Friday, November 5, 2010

Dame Liberty von Stürmer

Dame Liberty von Stürmer

They say when you move to Germany you come back with a BMW, a baby and a cuckoo clock. All we need now is the cuckoo clock and we'll be home! Our new "baby's" name is Dame Liberty von Stürmer. She was born on August 17, 2010. We drove over seven hours nearly to the Denmark border to collect her on October 17. She is a Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund (Greater Swiss Mountain Dog) and we are all head over heels in love with her. Frau Christina, her breeder was most helpful in sending us pictures and taking such good care of her until she could join our family. If you go to the website, she is from the D Wurf (litter) and one of only two females out of nine puppies!

Mutter: Anni vom Warnowtal................................... and her litter of 9                                            Our sweet Liberty 

We began our search for a puppy a few months ago.  After determining that we wanted a Swissy, we started looking for puppies.  When we found our breeder Frau Christina Konig had puppies that could leave the litter in one month.  The month seemed last forever.  We drove from Heidelberg to Stadum which is just minutes from the Denmark border, in the Jutlands.  It was such and interesting part of Germany.  There was a lot of agriculture and small towns, reminded us of home.  Since it was such a long drive, we drove up late Friday night and stayed in a  nice gasthaus in Leck, just a few minutes away.  We met Liberty and Christina on Saturday morning, and enjoyed a warm cup of coffee. 

Then spent the afternoon sightseeing in Sønderborg, Denmark on the Baltic Sea.
Ang and a Danish Flag           ----           Tess at the Sea         ---         Erik in Sonderborg        

Just thought this tattoo shop was funny  --- This is the building next to our hotel.  There were a lot of these types of roofs in the area.

Finally, Sunday morning came!

Christina demonstrated what a great cart puller Liberty's mother, Anni is on this homemade cart that her husband built for the Swissies to pull.  She was really fast and strong!

Back to Heidelberg with our puppy!




Monday, May 31, 2010

Our First Visitors

    We were feeling a little nervous leading up to the arrival of Isaac and Alison, as the crazy volcano was spewing again.  Luckily they landed safely only an hour delayed.  The delay was due to a landing gear issue that had to be tended to, before they took off from Chicago.  They were with us in Heidelberg within an hour of their scheduled arrival!
   As we have mentioned, our apartment is a little small.  Fortunately, we have a lot of storage space, including a small room on the 4th floor of our building, affectionately referred to as "the maids quarters."  We actually have an especially small "maids quarters" compared to the others.  We have made due and were able to squeeze a double bed in, with a dresser and table.  It is much more cheery with the fresh blue paint and breezy window sheers.  Here are a few pics for all of our future visitors!  There is a shower and toilet room down the hall.

     They arrived mid-day with a little bit of jet-lag but in great spirits.  They were able to nap on the plane, so their internal clocks were not too messed up.  After an afternoon nap, they were good to go for the evening.  We enjoyed showing them how to use the strassebahn (street car) and took them to the Hauptstrasse for dinner, and a stroll.

    The next day they were able to do some venturing around Heidelberg on their own, while I transported the kids to activities and started our packing for the big trip! 

(It will be posted very soon 1-3 days)

When we returned from the cruise, they spent a day recovering and planning the next part of their adventure.  with some pursuading from Alison they scheduled a trip to Munich!  She really wanted to visit and learn about a concentration camp while here.  Dauchau was one of the first, and has been made into a museum/memorial of sorts.  All German school children are required to visit.  It is just north of Munich, and they were able to get a "tourist" train pass for 3 days for a very reasonable price. 

The next morning they were off!  First to the English Gardens, to find the hotel (which was nearby) and then to a bike tour.  Bike tour Palace, museums, rubbed the lions noses, Marienplatz and everything in between.

They enjoyed dinner at the Hofbrauhaus and bier by the litre, fun, difficulty finding a seat but boisterous and loud! Finally, they plopped down next to others.  The next morning was the tour to Dachau and then the train ride home.

The next morning they had plans of using their train ticket to the Baden-Baden Spas, but Alison was pretty tired and they decided to sleep intstead.  So when everyone was up and going, we went to the Schutzenhaus, though we were hoping to sit in the garden, the ground was too wet and we settled for sitting outside, but in the porch-like area.  We introduced Isaac and Alison to schnitzel, and the German spaetzel and salads and of course it was all washed down with a Pils.  As their diets are usually made up of chicken fingers, french fries, ranch and ketchup, and unlimited soda, it is questionable as to if they enjoyed their meals...needless to say we certainly did!

After lunch, we visited the Schwetzingen Palace, where we had a mix of rain and sunshine.  We strolled through the extensive gardens and random bits of wildlife.  Their were many birds, including geese, a mean swan that followed us around and gave us warning signs (Is there really any question as to why I hate birds?)  We enjoyed watching a mama duck with her 4 little ducklings.  We also came across this neat guy catching his dinner.
We came across this interesting critter in a small lake, when we first saw him swimming we thought he was a beaver, but after watching him for a bit we decided he is a muskrat or otter of some kind.  When he got out of the water his tail was long and rat-like.
We kept seeing these huge fish in the water, that Isaac determined to be grass carp.  They were black and pretty gross looking.  We were really fascinated in watching them come to the surface, look how big their mouths were when opened!

As we left the gardens it began to downpour!  Right after we all loaded into the jeep the sun started to peak out.  As we headed toward home, we spotted first a single rainbow, and then a double!

As we got back into Heidelberg, Erik decided to take us up the big hill behind our house to see the German, WWI cemetary.  There is a memorial that was really neat, with spectacular views of the area.  It is very park-like, with lovely old trees.  A really nice place for a walk.

