Monthly Archives: July 2018

Playing Games!

I remember playing board games when I was a kid.  I am not sure who I played them with—my sisters were 4 and 6 years older than me.  My level of game would have been boring for them.  I am guessing that we played them together once in a while, but I think I played them most with my cousins.  I had two families of cousins who I saw a lot as a kid.  We played a lot together.  The three cousins I played the most with were Glenn (who 0 flipcardswas my age), Patti (a year younger than me), and Peggy (2 years younger).  Those three cousins lived next door to each other until I was around 10 years old.  When I visited one, I got them all!  I loved going to either of their homes and having cousins to play with.

Flipcards was the game of the day if I was with Glenn.  He had hundreds of baseball cards.  They didn’t sit alone in a box, they were played with.  I wonder how many Mickie Mantel and Jackie Robinson cards we destroyed playing with them.  Because the rest of us girls didn’t collect these cards, Glenn would lend us some of his.  I just remember we flipped the card in the air and how they landed said who got to keep the cards.  Well, in the end, Glenn got to keep them—they were his after all.

cootieDo you remember Cootie?  Roll the dice and put a big giant bug together.  I also found that game a bit boring.  Roll the dice, add a body part—ho hum.  I much preferred Chutes & Ladders with its character game pieces, and the hopes to land on a ladder and not a sliding board. It resembled real life—sure wanted to climb the ladder quickly and hopefully, sliding backward would not happen as often or as far as the ascension on the ladder.  Sorry was a game I remember playing with my mom and sisters.  It was an easy game to learn, was basicallyIMG_1436 the luck of the cards with a small amount of strategy.  0 monopoly

Every New Years Eve, we went to my grandparents’ house with all my cousins who were at least school age.  We played Monopoly late into the night—probably until 11:00 or midnight.  We went outside and banged pots and pans together to bring in the new year.  We watched old movies on TV until we could no longer keep our eyes open, which was later the older we were.  I don’t remember when that CareersNew Years ritual changed, but my teen years I was not there on New Years Eve. 

My favorite game was Go To The Head Of The Class.  It was the Trivial Pursuit of the 50s and 60s.  There were questions for kids and for adults, so all ages could play.  As much as I didn’t like school, I loved playing this game of knowledge–go figure!

Playing Careers at my cousin’s house was super fun.  We could become an astronaut or a teacher.  It reminded me of a modified Monopoly board, and it had money, and I think the object was to collect the most money, fame, and fortune.  I really don’t remember, but I do remember that we kept track of our scores on small “magic slates”, if you remember those at all (a waxy back board, with a film sheet.  Move the wooden stylus on it and the film sheet would stick to the waxy back board to see what was witten.  Pull the film sheet apart from the waxy back board, and the sheet was clean again.

0 lifeAs I got older, we discovered The Game Of Life.  What a silly game.  We had a car and moved it spaces according to a spinner, like the noisy spinners on a TV game show.  We went to school, we got a job, got married, and even added kids to this car.  What was the object?  Did we win when we lived our life through and died?  No, but I have no idea what made us a winner—I think getting to the end first—yep, you were a winner if you ended life first.  Huh, really?  Maybe it was the one with the most money and kids.  I really don’t remember.

scrabbleFinally, the grown up version of all games entered my life—Scrabble.  It required me to put on my thinking cap and learn to spell.  It was a game my youngest son and I played a lot before he moved away to Los Angeles.  We didn’t totally follow the rules.  We allowed each other to look up words in the Scrabble Dictionary for a word that would work with our tiles.  If we used a new uncommon word, we had to say what that word meant.  I figured it was a good way to increase and improve our vocabularies while having fun playing the game.  My oldest granddaughter went to Scrabble club in elementary school–she actually went by accident, loved it, and got very involved.  She became quite a challenger, and we enjoyed many Scrabble games together.

I have learned that either you are a game player, or you hate playing board games.  I am on the side of loving to playing games.  It fits the competitive side in me.  My daughter-in-law is also a competitive game player.  We have fun playing games, but you can see she and I rising to the challenge of competition with the rest of our less competitive game playing family.  We get our competitive hats on to try to win while still having fun with everyone.  My husband doesn’t like playing games because he doesn’t like the feeling of competition.  I am okay with that.  I have watched my grandchildren work hard to learn the concept of a game, and start applying strategy.

