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Sunday, June 12, 2016

STOPPIN BY TO SAY I AM OUT FOR A FEW DAYS

Just wanted to stop by and say howdy, and that I am going to be out of pocket for a few days.  I am pretty excited to be going on a little trip with my daughter and grandson Sam to Utah. We are planning to go to Monument valley for a tour of the valley and also Mystic Valley, and after that going to get to go to ANTELOPE SLOT CANYON. The rest of our trip is going to be in Bryce Canyon. I have never been there before so think it will be great.  I am hoping that my lungs will be able to handle the 9000 foot elevation. Fingers crossed.  I feel so honored to have the chance to spend some time with some of my favorite people and so grateful for my husband  who will be at home dog sitting. Bless him! Will look forward to seeing all of you when I  get back! Hopefully with lots of interesting photos!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

MORE OF HEIDELBERG


 Really enjoyed a long after noon walking around Heidelberg which was very charming. Loved the roofs, many of which were made of slat e, and all very unique. The homes were all lovely and neatly kept.
 Love the narrow cobblestone streets, but have to say they must be a tourist buses worst nightmare, as some of the streets actually required two of the busses passing each other.
 The streets were all narrow and neatly kept with interesting windows and doors which I love to see.
 Many outdoor cafe's which are so prevalent in Europe. Can't figure out why there are so few in the US as they are well used in all of the European cities we have been in. Such fun sitting out in these and people watching.
A great place to sip your cappuccino or wine and just people watch. We did as much of that as possible and really enjoyed it.
 It seemed like I saw cute windows on every street, and love to imagine what is inside of these, and what  the people are like.

 After hours of walking, we decided that it was well past time to sit down and have a snack and some cappuccino. I have tried coffee, but find that in Europe , it is way too strong for me, so take advantage of the cappuccino when ever I get a need for caffeine.

 Lots of options in this cute little shop for many types of coffee or drinks.
 I thought that the proprietor of this shop was very individualistic and very much wanted to photograph him. He was a great subject, however, I was only able to snap this one shot surreptitiously and then felt that I needed to ask his permission.  His answer was a definite NO, and I respected that. Another tourist though came in later, and must have also thought this gentleman was very interesting, so without asking used his flash and got a great shot.  This really angered this man who waved his finger at the tourist. Glad I didn't do that....
 Also had to say that the pastries were fabulous.
 Once again , observed so many people of every age biking around the cities. Love seeing this and think of how healthy these people must be with this great exercise.
 After a LONG day of touristing ( is this  a word?  or did I just make it up) we were really happy to get back to our "home" and meet our chef who was passing out handmade truffles in case any of us had starved......
And also have to say that after all of that walking and shopping, the bed looked very inviting for a nap before dinner.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

HEIDELBERG AND ..... GUESS WHAT??

 So on we go with our wonderful trip and our next stop was in a village called WORMS. Never really saw anything of  of this village, but directly got on our tour bus and headed over to Heidelberg to first tour..... guess what?   Another castle... yep! Now this is Heidelberg castle ( not too much of a surprise) and was not in as good a condition as the other castles we toured, but still very interesting.



 This is very unique clock in the courtyard, and also lovely sculptings in many places.

 Lovely views down to the city below...

 One of the most interesting things that I saw in this castle was a hand carved oak barrel. This is the largest wine barrel anywhere.  It was built in about 1753, and was used to collect wine from the surrounding vineyards which were paid as a "wine tax" to the castle owners.  Are you ready for this, this barrel held 22,000 ( yes thousand) liters of the finest wines from the area. Could keep you in wine for a few aristocratic dinners I would think!
 When it is considered that everyone in the castle could drink 3 or more liters daily, it might not last as long as you would expect though.
 Will share more of charming Heidelberg in another post, however this is the lovely village as we approached in our ship.

Mother's Day Brunch on the Summer Lawn

Really enjoyed a belated Mothers Day Brunch out at the Summer Lawn in the Arboretum with my daughters and grandchildren. So appreciate these times together which never seem to be frequent enough.
Saw something that is so true on Facebook recently, something about the hardest part of appreciating meeting your goal of making your children independent ( oh and mine are) is when they succeed at it.
My Grandson is growing so fast I can hardly believe it. Nearly out of school for the summer and i am so looking forward to a trip that my daughter, my grandson and I are going on in two weeks to Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, and Salt Lake city.  I am hoping that my body with cooperate with me in attempting to do some hiking at a much higher altitude than it is used to and seeing some amazing scenery.
my grandchildren investigating a pretty nice sized turtle we found meandering around on the Summer Lawn. Think he got lost, and couldn't find his way back to the lake.

Such an interesting??? moth, with wings underneath his body. My husband noticed him so he made a a good photo subject I though.

