Saturday, September 23, 2017

Non-Quilting Adventure (with photos)

Notre Dame floor tile mosaic
When our daughter graduated from college in May we promised travel for her grad. gift. Since age six years old - when she began studying German in summer language immersion camp, she has wanted to go to Germany. With sports commitments, school, and internships, timing has never worked for her to go....until 3 weeks ago when the start date for her job was delayed two more weeks.

The schedule delay just happened to coincide with some very cheap flights to Germany from LAX (near her). For under $450 each, round trip, I booked flights for both of us on Thurs. night and we were in Germany by Monday night! (Ironically, it costs more to and from Oklahoma--California than to Germany!) Happily, I was able to go along for week one of this two-week adventure to Germany, France, Belgium & Netherlands. Here are some highlights from my camera. (There is more on phone but not yet downloaded). Not to bore everyone, I have posted only a few photos (eleven to be exact).
View of the Rhine from Marksburg Castle, Braubach Germany

This was a true whirlwind travel adventure in that we stayed at Airbnbs, planning where to stay 1-2 days in advance. We also used Rick Steve's travel guidebook to give us some tips and guides. But, for the most part we did it on our own! We had a general idea of a circle route around the area, but really we made final decisions about where and what we wanted to do based on weather, opportunities, and tips from the locals. We hopped on buses, trains and a boat to go everywhere!

Climbing up inside Arc de Triomphe, Paris
Germany was the main target as dd enjoyed speaking and reading German to guide our way. But she realized that we were so close to Paris (3 hrs by train) that we must go...and so we did! We found two great places to stay right within walking distance of everything in a second floor and a 4th floor apt. with lovely hosts. We saw people atop the "Arch of Triumph" and decided we wanted to check it out. Turns out is was free to walk up the many flights of narrow circular stairs (with our backpacks on) to get on top for excellent view all around Paris! We had walked near the Eiffel tower the night before for spectacular view of night lights.

We also visited other Paris highlights. The Louvre was simply incredible inside and out! We also enjoyed paintings by Monet, Degas, Manet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Cezanne, and even James Whistler's mother (AKA Victorian, USA Mona Lisa) with up close an personal viewing at Musée d'Orsay. We also walked our legs off all around the city enjoying the views. I have a special souvenir from the Paris subway because I was not fast and pushy enough to clear the metro doors before they slammed shut on my upper right arm causing a lovely double row of door width bruises (2" x 5"). Reminded me of subway in NYC!
St. Goar, Germany - cruising on the Rhine

View from Arc de Triomphe, Paris
Notre Dame, Paris, France

Relaxing after visiting the Louvre, Paris, France

No caption needed!
Cathedral - Kölner Dom, Cologne, Germany
Did I mention the food???
In addition to wonderful fresh bread and pastries, in Germany I ate Jägerschnitzel mit Champignonrahmsauce (breaded pork-loin with mushroom sauce) in Dusseldorf, Käsespätzle (German cheesy noodles) in Bracbach. In France we had what my dd said was "the best meal of her life!" Next, there was Belgian chocolate, mussels (moules marinière: cooked with shallots, parsley and butter), and frites (Belgian fries) - which our host assures us originated in Belgium and are NOT French fries. Delicious!

Grand Palais, Bruxelles, (Brussels), Belgium
In Brussels, it was "Journée sans voiture à Bruxelles" dimanche 22 septembre 2017 - a day without cars while we were there! Streets were closed for the entire city, people walked and biked in the streets. Trains and electric buses/trams ran free for everyone. There was also a big flea market, lots of music, and all types of street vendors and individuals selling antiques and used items right outside the front door of  their apartments. It was fun just to be able to walk all around and look at everything. There was a big festival at the square of the Grand Palais too with a parade and larger-than-life puppet figures and people dressed in costumes.

German /French countryside from the train.
After my 7-day journey, it was time for me to return to the USA - back to work.
DD however, continued traveling solo another week to Netherlands, Berlin & Dortmund, Germany.
Wonderful memories!!
Thanks for sharing them with me ~ Wanda.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Livin' Large! - but little quilting

I have not stopped long enough to blog - or quilt much in awhile. Much has happened...Summarized here (or skip below to a tiny bit of quilting). First is B-day Carrot Cake for me from my great Aunt Mimi's recipe (plus extra carrots, lots of pecans, golden raisins, and strawberries for topping, & a few more spices) already included pineapple, coconut, and lots of shredded carrots! YUM!!

DD graduated college in May and is now on West coast working for the year. Flyboy left for Iowa (of all places - who would have thought!) to UD to finish his degree. I had fun this spring traveling with him for college visits. He picked a great place. It will be fun to go visit there! Sweet niece got married in San Diego - beautiful bride!

Hubby has new job and so do I - well really mine is just an "interim" title added to all the other hats I already wear! We'll see what happens. Lots of hours for sure!

Since May we have hosted almost innumerable lovely guests in our home (word of mouth & Airbnb). Currently, hosting three semi-long-termers all private contacts, 2 university students for the year, & 1 professional (until Nov. 10th). Plus we have our first guest....So interesting!! - Definitely a travel approach that I will be trying out sometime in the future. I continue taking art therapy and palliative care courses as my "carrot" each week. Will do 12 hours for fall, including finishing practicum hours I began this summer - more FUN!

And... this is still on my sewing table. How could it have possibly been there for 2 years - come October!
Another small applique project was completed last month.