Sunday, April 17, 2011

Another Fun Day

Another beautiful, if slightly chilly, day here in Germany. No random trips to foreign countries - but we did go to church and then explored the local area. I have no exciting stories - we just found a castle ruin that I had seen along the way from Freisen to St. Wendel last week, then explored the bridge over Oberkirchen, which was "re-discovered" last week on the way home from St. Wendel.

Below is just a random photo that I had been thinking of for a while. Not exactly what I was planning, but about the best of the bunch.

This one is the Liebersburg castle/tower that has been recently rebuilt. If you look closely there is a staircase that climbs the outside of the tower (on the left hand side) - it has some pretty nifty views.

And by now everyone should realize that I've been collecting ammo to break out in the teen-age years. Ahhh, good times...

This last one is from the bridge over Oberkirchen. 30 meters (roughly 100 ft.) tall - it has great views on both sides not just of Oberkirchen, but of the surrounding countryside too.

We are preparing for a move in the next several weeks. As part of that our phone/internet will be disconnected. The Germans like to run complete year packages - and we've been off-post for a year now. We'll be taking our computers to the library on post to connect from time to time - but look for posts to slow down shortly. And don't expect phone calls until we make it back to the States. It's not that we don't want to talk - we just won't have a phone to do it.

Have a wonderful day. Tschuss!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

A quick trip to France

So what do you do when you feel like a pleasant day out? Go to France of course!

I love that so much about our time here in Germany. France, Luxemburg, and Belgium are all just an hour to ninety minutes away - an easy day trip. You could probably throw Holland in there too for the price of another hour's drive. We only have about a month or so to enjoy it, but then again there's always Canada if we feel the burning need to leave the country (for where we are headed).

This trip was to Metz, France. They have a fairly big market that was loaded with overpriced French antiques. I'll be politically correct and refrain from commenting on all of the old (dropped) rifles and swords that were for sale ;) After that we drove into the city center and had lunch at a nice pizza place. From there we hit up the huge cathedral and then headed home. Along the way we hit up the Cora (grocery store) where I scored big on beer - and we all scored big on wine and Champagne.

I managed to convince everyone to tour a castle near Homburg on the way home, which was pretty neat - but nowhere near as cool as the castles we have nearby - Burg Lichtenburg and Ruine Frauenburg. So . . . onto the photos, which are a random mix from throughout the day.

This first one is of Leah in Metz. There was a dragon symbol stamped in metal and fixed to the ground that led us around Metz in a completely random manner. We had no idea where it went, or what it led to. We eventually had to trace our steps back to the beginning.

Ian took a break on one of the thingys separating the road from the sidewalk area. The sun felt goooood!

Leah has become little miss model! It isn't like I direct her or have taught her, she has completely picked up on it all on her own.

So my two most difficult people to photograph are Ian and Leah. Neither really likes to be photographed all that much. Doesn't mean I won't keep trying though.

The last two are from the castle ruins in Homburg. The ruins are sprawled out over the top of a hill overlooking Homburg, which made for a nice photo spot.

As I've edited the photos from our little trips, I've noticed that Ian and Leah are the two I photo the most - nothing surprising there. But I also don't take good photos of anyone else that comes with us, like Nancy or Christina. The photos I do take are bad and end up getting binned. I'm going to try to take better photos in the future - so if you are around, you have been forewarned!

Have a wonderful day everybody. Tschau!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Easter Market in Sankt Wendel

I wrote about the Easter Market yesterday, which is the spring version of the wonderful and amazing Weihnachtsmarkts (Christmas Markets). No Gluhwein, but lucky for us plenty of sunshine!

The Germans like to hang Easter eggs on trees - and the ones on this bush are all hand painted by a local artist (I think).

Since I was carrying the kids' camera, they got to take turns taking some photos. Here Leah took a photo of me and Ian.

They had a nifty kinderplatz (kids play area), and both Ian and Leah took turns with the bow and arrow.

We had to practically drag Ian out of there - he had so much fun shooting at the dragon target!

St. Wendel is a pretty cool town. We had a great time there for the Weihnachtsmarkt a couple of years ago, and this Easter Market didn't disappoint this year. This is just an overhead view of the crowds looking up one of the streets where the market was being held.

Have a wonderful day everybody!



Sunday, April 10, 2011

The View from Here (revisited)

I've been thinking about this particular photo for about a year now. I've either forgotten about it with everything going on, or the weather wasn't right, the light wasn't right, or I thought I'd do it "later". Well, "later" was today!

