Thursday, November 14, 2019

America Trip 2019: Georgia


Our America trip was a total of 2 weeks and 2 days...or 3 days if you count the overnight trip back to Amsterdam.  I have already shown the first week in Maine with sister Ruth, BIL Don, and brother Nelson here.

So, that leaves 1 week and 2 days, split between two places as follows (as posted on Facebook):

The North Georgia Mountains:

Actually, the story begins with daughter Amy picking us up from our flight to Atlanta from Portland,
and immediately taking us to her place of business since March of this year:
[This was my only photo, from inside the glass building--I was too busy listening/looking!]

Astrid made this collage of her images.
And yes, one of Amy's perks is having her own MB car to drive!
Top-left is their most expensive MB; the red one below is their cheapest, with a $100K difference!

You know Astrid...dying to get outside first thing every morning.
She loved practicing with her new camera, a 2-upgrade version of my Canon PowerShot.
[BTW, I also upgraded to the same camera but didn't get it till at Bob and Peggy's.]

I followed suit with my coloring.  HA!

In the meantime, we had 2 days of errands before our annual trip to the cabin,
sneaking in the obligatory how-he's-growing-up photos with Nicholas.
He's not in college this semester but is working at Chick-Fil-A as a shift supervisor.

After settling into our cabin in the North Georgia mountains, Astrid and I took a walk.
Because rain was forecast off-n-on for the next 3 days, we grabbed the good weather while we could.

So, what do you do when it rains all day at the cabin!  So many choices.
Amy had made a jigsaw puzzle of one of Astrid's past cabin photos...a fun challenge again.
Mark, Dennis, Amy and I continued our Spades games, while Astrid and Nicholas did their thing.
We watched the last two Avenger movies...and football, of course!
We've been carrying on like this for 10 years by now, most of the time at the same cabin.

Astrid had so much fun learning what her new camera can do.  Rain was good to practice on.

And since I was still coloring, yes, I had to post this for our Saturday football.
I got to watch my alma mater, Michigan, beat Notre Dame, 45-14.
You have no idea how good that made me feel.  GO BLUE!

Astrid made this collage of the muffin-making process I undertook each morning.
Son Mark brings the all-bran muffin mix every year and I bake them fresh each day.
OMG!  Another one of the obligatories!

This is the collage Astrid made of the jigsaw puzzle,
which she ended up working on more than the rest of us put together.

She was also the one who took walks, more than the rest of us!

When this popped up from 3 years ago, I had to post it again.
This was her old camera, of course, but she continued the practice with her new one (not as big).

By the last day, Mark, Astrid and I took our "annual" walk together, to catch up,
which Astrid captured beautifully here.  If you're counting, that makes a 3rd "obligatory."
The cherry on top is that Mark the next week got a promotion at his work during his annual review.

Bob and Peggy's South of Atlanta:

Just like that, we came down the mountain, grabbed the rest of our stuff, said good-bye to everyone and headed to our rendezvous point with Bob and Peggy (thanks to Mark).

You might remember that both Bob and Peggy love to cook.
How about a cream cheese, smoked salmon omelet for breakfast?  WOW!

Or the low-country boil Bob loves to make for us, under Astrid's supervision?!
Astrid's fun was also going with him to the DeKalb Farmer's Market to buy the ingredients.
My fun (and Peggy's, too) was eating it!

We had rain there, too, so Astrid took only one walk with Bob and Roscoe-the-Dog,
all decked out for Halloween.

Our last full day we treated Bob and Peggy to a meal out in Covington,
at one of their favorite restaurants, Real Louisiana Cuisine.
It was Astrid's first time to eat Jambalaya, which we both had.
If you like Cajun/Creole food, you'd be in heaven.
[Astrid's collage]

The day we started our flight back to Amsterdam was Halloween.
BOO!

I say "started" because we always fly overnight, arriving at home the next day.
It so happened that the weather was terrible that Thursday, with many roads closed.
Bob and Peggy had a prior engagement they didn't want to miss...so we started early,
which explains why we were at the Atlanta airport waiting for our flight for 9+ hours.
Not to worry!  Amy gave us her Sequence game after finding out how much we liked it in Maine,
so we pulled it out and quickly passed away the time.

By 7 p.m.the next day we were back home safe-n-sound.
There and back again.  It's always good to go and then come back home,
feeling so lucky for these times with family and friends.


Thursday, November 07, 2019

America Trip 2019: Maine


So, yes, we were there and back again!  Home safe-n-sound...after a week first in Maine, then in the Atlanta area (including the annual cabin trip with my kids to the North Georgia mountains), followed by a few days with Bob and Peggy south of Atlanta.

Let's start with Maine, showing what we posted on Facebook to give a smattering of what we experienced.

Believe it or not, our vacation always starts once we're at the airport in Amsterdam, after security!
Astrid runs off to get us a latte macchiato, after which we catch up on the internet while waiting.
I saved this Happy Color for exactly that moment on FB that Tuesday, 15 October.

Wednesday, 16 October:  Bar Harbor

We hadn't planned to go to Bar Harbor with Don and Ruth our first full day,
but since it was forecast to be the best day of the week weather-wise, we just did it!
I had been there years ago in my past life, but this time was different...and special.

Walking along the harbor path was a treat for all of us.
[Astrid's collage]

After eating in town (pop. ca. 5K), we drove to nearby Acadia National Park
and climbed to the top of Cadillac Mountain, one of Maine's top tourist attractions.

These are the photos sister Ruth took that day, which I made into my own collage.

