Tuesday, April 29, 2014

We Are Coming Home, Flippy!

Our son sent this "manipulated" photo yesterday. 
We miss both of our "boys."
But we will see them tomorrow!

Last Day of Our European Vacation

When you leave a hotel, you leave behind your wet, dirty towels.
You leave behind an unmade bed.
Who cares that the furniture is dusty or sticky from your snacks?
And what about the garbage pail full of trash?

But when you leave your "second" home for at least six months, it better be in good shape. 
Clean bathrooms!
Clean kitchen with no perishable food anywhere!
Clean sheets on the beds!
No dirty clothes or towels slung around the place!

No one wants to come "home" next fall to a dirty apartment!

So this rain is the perfect weather for cleaning up!

Apartment with a view.
The last six weeks we watched these trees go from No Leaves to Wow Leaves!

Remember this photo from last October, 2013?

Well, here is today's shot of the same trees. 

This summer when temps get up to 100 F back home in Wetcreek, we will wish we could be able to sit out on this deck.

Monday, April 28, 2014

16 Tattoos in One Hour!

Got ya! You thought I had gotten tattoos, didn't ya? 

Well, I was the one doing the tattooing! 

"Tile tattoos", that is.

When we " took possession of /inherited/ bought" the Beltway Apartment in The Netherlands one year ago, we started planning how to modernize it. 

We decided to update the kitchen appliances that were worn out (microwave, fridge, and cooktop) and keep the rest as is. The oven was virtually brand new, only having been used a couple of times. The dishwasher was a relatively new replacement one and in great condition.

The pale yellow late 1990's open kitchen helped sway us to a grey and yellow color scheme for the living room. 

So I decided to look for something to subtley "jazz" up the white kitchen tile backsplash. This is what we found at Xenos:

As I had only 16 "tattoos", I had to come up with a plan.

Work in progress. Wet the backsplash tile and slap on the plastic tattoo. Ease out the air bubbles.

And there you go!

Even the lamp doesn't look too bad!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Cars and Collectibles

On Friday, April 25, 2014  the three of us visited:

Autoclassica (Classic Cars Show)

Fiera Milano Rho, MI Rho

More collectibles than just cars.

All shapes, sizes, makes, and colors of cars.

Some important signs. (Love the Singer one!)

This Gullwing Mercedes looks like Annie Sloan painted it. Sweet!

A family favorite. Do you know the make?

Guess this car.

Fun collections!

Vacation Perks

What do you get from a vacation?

A huge suitcase of dirty laundry!
    My opinion: We actually came home with some clean clothes! I always over-pack and panic after three days that we did not bring enough clothes.

A dirty car (inside and outside)!
    My opinion: We (I) got a little lazy about picking up after ourselves. was the back seat person, and made the most mess!

A hunger for home-cooked food!
    My opinion: Italian restaurant owners need to work on their reputation. Way too pricey and not too tastey! The best pasta we had on the entire trip was Spaghetti Carbonara (microwave!!!) at a bar across the street from the Last Supper exposition.

A desire to sleep in your own bed on your own pillow and under your own sheets and your own blanket!
    My opinion: The hotels ( in general) seemed cleaner than most American hotels we have stayed in. None of the linens looked like they had been washed and ironed on the premises. I think it also has something to do with the tile floors in Italy, since they are easier to clean than carpet.

Missing the peacefulness of your own neighborhood/place in the country sounds!
    My opinion:  I get freaked out by sirens in the middle of the night!

*****But for the two of us, this vacation in Italy was supreme quality time with our busy son! 

*****J., we loved having you join us on our trip! 
*****Love, Mom and Papa

Friday, April 25, 2014

Cars and Catholics

Automobiles were to have been the "theme" for this vacation to Italy with our bachelor son. On his first full day with us last Saturday the two J's visited three car museums while I ventured into a new book about Quakers, needlework, and slavery. My book was good, as well as the museums.

Then the Easter holiday week set in, and car museums shut their doors. 

Not being Catholics, we thought last week was the Holy Week (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday). We of course knew that Monday was Easter Monday, but never dreamed that Holy Week would be this passed week (too). So instead of accommodating all of the tourists (including thousands of Italians) who might just finally have time to visit a car museum, the rest of the automobile museums we wanted to visit were closed. 

So we had a change of plans! Instead of our son's beloved Cars and Coffee, we had Cars and Catholic Churches.

Lots of climbing, but we made it to the church in Assisi to learn more about San Franciscus.

Another day we continued with more climbing to Orvieto's magnificent church.

Love the grey and white striped walls of the Orvieto church.

