Paris for Easter….

Well, I’ve managed to neglect this blog for months…like about seven of them.  There was so much I wanted to share from summer.  But, I couldn’t get my tush in gear to make it happen.  And now here we are about 6 weeks away from welcoming a new baby and life certainly isn’t slowing down. But we spent a few days leading up to Easter in Paris and as I thought about how to share photos and a bit about our time there with everyone, I realized the best way to do that was…duh, via this blog!  So time to dust off the ‘ole keyboard and actually use this site for it’s original purpose, keeping our families in the loop.

As I mentioned we decided to head to Paris for a few days over the Easter break.  This is a trip we had been planning, in the sense that we knew we definitely needed to make it to Paris while living here and we had “loosely” planned to go over Quinn’s Easter break.  So last Wednesday we jumped in the car and hit the road.  Of course the list of things to do and sights to see in Paris is long, really long.  We knew we wouldn’t be able to tackle everything we wanted or that others had recommended, so we made a fairly short list of what we thought was realistic and decided to just enjoy our time in the city.

I was actually pretty happy with the amount of ground we covered, especially considering we had a tiny dictator three year old in tow.  Actually Quinn was a champ for most of the trip, but of course the pace is a bit slower and the priorities a bit different when touring the town with a small fry.

Here are a few highlights from our trip:

 

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

Adorable cafe where we had lunch after visiting the Notre Dame.  On Ile St. Louis which had cute shops and the famous Berthillon ice cream!

Adorable cafe where we had lunch after visiting the Notre Dame. On Ile St. Louis which had cute shops and the famous Berthillon ice cream!

Quinn with her Berthillon ice cream...chocolate of course.  This stuff tasted like fudge.  I had a salted carmel cone and it was to die for.  Mega delicious.

Quinn with her Berthillon ice cream…chocolate of course. This stuff tasted like fudge. I had a salted carmel cone and it was to die for. Mega delicious.

Quinn totally caught Joe and I by surprise when she jumped up on one of the stands and put her arm in the air imitating all the other visitors posing like they were touching the top of the pyramid.  It was honestly so funny and happened so quickly we barely had time to snap the photo.

Quinn totally caught Joe and I by surprise when she jumped up on one of the stands and put her arm in the air imitating all the other visitors posing like they were touching the top of the pyramid. It was honestly so funny and happened so quickly we barely had time to snap the photo.

Quinn and I outside the Lourve.

Quinn and I outside the Louvre.  We did go inside too and Quinn loved the Mona Lisa!

Crossing over one of the many bridges along the Seine river on our walk from the Lourve to meet up with a friend.

Crossing over one of the many bridges along the Seine river on our walk from the Lourve to meet up with a friend.

Quinn "writing" her name on her lock to put with the others on the bridge.

Quinn “writing” her name on her lock to put with the others on the bridge.

Quinn and Joe attaching her lock to the bridge.  Most people throw the key into the water, but in true Quinn fashion she had to do things a bit different and she decided to hold on to hers.

Quinn and Joe attaching her lock to the bridge. Most people throw the key into the water, but in true Quinn fashion she had to do things a bit different and she decided to hold on to hers.

Quinn's little piece of forever in Paris, France.

Quinn’s little permanent mark on Paris, France.

The Lady and the Unicorn medieval tapestries (one from the series) seen in the Museum of Middle Ages.  Quinn is actually familiar with these tapestries from an educational show she watches and was very excited to see them in person.

The Lady and the Unicorn medieval tapestries (one from the series) seen in the Museum of Middle Ages. Quinn is actually familiar with these tapestries from an educational show she watches and was very excited to see them in person.

Another display at the Museum of Middle Ages.

Another display at the Museum of Middle Ages.

Check out the year this piece dates back to.....

Check out the year this piece dates back to…..

Artists square in Montmarte....a seriously adorable area where I could have spent MUCH more time just wondering around.

Artists square in Montmarte….a seriously adorable area where I could have spent MUCH more time just wondering around.

