Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Trip Back Home


Trip back to Canada was interesting.

First, my flight from Dusseldorf to Toronto on Lufthansa was over book and I was on Stand By. Maybe it was a sign for me to stay in Germany longer, who knows.  But, after people started to load the plane, they find a seat for me. Lucky or Lufthansa’s fault?

So the flight was good, watch four movies and had a good lunch and snacks, plus wine with my meal.  All for free!

My flight was a little delayed, got to Toronto about a hour later than planned.

Off the plane, hit customs (long line), pick up my luggage and check my luggage. Next go through security again and find my gate, where the flight will be. This leaving me about ½ hour before boarding my next flight.  I was thinking what I was going to do with my three hour layover, but I guess I did not have to worry about it.

From Toronto to Edmonton, the flight was good.  I tried to sleep, but for some reason I could not.  I watch two movies.

Landed in Edmonton and my parents were waiting for me.  My mother started to cry when she say me.  And of course, my luggage was one of the last pieces off the plane.

Head home and sleep, by the time I headed home and hit the bed; it was 6:00 in the morning Germany time.  Meaning I was awake for almost 24 hours.  LONG DAY!

Ohhh Ahhh Moment

On my travels in Koln, I came across something interesting. I was walking across the Hohenzoller Bridge in Koln and saw thousands of padlocks all over the bridge’s fence.


Ok um what the idea of the locks?  Looking closer I saw names and dates on the locks.


I did a little research and found the following:


"Apparently this custom in Cologne started in 2008. It was an amazing sight. Padlocks of all colors, shapes and sizes were all over the fence.This custom was believed to have begun in China. Couples would secure their padlock and throw away its keys to symbolize locking their souls together. These love locks can now be found all over the world – Ukrain, Guam and Russia just to name a few. Their beliefs about the locks may vary per city but one thing is still true- all is done for love. And as a true romantic, it was wonderful and inspiring to be surrounded by that much love – even if it was just through symbols." ~  http://bentroad.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/the-story-of-the-love-padlocks/


So, we I get married (whenever that may be) I will be dragging him with me to Koln and putting our lock on the bridge.  Romantic.








Koln Part Two

Today I decided to hope on the train and go exploring.  While I ended up in Koln.

First I went on a City Tour that took me all over the city. 

Highlights -
Koln's Arean, where the Koln's Hockey Team the Sharks play
Churches
Interesting Structures
And the Chocolate Museum

After the tour, I had to go to the Chocolate Museum, who wouldn't?

I swear my mouth water the whole time I was there.  First part talked about the history of Chocolate, which was interesting.  Then came the manufacturing of Chocolate and you could watch the process behind glass, plus there were samples!

After the museum, I took a nice walk along the Rhine River, and it was beautiful day for walking.








Thursday, 25 August 2011

Oberhausen

Off to Oberhausen, to the Gasometer, which is an old factory turned into a museum.  The exhibit right now is called Magic Places.

Magic Places is photos around the worlds showing the natural beauty of the world and the wonders of the world – like Cathedrals, Egypt, Great Wall of China etc. Amazing!

Right in the middle of the exhibit, there is a giant tree – fake – but shows the natural beauty of the world.

One can talk a lift to the top and view the city.

For lunch/dinner we had chicken and rice and played two games of dominoes.  We had a double feature night – Date Night and No Strings Attached.  








Netherlands

The plan, head to a city in Netherlands, where we going shopping (were five girls, we like to shop), and in the afternoon hit the beach, and swim in the ocean.

We leave, it looks like a beautiful day, the weather guy says up to 30 °C and all is good in the world.

We play good music and sing all the way.  We hit the Netherlands border and it starts to lightly rain.  No problem looks like it’s going to blow over, plus we will not hit the beach till the afternoon.  As we drive, it rains harder and harder, and the clouds get darker and darker.  There is no end in sight and it’s not going to clear anytime soon.  We pull into a McDonalds and make the decision; the plan is not going to work.  We get ice cream from McDonalds and we head home.

We have a nice day at home, by playing dominoes, and having fish for dinner. We will see if we can try another day. 

I guess German Weather Men are as good as the Canadian ones.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Xanten

Off to the Roman Museum in Xanten .  In 2 AC, the Romans controlled this area, and had a city called Colonia Ulpia Traiana.  Today, many of its remnants are hidden only a few centimetres below the grass.

One can walk the grounds, where the city once stood and see the ruins of buildings or the reconstruction of many buildings. Plus there is an outdoor theatre, where they show plays during the summer.  I will see if I can transfer from Maclab to this theatre for a year.

There is a Rome Museum, on site where you can learn more about the Roman way of life and its occupation over this area.  This museum is very hands on and geared to all ages.  Once again I can a hand held guide to guide me through this museum. 