Cardinal-Double-12-Color-Dot-Dominoes-in-Collectors-Tin-Styles-May-VaryThe first time I taught Jack, my grandson, to play Mexican Train Dominoes, I thought we would have to hold back a bit since he was only six.  He caught on quickly how to organize his tiles and use them strategically.  He beat our socks off that day.  He is almost 17 years old now, and I know his strategic brain will get him far in life.

qarkleThe latest game we have played is Qwirkle.  It is kind of a combination of Scrabble and Dominoes, but uses colors and shapes.  Any age can play, but once one learns there is a real strategy to the game, they can blow you away at any age.

I still love playing games with kids and adults.  We laugh a lot while we play.  We moan and groan at our losing moves, and get haughty on our sneaky moves, and we celebrate whoever wins the game.  It has brought me together with my cousins, my sisters, my kids, and my grandkids.  I think playing games helps children learn sportsmanship by learning how to win and lose graciously.  It teaches them strategic thinking.  It connects them with others, especially in this time of electronics.  It definitely connects me with my children and grandchildren.

These are just some of the games I have enjoyed over the years.  There are many more that keep popping into my head.  Don’t need to bring them up.  I just want to jog your memory or your life playing games.  What were some of your favorite games?  Do you still play them?  With whom do you play them?

chutes & ladders

Ouch! It Hurts When I Walk!

0 meI am approaching my 70th birthday at the end of this year.  I don’t know how that happened.  I am just doing life day by day, and then BOOM!  I’m almost 70!  I am grateful to say that I am a relatively healthy individual.  I have been blessed with good health.  I have had my share of medical issues—an appendectomy at age 6, a tonsillectomy at age 7.  I had four healthy babies, and a year after having my last one, I had an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, that very well could have taken my life.  Over the years, I have had a few issues, like a bone spur on my shoulder, or other issues what I would call minor issues (nothing that would be a chronic illness).  I have great blood pressure.  I take only one prescription medication, and that is for my dry eyes.  The only real issue I have had in my life is being able to maintain my weight.  I have discovered after receiving help from a doctor that in order for me to lose weight and maintain my weight, I must move—for me it is walking.  I learned to love walking and hiking.

0 ouchThis past seven months, though, has become an issue in the fact that walking of any length had become very painful.  Two years ago,I had a little bit of pain when working out, so I was told before I continue, to have it checked so I don’t injure myself any further.  I was diagnosed with mild arthritis in my left hip.  I was told if it bothered me, just take an Aleve, and keep moving—moving is good for it.  Last fall I noticed I was slightly limping when I was walking along with some mild pain.  My husband was at the orthopedic office for a bone he broke in his foot and I mentioned my limp, and the doctor told me to make an appointment with one of the doctors in this large practice.

0 mountainIn December I saw the doctor and told him about my hip pain and limp.  I told him that we just purchased a home in Arizona that is at the foot of a mountain with eight hiking trails.  It was a major draw to the neighborhood we chose to build our home.  I want to be able to hike on that mountain along with walking all over the neighborhood streets.  I told the doctor I was concerned about my hip and the possibility of it getting worse.

“Dr. Fandango (names in “  ” are changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent) had my hip x-rayed.  He said the arthritis was very mild, and could not understand why it was hurting so much, but if I got a cortisone shot, it may help relieve the pain.  So, I received shot #1.  He told me that some people benefit greatly from these shots, some not at all, and everything in between.  The effect the shot for me was minimal.  By April the 0 fingerpain in my hip increased but this time it was on the outer side of my hip, so “Dr. Fandango” had me get an MRI.  He said I had bursitis in that hip, and proceeded to give me a cortisone shot on the outer side of my hip.  There was a bit of relief.  One of the odd (to me) symptoms I had was—okay, how do I describe it—do you remember when you cut your finger?  It throbs?  You never notice your finger attached to your hand until it hurts, and then you notice your finger all the time?  That is how my leg felt, I noticed discomfort in my leg all the time.

