother in-law and I went right through.  If I was a better person I would have lost money thinking Hans wouldn't step foot on the bridge.

 Boy was I wrong.  I was pleasantly surprised.

 This is a peek at one of the bridges.

 There was tower in the center of the trees that hosted the highest viewpoint of the park.  At a mere 131 feet high you got to see a lot.  The viewing tower shown here is probably 70 feet high.

So, the center viewing tower's open top floor had a 4.5-5ft wall surrounding the top.  They just wanted to make sure no one was accidentally going to fall.  This did make it a little difficult to see the landscape below.  One of the kids on the trip was clearly not thinking about what was on the other side of the wall and hoisted himself up on the wall to take a peek.  I thought Hans was going to have a heart attack! As Hans says, he is not afraid of heights, but depths.  We were not up there long.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Travels Abroad: Haineck Castle

After a big, heavy, and delicious lunch we headed out for our second castle of the day.
We all wished this castle had only 150 steps to the top.  But it had a mile and a half uphill hike to the top.

It was nice to hike up the countryside.

 After the trek uphill we finally made it!

 Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.

The view from the top of the tower.

Just beautiful.

After this wonderful hike, we had to make the mile and half track down the hill.  Going down is much harder than going up.  We got a great workout this day!

Friday, September 5, 2014

My Travels Abroad: Wartburg Castle

This day was a long, full day for us. We had 3 fun stops.  Wartburg Castle was our first stop.  
Luther was taken to Wartburg to protect him from death. 

 The bus drove up a large hill and dropped us off to climb a mere 150 steps (steps as in stairs) from the castle.  Nothing like giving your buns a little work-out early in the morning.

 A 3D model of the castle.

 The castle is filled with ornate columns and wall carvings.

 This is a mosaic depiction in the women's dressing room.  
The woman on the left is St. Elizabeth.  St. Elizabeth was sent to Wartburg when she was four.  Even at a young age she was known to be extremely charitable.

 The women's dressing room was very ornate.  The ceiling and walls were covered in rich mosaic tiles.

 While many of the paintings and room in the castle have been restored, this is an original painting that is on the wall in the chapel.

 These paintings depict some of the acts of St. Elisabeth.

 This is the banquet room. 

 Even the ceiling is beautiful.

 This is the Luther Room.  Something tells me it didn't look this clean when Luther was holed up in here, translating the Bible into German.

 The view from the top is beautiful.

 Hans and his mom.

Our day didn't end here.  We still had miles to go.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

While I was in Erfurt

My parents took the boys to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas.

 They have some fun outdoor activities that are apparently free.  

 Inside they had a big dinosaur exhibit.

 Complete with a dinosaur dig.

 The boys could also race a dinosaur.  I'm not surprised that John is sure not to give anyone a head start.

 They really wanted to beat the dinosaur.  But, sadly that never happened.

 John said he had a nice time reading about the different kinds of dinosaurs.  While I don't doubt that, I'm sure the fact that the information was on a touch screen didn't hurt.

Grandpa and his mini-me doing a puzzle.
A fun day was has by all.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My Travels Abroad: Erfurt

I got off track with the start of school and John's birthday.  Now I'm ready to get back to our summer travels.

After leaving Wittenberg we headed to Erfurt.
Erfurt is where Luther studied law and then chose to enter the Augustinian monastery.

We toured a few churches in Erfurt after we went on a brisk walking tour.  John served as a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide.

 All of the stain glass windows were exquisite.

 Hans enjoyed looking at all of the different baptismal fonts.

 As big as this church is, the building right next to it with the green roof is also a church.  Erfurt is a great city of churches.

 What an entrance!

These statues were on each side of the doors in the picture above.

They just don't make churches like this in the States.

We spent the afternoon just walking around the cobblestone and brick streets.

 We ate lunch on a patio over the canal.

 After lunch we spotted this guy as we were walking along.  I think he looks a little like Hans.

 It isn't uncommon to have musicians playing on the streets.  All of my senses enjoyed this city.

That evening we had a wonderful dinner with the group at our hotel.  Ready to get rest and begin another journey the next morning.