Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Remembering 2008

I put together a little slide show of pictures taken throughout the year. (I'm corny like that.)
I literally went through 3,348 pictures taken over the last year and picked out 40. It was really cool to see all of those pictures again and to remember what all we've done in 2008. We had so many changes this year, I look forward to what's in store for us in 2009. Hope you enjoy the show!

Word of the day:

lustig: funny
pronounced loostig

Der Witz =(vitz) ist nicht lustig
The joke is not funny

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More Photos

If you'd like to view the full 200 photos, I've added all of our pictures from Paris onto Jon's flickr account.
You can view them here

Today I'm off to the commissary, have about ten loads of laundry to do and it's house cleaning day! Hope you're day is as exciting as mine ;)

Also in attempt to learn a little German while I am here for three years I have been following up with the German word of the day on the internet. I think I'll post the word of the day, everyday on my blog. Being such a hands-on learner maybe this will help me learn the word if I actually type it. And maybe you guys can learn a little German too. Although for me it's pretty stickin tough!

Today's word:

gehen: meaning "to go"
(sounds like geyen)

Er geht gerne in die Stadt
He likes going into town.

Enjoy the pics!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Spontaneity... "Oui, Oui"

Our 24 Hour Adventure to Paris, France

Jon and I were lying around Friday afternoon watching television and out of nowhere I spouted out, "Let's go to Paris tomorrow." Jon being the easy going husband that he is, said, "Heck ya let's do it." So we got on the internet, found a hotel right by the Louvre that was a great price, and booked it.

Jon's family on his mother's side is French. Actually Barrett is French as well, but his grandmother on his mom's side is from France and still speaks it fluently. Jon has been wanting to travel to France since we moved here, and I thought what's a better Christmas present for us both, than to be in Paris this time of year.

Bright and early Saturday morning we headed for the city of lights. After about a 5 hour drive and 5 toll booths/(40€) later we arrived in Paris at 2:00 p.m. We found our hotel, unloaded and skipped all the way to the Louvre. (Which was literally two blocks from our hotel!) I didn't realize the Louvre was as big as it was and just stared in awe at the enormity of it! I was taken aback by how beautiful it was. Of course I pulled out the trusty SLR and went to town.

After about ten minutes at the Louvre, Jon had to stop me, as I was getting a little out of control with the picture taking, and we made our trek to the Eiffel tower.

It was a long walk but was completely worth it when we arrived. I've seen the tower in movies and in pictures throughout all of these years, but to actually see it face to face was awesome. It's ginormous! Jon really wanted to take the stairs all of the way to the top but as we walked to the line, we realized it snaked through the entire undercarriage of the tower. We couldn't believe how many people were waiting in line to climb to the top. Me being a little nervous Nancy was actually questioning the stability of the tower with all of those thousands of people inside of it. I mean it was built in 1889! But I guess these type of structures were built to last.

The park was beautiful

We knew we'd be there for hours just waiting, so we continued on our way after taking about 73 pictures of just the Eiffel tower. I have this problem where I strive get the perfect picture and my poor husband just waits patiently, like a saint, while I try ever so hard to accomplish this task.

As the sun was going down, it made a beautiful sunset along the landscape! It was so wonderful to be there at that exact moment so we could see Paris in all of it's beauty. Not to mention it was very Romantic!

We walked by the river and enjoyed the sights as we made our way to the Notre Dame Cathedral. Crowds of people surrounded the cathedral, a Christmas tree still stood in front of the building and seeing the cathedral at night was, well....... there are no words.

After seeing the cathedral we walked through the area and found a French restaurant for dinner. At this point we were completely frozen from our 5 mile walk, so food and heat sounded miraculous! We ordered a bottle of Bordeaux and sipped while we waited for our food.

Jon and I absolutely love red wine. French, Italian, even German, but French wine is one of our most favorites. What a treat to be drinking French wine in France. Dinner was great. Jon had a steak with pepper sauce and I had a beef stew. Let's just say there was nothing left on our plates when we were done.

