Sunday, June 27, 2010

Nothing much new here in Germany. But since it has been awhile since I've posted anything, I thought I'd upload some recent photos.

This past Friday we had an Organization Day - meaning fun at the local park. There was a dunk tank (I was thankfully spared from having to go in), a barbeque, and lots of other fun activities. Towards the end of the fun, Ian and Leah discovered the face painting area (Leah just got hearts on her arms, kind of like a sailor tatoo ;) which I didn't photograph). Ian wanted a kitty face, and this is what he got. I'm not sure why he is growling here, as the only other noise he made previously was meows.

Then on Saturday we had a lazy day at home while we waited for the Mittelaltermarkt (that's spelled correctly by the way - took a quick Google to verify!) at the castle above the house to open up. As you can see, Ian was just overexcited and bouncing around with joy at the thought.

We finally made it to the castle around 3 or so in the afternoon. For those of you who've never been to one of the Renaissance-type festivals - the Germans really go all out. Most of them come dressed in their armor, complete with swords, knives, daggers, etc. They cook their brats over an open, wood fire (delicious), and being Germany, serve refreshing beer nearly every 100 meters or so. Near the tower of the ruined castle, they had this blacksmith who was making little things for sale, decorative things like hooks and such.

Other than that, not much else is new here. I hope all is well out there with everyone.



Sunday, June 13, 2010


Nothing much new here in Germany. My folks came over for a couple of weeks and I think they had a good time. I didn't really get any extra time off of work, except for Memorial Day which gave us a nice day in Trier. They thankfully brought some warmer weather with them. I didn't do a good job of taking photos while they were here. In fact, only one with them in it.

Anyways, yesterday after dropping them off at the airport, Leah and I went for a little walk. I brought my flash to practice some, and this is one of the shots I brought home. It is probably my favorite shot of the series.

This next shot if from the Dom in Trier (the Cathedral). Actually just outside the Dom, behind the church for the Nuns. It has this beautiful walled garden/cemetery with these arched walk ways running down the sides.

On Mom and Chuck's last day, we went for a longish drive through the Rhineland-Pfalz (the region were we live - think of it as a State). On the way home, right across the street from Drei Schonheiten was this photo. This was about 9:00 pm - still plenty of daylight!

This final shot is of the rapeseed field right behind the house. I know, that is a random shot. It was taken just before our Italian vacation. And I couldn't remember if I had included it or not. Anyways, here it is - the pretty yellow fields.

I hope all is well out there with everybody. Cheers!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Random Parting Thoughts from Cinque Terre

This will be the last set of photos from our trip to Italy. It was a very nice trip that we had, and it was made so special with the addition of Nancy and Christina there. I know the kids missed them after we dropped them off at the airport, and the house was definitely quiet and a bit lonely without them. So yes, Catherine and I missed them too. Thank you both for helping us have a very nice Italian vacation!

This photo below was a favorite of mine from Vernazza. I found a set of interesting stairs leading up a hillside between a set of houses and set up to photograph the lines and shadows, when this lady quite obligingly started walking up. I think she makes it more interesting, less abstract.

I thought I'd leave with a sunset shot from the Cinque Terre. Fitting as I'll try to focus more energy on what we're up to lately. We're going to try to pack in some European funness in the last couple of weeks before I have to head to Texas. It's a short stay (compared to Iraq anyways) of about 3 months. But that is 3 months away from the very best months in Europe. Bummer.

I hope all is well with everyone out there. Cheers!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Gelato, is it really that good?

One thing Italians are known for is gelato! We took every opportunity (daily) to try to local goods. I know what you're thinking - it really can't be that good, can it? Let's examine some of the evidence.

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think "gelato" (ice cream to the uninitiated)? Would you crave it on a chilly day? How about a chilly and rainy day? Here is some evidence that in fact fresh gelato is so tasty, that even in chilly, rainy weaher gelato is a delicious treat while sitting outside:

Okay, okay. That's just my two kids enjoying gelato somewhere in the 5 Terre. What's the big deal?

Well, first there is the taste test. Take a look at this kid. Clearly he is a bit unsure if this gelato is worth all the fuss. Neither outwardly happy, nor disappointed.

Then there's this little girl. There none of the ambivalence like with the photo above, but no real excitement either.

But wait!

There's more to the story. Here is the same girl. Not quite done with that cone, but clearly pretty happy with what she has.

And then there's this little guy. Well, he's so happy with his gelato he's even willing to wear it!

So is it that good?

Yeah. It's that good.



Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cats in Vernazza

One thing I was struck by while wandering Vernazza, was just how much of a cat-people place it was. Coming from Germany - which is a HUGE dog-friendly/dog people kind of place, it was a bit of a shock.

The Germans are so conscientious of their dogs, and the socialization of their dogs. They take their dogs into McDonalds (really just about any store, but not most restaurants), walk them on busy streets, let them run loose in their parks. It really is a dog-friendly place.

Then there are the Italians. They are a very independent lot - much like the cats we encountered. Rules are more suggestions, they don't really apply to the individual. Plus Italians enjoy that (what we consider) most Spanish of treats: the siesta. Just like cats.

So as I wandered the various towns of the Cinque Terre, I kept finding these (what I consider) interesting photo opportunities. This one below was taken in the evening in Vernazza on a very small side street.

This one was taken shortly after an amazing lunch - al fresco - on the harborside piazza, also in Vernazza.

You'll either have to trust me that there were cats in the other towns, or just go see for yourself. I'll tell you that you can trust me, but you might as well go see for yourself.