Blogging while procrastinating packing for my trip to the states tomorrow. I am The World’s Best Procrastinator. It’s true.
Do you know the store Müller? They’re in Germany, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Croatia and Slovenia. Kind of a strange assortment of countries but anyways, I am so happy Müller is in Spain. It is my home away from home CVS drug store. With a plethora of perfumes, cologne, beauty products, pet food, food items, tea galore, art supplies and a whole bunch of other stuff.
Check out my purchases from today – spinners for my nephews, my favorite hibiscus tea, coffee beans, lash boost, last strengthener, Clinique mascara and lipstick (LOVE CLINIQUE), John Frieda sheer blonde shampoo (just got my hairs did) and some milk. And I will let y’all know how the lash boost works. I know you ladies want to know.
Now you know about Müller. If you haven’t yet and you live where there is one, go check it out.
And because I just really had to – Müller can also be spelled Mueller for people who don’t have the umlaut ü – learn something new every day, huh. And it always reminds me of one of my favorite childhood movies Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Landed safely. Whew! Ordered an extra large coffee and went upstairs to meet my boyfriend to head off to Wesel for the Christmas celebration to begin. We arrive, pour some champagne. But first, lemme take a selfie.
Awwwww, I love it. Mama N always decorates her house so beautifully and Christmas time is no exception.
Opened all the presents. Dr. Dre Beats headphones!! Thanks Santa! Now time for the FOOD. Meat fondue. So delicious.
And now we are stuffed. Upstairs for some laughs and wine. Next day we did a quick trip to Xanten, Germany to visit the cathedral.
Then drove to Detmold and went out to dinner at the Greek restaurant. Yummy. Next day was time to fly back to Mallorca. And we woke up to a white winter wonderland!
I do believe this is my favorite picture from all that I took on our three week trip. I thought it was some kind of modern beach house but what little information I could find is it’s a lifeguard station. This is in Binz, Rügen Island, Germany. It was built in 1968. Isn’t it like, totally awesome dude?! I loved it.
Rügen or Rugia is Germany’s largest island, located on the Baltic Sea. It is one of the most visited holiday destinations in Germany. We traveled almost the entire island and no doubt about it, Binz was the place to be. From the gorgeous mansion hotels to the darling beach cabanas (huts?) this was the busiest area of the island. We drove through Jasmund National Park in hopes of seeing the famous chalk cliffs but sadly there isn’t a way to see them without hopping on a bus or hiking for a few miles. I wouldn’t have minded a hike but my cute parents are getting older and it probably would have been too much for them. Maybe next time!
The next day we drove about six hours from Wesel to Stralsund, Germany. One of the main reasons for our road trip to the north of Germany and over to Poland was for my Mom’s family tree research. She has been really into this for many years and has made amazing strides in finding out so much of her and my ancestral background. Go MOM!
So, Stralsund. Stralsund is a Hanseatic town in northern Germany. During its history, it had to defend its independence against Lübeck (Germany), Denmark, Holland and Sweden. In the Thirty Years’ War, General Wallenstein vowed that he would take the town even if it was chained to heaven – but he failed. Subsequently, Lower Pomerania stayed under Swedish rule for 200 years until 1815, when it became Prussian. Despite its turbulent history, 811 protected buildings survived in the old town, among them some truly remarkable examples of architecture.
The town’s largest church, St. Mary’s (Marienkirche), which was built in 1383 – 1473, with an octagonal tower for seeing great views of Stralsund.
I thought this Milchbar (Milk Bar) building was super cool. I took about a bizillion pics of it.
As I mentioned above, my Mom is trying to find out more about our family tree. She has traced my Great x5 Grandparents to a tiny village called Müggenhall – we drove through it and it was one street, maximum 20 very old homes. But we went to the next town over and we were able to meet with the minister (Der Pfarrer) in the town of Franzburg. He gave us many books to look through but we couldn’t find anything that had information with the names that Mom was looking for. Nonetheless, I think Der Pfarrer was happy with Mom’s 50 Euro contribution for giving up an hour of his time to dig out these old books for us to look at.
Besides going to Müggenhall we also went to a small village about 45 minutes from Müggenhall where my Great x5 Grandparents went to work as servants at an estate. It was bigger than Müggenhall and the homes were more cared for, obviously a village with more money. We scoured the graveyard for Schulzs and actually found a few. This one was my favorite, though a bit strange because it was so small and on top of another cross. Was it a child?
And my obsession with graveyards continues…. with a new post! There was a large home with a farm and more that quite possibly could have been where my great great great great great (whew!) grandparents worked. Here was my favorite building from there, love the thatched roof!! Maybe my Gx5GP (please tell me you get that) slaved away in there making cheese or washing laundry or sneaking away for a nap.
Looks like a perfect place for a snooze. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…
The EPRT II (European Parent Road Trip Part II) started off with us flying into Düsseldorf. Me, flying in from Mallorca, and my parents flying Phoenix – Chicago – Warsaw – Düsseldorf. Wasn’t sure about that whole extra stop for them until I looked at where dad bought his tickets – CheapO Air. Yup, that’s my Dad! Love him!
