Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's the Little Things

The wireless internet connection at the hotel is amazing, so this has been me since we got here.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


 We are officially out of our apartment in Hildrizhausen.  The movers came to pack us out on Thursday, and they came back to finish on Friday.  We turned the keys over on Saturday.

It's bitter-sweet; this is the house we brought our baby home to, and we have a lot of good memories here.  But we are also escaping our terrible landlords, and we get to go home to the States.  Those are both very good things.

Now we're at the Marriott, the very same hotel where we started this adventure 3 years ago.  I think it's rather appropriate. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

For Corinnea

Do you remember those lunch bags you made ages and ages ago?  Elora found a new use for mine:

I thought you might like to know.

Every Goodbye Is Not Gone Forever

I've started saying my goodbyes.  I hate goodbyes.  The people that I've worked with at the craft shop are people that I have come to love with all of my heart, and as excited as I am to be going back to the States, my heart is breaking to be leaving them.

I said my farewells to  Corinnea at her "birthday" party Wednesday night.  It was really her Farewell Dinner, but it made it a lot easier to pretend it was a birthday party.  She's been my Germany Mom, the one I've leaned on for support and advice since my own mother is so far away.  She will be flying out on Monday, about the time of our pre-inspection here.  The good news is that she's moving to Jacksonville, and not only will she be conveniently located along the route between Chesapeake and Titusville, but I haven't given up hope of going back to Jacksonville sometime down the road.

I also had to say good bye to Jennifer that night, since Jennifer left yesterday to visit family in the States, and won't be back until after we've left.  (I missed getting to say good bye to Lizy; she left yesterday as well, *sniff, sniff*)

I'll get to see the rest of the crew again, I think.  I certainly hope so.  Of everything in Germany, I will miss these people the most.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ritter Sport, Neuschwanstein, Stuttgart and Schwarzwald: The TL;DR Version

Thursday, we went to the RitterSport shop to buy chocolate.  Sara bought roughly 17 pounds of chocolate to take back for various friends and coworkers.  I only bought a few squares of it, though Elora would have had me taking home half the shop.

Friday we went to Neuschwanstein, and got to see Hohenschwangau into the bargain. The down side was that it was wet and nasty all day, but we bought ponchos and made the best of it. We didn't get home until 11:00 that night; what a day!

Saturday, we went in to Stuttgart to have lunch with my friend Sarah.  It was a bit odd, hanging out with a Sara and a Sarah.  I didn't get a picture with all 3 of us, but Sara and I did get this one on the train.

Sunday we went for a walk and a picnic in the Schwarzwald.  It was overcast again, but thankfully, it didn't rain on us this time.  The forest was gorgeous, and we had a wonderful time.

PS:  Has anyone else noticed the new photo uploader?  You can select multiple photos at once now.  It's so much better, I love it!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bebenhausen and Kicking Myself

Less than 20 minutes from my home, there is an idyllic little medieval town called Bebenhausen, complete with its own gorgeous little church and monastery.  Sara and I went to check it out on Tuesday, and all I could think was, why have we never been here before?  The town, the monastery, and the surrounding lands are breathtaking.  I've known it was there for the past year, but of course I waited to explore it until just a few short weeks before moving out of the country.  And to top it off?  I left my camera at home.  Ugh.  So yes, I've been kicking myself in the derriere, on both counts.
Fortunately for us, Sara did have her camera.  (I'd still like to go back with my camera.) There's really not a whole lot to be said, that can't be said far more eloquently by the photos themselves.  (There's a lot, I know, but seriously.  It's gorgeous.  If you live here in Germany, and you haven't been yet, you need to go.  Bring a picnic and your camera.)

We wandered around inside the monastery wall, oohing, ahhing, and taking pictures.   You see this one?  This is someone's house.  People actually live inside this place.

Little Miss was being grumpy, and didn't want to explore.  She just wanted to be held, and any time we put her down, she would do this:

The little stinker.

The moving process is coming along.  Han has had his shots, we've arranged to ship the car, we've scheduled the movers, the pre-inspection, and the final inspection.   Sara has been helping me go through and organize things, and she's been a great help with keeping the house straight and the Little Miss occupied.  She leaves on Monday, and then I've got about a week before the advent of chaos.

Oh boy.

Monday, August 9, 2010


I picked Sara up from the airport Friday afternoon.  She must have decided to make up for lost time, because nearly her entire suitcase was full of goodies for Elora. There was a sing along CD, a collapse-able crawl tunnel, a glow worm, a stacking-block train, a set of interlocking foam number mats, a baby doll stroller, and a ball-and-hammer toy.  Aunt Sara went a little overboard, but she certainly knows she didn't have to, and if she wants to spoil my child rotten, who am I to complain?

 Saturday we drove to Salzburg.  It should have taken only about three-and-a-half hours to get there, but it took us more than six.  I guess everyone else was traveling this weekend, too.  Sara and Elora kept themselves entertained in the back seat.

We got there around dinner time, checked into the hotel, and then went into town for dinner.  Sara went for a walk when we got back to the hotel, but Brandon, Elora and I called it an early night.

After breakfast the next morning, we went to check out the old part of Salzburg.  We got a really early start, so we stopped by a cafe to relax for a while, to wait for things to get moving.  The Salzburg Festival was in fill swing, and there were a ton of street vendors set up along the river.  That was our first stop. I found a couple of treasures, but those are for another post.

The views along the river were gorgeous, this was just one of them.    In the back ground, you can see the row of white vendor's tents set up on the walk along the river. Many of them were selling items they'd made themselves, and some of those were actually working on projects right there.

In addition to the lamp-working and embroidery, there was a woman weaving tiny strips of palm fronds, and another painting hand-sculpted mouse figures.

 Once we'd explored all the tents, we headed back to old town.  It reminded me a lot of Old St. Augustine, with the ice cream parlors, souvenir and novelty shops, cafes and little restaurants.  (It surprised me, though, to see that McDonald's and Claire's had both set up shop on the street.  Oh well.)  Most of the restaurants were either upstairs, above the shops, or in courtyards between the buildings.  We had the stroller, so upstairs was out.  We ate lunch in one of the lovely little courtyards.

Elora was in desperate need of a nap after lunch, so Brandon took her back to the car to rest while Sara and I checked out the small Mozart museum in the house where he was born, and grew up.

This was the main draw for Sara.  She is a great lover of all things Mozart, and was in awe the whole time we were in the house.  My interest was in merely visiting, exploring and enjoying the city, but I definitely enjoyed the museum and had great fun watching Sara enjoy it even more.

Fortunately, traffic wasn't quite as bad on the way back.  It took only four-and-a-half hours for the return trip.  Most of the rest of the week isn't going to be nearly as exciting.  She's mainly just going to be helping me get ready for the move, until the weekend, when we have more fun stuff planned.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Silly Elora

I haven't taken many pictures since we've been back, mainly because I took so darn many of them while we were gone, and most of them have been in the last few days.  

I snapped this just as Elora finished her breakfast the other morning,

And I got this one when I went in to get her after her nap that afternoon.  Her hair gets so darn wild!

We've always used the hoodie towel from Kara to dry her off when she gets out of the bath, but 2 nights ago we had to use something else because it was still in the dryer after being washed.  Brandon's mom got this little terry cloth robe for her, and I decided to try that.  As soon as I got it on her, she made a bee-line for the wavy mirrors in the hall to check herself out.  She just kept alternating between making faces at herself in the mirror, and making faces at us.  She was too cute.  :)