Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Auf Wiedersehen!

I started this blog shortly after Karl and I moved to Germany to start a 2 year adventure. I wanted it to be a way for our families to keep in touch with us across such a great distance and a way for me to share with you the wonders of Europe. And I think it served those purposes. And thank you all for reading it!

But I think it's time to retire this dear little blog of mine. As many of you know, we have recently made the decision to make our move to Germany permanent so this adventure is going to continue until...who knows when? And, as many of you also know, a few months ago I started up a new blog intended to record more aspects of my life including the goings on of my Etsy shop as well as my European life. So I've decided to devote myself entirely to my Baby Anne Quilts blog and say goodbye to this one.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for your interest in our lives. I loved sharing our adventures with you. But remember, I'm really not going anywhere!! Please add my Baby Anne Quilts blog to your bookmarks to keep up with our going-ons...I'd love to see you there!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Grüße aus...Versaille

Our second day in Paris, Susan and Andrew climbed up to the top of Notre Dame, while I took a train to the Paris suburb of Versaille to visit the 17th century estate of Versaille!


I didn't know much about Versaille before going there other than it was big and beautiful and the home of French royalty. I learned that it was very big, VERY beautiful, and the home of French royalty, aristocracy and anyone that had influence with the king.


The palace of Versaille was originally built as a hunting lodge for King Louis XIII with the Louvre in the heart of Paris as his primary residence. Then Louis XIV decided to make the "lodge" his primary residence to get away from Paris then enlarged the palace, inviting all French aristocracy to reside there as well. It was his way of keeping an eye on his court!




But there were other parts of the estate beside the palace. It seems that the king needed yet another "get-away" cottage from his "get-away" lodge and so Louis XIV built the Grand Trianon.

Versailles: The Grand Trianon

Versailles: The Grand Trianon

But Louis XV felt like he needed yet another retreat from his retreat so he built the Petit Trianon. This was eventually given to Marie-Antoinette as her personal residence. She created a beautiful English garden (it's natural beauty is very different from the pristine organization of the other French gardens in the estate) and also a rustic hamlet which is absolutely charming!

Versailles: The Petit Trianon

Versailles: The Petit Trianon

Versailles: The Queen's Hamlet

I loved everything about Versaille...every room was stunning, the Hall of Mirrors was as impressive as it was designed to be, the gardens were inspiring, and Marie Antoinette's estate (the Petit Trianon and the hamlet) were completely charming. But I could certainly see why the French Revolution occurred! Versialle was like this other-worldly pocket of wealth and beauty and charm. Those living at Versaille didn't leave it much. Which meant it must have been a kind of gilded prison for them, too. Which might have been the reason for building one retreat after another, each one smaller and relatively simpler than the last, culminating in Marie-Antoinette's country hamlet. The hamlet is very romantic view of the simple life showing that they must have had a very warped view of the realities of the common Frenchman.

But I wonder what they would think if they knew that today, us commoners can get a glimpse into their gilded lives and wander through their gardens and bedrooms for the mere price of a modest admission fee!

You'll want to see all my beautiful photos of Versailles found here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Parisian Museums

When my sister and her husband were here to visit, we spent a couple of days in Paris. The really nice thing about going to Paris with Susan is that she speaks French very well. This meant that I could leave her and Andrew to wander Paris on their own and I could get a few more of the Must-See items checked off my Paris list!

So, while Susan and Andrew went off to eat lots of French food and fall in love with the Eiffel Tower, I visited a couple of amazing museums and a gorgeous chapel!


Cluny Museum

The ancient Romans had three large bath houses in what is now Paris...the only one that has survived lies mostly ruined on the grounds of the Cluny. The Cluny was built at the end of the Middle Ages as a little castle in what was then the outskirts of Paris. It was eventually turned into a hotel and then a museum dedicated to medieval art and to show off the ancient Roman baths.

Cluny Museum

I loved all the wonderful tapestries (especially the absolutely stunning Unicorn series representing the five sense) and medieval stonework and the tiny vaulted chapel.

Cluny Museum



Sainte-Chapelle is a chapel, a very large chapel, built by King Saint-Louis IX between 1242-1248 to house a piece of the crown of thorns he purchased while on a crusade in Jerusalem. The chapel is known as having some of the most magnificent stained-glass windows in the world. And they lived up to their reputation! Absolutely magnificent!!




L'Orangerie Museum

L'Orangerie is a museum dedicated to early modern art. It isn't very big but it's collection of Picassos and Cezannes and other wonderful artists was choice! It's highlight is Monet's last masterwork: two galleries with panoramic Impressionistic waterlily paintings. The galleries create a wonderful sensation of stepping into the painting itself.

L'Orangerie Museum

L'Orangerie Museum

See a lot more photos of these Paris treasures here!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Day at the Races

A couple of weeks ago, Karl and I spent a day at the races!

He got some tickets from a guy at work and so, on 20 October, we went to the town of Iffezheim near Baden-Baden to the horse race track. It was so much fun!!!

There were races all about every 40 minutes. We figured out pretty fast how it all worked. After a race, the winners were walked through the crowd to the winners circle where they were cooled down and photos were taken and jockeys were interviewed. Then the crowd migrated to the lead ring (at least that's what it translates to from German) where the horses for the next race were walked so everyone could pick their favorites for the next race. Ten minutes before the race a bell rang and we all migrated back to the track.

We never made any bets, but we would pick our favorite for the race by picking our favorite horse name! Some of our favorites were Poseidon Adventure, Art Attack, Stay Another Day, Forces Sweetheart, World's Mission, Zinderella, and Action Impact.

