Sunday, March 18, 2018

London with the family

I recognize that our times of gathering as a family of 6 are going to be harder to come by. For now, there's an assumption that summers and winter holidays are ours, but how long will this last? For this trip we flew in from Germany, Becca from Savannah, and Katherine from DC.

In January of 2017 Ian was online purchasing "Hamilton" tickets through the lottery.  March 2018 finally arrived and we gathered in London. Suffice to say that if you have the opportunity to see "Hamilton," please do.

There is not a single thing I can critique in Lin-Manuel Miranda's show.  It is remarkable from first note to last.  I can critique the production we saw - I felt like there was intensity lacking in some performances (especially in the first act), Aaron Burr  and Angelica Schuyler were awesome, the actor who played Lafayette played a better Jefferson, Eliza was never happy. But of course YMMV depending on which production you see... I'd like to get tickets someday to the one in NY and compare.

The next night we saw Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" at the Bridge Theater. For me, it was a completely unique experience as far as shows go. Where "Hamilton" was awesome for its simple existence, "Julius Caesar" was awesome for its retelling and the actors - Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark, GoT), Ben Whishaw (Q, Bond), and David Morrissey (the Governor, Walking Dead). I'd never read the play and the language is still a earful, but it was enthralling.

Between our shows we took in London. The Faraday & Daley exhibit at the Royal Institution. Walked along the Thames embankment during low tide looking for treasures. A drawing evening at the National Portrait Gallery. Three escape rooms!  Found one of the Four Winters ice cream shops. Ate fish & chips and steak & ale pie at pubs. Wandered through Covent Garden. Revisited platform 9 3/4. London cooperated with great weather for walking and oyster cards made using the underground super easy.

Our flat was in Chelsea.  A basement apartment, it needs some serious updating, but it was comfortable and fit all of us, which is a feat.

I love that we can do this kind of thing.  I know not everyone can and we're lucky. I hope these are memories my kids will recall for years to come.

Saturday, February 3, 2018


It's fascinating to see what 23andMe comes back with.  Yes, we know - don't use it as a medical guide.  Yes, we know, it's not hard and fast as daily more information comes out - new markers are found, new genes are untangled.

It's no surprise that we're both over 99% European descent. Ian is 85% northwestern European and 46% of that comes from Britain/Ireland, which makes sense - his research has pegged his first American ancestor as a boy on a boat from England in the 1600s. I am 47% from northwestern Europe  (minus the boy on the boat, that side came over with the French to Canada, my paternal grandfather crossed the river into Madawaska, Maine and stayed there), but no surprise that I'm also 32% Eastern European. My maternal grandmother came over from Poland and my maternal grandfather was from the former Czechoslovakia.

Ian and I shared our data and we have no identical DNA segments. Woohoo!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Bruges is beautiful

One morning we Segway-ed our way around town. A highlight of our tour was a stop at the oldest still working pub, the Vlissinghe. It's 502 years old, and little in it has changed. Tucked away down a narrow pedestrian alley with no signage other than what's over the door, our guide asked if we wanted to stop in. It was the best decision (though it took backtracking to get there, sorry Ian!). Chocolate was originally only offered as a drink (we learned a lot at the Choco-Story museum) so I partook of a fantastic hot chocolate while thawing my toes at the ancient heater, and Ian had - wait for it - a Hoegaarden Rosee.  We drank a lot of beer.

But of course most of the time we walked and walked and walked, because the old town of Bruges is lovely with tons of little alleys, hidden nooks, photogenic canals, and inspiring architecture.

Couple all this with fruit and lambic beers that match beautifully with rich, dark chocolate, and Bruges is really a heavenly place to visit.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Bruges - surprise!

If you didn't know, Ian and I have never had the opportunity to just be the two of us. From before we were married, we've had kids. Yeah, we're THOSE people.  But the older we get, and the more we watch the kids take off, and the better sorted we are overall, the more we look forward to seeing our youngest bird fly (June 2019!).

We take these trips and it gives us a glimpse into what's around the bend for us. This past weekend he took me to Bruges via train.

The Medieval Suite

Red roof view.

Just the two of us...

Sunday, January 21, 2018

While the kids were snowboarding...

Ian and I spent time together. Because Garmisch is a lovely town.  Small, with roughly 10 huts in their Christmas Market, and art around every corner. It helped that it had snowed the day before we arrived and everything was gorgeous. While we meandered the little market, flurries added to the awesome wintry scene.

Lots of painted historic buildings.

The Garmisch Bären.

On one day we went to a café Krönner for brunch.  While the food was excellent, the service (for us at least, others went in and out), was molasses slow. It's a cute little spot to go on a date. 

Wednesday we headed to Dachau with Katherine.

There is no such thing as a good photo of a concentration camp. It was as sad and horrifying as you'd expect as Dachau was the blueprint for the system. Jonathon went to Sachsenhausen concentration camp when he took a class trip to Berlin last year. It's not something we ever want to revisit.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


We had the kids in snowboarding for 3 days while in Garmisch (Katherine went for 2).

Seems they spent a lot of time sitting in the snow.

Originally, upon their request, they were signed up for 2 days.  But after 2 days, they wanted more, so I guess it was a success. The great thing about the Edelweiss Lodge and the ski lodge/lessons they manage is that everything is available to rent.  We have a good assortment of items but as everyone knows all that stuff takes up a whole lot of space on a long-distance car ride. The lodge rents out what you need aside from gloves. It's pretty great.

And they've asked if we can go back again.