Sacre Coeur- a breathtakingly beautiful church in the Montmartre area.

Sacre Coeur- a breathtakingly beautiful church in the Montmartre area.

Gorgeous view from the Sacre Coeur.  It sits up on a hill and when you walk out from the church the view is remarkable.  Unfortunately it was pretty foggy when we were there...my photo just does not do it justice!

Gorgeous view from the Sacre Coeur. It sits up on a hill and when you walk out from the church the view is remarkable. Unfortunately it was pretty foggy when we were there…my photo just does not do it justice!

The Arc de Triumph

The Arc de Triumph which connects to the famous Champs Elysee.  It was VERY cold on this day so we did the abbreviated tour of the Arc and ducked into a cafe for some hot chocolate nearby.

 

We made it to the top of the Eiffel Tower....the benchmark experience of a trip to Paris.

We made it to the top of the Eiffel Tower….the benchmark experience of a trip to Paris.

View from the Eiffel Tower; not the summit, but the second floor.

View from the Eiffel Tower; not the summit, but the second floor.

Another view from the second floor of the Eiffel Tower.

Another view from the second floor of the Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tower at dusk on our last evening in the city.  This is looking down a side street as we made our way to the train after dinner.

The Eiffel Tower at dusk on our last evening in the city. This is looking down a side street as we made our way to the train after dinner.

I feel like I must confess I went in with expectations of rude French people, totally prepared to be made ashamed for not speaking the language and to encounter a general attitude of unfriendliness and unwillingness to help.  I had heard the horror stories from others who recounted tales of snotty Parisians who seemed perpetually annoyed by ‘unsophisticated’ American tourists.  Our time there proved an excellent lesson in stereotypes and generalizations and exactly why not to get caught up in them.  Right off the bat on day one in the city a young man at the train station overheard Joe and I talking and offered to show us exactly where to go since he was traveling the same direction.  He gave us a few tips on getting around, and showed us the best way to get to a few key places we wanted to see.  We had delightful waiters at our first lunch stop as well.  They went above and beyond to entertain Quinn making for a truly memorable lunch.  In general, almost everyone we encountered from waitstaff at restaurants, to shop owners, to people on the street was friendly and helpful.

We had such a great time and even though Quinn is too young to probably remember much of our time there, it was so fun to experience Paris with her.  I would love to go back  with more time to just roam and explore….so many quaint little streets, charming cafes, and oodles of interesting people.  Yes, I could definitely use another trip to Paris!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Catch up…

Awe man.  I hate playing catch up.  But here I am, months behind on this blog.  To be fair, it’s been a cah-razy summer.  An awesome, crazy, whirlwind of a summer, with visits from a good friend of Joe’s, my parents, a good friend of mine, and my brother.  And trips to : Munich, Strasbourg, Amsterdam, and various nearby cities in Germany.  We are just now taking a breath.  And washing the guest bedroom sheets.  Just kidding- we washed them in between guests.  I think.

There is just too too much to catch up on right now.  I need time to upload and organize photos, do laundry, and make sure my refrigerator isn’t holding any dairy products that could come from an episode of Hoarders.  I know!  Food hoarding actually exists.   For now I will just leave you with a few miscellaneous photos of, as my brother referred to her, The Deutschland Diva.  Best nickname ever.

Quinn’s version of ‘jumping rope’.

Notice the sweater vest in…oh, July.

“Mom, aren’t you TOTALLY stoked that we found these awesome silver sparkle shoes for a total steal at H&M??!! They definitely are the perfect compliment to my cheetah print cardi and black/white spotted capris!”

Give me your best ‘there went my Dora backpack’ face.  Okay okay, that’s what really happened here.  Quinn couldn’t believe someone else, gasp, could own a Dora backpack and not her.

“But Mooooom, that’s so not fair.”

“Let me just sit here and ponder this cruel world I live in.”

I swear she orders the chocolate to spite me.  She must hear me silently chanting “not the chocolate, not the chocolate.”

The very rare purple feline of Germany.

