Published: September 27th 2008September 27th 2008
This wins the award for creepiest puppet in the Doll and Toy Museum in Rothenburg
Well my mom and grandmother came to visit me for two weeks! We started off with a week here in Rothenburg where I showed them my new digs. They actually happened to be here during R-burg's annual Mittelalter (Middle Ages) Festival. The whole town warps itself back in time. Everyone dresses up and wanders around doing activities like they would in the middle ages. There's food, drink, games, music, plays and demonstrations throughout the weekend. There is a reinactment óf the Meistertrunk (it's about 2 hours!). If you ever make your way out here I would def recommend going ahead and splurging the extra Euros to get a seat in the first section; it makes it a lot more enjoyable.
The Meistertrunk is the name given to the event when a Swedish man by the name of Marshall Tilly came in and tried to sack the town. His 45,000 men were having a hard time taking the city even though it only had a population of 7,000 (note: that's POPULATION, not fighting men!). Marshall Tilly probably wouldn't even ever have gotten into the city had it not been for an accidental (or was it?) explosion of the gun poweder store
They had lovely singing voices :)
taht caused the wall to be breached and the Swedes were able to come in. During the formalities of surrender, Marshall Tilly and his men were brought a 3 liter tankard of wine to pass amoung themselves. On a whim, Tilly said that he would spare the town if someone could drink it all. Luckily, there was a Mayor who apparently knew his way around wine had a go and drank all the wine. It took him 3 days to recover.
There was also a Ritter (Knight) Tournament and lots of other cool stuff. See pics :) The coolest thing was when they blacked out the whole city for a fireworks display which was really quite impressive. I went to Luxembourg's Independence display and I think my neightborhood puts on better fireworks, honestly, but this one was quite nice. The best was when the fireworks stopped and all along the wall red flares were lit with lots of smoke. It lead to the illusion that the town was burning. It was beautiful. My hotel was also "conquered" which was fun. A bunch of guys pretending to be soldiers came in with pikes and music and sang to us. I
had to serve them beer to get them to leave :) Apparently they usually carry away girls with them as a joke, but they didn't this year because they were told not to... I think it would be fun to be carried away (providing it was as a joke, and not for hte reasons it would have been for back in the day).
After a brief terror on my mom's behalf because there were TWO train stations in Baden-Baden, and my own because I didn't know if I missed my stop to switch trains... I re-met up with mom and Mamoo after a few days absence in Baden Baden and we went on into France! After some superb navigational skills on my part (Carly for President :) )we travelled all around France! We spent the first night in Melun which is right outside of Fontainebleau Chateau (pronounced Fountain-blow). Fontainebleau has an AMAZing history and was absolutely gorgeous. Apparently it was the last place Napoleon lived before he was exiled. Marie Antoinette also lived there and did almost every important king.
I learned there that the Queens had to give birth in Public! INSANEO! At our hotel in Melun, I
was stuck in the elevator! It was only for about 5 mins or so, but it felt longer. After they finally got the elevator open I was about 6 inches below ground level. The elevator kept going up and down... it was a little unsettling...
We also went to Chartres, but weren't able to go inside the Cathedral, but I might try and swing by again in January on my way out of Spain. Apparently it is so big it can fit a FEW Notre Dames inside. It is so large that Pilgrims could see it days away. We saw it pretty clearly at about 20 km away.
We also went to LAVAL!!! Which was built by my ancestor, Guy de Laval! He built a church there because he and his horse were drowing and he prayed and said that if he and his horse were saved he would build a church, and he was saved, and he also built the church! I'm not going to write as much about Laval because I'm pretty sure my mom will coment and have a much better description. So look below in the comments from my mom! When we were in
One of the few in Europe that still remains today
the Laval Catehdral that he built, there was a funeral going so we didn't stay in there that long, which was kind of a shame...
We did get to stay in the Le Mans Cathedral for awhile! It was very beautiful and quite large also. It had SO many flying buttresses outside which made it look so intricate looking and amazing. My mom had been here before so she was really excited to show it to me and her mom. Outside there was a pagan stone that was propped up against the side of the church, and for some reason was never moved. Go figure.
Sorry, I know I'm rushing through all this but I have 2 weeks of stuff to talk about! If you're interested in the history of anything else, you can just ask me or google, lol.
Caen was another big chateau that we went to. It an amazing array of defenses set up. It had an area that would be flooded...then a gate... then boiling oil... then another gate... then a large open place where the attackers would be wide open to arrows. Good times!
