Thursday, January 27, 2011

My happy place

The kids were playing
all of a sudden I heard "It's snowing!"

I love the snow, at least I love watching it snow.
It is very calming to me.
Yeah, it's cold and a pain to drive in,
but I still love to watch it come down.

If I need to calm down, or go to my "happy place"
I remember a night when I was a teen at my parents.
Being outside, seeing my breathe, and listening.
Listening to nothing but the snow hit the ground.
Did you know you can hear the snow hit the ground?
I love that memory.

My other happy, calming place is diametrically opposite.
I imagine being on a beach with only the sounds
of the waves hitting the shore.
I love a warm, sunny beach.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sight seeing in Osnabruck, Germany

Consider this the modern day version of me getting out the projector and making you watch my slide show of my trip to Germany.
The Monday after we got to Germany, hubby had meetings at the factory and I was free to roam the city and sight see. I was a little apprehensive about heading out in a strange, unfamiliar city in a foreign country all by myself, but didn't want to pass up a wonderful opportunity. I first stopped for brunch at an adorable little crepe shop. It was small, quaint and the lady made the crepes right in front of you. Mine was a ham, onion and mushroom and mighty tasty. After using most of my German I had learned, I asked the waitress if she spoke English. A young girl seemed thrilled to be seeing what I assumed to be her first American. She whispered to her dad the whole time while looking at me and said good bye when they left. I was taken aback by the man with the two dogs in the restaurant, but they were well behaved and it seems to be a normal thing there. After eating I set out to see what I could see. I absolutely fell in love with the town and all of the shops and of course wanted to buy almost everything in all of them, but we had only brought so many Euros with us. I settled on a couple of Christmas items for me and some small things for others, but here is some of the things I saw that caught my eye.

An outfit in a wonderful little shop that I wanted to buy Kate, but it was way out of my price range. Everyone wears scarves over there, and the shops have them galore. There are so many cute little shops in the town.

The little boy with the hobby horse is kind of a symbol of the town. It has a really cool story that goes along with it. Each year, in October in fact all the school kids get out of school and ride their hobby horses around the town square, and the town council hands out pretzels to them all. It all revolves around the story, that is too long to get into here, but if you are actually interested in it, let me know, and I'll fill you in.

I was amazed to find Bob the Builder and took this picture for my son.

A couple of things that were outside of shops. They caught my eye and I thought they were cool. Who knew German pigs had wings and zebra stripes!

SOME of the beautiful things I wanted to buy for myself and others.

Posted by Picasa

I really wanted all of these for myself. Unfortunately, they were WAY to expensive.
The bottom of the two middle pictures of arched decorations was 617 Euros, which equals $864. The one in the picture above was only 429 Euros which equaled $601. Move along, move along, nothing to buy here.

Two paintings I really like in a shop. I took these pictures through the window. The shop was not open.

Like I said, the town is just beautiful, old and quaint. I fell in love and can't wait to go back.

This row of houses is famous in town. Not the one on the right, but the seven to the left of it. You can buy a plethora of stuff with a silhouette or pictures of these on it.

They have beautiful churches there. They are all so old and so full of history. I thought the gargoyles on them were awesome.

All in all, I felt very safe and had a wonderful time wandering the streets. It was very relaxing to just wander and window shop. While waiting to be picked up by the bus to meet up with the husbands for a party at the factory I just sat and enjoyed people watching. So many people walk or ride their bikes, and the cars are all so small. It really felt like another world.........or maybe just another country.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Schelenburg Castle, Germany

Have you ever wanted to be a princess in a castle? Growing up I always did, and I got pretty close while we were in Germany.
The company took us ( in the double decker bus) over to the town of Bissendorf to Schelenburg castle. It was built in the 11 th century. Can you believe that?! The amount of history you see in Germany is just incredible.
Anyway, we went there for dinner one evening, and I was just blown away.

It was getting pretty dark when we got there, so the pictures I took did not turn out well, but hey, it's pictures of an 11th century castle!

We walked around to the back, over a moat by drawbridge, ( I know, totally cool huh?) and through a courtyard to the entrance.

The yellow part of the castle to the right of the picture is where we walked over the moat and into the courtyard.

The buffet, and our dinner table. It was a great experience to be able to come and have dinner. The food was great as usual, although there are some things that were strange to us Americans. You can't get ice, or tap water, all water comes in bottles and unless you specifically ask, it is carbonated. They also served a LOT of potatoes where ever we went, and for dessert every place we ate at had vanilla ice cream with warm cherries to put on top. Again, I wish we had taken more pictures, but look at a couple of things. First the tapestry hanging on the back wall of the buffet room, and in the dining room, look how thick the windows are. 11th century insulation at it's best.
I just drank up the atmosphere, it is something I don't think I will ever forget.

Our hotel, Osnabruck, Germany

Our hotel in Osnabruck, the first city we stayed in. Old, rustic, beautiful.... everything you might imagine from a German hotel.
This is the street front side of it. The lower portion is actually a restaurant, we ate there with the company one night. Of course the food was incredible! They served us a pumpkin soup that was out of this world, and I don't like that kind of thing. Notice what looks like a narrow alley to the right of the hotel. That is the street you drove down to get to the front/lobby of the hotel.

Sign on the hotel saying it was built in 1690 and I really don't know what else.

Also part of the hotel.

This is the narrow street we entered and left the hotel from. I am amazed at how narrow some of the streets were. When the bus came to pick us up for excursions, we had to walk quite a way to it because it could not fit down the streets. By the way, it was a double decker bus. I have always wanted to ride on the top level of one of those. It was so cool!

Our beautiful room, I loved the decor. It was so comfy and homey, these apples were left for us when we checked in.
OK, call me crazy, but I had to take a picture of the toilet. It flushes by pressing the rectangle thingy on the wall. All of the toilets work that way in Germany.

The lion that stood outside our room. You can also see the courtyard and small restaurant behind it. The hotel had the big restaurant by the street, then this small one by the courtyard, and it was mighty tasty. I had a sandwich, and I don't know if I was just thrilled out of my gourd or what, but the food just seemed to taste so much better there in Germany.

A shot from the courtyard. Wish I had taken more pictures because of course it was beautiful.

I am even enthralled by the windows there. You can crack them open at the top, or turn the handle the other way, and open it completely.
The window of our room, plus you can see more of the courtyard.
Our window cracked from the outside.

Silly me, while waiting to go eat dinner at the castle I told hubby " back up, now to your right". Ha ha, I'm so funny.