Saturday, October 31, 2009

More Leaf Play

Wanted to post a couple more pics of the girls playing in the leaves...

The gang in front of the fountain in Aachen square

Hannah enjoying the leaves!

The effects of Cailyn throwing leaves - she pretty much dumped them on her head!
(pic taken by a friend of mine - I just thought it was awesome, so I had to post it!)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Aachen, Germany

This week we're staying with some extremely dear friends in Brühl, Germany. We're in Germany again because of some meetings we had to go back for. Since our friends live so close, us and another couple that we love decided to stay for a few days. The first day we really were able to venture out and see things we went to the city of Aachen. This city was once a very prominent city of major importance in the area, where the Medieval German Kings were crowned, and Charlemagne chose to build one of his largest Cathedrals and lived the last 20 years of his life. It's right on the border of Germany and Belgium, so in WWII, it was the first German city taken by the Allied forces. As we stood in the square of the city, the main City Hall and other buildings clearly showing damage done by the war. One fascinating thing about Germany I've found is that all the buildings that were damaged in the War were either rebuilt completely following destruction, or they were patched up with obviously new bricks interlaced in the old structure. It was a great day though...we were able to eat Pizza Hut for lunch, which was awesome, but then spent some time just walking the streets, enjoying the sights and even went into the Cathedral. Overall, it was a VERY good day. Here's some pics of the adventure!

Hannah and Cailyn with our friends' kids enjoying the fall leaves in the city square. They spent a long while playing in the leaves, and we attracted quite a crowd!

Hannah throwing a pile of leaves

Cailyn, Hannah and two of our friends kids peeking through the wall outside the Aachen City Hall, built in the 11th century

Aachen Cathedral built by Charlemagne in A.D. 805

Part of the mosaic ceiling inside the Cathedral

The front of the Cathedral with an insane array of stained-glass. The golden box in the foreground is said to contain the remains of Charlemagne.

A candelabra in the Cathedral

Street performers outside the Cathedral. This man is playing a Contra Bass Balalaika - a Russian 3-stringed cousin to the ukulele.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

High Cross at Sunset

Tonight we had a great time at some friends' house enjoying a great meal, and just hanging out. The day today was just an absolutely gorgeous day, so after dinner, we decided to go for a walk on the beach, just a short walk from their house. Along the way, the sun was setting, and we came across this high cross...making for a great shot. Unfortunately, (of course) our good camera was at home...but my new phone did a good job! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Great Day for a Horse Fair

The other day, I went to a horse fair. Yes, that's right, a horse fair! This particular horse fair is very famous, and very historical. It's held annually in a town called Ballinasloe, which in Irish translates to mean 'The town of the mouth of the meetings' for the two rivers that meet there, and this fair. Though the fair was more known for cattle centuries ago, it became a horse-centered event. In fact, the horse that Napoleon rode on into the Battle of Waterloo was purchased for him at this fair. Every year, farmers from all over Europe bring horses to trade or sell. Going to the fair, I really had no idea what to expect...other than what was told to me - "A lot of horses, and a lot of people." Well, what I saw made me think of the Battle for Minas Tirith in the Return of the King! In a field no bigger than a couple of football fields, it was just FULL of horses. I spent most of the day there, and really enjoyed myself. From seeing classic looking Irish Man dressed in his wool jacket and smoking his pipe, to seeing a trade for a horse agreed upon by the slap of hands, made me feel like I'd stepped back in time.

The number of horses was unbelievable

Strolling through the crowd, scoping out the right horse

All sorts of breeds were represented from Clydesdales to miniatures

Of course, walking through a fair like this, you have to be cautious! Horses all over were rearing up and kicking each other. But it makes for great shots if you're quick!

This was a great scene - the man was eating some chips (or fries to most of you) and this horse was just drooling! You can almost imagine a conversation between them...

Many people were selling accessories for all sorts of horse-related stuff from saddles, to bits and leads, to this classic parts for making a wagon

Gambling is very common here too; but not actually allowed. I snuck this shot of a shell game

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Germany Part 4 we've come to the end of our week. After Nuremberg, we'd spent a couple of days doing some other things like visiting Flossenberg Concentration Camp, and going to a really cool place where they've built toboggan runs on the side of a mountain. Fun would be an understatement if you asked Hannah! Her and Seth went on the toboggan together and were clocked at 46 kph or about 30 mph, and she was yelling, "Faster, Daddy, faster!" the entire time! It's really fun! So we enjoyed the rest of the week, and really had a great time...on pic from the toboggan run for you...

But the last day on our way to the town we flew out of, we decided to take a huge side-trip and see the Eagle's Nest. I'd always seen pictures of it, and just thought it was one of the neatest places ever built. Since we were so close, we just had to go. The Eagle's Nest was a building the Nazi Party built for Hitler as a 50th birthday present. It was finished in 1939 at the cost of about $200 million. The road to the Eagle's Nest was part of the fun in's a 4 mile long, 13 foot wide road that climbs over 4,000 feet. And of course, the last 250 feet are taken by an elevator built into the mountain. That elevator used to be gold-plated! During WWII, the Eagle's Nest was captured by the 101st Airborne after they had taken the nearby town of Berchtesgaden.

Overall, it was spectacular to say the least. Built on the top of a mountain that sort of juts out into a valley, the view is amazing. The strangest thing was, that big octagonal room that is seen as a place the Hitler visited with his head's of staff and other dignitary, is now a restaurant. That's right...we had coffee and ice cream where Hitler once entertained guests. We thought that to be surreal. Anyway, thanks for looking at our journey of Germany. Here's some pics of our time at the Eagle's Nest.

View from the bottom of the mountain looking up to the Eagle's Nest

Great looking gals!!

Location, location, location

Looking from behind the Eagle's Nest north towards Austria and Germany

THOROUGHLY enjoying the ice cream!!

Once a gathering room, now a cafe

View to the south of a lake nestled in the mountains