Thursday, May 30, 2013

Danke Schoen For Your Patience, Darlings!

Oh my, it has been SO hard to get back onto the blogsphere! We're still getting unpacked at the new house, plus we don't have internet hooked up yet, so combine that with feeling a little overwhelmed about how much there is to blog about, and you get blog silence for way too long.
But I have heard your pleas!! 
There is so much to update you on, but I'll start with the big EUROGANZA!  A little bite at a time, at least.
Europe was fantastic.  Exhausting, but fantastic.  It was pretty surreal to think about what incredible sites we got to see day after day after day.
I have some cute pictures of the flights on Levi's phone, so I'll save those stories for another post.  We'll jump right into our first destination: Cologne, Germany.
View of Cologne from a sky gondola (raindrops on the window, too.  Sorry)
Cologne was our homebase in Germany.  We stayed there in the same hotel until we went to France, but took a few daytrips out to neighboring areas.  Cologne was a really great city.  It had a lot to see, but wasn't overwhelmingly large or touristy.  In fact, we never saw another American in Cologne (except the Mormon missionaries, ha!).
Cologne has a big beautiful cathedral, called a Dom in German.  It's twin spires are the trademark image of Cologne.
The perfect elevator button for non-German tourists.  Want to go to the Dom?  Push the button that looks like a cathedral.  We were very impressed with the German efficiency the whole time we were there.

I never got a great shot of the cathedral.  It was too big to get in one picture.

Here is a picture of it that I obviously did not take.

Chillin out front.
I love this statute of Noah, with the ark and the dove, on the front of the Dom.

What is left of the Roman gate.

Roman ruins underneath the Dom.
Our first day there we had just gotten off an overnight, overseas flight, so we didn't do too much.  We checked into the hotel, walked along the river to the Dom, spent some time in the park, and just got a feel for the city.
Popcorn popping on the apricot tree...our walk along the Rhine river from the hotel to the Dom.
Weird German street art/graffiti 

A cool gate tower from the Middle Ages we happened upon.

In case you're interested.

Love the cobblestone streets.  They ended up doing a number on our stroller wheels, though (well, maybe it was all the dang Pairisian stairs that busted the wheel.  Not sure.)

Playing in the park.  The weather was beautiful our first four days.

The red balloon seems like such a European plaything.
Poor, tired baby.
We made it to about 7:00 I think before we just HAD to sleep.  We ended up sleeping about 14 hours that night, which worked out well for both getting our bodies on German time, and also catching up on some much needed sleep.
A few days later, on a rainy day, we took a gondola across the Rhine river, which we enjoyed.  Not a must-see, but fun.

Lots of gondola-themed decorations in the station.  Ha.

We also went to an art museum that day in Cologne dedicated to Kathe Kollwitz, who has been one of Levi's favorite artists since high school.
You couldn't use flash, so the pictures are all fuzzy.

I am pretty sure you're not supposed to touch the art, but this was the first time I heard him say "foot," so I let it slide.

That's a self portrait of Kathe Kollwitz on the wall.

I really enjoyed Cologne.  I'm happy we got to spend so much time there.  And yes, cologne was first "invented" in Cologne, and I got a mini-bottle of the original formula (and it actually smells really good)!
Next up, Aachen, onetime capital of the Holy Roman Empire.