My husband and I continued our three mile walks in the neighborhood.  I was a bit stiff, 0 sore kneebut walking was doable, until one day in early May.  I could not walk more that 100 feet and stabbing pains were radiating in my left knee.  It was so bad, I could barely walk.  Now, I’m a bit panicky because in a little over a week, we are leaving for a three week trip to Europe.  I called the doctor first thing Monday morning, and he just had a cancellation the next day, so I got right in.  He took an x-ray and didn’t really see any problem in the bone structure of my knee.  He didn’t know what could be cause such excruciating pain.  He asked me to get an MRI on my knee the next morning.  The results were a bit confusing for him.  He didn’t see much damage.  He said he saw a small amount of roughness on the back of my knee cap that could be irritating my knee, but none of it was bad enough, like my hip, to need surgical intervention (thank goodness), and the only thing he could offer me just a few days before my trip to Europe was another cortisone shot in my knee and a knee brace to stabilize my knee as I walked the uneven surfaces of Europe.

0 stepsArriving at our Airbnb in London, we discovered we had 4 1/2 flights of stairs to get to our room.  When going up the steps, I led with my right leg, and going down, I led with my left leg.  That put very little pressure on my left knee as I hardly had to bend it doing stairs this way, even though it was a slow trip up and down the steps.  I went out in the morning and did not return to those steps until evening, thus having to ascend and descend the steps only one time.  For the next three days, walking was very difficult.  As we were on some tours, I had to find a place to sit out while I told Dennis to continue walking.  On the fourth day, all of a sudden I could walk again.  There was slight soreness, but I could walk distances.  I was so happy, because we were going on to Germany for over a week, and I wanted to be able to explore.  I was able to do that.

We flew home at the beginning of June, and was home only five days before we loaded up our car and took a road trip to Arizona, to be there for the final inspection and closing of our new home.  We would be there for two weeks.  A few days before we left to drive back to Missouri, I told my husband that i needed to get a massage.  I just felt like my muscles, especially in my leg, just needed some relaxation.  

0 pointI found a place and made an appointment.  I actually made an appointment for a 90 minute massage.  The young massage therapist was quite familiar with hip pain.  She broke her hip at age 14 doing point ballet!  Yikes!  As she massaged my left leg, of which took most of the time of the appointment, she commented on how my quadriceps were really knotted up.  At the end of the massage, I had better movement, but I also knew this was not a one time thing, and there was more to be done.  Then we got in our car the next day for a full two day drive home, and things went back to the old normal.

When I got back to Missouri, I researched online for a massage therapist whose expertise was pain management.  I actually found one who had certifications in this area.  I made an appointment — almost three weeks out.  In the meantime, Dennis wanted me to call my family practice doctor, so I went in to see my favorite of all my doctors, “Dr. Lily.”  I asked if she received the information from the orthopedic doctor, of which she said it was all in her notes.  So we reviewed what all he did.  Then I told her about the massage therapist, and also that the massage therapist asked me if “Dr. Fandango” sent me to physical therapy, of which I said no.  I think it was because I was leaving for Europe, but he didn’t even mention it as a possibility for after I returned.  “Dr. Lily” smiled, and said that is why I am seeing her.  She ordered physical therapy for me.  I asked if I should cancel the massage therapist, and she told me not to, that I should do both.  The one thing I absolutely love about “Dr. Lily” is that she will keep investigating to find me an answer, and she is open to whatever may work.  Her ego does not get in the way of good treatment.

pectineus-human-anatomy-leg-muscles-gracilis-adductor-longus-magI have been to the physical therapist three times so far, and finally got my first massage appointment.  I love the fact that the “Eva” the massage therapist, explained every muscle she touched that sent me to the roof, and explained how they were connected to my body, why I felt them trigger pain in a different place, and what the purpose of that muscle was.  She pointed out the main muscles that were just too tight and needed relief: the Adductor, especially Aadductor Longus.  This muscle runs from the bottom of the pelvis to the upper, rear surface of the thigh bone. Contracting these muscles brings the thigh toward the midline of the body (adduction).  Then the Pectineus – the uppermost of the inner thigh muscles. It is located just below the crease of the groin. Finally, the Gracilis – is like a long thin strap that runs from the underside of the pelvis at its upper end to the inside of the knee at its lower end.  All these muscles manage the movement of the leg, and connection to the hip.