This is the view from our patio (and the living room window too). It is a view that we enjoy daily. The castle (Burg Lichtenberg) has been featured in several of my photos before. I considered cropping out some of the satellite dish nonsense, but that would just take too much time and I'd rather spend it doing other stuff.

This is where we eat al fresco when we outside at home. Today was most certainly an al fresco day!

After dinner I got out my flash and umbrella to get some portrait-y type photos of the kids. Ian didn't want to stand still for very long, so I'm happy I got this one of him.

Leah was dancing for a song that Ian was playing on one of his toys. This one is not shy in front of the camera!

And here you can see Leah doing her "vogue".

Finally, I sneakily left my camera on its tripod during dinner tonight to try to capture some of the action. This was the best of the mess - nothing terribly interesting, just a view of us enjoying dinner and the local scenery.

Oh yeah, this has been a super weekend. Nancy and I made a trip into Belgium on Saturday so she could reunite with Miho and I could make a beer run (JACKPOT!!). I was truly like a kid in the candy store - check out Pelgrims if you are ever north and east of Brussels and love Belgian beers. AND Christina arrived earlier today. Naturally we had to rush over to St. Wendel for the Easter Market, the warm and lovely spring version of the much loved Weinachtsmarkt (Christmas Market).

Have a wonderful day everybody, we most certainly have.



Friday, April 8, 2011

Loving Germany right now...

We've been having the strangest weather here in Germany. Sunny and warm!

I've been able to drive home from work with the top down on the Mini - I'd say this is nearly unheard of in this part of the world. Lot's of sunny days and warm(ish) weather. The trees are starting to bloom and the first tulips have started to bloom.

To get out an enjoy the weather today, I dragged Ian, Leah, and Nancy out for a walk in the woods between here and Baumholder. It has been since 2008 since I've been out there, and I wanted to see the overlook (that's the "Blick" part in the sign).

Ian and Leah did okay, especially once we turned around. The overlook was a bit different from how I remembered it, but I guess that is how it goes. The trees had grown just about as fast as the kids have.

And I finally hit the shutter in time to catch Ian looking right at me!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day - we sure are!



Sunday, April 3, 2011

A nice walk

So today wasn't quite as nice as yesterday, but all in all, it has still been a very good day. I even got to take a nap - which is very unusual for me.

We decided to take a walk through the woods about a mile or two from here. I've been back there numerous times, but this time with Nancy and the kids we took a path I've never been on before. It was mostly uphill on the way out, which made it a nice downhill on the way back.

Along the way we found a nice hilltop with an interesting old tree. I have a couple of good photos of Leah there,

as well as some nice photos of Ian. Nancy pointed out that Ian is difficult to photograph well - I know! Here he is with his Jedi lightsaber attached to his belt- can't leave home without it!

After the walk we drove a slightly different way home which brought us to the castle, rather than just skirt the foot of the hill where it sits on top. The kids had a great time climbing up and down the little hill of rocks inside the castle grounds, pretending that lava was rising and receding depending on whether they were at the top of the hill or at the bottom. They really play very well together - a blessing which I hope lasts quite a while longer.

Finally, I took a couple of closer-up "portraits" of both Leah and Ian. This one from Leah was from the walk in the woods.

Ian's is from the castle grounds. You really need to prefocus and have the shot composed because once Ian looks towards the camera, he won't stay looking directly there for long.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day out there. I know we have!



Saturday, April 2, 2011

Happy Day

Today was a stunningly beautiful day here in Germany!! The weather was perfect, I was surrounded by family, and no impending time away from the family was hanging overhead...

To celebrate a fine beginning to the day, I made pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Shortly after that we all loaded up in the car and went to the flohmarkt in Homburg - where we picked up a few nicknacks.

We had a nice "picnic" outside while we enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine. After lunch we came back to Baumholder for Leah's ballet recital. She was a Munchkin for "Return to Oz". This was her outfit:

And here she is during her routine clearly having a ball:

Outside there was a horse and carriage/buggy giving rides. Nancy won and got to ride with Ian and Leah.

Finally, we had dinner al fresco on our front porch. Warm sun, soft breeze, Catherine, and a view to die for. It was as close to perfect as I can imagine a day, and the happiest I've felt in quite some time.

May your day treat you as well as it did me! Cheers,