After the museum , off to the Eis Parlour to a snack.  I ordered a small sundae, I hate have seen a regular sundae – oh my. Why don’t we have ice cream parlours in Canada, like Germany does?

We visit St.Victor’s Cathedral, where I was left speechless.  The citizens started building in 1263. 1263 !  I love history. 

For dinner, we had Homemade Pizza and played dominoes. I won one game and lost the other game so badly.     







Sunday

This morning we watched the movie “Morning Glory” (In English – German Subtitles) with Harrison Ford. 

For lunch we had cake from a local bakery.  Has anyone have any ideas on how I can bring home these baked goods?  Yes there are Bakeries in Canada, but the German ones seem so much better. 

After lunch, we head to Bochum to the Planetarium, to watch a film on the stars and planets.  The film was put to music, and one traveled around the universe, listening to music.  Nice way to spend the afternoon.

Back home, we played two games of dominoes, which I both won.  For supper we had curry, chicken, and fruit over rice. I have an excellent cook here!!

After supper, we watched another movie “Easy A”, in English with German Subtitles. 

Snack and nightcap and off to bed. 

Lazy Day

Today is lazy day, where we rest and do laundry. 

At noon, we head to a local Flea Market – Giant Garage Sale.  Some stuff people try to sell are pure junk and who in their right mind will but that stuff, but who knows maybe there are people out there who will buy that stuff.  I’m sorry; I will not buy bras or underwear from a flea market. There was good stuff too.  One guy was selling used CD’s for 3 Euros, and he had a good collection of American Music, I picked up a few CD’s from him.  I have played them all and they all are in good working condition.   

For dinner, we had a BBQ, where I was told I do not eat enough.  I do not eat enough, does it look like I do not eat enough.  For dinner I had a chicken breast, a piece of a pork chop, some fish, a whole sausage, cooked vegetables, a salad and 1 ½ rolls and that’s a small meal. The rest of my Germany family had double or triple what I had.  How can they eat all that and stay skinny?  My new goal, find out this secret.

After dinner, we head to Duisburg to see the lights.  It’s an old Steel Industrial Park that was closed down years ago, but at night they light of the park with various lights and you can climb to the top of buildings.  I was impressed I climb to the top of one of the buildings, only 239 stairs to the top and 239 stairs to the bottom.  There is always a bar and food stands, surrounded by sand for visitors.  In addition, they play an outdoor movie every weekend during the summer.  They had a good selection of movies they were playing all summer (Harry Potter, Thor, Hangover 2, True Grit, Zookeeper, etc) but they were all were in German. 

We came home for a snack and a nightcap, and once again talked about Germany vs. Canada.






Saturday, 20 August 2011

Anholt


Today, we went Anholt Castle, home of Prince Carl Philip – while one of Prince Carl Philip’s homes. 

The castle was first built in the 12th Century, and continued to expand from there.  The history of this place is unreal, I was in History Heaven, although the plug-ins, modern lighting and phones did remind you in your in the 21st Century.  We went on a tour of the Castle and walked the grounds.  

My favourite room was the Reception Room.  It was a beautiful room, with huge tapestries on the wall, and decorated ceilings.  In the middle of the room, was a bed.  Where the Prince at the time would stay in bed and people came to him, to get to sign documents or discuss matters with him.  Where did this tradition go?  I stay in bed; you come to me, sounds good to me.  But, the only down side is the family thought if you lay down on the bed, death will find you, so you had to sleep sitting up, to keep death away.  Superstitions.

The second floor was the Family’s Art Collections, the collection dates back to 1645.  The Third floor is where the Prince stays when he is in town and it off limits to the public.  One has to wonder if they put a flat screen TV up there or is everything the way it should be? 

During World War II, 70% of the Castle was destroyed, but Prince Carl Philip’s Father made it his goal to restore the castle, and his son continues the preservation of the Castle.

On the grounds, there was a small maze, one can go through.  Five minutes and you’re out. But, there was a nice lake, flowers, roses and statutes in the grounds too. 

After the Castle, we headed to the Netherlands.  I expected a border like between Canada and US.  No, if it was not for a sign saying Welcome to Netherlands, I would not have known we crossed the border. 

In Netherlands, we head to a famous Farmer’s Market, where we had fish for lunch, and did some shopping.  Plus, we had to have Esi before leaving.

Does anyone have any ideas on how I can bring back some of this fresh baking I am having or seeing. I am going to miss this when I get back to Canada. 

We played a couple of games of Dominions when we get back to the house, and then we had Chinese Food for dinner.  After dinner, we talked about Germany and Canada, what is the same what is different, and no life is nothing like Desperate Housewives.  TV, oh!

Tomorrow is Lazy Day, where we take it easy.        







