Thursday, June 17, 2010


Our first stop during our week long German holiday was Hamburg. We arrived into the city without a problem but once we were at the main train station, we waited for quite some time in anticipation of catching a bus to the part of town where our hotel was located. After a while, we realized no buses were stopping at our bus stop and then we figured out that the bus route was not in progress that day due to a street festival taking place between the train station and the location of our hotel! We ended up wheeling all of our luggage the few miles down the road (and through the entire street festival!) to our hotel....
After we deposited our luggage at our hotel, we went back to enjoy the street festival.
The festival included pretzels as big as our heads!
And of course great Germany "street" food for snacking...
The mushrooms caught our eye...
As well as the sausages - of course the first of MANY to come...
So, we dug into the mushrooms covered in aioli sauce. A pretty tasty snack for the travelers who had just arrived!

Cris, Craig, and Scott perched on a table enjoying our street food snacks.

After a snack, we went out exploring Hamburg. It was a neat city with water in the main part of town, making it quite picturesque.
A main street in the central town area - located on the "Inner Alster".
The Hamburg Rathaus - the impressive city hall or town hall - which is the seat of government of Hamburg.
My handsome husband outside the Rathaus area, in the main city centre.
We enjoyed dinner outside on this dock, a nice little restaurant on the Lake Binnenalster.
We passed a nice sunset on our walk home that evening back to the hotel.
Cris, Craig, and Scott (sporting the pink Vera bag yet again!) at the Hamburg Central Train Station as we were waiting to leave for our train to Berlin.
The impressive central station in Hamburg. The German train stations are really top notch!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Charlecote Park

While Scott's parents were with us at our house (post Germany) having some additional down time before they went on to Scotland, I went with them for an afternoon at a nearby National Trust property - Charlecote Park. Luckily the rain held out for us for while we toured the property and grounds.
Charlecote Park is a grand 16th century country house in a deer park on the banks of the River Avon. It has been home to the Lucy Family since the 15th century and the grounds feature a beautiful formal garden, woodland walk, and great parkland which has a herd of deer that have been in the park since Tudor times. Charlecote Park was built in 1558 by Sir Thomas Lucy and Queen Elizabeth I stayed in the room that is now the drawing room
The entrance to the property is this gate and this fence runs all the way around the property. The fence is uneven in nature on purpose, as it apparently confuses the deer so they cannot escape over it.
The main house at Charlecote Park. (Unfortunately it was closed on the day we visited so we did not get to tour the inside).

Craig & Cris in front of the "gate house" on the property.
The beautiful formal garden with the river Avon just below it.
The ugliest sheep we have yet to see! These Portugese sheep are roaming all over the property (but not near the house where most of the tourists go). Not only are there sheep wandering around on property, but there are quite a few deer. Charlecote Park covers 185 acres, so there is a lot of room for the animals to wander. Historical stories recount that William Shakespeare poached deer in the park as a young man - but apparently it wasn't a deer park at that time.

Across the street, near the parking lot for the property, is a lovely nursery and garden centre that the National Trust runs. It featured many beautiful flowers, vegetables and plants of all kinds. We enjoyed wandering around the nursery area looking at all of the flowers in bloom, to see what various kinds were on offer. The prices at this nursery were super reasonable as well - a great find for a planting or gardening addict!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

World Cup Fever

English football fans are....well, dare I say they are a bit fanatical?
So, with the World Cup starting, English pride is everywhere in this country. The flag of St. George is flying high in every pub, barber shop, grocery store and more. Take a walk down a high street and you will see a sea of promotional windows featuring various red crosses on white backgrounds, showcasing the flag of St. George.
The paraphanial is being sold in all shapes and sizes, including ever-popular car window flags.
All along the motorway and in town, cars are zipping by with these English flags flying out of their windows. I have not been able to take a photo of a car in action, but today in the parking lot I did snap a photo of a car with a windsock hanging on the side of it. All of these car window flags are quite a sight - one I cannot imagine is the same in the US but it surely adds to the excitement for the world cup tournament.

We are headed to a world cup party tonight and it will be a divided crowd of Brits and Amereicans....we will be cheering "GO USA!!!!!"

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Summing up Germany

We are back from a week's vacation in Germany and full blog posts of our time there will follow. In the meantime, there are three elements to sum up our time there.
Number 1: Rain. 
Rain, rain and more rain was the unfortunate weather theme during our time in Germany....
Number 2: Beer.
Beer is king in Germany. Steins of beer at every stop. Hence Germany being the home to Oktoberfest.
Number 3: Sausage. 
While the sausage was delicious, there can be too much of a good thing. Scott & I have decided we may have to politely decline any summer bbq invitations that involve bratwurts.