While we were exploring the area, we came across a piano bar which we couldn't pass up. We found a seat right next to the piano and ordered another glass of wine. The pianist was wonderful and the woman singing did a great job as well. They played several American songs. Some Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, etc. My love for blues stems from childhood so I was literally enjoying every minute. The pianist actually mimicked Louis Armstrong; it was uncanny.

As we walked back to the hotel, I caught a couple of pictures of the Louvre at night.

We couldn't have had a better evening. After the long day we had, Jon and I made our way back to the hotel around 11:00. I was out before I hit the pillow!


Sunday morning we staggered out of bed slowly; it must have been all of the wine. We ate a quick breakfast and made it to the Louvre by 9:00 a.m. when it opened. To our surprise there weren't many people and we didn't have to wait at all to buy a ticket. We knew there was no way we would make it through the entire Louvre in one day, so we got a map from the info booth and circled the most important pieces we wanted to see.

We saw the Medieval Louvre, 16th-19th c. Italian sculptures, Greek/Etruscan/Roman antiquities, French and Italian paintings, French sculptures, etc.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace

Veiled Woman

Psyche and Cupid

Ahprodite, Venus of Milo

Jon amazed by the paintings.

My first couple of attempts of this Mona Lisa came out like this. Capturing a good picture is next to impossible, mainly because of the crowd, feeling rushed to move out of the way for others, etc.

So I pulled out my big girl lens and took a close up.
Not the best picture but I was still happy to capture it.

Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun

Leonardo Da Vinci, The Virgin of the Rocks

The Wedding Feast at Cana

The ceilings were gorgeous.

Around 12:00 p.m. the museum was PACKED! There were so many people it was a bit overwhelming and it seemed to lose it's appeal. The crowds of people and the tours going on, made it difficult to view most of the art. People bumped into us and jammed their way through just so they could get pictures. At that point Jon and I thought, for our own sanity we would leave, but plan to go back to the Louvre very soon. There is still so much to see, I don't think we even made it through half of the museum.

We walked through the Tuileries Garden, sat by the fountain soaking up the sun, and watched passersby. About 2:00p.m. we walked back to our hotel and said goodbye to Paris!

We bought a Garmin when we moved to Germany, and it is by far the best way to travel. Our first couple of trips Jon and I just printed out directions from Google Maps. They are great directions, but the Garmin can locate gas stations and if you get lost helps you find your way back.

We didn't want to pay the 40€ in tolls on the way back so we found another route that took us through the country side of France! Awesome sights and beautiful landscape, but it took us over 7 hours to return home.

While we were driving through Luxemborg, we noticed it was about time to get gas. We arrived at one of the first gas stations the Garmin found for us. It was a credit card only electronic gas station. For some reason it wouldn't take our card, as we were on E, we attempted to find the next gas station the Garmin suggested. Again, the electronic gas pump would not take our cc. and the next and so on and so on...... About four gas stations later, the Garmin came across a Shell gas station! Well surely they would take our card, I mean there are Shells all over the US. We followed the directions only to find that it was no longer a Shell, it was a card dealership! THANKS GARMIN!!!! The only choice we had was to find the next gas station on the Garmin and hope the sweet Lord would help us! And sure enough he did! Thank you Lord! Jon and I prayed all the way to that gas station and the Lord answered! This gas station was actually open, we bought gas and used our cc inside and it worked perfectly fine? Who knows what the deal is with those electronic pumps, but they don't work very well.

We finally made it back on the road and made it home safely at 9:30 p.m.
What an adventure for sure!!! I am so glad we were able to take this mini trip! It was the best time, even though it was such a short trip, we had a blast.
I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend!

I took almost 400 pictures and really wanted to post them all but I figured this post is already lengthy enough! I usually upload all of my pictures onto flickr, but now it says I have gone above my "free amount" and wants me to pay for my account???? Is there any other website I can load my pictures onto so others can view them. I would love the feedback! Thanks