 

I’ll be back soon with lots more updates and recounts/photos from the summer.

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Fatigue…

Can strike anywhere.  You never know when/where you will fall victim…

This is literally just out of the entryway and into the main living space.

 

I guess rockin' the mic wore her out??

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Bamberg Part 2

While in Bamberg we also made a point of visiting the Altenburg Castle.  Apparently this castle was first mentioned in 1109 (dang, that’s old) and was not used really as a primary residence, but rather as a safe haven for locals during dangerous times as well as an outlook point and for protection of the city.  I can defiinitely attest to the view from atop- you could see EVERYTHING around.  But you earn that view.    On our way to see the Altenburg, Joe and I had to alternate pushing the stroller.  Commitment people; that’s what it takes to see castles.

On our way up to the castle...a little clearing with a pretty view.

 

walking into the main courtyard area of the castle

 

After our long trek up to see the Altenburg, we needed some...um, refreshment.

 

long stretch in main courtyard

 

 

overlooking the city

 

Nearby town on the other side

 

And again...

view of countryside from another area of main castle level

 

 

We sprung for the extra Euro and entered into the overlook tower to get an even higher view.  Yes the stairs were narrow and very twisty.  But the view was amazing.  It was difficult to take pictures from the highest level because it was all enclosed.  There is no outside space like there is below and also all the windows at the top were somehow barred or protected.  Pictures from the highest point would have been fantastic.  Instead, I had to settle for these:

Tower from the outside.

 

Looking down onto part of the main structure.

 

And out over the city.

There are always lots of nooks and crannies in these castles.  On the way through the main entrance into the courtyard we passed a little chapel.   There were bars blocking the entrance to it, so it was a bit tough to get a picture, but the inside was so bright and un-castley (official term).

 

Chairs in the chapel

Chapel altar

Bamberg wasn’t a place that was really on my list to visit.  I never had really thought about it, but I’m so glad we were able to spend a few days there.  It was a beautiful small city, easy to walk around, and a nice break from the routine!

 

 

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Bamberg Part 1

Recently we snuck away for a couple of days to spend some time in Bamberg, Germany.  This is in the Bavaria region about 2 hours away (unless you end up stuck in a completely obnoxious re-route intended to SAVE YOU TIME but instead leaving you driving in circles to get around some construction that obviously was not accounted for in the new route.  Then it takes a little over three hours.)

Sometimes it is nice just to be somewhere different for a few days… somewhere with fresh scenery, new shops and restaurants to explore.  Despite some lingering cool weather, Bamberg was a delightful change of pace for us and a great place to sort of unwind for a bit.  We tasted Franconian fare, which is prevalent in that region as well as rauchbier (smoked beer), a specialty of Bamberg not found in all areas of Germany.

Here are some pictures from our first day in Bamberg.  We stayed fairly close to our hotel and walked around mostly the old city and a few areas along the river Regnitz.

Quinn taking pictures of a statue...shhh, don't tell her it's just the charger for the actual camera.

Quinn's photographic subject.

Fountain just outside of the Old City.

 

On our walk through town...

 

Joe and Quinn outside what was an ADORABLE shop...you'll have to take my word for it.

 

Buildings along the river.

 

Another view; this picture doesn't accurately show how crooked some of these buildings are. Some of them looked like they were leaning right over the water!

 

Interesting to note that the stretch of houses along the river in the background is called "Little Venice".

 

Another view of the blue building along the water...very pretty close up.

Side of the Bamberg Rathaus, which is town hall.

Up next, part two: our trip to Altenburg Castle!

 

 

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Easter and such…

This year we had a great Easter.  Quinn actually grasped the concept of the Easter Bunny and for a week or two leading up to the holiday we had a bit of leverage using the old “The Easter Bunny is listening/watching”.  Brilliant.  Amazingly, this persuaded her in several instances to listen better to Mommy and Daddy.  We put out carrots for the bunny on Saturday night and on Sunday morning she found this:

Happy Easter!