With one more day left on their train ticket, they decided to take the train to the airport.  Erik took them to the train station this morning and they are on their way back now.  We wish them safe travels!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cheers to a life well lived!

Today, would have been Grandpa (Paul) Rosenberger's 85th birthday.  Though he passed away in November, there are still days that I see things or hear something interesting, and forget for a second and think of picking up the phone to tell him.  His genuine interest and humble amazement in learning new concepts and bits of information was something that I have always counted on.  I miss being able to rely on his eager audience (whether in person or on the phone) to share my adventures and tales.  No matter where in the world my story started, he could make a connection.  It was like 7 degrees to Paul Rosenberger.  In fact I catch myself doing it with random people that I encounter, maybe it wasn't so crazy after all...or I inherited that same quirky gene?  
Cheers to a life well lived!

Who is that man, always a smile on his face
Taking his time, it's never a race

You may see him hunting or with a rod in his hand
Or out in his field, harvesting the land

The shop light could glow to the wee hours of morning
He'd take off with a buddy, no sign, no warning

He took pride in his garden, nothing he couldn't grow
He was out every morning, nine kids in tow

The way his eyes smile and brighten your day
He's sure to leave an impression, some how, some way

Calloused were his hands, his heart soft and true
Handshakes were often, his word was his glue

He always had the answer, nothing he couldn't mend
to some he was a hero, a partner, a friend

His family was his life, he was proud of us all
Never to be forgotten, we love you Grandpa
                                                                                                   by:  Krissy Maddock

Easter in Scotland

Since, before our big move to Europe we have been hoping to spend time with my step-sister, Rachel and her husband Ian, in Scotland.  After several months we finally built up our courage, gave Ryanair a try and flew to Edinburgh for Easter!  The was our most enjoyable trip yet!  Of course they are absolutely the most gracious hosts imaginable (and there was no bribe for me to say so) and the weather seemed to want us to have a lovely time as well.  It was so interesting as our plane landed we were seeing fields with dustings of snow, the wind seemed to be whipping and chilly.  Okay, so you are thinking...Really?  "The weather wanted you to have a lovely time" but it was almost miraculous, when we woke our first morning in Scotland, to sunshine and calmer winds. 

It was wonderful to spend a week with Rachel, Ian,and of course Ernest. Their home, Abbey House, is in the small village of Coldingham, Scotland. Just barely north of the English border and near the Sea. We loved spending time in their beautiful home that they have lovingly re-done, it has so much character and interesting details. It was quite the contrast from our government issue apartment. The gardens were ideal for the bunny visit on Easter morning. While Rachel and Ian were so kind to entertain us, their fluffy rag-muffin Ernest was kept on the run from the affections of Tess.

We even found some time to dye the eggs.  We hadn't really thought about needing get white eggs, so we dyed the brown eggs that we had.  They came out

The day of our arrival, Ian and Erik went to the butcher and returned from the Butcher they had tales of the the Harbor Hut being destroyed from the St. Abbs Harbor having high winds and flooding!
Ian arranged for a charter to take us out on the Sea, it was a bit too choppy on the first full day there and the harbor was a bit of a mess. 

We toured the Bamburgh Castle instead.  The castle sits on a cliff overlooking a beach with dunes and the sea.  Helping Graham fire the cannon to the left is Flat Stanley.  Graham's friend James sent him for and adventure from Augusta, Georgia.

Though it was pretty windy, it was nice to be on the beach and have the sun shine down on our faces.  It seems like it has been a long dark winter in Germany, so the bright sun was a welcome change.   After the castle visit we enjoyed lunch at a tea house.  Where we saw this fabulous telephone boothe outside.  I noticed Ian ordered "Tea with biscuits" and when they came they were these delicious looking biscuits filled with cream.  Next time, I am just going to copy what he orders!

The next day the seas were settled and we were able to venture out in the boat.  When we arrived at the harbor, they had started to clean things up and there was a rumor that the new Harbor Hut was on it's way.  Our Captain, Paul, met us in the harbor and lead the way to the pier. 

To our surprise (we hadn't been thinking about the tide, which was out) there was a 20 foot ladder climb down to the boat!  The thought of sending Tess down was a little hairy, but she did really great and we all got down and back up with no problem at all!  Captain Paul charted us in the Lazy G, even gave the kids some time at the helm.  There were breathtaking views everywhere, castle ruins, cliffs with sheep grazing out to the very edge, seals sunbathing and swimming, and sea-side villages.  The sun was shining and the temperature was quite comfortable. 

We spent a day in Edinburgh, where we did a tour of the royal yatch Britannia.  Unfortunately we only had Graham's camera with us and can't seem to find the cord to upload his pictures! 

We went to the top of the Sir Walter Scott Memorial.  Erik almost did not fit up the small stairways near the top.  While we did not visit the Edinburgh Castle there was a great view from the monument! 

Of course we rode on top of a double-decker bus too!

Visited the National Gallery Museum, the small price to pay for excellent behavior for the full two hours in the museum was a trip to the Golden Arches for lunch.  We used the audio guides and were able to see so many really neat pieces!There was a quick walk down part of the Royal Mile

We really loved Edinburgh, and certainly plan to return to take in everything we weren't able to see!
Easter morning we attended a service just a short walk from Abbey House at the Coldingham Priory, everyone was very welcoming and friendly.  Before church, the children enjoyed an Easter Bunny (or Oester Hase as Tess says) hunt in the gardens.  Auntie Rachel gave the children beautiful Easter baskets for collecting their goodies and eggs.  After church we returned for a delicious meal prepared by Ian. 
After the big hunt, there was loot to be sorted. 
Many, many thanks to Rachel and Ian for having us.  It was a truly wonderful and memorable Easter and visit.  We look forward to showing you around Heidelberg soon!