We went to Mayenne which is a
Napoleon's Nappy place
Napoleon's tiny bed... how cute is it that he has stairs?
district type thing AND a smelly sort of town. We stayed at this 2 Star hotel which was...well, it was mostly awful. The first room we went into, Mamoo said it looked like it was rented by the hour. The only picture on the wall was one of those motivational pictures and it said "Perserverance." I decided it was because you needed to have perserverance to have to stay in that room. Mom promptly went back and talked to the guy and he then gave Mamoo our best room which was apart of the old castle wall and had a beautiful view of the Mayenne River. This hotel was also funny because we had to pick up our remotes from the front desk to use them in our room, haha. And it was a 2 Star hotel, as I said, but it had it on both sides of the H for hotel, so it looked like it was a 4 star...verrrry tricky!
St. Mere Église was up in the upper part of Normandy were D-Day was held. The church was of special significance because it was where a paratrooper was stuck in the spires. I can't remember his
Time to Say Goodbye
This is where Napoleon said a heartfelt good bye to everyone before he was sent into exile
name, but I feel like it was Tony, or a T or something... they still have a mock up of him there today. Apparently he just hung around a bit pretending to be dead until the Germans cut him down. There's a pretty cool museum there in the shape of a parachute with some tanks strewn about. We went up to Utah Beach which was one of the storming sites.... there was SO much....beach.. and emptiness. Absolutely nowhere for those guys to hide. Those poor boys, they must've been so scared and must've been so brave to do such a scary, but necessary part of the war. They had one the landing craft there for you to look at. Standing on the beach was really something. I really can't even describe it.... Just look at the pic.. nothing but horizon. It's a wonder anyone made it out of there alive....
Also went up to St. Michael's Mount! So monks went over there and built that up because everyone was always picking on them. When the tide recedes it is almost an island, and when the tide rolls in, Mom said it comes faster than galloping horses... reminds me of
that one scene in "The Last Unicorn." Anyone? We didn't stay long there because there was a lot of traffic and we had to get going, but it was really neat to see it.
We went to Claude Monet's house! The gardens were amazing. He had a typical (and when I say typical... I don't mean it in like...your backyard kind of sense, I mean... with bushes and flowers, etc) garden which turkies and benches and flowers, but then he also had the Japanese gardens that he made so famous... including the boat and the beautiful green bridge. Very gorgeous. The people there were also very nice and one man ran around and waited for us to make sure that Mamoo could have a wheelchair. Monet's house... was something different altogether, haha. I'm not sure what I expected, but it def wasn't what I saw. When you come in the foyer, everything is BLUE. Baby blue. I'm serious, everything. The grandfather clock was blue! All the chairs.. tables... everything, blue. The kitchen was yellow! There was another blue room! We weren't allowed to take pics and I grudgingly followed orders, so the pics I have were lifted off the
This is my guy praying for the survival of him and his horse... it's on the facade of the Church in Laval.
internet... I wish I had a pic of that grandfather clock.... Monet's bed was bright yellow and my mom asked one of the curators if that was really the color he chose for it and the dude said that Monet would periodically change the color of his bed. What an odd little man. As for the pictures in his house.. there was one room totally filled with his own works, but in just about every other room, he had Japanese art. I think you know the ones I'm talking about.. it's on white rice paper, with the blue tidal waves, japanese writing, and sometime's a Japanese lady's face? Totally weird. Monet had apparently never been to Japan, or really...left Europe, but really wanted to because he made his own Japanese garden.
The last place we went to was Chantilly's Chateau. Again, I'll let mom take the reins with talking about how it relates to us, but it was still a gorgeous place. I have way more pics on facebook, so if you want to see the link, just ask. In two of the stained glass windows the family is portrayed and you can see our coat of arms and
Just Hanging Around
This is the mock up of the guy hanging from the church in St. Mere Ãglise
mom's nose. Apparently I didn't get the nose ::shrug:: what can you do :P
Then on to Beauvais airport which was TINY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! to get me on a plane to Ireland. Luckily.. about 10 mins before we got to the airport.. we saw what I'd been demanding the whole trip (besides crepes.... which was DELICIOUS!) a BUFFALO GRILL!!! We had first seen this eytraordinaryily tacky establishment in Melun across from our hotel. Someone had been walking out with an Indian Headdress on... and I knew I needed on too. So Mom and Mamoo conceded to let us go there to eat, and it was pretty good. The interior was decorated as they assumed the old west was, haha. It had saloon doors, and fringes on the lamps. Lots of Indians and Cowboys too, lol.
Then I was off to Ireland! I stayed with my Spanish friend that I met in Australia that I stayed with in Scotland last year! He now lives in Dublin with two German guys so I got to pratice my German a little bit! We went to a gorgeous beach at sunset and saw some girls riding horses... I wanna ride a horse on
a beach :( We also went to Howth which was nearby (I thought they were saying "Hoth"... like in Star Wars, lol) and saw a dog barking at a seal :) I also bought my beautiful claddagh ring that I bought last time I was in Ireland, but lost in Las Vegas this February.
Well that's the gist of my two weeks!!
Thanks for reading :)
There are more photos below