Thursday, 17 October: Belfast Rail Trail 

Before the outside day started for the rest of us, Astrid took a walk into Searsport from the house
and captured these great images...ones I never saw with my own eyes.

While she was walking, I went around the house to capture nooks and crannies I fell in love with.
Ruth and Don find treasures wherever they live and decorate so deliciously with them!
I wanted to see everything carefully, my first time in their new house/home.

That afternoon brother Nelson, who lives 20 min. from Don and Ruth, joined us for a
get-together walk on the Belfast Rail Trail, 2.3 miles along the Passagassawaukeag River.
What a fun word, pronounced pas-uh-gas-uh-WAH-keg!

This is Astrid's collage of the day.

Back at Don and Ruth's for supper, Nelson brought salmon to saute
and Don and Ruth together made an apple pie.
Talk about us feeling spoiled!

Friday, 18 October:  Belfast Harbor Walk

First, here's Astrid's walk that morning into Searsport town.

Though Don and Ruth live in Searsport, they adore nearby Belfast more, 8 miles away.
Part of the reason is because of Belfast's shipyard and harbor walk on Penobscot Bay.

It was a delightful walk along the water in this autumn season.
[Astrid's collage]

Saturday, 19 October:  Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Great Pond Mountain

Both Nelson and Ruth moved to Maine from Michigan this year, 4 months apart, and 16 miles away.
This was Nelson's day...his chance to take us where HE wanted to go.
He had us meet him at the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, which we now call the Nelson Bridge,
because from it you can look across to where he lives in Bucksport (top-center).
The observatory at the top of the bridge, BTW, is the first bridge observation tower in the US
and the tallest public bridge observatory in the world (center).

After a careful walk-through of Nelson's own new home and surroundings,
we ate lunch at one of Bucksport's eateries.
[a Ruth photo]

From lunch we drove to the nearby Great Pond Mountain that Nelson can see from his home.
Its 2.3 mile trail, reaching 1,029 ft (314 m), is ideal for a good workout,
which Nelson has done several times now.

Look how Astrid captured us three sibs (and Don, of course)!
Nelson is the oldest of the 8 kids, I'm #3, Ruth is the youngest...a 14-year spread.

That day Astrid used the panoramic option on her new camera to get these 3 panos!
The top is of Bucksport (Nelson's town) from the Penobscot Narrows Bridge,
while the other two are from on top on the mountain.

Sunday, 20 October:  A Movie and Lobster Rolls

This was our very easy and relaxing day!
After lunch we three girls drove to Belfast's Colonial Theater from 1912, where we saw "Judy"
 (about Judy Garland and definitely worth an Oscar for Renée Zellweger).
Don stayed at home to watch football.

Once back home, we picked Don up and drove back to Belfast to fetch us some lobsters! 
Don and Ruth have learned how to make lobster rolls as good as any restaurant serves in Maine,
at probably less than half the price. And we were the lucky ones to eat them.
Maine is the Lobster State, you know!

Monday, 21 October:  Moose Trail  

From Astrid's morning walk, she captured what happened during a half-hour power break.
Apparently one of the poles snapped but was then quickly fixed .

This was our last full day and one last walk with Nelson to nearby Moose Trail.

You can see how glorious the weather was.
[Astrid's collage]

Earlier in the day and later that evening, we learned a new game, Sequence, and loved it!

The next day was our leaving day, flying to Atlanta from the Portland airport.  As we know by now "all good things must come to an end," at least for this year.  But since we've already decided we'll make this a habit every year possible, parting was not as sorrowful as it would have been otherwise.

We really do want to make this a habit!


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Austria Trip 2019: The Cows


I didn't realize it before this trip but I sure do now:  the cows are very much a part of the Austrian way of life...and landscape.  They deserve a post all on their own!

You can start with the view just outside of Ehrwald, our home base for the week.


As far as I'm concerned, this would have been more than enough.
Talk about the "sound of music!"

However, long before our trip, Astrid had specifically earmarked a day to drive to Au, near the western border of Austria, to watch the cows being brought down the alpine mountains for their winter pasture.  We were like little kids, full of excitement.

As you know, the journey is every bit as important as the destination.
THIS is Austria...chalets, flower boxes and trompe l'oeil.
Almost every building we saw had paintings on them.

We were driving into the alpine skiing area of Austria,
some of which reminded me of places I have seen in America...like Colorado?

Like I said, the journey really was as important as the destination.

I was particularly charmed by the overpasses and tunnels, covered with vegetation.
Many are there to keep avalanching snow from blocking the roadways.

How fun is that...flying off into the wild-blue yonder!

By the time we made it to Au, 104 km from Ehrwald, it was time to eat.
That was when everything was coming up cows!

That includes the cow-herder lederhosen at the bar,
which I made Astrid try out for size.  HA!

Now, then...the cows.
Unbeknownst to us, they had come down the mountain on the roads during the night,
not through the town, ringing their bells, as we had been told (as seen here).
[It was our only disappointment of the day.]

My guess is that it was a hard day's night!  Poor thing.

But lucky for us, we did get to see a roundup!




Maybe it made up for not seeing them come down the mountain like we had expected?

Actually, as we left to return home, we did see these stragglers.

Let's hear it for the cows!

As we drove back, we saw stragglers still waiting their turn, I guess?
Some of them looked like skin and bones, and we wondered why???

At one point, near Lech, we stopped to view this canyon.
In Austria!  Who knew?!

But it was scenes like this that totally made my day.
The hills really ARE alive with music...and with cows...in Austria!