Monday, September 29, 2014

Back in the groove

Yes, back from the month-long trip but it took me quite a while to get back into the swing of things. I had a list as long as my arm of things I should do but other things kept popping up. Unscheduled things. Oh well.

Here is someone who popped in. Caleb is now 10 months and he has changed a lot in the time we were gone.
Got a video!
The crockwalker (or what it might be called) used to be cousin William's. Omi is very happy to be able to have it in her house. It is perfect!

Papa needs to put the gate up on the stairs. He is fast.
Just look at the video!

Here is another distraction from my to-do-list: Timberly Court, the place for sale. Looks like it's a done deal: closing on October 23.

So much was done before it was put on the market. The remodeled kitchen with granite counter tops. I am so jealous (I see a CR kitchen remodeling in the future).

Look at this little guy who seemed to have already moved in on the back patio there. Picture taken from the living room door.

On Saturday the Richmond Quilt Guild had a big exhibition. Guess what ... James came with me. It was fun to discuss with him which ones he liked and which ones not. This was one we studied closely.

You get a lot of ideas and inspiration in a place like this.

I think this would make a cute baby quilt.

We had some cold and even rainy days in between but then the next Saturday was picture-perfect.
Last 3rd of July we were supposed to be in England at the Henley Regatta to celebrate the 50th anniversary of James' Nottingham University rowing team. We had been there for the 40th reunion which had been a lot of fun and were disappointed that we had to cancel our trip this time because of James' accident. Oh well.

James had received a photo after the 50th reunion. Rowing 8 + cox + coach = 10 who live in Australia (1), New Zealand (1), USA (2), Portugal or Spain (1) and England (5). Seven were able to attend (and their spouses). Eight if is wasn't for James' unfortunate accident.

One of the team members, Colin, contacted James that he and his wife were on vacation in the USA and would like to meet us in Charlottesville. Great idea! Since they like vineyards we agreed to meet at one for lunch.
James and I brought the picnic. Sarah had a great recommendation to get the sandwiches at this place which was just off I-64 (exit 107?). It was quite busy. Seems other people had the same idea.

The menu was incredible. Quite special. Well, they called themselves "gourmet grocery". We got four different sandwiches and all came halved. Surely something for everybody.

King Family Vineyard was just a few minutes away.

We were half an hour early but it didn't matter because it was so nice and pieceful there. I declared myself the designated driver and James got us some refreshments.

Colin and Dayle arrived right on time and we had a great time chatting. Colin got a bottle of the vineyard's wine (too bad I only could have a little taste) and we enjoyed the lunch. We had also brought some veggies and dip and a cheese platter. Fresh strawberries, pineapple and grapes for dessert. And all that sunshine and gorgeous view. Ha, we even had real (linen) napkins.

It had been agreed that it shouldn't be another 10 years for a reunion and Colin will organize something before that.
When we had parked on arrival I had not paid attention but look at this picture right there. Had to get out of the car again to take it.

What else? There had been two Thursdays since we are back (Stitchers for a cause) but I only managed to go to the second for a couple of hours. I really like this group of people. I did a lot of cutting for my next project. Nothing to show yet though.

I didn't think I would have time to make the September Block Lotto block. But a girl needs to have fun and I sneaked into my queendom for a little bit. This is my effort. It was a good lesson.

Sunday afternoon (yesterday) at St Martin's. We are working on craft items for the bazaar whenever possible. I brought an idea from Germany with me and we made 20+ Angels. It's always great fellowship.

And now we are in the car driving to Nashville ... which ... takes ... all ... day! William already called that he was excited to see us. Then he cried because he wanted to go to Omi and Papa right then. It's still difficult for the little guy to understand "long time" (driving) and "distances". Soon, William, soon!


Friday, September 19, 2014

Europe Trip - Part 27 - the End

Tuesday September 16


Leasurely breakfast. Leasurely packing. Packing to go home is easy. You don't have to think what you need. You just pack everything that is yours. Well ... James stepped on the scales with my suitcase ... too heavy. The bottle of Eierliquör has to come out again. Books have to go into James'. He has just a little more weight room.

At around 11 we are on our way to Munich. Thank you, Eva, for a grand time!

James drove first. I had to take this picture. Is there really a town called 'Lederhosen'? Yes, I looked it up. Population: 260. Guess what their Coat of Arms is?



Every so often our GPS changed the EPA because of traffic delay. 1 hour 32 minutes really?




We stopped at a Autobahnraststätte to get gas and decided also on a little snack. It was so nice that we even could sit outside.



Sometime at one point GPS must have decided on a detour. She must have been fed up with all those traffic delays. We didn't quite understand which way she was sending us but it was a good decision. We found ourselves on the "Deutsche Hopfenstraße" which was lovely. I would have liked to take a picture of one of the fields of hops but I was driving and nowhere to stop.

Finally we reached our prebooked hotel which, as it turned out, was very convenient to the airport and really quite inexpensive. And quite adequate.


James went to fill up the car with gas. Rental car people can be really fussy about that. He also came with something to fill us up. REAL Budweiser! From Budvar in the Czech Republic. It was good!




Weather here was still nice so we decided to take a walk and perhaps find something for supper. You can see how close we are to the airport because there is a plane landing.



James wanted to find an ATM to get a few more Euros from our GERMAN account but the map we had received from the front desk was not quite right. It wasn't where the map said it should be. But we found it.



And we found a pizzeria. Lots and lots of pizza places all over Europe and so far we had resisted. If it is the only place around ...

James: cheese and prosciutto (which the server highly recommended)

For me: smoked salmon and rucola.

Both very nice.



Back to the hotel. They had given us a "family room".



James couldn't see the TV from the double bed so he climbed up for a while to watch.