When I was finished, I felt like I had rubber legs, but I also noticed I had better movement.  Between the physical therapy and the massage therapy, I am confident that I will be walking and hiking again.  I will be able to drop the few pounds I have gained and maintain once I can move about freely without pain.

I am an optimist, and I am expecting great results.  If not, “Dr. Lily” and I will figure out the next step to take.

There are so many things I have learned over these months with this issue:

  • It is amazing how one body part can affect the whole body.
  • Doctors do not have all the answers.
  • Why do specialists not think outside their “specialty box”?
  • I am grateful for generalists who think in all areas (family practice general practitioners).
  • I am learning patience.  I want this fixed now, but like all good things, it takes work and dedication.
  • I cannot stop moving if I want to stabilize my weight.

There is a chapter in 1 Corinthians in the Bible that talks about the parts of the body.  It is written about our physical body, and relating to the spiritual body of believers (or the church).  It is so true what this ancient biblical writer understood about our physical body, and our spiritual body.  Every part, visible or not visible, is important to the good functioning of the body (physical or spiritual).

“There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ.  We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts.  Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body.  And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell?  God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be.  If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body?  As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.  The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”  In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without.  The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor. The private parts aren’t shown. But they are treated with special care.  The parts that can be shown don’t need special care. But God has put together all the parts of the body. And he has given more honor to the parts that didn’t have any.  In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy.  You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.”  ~ 1 Corinthians 12:12-27

Yes, I like that part, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.”  So true.  My leg hurts, but it sure has affected everything in my body and what I can do with my body.  Just these few days of therapy and massage has made a difference in my walk.  It’s nowhere near fixed, but I see really good progress already.  Apparently, I am “serious” when I am pain.  Last night at dinner Dennis commented that I was back to my goofy self!  Sign of good health in Andrea:  She gets goofy again!

I am turning 70 in a few months.  I want to be the person, when out walking and hiking, that everyone says, “Wow, is she really 70?  Look how active she is.”  That’s my goal, and I’m sticking to it.  Like many things I plan, it may not come out exactly as I plan it to be, but I also know that God will have it come out exactly as it should be.70-never-looked-so-good-Cake-Topper-70th-Birthday-Party-Decorations-Many-Color-Glitter-Cake-Accessory

Moving Forward/Standing Still

We are already a week into July, and I feel like summer has just begun.  We returned from Europe, and were home for five days, before we packed up and left for Arizona for a bit over two weeks.  My summer is just beginning, and it is already half way over.  We downsized our Missouri home as much as we can at this time.  We have to leave some of the things in our home until we finally sell our home.  Once our home sells, we can do round 2 of downsizing.

IMG_4444We live in a beautiful home on a beautiful piece of property.  I know it will sell, and I am praying that just the right buyer come forward and makes an offer.  The problem is that I like my timing, but it is not always God’s timing.  I have had to learn that lesson over and over in my life, and I’m still not good at that.  I don’t have to have instant gratification, but I do like things to move in my favor quickly.  That has never been the story of my life.  When I look back, I can always see the why of delays and rejections, after my desired outcome occurs.  One example is job hunting.  I always seeking my “dream” job, and for some reason it never came to fruition, and then looking back, the new job I received fit what I needed more.  Having that significant other in my life took a long time, but when it happened, it was right.  I cannot make things happen.  If I try to force things to happen, it never has a good outcome.  I have to learn to be patient and wait on the right timing.