Ruhr


Off to Ruhr – to visit the mining town, but now a museum and old equipment.

This place is enormous; it would take one, three or four days to see all the grounds. 

 The museum is on three floors, one floor focuses on the present day Ruhr, one floor on History of Germany and the last floor focuses on Ruhr History.  It was fascinating, but overwhelming with information.  I had an English Headset, since most of the exhibit was in German. One of my favourite parts what reading the stories of people living in Ruhr during the 20th Century. 

We had our packed lunch at the car and since it was a beautiful day, why be inside.  We drove to a lake and walked around the lake for a bit and had Esi.  I saw a German Duck – looked like a Canadian Duck, but it q√ľacked instead quacked  

We had a good storm hit us here, but to me this was a normal Alberta Lighting and Thunder Storm, for everyone else it was big and scary.  This town is not used to this much rain, because the streets started to flood. 

For supper we had Turkish food, and watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show, with German subtitles.  Good way to learn German, watch the movie and read the subtitles.  Let’s do the Time Wrap Again.

Tomorrow the Castle – maybe a Duke?

Side note – watching 2 ½ Men and The Simpsons in German can be quite funny. 


One of many stories of Ruhr





German Duck


Ruhr Musuem


Nice Lake


Artifact from Rhur Musuem

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Colonge

Opa & Oma and Erika and Konrad left today for their bus tour – bye

Now the old folks are gone, we shall have so fun – no disrespect intended.

Today, of five girls ( Me, Marion, Hannah, Lena, and Kerstin) are heading to Colonge to see the Dome.  When I think of Dome, I think of the Butterdorm or a Sports Dome, so I had no idea what were we going to see.

We take the Autobahn to Colonge, where we did speeds up to 150km/h – shh don’t tell my parents we were going that fast, they might get concern.  I can think of a few people who would love to drive the Autobahn and go those speeds and do not have to worry about a speeding ticket.

In Colonge, the Dome is the Cologne Cathedral – words cannot describe this place. WOW.

Thanks goodness there were English Speaking Tours for me to attend.  It was so interesting to learn about the history of the Cathedral. Did you know that construction of the Cathedral started in 1248, and was completed 500 years later.  Me history nerd, so this was right up my alley, and I can go on and on about facts about the Cathedral, but I will stop, because I may bore you all.

One more thing, when I was there, they had a small service and I got to hear them play the organ, in this huge Cathedral.  It was beyond words.  Beautiful! Yes I like to listen to organ music.

After tour and many pictures, off to lunch at MacDonald’s. The food taste the same, as it does in Canada, but their ketchup packets are much bigger – Canada take notes.

Next – Shopping.  Michelle, you would have thought you died and gone to Heaven if you were here with us today.  It was never ending shops – we shopped for four-five hours.  We stopped half way for ice cream break. I bought a shirt, earrings and a little something for Mom and Dad. Mom/Dad you have to wait till I come back home to see what I bought you.  

There were many Street Performers along the sops, from Balloon Artists, to Singers, to people playing all sorts of Musical Instruments from Violin, Drums, Tuba, Guitar, ....

Most of the shops play American/Canadian Music, not German Music.  Does Germany have any German Pop Artists?  

Head back home for supper, and Season Finale Grey’s Anatomy – in German of course. McDreamy and McSteamy have much sexier voices in Canada. 

Off to the Mines tomorrow.  
  

Dusseldorf

I did something today and not sure if my parents are going to like it.....

Today, I went to Dusseldorf by myself, that’s right myself.

I took the train to Dusseldorf, only took an hour.  The train system here is really nice and fast.

Once in Dusseldorf, I took a guided bus tour of Dusseldorf and learn about the history and the twisted tower.  Rhine Tower – which was part of the tour – gave us a great view of the city and the Rhine River.  The tour was done in German, but they provided headphones to hear the tour in English.  The only problem is that English version was not always on time – look on your left to see this building and I see a park instead or look at this building and we passed it already.  For the most part was on time and learned lots.

After the tour, I took off on foot and took in the sights and sounds.

First, I cannot believe there are not more accidents here, or anyone here knows to look around and be aware of their surroundings. I was walking along, and this women stops right in front of me.  I thought why who stopped suddenly in front of me; I could have walked right into you.  She stopped, because I train was going by.  I looked around, there are no gates or rails that come down, and everything is wide open.  If one listens, the train does ring a bell to warn one.  In addition, what I sometimes thought was sidewalks were roads and what I sometimes thought was roads were sidewalks.  But drivers here are more aware of their surrounding and people, and look around when driving or turning.  Alberta Drivers need to take a few notes on this.     

I visited the St. John’s Church, St. Maximilian Church, and St. Andreas Church.  They are so beautiful. At St. Andreas Church someone was playing the organ while I was there, and I just sat and listen to the lovely music.