Yes, the basket included a note from the Easter Bunny reminding Quinn about good behavior.  Gotta pack it in wherever you can!  The Easter Bunny also left a pink microphone for Quinn which may have been the best/worst (depends on the day) idea ever.  More on that later.

New fishy washcloth! You can see the microphone in the background.

 

Stickers!

 

Finally...some candy!

P.S.  The Easter Bunny is still watching 😉

 

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Days go by….

One right after the other.  Geez, sorry for the long absence.  I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post!  Wow, where do I even begin?!  So to (hopefully) avoid boring you all to tears, let’s just do the “in a nutshell” rundown of what’s happened the last couple months.

March was a hectic month.  It was on track to be super busy from the beginning, filled with volunteer commitments, birthdays, baby showers etc. Then we found ourselves taking an unplanned trip back to the States when my Grandmother passed away.  This was tough.  But, really what I want to focus on is how grateful I am that we were able to make it back (2 days after finding out!) to Ohio to be with family and attend services.  It was so worth the mad dash to get home.  My Grandma J was amazing and truly a friend to me.  Being there to celebrate the life she lived and spend time with others who knew and loved her was so important.  There was no other place to be at that time, other than home with family.

Quinn with her Great Grandma Jacobs

We finished out the month with lots of activity.  Here are a few snapshots/moments from March:

Quinn at a friend's first birthday party.

 

Love the "can do" attitude, but we still need a touch more practice on pulling up our own pants.

 

Swagger...part 1

 

Swagger...part 2

Okay, so the site I use to edit/resize (mostly just resize- I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to editing!) is not working at the moment. So, I’ll stop for here now but will be back soon with more recent pics including Easter and a recent weekend trip to Bamberg, Germany!

 

 

 

 

 

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Weekend adventure

Making it to Gummersbach, Germany has been on our ‘to do’ list since moving here.  Seeing the town from where your last name originates is a must do.  Never mind that our American way of saying the name is barely understood here.  Or that Quinn thinks our last name is just Bach.  Yes, better to ignore those little details.  So moving on.  This was our weekend and so we set out on Saturday to explore Gummersbach.

On our way to Gummersbach!

The town is about 1 1/2 hours away from Oberursel, which made for an easy drive.  Quinn was surprisingly good in the car, although come to think of it…she did have an ENTIRE bag of gummy bears to keep her occupied.  We pointed out the signs indicating how much further till we reached our town and before we knew it, we had arrived.  The only plan we had was to eat lunch at the Gummersbach Brauhaus (a local brewery), so we parked the car and set out to see the town.  And it is a town.  Small for sure, but cute and charming as well.

In the States, people stumble over the name Gummersbach.  It doesn’t exactly… roll off the tongue.  That coupled with the fact that it’s fairly uncommon (I don’t know any Gummersbachs other than Joe’s family) makes it so much stranger to see it attached to shop names and city banners.  As we made our way through the town center it was a bit funny to see “Gummersbach Sports Offensive” and the like.

Map of Gummersbach

Since it was FREEZING, we quickly ducked into the Brewery I mentioned to have lunch.  After warming up there and enjoying a local beer, we moved on to see a bit more.  We looked for the perfect spot to get the obligatory “family photo in front of the Gummersbach name”, but sadly, never really found it.

entrance into our lunch spot

The brewery....decorated for carnival.

 

Das Brauhaus menu

 

Once we felt we had seen enough, we got in the car and drove to Cologne to spend the night.  This was only about a 30 minute drive and left us with enough time to walk around the city a bit before having dinner.  Again, the frigid temperatures held us back a bit, keeping us from a more in depth survey of the area.  Our hotel was very near the Cologne Cathedral which is breathtaking.  I want to revisit the city just to have another look at this amazing church.  It took over 6oo years to build and one can see why.  The amount of detail is mind-boggling.  I can’t even begin to imagine how the plans for such a structure looked…and before all of the architecture/planning software of the modern age.

part of the Cathedral at night....impossible for me to capture entire building without being very far away.

