Sunday, November 29, 2015

Halloween Festivities 2015


Seth's Aunt Lynn decorates her house big time for Halloween. Every year she hosts a bbq dinner and the cousins wear their costumes. The kids love seeing her decorations (and getting goodie bags from all their great aunts!)


Adelyn's class went on a field trip to Cagle Farms. This was on a home school day. The farm and the weather were so pretty!

The kids got to feed animals (and watch a cow get milked)

At the Squal Out, 3 pigs raced each other around a pig track. It was hilarious!

My tall girl

So glad I got to accompany her on this neat trip!


We did our annual Kinsey Family Farm trip to pick out pumpkins!

We also did the tractor ride and fed the catfish 


My friend Amy came in town for a night. We met up with Randy and her kids at the CFUMC Fall Festival. The kids ran around like a bunch of crazies!

College friends reunited

The next day, we added Melissa to the mix (she was in town for her high school reunion). We ate lunch together at my house. 


We went to the Oak Grove Trunk or Treat

James had his school Halloween parade and class party

They painted pumpkins!

We carved our own pumpkin on Halloween Eve
Adelyn got to use the knife this year!


By Halloween, we had already accumulated a very large bowl full of goodies, but they were still excited to go trick or treating!

We went to a friends' house. They hosted a GA football watching party/trick or treating. They live in a great neighborhood- not too big, but plenty of houses to go trick or treating to. It was awesome that Halloween was on a Saturday night!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Germany: Part Vier

I am wrapping this trip up with my final Germany post!

Thursday October 15

We woke up in Prague and returned to Bake Shop. This time we both got that delicious brie and apple croissant and a double latte. We had a super annoying time getting out of the parking garage, but finally got on our way. We drove to Leipzig and returned the rental car. From there is was a short drive to Weissenfels. We believe Seth's grandfather was shot in WWII nearby. 

A plaque is hung in his infantry's honor. We were able to locate the plaque. We wondered around the area, searching for the spot he was shot based on his Papa's stories but so much has changed it's hard to know for sure if we we found it. 

This is the facility that housed the plaque. 
 After that we drive to Bamberg, which was about 2 hours away. It was late afternoon/early evening when we got there and I so wish it was earlier. Bamberg is yet another city I wish to spend more time in. Seth's teammate's grandparents live there. They were kind enough to meet us for dinner and show us around a little. We ate at Schlenkerrla, a restaurant that specialized in brewing a smoke beer. We all enjoyed it, and Seth even bought some to take home. I had a goulash soup and everyone else had a brat. 
Regnitz River in Bamberg
From here, we drove to Nuremberg. It was about an hour away. We checked into our hotel and called it a night!

Friday October 16th

We woke up, showered, and went to McDonalds for breakfast. There were really no other options (our Hilton hotel had a pricey buffet that we didn't want). I must say, this McDonalds rocked. It had a separate specialty coffee area (similar to a Starbucks) and was nicely decorated.

From here, we went to Documentation Centre. This is a museum that shares the history of the Nazis. We walked around with the handheld audio and absorbed this terrible part of history. This museum offered a wealth of history- pictures, video clips, and tons of written information in addition to the audio. It breaks my heart to learn more about Hitler and the number of people he had killed.

The Rally Grounds are here as well. It blows my mind to think that thousands of people followed and celebrated Hitler. 

After this, we visited the Nuremberg Castle. We just walked around the grounds (did not pay to enter or take a tour). The castle was, of course, beautiful!

We grabbed a snack at a gas station (They are SO much nicer in Germany! You will almost always see people DINING at a gas station because the food is decent!) and drove to our final destination- Stuttgart. We fly home tomorrow. We drove back to Porsche and bid farewell to the car. Next time we see it will be in the US! They will send it on a ship sometime in December. We took a cab to our hotel. 

We walked to a great restaurant near our hotel and enjoyed one last German dinner. Seth had pork cheeks and sweet and sour lentils. I need to find this recipe! I had salmon, champagne sauerkraut, and  roasted potatoes. 

We went back to the hotel and called the kids. Seth jokingly told them that we extended our trip and wouldn't be returning tomorrow as planned. They both said that was fine. I guess they have had fun with our parents! We are so appreciative of our parents for keeping the kids while we were gone. Adelyn and James were in great hands and clearly had a great time. We missed them tremendously and it was a joyous reunion when we got home around 5 the next day!

This was the trip of a lifetime!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Germany- Part Drei

 Tuesday October 13, 2015

This stretch of our trip covers PRAGUE!! I had been dying to see Prague and was so excited to visit the Czech Republic. 

We woke up (still in Leipzig). We showered and hit their breakfast buffet. WOW! I wish Holiday Inns in the US would take note. They had the normal items plus fancy cheeses, smoked salmon, and all kinds of breads and spreads. Yum! We drove to the airport to rent a car and drop off the Porsche at the Porsche plant in Leipzig. Seth read that Czech Republic is not a place to mess around with certain cars and that border patrol can be super strict. Rather than risk a hefty ticket or encounter trouble, we rented an Audi and left the Porsche. 

