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.

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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.
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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!!)

Schwetzingen Blossom

The cherry trees are in bloom. It is as usual beautiful. We went several time, had too, it is just so pretty…So here are a few pictures of those times. You can see that the flowers give joy to the people who are admiring! It is so cool!! We came upon a group of girls that were dress up in “Manga” characters and that were taking pictures of themselves! Morgane was so excited!! She loves Manga and that was like heaven for her!!
Love is in the air you can see lover’s enjoying the beauty of spring. On our way out we cruised in Schwetzingen and everyone were enjoying the nice weather. Eating out is starting and it is so neat!!

Kutna Hora Czech Republic

While in the Czech Republic in June, we went to Kutna Hora. We stopped at the Cathedral of our Lady to try to find more information about the town, or at least a plan of the town. So we went toward the cathedral and I guess I was kinda of lucky and passed under the radar of the “entrance lady” so I didn’t have to pay my entrance.

I was very surprise in Prague about the fact that most of the church/Cathedral and Chapel have entry fees. I mean I understand if you are a huge known church like the Vatican or like that. but even Notre Dame doesn’t have a entry fee. WTH?

Well anyway. I thought this church no matter the fact of entry fee, was beautiful. So much light, huge beautiful space and the colors where beautiful! St. Felix Remains. The Sedlec Ossuary: It is believe to contain the skeletons of 40000 to 70000 people.

Because of the Black Death in the mid 14th century and the Hessian Wars in the early 15th Century the local cemeteray had to be enlarged to make room for the newly deceased. A church was build on the cemetary ground and on the lower level of it, the ossuary was build and the task of exhuming and stacking the bones started.
In 1870 a woodcarver was employed byt the Schwarzenberg family to put the bones in somekind of order. An incredible and macabre artform is the result.
And then there is Saint Barbara Church, one of the most famous Gothic churches in Central Europe and is part of the UNESCO world heritage site.
Again a beautiful sight. Just gorgeous ceiling.

Beautiful Prague Czech Republic

OH, How I love Prague. For those of you who haven’t had the chance to go… GO. Do you planning and GO!!

You won’t be sorry you did.One day I told one of my friend who was not sure where to go between Paris and Prague with a visiting friend, that she should go to Prague.

Reasons were: It is smaller, there is less cars, less expensif, and the architecture is beautiful. Every corner you turn there come another gorgeous building or scenery. Just amazing.

I mean, I am French so maybe the fact that it was only my second time in Prague made it so special, but… I doubt it. In order Prague is before Paris in my viewpoint but… Venice is before Prague!One of the things that I mention earlier is that no matter where you are in Prague you will turn a corner and see something different. The details in the architecture is amazing. I love the colors, the different kind of building. The balcony, the windows, everything is just gorgeous.

Hardware on doors are also amazing
Another part of town that is well known and visited, is the Jewish quarter.
It has a sad history. Apparently the Jewish community were ordered in the 13th Century to leave their home and settle in one area ofd Prague. The area was the only place they were allowed to live. Even thought the area changed under a large redevelopment between 1893-1913 most significant building from previous eras were saved.

There is still 6 synagogues remaining, the town hall and the old jewish cemetary which is an amazing site on its own. The old cemetery is amazing. When you walk in it you will just wonder why it look like that. During our visit, I learned that because the Jewish Community were ordered to live in a small part of town, they didn’t have the luxury of expending their cemetery. So they used their small graveyard to the fullest. And I mean the FULLEST! The result is somehow poetic. If I may say so. A new Jewish cemetery was build later accross town, it is half empty because obviously the generation it was build for all died in Nazi concentration camp.

Terezin Czech Republic

Terezin fortress is located N.W of Prague. I didn’t go to that outing, because I didn’t feel that good that day. So Matt’s parents, the kids and himself went there. I am glad to not have gone, because I have issue with place that saw lots of suffering. Damien took all those pictures, and I believe he did a very good job at it! Don’t you think so.

Well here is what I learn after they came back from their time in Terezin and also by researching the subject.

Terezin was constructed as a Fortress in the 1780/90 time. It was never fully finished, and in 1940 the Gestapo took over and set up a prison for “Priviledge Jews”.
What is being a “Priviledge jews” you may ask, well apparently it was for people who had some kind of education(Artist, Writers, Scientist, Jurists, Diplomats, Musicians…etc…). It was used by the Nazi on their Propaganda and was (probably the only) the camp that was mostly visited by Red Cross. The Barracks of the Fortress were build to house 7000 individual. During the “Working Camp” in 1940-1945 it accomodated over 50000. Some survivors claimed it reached 75000.
Terezin camp was a source of free jewish labor (slave) for the Germans. Prisoners were assigned different tasks: Mining mica, manufaturing boxes or coffins, spraying military uniforms with white dye. According to ex-prisoners, it was also a sorting re-distribution center for clothing items confiscated from Jews. The baggages were taken away and send to Terezin where it would have been sorted out and send out all over Germany for the people who were bombed out.
Married couple were given a single room and were able to stay together in their sleeping quarter. Because Terezin was design to house “Priviledge” Jews, it did have the cultural life that most camp didn’t. Jazz ensembles, Chamber Orchestra Groups, education for children etc…They also overcame a lack of water by building water pipe system and water supply system.

Sailing Lesson Drama

We went to my mother for a week in August, and Damien was to take some Sailing classes. Well he did the first day, and the weather was so bad (wind, waves, rain) that he got scared. They were on a pretty fast sailing boat and the guy that was with him was an instructor decided to race the other boat. So it was a pretty fast first introduction to the water/sailing. It was too bad because he was really looking forward to be learning to sail, guess we’ll have to go and visit our friend in Nebraska with the lake house and make him learn on the lake. (so much calm water) So Matt went for the rest of the week, as we couldn’t “possibly” ask for our money back (even though they were the one scaring the crap out of him) And he enjoyed it a LOT!! See… All smiley!!

 

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.

Brittany France

During our vacation in Brittany we went to the family farm.
When I was a little girl, we went on vacation there, and spend a lot of time on this shoreline. The kids had some fun. Playing in the sand, Rafael was very couragious and went in the water on his own, walking all the way to the water up to the top of his arm.

Needless to say that I was kind of worried, but thought that since nothing ever happened with us children during all those years, there were no reason why something will happen to him!!

One evening we went out and took a little time to cruise the sea shore. You can see the town of Quiberon (oh, and I know it is blurry, I didn’t have my tripod with me) This is honeysuckle, this remind me so much of my youth. It was always there around the farm, so this is always special when I see and smell those!