Sneaky daughter in Brittany

First published May 29th 2011
The 3rd Weekend of May is the Mother’s day weekend! I was going to go visit my mama on the Monday after Mother’s day, but decided instead to surprise her. I called my brother and told him that I was wanted to surprise my “Mutti” on Sunday morning instead of showing up on the Monday evening. So I drove all day on Saturday, arrived in Auray on the evening and went to hide for the night at my brother’s house. We went to my mother’s house on Sunday for lunch, and as my brother and his family got in, I stayed behind and called her from my cell. She answer and I started a conversation with her like, I was just calling her to say Happy Mother’s day! Then I opened the house and asked her on the phone what she was doing? And telling her that I’d rather have a hug in person. She saw me and started crying!! 😦Both my brother and I were shocked that she would react like that, but she was thrilled, and I was happy to have been a sneaky daughter!! 😉
I then stayed all week to help her start with some project of sorting the family paper and archives. And those were just taken during our little break time!
Recreation Plaza in a French Junior High!
(The building is where the class are held) Catholic School (Vannes France)
One of the best delicacy in Brittany France. The Kouign-amann is a super buttery fluffy cake that you will die for! (Best to eat in Brittany warm with a nice view of the ocean!! )
Have some kids that don’t want to share their breakfast bowl with their sibling, a nice litte souvenir from Brittany is a Named one!! Love those!!
Celtic Harpist in Vannes France!
Paper Boat in front of a real one!! Just love the idea!“Celebration” or “Code” flags??Toothbrush?? Anyone??

And of course who could leave without eating the best of Artichoke in all of France?

Dachau

First published June 21 2011

During our little vacation in Bavaria with the kids, we stopped in Dachau. I thought it was important for my children to understand the atrocity of what Nazi Germans did to Jewish and other people during WWII. Dauchau official website

My children tend to be very sensitive to bad energy. So I rarely take them to places where I know will have energies that will disturb them.

this was taken in one of the barrack. It was filled with prisoner all the way to the top. And you could see pictures of what it looked like during the war.

Barbwire that surrounded the camp and the barracks area.

Gas chamber. This area was the most painful place to see. They had pictures all over and Rafael who is 9, asked to leave because it made him unhappy. I was tearing up.

We walked back to the entry/exit of the camp slowly and tried to make our children that even though it isn’t a place for everyone to visit. That it was important to understand what humans can do to other’s just because they are different, because they don’t think the same way of the government. Because they ask question. I told them that they HAVE to ASK question. They HAVE to know what was to make what will be a better place! And hopefully this will never happen again.

USO Soufflenheim

Last week little outing in France was to Haguenau and Soufflenheim. Soufflenheim is a very cute little village. You will find pottery and their store all over town. If one wants to buy pottery, one will find it here. Tones of different color, pattern, texture.
Here is a little history about the town.

The Emperor Barbarossa granted Soufflenheim’s potters the right to extract their clay from the Hagenau forest, a right that persists to this day. In 1837 Soufflenheim still had 55 Pottery Businesses, which employed about 600 people. In 2006 there was only a third of those left.
The Pottery Artist make lots of “Useful” pottery made for Traditional Alsacien meal (Riesling Roster, Baeckeoffe (means “baker’s oven.” It is a mix of sliced potatoes, sliced onions, cubed lamb, beef and pork which have been marinated overnight in Alsatian white wine and juniper berries and slow cooked in a sealed ceramic casserole dish. Leeks, thyme, parsley, garlic, carrots and marjoram are other commonly added ingredients for flavor and color. Traditionally, the women would prepare this dish on Saturday evening and leave it with the baker to cook in his gradually cooling oven on Sunday while they attended the lengthy Calvinist church services once typical to the culture.

