Sunday, September 26, 2010

Adorable Autumn

The season is definitely here in our little German countryside.

Saturday we, along with the Jefferson's, ventured out to yet another fest...the Farm Festival in Hitscherhof. The fest season is upon us here in Germany and is one of the main reasons why I love living here and so eagerly invested in finding ways to come back. There is nothing better than sipping on something warm, walking the streets of a village or downtown strasse, and enjoying the simpler things in, blumen (aka flowers), street vendors, and landscapes. Most of the fests here have carnival rides and the occasional dart game all backed by a live band and makeshift biergartens throughout. Those are superb in their own right...however, this fest was different. It was a farm fest...their focus was on handmade items, home-cooked foods & wines, and good old country homage. There was a cornfield labyrinth (JD was M.I.A. in that thing for about 30 minutes), a hay pit (Saige became the hay throwing diva), and pumpkins galore (Teagie was all over those, literally...he would not stop climbing on them). It was a welcome change to the fests we had already been to here. The only downfall, the pumpkin soup felt like it was manufactured instead of being made with love (as we know all soups can only succeed if they are made with love) and the fact that we were racially profiled in the park platz area. LOL. Seriously, why is it I cannot park in the closer parking lot that has 50 empty spots? Why do I have to drive another kilometer uphill and park in no man's land? Hmmmm....just sayin'!!

Anyway, the fest was a good time and I'm super glad the kids enjoyed themselves (even if it was a "mommy fest" as they called it). Check out the fabulous photo ops I stumbled upon:

Thanks for looking...and Happy Autumn!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Summer Re-Cap

All I can say is buckle up and prepare to scroll!!

The photo sorting/editing has come to a close. And NOW I can finally fill everyone in on the whirlwind of a summer we that it's damn near Autumn. :o)

As you all know, Popo was here for a month this summer and we visited several places...but nobody cares about anything except Paris, and Amsterdam, right?....just sayin'!

Our trip to Paris was exciting, the weather was absolutely perfect, and everybody had a great vibe going! We started off by checking into a flat in the city of Val d' Europe. It is located right next to where EuroDisney sits. It is a beautiful little town laced with fabulous restaurants, a walkstrasse, and one of the biggest shopping centers I have ever seen. We dove right in the first night and walked into the city center to have dinner at the L'Agape Cafe. All I could think about was ordering something light in order to save room for some authentic creme brulee. It was exactly what you could imagine, melt in your mouth, custardy, sugared, goodness. We then strolled by the metro station to pick up day passes for our Paris excursion the following day. The passes were a great deal...18 euro for any mode of transportation in Paris (tram, bus, metro) with discount tickets to some of the larger attractions included. So we got up early, had breakfast, and hopped on the train. My mom was so cute...taking pictures of every stop we made along the include the occasional graffiti landscape.

Our first stop was the Eiffel Tower...we figured, lets' get the big one out of the way. Off the train, we walked around the street corner and there she was...

It was breathtaking...and beyond HUGE! Of course we all took the touristy pose in front of it and moved in closer.

So, Mr. Gustave Eiffel was a scientist that built this tower in with the hopes to observe meteorological and astronomical happenings (along with other scientific experiments) for a period of 20 years...with the notion he would destroy it after such time. However, the success of his findings solidified it's permanent status as a landmark instead. He even built an office and small apartment at the top where he lived and worked for quite some time. Did I mention it was gargantuan? The base alone is roughly 2.5 acres.

History lesson aside, the main floor (or observer's deck) on the second level is painstakingly high. High enough for all of us, except George! He insisted we pay the extra 5 euro and shimmy our way up another 160 meters to a whopping 986 feet!!! When you are in an open winded structure with only a fence holding you from falling out, 986 feet is a scary place to be. But the view was as gorgeous as anything I had ever seen.

Once we oohed and awed for most of the morning, we hopped back on the train and headed to the Arc de Triomphe. I had seen this Arc in many movies so it was neat to see it in person.

The fascinating part about it was the massive "roundabout" that circled the Arc. We had been warned early NOT to drive into Paris. It is congested as you can imagine...but I soon realized they were simply avoiding it due to THIS roundabout. Several people have told me that they got stuck in this circle for 10 minutes, 20 minutes...even up to an hour of circling the doughnut that no one can escape. Number one, there are no is a free for all up in there. Second, it is inundated with buses, which are of course big and scary. Third, not too many cars use the center of the this huge roundabout! So there is everyone trying to keep to the edge, with a bus creeping on you and no damn LANES!! Never mind the fact that everyone is pointing and laughing in between staring at this beautiful Arc, since it is in the middle of all this chaos. Don't worry, they're just saying, "Glad we didn't drive here like that idiot!"

Next up was Notre Dame. After walking about 8 miles...ok maybe it was like 2 km, we caught a glimpse of the cathedral's backside from the bridge. SO COOL!

I immediately thought of the animated Disney movie and wanted to see Quasimoto stat! Since that wasn't an option I opted for Charlemagne...

I was in awe of the statues that lined the church and the details were unimaginable.

The kids even found time to get in a little play and kiddies make Paris look GOOD!

The final stop in our Paris City excursion was the Louvre...

The resting place for Mona Lisa, which was almost impossible to get a good picture of because of the lights/flashes and the distance you have to stand away. But there she is, with the other most beautiful lady in the room.

The other area we wanted to visit was the Roman mythology room. It was full of statues of Greek Gods and Goddesses.

Since the Louvre was the last on our list, we got there about an hour and a half before closing. So we didn't see it all, but the aura was exactly what I needed. Outside in the center square, everyone was relaxing and eating and just enjoying the surroundings. There were fountains and small pools that everyone had their feet in. I thought it pretty much summed up the vibe....

Good times...

The following day, we headed to everyone's favorite place...Disney!! We had already ventured there this Spring, but hadn't visited the Disney Studios portion of the park yet. So, we plowed through with a stop off to Disneyland to show Popo the differences between FL's park and here. I tell ya, this place never gets old...

The night ended with a late dinner at Planet Hollywood where the big kids were totally digging on all the movie memorabilia. Teage couldn't hang...he was tired go nite nite!

Our last day we decided to spend a little more time in our home away from home spot...Val d' Europe. I already mentioned the mall...but did I tell you about the aquarium under the mall? Sea Life is hidden in the basement of the mall and has all the makings of a big time Aquarium. The boys loved it and even George got down with the sting ray petting pool.

Afterward, we ventured outside to the outlet village area. It was a like a mini Worth Ave. D&G, Jimmy Choo, Givenchy, Pepe...etc. It was super chic and clarified to me why so many people love shopping in Paris. However, I wonder if the shoppers were fully prepared on having the Isla's there that day. While George, Saige, and I were in one of the stores, we peeked outside the window only to see Popo people watching and the boys holding these....

...which we got for them in the aquarium. But, what we didn't foresee was when they decided to use these grabby shark teeth to torture the lady sitting on the bench next to them. Teage had that thing almost up the lady's nose...she eventually got up, laughed, and walked away. Never a dull moment!

Paris was so exciting and relaxing. I definitely recommend it as a getaway spot. Most of what we saw was just indescribable...and will forever be ingrained in my mind. Am I a lucky girl, or what??!!

P.S. Europe never disappoints in the souvenir department...

Thanks for up, Amsterdam, WOOT!

Love ya,