Bella Italia Sto Arrivando

43d12-img_9267For those of you who KNOW me! You understand that I have some kind of connection with the Italian culture. I just LOVE Italy, LOVE the culture, the history, the landscape, the food, the weather, the language, the cars and of course going there and being called “Bella” is a Huge bonus! LOL
So when my friend Charmie told me that she was going TDY for 4 days around my Birthday, I jump on the possibility and said: “Can I come with you?”
She said: “OMG!! Sure!! Are you sure??” OF course I am SURE! Are you kidding me?? I am sure about nothing BUT the fact that I can go in Italy and enjoy everything that I can about Italy!! 😉
I am so excited, so we are leaving tomorrow morning… WHOHOO!! And coming back on Thursday (sometime in the afternoon) but there is always the possibility that we will get lost and will HAVE to stay there of course, we will (Obviously) try our best to find our way back, but you know all the road lead to Rome. So I might be able to send a postcard from there too! LOL!

Can you see on the map, Venice, Vincenza, Padova, Rovigo, and Verona. Of course we will be going around Verona, so all those big cities might only be a dream to visit one day. But I sure am going to try to get around as much as I can! I will keep you posted on what, where, how and you know me, my HTF (Happy Trigger Finger) is delighted.



Riding on Tricky

So Matt decided to go on a ride and for once I agreed to accompany him. First we had to fill up. It was a beautiful evening. The funny part was that his bike got overheated and we had to stop and stay for a while on the side of the road. The nice part was that we had a gorgeous view of the sunset on the Neckar River in Heidelberg.

This is one of the reason we love leaving in Europe. It is so nice to just being able to pop in and go enjoy the view of a beautiful town.

Traveling & Visiting Europe

Every year in Europe you will find the “European Heritage days”. Those days are different in each country but the benefits are normally the same. MOST National Museum is open to the public for FREE!! Yeap you read it right FREE!! Now be careful I didn’t say EVERY museum is FREE. I said MOST NATIONAL museums. So do your homework before you end up going to place that you’ll have to pay. You can Google information of the European Heritage days and you’ll find tone of goodies. I will list below the one that I thought could be of interest. Also based of the fact that we live in Germany and that I tend to only do day trip I kept that in mind. However if you are more adventurous and your purse coin is heavier than mine you can go to this website and click on the country that you are interested to visit:

Council of Europe – Directorate of Culture, Cultural and Natural Heritage-European Heritage Days

Those are some of the official one for different country around Germany: (since I live there) 😉

Austria: BDA – Bundesdenkmalamt Österreich 26 of September 2010

Belgium: Wallonia: Accueil Les journées du patrimoine 11-12 September 2010

Flanders: Heritage Day Flandres Open Monumentendag Vlaanderen 12 September 2010

Brussels Capital: Monument 18-19 September 2010

Czech Republic: European Heritage Days 11-19 September 2010

France: – Frédéric Mitterrand’s Editorial Journées européennes du Patrimoine 2010 18-19 September 2010

Germany: Tag des offenen Denkmals – Programm zum Tag des offenen Denkmals 12 September 2010

Hungary: Kulturális Örökség Napjai A Felemelő Század: A “Nemzeti Styl” – 2010. szeptember 18-19. 18-19 September 2010

Italy: Home-Page Sito web del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali 25-26 September 2010
Luxembourg : Service des Sites et Monuments Nationaux 18-19 September 2010

Netherlands: Summary – Open Monumentendag 11-12 September 2010

Poland: Europejskie dni dziedzictwa 11-12 and 18-19 September 2010

Switzerland: Nationale Informationsstelle für Kulturgüter Erhaltung NIKE : Journée du patrimoine
11-12 September 2010

Hope it can make your visiting a little easier, and hopefully you’ll be able to visit some area or some museum that you might not have enjoyed cause the price was too much! Enjoy!!!



De blog

USO Last Paris Trip

And voila this is it… No more trip to Paris with the USO! I was glad that my friend Shaunna from Captivus was able to accompany me on that one! It was so much fun to be with a fellow photographer.

This time we went on the South part of Paris. We went to the Eiffel Tower and to the wall of Peace to just make sure we knew where it was going to be!! And to the Montparnasse Cemetery.

We walked most of the time but at the end of our little escapade our feet were screaming for us to just chill. So we took the subway. This is one of the thing that I love about the subway in Paris.