The baker would take a “rope” of dough and line the rim of a large, heavy ceramic casserole, then place the lid upon it for an extremely tight seal. This kept the moisture in the container. On the way back from church, the women would pick up their casserole and a loaf of bread. This provided a meal to the Alsatians that respected the strict Calvinist rules of the Sabbath. Part of the ritual is breaking the crust formed by the rope of dough.), Kougelhopf (Gugelhupf consists of a soft yeast dough which contains raisins, almonds and Kirschwasser cherry brandy)

Citadel of Bitche, France

At the beginning of the month we went with our friend Larry and his new neighbor Charmaine (very cool chicka) to Bitche. I admit it that I always wanted to live there when we use to be in France (moselle) because of the name. Can you imagine having an address with the city of Bitche?? LOL!!Anyway, I found a website with tones of cool information about Bitche and you can go here to read more: Bitche: French citadel offers visitors unique look at dramatic siege in European history
“On a hill in the middle of the French town of Bitche, a massive, gray fortification looms over the surrounding homes, shops and restaurants. And yet, that very same citadel earned a place in the hearts of French citizens and French history by withstanding assault after assault by Bavarian forces for some 230 days following the collapse of the French army in the war of 1870. …/..

When the French military forces collapsed against the superior might of the Germans in the War of 1870, fleeing Soldiers and citizens sought refuge in the fortress as a last resort, never envisioning that they would remain within the citadel walls for the large part of a year.

Despite smallpox, hunger and other monumental challenges, the vastly outnumbered French soldiers managed to hold off the Bavarian forces, even managing to mount a counterattack during the siege. But in the end France capitulated, and those who had held the citadel for so long were finally permitted to evacuate the fortress without recourse from the victors. “

The Commandant Teyssier (Major) held the citadelle from July 1870 to March 1871 and when he gave the key to the German he left the citadelle (or so they say) with the German soldiers at attention to show their respect.
During the visit of the citadelle, you can view a movie about the battle and I found that kind of funny (not funny ah ah, but you know what I mean) that Teyssier didn’t want to leave the citadelle when the war treaty was signed, he actually left with the express order of the French Government or Paris, and at the end of the movie when he gave the key to the German, he said something like: “Paris fell but Bitche didn’t, so France is still Standing!” AH!! Proud frog that he was! 😉

Of course I couldn’t resist to get my pictures taken under the “Town Sign” So here, now everybody know that I am one of those! LOL!

Spring & Schwetzingen Castle Garden

How I LOVE Spring! This is MY favorite season, I love the fact that you can just wait a few hours and get sunshine, or rain, or wind or whatever you wish for. It doesn’t take MONTHS like in winter or summer; I love the “Inter”-seasons: Spring and fall. Love it SO much, it makes my trigger finger happy!!
One day we drove next to the Schwetzingen castle, if you haven’t read it before here is a link to a previous post: Anne’s Blog: Schwetzingen Castle Garden Visit and we saw that the “Cherry trees” were in bloom (or at least I think it is cherry) LOL!

So one sunny day, I took my camera, my HTF (Happy Trigger Finger) and car to Schwetzingen. OK it was kinda hard to find a parking spot, I should have gone with my bike, but I had to pack for our trip to my mother for Spring break, so I went and took the shortcut of my car (which wasn’t that short at the end), anyway, here are a few pictures of what I saw. Hope you enjoy them!

