28 October 2012

Now *we're* the travel destination

I still have a back-log of trips to cover, but there will probably be fewer big trips in our future. We moved into a bigger house with an attached apartment that we are now renting out as a vacation home. We've only been in the house for 7 weeks, and we're already on our second set of visitors!

So if *you* are looking for a place to stay in the beautiful Odenwald region of southern Germany, check out Ferienwohnung Groß Claus! (An English version of our web site is in the works.)

22 March 2011

Lorsch, March 2011

For various reasons, we have curtailed our driving lately, but there are now no hindrances to hopping in the car whenever we feel like it, so we took the first available chance this past weekend to get out of the house and drove to Lorsch. (Hmm... looking at that web page, I think Lorsch should pay me to fix it for them.)

We've actually been there once before. John had planned that trip based on locations named in the Niebelungenlied, and we hit Lorsch last. Unfortunately, we didn't get there in time to sign up for a tour, which is the only way to get into the big attraction, the Königshalle (King's Hall).


This time, Lorsch was our only destination, and we looked up the tour times in advance. After a little picnic in a park next to the parking area,


we signed up for the tour and took a quick look inside the museum until the tour was scheduled to start. Only one other couple was on the tour, so we could get up close to the guide to hear all the interesting history of the abbey and the Königshalle. She even took us inside.


There is not much left of the abbey, which early in its history was so popular that it received about a thousand donations of land, etc., in just one year; only the Königshalle and part of a church, which was used at some point for drying tobacco, are still standing. (The church is being excavated, so John didn't feel like taking a photo of fencing and scaffolding, which is about all you can see at the moment.) There were several fires at the abbey, once accidentally set by the monks themselves, and in the town, which was a victim of the Thirty Years' War and later in French attacks, and the buildings of the abbey were scavenged for building material at various times.

Then we went back into the museum. John managed to entertain himself the whole time we were there just in the small portion alloted to the abbey, while Hannah and I checked out the exhibits on the history of the local tobacco industry--the forms and decorations of the pipes were wildly creative--and household items. We especially enjoyed the displays of historical toilets. There was a wonderful three-story doll house, but Hannah was disappointed that it wasn't interactive (no buttons for turning on lights or mechanical whatsits).

It was a bit warm in the museum, even for me, so we hopped over to the closest cafe and got something to drink while soaking in a little early spring sunshine.


Then we took a quick turn through the downtown area where the oldest and quaintest buildings are located


before heading back to look around the abbey grounds. The herb garden was pretty sad since it is still so early in the year, but it was nice to stretch our legs a bit and get in a little more sunshine.


After admiring a few thickly feathered geese grooming themselves next to the barn, we headed back to the car for the ride home.

Now consider: we were only away from home 5 hours. (It would have been less time if our shortcut to avoid roadwork in our village hadn't required us to take a detour past a carnival in a neighboring town.) We live less than an hour away from a site that Charlemagne is known to have visited once. (In this neck of the woods, that is analogous to hotels in New England having signs, "George Washington slept here!")

If you are interested, and you should be, since John is the one who put up and labeled the photos, the full photo set can be found at our Flickr account.

29 May 2010

Vacations of the Stars

"Lydia ... never heard nor saw anything of which she chose to be insensible." --Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

In summers past, Hannah and I left vacation planning completely to John. Those were the cold, drizzly vacations we spent in Sweden.

Hannah & Deanna with Hedeby houses

And Scotland.

Greyfriars Church

After those, Hannah and I insisted on somewhere warm. We can get cold and drizzly at home. John took pity on us and planned a trip to Italy. That is definitely the place to go if you want heat.

Hannah in Rome

This year, he has really been pushing for Greece. His original plan was to land in Athens, look around a couple of days, and catch a ferry to Crete.

Hmm, I said, are you sure about that? What about the financial crisis?

Ah, it won't affect us.

What about the protests?

That's just the Greek way of letting off steam.

What about the deaths?

Um, maybe we'll just skip Athens and fly straight to Crete.

In the meanwhile, I have made a few more pertinent points regarding our finances and upcoming expenses (which do include travel for John), and I think Greece will have to wait for us.

But in other news, Greece has been overrun with frogs.