Sunday, June 13, 2010

Village aux Vieux Métiers

I'm still behind here but am trying to catch up!

A few weeks ago we headed over to this small village, Azannes, France, which was holding a festival celebrating the old way of life:  Village aux Vieux Métiers.  There were dozens of people demonstrating how things were done in the good old days.  There was a dairy, stone carvers, launderesses, furriers, music and lots of other things.  It was fascinating, and the kids loved it!

First of all, the drive was beautiful:

All those yellow flowers!  I couldn't stop taking pictures.

Then, once we got there, there was so much to see.  Horses in harness:

Little girls in old-fashioned dresses being wheeled around in carts:

Cows to feed:

Baby goats to pet:

Traditional French music:

And laundry to scrub:

Kate loved this.  She got to wear this cute, frilly washerwoman cap as she scrubbed:

She was so cute (in my unbiased opinion) that a reporter from a local newspaper approached me and asked if they could take her picture and then interview me.  I said yes, and THIS was the result.  Kate was so excited to be in the paper.  The day it appeared she kept repeating, "I'm famous!" -- which her brother greeted with an eye roll and a muttered, "You're not that famous..."

All in all, a lovely day.  I know we'll be back next year!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


When we signed up for phone and internet service through the P&T here, we automatically received an email account.  I think I checked it once, then realized we had no emails at all because I never gave that address to anyone.  So then I promptly forgot about it.  Fast forward to yesterday morning, when the school director commented that the emails she's been sending to my husband always bounced back.  That reminded me that I'd been meaning to tell her I don't get any of these emails.  We checked and, for some unbelievable reason, I'd given her the P&T email address as my main means of contact.  Why on earth I did that I will never know.

So, I go home to check that email account, only to discover I have completely forgotten the password.  And it's not one I created myself so I have no hope whatsoever of figuring it out, nor can I find the paperwork which contains my password.  I search the web site high and low for a "forgot password" button to click.  None in sight.  So I send them an email explaining I've forgotten my password and need to reset it.

This morning I get an email saying that they'd be happy to reset my password as soon as I fax them a written request.   Once I've done this, they will MAIL my password to me.  Mail it, as in snail mail.

WHAT????   Besides the fact that I don't even have a fax machine, nor do I know where to find one, why on earth would they send the password by mail?  Why isn't there at least a phone option?  I'm sure I could provide whatever security information they would need over the phone.  I just don't get it...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Military Cemeteries

Last Sunday was rainy, cold and dreary, so we thought we'd go down to the Grund and check out the Natural History Museum.  Except the roads leading there were closed (as far as we could tell anyway) so we couldn't figure out how to get down there.  This was actually our second failed attempt to visit this museum.  Why is it so hard for us to make it there?  Someday I hope we will.

After two circuits around town we gave up and decided to just drive and see where we ended up -- which turned out to be smack dab in the middle of a bike race.  I'm not sure which one it was -- there seem to be lots of them around these parts lately -- but we found ourselves tailing the pack right across the finish line.  "Did we win?" Kate asked.  No, but it was fun anyway.

Since we were near the American Military Cemetery, we thought we'd stop in for a peek.  Good decision, as it turns out, since it was Memorial Day Weekend and the cemetery was festooned with flowers.  In addition to the 5,000+ WWII soldiers buried there, the cemetery also contains the tomb of General Patton, also nicely decked out with flowers.

A few photos:

The weather was truly crummy but somehow seemed appropriate for a day of touring cemeteries.

The interior of the beautiful chapel on site:

Three of the four huge floral wreaths just before the path to the graves:

They were from the American Battle Monuments Commission, the American Embassy, the President of the United States (Will was so excited:  "Barack Obama sent that?  Cool!!"), and one I think was from Holland.  

Right?  That's a big "H" on the ribbon.

Here's Will in front of General Patton's tomb:

Some shots of all the headstones, each of which had an American flag, a Luxembourgish flag and a rose:

This is the headstone of a Jewish soldier:

There were little stones placed on all of the Jewish headstones, and I knew I'd seen that before but couldn't remember what it meant.  So I googled it.

After finishing our tour of the American cemetery, we decided to head over to the German Military Cemetery, just a few kilometers away.  This is where the German soldiers killed in WWII battles (mostly the Battle of the Bulge and other skirmishes around that time) are buried.  

There are approximately 10,000 German soldiers buried here.

It was quite stark compared to the American cemetery, though perhaps it's not fair to compare the two around Memorial Day!  

Each gravestone marked the burial site of FOUR German soldiers; two listed on the front:

And two on the back:

Many of the soldiers were unnamed.  I think the marker above reads "Two German Soldiers."

An interesting tidbit:  I was surprised by the large number of soldiers buried in these two cemeteries, especially since I know there are quite a few of these military cemeteries scattered around nearby.  It made me wonder what percentage of soldiers killed in battle are interred in the country in which they are killed and how many are sent home.  A sign in the American cemetery said that around 61 percent of American soldiers killed in WWII were sent home and 39 percent buried near where they fell.  I wonder what the percentages would be for German soldiers?

So, the day didn't turn out as planned but was interesting just the same!  

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Parc Merveilleux

A few weeks ago we took a little trip to Parc Merveilleux in Bettembourg, just outside Luxembourg City.  It's kind of a cross between a zoo and an amusement park, with excellent playgrounds thrown in, all in a beautiful, woodsy setting.  It was fantastic, merveilleux, you might say...  It reminded me of Children's Fairyland in Oakland but even better because of all the animals.

Boy and gorilla:

Right by the entrance was our first fairy tale.  This is the hilariously named Grimm's story, "The Wishing-Table, The Gold-Ass, and the Cudgel in the Sack."   I vaguely remembered the story, which is written there in French next to the picture.  The kids loved the story but the picture even more.  Check out where the gold is dropping from:

Right next to it was a donkey which you could feed money in exchange for a "gold" (chocolate) coin:

The kids were disappointed that the coins only fell out of the donkey's mouth.  I wasn't.

Then we moved on to the animals.  First the cutest little bunny village ever:

Then, more exotic animals, like this electric eel.  You just see Will's arm because that's as close as he was willing to get:

An iguana:

A bright blue tree frog:


Creepy, leaf-look-alike bugs:


Desert sand foxes:

And these little monkeys.  They were so cute I must've taken 50 pictures of them.  Like Will in the Louvre or Kate and the tulips, all the pictures won't be posted here.

They were so fascinated by my camera.  I could just see them puzzling out what it was and how they could get their little paws on it.

They kept turning their heads to look at me from every possible angle, till they were almost upside down:

So cute!  I really wanted to stick one in my purse and take it home with me but I resisted.

Then Will's favorite:  the piranha.  One of the creepiest things I've ever seen.  It kept opening and closing its mouth over and over, flashing those sharp white teeth.  Weird.

Three guesses as to why Will loved these pigs:

Then on to the playgrounds.  Sleeping giant:

Giant chain-link spiderweb:

And this huge one that kept Will busy for a good hour:

Kate liked this one:


Finally, onto the fairy tales.  Scattered around the park were these little houses.  Inside each one were animated puppets acting out a fairy tale.  I think this one is Sleeping Beauty.

You could choose to listen to the story in German, French or Luxembourgish:

Even though she couldn't really understand the stories, Kate was transfixed:

She literally sprinted from one fairy tale to another:

Here's the Pied Piper.  In addition to the fake rats, there were real ones running around!

There were also a few rides.  Here's Will trying to dodge the camera:

But then he crashed into the wall.  Serves him right!

This was probably one of our favorite outings ever, just a short drive from Lux city.  We will definitely be back!