Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Travels Abroad: Paris-Day One

We made it to Paris around 6 p.m.  On our way to find food we passed by the Arc de Triomphe.

These two.  What a good lookin' couple.

In Paris with my honey.

We didn't have a lot of time out on the town our first night there.  We had to get back to our hotel and relax to prepare ourselves for all the sites we were going to cram in the next day.  This led us to walk quickly through the streets of Paris to find a place to eat.  Usually I'm good with quick. But on this day, it was a little rainy.  This left the stone streets a little slick.  I was wearing my old, comfortable flip-flops.  The ones that have ZERO traction.  I nearly wiped out with every step.  Hans, such the gentleman, decided to hold my hand the whole way.  This meant I nearly wiped both of us out with every step.  We were both laughing so hard by the time we made it to the restaurant. 

These two are loving Paris so far.  Or, they've consumed a large amount of wine.  Maybe it was a little of both.
OR, maybe it was just the good lookin' girls sitting on the opposite side of the table.

After dinner we walked back to meet our bus.  I ended up just giving up and taking my shoes off.  Yes. I know. Eww. Gross!  But it was either that or fall on my butt in front of a ton of Parisians.
When we got to our room this was the view that greeted us.  Beautifully quiet.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

While I Was on a Rhine River Cruise and Heading to France

The boys' clay pots were now dry and ready to paint.

John had a plan.  He was careful and deliberate.

Anders picked Super Why colors.  I bet you would have never guess that in a million years.

Gus picked Spider-Man colors.  THAT is even more surprising then Anders' color choice. 

After an afternoon of playing they went back to the park to splash and play.
These two really loved the merry-go-round.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Travels Abroad: La Petite Pierre

The wine tasting was our last stop in Germany.  We were officially France bound.  We arrive in La Petite Pierre right around dinner time.  We had the most amazing dinner at the Hotel Des Vosges.  It was the BEST food we had the entire trip. I didn't want the dinner to end.  I want to make my way there again just to eat.

After the most delicious dinner we all took a walk through town to have a service in their beautiful church.

 Okay, if I can't have a castle I'll settle for this place.

 After a short service in the village church we walked back to the hotel to get a good nights sleep.

 This was the view standing in front of the hotel.  Breathtaking.

 The churches in all of these towns actually looked like churches and stood apart from the other buildings.

This was the view from our room.
The next day we were headed to Paris!

Friday, October 24, 2014

My Travels Abroad: Rhine River Cruise & Wine Tasting

On our way to France we enjoyed a 2 hour Rhine River Cruise.  The scenery was absolutely breathtaking. 

 We didn't have time to explore the town where we caught the boat.  But we did have time to snap a picture and buy chocolate croissants.  I sure do miss those chocolate croissants.

 There were beautiful castles all along the Rhine river. 

 I would love to live in one of these villages.

 Each village had a beautiful church.

 Not far from the beautiful church was a beautiful castle on a hill.

 Beautiful couple.

The weather, scenery, and company were wonderful.

We departed the ship just steps away from the quaint wine shop where we were scheduled to have a wine tasting.  I enjoyed myself so much that I didn't take one single picture.  Thanks to Stacy and Solveig for the pics.

A chocolate croissant for breakfast, a small plate of fries for lunch and 6 wine tastings make for one happy Katie.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

While I was in Cologne and Aachen

..the boys had another action packed day.

My parents took the boys to the C.R. Smith Museum where they had a traveling exhibit on Lego castles.  The boys were very excited.

There were also airplane rubbings for the kids to do.

If there is an electronic game to play, John will find it.  But at least this was game that made him think. He was able to build a castle by dragging lego pieces onto graph paper.  At the end it told him how many lego pieces he would need to build his castle.

While John played the game, the two youngest to decided that electronics were not necessary.

But even electronics can't keep this kid from the lego table.

After the museum it was off to Founders' Plaza to watch airplanes take-off and land.

They had a wonderful time watching the planes.

Look at these three.  They look so cute and innocent.  
Looks can be deceiving. 

But, on this day they must have been good because Grandma and Grandpa treated them to frozen yogurt at TCBY.  The boys were very excited to take me here when I came back from my travels.  They loved the fact that you picked your own ice cream and self scooped all different kind of toppings.  Their combinations were very, um, interesting.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Travels Abroad: Schloss Merode

On our way back to Cologne from Aachen we stopped by the Merode Castle.  If I remember correctly I believe the Fienes are distantly related to the Merodes.  After looking at several castle ruins it was cool to go into a castle that was still standing and had been renovated.

 This castle has had quite a history. During the 19th century the castle fell into disuse when the Merode family moved to France.  In 1946 Charles Merode decided to move his family back and begin restoration on the castle.  Every room had been re-done and modern amenities were installed.  Then, in 2000, the castle caught fire, damaging every story of the castle.  The Merodes were devastated, but not willing to admit defeat. When funding permits they will begin to restore...again.  We only entered the main floor of the house, but we were able to see some of the damage the fire caused.

This is the front entrance taken from the inside.  The castle is surrounded by a moat. It was beautiful.

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Travels Abroad: Aachen

Great Emperors of Europe were crowned and laid to rest in Aachen.  Most notably it is the place where Charlemagne is buried.

Everywhere we walked we found wonderful little places to eat.  Sitting outside in the sun with these sights...who wouldn't want to eat?  All. The. Time. 

The churches were beautiful and right in the center of town.

We had a ton of fun just walking around these beautiful, narrow, brick streets.

Hans with Hanswurst.
We didn't eat here, but we really should have.
Ha!  Hans is the Wurst.

We happened to be in Aachen on the day the church brought out the 7 relics.  I'm not how often these relics are displayed, but judging by the amount of people standing in line and attending the service, not very often.  As our tour guide was taking us around Aachen we actually ran right into the processional of the relics.

This is supposedly Mary's birth dress.  I have much to say about this, but that would take all day.  There were people pushing and shoving to be near this and the other relics.

There were a ton of people around Aachen this day.  I'm assuming the streets aren't normally this busy.  The relics seemed to draw a big crowd.

We stopped for lunch at a quaint Italian restaurant with my in-laws.  Aren't they a handsome couple?

A handsome couple that produced a handsome son.