I had booked us a night at the Düsseldorf hotel Stage 47. We had the Maisonette Suite which was a lovely two-story room for the price of 170 euros. My roll away bed was about the skinniest thing you have ever seen but since I am skinny, we worked it out. A nice dinner at a Thai restaurant just down the street and then it was time to hit the sack.
The next day we headed towards Wesel, Germany. Felix’s parents have a gorgeous townhouse in the middle of the city. During World War II,as a strategic depot, Wesel became a target of Allied bombing. On the 16, 17 and 19 February 1945, the town was attacked with impact and air-burst bombs, which destroyed 97% of the city. Felix’s parents home is one of the few that survived. It is at least five stories tall with an incredible huge wooden staircase that runs through the middle of it. And his mom is such a great decorator she has made the entire place, including the backyard to the most sweetest, most comfortable home you would ever want to live in.
So, after kisses of hello, a glass of rosé champagne and a piece of strawberry cake we headed off towards Xanten.
Xanten is the only German town whose name begins with an X. The history of Xanten goes back to the Romans, who founded the settlement of Colonia Ulpia Traiana in 15 BC. That is a reeeeeeaallly long time ago. But by 275 it was mostly destroyed by Germanic tribes. But nowadays it has been rebuilt within the Archäologischer Park to see how the town might have been. The Nühlens (Felix’s parents) said the park is an all day thing so we only went to the Römer Museum. And it had so much to see and you get (for a small fee) your own handset which tells about each area in museum, it works as a listening device but also has videos reenacting moments from that reeeaaallllyy long time ago.
Among the exhibits on display are the remains of a Roman boat, suspended from the ceiling at a height of 12 metres. Further highlights are a stunning, large mural and the oldest and best preserved Roman cannon yet discovered. Spanish oil amphorae, silver tableware, pottery and a considerable collection of Roman army weapons and equipment are also on display.
After the museum we saw the cobblestone streets and the church in Xanten – all so very lovely. And then we headed towards the town of Kevelaer, Germany. The clouds were menacing and there was thunder in the distance but we were able to see the Chapel of the Candles and the Chapel of Grace. Two very beautiful and different things!
The Chapel of Grace is a very small but very richly decorated hexagonal building built in 1654. Hundreds of people come to pray at the chapel every day. Even the Pope has been there! The story about the building is interesting and unusual. I am only going to give the overview but if you are dying for more, go here for the full story.
A traveling salesman, Hendrik Busman in 1641 prayed at his usual spot where he heard a mysterious voice that said, “Build me a chapel on this spot”, which he then heard three other times on this same spot. By the way, all sites that I have read about this story claim he was a very sober man for those days. Which makes me laugh, did all drunks have the same voice echoing in their heads? Anyways, soon after Busman’s wife had a dream of a postcard offered for sale to her by two soldiers. She told her husband and he made he go find the card and buy it. That card is still there today. It was such a tiny place I never realized the importance of it until now.
And only a few steps away was the Chapel of Candles which you have hopefully already seen on my last post. Felix’s dad thought there were too many candles. But Felix’s mom and I disagreed. They were beautiful! They are kind of like shoes, you can never have too many.
Kevelaer is a municipality in the district of Kleve, in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. It is the best visited Catholic pilgrimage location within north-western Europe. More than 800,000 pilgrims, mostly from Germany and the Netherlands, visit Kevelaer every year to honour the Virgin Mary.
This was one of the first stops for the Europe Parent Trip II Part One (could I make it any more confusing). Hundreds of lit candles of all sizes were in front of this chapel of the candles (kerzenkapelle). BEAUTIFUL! Plus a small shrine is built close by for the faithful to come and pray for healing.
My parents and I are still hitting the streets! My aunt and uncle arrive tomorrow, but I am back and posting now all of the gory details. Don’t forget to come back to check ’em out. Germany, Poland, Mallorca, Barcelona all coming to a blog near you.
Last weekend I flew with Air Berlin, Mallorca to Frankfurt. Three things I am fond of when flying within the EU: the free magazines and newspapers you get to choose from when entering the plane (that you will be stuck in with crying children, fat people sitting next to you who obviously did not take a shower from their last dip in the Sea and seem to still be dripping wet – eewww, or a group of teenagers who like to punch each other and sing songs because they are still drunk from their S’Arenal drinks garnished with four foot fluorescent straws).
Where was I? Right, things I enjoy when flying. Actually the only thing I really enjoy about flying is viewing the scenery below; Lake Geneva, the Alps in the distance, the green and yellow squares of farmland, my forehead is usually mashed to the window delighted with the sights. But the magazines, duty free shopping and Germans clapping after we have landed seem to make it a tad less aggravating.
People watching is fun too. God, do I love to stealthfully spy on our human race. Such fun! Though I try not to be an ass about it, I keep a legal distance and would never totally do a dead on stare. I do have my limits. geez. Granted, doing this while at the beach or in Palma drinking a cold beer is so more relaxing and enjoyable than the airport, but since I have to be here anyways…..