Another view of the Cathedral- still only part of it and also from a different side.

 

Part of Cathedral during day...loved this massive arch over what I presume is the main entrance.

one of the archways/smaller entrances...those are all detailed statues lining the arch.

 

There is also a large shopping area which is marked by one of the most popular pedestrian zones in Germany.  To the other side of the Cathedral is a charming waterfront area with loads of restaurants and cafes.  In the winter it was inviting and cozy, but in the warmer months I can only imagine it is divine to sit outside near the water with a view of the Cathedral and enjoy a local Koelsch beer.

Here is a view across the river- two peaks of Dom Cathedral on the far right.

While walking across this bridge we passed a huge section of love locks.

Here is a little story on the meaning behind the locks .  There were parts of the gate that were so absolutely full, they could not fit another lock!

This was just a short little weekend trip, but I am hoping to make it back for another look at the city during warmer weather!

Posted in Europe, Family, Germany, Sightseeing, Weekend | Tagged , | 1 Response

Ice Ice Baby….too cold, too cold.

Ain’t that the truth.  For reals.  People, it.is.cold.  Like go to Nuremberg to see your friend who is visiting and buy a new coat cold.  Like, eat potato soup every day of the week and layer up! cold.

I know you all know this; clearly it’s making the news back in the States.  And oddly enough places where you folks live were having unseasonably warm weather while we were are freezing our behinds off.  Literally.  I bought a longer coat.

But the thing is, walking is part of our daily routine here.  To run our basic errands or grab a quick bite to eat, is easier done by foot than by car.  And we simply don’t have the space to ‘stock up’ when the weather gets bad.  It’s not really feasible to avoid going out when the weather becomes a bit much to contend with.  So,what do you do then?  You bundle up like crazy and get on with it.

These pictures don’t really show how cold it has been.  But, let me just say…it’s a tad nippy.

Quinn is relatively un-phased by the cold...little arctic bear

 

snowflakes distorted by the flash OR ice sabers piercing us with their coldness??

How many weeks till Spring?

 

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Have a holly jolly Christmas…

Nothing says Christmas like getting your picture taken with Santa.  And who on earth is jollier than St. Nick?  So, it should stand to reason that pictures with Santa Claus should be a happy event.  One reflecting joy, and excitement towards the upcoming holiday.

 

Or this:

What's wrong with this picture? Oh yeah, we are behind Santa. And Santa looks like he got read the riot act on keeping his hands to himself.

 

Well, I'm sellin' it hard, but Quinn....she's not buying it. Not to mention Santa is getting bumped from the shot.

 

Saddest face on earth.

So that was fun.  So yes, you were supposed to sit on Santa’s lap.  Or, they even had a teeny stool for the kids to sit on in front of Santa.  But, seriously the second Quinn got even half a notion of what was to come she started repeating “No, no, no, no.” in a compulsive twitch sort of way.  Completely ignoring her very obvious cues that this was headed nowhere good, and fast- I held our place in line and told her she would get a treat for sitting with Santa.  When the screams became almost deafening, I walked up (because it was our turn) and tried to place her in Santa’s lap  near Santa.  In a last ditch attempt to have the requisite photo with Santa I jumped behind him and tried to salvage the moment.  Hmmm.  Well, considering only half of Santa even made it into a picture and Quinn looks like she’s just realized Santa is really the doctor, about to give her 72 vaccinations all at once- I don’t know if salvaged is the right word for these photos.  To me they are hardly  totally worth it.  Okay, not a great picture ‘with’ Santa…but definitely high school graduation photo collage board worthy.  Yeah, these pictures will be out in 2028.  And let’s not talk about how crazy that year sounds.

 

***I wanted to add that these pictures were taken by Jenny Mayfield an American photographer living in Frankfurt.  This was at a party hosted by the Mother’s group within the AWCT that I belong to.  Jenny is so sweet and patient (obviously) which we learned when we had her take photos of Quinn this fall.  Check out her work!***

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