Monday, June 27, 2011


(This is the last post about my recent trip to Europe. If interested, you may scroll down to the previous five posts to read more about the trip.)

We traveled from Cologne, Germany to Strasbourg, France by bus enjoying the countryside. The Gothic cathedral in the Strasbourg square was beautiful.

The pipe organ and stained glass windows were unbelievable.

They say Strasbourg is Germany & France all rolled into one fascinating city.

We took the train from Strasbourg to Paris. I had hoped to view some of the French countryside; but the train was traveling so fast it was impossible to see much.

Here we are in Paris with all of our luggage, but the bus that was to meet us was stuck in Paris' evening traffic. We ended up hiking to our reserved restaurant where the bus finally caught up with us after dinner.

Some Paris street scenes!

Every turn in the street is beautiful and enchanting.

Mr. Eiffel's masterpiece!

The Versailles Palace.

Notre Dame Cathedral

The famous Louvre Museum

Paris has so much more to offer than just the highlights above. It is just a magical city. We were only there three days at the end of a long and tiring trip. Since I had been to Paris before, I elected on the last day to ditch the formal tour with the rest and stay close to our hotel. It was such an enjoyable day spent walking and exploring the neighborhood. I watched the locals go about their everyday activities -- buying groceries, doing their laundry, getting caught in a down-pour of rain, etc. I missed so many great photo opportunities, however; as I had given my camera to my son to take on the regular tour.

A trip to Paris for me would be incomplete without a trip to Laduree to buy their famous macarons to bring home. I managed to get home with 23 of the 24 I had bought - just had to sample one!

Some closing thoughts---

Emotional Moment #1: As we landed at the Berlin airport, I thought about my great-grandparents who emigrated to the U.S. from Germany 130 years ago to help bring the sugar-beet industry to the U.S. They never went back to Germany; and Mike and I were the first in our line of descendants to step on German soil. As we traveled around this beautiful country, I wondered what it would be like to leave your 'motherland' and never return.

Emotional Moment #2: Dachau -- I was 7 years old when this concentration camp was liberated. I remember a lot about WWII - three uncles who went off to war (all returned, but one was never the same); my Dad was a farmer so had a deferment. I remember the rationing of sugar, gasoline, etc. and walking the two miles to town so gas could be used for farming. Also, remember taking my pennies to school to donate to the Red Cross and helping my Grandmother in the Victory garden; then the celebration in town when the war ended. BUT, our sacrifices were nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, compared to those who experienced a concentration camp.

Emotional Moment #3: Pinching myself to realize that I was back in Paris. As I made my way around Paris, my heart would skip a beat every time I caught a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower - it truly is magnificent.

Emotional Moment #4: This didn't happen until I arrived home and realized that my bible was not in my suitcase. You know the type of bible -- read from cover to cover with hand-written notes and underlined verses. I must have left it on the nightstand in my Paris hotel room. I can't believe I did that as I'm organized and a very good packer. Hopefully, someone found it, will cherish it, read it, and develop a relationship with God because of it. Maybe that was the whole purpose of my trip.

Monday, June 20, 2011


As I traveled across Germany, I became intrigued with the windows I saw -- not just the unbelievably beautiful ones in the churches and and the castles, but in those that were where the people lived.
The curtains were a big part of the charm.

I started taking pictures, but missed a lot of opportunities since we were frequently on the bus traveling through the small, quaint villages.

Here are a few that I did manage to capture.

And finally, inside looking out from my hotel room in Heidelberg.

If I was 40 years younger and a better photographer, I would hike all over Germany taking photos of not only the exquisite architectural windows; but the simple, charming ones as well!

(Most pictures may be enlarged by clicking on the image.)

Sunday, June 19, 2011


(If interested, scroll down to my previous posts for the start of my trip to Germany.)

We're headed to Heidelberg via the Romantic Road - beautiful countryside with rolling hills, farms and vineyards.

Heidelberg has Germany's oldest university dating back to 1386.

The 700-year-old castle overlooks Heidelberg.

The view of the Neckar Valley was spectacular from the castle.

For my Wiggins' viewers I'm including our group picture at the castle. The backdrop looks fake, but it is the real wall left standing at the ruins.

We left Heidelberg to cruise down (or is it up?) the Rhine River.

It was a short 3-hour cruise, but the scenery was beautiful.

Castles, churches, villages, and vineyards.

And finally, our last stop in Germany - Cologne.

The cathedral took more than 600 years to complete. But Cologne seems to be all about shopping these days. Just off of the cathedral square is over a mile of pedestrian shopping. Since Cologne has a professional football (soccer) team, I figured it was a good place to find a soccer shirt for my grandson. I took off to find the shirt, always keeping my eye on those twin spires of the church so that I didn't get lost.

Found the shirt; had a sweet pretzel; had a diet Coke that actually had ice and a slice of lemon; and managed not to get lost!

Next up is France, but before I continue the travelogue; I think my next post will be about Germany's charming windows and their lace curtains.

(Most pictures may be clicked on to enlarge and view the details.)