There is tons of shopping, they have many American stores, and they have a Tiffany’s and a Prada. And the cafes and bakeries - so many little cafes with tables out front and bakeries with fresh baking.  One’s mouth could water all day 

I must look friendly or something, because people were stopping me and asking questions.  I have to tell them me don’t speak German, can’t help.  I must have one of those faces.

Speaking of which, I am know in the neighbourhood as The Canadian.  Yesterday, when I left the house to go for a walk, the neighbours saw me and pointed at me and said – German Words, German Words, The Canadian, German Words, German Words.  Not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing, guess we will see.

Did you know Public Washroom in Germany are not free?  I had to pay One Euro to use the Ladies Restroom.  Really!  Tourist Industry not making you enough money, you have to charge to use the restroom. Hmmm.

Also, one can drink on train.  I guess no matter where you go, there is always that one obnoxious guy on the train/bus.  He had his beer and was singing away, and tries to flirt with the ladies.  This was not a young guy either; no I would say 50, maybe 60’s.    

You can tell I made it home safely and off on another adventure tomorrow.  BYE!


View From Rhine Tower


St. John's Church

Rhine Tower

Exploring

Today I explored the town.  I went downtown and check out the shops, which there were not many, but checked out their supermarkets.  I was looking what products they have and what were the same or different, I look on the other side, and their supermarkets sell alcohol - a nice selection.  This is nice, instead of making two stops – one for your groceries and one for drinks – in Germany one only has to make one stop.  

Is so green, there are so many little parks or nice walkways one can walk or bike.  Germany has lots of bike lanes for convenience.  Most people I see riding bikes are seniors, without helmets.  Some go a nice steady pace, while a few are zooming down the road like death is right behind them.  I wonder if there are many bike accidents.  I have not seen a single person riding a bike wearing a helmet.  

I found where the train station is – this information can be dangerous.

My grandparents are so worried I am going to get lost or kidnapped; they keep saying your parents would not like this.  My parents know I can look after myself, and I have better sense of direction than my mother does. In two days they be gone on their bus tour and me and the cousins will go off.   They have everything planned out on what we are going to do while my grandparents and their parents are gone.  I know some of the plans, but I guess I go with the flow.  I will not complain – I look forward to seeing new things every day.  I know one day we will head to the Netherlands and do something.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Update Grandparents

My Opa (Grandpa) and Oma (Grandma) are doing great.

They leave Wednesday for a ten day bus tour to Opa's home town.

They are reconnecting with people the have not seen in years, and like me are eating to much.

Oma's complaining that Opa is not eating enough, I tell her she always tells him he is eating too much in Canada, so now he does not kow what to do.

They say hi to everyone back in Canada and say send them money - he he he

New Line

Deutsche nicht gut, ist Canadian


Meaning


Germany not good, is Canadian - so be nice and help me

50th Anniversary

Wow!

I know 50 years of being married to the same person is a big deal, but compare to Germany, we Canadians are dropping the ball.

One night all the neighbors got together and decorated the front entrance with a giant wreath with gold roses and ribbons.  After the couple comes out of the house and offers everyone a drink, then the neighbors sing, another round of drinks, sing again, more drinks, and then we eat. 

This is the night I bonded with the family (the daughters and granddaughters).  They started to play music, German music, so I am not paying much attention.  Then I hear something different, I thought I must be hearing it wrong, no Time of My Life from Dirty Dancing.  I start singing along, and so do all the relatives.  It's one of their favs. Who knew?  The rest of the night we listen to the classics and dance - Good times

Next day is the big party - over 120 in attendance.  The hall is so beautiful! Check out my pictures from that night.  THE FOOD - I have never seen that much food.  If I had only taken a little of everything, I would had to make three trips back to try everything. 

After, various people did skits and songs, most not related to 50th, but good all the same.  There is one I took notes and will perform when I get back to Canada. 

For the first half of the night, it's German music, than the daughters ask the DJ to play the good stuff, which means Canadian & American Music.  Here I am in Germany dancing to Kate Perry - Califorina Girls, thinking does any else know what she saying or are they just dancing.........

Fun Fun Fun night

Really!

Yes, I understand I am in a different country, but do I have to do these security checks on Facebook, Yahoo Mail and Blogger everytime, which takes forever and is hard to since I have to translate the page first, but it's all in German. AH!

My vent for the day

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Picture Time


Erika and Konrad Place


Neighborhood Party


After neighbors decorated - we drink


Ask few people why does sign mean - no one seems to know


At the Hall - Where we celebrate 50th Wedding Anniversary


Lots of people - around 120 in attendance


Beautifully Decorated


Erika and Konrad at Party


Erika and Konrad at party - words cannot explain