Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Granny Tot and my Crocheted Scarf

The first time I knew about crochet, I was probably around 8 or 9, sitting by my Granny Tot on her couch watching her make some pink-flowered, green-leafed, and white-squared granny squares for an afghan. I told her I wanted to learn how to do what she was doing, so she taught me how to make a chain stitch and then tried to show me something else she did to make those neat looking squares. I didn't understand what she was doing, but I sure could make those chain stitches and they looked like little worms through my young eyes of 8yrs old. I even glued on wiggly eyes, and put it on the Christmas tree that year.

Well, many years later, I still had that desire to learn how to crochet and make scarves, afghans, and other items. I took my first class to learn the basics of crochet at Joann fabric stores. I made my very first scarf out of a double chain crochet. It was so much fun.

Here is my very first project after one crochet class. I can't wait to make more items as it is very rewarding.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Berchtesgaden and the Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle's Nest)

From Berchtesgaden

Cody     Amanda and I were able to slow down and start off our week and vacation on a relaxing note with a little help from the people and scenary of Berchtesgarden.  This small sporting and resort community sits just outside Salzburg, Austria on the German side of the border in the wonderful Berchtesgaden National Park.  After sleeping in to catch up on some much needed rest from our traveling marathon, we headed out to get a better view of the mountains surrounding us.

Monday, August 31 - Kehlsteinhaus (Hitler's Eagle's Nest)
Cody     After just missing a city bus, Amanda and I grabbed a taxi and headed for Obersalzberg to begin our journey up to Kehlsteinhaus.  If I had a couple accelerometers on hand, a recording device, and a multi-million dollar buget, I believe I could create the next great ride at Six Flags.  As our driver zigged and zagged up the winding mountain rode in his little four-banger diesel engine, I wished the gang from work was with me so I could display proof that I'm not the world's worst driver!  At least they don't have to pay for my amusement rides.

Not only does the Kehlsteinhaus hold historical significance, but it is also an amazing engineering feat considering the time in which the different stages were completed.  The rode from Obersalzberg up to the top of the mountain gave me time to reflect on the terrain on which we fought the World Wars and what it took to overtake such posts.

From Kehlsteinhaus

With Amanda being in her second trimester, we decided to take the elevator up to the top.  The egineering in the  tunnel and elevator shaft is incredible considering the majority of the work was pulled off in a year.  I wished I had rubbed a little deorderant above my upper lip after crowding onto an elevator with 40 other smelly travelers.  At least no one was talking on their cell phone considering we were in the middle of a mountain.

From Kehlsteinhaus

At the top, we hiked the trail up to a viewing area and took in an indescribable panaroma of the Bavarian Alps.  I was hoping for some fresh air but it seems just about every other person in Germany can't live without their cigarrettes.

The actual Kehlsteinhaus is now operated as a restaurant and we took the opportunity to try some new German dishes.  I ordered Sulze, hausgemacht mit Essig, Ok, Zweibelringen und Bratkartoffeln.  It was good, but a weird texture.  Just imagine jello filled with meat, mushrooms, and vegetables soaked in vinegar.

From Kehlsteinhaus

After lunch we toured the other rooms of the house and headed back down to see what the night life had to offer.

Downtown Beer Gardens, Berchtesgaden, Germany

From Berchtesgaden

Cody     While Amanda took a short nap, I headed downtown to see what was stirring.  I found several bands playing and a crowd beginning together, so I went back to stir Amanda.  Monday night really cooled off as we headed down to the center of the market area.  We found a great place to grab some dinner and then headed for the gelato.  This started a trend that will continue the rest of the trip.  Braum's has met its match.

The highlight of the night was a great American cover band playing tunes spanning several decades.   When they started "Proud Mary", Amanda and I started swing dancing (alone nonetheless) and before long several others had joined us in creating a makeshift dancefloor in front of the stage.

