Monday, May 31, 2004

Mom got safely home, we have been relaxing over the long weekend. Not doing too much, just hanging around the house. We went to a coworker of Kenny's birthday party over the weekend. They have so many toys in their backyard that Jacob thought it was a park. And Jacob seems to have lost some of his shyness, he was saying Hi to everyone. And he didn't stop until they said Hi back... Jacob also did some painting today for the first time and loved it. We have fingerpainted before but he was never real wild about that. Today I let him use some watercolors and he didn't want to stop. He did it for about an hour and then we finally headed back upstairs for lunch.

I still haven't posted the last few things we did while Mom was here, so I will give a quick rundown of a couple of our daytrips. We went to the "Altstadt" (Oldtown) fest in Ansbach. It's down in the city center with a few kiddie rides, food and music. We didn't stay too long because the weather had forgotten it was May. It felt like November, but only for a couple days. Cold wind and gray skies, so we just did a few rides and wandered around for a little while. We also went one morning to Rothenburg ob der Tauber which is a tourist mecca in Germany. But for good reason, it is a walled city that "time" forgot so it's been preserved. We walked all around and did some shopping. When we arrived it was not so crowded, but by lunchtime when we were leaving it was getting overrun with tour groups. It's only about a 1/2 hour from the house so it's easy to go early in the morning and be gone before it gets too busy. And of course we went into Ansbach, and wandered around there some too. One evening Kenny and I went to dinner while Mom kept Jacob, and we hit our favorite steak restaurant again.

I added a few pics to the photo site, here is a link. I used a scanner so they aren't the best, and I will be adding some more in a few days. We got the photos developed in a camera shop in the mall. They would be ready the next day, but only single prints. If you want doubles that takes a few more days. But here's what doesn't make sense. If you bring in negatives for reprints that only takes one day.... so why couldn't they just print two at the same time when you originally get them developed? Really strange I thought. So, I will have some more pictures to scan in a few days.

I still haven't gotten a new camera, but I have decided that will be our best bet. It's going to cost too much to get mine fixed, and takes a long time as well. So now I'm back to trying to figure out which one I want, there are way too many to choose from. Since this will be our third one, I at least know some of the features that are important to me, so I hope to narrow it down that way.

Hope everyone is having a safe and relaxing Memorial Day.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Time has flown by with Mom here, we have had a really nice time. Seems like I just made the trip to Frankfurt to pick her up, and now I have to make it again tomorrow to drop her off. Jacob has gotten hooked on Oma singing "Old MacDonald had a farm" and tells her which animal to sing about on each verse. He demands it every time we get in the car! We went to Wuerzburg over the weekend and toured the old city. It was very busy down there and lots to see. We started at the Residence which is absolutely beautiful, and huge! There is a church that has elaborate paintings on the ceiling and lots of gilded sculptures. Also, the gardens in the back are really nice, lots of fountains and statues to enjoy. Jacob liked walking through the ivy archways, he thought they were "tree tunnels". He's really into tunnels lately. Then we made our way through the old town, past some cathedrals towards the Alte Mainbruecke. If you continue on over the bridge you can climb the hill to the Fortress Marienberg, we decided to forgo the hike, as one of us would be lugging Jacob up a whole lot of stairs. It's very pretty from the bottom of the hill, too! If you hit the link you can get some idea of the climb, we would be coming from the bottom right of the photo.

After we left there we went on to the Army post in Wuerzburg and showed Mom around there a bit. This is where we go to satisfy a Taco Bell craving, or Kenny's Popeye's Fried Chicken craving. And the PX there has a little more to offer than the one we have here in Ansbach so it's the place to pick up some things we may be lacking.

We then drove back to Wolframs-Eschenbach, Jacob slept the whole way home. I guess all the sightseeing wore him out. I still have a little more to blog about some other things we did, but I have to get up early tomorrow for the drive to Frankfurt....

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Now for some more about our trip. We left Monday morning and made the drive up there, the weather and scenery was beautiful. We checked in our hotel, the Valk Hengelo. This is the second Valk hotel we've stayed at and they are wonderful hotels. Then we went over for a nice dinner to Ini and Gerrit's.
The next morning we went to Winterswijk and visited Mom's family's old housekeeper, Anna, and then on to the windmill for pancakes. There was a huge playground which Jacob explored thoroughly, it was nice weather for it. We sat outside and ate our lunch while he played and wandered around. (this is where the dropped camera happened :( I'm already on the hunt for a new one) Then we drove all around the countryside while Jacob took a nap. He demanded that Ini sit next to him while we rode around, and she thought that was really something. Then on to the town of Winterswijk to visit a cousin (Fritz) in his store and have some ice cream on the square. It was enormous ice cream, I have a picture to post later. Finally on to our final destination, another cousin's (Derek and his wife Ina) interior design and furniture shop, and on to their home for dinner. They live out in the country in a farmhouse that has been converted in to a home. The main barn area is the living room, it is so beautiful. The setting is very peaceful too. Jacob had a good time with their two dogs, and playing in the yard. We had a nice dinner there with them and then back to our hotel for the night.
The next day Mom went by train to Amsterdam to see her cousin Nannie, and Jacob and I stayed behind to just relax. Jacob and I went to some stores around the hotel and took a long nap, it was very nice. Mom had a nice time with Nannie and then had a very eventful train ride home. Trains weren't running due to various reasons and she had to take the "stop train" part of the way (which does just that - stops in every little town!). We expected her at 7pm and she didn't come in the hotel until 11pm!
The next morning Ini and Gerrit came to join us for breakfast at the hotel and then we were on our way back to Germany. Our ride home was nice except for my getting "flashed" by a camera on the side of the road. It's like a little State Trooper in a box, and instead of getting pulled over, your ticket comes to you in the mail later on. I'm hoping it doesn't find me, but it probably will. Contrary to popular belief there are speed limits on the autobahn (not all over, just in certain areas) and apparently I was speeding.
This was the first time ever for a ticket, so I've done pretty good. Kenny says people at his work collect them so not to worry. So, that was the Holland trip...we've also made a trip to Wurzburg but I'll post that later. Jacob is loving having his Oma here and Kenny and I are enjoying that too...