You can be surprise by accordeon player, or singer… and just relax by sitting down while listening to some “traditional” french tune!

We decided after Montparnasse to go to the Jardin du Luxembourg. It was the first time that I took the time to cruise around the Garden. And since it was the end of the summer, we had the change of colors in the trees and still flowers in the garden. It was so pretty!

 And then we went back to the Peace Wall to do a project call HUG ME you can find more information about it here

Neckar Cruise mandatory Fun

First Published May 13th 2011
So every so often we have to have “Mandatory” fun! This month it was to go
on the Neckar river on a boat cruise (which was so lame, I am telling you.) Being stuck in a boat for 1 hour, just to go around to be able to drink beer for those gentlemen… Sorry, not what I call my kind of fun! LOL

Well at least I had my handy dandy camera and was able to pass the time by doing what I love to do… Taking pictures! LOL So here are a few of those!! Hope you enjoy them!


Last week I went to a “training” to Ladenburg for one of my coming assignment with the USO. I had NEVER been there and I will tell you that I found that little town just BEAUTIFUL and full of history.

I learn that Ladenburg was the second oldest city on this side of the Rhine River. The town started as a Celts settlement around 3000BC. The Name was LOKWODUNOM (meaning “Castle on the water”) it changes with the different area in history. Around 200BC the Celts left the region chased by the Suebs, who came from the North of Germany. When the Romans invaded the country, they accepted the Suebs as settles and made them their auxiliaries (militia). From 70AD the Romans started construction of a “Castellum” and chose to make town a “military base”. The town became soon after the “Capital” of the region. A little like in the states where DC is the Capital of the USA, each states has a capital, and in this time Rome was the Country capital and naming little town as their “regional/states” capital.


The Jupiter Column: Maybe the most remarkable ancient Roman piece that was found in Ladenburg is the Jupiter Column and Four Gods Stone.
The Bishop’s Palace: The painted architecture of the facades is a reconstruction. In 1960 remains of the original paintings were found underneath younger plaster and paint and the renaissance decoration repainted according to the finds.

St Sebastian Chapel: it belongs to the Bishop’s palace. Its origins date back to the 7th or 8th century. The oldest visible parts are the Romanesque walls of the northern transept and the steeple.

Witches Tower: Walking along the old wall you come to another old watch tower, It was built around 1200 as a watch tower, but was later used as a prison for “witches”, women who were thought to be witches.




Tagelohnerhaus: Daily wagers. People who didn’t have a “full time” job. In the morning they will go to the market place and look for work, and they will come and sleep in this house.


St Gallus : Middle of the 13th century was begun with the construction of the Gallus Church, z.T. on foundations of a Roman basilica market. The colored glass windows created 1966/67 “Valentin Feuerstein”. Represent Ladenburg as a Roman city, a Bishopric
and finally what is it today!



Key symbol on the wall: Signified that it was a bishopric town and that we were coming close to the bishop house.




The 30 years war (1618-1648) was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history. The war was fought primarily in what is now Germany and at various point involved most of the countries of Europe. The origin was initially because of a religious conflict between the Protestants and Catholics. Gradually it developed into a more general conflict involving most of the European powers. The war became more a continuation of the “Bourbon-Habsburg” rivalry for political power and then less specifically about religion.

Martin’s Gate: You can still see the holes made by cannon balls in the year 1622, when the town was besieged in the 30 years’ war.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Carl Benz moves to Ladenburg. In 1888 while her husband was away, Bertha decided to take the car on a long distance trip from Mannheim to Pforzheim where her mother lived. She took her 2 sons (13 and 15 years old) and left a note to her husband. So Bertha Benz and her sons drove by ear. If a chain had extended and now quite audibly missed individual teeth of the gears, they had to go to the blacksmith’s in Bruchsal who fixed the chain. However, two bad troubles happened in the middle of the road, so that “on-board” tools had to be used for the repair. These two pretty dramatic situations were described later as follows, rather coolly, by Bertha Benz, “The first time, the fuel line was clogged – my hairpin turned out to be helpful there. The second time the ignition was broken. I used my garter to fix it.” You can find the first garage in Germany in Ladenburg.

The Stumble Stones: Many places in Germany have started to put down some “Stumble Stones” – “Stolpersteine”. You’re supposed to stumble, not literally of course, but in your thoughts. These golden bricks are put down on the pavement in front of a building in which a victim of the Nazis used to live.