From Berchtesgaden

For those following our trip, we have had a harder time finding Internet connections than expected and will be catching up the rest of our entries very soon.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Plains, trains, and a heavy backpack: Cody's transformation into a pack mule

Saturday, August 29 - En route to Berchtesgaden, Germany via Philadelphia, Zurich, and Salzburg

From Arrival in Zurich

Amanda    My parents took us to the airport and my dad had some English Muffins with egg and Canadian Bacon ready for us to eat when we got to their house.  Thanks Dad! These were delicious.
We checked in and went right to our gate. We flew to Philadelphia and had a short layover there. We stopped to get some Chik-fil-a, one of my favorite places. I was so hungry. I got a chicken sandwich and fries and my all time favorite Homemade Lemonade with easy ice. It's my favorite because it's so tart and sweet at the same time. Cody had chicken nuggets with fries and a coke. I was feeling kind of sick before we landed in Philadelphia; a headache and a little nausea. We both felt much better and enjoyed it. I had to pack up mine and take it with me to the terminal as we were about to leave shortly. When we walked up the the terminal, they were boarding, so we made it just in time. Yeah!! Once on the plane, I was finishing my snack and it began to rain.
Cody    A myriad of thunder and lightening began what became a 4 hour wait on the tarmac.  Just as we began to taxi out, the captain informed us that the entire airport was being turned around and to expect a 2 hour delay.  Just as the captain came over the PA to let us know we were now first in line to take off, Amanda leaned over and said, "It would be just our luck that they will turn the airport around again before we take off."  Sure enough, Amanda jinxed us (thanks Amanda) and the captain told us all the planes had to take off in the other direction.  One more two-hour do-si-do and we were finally Switzerland bound.
Amanda    He was definitely stressed out that we weren't going to leave when we had originally thought, and listening to the crying child didn't help either. 
At one point, I got up, stretched my legs, and walked around. I was so glad I had gotten something to eat before boarding as I wouldn't have made it that long. Eventually we ate dinner while watching a movie. Cody was smooth sailing after that and ready to catch some Zs as he said. I slept too after the movie was over and quite well for an airplane ride.
Cody missed it as he was brushing his teeth in the bathroom. When I woke up, I was trying to see as my eyesight was blurry. I used one of the masks you put over your eyes, like you always see in the movies, and I guess it pressed my eyes a little too much. This was the first time I've ever used one of these and it may be my last. I also think they were dry because of the air here. I can see just fine now; 5 hrs. later.
As we were coming in to the Zurich airport, we saw a wonderful view of the Matterhorn. Cody missed it as he was brushing his teeth in the bathroom. 
We took off to find our luggage which didn't take long at all to get from the plane. We headed to get something to eat and ate lunch a very relaxing delicatessen at the airport train station. We had tasty sandwiches. We called my friend Stefanie to let her know we made it okay. We validated our Eurail passes, headed to the Hauptbahnhof, the main station, and on our way stopped at our first restroom or water closet where we had to pay money to go in. There were turn styles and everything. It was like entering and exiting the Metro in Paris. It was called Mc Clean. They also offered showers and the like. You can see it below in the picture where Cody stood. I have to say they were really clean. There are people working there to keep them clean all the time.

From Arrival in Zurich

We got on the train for Salzburg, our first destination. We got on the train in 1st class even though we didn''t have a reservation. Some didn't have any reservations so, we stayed in the car and took naps. The seats pull out from the walls. We also enjoyed the scenery when got on as you can see from the lake and photos we took. What fun and what beauty God has created for us to see. Pictures cannot do justice for places like this. The best of all, is to see it for yourself. Just click on the photo above and you can see all the photos from the countryside while on the train. I am blogging as we are still on our way to Bertchesgaden, Germany.

From Arrival in Zurich

Oh, mom, thanks so much for the mini hand sanitizing wipes, these have already come in handy many times and it's only the 2nd day of travel. These are so great!! Thanks again. We are doing well and can't wait to get out and see the countryside, take a nice hopefully hot shower, eat some great German food, and take a nice/hike and walk in Bertchesgaden.

Album: Arrival in Zurich