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European Vacation!

Our vacation was truly amazing! The Griswold’s in Grindelwald. Lol. It was a wonderful experience to share for me and my mom and brothers family. We landed in Geneva, Switzerland and my brother, Maris, drove another 3-4 hours through twisting mountain roads because my navigation took us off the main highway. And this was after 17 hours of airports and flying. Our hero! We stopped for light lunch and pastry in a small town in France before we arrived in Frieisenheim, in the Black Forest  of southern Germany – moms home town. Before we checked in we drove by her old house. Some relatives still live there, so of course, everyone came out to greet her. Poor cousin Elfriede, was waiting for us with garden salad, cold cuts and wine for dinner. After all the side tracks and dumping off our luggage – we were two hours later than expected. She lives in Altenheim. There were so many little towns with similar names that whenever we couldn’t remember which one we wanted we just called it ‘Alzenheimers’. Our Airbnb Friesenheim apartment was fabulous. Very clean and spacious. The next morning we drove into town and parked on the main road. Mom was still by the car, I wandered towards nearby music. I peeked into a yard and a gentlemen playing a one man band contraption beckoned myself, Donna and Maris over. Tables were being set up in a charming courtyard. He took a look at us and asked if we were from Milwaukee. ??? Apparently we had wandered into preparations for my mom’s class reunion party for the next day! She didn’t know where it was going to be or what time. What are the odds of that? Anyhow, they gave us a grand tour. The gal living there, Aloise, is a caterer and artist and she had a magical secret garden and studio space. Fun!
We spent the next days visiting and touring charming towns in the area. Friesenheim is right on the French border. The Alsace region is incredibly beautiful and old. There are castle ruins and old structures from Roman times. But most buildings are from 1,200- 1,700. Everything is clean and neat as a pin. There are beautiful flowers in almost every window box. But we did still spot some graffiti. Most clerks could speak some English and you can use a credit card just about anywhere. It’s almost not necessary to exchange money in advance. The towns we saw were Gengenbach, Eguishiem, Colmar (little Venice), Frieburg (complete with tour of medieval city in English), Strasbourg (Petite Paris), Kehl, Triberger waterfalls, Hohen Geroldseck ruins. **click on links for internet photos. Then there was that little side trip to Paris. We were happy that mom didn't join us - it would have been way too much walking for her. Highlights were: Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sainte-Chappele, boat tour on the Seine, Momartre / Sacre Coeur, Moulin Rouge, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees fountains and Egyptian Obelisk, the Lourve museum (at night), Pompidou, Rue de Lombards (even went to a jazz club), and Pere LaChaise cemetery. My favorite part was our first night. We had planned on taking a stroll in the neighborhood, but hopped on the metro instead. We arrived at the Trocedero station and turned the corner to see the Eiffel Tower bathed in a gorgeous pink sunset. We stayed until dark and the first light show then strolled across the river and there on the banks of the Seine we listened to an honest to goodness Salsa band, ate guacamole and drank mojitos. I even danced. Weeepaaa!
Our wonderful relatives hosted two Flammenkuchen feasts for us. It’s like German pizza but different, made in real outdoor wood burning ovens. I tried to make it in my stove, but it was no even close. Homemade dough is covered in crème fresh and toppings like smoked bacon, onions and mushrooms. We even had a flamed apple dessert version using Kirshwasser – cherry brandy. Yum! The breads and pastries were heaven. The grapes were recently harvested so it was new wine season. One of our relatives owns Martin Michael Erb winery, so we sampled a lot of that. Mom’s class reunion was another feast with tender smoked ham, salads, and platters of cake and ice cream. And more wine. We also were treated to a mountain of savory and sweet crepes with all the fixin’s. And yet another feast included coffee and cake for starters followed by heaps of cooked meats – pork chops and sausages. Seriously, other than shopping for some snacks and breakfast foods we did not spend much on the trip outside of Paris and Switzerland. We did host a farewell party in Germany for family, but it was mainly lunch meats and cheeses with some desserts. Our second apartment in Kehl was perfect for hosting a party – we had room to set up a table for ten.
In Switzerland we stayed just outside of Grindelwald. WOW, we were right in the mountains. The views were literally breathtaking. We didn’t have the best weather everyday – in fact temps ranges from highs of only 43 degrees all the way to 85 during our trip. We spent time in Interlaken, Speiz, Lauterbrunnen, and took a cable car and train up into Murren, but it was so cloudy you couldn’t see a thing. Our Airbnb Swiss chalet had spectacular views and a roaring river right behind it. I had hoped to attach some slide show videos, but I am still editing my collection of over 3,500 photos! And I’ll be picking the best pics from other family members, too. Mom has asked when we can show the pictures at least 10 times already. Patience -- it’s going to take a little while. So for now, please enjoy a few highlight photos. We saw so much, it took me 4 days to recover from my vacation!
You can still see the True Colors exhibit at the Art Bar until Oct 4th.

The Happy Wanderer,


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Our Swiss Chalet apartment

Speiz, Switzerland - we visited the Schloss in the photo.
Anita Burgermeister, eclectic independent artist in Milwaukee ~ creator of faux finishes, murals, fine art, photography, websites & more. Sharing news about creative people & events in art, music, magic, dance, dining, film, writing, architecture, inventions, life & other stuff.

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Eiffel Tower sunset

Me and Mom in Germany

Artist at Momartre

Colmar, France

Frieberg cathedral

Mom and Maris on Tuhnisee in Switzerland

Our one man band host

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