Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Travel is more than the seeing of sights;
it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living."
Miriam Beard

And in today's news, I am working on another travel post but the uploading and sorting of pictures is progressing rather slowly. And then I got sidetracked sorting and reminiscing with a batch of pictures from Costco - 749 of them - they pretty much covered the whole kitchen table! And that's just the Prague trip :))

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


One of the favourite places of all tourists to Germany (and we were no exception!)is the land of castles in the southern part. Just a short drive from Weiskirche, while passing a lake, through a flat but picturesque valley we came upon this!

Re-built by Maximillian II in the 1800's, this castle was originally built in the 12th century and then ruined by Napoleon. This was Ludwig's boyhood home and it was full of beautiful furniture, chandeliers and furnishings. There was a secret doorway that connected the king's suite with his wife's bedroom - interesting! This castle has a feeling of comfort and home, a place where a family with 2 boys spent happy times, I imagined.

We could see the second castle from this vantage point.

There was a lovely garden with several fountains that made it so inviting to just sit and rest.

Many outside walls were painted with beautiful murals.

From the bottom of the cliff we got a good impression of the whole castle.

Once we finished touring the first castle, we hiked up the hill to see Neuschwanstein , the castle that Walt Disney used as his model for the Cinderella castle at the entrance to Disneyland. King Ludwig built this castle based on paintings and the opera music of Richard Wagner. Built from 1869 - 1886, it's only as old as the Eiffel Tower. Construction continued for 17 years, only one-third of it was ever completed and Ludwig only lived here for 172 days before he mysteriously died. Falkenstein, another castle he planned was supposed to be even more whimsical and would make this one look shabby but it was never built.

Our first up-close view was the corner tower and then -

we saw the whole side.

Mary's Bridge is further up behind the castle but we didn't climb up to it (next time!). I'm sure the view of the castle and valley from here would be spectacular.

It was a fairytale kind of place, perfect for taking pictures with loved ones :))

Cobblestone mosaics are fascinating, especially with moss growing over them. Can you imagine how long it took to lay these down in such perfect patterns?

This is one of the valley views that the king had of his kingdom.

Outside King Ludwig's bedroom(a room that was actually finished), through a window beside his reading chair, you could see this statue - just one of the many details that filled the castle. This window also looked out onto the valley.

Our half-hour tour took us through some of the completed rooms but we couldn't take any pictures. I loved the castle kitchen in the basement! It had a seperate room for washing dishes, a chef's office, copper utensils and wonderful marble countertops. It was considerably bigger than my whole house!

One last glimpse of the fairy castle as we left.

If you are ever in southern Germany, you must make time to visit these beautiful buildings. I'm so glad Heather and Jonathan recommended them to us and that we had a guidebook with lots of information about history, tours and tickets.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Romantic Road

Welcome back to Germany! As we were driving along the autobahn, we (well, really it was me as the navigator!) missed an overpass and began heading off away from where we wanted to go. After a quick map check, I found a little road that would take us across country about 20 km and we could join up with the main road again. It was a perfect detour and we got to see things off the beaten track. And there were way more great photo ops on this route too :))

Now this is the way to cut hay - a mower behind the tractor and another mounted on the front!

At a stop sign in a village and this tractor and silage wagon go breezing by! Agriculture and urban centers co-exist in Europe!

This little glimpse of a town shows you so much about European architecture and colors.

This was the most scenic route we could have picked! Right in the middle of town - a huge farmhouse with attached barn. See the white dotted highway line markings? I like how they curve.

Yup - the road goes right through this tower!

This little detour gave us some great glimpses into the daily agricultural life of this area - exactly what we were interested in, especially Bob. This machine was harvesting potatoes in one of the last fields we saw. Most harvesting, except for corn, was finished already.

Just driving along, heading into town, and this statue was right in the middle of the street! In another village a little further on, we found ourselves driving down the highway which was also main street, right through the Sunday morning market stalls that were setting up.

Nordlingen is known for its wide valley that was formed by a meteor 15 million years ago. It is also known as a grain basket because of the rich soil and good crops that are grown here.

The town of Dinkelsbuhl is billed as Rothenburg's little sister. We just pulled over at a rest stop and got some pictures of the skyline.

While we were taking pictures, an elderly man walked by with 2 children and a big dog. He stopped to point out that when you stood in a certain spot a little further up the path, the 2 towers lined up perfectly and it looked like just one spire. Clever optical illusion!!

The further south we drove, the closer to the mountains we got. The alpine views were so beautiful and we started to see more cattle in the fields.

Our first view of the church we were coming to visit. It's just set out in a field with a few farms gathered around, not even a village!

Weiskirche, or Church in the Meadow, was built around a statue of a scorged Christ, which supposedly wept in this place in 1738. A tiny chapel, that seated about 20 people, housed the original statue and still stands on the site but so many pilgrims came that a new church had to be built. It's big but the outside gives you no clues about what you will see inside!

This new church, opened in 1749,has an ornate and elegant interior, covered with white and gold Rococo details. Pictures of Biblical miracles cover the ceiling and walls. There is an annual pilgrimage here and evening concerts are often held in the church. It was definitely worth the drive!

This little restaurant. where we had lunch, was just down the hill from the church. The very friendly owner was a sports fan and updated Tyler on the soccer scores and car racing results. He didn't know anything about tennis though!

This was such a picturesque farmyard - right across from the church!

Something completely different but such a happy image!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Party Weekend

It was so much fun to go and stay with these guys for 3 whole days! We did a few things to help with the parties (yes, there were 2!) and caring for Helayna. Today we also celebrated her dedication at church. And we had a very good time playing with this precious little one and enjoying every bit of her personality and talents that came out. These pictures come to you via Heather and Jonathan's camera. Our camera is waiting to be downloaded - maybe tomorrow!!

There were so many great pictures taken this weekend and this is definitely one of my favourites!

The day after Helayna was born, Heather and Jonathan took a picture of her with her grandparents so we've made it an annual tradition now,I think. What a huge change in her in just one year!!

The Moll family

The amazing pumpkin cake that Heather created! Everyone, including Helayna, loved it! And it was delicious too!!

Cousins enjoying cake - they had such fun sitting beside each other and sometimes even sharing. When Helayna didn't want any more beans, she reached over and Meadow opened her mouth so she gave them to her! It was the cutest thing!

Omy and Grampa Moll gave Helayna this adorable black bear rug and she absolutely loved it!

This little puppy from Auntie Tamara barks when you play with him and howls if he's left unattended for too long!

A cute new bathing suit from Uncle Darrin and Auntie Kelsey!

Friday, October 26, 2007


We are here at Heather and Jonathan's, getting ready for the big Pumpkin Party tomorrow. We did lots of cooking and baking today while Grampa changed all the lightbulbs in the house, put up shelves and hung curtain rods. Things are looking pretty festive around here! In between the work, we did lots of playing and took just a few pictures. Oh, and someone got a haircut in time for her party. She looks like such a little girl now, not a baby at all. It's been fun hanging out. Time to get to bed because it's going to quite a day tomorrow :))

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

She's One!!

Here is a little review of the past year with our sweet adorable granddaughter, Helayna. I can't imagine what life would be like without her. How much joy and love come wrapped in such a little bundle!

It's going to be a pumpkin party for the cute little pumpkin!

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart! See you very soon!