It’s Back

My greatest pleasure in being a mom is watching my kids play outside. Now that the nice weather is here, we’ve put our tramp back up. At least once a day they’ll all be still and quiet for a moment as they lay down and look up at the clouds trying to find shapes. This picture is not one of those moments, but still a good one. Happy Spring!

NATO 101

I had the opportunity to go to a course in Southern Germany to learn more about NATO and it’s interactions with different nations. I learned a ton, but the best part was having a class made up of 26 nations, and not all were NATO members. To learn how Ukraine views current world issues versus Denmark is just one example. Throw in my US mindset and a Dutch opinion and dinner conversation was never dull.

Part of the course allowed the opportunity to independent study. I used the opportunity to sight see.

My trip to the Disney castle was worth it. Unfortunately pictures inside are not allowed. It is worth the ticket price. Interesting note, the castle has been a museum since 6wks after King Ludwig’s mysterious death.

I also visited Kolfel mountain in Oberammergau, Germany where the story of Hansel and Gretel comes from. The story goes that a witch lives in the mountain and there are numerous documentations of kids going out to play and never coming back.

Oberammergau is a unique village situated in a valley. When the village was hit with the Plague the town promised God that if it would stop spreading and spare lives they would always do a Passion play. The Plague ceased and the people have put on the Passion play every 10yrs following. This is the longest running Passion play in the world. It has become so largely attended that only those born in Oberammergau or those who have lived there for a minimum of 20yrs are allowed to be actors.

The opportunity to learn more about my job, but also other nations perspectives is one I am so grateful to have gotten. Not bad to get it see Neuschwanstein either.

-S

Dagje Uit

Upon getting home from my work trip I learned it was time to pick up one of our two tables we had ordered. The table we would be picking up was in Northern Netherlands, or Holland, and was our new coffee table.

Kinderdijk was recommended to us by the man who built our table and we are so glad he did. The weather was perfect and the crowds were low. Dax and Zoe loved taking a vehicle ferry and then riding a boat to the windmills. One of the windmills we toured housed a single family of 14!

Next was another castle. Though the baroness was Jewish it survived WWII thanks to the wits of the staff left behind. They hid anything that could be taken off the walls in secret passageways. If they received news of German troops coming close they would begin to clean and manicure the grounds. When asked what they were doing by German troops, the staff would respond getting the estate ready for your leadership. Thinking their leadership was about to arrive, they did no harm to the property.

And finally it wouldn’t be a Davies Day Trip if we didn’t go out of our way to see Amsterdam and the dyke system that has reclaimed the lowlands of the Netherlands.

The longer we’re here the more we want to travel. This should mean more actual travel leading to more blog posts. Enjoy!

-S

A Weekend Away

This is quite delayed, but life happens and catching up the blog is my lowest priority.

Zed and I had the amazing opportunity to spend a few days together in Europe. His parents were out visiting to help with the kids as I was away with work. Zed was gracious enough to drive me down and take the scenic route. In total we visited 8 countries in under 48hrs.

Our journey began in the Netherlands, as that’s where we live. We quickly entered Belgium where we passed through Liege, Bastogne, and Arlon. I love living in a place that holds so much history. When we first moved here we watched Band of Brothers to give us a brief history lesson. Then it was a quick stop through Luxembourg, which is smaller than Rhode Island.

France is where things became new. As soon as we crossed the border we saw the Maginot line, which I got no pictures of because my phone was away. From that point on I always had it within easy reach and turned the auto camera function on. We were also greeted into France by seeing nuclear power plants. Their water towers are also some of the most unique I’ve seen (a funnel, a castle turret, and a mushroom). By this time we need some food. We like to visit the local McDonald’s to see what interesting things they have on their menu. We were let down, no unique menu items. Moments away from our next country we came to a border checkpoint. When they asked us if we had anything to declare I held up the McDonald’s bag and Zed said just fast food. I’d like to think we livened up the officer’s shift.

Switzerland was up and is a country of tunnels. In 2hrs we journied through a minimum of 20. I lost count. So far it has been the country Zed and I both agree we’d like to ex-pat to, if we were rich enough to do so. Their homes are unique and there are ranches everywhere.

The homes have huge roofs (guessing to manage the snow), numerous windows, and carefully decorated gables. They even decorate the under side of the roofs.

This is St Urban Abbey.

While in Switzerland we were also able to participate in a Latter Day Saint Temple Session. The Bern Temple was the first built in Europe.

Liechtenstein was a surprise for me. It was also our first passport stamp since being here, we did a few euros to get it. Our goal was to see Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein (from the movie A Knight’s Tale), instead we walked into their Carnival parade.

Now it was time for Austria. We ventured through a 8.5mi long tunnel that allowed us to bypass a mountain pass. One of the most interesting things we saw was a car from Swaziland. How it got there we’re still wondering. There were also wooden huts scattered throughout and we never could research a good answer as to what they were.

Germany brought us to the end of our journey. We stayed at the base of Neuschwanstein Castle and Zed dropped me off at my work location the next morning (another blog post will be coming on that). We were able to see the Zugspitze (the tallest point of Germany) and a few avalanches.

The trip was amazing. A great time to spend together and see new things. We were blessed with safety and clear roads both in weather and traffic. Enjoy the few pictures I took and stay tuned for more adventures

-S