Karl and I never figured out where our seats were. Mostly because we loved standing right on the track rail! Most of the races started on the other end of the track...but when the horses came speeding past us towards the finish line...what a rush!!

Iffezheim Horse Races

These horses were so powerful! They were so sleek and athletic looking and so excited to race! Before the race, when the jockeys rode them out onto the track toward the starting gates, you could see in their steps how excited they were to start the race. Sometimes one would start a mad dash to the starting gate and all the other horses got excited and started chasing after him. (It reminded Karl of a big excited dog!)

Iffezheim Horse Races

I've always had a thing for horses. I'm still smitten!

Iffezheim Horse Races

See all of our photos here!

Sunday, November 04, 2007


So...earlier this year I discovered a neat online marketplace called Etsy. What's so fascinating about Etsy is that only handmade items are allowed to be sold there. And there are some amazing shops on Etsy!

So...I had an idea. And after many emails, a phone interview, some paperwork, and some fees, I got a new visa in my passport allowing me to open a little online business.

So...for the past month or two I've been working hard on getting my shop set up with some beautiful items (which is the big reason I've been missing in action from this blog!).

And now...I'm pleased to introduce...

baby anne quilts!

promotional bookmarks

I'm having a little Grand Opening event in my shop on Thursday, November 8th: a virtual Open House! Come visit my shop anytime that day and check it out! Just click here! And send your friends to!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Harwood Inn and Touring Company

We have had a very busy month. And that's the only excuse I can give you for not writing for so long. It has just been busy around here. I'll let you know part of the reason we were so busy in this post, but my next post in the next few days will let you know the other exciting reason I've been so busy.

We had a lot of visitors here!

At the end of September, between Setember 22-29, some friends of ours came to visit. Karl got his graphic design degree with Nate. They got back in touch with each other recently, and he and his wife, Janell, came out from St. George, Utah to visit us! We had a lot of fun with them and did so much, including spending two days in Paris! Here are a few of the highlights:

Paris Opera Stage

A night at the Paris Opera House! We attended a performance of "Wuthering Heights" by the Paris Opera Ballet. And sat in the most uncomfortable chairs imaginable! The back of the chair only hit the small of my back. My toes couldn't touch the floor. My knees jabbed the lady in front of me, my back was being jabbed by the person behind me, and I was rubbing shoulders with Nate and Karl. Tip: When attending a performance at the Paris Opera, don't sit in the cheap seats! But the performance was gorgeous and amazing!!

Notre Dame, Paris

Hanging out at the top of Notre Dame! We actually got stuck up there for quite a while. Because the staircase going up the tower is so narrow, it's only one way: either people are being let up or down. They let some people up the top for a while, and then they let people down. We were up there for a quite a while as more and more people kept coming up until we ran out of room! We kept getting scrunched up tighter, while the French employee kept yelling "Andvance!! Andvance!!" Eventually we got let back down!

Burg Eltz

Karl took Nate and Janell to Burg Eltz one rainy day. They loved the castle. They hated all the rain.

Gengenbach, Germany

We wandered the cute little German town of Gengenbach.

And we did so much more! All of our photos (click here) show a lot more of our adventures!

Just a week after Nate and Janell left us, my sister, Susan, and her husband, Andrew, came to visit. They were here October 5-13 and we had a ton of fun with them, too, including spending another two days in Paris! Here are the highlights:

Heidelberg Castle
We explored the Heidelberg castle.

Paris, France
Susan and Andrew and I had lunch in the Luxembourg Gardens of Paris while gazing on the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Speyer, Germany
We explored the beautiful town of Speyer.

Burg Thurant, Germany
We visited Burg Eltz and then explored Burg Thurant.

Casino in Baden-Baden
We hung out in Baden-Baden.

I've got lots more photos of our fun times (click here).

It was so much fun, as always, to show off our amazing home to friends and family. Remember, we are always open for visitors!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Zwetschgenfest! (And other fun things!)

Our town became blue this month!

Bühl has a huge festival every September called the Zwetschgenfest or Zwetschgen Festival. What's a Zwetschgen? It's a plum. Or rather a type of plum. (Bühlers don't like you calling their Zwetschgen plums.) These plums...I mean Zwetschgen...were a major industry for Bühl for centuries.

Picking Plums with the Heinrich Family

We visited the festival on September 7th where there were tons of carnival rides, food tents, the 2007 Zwetschgen Queen, and, of course, a lot of Zwetschgen.


The following week we were invited to pick Zwetschgen with some friends. We plucked ripe plums then make a tart with them. We were a fun group of Americans, Germans, Czechs, and Norwegians. It was a lot of fun!

Picking Plums with the Heinrich Family

Our neighbors also showed us where there were some Zwetschgen in our little village that we could pick. I don't think I've hardly eaten two plums in my entire life, but this past month has been filled with them!

Karl's company had another Stammtisch for their foreign employees on September 20th. We visited a local farm where, among other things, they harvested Zwetschgen! We also saw them make huge vats of sauerkraut, visited their pigs and cattle, and walked through their beautiful fields of corn, beehives, and fruit trees. We ended the walk in their little store where we ate a yummy dinner of cheeses and cold meats.

LuK Stammtisch

Nearby Baden-Baden had their own festival, too. On September 8th we visited their Medieval Festival. It had nothing to do with plums or Zwetschgen, but it was still fun.

Medieval Festival

All of our photos can be seen here.