La Forest, Locoal Mendon

When I was 8 (I think) my parent decided to move us from Rouen (Normandy) to Locoal Mendon (Brittany), my dad was in one of his dream to farm at my grandfather’s family estate. So we went there. My parents and some friends and family started cleaning up the farm, the land and it surrounding. Remove the dirt from the well to order for it to be “useable”. Plow some part of the lands to order to grow vegetable. Built a chicken coop and surround it with wires to keep the fox to eat the chickens.
Anyway, it was a HUGE plan, and after lots of work, privation, and love. The farm was able to be use as the name was for, not just a family retreat for vacation purposes.
I have fond memory of my childhood year (some not so much) but I remember happy time, and I try to keep it that way. It was the time of carefree climbing, running, listening to my grandfather’s night tales, lifetime friendship and sunny days. Friends visiting during vacations. Memories of sitting at the kitchen table while doing my homework while the window was open, and being surprise by a small blue-tit perching itself on of the back of a chair and inspecting what I was doing.
Our Wild Life – Wildlife Photography – Scotland – Shared using HotspotShield
The farm is located in La Forest, Locoal-Mendon, in France. It was built in the XVIII century and was rebuilt in 1829 if we believe the stone that we use as settee next to my grandfather’s door. But we do know that the village where the “farm” is was there way before the revolution. The peninsula was a hideaway for the Royalist during the French Revolution. One of its chief was George Cadoudal and had 3 or 4 hideway called the “Cache a Cadoudal” that could hide up to 10 person (or so they say, I doubt it, or they were short and skinny people… oh wait!! They were French, so must have been true) LOL!
Anyway, quick stories about my childhood. We use to climb a tree that had been strike by lightning. And is still standing now, so future generation can still climb it.
Next to the “Cache” is another tree, that we use to call the “Fairy tree”
(I thought it was more of an Ork/Gnome Tree, because of the fact that it looked like it was the profile of a “monster”) mind you I was a child, I still think it look spooky. I remember that for a birthday (I wouldn’t be able to tell you if it was mine or my brother) My mother had organized a Treasure Hunt and I got separated from the group that I was with, just not too far from that tree…. I was so scared of it, that I walked (MILES) around a very LONG way to not pass in front of it (Cause it would have kidnap me and probably feed to those darn gnomes) Needless to say that for my young age and very short leg, I walk to the end of the earth to order not to go near that tree.. LOL!
Nathalie took a gorgeous pictures of that tree and made it look like it is like a fairy tree here is her link: On Black: TheMagical-ForestFlickr by nathalie56☆ [Large]
My grandfather use to tell “Tales”, legend of Brittany, but legend and stories that I believe he use to make.
Being in Brittany mean that like our cousin the Celts we have “Leprechauns” the only difference is that we call them “Korrigan” and that they sometime can turn nasty buggers!! 😉Jean-Baptiste Monge – Illustrateur
We grew up thinking they were awesome, because of the fact that they will bring our letter to Santa. In the middle of the forest surrounding the farm is a flat stone called “La Pierre aux Korrigans” (the Leprechaun’s Rock). We were told that if we were going to leave our letter to Santa on that stone, the Korrigans will get it and deliver it before his stop to our house on Christmas Eve. So of course we HAD to do it. We will write our letters, and hand delivers it to the stones after 10pm on Christmas Eve, I remember hearing the bell of the church ringing for the midnight mess. We were each given a little storm lamp and we would leave the warmth off our house to go walk in the dark and cold of the unknown. We will be excited, because once our letter were out of our hand it will mean that most likely, Santa will have getting them and that our toys should be under the tree by the time we came back. It wasn’t far by any mean, but for little legs like ours, it seems the end of the earth. LOL.
We will have to cross a HUGE field, and when we would reach the forest area, we would need to go under or over the barber fence. Then walk in the forest and find the “stone”, luckily our parent’s were with us so they helped us. We would then put our letter on the stone and get them secure with a little rock so that the wind wouldn’t carry them away. And then we would head away and climb the barber wire again, most of the time by the time we would be passing the wire, we would hear sounds of footstep in the fallen leaves. And we would try as fast as we could to climb back in the forest area and get to the stone. By the time we will arrive, the letters were gone and the “Korrigan” messenger of Santa as well. So then, we will start our walk back home talking about what heard what and who saw what! It was very exciting. By the time we will get home, all of our toys will be waiting for us near the Chimney, and we would all scream in delights. This is my favorite Christmas memory of our stay in La Forest.
Last vacation while walking around with my brother and my family, my brother tried to find the Stone again. He wasn’t able. We should try to get a map from my mother, maybe then we will be able to find it.well since I couldn’t find any more information about the “Stone” I will just leave you to this short post (ahah!!)