6th Anniversary Surprise

Now that I finally finished up the family trip we took to Germany last fall, it’s time to share some pictures from a trip Daniel and I took alone  for our 6th anniversary back in February. He knows me pretty well by now and has figured out that surprises are the way to go. But I still love trying to guess what the surprise is, so he supplied me with a few clues of our anniversary destination:

Clue #1: It’s near an ocean.

Clue #2: It’s famous, but used to be more famous than it is now.

Clue #3: The weather would be about like it was in Austin for our 5th anniversary. (Springish)

I guessed California. But yet, not all those clues matched up properly, so I still didn’t know till a few weeks before we left.

Turns out, we landed in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Folks, this is a city you’ll want to visit.

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There are fun red trolley cars. What more can you want?

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Even the world famous trolley car that goes up and down a steep hill, all while keeping the passengers quite level. We rode it and it worked just fine.

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The food, and this meal in particular, was bursting with flavor.

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Our hotel and “home base” was in Lisbon (or Lisboa in Portugese) for the week, but we took the train for a couple day trips down the coast. Our first outing took us to Cascais which had a large fortification, an older couple walking in the rain {holding hands nonetheless}, lots more tiled buildings which I fell in love with, and yet more tasty food. I had squid for the first time and liked it. :)

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The Last German Castle

{October 1, 2013}

We are finishing up here folks…! Documenting our time in Germany is practically over. On our way back to the hotel for our last night in Europe, we stopped by one last castle. This one…had a moat.

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We had a funny little experience here, in which Natasha hopefully learned the meaning of “Nein”. As we were touring the grounds, a fella came up to mechanical gate on his bicycle with a dog. Natasha was dancing and twirling and generally walking in a haphazard fashion, and she just sashayed right up to the gate, assuming he was pushing the button to open it for us all to walk through. The fella, speaking in German, tried to explain that it was going to swing out, and might hit her in the head. However, she didn’t understand anything and simply stood there. Daniel was calling out for her to back up, but she moved forward instead, and the German cyclist sternly said, “Nein! Nein!” I wasn’t really in the area, so all I heard was a very loud voice saying, “NO!” and wasn’t sure what was going on. Natasha wasn’t hurt, and nothing really happened, but it was amusing to hear “Nein” being said so firmly to our little girl. :) I don’t think it bothered her in the slightest. She was pretty exuberant, full of energy and being her silly self when we headed to the car.

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I must highlight the road signs before closing out. Typically, in the States, we list the town that is farthest away, on the bottom on signs. Not so here. They list the town farthest away on the TOP. Also, instead of clarifying which direction you want to go, such as North, they list the town names in the general direction of those towns. So if you’re headed North, you’d better know which towns are North, so you can look for the proper town name on the signs. 19-184

This one, we rather liked. Any guesses to what it means? This is the equivalent of, “Corporation Limit Ends”. Or, you’re leaving town. :) 20-186

So, we not only headed out of Lembeck, but the country as well. The rental car was returned, we walked to the airport terminal, and got on our flight back to the States after a month long trip staying in Germany, and touring some surrounding countries.

It’s A Parade Type of Holiday

There’s something about an American parade that makes me all nostalgic. I love the anticipation of quickly walking down the sidewalk to reach main street before the first police car, which means the parade has officially begun. The distant bass drums from the bands makes you hurry all the more. Then, the waving begins. Waving at people you don’t know, and have never seen before just because it’s fun to do. Of course, the candy is a big part of a parade. Silly, but true. I always get this funny flutter inside, thinking back to how nervous I would get as a child when my Mom would urge me to dash out to get that one candy piece that didn’t reach the curb, but was about to be smashed by the next antique car if someone didn’t grab it. (No worries, it was always during one of those long gaps that come every once in a while during a parade.) There are always huge semis, ball teams, dance corps, antique tractors by the dozen, clowns and someone running for something in the next upcoming election. It’s so American and I love it.

So here’s a few pictures from our 4th of July Parade in a typical midwest little town. Parades are even more fun with a little child. For Natasha, who couldn’t even quite remember what a parade was, it was even double the fun.

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Her favorite part were the royalty floats with various fair princesses and court. She just soaked it all up.

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She waved to almost everyone, whether they were waving to her or not.

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And covered her ears at the overbearing and excessively loud fire engines.

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She collected the candy thrown to her, and wore the two necklaces that came flying through the air to her feet. We did however, leave that pile of candy on the curb and limited our take-home-loot to 2 pieces. Makes us sound like horrible parents, doesn’t it?! She was happy as a clam though, and trust me: Two pieces of Starbursts made her plenty hyper for the rest of the day and that was plenty for me.

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The Blutter-fly

This jar has been sitting around our house all winter. There was a cocoon on the stick and Natasha’s aunties rescued it last summer and we’ve been waiting a long time for something to happen.

It finally did.

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It was a delightful morning event for an otherwise typical June day.

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(Blutterfly is how Natasha still pronounces butterfly.)