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)

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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!

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!!)

USO Paris Express

This past weekend was the 8th of May and I had a Paris Express tour with the USO to escort. For the French the 8th of May is a holiday and commemorate the end of World War II. So as we normally do in our guided bus ride in Paris, The Champs Elysees were OFF limits because of preparation for the Parade and passing of our “dear” president Mr. Sarkozy.It was PACKED with Security, Police people all over! I think it was the first time I saw so many policemen/women in Paris. I once went to the 14th of July parade and they had security, but not Police. The CRS were out and military people. So… It was something new… Maybe this is the changes that happen under Sarko. 😉 Paris France – Google Maps

Anywhooo

I was really wanted to go and visit the temporary exhibition on Holy Russia Holy Russia exhibition at the Musée du Louvre and it had been a LONG time that I didn’t visit any museum in Paris, so I thought… why not. We did the Louvre Museum for a bit, so we cruised by the exhibition on Holly Russia (sorry I know, cruising isn’t appropriate for such gorgeous art effect. BUT, the gallery was PACKED and we couldn’t even see any of the information’s panels, we could admire the object/books/icons from 2 yard away, but so many people in between that I got sick of waiting for my turn to read everything and translate for Morgane. So I bought the book on the exhibition instead! LOL! After coming out of the gallery, I asked Morgane if she had ever seen the “Mona Lisa” she told me she saw it on pictures. So we headed toward her.

Now for those of you who are fortunate enough to have gone to the Louvre, you might help me here: “HOW on Earth can you even find your way around?” I had the map, I followed the map, and I totally got lost (not that I have to complain since you discover painting/statues or something else that will just amaze you) BUT my feet hurt, I was already walking for the past 2 hours and then got lost in the galleries! WTH?? LOL. AND I had a daughter who was saying EVERY other minutes how tired she was… Oh I would want to see how she handled being left in the Louvre with my mother. AH!! That would be hilarious!
There was also another temporary exhibition on the teaching of Tao Exhibition “Tao, Another Way of Being” : Galeries nationales, Grand Palais, (en) in Paris [Rmn] that I was wanted to see, but after 2 ½ hours in the Louvre and STARVING, we decided to skip it. (I really wanted to go see it, but with Morgane, I wasn’t sure I could handle it. Beside it is still going to be open until the beginning of July and I will go back twice in Paris in between and hopefully I will have time to go visit it)

We found a little Pizzeria (morgane didn’t like the other choice: “Sushi”) and rested our feet for a short hour. Then, I told her we could go to the “Galleries Lafayette”, she asked what it was and I said, well, I think it is some kind of Mall with tones of different stores. (I will turn 40 soon enough and I (frenchie) don’t even know exactly what is inside the “Galleries Lafayette”. Does it seem WEIRD to you??) Well, when I stepped in the “mall” I understood why I never went there! LOL! OMG!! Are you kidding me?? Who can afford ANYTHING in the Galleries?? I saw the CUTEST rings from a French designer. Over 70000 EURO!! Yes you read it right, 70 THOUSAND! WTH, really if you can afford a ring that cost that much, then I hope that you are giving back to your community or world organization that need help!

Anyway, needless to say that I felt under dress and like I didn’t belong. LOL they do have GORGEOUS thing there though. LOL!! However even if you can or cannot afford to shop in this store, go check it out. The building is just amazing, it has a Art deco décor with stained glass ceiling. (see the picture) AND you can take your McDonald to the Top floor and eat your Hamburger admiring a view of Paris that you can’t see anywhere else. LOL
As usual here are some of my pics, hope you enjoy them.
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Reims-Paris-Brugges-Amsterdam

 

 

 

 

In June we had lots of visitors. 2 of my Scrapbook group ladies from Iowa came to visit me. I went to pick them up at the Zurich Airport. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Zurich, don’t bother, there is NOTHING interesting there, except maybe overprice hotel/restaurant and everything else in between!

Of course I screwed up on the date of arrival. I thought it was arriving on the Tuesday and they were actually arriving on the Wednesday. So I spend 2 days in a town where there is NOTHING to do! LOL!! At least I rested before the craziness.

After a day or two staying in the Heidelberg area we went to the Chateau du haut Koenigsbourg (see the last post for more: http://annejambor.blogspot.com/2010/09/uso-chateau-haut-koenigsbourg-france.html) and after that we drove toward Paris.