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Just a quick note from Holland. Mom arrived safely, and we had a nice drive to Holland. The weather has been very warm, it is great! We spent today touring around the town where Mom grew up Winterswijk and met many relatives. A very nice day - I would love to share pictures but I dropped my digital camera and the lens does not work anymore.... what a bummer. So I have to see if it can be fixed, or find a new one. I will have some pictures eventually that I can scan in of the windmill we went to today for pannekoeken (have to check the spelling on that - dutch pancakes), also to a cousin's restored Dutch Farmhouse. The cows used to be in what is now the living room! Well, I'm on hotel phone lines so I have to keep it short, more when we return to Germany!

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The rain has finally stopped and we are able to be outside again. We didn't realize how much time we spent outside until all the rain came.And then we watched the same Blues Clues DVD about 10 times! Jacob has found something he likes better than riding his tricycle--- it's watching Mommy ride her bicycle from the comfort of the bike trailer. He's all set in there with his juice and loves it. There are tons of paths through the fields here, some are paved better than others. Most are only for tractors so you don't have to worry about traffic. But the hills are killer when you're pulling that trailer, other than hills you don't notice it back there. Jacob just says "go fast" and talks about what we see going by. It's a great way to be outside and enjoying the countryside. All the oil spots you see on the driveway are from Kenny's $1000 car, it drives great but leaks oil. He's already gotten his money's worth from it, he bought it in Jan when he arrived rather than renting a car. Eventually he will find something better, we just haven't gotten around to it yet.

Today downtown I saw some political signs, they are gearing up here for a big election for representatives for the EU (that is what I'm taking from the signs). Some are very blatant - "EU without Turkey" which is a big issue in the EU. I guess the politics are the same all over, I sure don't miss the TV ads.

The market downtown is bustling on Weds with fruits, veggies, cheese, bread, meats and tons of flowers and garden plants. Really nice to wander and all the vendors are really nice. I got some eggs straight from the chicken farm, the yolks were really yellow. Not sure why but I couldn't decide if it was better or not. Although at the commissary the eggs come from Denmark and they are dirtier than what you get in the U.S. Still just eggs - can't imagine there is that much difference. The vegetables and fruit are much better from the market, mainly because they are more fresh. So you have a little more "counter time" when you bring them home. And a lot more to choose from which is nice.

Mom (Nel) arrives on Friday, and then we are headed to Holland for a few days. So if I don't post, that is why. Hopefully we will have nice weather for the drive up there.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

I was driving home the other day and saw this little old man pushing a wheelbarrow up the hill in the rain, with some effort. I thought to myself "poor guy, looks like a lot of work. Especially in the rain! Wonder what he's hauling..." As I pass him I look in the wheelbarrow and see ---- a rack of beer! Guess he thought it was worth it LOL A rack of beer is about the size of a milk crate, and they are bottles, bigger than American bottles of beer.

Kenny and I enjoyed dinner Friday night at La Rustika which is an awesome steak restaurant in Ansbach. Jacob stayed with a neighbor girl, Katherine. We had a nice time, and Jacob kept Katherine entertained. He was sad to see her leave when we got home. The FruhlingFest (spring fest) is downtown this weekend, full of rides and carnival games. If the rain holds off we may check it out, if the rain doesn't stop soon I won't be surprised to see an ark float by.....

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

We had a thunderstorm last night, first one since we arrived. There has been rain but no thunder. I don't remember a lot of them the last time we were here, must be the weather patterns in Europe. Today since it was raining Jacob and I went to the mall in Ansbach. We managed to get a bicycle for me, now all we need is the trailer for Jacob to ride in that attaches to the back. They were too expensive at the store where we were so maybe tomorrow. I say managed to get a bike because the store was so crowded, maybe the rain sent everyone inside. Today was market day (that was our original plan) but it was just too rainy. I guess everyone had the same plan we did. We also found the best coffee shop so far, I had a vanilla latte that was as good as Starbucks, if not better! I was looking for some weed killer in the hardware store (like Roundup) and they have it all locked up, you have to get someone to open the cabinet and get what you need out. There was such a line I just decided to try somewhere else. I wonder why it is such a secure item? They don't sell Roundup at our PX either, very strange. We saw an accident on the way home, looked like a pedestrian vs. a car. People seem more alert to that here, so that was surprising. There are many more pedestrians and bicyclists sharing the roads than in the US. Also, 4 wheelers (they call them "quads" here) are street legal! They go pretty fast, I saw one the other day on a major road. Very strange to see one going down the road, just like a car...

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?