The Duomo in Milan. Our companion who did not want to go into any churches got a few good shots of those churches. 

Then a walk to the Mercedes Store and sanitary stop at Mcdonald's in the Milan arcade.

Last evening we spent our allotted 15 minutes viewing Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper in Milan. That is all the time you are allowed in the facility. We each rented an audio machine and got a great 15 minute explanation.

Since I did not enter the auto museums, I took this shot of the oldest tractor I could find at one of the Maserati  museums. A 1918 Fordson!

Hope I look as good when I am 96 years old!

Oh, and for today (on last full day of our Italian vacation), we found a huge classic car exhibition near Milan! More about that later. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Are We Making History Anymore?

History class was always my worst subject in school. None of my teachers told those really awesome stories (like my friends' teachers) about what happened long ago. History for me was "dry" and loaded with dates and facts! 

But where would we be today without history? Well guess what, folks, we may be finding out sooner than you think. Oh, no, the world is not coming to an end, but recorded history may be.

Let's begin with correspondence.  When was the last time you wrote a letter? Or a postcard? Or a thank you note (sore subject for me)? Or have you received a real letter lately? E-mail and text messages do not count. They can be easily deleted and whoosh, they are gone! If you plan to make an important statement, there will be little documentation to prove it in a deleted computer message. 

Real history has been preserved and documented in letters. Having spent hours upon hours reading through letters saved by my MIL, I now feel like I know family members and friends that passed away long before even my hub was born. Make sure you leave behind concrete evidence of everything important in your life. Scrapbooks and portfolios are excellent " filing" places. We keep our really important papers/documents in our safe. Maybe I need a safe for letters, too.

We also have rich history from portraits and photos. Thanks to a huge collection of kept photographs, the figures of our family's past have become real. 

I hear you. You take photos. And you take a lot! But where do they go? "Oh, I saved them on my iPad." Well, so what! Within a few years ( or maybe months!) that apparatus will be abandoned. Unless you save them on your PC and make sure that PC never crashes or gets dumped or they are saved in the "cloud,", those photographs are "nowhere." And unless someone besides you looks at your photography, you should have saved your time by simply taking a photo with your mind. You know what I mean. 

Print off some of your favorite snapshots. Mount them in albums or at least stash them in a shoebox or drawer for someone to find after you have forgotten them or you have gone to a "better place." And if you are really good, you will make sure you leave captions to identify the persons, places, or things.

As an avid collector of vintage/old stuff, I am afraid that we won't even have a history if we stop recording it.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Snow Shots

My hub likes to tell me what to include in my blog. I have told him he should write his own blog, but that won't happen. Actually quite a shame, since he sees and appreciates things that I overlook. Such as the snow photos that we took Wednesday in Livigno, Italy and surroundings. Livigno is an Italian enclave on the Switzerland side of the Alps. And Wednesday it was chock full of snow skiers on Easter vacation.

Second night of snow at the cloister before we began our journey on Wednesday.

Livigno, Italy

Better shot of the ski lifts and skiers and proof that we were there. Hub in the shot checks off one item on his "bucket list."  (To visit Livigno!)

On down the road (or up the mountain). I am freezing in this shot.

To all my northern blogging friends, snow is beautiful but too cold for this Louisiana gal.

Thursday (after sleeping in what Hub calls a "ballen tent") we drove to San Pellegrino, home of the popular bottled water that you see in most decorator ads and magazines. My mom says it tastes like AlkaSeltzer, but we drink it because we hate our home tap water.

Hub admires an interesting water fountain in the town square. No factory tours were available for the water factory until June. :(

The Grand Hotel is only "grand." What a shame to see such a huge deserted building!

And Easter baskets do not exist here. Just gigantic chocolate eggs filled with who knows what and wrapped in pastel wrappings.

Today is a "good" Friday! Our son will join us here in Milan in a couple of hours!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Home of Pope John XXIII and No Photo!

When we realized that we had booked our stay tonight in the hometown of Pope John XXIII, we chuckled that this trip to Italy had included mostly religious places (Passion Play's Oberammergau, a cloister, and now this Papal birthplace).

 I think at that realization things started going wrong. 

We continued our drive up to a special vineyard at the top of the mountain near Bergamo, Italy. The road became steeper and narrower, and even a "guardian angel/ elderly gentleman" gave us advice to drive all the way to the top and not consider trying to walk the steep 800 meters.

The view from the parking lot was magnificent! (Sorry No Photo!!!)

