Monday, July 30, 2007

Just arrived from Germany!

Our beautiful new cuckoo clock! We brought the weights home in our checked luggage because they're so heavy--which we think is why they evidently hand-searched our bag. We LOVE it! Thanks to Dennis' mom and dad, who mailed it to us!

What a mess!

Henry fought the banana, and the banana won.

We're still not sure who was the victor in Henry vs. the Avocado.

He's very 'saucy!

I think he likes the Exersaucer...for the moment at least.

The Future Domers Club

Hello, Maggie!

Margaret Leigh was born to Caroline and Rob on July 27th at 6:02 a.m., weighing 8 pounds 8 ounces and measuring 20.5 inches long.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Last bits of the trip

Apparently on Sunday we were too exhausted to take many pictures.
This is a very picturesque street in Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Rothenburg over the Tauber), which is a lovely little town with lots of Christmas shops. It would be very easy to blow all of our spending money here. Good thing it was our last stop!

On Monday night we were stranded in Newark, having landed too late to make our flight to Cincinatti. While waiting in an interminably long line to be rebooked, Henry practiced sitting up. Unfortunately, he didn't actually do it for the camera. So just squint and pretend you can't see my hands there, and you'll get the idea!

We did finally make it home on Tuesday afternoon. The Gipper was excited to see us for sure. I can't thank the Hempels enough for taking care of him!

And now, time to go to bed. I've got to take The Boards tomorrow (certification exam for the American Board of Family Medicine). No stress here. G'night!


On Saturday we traveled to Munich, where we had lunch at the famous Hofbrauhaus.

You can only order beer in 1 Liter steins. Okay then.

Dennis' mom and dad had coke and water. Very intrepid of them.

No, Henry didn't have any, but the stein was almost as big as he.

Dennis looked a little "louied" before he even finished the beer. I didn't even come close to finishing mine.

Later, Dennis and his dad took a Third Reich tour of Munich. This is the second floor of the Hofbrauhaus, which was used for the first big Nazi rally.

He took a bunch of photos on the tour, but I have no idea what they're of, so I'll leave that to him if he wants to post them.

Henry and I chilled at the hotel that afternoon. (Hey, we were tired from all that sight-seeing!) Plus I had to read Harry Potter 7.

We're home, but...

...I'm not done showing off from our trip!

Last Friday morning, Henry showed off his high-chair sitting skills, along with his sparkly teeth.

This is a toothy grin covered in 'naner (banana, if you didn't know).

First we visited Hohenschwangau Castle, where the famed King Ludwig II spent most of his childhood.

Here's one of the beautiful views from the courtyard.

My two loves.

A pastoral scene of the Bavarian countryside.

Schloss Neuschwanstein, built by King Ludwig II (never finished). King Ludwig dedicated it to the composer Richard Wagner. (Hmm, unmarried king dedicates castle to unmarried composer--any theories on that one?) Upon Ludwig's mysterious death at age 40 (found drowned after being declared incompetent to rule), construction was halted. Six weeks later it was opened to the public for viewing.

You might recognize it as the "Disney castle," which is based upon this one. It's ridiculously fancy.

A closer look.

From the courtyard.

That night for dinner, Dennis was brave and ordered the "Farmer's Plate," although he had no idea what it was. It. Was. Meat. Of the pork variety. Interesting, at least.

We also walked around the beautiful little town of Obergammau which has lots of beautiful painted buildings. I'll call them frescoes, although I'm not totally sure of the manner in which they were painted. Obergammau is famous for its yearly performance of the Passion Play (which was notoriously anti-Semitic in the past and was revised in the past two decades at the request of the Vatican). It also boasts many woodcarving craftsmen, and we managed to pick up a few little pieces for Henry.

More to come...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mittwoch (Wednesday)

Imagine this photo is better, and you can see Henry's two bottom teeth shining at you!

Today we visited the Cathedral of Cologne--it is the second tallest Gothic structure in the world, and the most perfect (according to our guide, anyway).

The main entrance to the cathedral.

A closer view of the Madonna and child at the entrance.

The cathedral is filled with stained glass windows. This one depicts the life of St. Peter in the top half, and the archbishop who provided it in the bottom half.

This floor mosaic depicts the church which was on this site previously. The current Gothic structure was begun in 1248 and completed in a mere 632 years.

Henry enjoyed visiting the remains of the Magi.

A somewhat closer view of the crypt containing the remains of the Magi. On January 6th each year (Twelfth Night for you Louisianians, also Epiphany for the Catholics) pilgrims are allowed to approach and view the skulls of the Magi up close.

The oldest crucifix in the world, created of wood. It was (I think) the first cross depicting Christ in a realistic manner.

German pizza is apparently weird. That is, in fact, a fried egg in the center of this pizza.
This is what we're doing now...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Monday's excursion

Grandpop, Dad, Henry, and I drove up to Rudesheim for what was supposed to be a brief trip.

Rudesheimer Kaffe: flaming Asbach Uralt Brandy, 3 cubes of sugar, coffee, all topped off with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. Yum.

"That makes me drool a little."

We took the cable lift up to the top of a "hill" where there is this monument, Germania. It commemorates the unification of Germany in 1871.

The view from the top.

Three generations of Chathams.

Mom and Henry on the cable car ride down.

A view of vineyards from the cable car. Rudesheim am Rhein is in the middle of Riesling wine country.

You didn't think you could escape without another stroller shot of Henry, did you? This was on the deck of the Rhein River cruise we took. It was extremely hot and crowded, plus we were 5 hours behind schedule. It was a beautiful view of several castles, though.

The only photo of a castle we took from the boat. The camera batteries then proceeded to die. grr.

Stage 3 continued

Saturday's adventures continued with stops at a couple of museums.

Berlin's Natural History Museum has the largest intact Brachiosaurus skeleton in the world.

We visited the Pergamon Museum on Berlin's Museum Island. It's main claim to fame is the ginormous Pergamon Altar, which has been rebuilt inside. This is only a small part.

The building surrounding the altar was covered in intricate friezes depicting the battle between the gods and the giants. The headless figure above is Zeus.

The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in the middle of Berlin was never restored after WWII so that the people would always remember the horrors of war.

Our trip made one last stop on Sunday before heading out: Potsdam (outside Berlin), where the Kaisers had several enormous palaces. Unfortunately, they didn't have any English-language tours on Sundays, and they don't allow photos inside. So you'll just have to take my word for it that the Neues Palais was ridiculously huge and ornate.
Sorry, no cute pictures of Henry in his stroller on this day.