First we stopped in Reims only for a short stop to eat and just get some “wakeup” time for me, who was the driver.

We slept not too far from it and then drove to Paris the next day, spend it walking around, taking pictures and just enjoying the nice weather. Then by 3 or so we left for the North of France. Well actually we drove for Bruges in Belgium.

 
 

 

We arrived in Bruges around 6 and then went to eat out. Some of us got a little too much of that nice good Beer that they have in Belgium. (and NO it wasn’t me) after a.. peaceful night (especially when some came back to the hotel totally wasted) 😉 We walked around the beautiful city of Bruges and got some Waffles and other goodies, and in the afternoon, left for Amsterdam.

 
 
 
Arrive early evening, ate at an Irish Pub, and went to visit the “Red District”, Now I am sorry, but I don’t understand the whole big deal around such a place. I mean OK it is legal in Amsterdam to get some hokey pokey and some weed too. BUT, if you ever go to the Red District pay attention and look at it the “HUMAN” way.
I was like every other “tourist” at first, I was like, whaoh, nice… that funny!! (it is kind of those creepy exhibition, where they show weird and unnatural stuff, and even though you find it just disgusting, you keep on looking) And then after blocks and blocks of windows shopping for the perfect woman body that might appeal to those guys. I got really sicken to even think of what those girls must endure life.I mean come on… One, they really enjoy it, OR they are stuck in that kind of careers, and I would not like to be in their shoes. It was just humanly depressing. I did take some pictures of the area.
However, my USB Key has been missing since I have saved those file to transfer to my other computer. So… you only have the little Daytime trip. Sorry for those of you who were expecting… something… hot and spicy!

We came back to the hotel and spend the night, and then the next morning we took the Tram to the center of town and went to the Anne Frank’s museum, after Mel and I went to walk around town while Gena and Al went to Van Gogh museum. It was a nice day and after a very LONG day we drove back to home. I was exhausted. But… I wouldn’t have those nice pictures if I haven’t gone right?

USO Paris July

This visit to Paris was going to be one of my latest visit with the USO tour. So… I did something that I have always wanted to do.

Just cruise.

I enjoyed just checking out Shop windows. Street Vendors, etc…

This one was kind of cool. A Tableware shop diplaying a new Plate design (of Paris monuments) and showing it like you were looking at it from above, but it was in a window (wonder if they used super glue?)

Laduree Store. It is a place where you can go and eat some sweets. The “Macarons” are one of their creation that they are well known for. But apparently it must be pretty good! Look at the line!

Walking around Paris, you can find lots of street performance like this guy. I thought it was kinda cool the way that he stand all day long on the column and be!

This was taken on the “Champs Elysees” not too far from the American Embassy. Did you know that you can’t take picture of the Embassy? I was surprised and disapointed, It is such a pretty building, and to be in Paris and seeing the Stars Flowing next to a very old building. Make me want to shoot it. However, I was stopped by a Police officer (yes French) who made sure that I didn’t have ANY pictures of the building! Bummer!!! What a party pooper!!

I also went, and that was the place I have been looking to go visit for a while. On the outskirt of Paris, in St. Denis. To go visit the Basilica of Saint Denis (funny because the French call it the “Cathedrale Royale de Saint Denis”)
This is the place where most of the French Kings are buried. Nearly every King from the 10th to the 18th Centuries are there.(All but 3 kings are now buried here) Also most Queen were crowned there (King were in Reims)

 

 

 

 

 

The last King of France: Louis the XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette, his 2 daughters and his sister are buried here since 1806 (Time of Napoleon’s exile and the “restored Bourbons” reigns.) The heart of the Dauphin de France (son of Louis XVI) is also there.

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!!

 

Strasbourg Outing

Summer time is the perfect time to go visit Strasbourg. It is a beautiful town with lots of things to see and to do. So when Charmaine’s family Pam and Vidhu came to Heidelberg, I took the 3 of them to Strasbourg for some visiting and some shopping. We stopped at a local restaurant and had some nice traditional food. Lots of little shop in the center near the cathedral. And beautiful little house!!!

Strasbourg Cathedral
Needless to say that it was a beautiful and fun day. With beautiful and fun ladies.
It was great. Thanks Charmaine, Pam and Vidhu… we just need to do it again!

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!

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!!!

 

 

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