Germany was a whirl of Deutsche Spaß – we hung out with The German’s family and his new three week old niece (so cute), checked out a cool townhouse in Wesel, finally watched Twilight with Robert hotvampire Pattinson and took a walk to the top of the hill, sat on a bench and looked out over cloudy Detmold. I think I saw the sun for a total of thirty minutes on this trip. And while I never got the chance to wear my new summer dress from Mango I did get to break in my new Les Halles destroyed jeans by wearing them EVERY day. Classy, I know. But I love them.
We also hit up a steakhouse in Paderborn with friends and then went to see the famous window in the church across the cobblestone street. I don’t think you can go wrong with any church in Europe, they all seem so much more breathtaking and religious than any church I have ever been to in the U.S.A. Wait, I take that back – St Patrick’s Cathedral is beautiful. Okay, okay, I can think of a few more cathedrals in the land of glory but you know what I mean.
We hopped into the Paderborner Dom to see the Dreihasenfenster (that’s German for Window of Three Hares). It depicts hares (rabbits, bunnies, call them what you will) in motion, laid out in a triangle. Each wascally wabbit is shown as having two ears, although only three ears are visible in total. Cool, yes?
Somehow I always manage to learn a new obscure German word whenever I am in the country of wienerschnitzel. Before having steak I was told Lady Gaga showed accidently/on-purpose a/her little schniedelwutz. I think you can get what I am talking about, but it does mean a very VERY small one. Is that true? That is kind of a gross publicity stunt Lady Gaga but Das Bild declared it to be true, so it must be. Schniedelwutz.
And I learn another word. And have lost my appetite.
We drove for what seemed like weeks from Norway to Karlskrona, Sweden to catch the overnight ferry to Gdynia, Poland. I wasn’t expecting anything lavish, as it was the trucker’s cruise, possibly 90% of the clientele. The food was a mixture of meat and potatoes or mystery salad sandwiches. I went for a bag of chips and a red wine. The three of us crashed in our teeny tiny room with two bunk beds. I call top bunk! I don’t think anyone else was wanting it anyway….
Arriving in Poland, the police and canines were out and ready. We gave our passports, the dogs sniffed around the car and we were allowed to enter. We stayed outside of Gdansk for a few nights at this humongous hotel, the Hotel Sofitel Grand Sopot. It had an old time luxurious flair with a bit of The Shining feel to it. Our room was beyond large and from our balcony we looked out to the Baltic Sea and Europe’s oldest wooden pier. I went to the beach while my parents wandered around, and for lunch we found a delightful cafe that served sausages and beer. My dad was in heaven, so much that we had to go back the next day.
Now it was time to look for clues on mom’s side of the family. We drove to a town, Prtezoczyno – good try on pronouncing that one – and started the search. For some odd reason, my mom felt I was fluent in German and would be able to speak to any person and find what we were looking for…. while I stuttered and stammered in broken German we actually found the monument and church from her books. After hours of walking and searching we threw in the towel and headed home. Our guidebook told us to watch out for drunken peasants on the road, I never saw one though I really wanted to. Kind of like the times I drive through Maine and hope to see a moose but never do. Darn.
Next stop, Berlin! The German was meeting us there, I couldn’t wait to see him. We were booked at this hip hotel with good rates – Arte Luise Kunsthotel where each room is decorated by a renown artist, the entire room included in the concept. The next day was sightseeing sightseeing sightseeing: Brandenburger Tor, Checkpoint Charlie, Berliner Dom, Tiergarten and Reichstag. Berlin is a freakin cool city loaded with history and new hotels, restaurants, art galleries at every turn. And in my love of architecture and homes – a penthouse suite looking over Tiergarten would do me quite nicely. I feel that the German people have suffered so much, and they still feel guilty for their past. That wall was torn down many years ago now, it is time to look towards the bright future and limitless possiblities. And they are.
The last leg of our tour: The Black Forest, Friedberg (Elvis’ German army base) and then my favorite castle hotel ever, castle Schönburg, on the Rhine river. It was first mentioned in history between the years 911 and 1166. Until the 17th century the castle had a very changeable and martial history with many tribe and family fights. The castle was burned down in 1689 by French soldiers during the Palatinate heritage war and it remained destroyed and in ruins for 2 centuries until an American of German ancestry restored it. Our room was fantastic, it was like living as Lady Fairlane (insert your Robin Hood fairytale name here). My parents had the queen sized bed while my sleeping quarters was a small bunk made at the bottom of one of the bookcases. I loved it. There was a door from our room that led to the walkway connecting several watch towers. My mom and I did some snooping around and the end of the walkway came to steep stairs leading down to total, complete pitch blackness. I decided to see what I could discover and after about ten steps I refused to go further. It was SPOOKY and as I turned for a picture I had a chill go down my spine, like someone was right behind me. I hauled ass out of there as fast as my lil feet would take me.
And then, what seemed to have started only a few days ago, came to an end. My parents left a little lighter in their wallet and suitcase load and flew back to Oklahoma. I will never forget this trip with my parents, it will forever be a fond memory full of laughter (mom and I giggled several times over the “Haben Sie Einen Gute Fahrt” signs – we couldn’t help it!), learning, defining and preserving our legacy and love. Thanks for the visit mom and dad. Ich liebe dich.