Sunday, September 4, 2011

We're going on a treasure hunt...

... we're gonna catch a big one! We're not scared, no we're not scared!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oxford Trip

Michael had to go to Oxford England for work and of course I jumped at the opportunity to tag along with him! We ended up having three days to explore the region, though on Friday Michael ahd to work and leave me to wonder on my own.

We started with Warwick Castle. I've got to say that this was a fantastic castle. They have fixed it up and turned it into a sort of permanent Renaissance Festival type thing. The result was a nice combination of actual history with fun entertainment. They had trebuchet demonstrations (very cool to see a fireball launched across a field), a watermill house, hawking shows (awesome eagles and such), ghost tours, haunted house, as well as typical museum-like tours. Many of those things, combined with the great playground, would have been fun for our kids. I wonder if that means that Ellie and Addie are getting old enough to consider bringing them with us?

One of my favorite things about the castle was this trunk. It belonged to a queen. Don't ask me which one, as I was more intriqued by the trunk itself. Apparently it was packed by a queen who was scheduled to visit the castle, but her plans got cancelled and she never retrieved her trunk. The key, however, was not sent with the trunk so no one has been able to open it for hundreds of years. They do have a "packaging slip" detailing everything in the trunk and recently x-rayed it to confirm that all those items are still inside. So cool!

Michael is always looking for a good window to photograph. I love him for it.

There are few things better than a good castle and blue skies. So pretty!

The next day I explored Oxford by myself. Michael had to work, but he had been here before. It was strange for me to see all the same things he had seen, only on my own.
I explored some of the college courtyards, which I absolutely adore. I even got to see the dining hall used in the Harry Potter films. It was impressive even without the floating candles.

My favorite college, by far, was New College. I absolutely loved the cloisters that were next to the chapel. I felt like I had landed in a romantic atmosphere of magic.
I do believe that these were also in the Harry Potter films. One thing about locations that make appearances in movies... Those movie people know how to pick the most picturesque locations! I could have sat here all day.
The only thing that could have made this photo any more perfect was if that were Michael and me sitting on that bench. Oh well. For the time being, let's just pretend it's us. Look at the perfect photo someone took of us... it's so romantic!

The best thing about Europe is the churches. And the best churches are the ones with fantastic stained glass! Or happy bells ringing.
Look at this stained glass! I loved the picture protrayed in it. I like it because it's different than your typical stained glass window. It has a scene of a mountain side village and a river and boats. I love it. It's as simple as that. Very stunning.
This photo was actually taken in Lower Slaughter, but it's another stunning stained glass window that I just couldn't take my eyes off of. I love the colors. I love the angels. Love it all.
Personally I think I should be proud of these photos. Sure Michael could probably have made them even better than I did, but I don't think they turned out too shabby, do you?

Our last day in England, we drove through the Cotswolds again and just toured some of the cute towns. I think we could retire here. Yep, I think so.
I think we'd fit right in, don't you?
Have I mentioned that I love churches?
No? Well then I LOVE churches! Perhaps I should have titled this blog "Niffer's Churches."

Following churches with their gorgeous windows, I have to give credit to all the incredible doors those Europeans have. Where can I get myself a wooden door? I have some beautiful church windows that need company!
Please excuse the temporary drool as I stop and stare at this door.
And the best doors are the ones with gigantic knockers and key holes. Dear Santa, if you bring me a door for Christmas, please be sure to have big working skeleton keys to go with it. Thank you.

Every trip has that one random item or location that you stumble upon and just stands out from all the others. I am sure things like this exist everywhere, but for whatever reason, I seem to notice them more when I'm in Europe. I love how the moss is growing in the letters of this tombstone. I wonder how many people stop to notice it?

Michael and I have decided that a good fit for him in retirement might be a Ghost Tour Guide. Hehehe... I guess only time will tell.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cotswolds Wool

We recently took a trip to Oxford (more on that later), which is just outside of the Cotswolds region of England. We LOVE the Cotswolds for their quaint towns and fantastic churches!

Since in the Middle Ages the wool trade made the Cotswolds prosperous, we figured that "Wool from the Cotswolds" might be a good item to add to our list. If there ever was a place to purchase "wool" it might be the Cotswolds, right? Wrong. It turns out that people look at you like you're from the lunny bin if you ask for just wool. Not many people want a chunk of wool. Go figure.

But alas, we found a solution! A wool duster! Crazy, I know... but yes we bought a wool duster for our treasure hunt list. It makes me laugh in a way that's similar to when we used up our last remaining 7 EURO on a cowbell instead of food. A duster? Ok. Whatever makes us happy, right?

Amd this duster did make us happy. As soon as we got home, I got to work turning our new "cotswold wool" into a Gniffer Gnome. I think he turned out pretty darn cute, don't you?

Wool from the Cotswolds? Check!

Stowaway Gnomes

On our recent trip to Oxford, it turned out I was not the only one tagging along for the ride - we had two stowaways that joined us! This little Gniffer Gnome just loved to take in the sites.

She also thought it was great fun to play "Hide and Seek" just to see if she could blend in with her surroundings.

Perhaps we should nickname her "Waldo"?

And this stowaway also loved joining us, but it was very apparent that her favorite thing was all the beautiful old wooden doors.

See? I just couldn't get her to stop hanging out in the doorways.

Yet another door? Well, you have to hand it to her - at least she found a really cool one!

Monday, January 3, 2011

A link in time

This isn't a recent trip, but it is something I thought was worth sharing...

Way back in 2005, we took a big trip to Europe and Siena was one of our stops. This is a photo that Michael took from inside the Duomo in Siena.

Fast forward to 2009 when we went to Paris... We were walking through the Orsay Museum when I saw this from across the room.
I don't know why I think it's cool that we had essentially the same photo in mind as someone from the 1860's. Cool!

I think ours is a little better, though. I may be biased.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Long weekend destination?

Since it was so nice to travel together to Cambridge, my Michael and I have decided we're going to take another trip to Europe next year. We are devying up our vacation now and decided it was important.

So... where to? Unfortunately we still feel like the girls are too young for us to leave them for more than just a long weekend so we have to limit our destination to something "smallish" or a destination we've already been to before.

Top "new" contenders? Perhaps Stockholm? Budapest? Ireland? Spain? Croatia?

Top "been there" contenders? Perhaps Paris? Prague? Switzerland? Germany?

Ideally we'd see something new. But ideally we'd also see my penpal (who lives in Germany) and my doula (who lives in Paris now).

Oh the choices! But one thing is certain... I'm super excited already!