IMG_4887We downsized our home a few months ago, because we knew if we sold it then, it would take forever to move out!  We had two adults coming together with our years of stuff, and it all fit well in an almost 4,000 sq. ft. home.  We cleared out books, and I mean thousands of books, and donated them.  Don’t get me wrong, we still have books.  We held on to just a few—the few that have real meaning for each of us.  We removed the rest.  Have you tried to sell books?  They don’t go for a lot of money, and they are heavy to ship, even if there is a special book rate.  The number of books we had would have taken forever to dispose of.  There are many places that will take donations of books, DVD’s, and records, because these organizations hold used book sales.  These are nonprofit organizations, and therefore, one can receive a tax deduction for the book donation.  We found the organization, rented a trailer because we had so many books, and delivered them.  In some areas, such as St. Louis, the organization is set up to pick up books at your home.  We were okay with the fact that we had to deliver the books ourselves.

cleaningWe went through every closet of the house.  I realized the only things that I wanted to try to sell on eBay, were things that were easy to box, and had a great value for its size.  There is a lot of work to trying to sell items online because there is the posting and waiting for the sale, the packaging and shipping.  It’s all a lot of work.  Research has to be done on what the value may be, and all of this takes time. That is good if we have all the time in the world, but when you have 4,000 sq. ft. to clear out, that could take years.  Our best option was to find a great nonprofit organization that would be happy to receive our stuff, big and small.  We took detailed inventory of what we donated, and found its value in several ways online, in order to come up with a value that we could use for tax deduction on our upcoming 2018 tax returns.  I kept spreadsheets where each item is listed, with the value of each item, name and address of the nonprofit, and what means I used to find the value.  I wanted it as detailed as possible so that there would be no issue with our tax returns if we were questioned (this such a nicer term than audit)!

So, now our home is cleared out.  If I could just remember what I donated!  Yesterday I was looking for an item I was sure I did not donate, but to no avail.  It is nowhere in this house.  Hmm, I guess I could go over to the thrift store and rebuy it!  No, I don’t need it for salethat badly.  We also had a big sale of extra furniture and other items.  My husband sold a lot of tools and tool boxes.  Then shortly after that he needed to fix something, and discovered that he had the electrical tape in one of the toolboxes he sold, so off to the store he went to replace what we gave away!

It is hard to have one’s house on the market.  It must be clean at all times.  Not that my house isn’t usually clean, but I cannot leave things out if I’m leaving the house, just in case we get a call that someone wants to view the home.  In some ways it is hard to relax because one can never let down their guard of any housework or yard work that needs to be done.  Let me express that I have gone house hunting and have viewed several homes that drastically needed cleaning.  I could not figure out why one would put their house on the market and not clean it.  To me it says that if they never cleaned their home, they also probably never maintained their home, and that would be a red flag for me.  I don’t want to inherit someone’s home problems, and in the same way, I don’t want to sell my home problems.  If it needs a repair, do it!  

happy family clipart Elegant Happy Family Clip ArtI really want the right family to live in our home next.  We have loved this home.  When I met Dennis several years ago, he was already living here.  When we got engaged, I told him that this home was too big for just the two of us.  It is a home that is made to welcome people, and if just two of us were going to live here, we needed to be willing to open our home to friends and family to enjoy.  Otherwise, I felt like it would be just a big house and two people.  I want to be a good steward of all our resources, and if we are to live in this large of a home, we must be willing to share it with others.  (No squatters please)!  In the last five years we have hosted our children, other family members, and friends for various get-togethers.  When we move to our 1,600 sq. ft. home in Arizona, we will have a different lifestyle.  It will be simplified, and we will love having visitors, but we will also go explore, take time for ourselves, and relax.IMG_3324

I am itchy to continue my downsizing, but I must wait for an acceptable offer on our home.  In the meantime, I want to enjoy this home to its fullest, but I am really looking forward to simplifying my retirement years.  I want to serve in other ways.  I am not sure yet what that will look like, but God always puts ideas and opportunities before me when it is time.  So, I will do my best to be patient. 

Life is moving forward, but I feel like I am at a standstill until our home sells.  We are going to stay in Mid-Missouri once we sell our home.  My husband’s mother is 99 3/4 years old.  We will not leave Missouri permanently while she is still with us.  Dennis spends a lot of time with her at her nursing home.  Selling our home will free us up from maintenance and care taking of the home to spend time with her and to find our next “mission.”