I have not driven a manual in YEARS (decades), so I was a little nervous. Thankfully, it went fine and we were off. See ya in a couple days, Germany! The drive was uneventful, but we quickly noticed how much cleaner and better the roads are in Germany. Czech Republic has been through a lot of changes over the years and is just coming into its own, so to speak. It shows. Prague was different- you can tell there is more money there and the city has been restored. 

This is the view from our hotel. It overlooked the Vltava River. There were pretty bridges crossing over. The side we were on was great for walking around the city. The castle was on the other side of the bridge. We checked into our hotel (which was so nice!) and quickly set out to explore. Unfortunately, it was quite chilly and felt like it would rain any minute all day. 

Our first stop was the Astrological Clock in Old Town Square. It's the oldest working astrological clock in the world. It has 3 components: the astronomical dial, the "walk of the apostles", and a calendar dial. It's pretty mesmorizing 

We found a terrific lunch spot right across the street and sat and had pizza and a beer. We happened to be sitting there at 3:00 and this clock puts on a great show on the hour. It was cool to see it do its thing! PS: I know it seems like we drank beer at every meal. Well, we kind of did. Water was never included and was twice as much money as beer. Don't worry; we drank plenty of water too! 

We walked around a total of 4 hours, covering 10 miles (according to Seth's iPhone). We had  a tourist map and hit the highlights. In Germany, so much is in English. In Prague, we had to guess what we were looking at. It was all beautiful but kind of frustrating to not know what it was. The picture above basically shows you how beautiful ever building was. Every single US chain restaurant and store exists in Prague and they're housed in these historic, gorgeous buildings. I guess this is how they're thriving and rebuilding their economy. 

Ergh....another sideways picture. A street vendor placed bread dough around iron bars over fire. They would rotate the bar, baking the bread into a spiral shape. Then they sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top. YUM!

That night, we ate at U Fleka. Two friends had told me about this place before we left, so I thought we better check it out. We took the public train there. This was a traditional Czech meal. They offered one type of beer and a man with a tray of them was walking around. If you wanted one, he marked a tally on a piece of paper on your table. We shared goulash, a Greek salad, and a side of red cabbage. I am going to have to make goulash at home soon. I just loved it!

Ha, ha! Check out the beer pint lights! 

 Wednesday October 14, 2015

Yuck. We woke up to rain, rain, and more rain. The hotel had a super nice gym so I did a short little workout before showering and getting ready for the day. 

The conceirege at the hotel told us about a bakery called Bake Shop. Oh my goodness. This was hands down the best coffee I have ever had. They had pretty pastries on display. I just had passionberry yogurt and granola. Seth had a croissant filled with apple and brie and we both enjoyed a double cappuccino. 

Did I mention it was rainy this day? And cold! :(  We did a red bus tour, hoping to see/understand more of the city. We stayed on until we reached the castle. A guided tour was included with our bus tour. We lucked out with our guide- he was outstanding. He was a history buff and loved sharing Czech history. Even though he wasn't originally from here, his mother was and he had a deep sense of pride. He told us all kinds of interesting stories that gave us a broader understanding of this country. 

We saw the changing of the guards. 

This is inside the cathedral. It was impressive!

Stained glass windows in the cathedral

This is the extrerior. It took from the 1300s to the 1900s to build!

This is Golden Row. Castle servants lived here. Additionaly, some famous poets and authors lived here too. They have been restored and now you can see glimpses of what a house would look like, purchase souvenirs, and see a lot of weapons and knight armor. It was really cool!

Father/son knights?

The torture chamber!

After touring the castle for (seriously) 4 1/2 hours, we had some hot wine to warm us up. We were frozen! We caught a ride back on our tour bus to the other side of the river and made our way to Klemintinum. This was a university library in the 1600s. Major astrological discoveries were made in Prague, and upstairs was an area where we learned more of their accomplishments  and were able to climb to an observation tower. 

We weren't allowed inside the library, but this is a glimpse of what it looked like. They had a beautifully painted ceiling filled with symbolic scenes. There were thousands of old books, astrological clocks, and large globes. 

Upstairs were several of the first telescopes and devices used for studying the skies. 

We climbed to the top  and were lucky to get this incredible panoramic view of Prague. The rain had seized, and we loved looking at the rust colored roof tops and unique building shapes. 

After that we walked halfway across the pedestrian-only Charles Bridge. It was sunset and so pretty! Sidenote, the castle is off in the background. This castle is the largest one in Europe. The Rolling Stones held a concert there in 1990's (they were the first international band allowed to play there). As a thank you, they purchased exterior lighting for the castle so that it would be lit up at night. 

Enjoying the bridge and sights!

We wrapped up the day with a great meal from Hotel U Zlateno Strome. Even though it was cold, we ate outside near a heater. Restaurants in Germany and in Prague often have blankets draped over chairs for customers to use. BRILLIANT! We didn't eat lunch, so we were both famished. I had roasted pork, cabbage, and we shared a salad. Mine was so good! Seth had goulash but this one wasn't as good as the one we had the night before. After that, we went to a dessert place across the street that specialized in the bread baked over the fire. This time we got it filled with chocolate and nuts. It was so good! Our hotel had a hot tub, so we relaxed in there before a good night's rest. 

Almost done with the Germany trip posts! :)