Then we entered the beautiful facility and were warmly greeted by the kind owner who had some bad news. Booking.com had been trying to reach us to let us know that there had been a huge mistake. Our booking at this extremely extraordinary agritouristic establishment was not possible. The owner was hugely apologetic, tried to help us find another place, offered us a cup of coffee, phoned our new booking, gave us a bottle of wine, and showed us out the door.

So here we are. In a highway hotel! Pizza for dinner! And my hub swears the room is vibrating!

Do you think someone in a higher place is having the last laugh on this Holy Week?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

20 C+M+B 14 Means?

20 C+M+B 14 is wriiten above the door of the chapel at the Kronsburg Cloister where we are staying near Zams, Austria. 

We saw the same chalk written inscription above my husband's cousin's home in Germany. I asked her the significance of the numbers and letters and remember that she said something about a collection made by children on Epiphany (January 6-- the 12th day of Christmas). The notations were probably made to make sure no one else came by to "collect."

But I decided to Google this inscription, since the only part I could understand was the 14 (signifying 2014).

I found one site that explained that this chalk inscription signified a blessing on the home. No reference to a collection of any kind.

"20 and 14 being the year, C (K), M, B being the intitials of the traditional names of the wise men, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, they can also stand for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, the Latin words meaning, May Christ bless this home." (http://stchrysostoms.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/20-c-m-b-14-blessing-of-homes/)

According to a Question and Answer forum of Fodor's Travel (http://www.fodors.com/community/europe/what-does-20cmb13-mean.cfm) I found the following two responses:

"Each year on the wonderful Feast of the Epiphany chalk is blessed at Church and people are invited to take some home and mark their homes with a prayer for blessing. The priests are also very happy to visit homes and do the blessing. Seeing the marking at the door is a gentle reminder of God’s blessing, and a sign to all of a Christian home.

"Using chalk either above the door, outside, or at the side of the door, outside or inside, the markings 20 + C + M + B + 13 are made, or (20+K+M+B). 20 and 12 being the year, C (K), M, B being the intitials of the traditional names of the wise men, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, they can also stand for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, the Latin words meaning, May Christ bless this home."


"These inscriptions are neither done by a priest nor by the inmates of the houses themselves, but by the Star Singers. Every year around Epiphany the catholic church does this campaign: groups of children dress up as the Three Magi and their entourage. They are then blessed at church and sent out to visit houses, sing their songs, bring the blessing to the houses, and collect donations for charity. This campaign takes place all over the country under the patronage of the Federal President."

So there seems to have been some collection for charity after all at Hub's cousin's house.

You learn something everyday. But most of the time you have to leave your seat. 

Or open the World Wide Web ;))))

What a Difference a Day Makes!

(I still can't read my blog or any other blogs due to the Internet provider blocking all blogs! But I can post my blog, so here goes!)

Yesterday in Austria.

Today in Austria.

And today

And yesterday


And then today

Can't pick this cotton. It is melting as I write this blog.

I liked this better yesterday. Wild primroses.

And other mountain blossoms.

More snow is predicted tonight! What happened to Spring in Austria?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Denied Access!

Tonight we are staying way up in the mountains in Austria at Klosterie Kronburg. 

Access to my blog, as well as all blogs I follow, have been denied access due to inappropriate content. So I went back and changed my "provocative" title from Palm Sunday about the Passion Play (just down the road a few miles!!!) and the Romantic Road in Germany. 

No luck! Blogs are blocked!

Which century are we living in? Oh well, I brought a good book to read.

Or maybe I will write one!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Passion and Romance

Now that got your attention! 

Tonight we are in Oberammergau, Germany ( home of the world famous Passion Play). 

Oberammergau, Germany

Onion domed churches.

Wooden logs on the rooftops for the snow build-up.

Wooden grave markers.

Metal grave markers as well as stone ones.

Houses with painted window and door frames.

And even painted inhabitants!

Something "royal" about this humble home.

We did not stay at this hotel (270 Euros per night!).

We did stay at this quaint "gasthof" (80 Euros per night). And the poached trout with boiled potatoes and butter and magnificent salad was delicious!!!

And today on the way here we did our best to follow the well-known "Romantic Road" of Germany. We saw lots of yellow fields of dandelions and rape plants and plowed fields waiting to be planted, but this village was the icing on the cake. Walt Disney never did this well!
  • Dinkelsb├╝hl, Germany

  • The weather was perfect to show off the colors.

    Can you believe it?

    My hub in our mini-SUV waiting for me to make photos.

    Fun city!

    So there is the "passion and romance" of our second day of vacation on the way from The Netherlands to Italy.

    Happy Palm Sunday! Easter trees all over Germany! Have you made yours yet?