I just wonder how to balance all this—I am really anxious to get back to the Arizona home.  I want to take some of the things from this home, but cannot do it until it is sold.  Such a dilemma (I know, it’s a first world problem)!  I just feel like I am on hold.  

It took a couple weeks to get back in sync after all our traveling.  The first couple days, I sat in the house and wondered what it is I do here!  Now I am pretty much back to normal, and am waiting on the new normal.  I’m so ready to move forward.

Crossing the Pond – Part 2

My dream vacation was always to go to London, but now that I have been there and to Germany, I have changed my mind.  I fell in love with Germany the minute I arrived in Frankfurt.  Germany did not disappoint.  The main purpose of this trip was to attend a wedding celebration party for my son and his new wife who is from Seligenstadt, Germany.  My daughter-in-law’s parents picked us up at the airport and drove us to their town of Seligenstadt, about a half hour drive from Frankfurt.  As we drove into this quaint village, my eyes just moved from one building to another.  This village sits on the River Main.  It is picturesque.  I immediately noticed as we got into the city center that all the streets are cobblestone, the homes are quaint, and you feel like you are walking through a fairy tale town.

Seligenstadt was founded in the year 830.  There were homes that are over 300 years old.  They have been restored and modernized, but they have such unique architecture. I noticed that in Germany, you will see a very large Catholic church that stands above all the other structure.  We stayed at an Airbnb and had a lovely hostess who tried her best to show us everything there.  She was one of the few folks we encountered who did not speak English.  We were there for four days, and we walked around and took in all the beauty of the town.  I would go back there again. 

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Our Airbnb

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Our Airbnb

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One of the entrances to the city.

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The city center

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This is put up in the city center every May.

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The local pharmacy.

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These plaques we in the cobble stone on front of homes that had been the homes of Jewish people who were sent away by Nazi Germany. It honors these families.

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In our few days there, we visited a couple castles, an ivory museum, and the biannual fair in the town, and we just walked around exploring this beautiful town.  This just a glimpse of the photos I took.

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This lady is making a rope.

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It was fun to watch this magician. He had my daughter-in-law come up to assist with this trick. She looks like a pro! Too bad I didn’t understand a word that he said.

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A young lady with an owl.

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This carousal is powered by people.

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Why did Dennis and I giggle when we saw this sign? We are such children.

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Such a unique downspout to the gutter on one of the homes.

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The church bells were ringing and when I looked up, a family walked out with their baby in its baptismal dress. I had to capture this sweet moment.

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One of the homes with a moat.

One of the days there, Alex’s parent took us site seeing.  We visited a couple castles.  I did not realize how many castles are in Germany.  Some are massive, and others smaller and on grounds that are well manicured and landscaped.

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This is the only time it rained on our whole vacation to England and Germany, and it lasted only a short time. We had perfect weather.

We stayed on for four days that included these great places to see, and for the wedding party for Ben and Alex.  Then we moved on to Frankfurt to begin our tourist part of the vacation, with the first day taking a train to Cologne.  It was Monday, and when we arrived we immediately saw the Dom, a huge cathedral that took over 600 years to build.  It was free to go inside and see it’s beauty.  Not only is it a church, it is also a burial ground for many who served the church.  Their crypts are all around. We learned that on Mondays the historic museums are closed, and the only museum open was the Chocolate Museum.  Oh what a shame!  The Lindt Chocolate Company has a museum telling the history of chocolate manufactured in Germany.  It was a lovely day to walk and to see the beauty of the town and the river.

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The Frankfurt train station is busy all times of the day.  Trains are coming in and out continually. Our first mishap was getting on the wrong train.  To make a long story short, the train turned around and returned us to the station just in the nick of time to board the correct train.

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Homes along the river as viewed from our train.

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The Dom in Cologne.  It i a huge tourist attraction.

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This is the tomb of Saint Engelbert the Martyr.  I found it fascinating that he is not lying in repose like the others in the cathedral.  His likeness is in a rather casual stance laying on his side.

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This church began building in 1248 (700 years before my birth)!  It took over 600 years to build. Look at the people up near the building to get a perspective of the height of this building.

