Monday, May 30, 2011


Sunday we went to Trier, which claims to be oldest city in Germany. It has a ton of Roman ruins and it was a home of Constantine. Speaking of which, below is his foot. The kids really got a kick out of it. Pahahaaaa. Yes, I did. This is the bath house complex. We have seen a few of these in our travels, but this one is HUGE!!! The complex was the biggest of it's time with warm and cold bath sections and a massive complex of underground tunnels. The kids had a great time climbing all over the ruins and running and hiding in the tunnels. It is nice that they actually let your kids do that since back in the States that would not be allowed.In trying to paint a realistic scene for the kids we explained what happened at the baths and what the people would do. Shortly after, while posing for this picture, Logan exclaimed "I'm just sitting here naked and relaxing!" And, of course, the kids broke out in giggles.Here is the Roman Ampitheater. It sat 20,000 in its day and you could go through the tunnels underneath it. There were still sections that you could see where they would keep the animals for combat, or the gladiators or the Christians.... whatever was available at the time...Logan REALLY wanted to play gladiator and so they spent some time beating each other up in the ring... we are great parents, huh?This is the view from the Porta Nigra out into the hills of Trier. It is a really beautiful city with an incredible amount history. This is Porta Nigra and was built almost 2,000 years ago!! It was the gate you would have to pass through to get into the city to do business in the town. Napoleon demanded it be restored in its original state once he had control over the city.
We went to an archaeology museum while we were there and we were amazed at the quality and quantity of what they have recovered. Also, I never get tired of hearing the music on the streets as we walk around here. We walked down one street and listened to an opera singer, a marching band, a violin player and a Spanish guitar player. It is awesome. They only problem is that Chase wants to give money to all of them.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


This Saturday we went to Luxembourg and spent the morning exploring the town. We didn't get very far, but the views were gorgeous! I was surprised at how low-key and empty the city was for summertime in Europe. We took a train tour around the park areas and saw some of the castle, etc. The tour told, in storytelling form, how this little country was just slapped around by its bigger neighbors for hundreds of years... enjoying few years of relative peace. (For any of those who are over here, I don't recommend the train tour. The bus tour seemed to take you to many more of the "sights.") Though its hilly and rocky landscape made it a formidable challenge to conquer. The afternoon was spent at the Luxembourg American Cemetery. These were the graves of hundreds of American soldiers that died while defending Luxembourg from the Nazis and pushed them back against incredible odds from December 1944-March 1945. These battles were some of the decisive encounters that helped end the war and the Reich for good. General Patton led these soldiers and when he died at the end of 1945, he asked to be bured with his men. He has the same white cross as the rest of his soldiers, but he is buried in the front of the cemetery, in the front of all his men.A suprising number of the graves were marked "Known but to God."Inside the chapel there were three inscriptions on each wall. I loved this one.

The list of soldiers whose bodies they were unable to find/identify and bury.

The ceremony that they held there was very moving. The University of Miami had a group of singers there who sang "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and the Army Band played "The Star-Spangled Banner" and the Luxembourg National Anthem. There were speakers from Luxembourg, the jewish community in Luxembourg, and our own military (a Navy Admiral was the keynote speaker). They recounted the battles that occured here and expressed a deep gratitude. It was a wonderful ceremony and afterwards the families of those buried there were escourted to their relative's grave. Overall, an awesome way to spend Memorial Weekend! Next weekend, Blake and Logan are going to a Father and Son's Camping trip there (yes, you can camp at the cemetery.) and participating in an Eagle project to clean the headstones there.