Sunday, December 31, 2017

One more for the old Year

When James was on his Camino de la Plata in 2016 he met Ruth and Mike. They live in Denver but have a grown child with family in Norfolk.  This was the second Christmas that we met with them. This time we met them at the Waffle House in Williamsburg to cut the driving into half for each of us.
Friday December 29
We had a great time and talked a storm. They had been in Spain again and even did the job of managing an albergue on the Camino for 2 weeks. Very interesting. Of course they wanted to know about our hike on the Jesus Trail in September.

I think the Waffle House people must have thought we will never leave. But we had such a good time.

I am usually not very fond of tattoos but wedding rings ... cool! It fits them.

Mike is an excellent selfie-taker.

Next day Saturday December 30 we decided to visit the VFMA and the special exhibition, the clay warriors from Xian. Since we had been in Xian we were especially interested and didn't want to miss it. As always ... we were not disappointed. The exhibition was about much more then just the emperor's burial place. Lots of history.

The illustration of the painted warrior was especially interesting because I had forgotten about that. Or maybe I had never realized that it must have been awesome to see when it was all new. James and I remembered though that we (supposedly) saw the old farmer who discovered the first statue on his field giving autographs in the museum in Xian.
That visit was in 2004 and you can find the link to my report HERE!   It's a PDF and Xian starts on page 16.

And then Sunday December 31 ... New Year's eve ... Silvester in Germany.
We call it a "non-event". And we had a quiet evening at home. We almost didn't remember that our church wedding ceremony had taken place on this day in 1975. Helen remembered and congratulated.

Happy New Year, y'all.

Happy Birthday to me

First ~ I want to say what a great birthday I had. So many of you send a birthday card or greetings through email or Facebook etc. I felt really spoiled. Thank you! THANK YOU!

Second ~ I can't wake up on December 26 without thinking of my father who's birthday was on the same day. He was such a fine and loving man.

James had made arrangements and he drove us to Durham, North Carolina. This is a bitterly cold week but the sun was shining and the sky was blue. We checked into the hotel and even enjoyed the two pieces of chocolate we found in the room.

The hotel was very close to the Duke University (at normal weather in walking distance) and we went to have a look. The hotel gave us a map. The chapel first. Very impressive.

Then we went to Sarah P. Duke Garden. Found this on the wall in the info center and couldn't resist taking a photo for David. All the different tiles had the names of the wood/tree on it.

The garden was very nice ... even in the mid of winter there was plenty to see. I found this very interesting: Paperbush (edgeworthia chrysantha)

Common winterberry (ilex verticillata)

And there were blooming camellias all around.

This is called interactive artwork "The Big Easy" 2017 by Patrick Dougherty. It's a stick work sculpture done with the help of the garden staff and volunteers. A fun piece of art.

Back to the hotel to warm up. A view from our room. The sun goes down over the golf course.

We decide to stay in the hotel. There is "casual dining" in the bar. But first a drink. Mine is called "Grandma's Rosy Cheeks" (conniption gin, tonic syrup, grapefruit juice, mint). James had an "Up the Creek" (Knob Creek, ginger simple syrup, tonic, fresh orange, mint).

Very tasty!

No candle ... but there should be dessert on your birthday, ha-ha.
I had a flourless chocolate torte with pomegranate coulis, malted meringue, butterscotch sauce, ricotta sherbet.

Can't remember what James had.

My dear husband ... he had even read that there were lace dresses on display in the hotel ... so we went to find them. I would have never known.

Wedding dress of Mrs. B. N. Duke 1877

Next morning we left the hotel to drive to Salisbury, NC.

But first breakfast at the ... you guessed it.

It was probably an hour and a half drive but we finally found it  -  after we first went to the wrong Rufty's place. That one was on the other side of the cute little town and we would have never seen it and gotten an impression if it wasn't for that.
I have mail-ordered my pearls and beads from this place for many years. Had no idea what kind of a place it was. It was in the middle of no-where.

There were lots of little rooms where the Chrismon samples were displayed on the walls. No picture taking of course. But I was allowed to take a photo of the owner and her husband in front of one tree  - hiding it so I could not copy any designs? No worries. Her designs are elaborate but I like my "clean, clear" designs better. It's like the difference between bobbinlace and tatting.

James was so patient because it took me a while to look at all the different supplies and do some damage to the budget and revitalize my inventory.

Next - back in the direction of Durham but to the town of Cary. As chance has it I had seen some photos on FaceBook posted by Mary in Paducah, KY, which were so pretty from a Chinese Lantern Festival. I read the comments because I wanted to know where this was. I found the answer: something like NC or near Durham or so. Enough info to start googling. And I found it! Ticket sales starting at 3 pm daily. We were there at 2:30, so parked and went for a little walk. Do you see that big bird in this photo?

And there in the distance what we will see tonight.

It's time to go to the ticket office. We were the first and had no waiting.

After that we went to a German restaurant James had found on the internet. They opened at 5 pm and we were not the only guests at that time.

James had a sampler plate and I had "Rouladen". All my food could have done with some more cooking but it wasn't bad and we enjoyed ourselves.

Good thing we had our tickets already because we could walk right in. The line was pretty long otherwise. The event was really really very nice and so worth it.

This VIDEO (1:17) really shows it a little better than the photos. Even the colors changed on this display.

The dragon was awesome too. VIDEO! (0:47)

Of course, a VIDEO (0:29) for William!

Gosh, the hot chocolate was so needed half-way through though.

And at each half hour there was a 20 minute Chinese acrobats show. Very nice too.

Back to the hotel for another night and then back home the next day very leisurely. James and I are thinking that we should live life a little more leisurely. Yes.