Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Off to Germany~Cologne and Aachen

After four lovely days in Brussels, we packed up our stuff and activated our German rail twin passes. We love traveling on the train, watching the scenery and chatting with the people, or at least trying to in our not-so-great deutsch. On one part of our trip we sat right behind the engineer!

We couldn't talk to him, but we could watch the speed.  That was interesting! It was tough to get good photos from the windows though.



We arrived at mid-day in Cologne, Germany, where our younger daughter spent a quarter studying in 1992.  Her host mother then has become a good friend and she met us at der Dom exit from the train station.



It's so hard to photograph because it's so huge! 

No trip to Cologne is complete without going up all those stairs and  inside der Dom.



We were lucky to happen upon a concert given by a choir from the Netherlands. 



Behind the main altar is the shrine of the Three Kings who are buried here

.
The reflection on this altar is from the new and controversial modern stained glass window. It was nearly impossible to photograph, but the reflection was cast everywhere, even on the pillar.


The magnificence of the European cathedrals never fails to amaze me and causes me to reflect. And to think they were made without modern machinery also!



Our day ended with a pleasant walk along the Rhine River followed by a wonderfully relaxing meal that included pumpkin soup.



The next day Monika and her sister, Ulla, took us on a car trip to Aachen, which is near the border between Germany and the Netherlands.



  It is also where Charlemagne is buried. This is the city hall.



Can you imagine riding in this little car?  It makes a Smart car look roomy!



Charlemagne or Karl der Grosse as he's known in Germany is buried in this church.



We took time out from sight-seeing to have a yummy snack.


And then we found this fun statue.


And this one.

The next day we had fun chatting with Sebastian, Monika's younger son, who stayed with us for a week when he was only 16.



That evening we went with Monika to Cologne's Old Town to celebrate her birthday.



On the way to our restaurant on the Rhine, we passed Catherine's favorite pizza spot, Pinocchio, where she learned to like Spinat (spinach) pizza. Then all too soon, it was time to say "auf wiedersehen" and head to Leipzig.  More on that later.


Off to Berlin

Friday, October 24, 2014

Off the Needles

The I Love Football hat is done!  And I think it's going to be too big.  Oh well, too big means he'll grow into it, so that's not so bad.  However, there's yarn left over, and I cast on a smaller version. I am also practicing "jogless" stripes. We'll see how that goes.



I found this cute charm at Country Village and attached it as if it were a bead.



Lots of other projects are under way at the moment, including the binding on a long neglected quilt.  Meanwhile, the house plants are doing their thing, too.



I love the goldfish plant, and it's been having lots of "fish" lately.



The hibiscus is back inside after its summer vacation on the porch.  It rewarded us with one solitary blossom. Said blossom fell off right after the photo was taken. Do you suppose it wants to go back outside?  Note to plant:  It's getting cold out there, and you wouldn't like that one bit!  Not too much else to share, so see you next time. Check out Patchwork Times for more knitting projects.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lace and Chocolate and Other Sights in Brussels

We had a wonderful time in Brussels.  Lace and chocolate are part of my
memories from this city, and there were many shops everywhere for both.
The windows in each chocolate shop were amazingly decorated.

This one contained a chocolate fountain.

We spent part of one afternoon the Lace and Costume Museum.

Here are someone's bobbins all set up for creating some
 beautiful lace. I can't imagine trying to follow that kind of pattern.















This was just one of many pieces in museum. There was no way to 
photograph all of them! There also was an exhibit of clothing from the
thirties that was very interesting. This dress caught my eye.  Another 
featured under garments, including girdles. Do any of you remember
 those?!

This little doll is hard at work, and you can see the amazing piece behind her.
 Both were on  display in a shop window.

Our hotel was quite near the Grand Place, a huge square surrounded by beautiful buildings that were lit up every night.
There was always something interesting happening.

Every evening a different band in full uniform would march through the streets.


Something was always happening in the courtyard below our hotel window. That week there were celebrations honoring the Ukrainian culture.

Some of the passages were very narrow.

And some were wide enough for cars and horses.
Four guys were "driving" this contraption.



We enjoyed some quiet moments in this beautiful cathedral.


Its majesty made me feel very small.



Each stained glass window was unique.  Yes, Brussels is a beautiful city. We only spent four days there and only saw a tiny bit, but we loved everything we saw.  Next stop, Germany. PS Blogger was behaving very strangely today.

Friday, October 17, 2014

On the Needles and Off

 Nothing like a deadline to get stuff finished, right?  Every year our quilt group makes 80 or so Christmas stockings for the local Ronald MacDonald house.  I never make very many, and this year what with being gone, I only managed this one which I finished yesterday.  I had promised to have it done by today's meeting.  Whew!



Side One~


Side Two~



And I'm knitting away on a hat for Max in Seahawk colors. Go Hawks! See what others have been doing at Patchwork Times.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Amsterdam Memories

Amsterdam is a fun and interesting city! You've already seen our hotel and a couple of other photos, but since we spent several days there, we have lots more.  I will try to pick only a few.


Our hotel was right around the corner from the Museumplein, the huge square where several museums are located.  You can see the Rijks Museum and the enormous Amsterdam sign in the background.  Lots of young people enjoyed climbing on the sign for photo ops. We spent some time in the museum, specifically to see Rembrandt's Nightwatch painting again. It is BIG and takes up a whole wall on the top floor of the museum along with other classical paintings and is a popular spot to visit.



The buildings, both old and new, are all very beautiful.  I especially liked the concert hall.



This hotel had even higher narrow stairs than ours!  And among the flowers is one of my favorites, the black-eyed Susan vine.


Many of the houses have a hook at the top for moving furniture to the higher floors. The stairs inside are too narrow!


Flowers are everywhere in Amsterdam, even growing in the tiniest places, and sometimes out of a crack in the sidewalk.



We had fun trying different restaurants. This one seemed to have a permanent guest that was not interested in either spaghetti or pizza.  She was sound asleep when we first noticed her.

We took this photo for a choir friend.  When she was 17 and newly graduated from high school, she came to Amsterdam and worked in this hotel as a chamber maid. It's right across from the train station. Once, on her recommendation, we stayed there, but not this time.

After several days, it was time to leave this beautiful city, knowing we'd be back on our way back home to Seattle. There were many places we didn't visit because we ran out of time. Another trip perhaps? 

Next stop, Brussels. Stay tuned.