Saturday, December 31, 2016

So long, 2016

This is it, my last post for the year. We've had a whirlwind month with repatriating. Our sea container arrived at the rental house in Texas, the dog survived his flight in the cargo hold of our airplane, our college coed graduated with her bachelor's degree (magna cum laude and a semester early), we spent Christmas with family and we're wrapping up the year spread out over three different Texas cities. 

I wish all of you out there in the blogosphere a safe ringing in of the new year and auspicious start to some grand adventures in 2017.

Monday, December 5, 2016

December in Prague

The teen turned SWEET 16 on Friday, so we took her to Prague to make it a memorable one. The architecture of this old, very walkable city was amazing. After last weekend's visit to a rather bland and sterile Berlin, it was delightful to see historical structures dating back as far as the late middle ages.

View from our hotel window above, and the astronomical clock below

It seems the Czech have their own little locks of love location over a 
small canal of the river that runs through their city.

Happy Sweet 16 to this fabulous young lady, pictured above 
at the John Lennon graffiti wall in Prague.

Lovely bonus - the Christmas markets were all open and made the trip even more festive. No commemorative gluhwein mugs to collect in the Czech Republic like you find in Germany - rats - but I did find the hot apple cider quite tasty.

Ready, OK!

2-4-6-8, we're about to leave this place! And so the teen had to turn in her uniform to focus on end of semester projects and exams instead of after school practices and basketball games. Hopefully she'll be returning to cheer back in Texas when she lands in a tumbling and jump class in preparation for spring try-outs at her new school.

A Change of Scenery

With about 10 days left in England, I'm already looking ahead to our lives in Texas. We've got a contract on this house with a close date in mid January, so we're excited about that. It's a great older home on 2.6 acres with lots of trees. It needs a bit of TLC and remodelling, but I think that will be fun. Stay tuned in the new year for updates on our progress!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Berlin Weekend, Part Zwei

Our second day in Berlin, we spent the morning on a walking tour to see more of the city. The Opera House, Humboldt University, the Dom and Museum District were on our itinerary.

Above you can see the bullet holes left on the columns at one of the museums, a very graphic reminder of World War II. The art and architecture of the city is very interesting, a unique twist of west meeting east, a marriage of the old and new.

We visited a tiny little museum, Otto Weidt's workshop for the blind. He was the a small scale Oskar Schindler. Otto employed mainly blind and deaf Jews during the war. They produced brooms and brushes in the rooms we toured. Otto spent the war years trying to protect his Jewish workers from persecution and deportation. We saw a windowless back room hidden behind a wardrobe where he hid three people for a couple years to save them from the Nazis.

We also had the chance to see several stolperstein, known as stumble stones. They are small commemorations of Jews persecuted by the Nazis during their regime. These square brass plates are installed in the pavement outside buildings where Jews lived during the war.

On our way to a new Christmas market Saturday evening, we snooped through the local Mall of Berlin. It's a funny thing - Thanksgiving isn't celebrated in Europe, but they have Black Friday sales.