Remembering the Fallen on Memorial Day

This year, for Memorial Day, we decided to head out to the Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial in St. Avold, France. A total of 10, 487 brave military members call this their final resting home. It's the largest WWII cemetery in Europe. According to the brochure found in the visitor's office, "Free use as a burial ground was granted by the French Government without charge or taxation." There are several American cemeteries in Europe, and it's on my bucket list to visit them all. You can read more about American Battle Monuments by clicking HERE. We have visited the Luxeumbourg American Cemetery before, but this one has always been on my list. Since we went to Luxembourg last Veteran's day, and had been there twice, I saved St. Avold for our last Memorial Day in Europe. The Memorial Day ceremony was held on May 25, 2014 (the day before our visit) and all the memorial wreaths were still in place. I had to hold back some tears when I saw the War Orphans wreath honoring their … [Read more...]

Cows, Kids and Horses Pt. 2

Back in 2012, I wrote a blog post about the walks that we go on around here, and they really have not ended. When the weather cooperates, we love to walk around in our neighborhood. It is the number one thing I will miss about my village. I can literally walk about 1 minute and be in forest, walk on paths, and see a lot of serious nature. Cows, people on horses, snails and bugs galore. Yesterday, we went on a walk, and A snagged his bike because he felt like taking his trail bike for a spin and I grabbed the camera at the last minute. Last Wednesday I went on a walk without my phone or camera and it was like I had this nervous twitch, at first, because it was gorgeous, but it was really nice to enjoy the walk, and not be encumbered by equipment. This time, I traveled as light as I could to get some pictures of the magical cows I try to capture every year. First, these are some serious free range cows enjoying the German countryside. There are the cows and the calfs and they looks … [Read more...]

Berlin! Berlin!

After living in Germany for nearly four years, I FINALLY made it to BERLIN! I always knew that when I heard of Germany in the past, it was BERLIN that was the number one place that always came to mind, so it was amazing to finally make it. So, why haven't I been to Berlin before now? Well, quite simply, it's far from where I live! It's not easy and short enough for a day trip, and requires a lot more effort than a lot of other places that are nearby (France, Belgium, Luxembourg, etc). Also, the train takes JUST as long as the car. So, there's no real time savings there. So, I waited until the year we were leaving to go to a place I always wanted to go, and now I know I HAVE to go back one more time to see the things that I missed. Long story short, we drove up there (6 hours) and stayed in a super central location and I narrowed down what we needed to see to maximize the time before we arrived. While in Berlin, this trip, we saw.... (Click on the image to see it larger, if you … [Read more...]

Dachau Concentration Camp

This is the blog post that I have been dreading for weeks. But the one that needed to be written. I had over 100 pictures that I had to edit, but struggled to start, and even finish. This is the moment that I can say I have actually "felt" evil creep over my skin like a cold, wet blanket. In my thirty-some years on this earth, I have never encountered something so moving, profound, and chilling as the Dachau Concentration Camp. I could use this entire blog space to tell you about Dachau, but there are tons of resources to learn more. Here's the official site. I took a TON of pictures in sequential order and uploaded them to my galleries, so you could have a tour from your own home. I hope you take some time to go through all the pictures (large and high res), and read the signs. It goes from beginning to end. Here's a link to the gallery. But before you take off to the gallery, and look at the pictures, I want to share a few pictures, and thoughts about the experience, and what it … [Read more...]

Christmas Time…Germany Style

There are a lot of things the Europeans get right... A few of these are... Public Transport. Recycling efforts. Liberal thoughts. Cleanliness. Art. Engines. But the #1 thing Europe has going from the end of Nov, to the beginning of Jan, are the Christmas markets. I'm telling you right now...if you don't have a Christmas market on your bucket list, you'd better put it there. There isn't anything like them in the States, ANYWHERE. Germans have really nailed down the xmas market, perfected it, and rolled it into a neat little bow. We went to the Speyer Christmas market today and it was perfection. Like many Christmas markets, it's right in front of the Dom (which literally oooooozes Christmas) and the background was 100% picturesque Germany. Nearly the entire time we were there I kept breaking it down to J and C: "OMGGGGGGGGG, you guys are SOOOOOO lucky. They don't have these back in the states. Stop melting down. Enjoy. Because, when we go back to the states, you won't … [Read more...]