Schwetzingen Castle Garden Visit

This past week we have been bless with “spring” weather! Cloudy but concidering the fact that we didn’t see too much sun lately it was SUNNY!! So, of course I use this to open my windows everyday ALL day, instead of just a few minutes in the morning.

Then I recharged my camera battery and on Friday (since it was the only day of last week when I wasn’t busy) I took out!!

Camera in the bag & hat on my head. It was a pretty day, but lots of wind, so the clouds full of rain will come and go as fast as you could take refuge under a tree! LOL! BUT I did have a great time, I went to the Schwetzingen castle.

Here is a little info about the castle for those of you who one day will go around the garden, like I did!
Schwetzingen was the summer residence of the Electors Palatine Karl III Philip and Charles Theodore. It is situated in Schwetzingen, roughly equidistant from the electors’ seats at Heidelberg and Mannheim, and is most notable for its spacious and ornate gardens. Other than these exceptionally well preserved gardens and the castle proper, the compound also features one of the few surviving theaters in the rococo style.

The Palace Garden
The Garden Complex was created in Schwetzingen based on the example of Versailles and is unequalled anywhere in Europe.

The Schwetzingen Palace garden consists of two parts:
• The Symmetrically designed French baroque Garden with the Arion fountain in the center and
• The English landscape garden, this lies around the large pond and its arced canals in planned naturalness.
The Baroque garden is divided into the parterre, hedge zone and forest section. An unusual feature in Schwetzingen is the circular parterre formed by the “Zirkelbauten” (Quarter-Circle Buildings) and the vine-covered galleries, which distinguishes it from all other of the period.
The Schwetzingen gardens, like all baroque gardens, are oriented on the center axis of the palace. The main avenue is the reference point for all parts of the gardens. This idea embodies the concept of the absolute ruler: All parts of the estate are based on him; his glory shines like the sun over everything; his entire surroundings reflect his importance. With his building and landscape architects Nicolas de Pigage and Friedrich Ludwig Sckell, Carl Theodor, with his love of art and the good things in life, realized a garden complex which shows the intellectual history and fashions stretching from the baroque to the enlightenment to the Romantic period:

• The gardens, with their use of antique mythology (e.g. in the Temple of Apollo and the figure of Arion on the dolphin), becomes a Baroque stage for courtly life.
• The reasonable rationalistic view of the Enlightenment is reflected in the geometry of the circular parterre.
• In accordance with the ideas of the Romantic period, the concept of the gardens approaches nature with its imitation of natural moods and landscaped areas.

In all ages a multitude of fountains, cascades, lakes, ponds and channels bring movement into the gardens. Statesmen, artists and scholars of the highest rank met at the Palatinate Summer residence in Schwetzingen for the purpose of enjoying the opera performances and the magnificent courtly life. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart gave concerts here and Voltaire was a guest here. Schwetzingen later irresistibly attracted Romantic Friedrich Holderlin and Freiherr Von Eichendorff.
The Mosque was built as a Garden Folly.

What is “Hermine” or Why?

Some of you have been asking the question what on earth is “hermine” or what does it mean!

An “Hermine” (ermine in English) is a short-tail weasel (stoat) in winter weather it’s coat will go white except the end of its tail. (That’s the short answer)


If you want the long one continue on if not just skip it!
The reason why I took Hermine Photo as my business name is that the ermine was the symbol of the Duke of Brittany since 1316. I was born and raised in France and my family came from Normandy and Brittany, but we lived in Brittany for the longest part of my life. My grandfather was raised in Brittany and I went to school all the way to the end of my Pro High school in Audio Visual in Brittany. Because it is the symbol of Brittany where my mother and brother still live, but also because it is so much part of my roots and who I am. I am a French Celtic woman and proud of my heritage. So for me, it was just finding a little more “original” business name other then “France Photo” or something in the same taste! Now still in Brittany you can find that symbol. In our Flag but also in our Architecture or Art. You go in Chapel you will find the Hermine, you look at some painting with Kings and Queens of France and you will see that beautiful Fur Coat made from Ermine Fur. The Ermine is a big part of the Breton Heritage! So that’s the long reason why I chose it!

You can find some all of the example of Hermine/Ermine art all over that blog page as well, if you see a little black little weird looking symbol, most likely it is the Ermine that I am talking about… Good luck to find them all, they will be posted all over and probably in shapes that you might not think of! I will try to update a count of all those as my blog grow, maybe I will even give a gift to the one who will find them all… ;0)