Enjoying some company  on the bench.
Love the diversity of flowers  that are at the arboretum, and this made me feel like I was in Hawaii. Hope everyone is having a great week!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SAILING THE MIDDLE RHINE







One of the very few sunny days we had during our river cruise was the day that we sailed the Middle Rhein. This was meant to be the source of some beautiful scenery as we passed by multiple huge castles built on both sides of the river. Our cruise director was located in the window filled viewing deck and told some of the history of each of the castles as we passed them by.  They also celebrated this beauty with a demonstration of making russian coffee and serving many deserts ( as if we could possible be hungry.

I am sorry to say that i missed most of the castle histories as I chose to sit up on the open top deck so that i could photograph some of the amazing scenery. i have to say that although it was really a lovely sunny day, the wind was blowing "a gale", so that I nearly blew over in my chair. It was also a COLD WIND, so I was happy that the crew was so kind to provide cozy blankets for each of the crazy folks who chose to sit outside. This section of the Rhein went between Koblenz and Bingen, and had over 20 huge castles which watched down on the river and protected their villages in the past. Each one of these amazing and huge buildings is full of history. I was able to buy a pamphlet about each of the castles, so that i later had some idea of what I had viewed, and the history of each. The castle above is Deuernburg Castle and was started about 1356. It was quite decayed and was sold in 1806 when it was painstakingly restored between 1900 and 1906 and is currently privately owned.


Passed by gorgeous roling hillsides filled with .... guess what.... lovely vineyards.
This beautiful scene is one of the KATZ CASTLE, This was built around 1371 to help fortify the upper and lower county area. It was in 1806 that Napoleon ordered this castle to be blown up, however there was victory over napoleon and the ruins were later restored.. This castle is also privately owned ( someones weekend home???) and is not currently available for tours.
PFALZRAFENSEIN CASTLE, which is located on a rock cliff in the middle of the Rhine River which was built about the year of 1324 and exacted hight tolls for boats sailing the Rhine.

SCHONBURG CASTLE , build in about 300 AD, however the actual time is uncertain, but thought to be initiated by the Romans. SUCH HISTORY HERE!!!!




STOLZENFELS CASTLE along the Rhine river was build around 1248 and is available today for tours. Quite a site while cruising the river.

Monday, May 23, 2016

MARKS BURG CASTLE, BRAUBACH GERMANY

So also wanted to share another castle that we visited the very next day. Our ship went on to Braubach Germany and off we went on another very fascinating castle tour, this time to Marksburg Castle.  Another amazing 1000 AD century castle overlooking a city below. This castle was another amazing place with quite a history. It was originally built by the aristocracy and eventually was used as a prison and also a shelter for wounded soldiers. The entrance to this castle was quite difficult with very steep passageways made of rough cobblestone. We were told that at one time, large horses with mounted knights, in full armor,  climbed up these stone passageways, and that the horses were very large and very strong. After looking at some of these suits of armor, I can definitely tell why the horses had to be strong. The highest tower seen above, was the "keep" where under siege, the women and children could be the safest while the castle was being protected.
You can see here a little of the steepness of the long approach to this castle. Can you imagine riding up this on your horse in your armor. Hurrying home to the castle to protect it. This was also surrounded by a large moat which was another protective device of the time.
There were many canons pointing out to the landscape for protection, and even had an example of the cannon balls. Looks as if it would need to be a direct hit to be effective. Such a difference in a thousand years from the weapons fired now. No comparison.

Included in this castle, with no surprise, was a winery. The told us that it was required that each person in the castle had to drink 3-5 liters daily. 3 liters for women, and 5 for the men.
This was one of t he beds that we saw and it was interesting to see. Both the foot and the head were elevated, so that two people sleeping in this had their heads at opposite ends. The slept sitting upright as it was considered bad luck to sleep flat like the dead did. Their souls were considered safer to stay in their bodies when they were upright.
There were , again, many little nooks where the occupants could enjoy their music or games, or just looking out on t he landscape through the amazing stained glass windows.
This was a ceiling of one of t he  rooms where prisoners were held. The art work was gorgeous, however, all along the walls and ceilings were scratch marks where the prisoners tried out of fear to scratch off the paint.  Do you think there are any ghosts of this era left here.  Such tragedy and pain in this room, and others here too.
There were several rooms also that held ancient suit s of armor, made individually for the different size knights. Another place we visited had a huge, nearly 7 feet tall, looking like a giant compared to  the rest of them. Hard to imagine what these weighed.
This room was where the men were tortured, and some of t he methods described were truly terrible. The rug on the wall behind showed the tree main ways of killing the men sentenced to death. Pulling them apart with each limb tied to horse going the other way, and another was burning slowly to death. First though, the men were dropped through  the 'HOLE OF FEAR"  to the area that they were execute ed in.  Hard to imagine this sort of setting and practices, but definitely was practiced.

The above room was where the blacksmith place was, and the guide here is showing the difference between the size horseshoes of todays horse on the left, and the horses that the knights  rode.  No comparison, but it must have taken a really large horse for the duties that they had climbing and carrying heavy armored knights  on their backs .

This is a "borrowed photo' from Google taken from above this castle. Just imagine all of the hundreds of years of history in this place.