Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkins





Just wanted to share pics of our Halloween pumpkins.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Daylight Savings Time in Europe

We fell back last Sat/early Sunday morning. So, for the next couple of weeks we'll be 6 hours ahead of Louisiana (Central Standard Time) until the US falls back.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Samel Guillot and St Avold, France

Cory's great-uncle, Samuel Guillot, died during WWII. He is buried at the Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France. We live less than an hour from there. When we got there we lucked out b/c a staff member, Mr Walters, a retired soldier, was able to focus on us entirely. He gave us a folder with brochures and papers with information to contact a couple of different agencies if we wanted to find out more information regarding Cory's uncle and his death. Mr Walters gave us a little background about the American cemeteries in Europe. >General John "Black Jack" Pershing pushed for a memorial to be set up and was the first chairman of the American Battle Monument Commission. The ABMC is an agency of the executive branch of the US government and was established on 4 March, 1923. Currently, the "ABMC administers, operates, and maintains 24 permanent American military burial grounds and 22 separate memorials, monuments and markers on foreign soil, and 3 memorials in the US. Presently, 124,921 US war dead are interred in these cemeteries." Please visit their website: American Battle Monuments Commission

Mr Walters picked up a bucket and escorted us out the visitor's building. First, we went to the chapel: The tall building is the chapel.







Mr Walters talked a little bit about the unit that Cory's uncle was in. He then showed us the machine that plays the music (bells). He turned it on and started some hymns playing and we walked out of the chapel to find the headstone. I recognized "How Great Thou Art" as we were walking. When we found the headstone Mr Walters took a bottle out of his bucket. It was sand. He rubbed the sand over Cory's uncle's name. The names are etched into the headstones and the headstones are white, so in a picture, the names don't show up well. The sand gets into the etching and makes the name darker. Then he told us that the sand comes from Omaha Beach in France (beach that the army landed on during D-Day). He then took our picture with the headstone. This video is actually after the "sanding" as you can tell by the sand in the name. But I wanted to be able to share the bells in the background, so I headed back to the headstone. (I hope the video posts!) This was my husband's great-uncle, and I, of course, didn't know him nor know his children/grandchildren, but I found the whole experience to be very moving. I got a little sniffly. He died and left behind a wife and 3 children, the youngest was only 4 months old. His wife always hoped, b/c of the original classification of MIA, that he would one day make it home. Just makes me sad.

video




Afterwards, we walked around the cemetery:





After we left the cemetery we went into St Avold to grab some lunch. We finally found a place and it was a real French restaurant. Of course it had to be with the name of Restaurnt Chez Erica. :) I had Bouche a la Reine (the one w/ the rice) and the pastry the gravy and meat and mushrooms was poured onto was a.ma.zing. Delicious! The funny thing about our experience at the restaurant is now we realize how much German we are learning b/c it was so hard to switch from saying "danke" (thank you in German) to "merci" (thank you in French). David is taking French this semester so we relied on him a little bit. How funny is that? LOL Here are some pics of our lunch and the restaurant:







Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Running news and Dollar v Euro

Okay, so I don't have much. I feel like a broken record these days when it comes to running. I'm still only managing 2 days/wk (usually 45-60 minutes) and a 3rd day of walking. I'm not known for my commitment (except to my husband and kids, of course!), but I thought that when I had gotten so motivated and dedicated to my running that I wouldn't have much trouble getting back into it after the move. It's so much harder than I ever thought. And I've always hated running in the cold. Guess what? It gets cold in Germany....and windy. LOL So, I decided to buy some cold weather running gear, so I'll be comfortable...buying a treadmill is a last resort as I hate to run inside. I've bought gloves, a headband to cover my ears, I have under armour (that I took from Cory) and I bought these pants:



My next purchase is a good jacket. We do have a pretty good store here on-post w/ outdoor gear. The guy who helped me w/ the pants told me to check back soon as they were getting new stuff. Love new inventory!



Remember growing up there were these good/bad jokes? A man fell out of an airplane. Bad! But he fell on a haystack. Good. (remember these are for kids, we all know the guy would die LOL) But there was a pitchfork in the haystack. Bad! Well, when we got here the dollar was worth 62 cents per 1 Euro. Really Bad. We went to a German McDonald's. Good! B/c how great is getting schnitzel at Mickey D's? We got 4 Happy Meals which totalled 14Euro, but it actually cost us approx $21. Baaad! Anyway, the dollar is up against the euro (approx 72cents/E). Good! COLA is down. Bad! COLA

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Burg Eltz




Saturday morning we headed out for Burg Eltz. I wanted to go there b/c it was only 45 min-1 hour away according to a website I frequent. Um, no. We encountered a stau ("autobahn traffic jam") and an umleitung (detour) in a small town and the drive ended up taking us 3 hours. The drive was actually about an hour and 40 minutes.

Anyway, the fog was really bad from our house and I was worried that we wouldn't be able to enjoy the scenery. But the fog lifted about 30 min before we got to the castle and the day was gorgeous! The drive along the Mosel River was very scenic. The castle is right outside a small German town (Munstermaifeld). It's a beautiful walk down to the castle in the valley. And what is remarkable is that the castle is still owned by the same family(ies) (Kampenich, Rodendorf, and Rubenach families) that lived in the castle in the 12th c, 33 generations ago. It is a very luxurious castle compared to other castles this old...every room in the Kampenich section could be heated where as most castles only had one room that could be heated. All the windows have glass. We did take the guided tour, but we were not allowed to take pics. Visit the official Burg Eltz website (Burg Eltz)and select the "Castle Tours" tab and click on the links to see some of the rooms:

Stations of the Cross along the walk down to the castle from the parking lot



Entrance



In the Courtyard




During tour



We had a bite to eat at the cafe on the castle grounds.

I had wurst (sausage) and German potato salad.




Cory had goulash




Pictures along the walk to castle:






We headed home and had no traffic problems. ;)