Wednesday September 17


It was foggy but we had no trouble driving to the airport and finding the rental car return. That part went very quickly. Not the horror story when we arrived with our reservation to pick up the car from Dollar Car rentals.

The check-in went well too. No mentioning that my suitcase was a bit more then the max. Thanks.

Security ... no problem. A little breakfast. On to the gate. That's when it started. Due to the fog incoming planes were late. Ours too. We were told we wouldn't make the connection in Frankfurt. The gate people said we could take the direct flight from Munich to Newark but we needed to go to the Lufthansa service center. So we ran over there. The young lady was very friendly and very willing but not very good. She took forever typing around on the computer, calling our old gate, calling the new gate etc etc until it was finally too late. She was told boarding was over and we missed the plane. Grrrrr. Smile.

Then she tried to reverse it all so we could go with our original plane and see how we would be re-routed in Frankfurt. She took so long though that we were now in danger of missing that plane too. Finally her boss took over. We ran to the gate and got in as they were closing the door.



Yes, we did miss the connection in Frankfurt just by a hair. The gate people were very nice though and helpful. They suggested we should fly to Washington Dulles instead and sorted everything out. James' boarding passes were a problem though because the young lady had really screwed up the computer which said that James hadn't even taken that first flight.

It took so long (no fault of this lady who was excellent, friendly and patient) that they were already boarding when we got to the plane. Finally, finally we had our seats. Time to put the flight socks on.

Yes, flight socks. Supporting knee highs. Highly recommendable. We are doing this now for several years on longer flights and it makes all the difference in the world how you feel when you get off the plane!!!



Immigration in Washington Dulles: long lines but they moved fast.

Customs: long lines

In the plane to RIC.



We were only a few minutes later then we were originally booked.

And look who picked us up! Sarah was there with Caleb.



We had seen our suitcases in Dulles but they had not made it further. Next day they were brought to our door.



Yes, it is good to be back. It was a wonderful trip. Got to see more of our Lord's beautiful creation, got to see family! Altogether we were very lucky with the weather.

Now we look forward to spending some time with our offsprings. Life is good!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Europe Trip - Part 26

Monday September 15


Everybody gone. Just Eva, James and me. We contemplated where to go and what to do. We decided on the Wartburg in Eisenach. We would have liked to see the Inselberg (lots of memories there from childhood) but the weather just didn't cooperate.

It was very foggy and we could hardly see any of the mountains and many castles (lots of them ruins though).

Nevertheless the car ride was fun. If you squint really hard you can see a castle on that hill.



Parked the car, paid for that, had the choice of a shuttle or walk.




The little huffing and puffing was good for me.

It is going to be very difficult to give a good impression of this. It is quite a large place and it doesn't all fit in a photo.

The drawbridge!




Looking back from the drawbridge.



Entering the first courtyard.




It's where we bought the tour tickets. And looking back.



This is the window of Martin Luther's room where he translated the New Testament and wrote many other things.




The second courtyard.



We had to wait for the next guided tour. This model was interesting.



It gave you a better idea of this place. Front left the drawbridge. In the very back is where we are now. The entry to the earliest rooms.



Actually these are gravestones of the earliest owners/builders and we are in what used to be the stables.



The earliest private rooms of the prince or count.



The little plaque on the side explained: wallhanging with animals and mythical creatures.

about 1440 from Basel Switzerland, wool, woven

I think it is so amazing.










Depiction of the legendary singers' contest. A fresco over a whole wall in this room. The story is very interesting.







After seeing the "official living quarters" we entered the museum with the promise of the peek into Martin Luther's room.

Interesting things here too. This piece of textile art was called "Birth of Christ". Woven silk and linen from the end of 13th century. How cool is that?




And here a picture for William. An outfit a knight would wear.



And even peeking through the windows was a delight.





And how cool is this door?



And finally ... the room where Martin Luther spent 10 months.



And that's it. Lots of nooks and crannies to look at. The stonework, the half-timbered buildings, even these fan-tailed doves are special and called Wartburg Doves.




It was way past lunchtime so some refreshment was desired. There was an almost new hotel (19th century) attached to the burg and it had a terrace cafe with a glass roof.

Esel (donkeys) are quite important here. I remember as a child you could ride up on one of them. And I think in summer you still can. No wonder there is a beer named after them. It was delicious.



This place seemed all about Klöße. The next board advertised the "Klöße-museum". Hope you are not sick of them because I sure am not.



I loved the menu.



Eva and I had the Klöße in cremigen Pilzen (in creamy mushrooms).



James had Klops and Kloß (meatballs and potato dumplings in capers sauße/gravy).



There were even cuddly plush fabric ones in two sizes to buy named Klaus?



Even the dead mouse on the glass roof couldn't take our appetite away. We discussed though how it got there and why no bird has claimed it yet.

But then it was time to find the way back to the car.



Still no weather to visit the Inselberg. The Grandfather of Eva and me (Opa Otto) was part of building the tower. Would have been nice. But without the view ...?

So wie decided to stop in Gotha instead. That's where our grandparents used to live. Lots of childhood memories for both of us.



We had no particular agenda. Just walked around. Looked into a shop here or there. Had to have a coffee of course. James decided he needed to try his third Sachertorte, all had been different. We decided next time we are in Vienna we will try the real thing.





And while we are still at the square in front of the Rathaus the Glockenspiel started. Here is a video (will be added at home).



Almost back at Eva's we stopped in at the supermarket. James is looking at a nice size beer. Don't worry. This is not what we bought but a bottle of bubbly instead (and a bottle of Eierliquör I wanted to take home but had to leave behind for Eva because my suitcase was too heavy already).



Last evening here. Eva prepared a light (but oh so nice) supper.





And dessert. Something special again.




We don't need to pack tonight because we have plenty of time tomorrow morning. So we just had a nice comfy time.