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The pristine and colorful buildings along the Rhine.

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The Lindt Chocolate Museum.  It sits on a pier on the Rhine, showing the history of chocolate in Germany, along with an actual small chocolate factory, and free chocolate to taste.  During WWII, Hitler stopped all chocolate production.  When the allied troops came into Germany, they gave chocolate bars to the children.  The chocolate industry picked up again after the war.

The following day (Tuesday), we took the train to Nuremberg.  I had read the book, “Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis.”  I was hoping to see the prison and where the trials took place.  The funny thing was that on Tuesdays most of the museums are closed in Nuremberg.  Had we known this, we would have swapped days with Cologne so we could see the historical museums.  On the other hand, the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds, which is a museum in Nuremberg, was open. It is in the north wing of the unfinished remains of the Congress Hall of the former Nazi party rallies.  It documented the rise and fall of the German Nazi party under Adolf Hitler.  It was a very sobering experience.  After we toured the museum, we decided to walk and find Zeppelin Field where Hitler held his rallies.  The staging area is enormous, and it is also quite sobering to realize the size and scope of this historical site.  We then caught a bus to find one of the castles in Nuremberg.  It was a bit of a challenge because the bus driver did not speak English, and he must have had a bad day. We showed him on a map where we wanted to go, but he was no help in letting us know our stop.  Fortunately, someone on the bus spoke English and told us where to depart.  He was the only unfriendly person we encountered in Germany.  Everyone else was friendly and delightful.

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This is the Nazi Documentation Center, the museum that tells about the rise and fall of Nazi Germany.

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This is the grandstand at Zeppelin Field where Hitler spoke to the throngs of soldiers and Hitler Youth.

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This grandstand is so huge.  My husband is standing behind the fenced speaker’s stand where Hitler would stand when he gave his speeches.  Look how tiny he looks against the massive size of this grandstand.

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A calm, beautiful site right next to the Documentation Center–what a contrast!

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One of the old castles in Nuremberg.

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On our last day in Germany we were given a special walking tour by Daniela.  She was a young lady we met visiting with Alex’s family.  She is dating Alex’s brother.  Since she attends the university in Frankfurt, she offered to stop by and give us a tour.  It was a contrast of new modern buildings against the old buildings.  It was so scenic and such fun as she shared with us about this city.  She took us to an authentic German restaurant for lunch—funny how it was hard to find German cuisine in Germany.  There is no problem finding a hamburger and a Coca-Cola!  Our tour with Daniela was the highlight to end our days in Germany.  IMG_1359

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I am not good with heights, but this view of Frankfurt was awesome.  I would not get anywhere near the edge like Dennis did, but I was good looking from a distance and taking his photos overlooking the city.

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The Old Opera House.

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The Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

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A close up of the the decor on the Stock Exchange.

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We discovered this church on the tour, and I wanted to go in to see it.  What a beautiful structure.  This is what the Germans call the Protestant Church–we call it Lutheran.

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Across from City Hall.

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City Hall

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The padlocks of love as we walked the bridge over the river.

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Our authentic German restaurant

Here are the observations of Germany that I jotted down while there:

  • The villages are very clean.
  • German people like to drink bubbly water.  When I asked for what I consider regular drinking water, they called it “dead” water.
  • The people in small villages do not look at you as you walk past.
  • Most people in the villages either walk or ride bikes everywhere, no matter their age or their size.
  • Nothing in the United States is old.
  • In Germany, many people speak English, and in Frankfurt there are many billboards in English.
  • The Germans eat a huge breakfast which may include cold cuts, cheese, big rolls, along with fruit.
  • At restaurants, if you use a credit card, the waiter brings the credit card reader to the table to make the transaction.  (That is a great idea).

I absolutely loved Germany.  I wish I knew more words than the few simple words I learned as a child listening to my grandparents and my dad.  I would love to take a riverboat cruise through Germany.  In the meantime, I have many photos to look at and reminisce of the lovely time we had across the pond.

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I loved seeing the airline people wash the windows of the plan before we left to go home.  The pilot does want good visibility!