Friday, March 30, 2012

While the Cat's Away...

While we were away in Europe, Nana and the boy had quite a bit of fun. Nana sent us photos here and there so we could see what they were up to. Here are some highlights of their time together:

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Playing in his room.

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Doing puzzles.

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At the arboretum.

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With Nana, waving.

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Playing with the oven mitts and, well, a drum...

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Stacking legos - he really mastered this skill while we were away.

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Helping Nana cook...

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...and eat!

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Cooking another recipe here.

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Silly boy.

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More eating!

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Reading books!

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Llama Llama MAD at Nana

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Talking to Mommy and Daddy on FaceTime

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Bath time! This, just after washing his hair himself.
He was so proud, huh?

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Sidewalk chalk

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At the park!

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They also attended a FABULOUS Easter egg hunt. But, there are so many photos from there that I will post them on another day. We are so thankful Nana came to visit and take care of the boy. We didn't have to worry that he was being taken care of very well and having a good time too. We SOOOO appreciate her doing that for us. And, we are so glad she and the boy got to spend some time together. Such fun!

I hope your Friday is a good one. Amen to the weekend, as usual, but this time also for a couple of days to recover from jet lag without work! We hope to get some bluebonnet photos and do some Easter crafts. Also, a bookshelf arrived (finally) while we were gone that is going to be used to better organize LM's toys in the den. I hope we can get that assembled and get reorganized in there. That should do it! That's enough. Then, on Monday, I'm going to go in late to work to take LM to another Easter Egg Hunt with the early childhood PTA in our neighborhood. That should be fun too! Whatever your plans are, I hope they work out well for you. 

See you soon.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hamburg

The final post from the quick trip to Europe is here. After this, back to regularly scheduled programming. Ha. Here are the photos:

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Laeiszhalle, Hamburg

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Laeiszhalle interior

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A canal near our hotel.

Hamburg Sofitel from canal side
The back of the hotel, a Sofitel

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S's view. 

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The St. Nicholas memorial

This church was once the tallest building in Europe in the late 19th century for a period of two to three years. It's the ruins of a Lutheran church, damaged during raids on the city by Allied forces in World War II. Hamburg was bombed like crazy throughout the war, as it was a strategic port and manufacturing city for the German forces. But, for three days in 1943, it was bombed pretty much into oblivion. 42,000 people died, some of them who were in bomb shelters, because the bombing was so thick it created a fire tornado that sucked all the oxygen out of the city, including those underground spaces. There are virtually no "old" buildings left in Hamburg, because these were all destroyed during the war. This ruin stands as a memorial to those who died. There are other memorials throughout the city. Google it or check Wikipedia for more information. Here are some more photos:

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This church was rebuilt, but in a different location, closer to where people were living after the war instead of in the city center.

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These were growing outside the memorial. S took a photo.

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I took the camera back, though.

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You can actually go up in the tower and down into the crypt. 
We didn't do either part, as we were just wandering by.

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This was our rental car.

In order to get the visit in Hannover on the schedule, it was best for us to drive the last portion of the advance. We drove from Munich to Frankfurt, then from Frankfurt to Hannover and then to Hamburg, when we returned the car. The car we had was a BMW 5 series wagon. It did just fine on the Autobahn, where I let S drive - we hit around 130 MPH. The Porches were still passing us. It was amazing the features this car had - we have old cars - the new ones have quite a few nice developments. Ha.

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There are a series of interior "lakes" or bays on the way to the larger navigable water port, along a river to the North Sea, which is still a center of commerce.

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The second day we were there, it was overcast but not rainy.

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Interior of a huge mall near the lake.

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Hamburg city hall.

This building is also very historic - one of the older buildings in town, reconstructed in the late 19th century. It is where the German forces surrendered Hamburg to the British in 1945. 

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That's about all we got in while we were there. Then we headed out for home, and are glad to be back in the US of A. It was a long, fast trip, but fruitful. 

See you soon.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Frankfurt and Hannover

So we spent a day in Frankfurt - well, part of a day, anyway, and then the next morning drove through Hannover on our way to Hamburg. The thing is, we didn't really see much in Hannover except the hall - and I forgot to take an exterior shot of the hall!  Oh well - here are a few photos:

Frankfurt Alte Oper exterior

This would be the Frankfurt Hall - the Alte Oper (the old opera house). Here I was to meet someone at 3, who forgot because he had to go out of town unexpectedly, and his replacement plan didn't want to show me around. They just said NEIN! and hung up on me. So, they will be sending me some info via email.

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It was a gorgeous Saturday when we were there, and the whole city was out enjoying it. We didn't really see much that was terribly noteworthy - just pretty old buildings, lots of people, and good weather.

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The Frankfurt Dom

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Obligatory candle shot

Interestingly, the candles were outside the church - you could ask for prayers without having to actually go IN. Ha.

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The area around the Main river has been beautifully made for pedestrian traffic.

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OK Here's a funny...

The hotel we checked into was nice, but really old and sort of run down. So, I was looking forward to checking out the other hotels in town because I wanted to stay somewhere else with the group.  I googled "Steingenberger Hotel" before we headed out walking. I found several, but took the first one that came up. It happened to be on the OTHER side of town from the hall. We walked all the way over there to find this - a run down, dilapidated old hotel that is totally closed for renovation. I called our tour operator. I said, um, this isn't going to work. Turns out, there is another Steigenberger hotel - very famous in the city, old, but updated nicely, charming and 5 star. And closer to the hall, too! So, whew. Not this one. 

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On the way to Hannover

Our meeting in Hannover the next day was at 11am. It was a three and a half hour drive, even on the Autobahn, so we set out early...and got to see the sun rise. This was out the car window - not bad, eh?

Hannover Centrum truck pad
Then we saw the hall.
But I didn't take a front shot, so here's the truck pad. Ha.

I did find this site with some photos of the exterior. There is one more day to chronicle, which I hope to get up tomorrow - Hamburg. We are now home, safe and sound, and got some good hugs from the boy. 

See you soon.