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Bright and early on this past Wednesday, 0400 hrs., EDST, (Eastern Daylight Savings Time), my awakening text from the German travelers informed me they were on a train headed Aachen. Don’t they know I’m sound asleep. Ben, my Black Poodle stirs, “What, What’s up Rooster”?
I’m told today is a down day from House hunting. Several rental homes to visit are on the schedule for Thursday. We best see some sites, say the girls. So they gather themselves and head to the place every German traveler goes when they want to change locations.
I like to see it lap the miles, And lick the valleys up,
And stop to feed itself at tanks; And then, prodigious, step
Around a pile of mountains, And, supercilious, peer
In shanties by the sides of roads; And then a quarry pare
To fit its sides, and crawl between, Complaining all the while
In horrid, hooting stanza; Then chase itself down the hill
And neigh like Boanerges; Then, punctual as a star,
Stop – docile and omnipotent – At its own stable door.
Is it time for a bath?
Aachen: Cathedral city of Europe.
Located at the border of Germany – Netherlands – Belgium, Aachen is a German city with a long-standing connection with the country’s history. Thanks to its many sulphur-laden springs, this historical spa city has been a site where the German Kings were crowned. Residence of Charlemagne, Aachen is one of Europe’s most important cities. The city itself has many historical sites that are worth visiting. Check out some of the best things to do in Aachen @ https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g187367-Activities-Aachen_North_Rhine_Westphalia.html
A beautiful gothic cathedral like one should be. Situated in the old town of Aachen with hundreds of nice shops & restaurants and cafes all around it. Definitely worth the trip.
Aachen: cathedral city of Europe.
Aachen is a city that lives and breathes Europe. It is practically Europe in miniature. Aachen, on the border with Belgium and the Netherlands, has encapsulated the spirit, value and ideals of Europe since the days of Charlemagne. Indeed the Charlemagne Prize for services to European unity has been awarded at Aachen’s town hall since 1950.
Aachen Cathedral is both a local landmark and a monument to Europe’s illustrious past.
After starting out life as the imperial palace’s chapel in 800 AD (the year of Charlemagne’s coronation), the completed building became the first cathedral in northern Europe and for many centuries served as the church of coronation for nearly every German king. The term ‘completed’ is open to interpretation, however, since the cathedral has been extended numerous times, including the addition of the great chancel in 1414 – a Gothic masterpiece whose windows reach an impressive 27 metresin height, making them the tallest ever at that time. The cathedral’s treasury is the most important north of the Alps and features precious artefacts such as the Cross of Lothair, a silver and gold bust of Charlemagne and the shrine in which Charlemagne was supposedly interred in 814 AD. Both the cathedral and its treasury are among the highlights on the Charlemagne Route, the historical path that winds through Aachen. The route takes in a series of eye-catching buildings, including Haus Löwenstein (a former residence and inn) and the Büchelpalais, which until 1752 served as the local corn exchange. Every checkpoint on the route focuses on a different topic: history, science, Europe, religion, power, business and media. It’s a wonder there’s not an equestrian-themed checkpoint, given how passionate the locals are for this noble sport. The annual Concours Hippique International Officiel is among the leading equestrian tournaments worldwide. It’s just one of numerous major events in the city, many of which are held in the equestrian arena before a crowd of 50,000 enthusiastic spectators.
Aachen is also renowned for its relaxed atmosphere, best experienced on a stroll through the historical streets. There’s a charming contrast between the grand old buildings dotted along the Charlemagne Route and the lively buzz supplied by 45,000 students from all corners of the globe. They give the city a vibrant yet laid-back character that everyone seems to be enjoying wherever you look – evidence of Aachen’s cosmopolitan flair and yet another reason to wander around the city centre, walking back through the centuries.
Aachen Town Hall, built on the site of the old imperial palace in the 14th century, is another firm favorite for sightseers. It was later converted into a grand baroque palace during the city’s prosperous heyday. Just next door is the Postwagen, a refined restaurant that has been welcoming visitors through its doors for centuries.
Over on Pontstrasse, inside the Grosses Haus – believed to be the oldest residential block in Aachen – you’ll find the International Newspaper Museum featuring many fascinating exhibits. The museum now explores the wider media and its collection includes more than 200,000 newspapers and other printed matter from all over the world and in (almost) every language, demonstrating the transience of history and how today’s headlines become tomorrow’s chip papers. Whereas at the Ludwig Forum for International Art, the works on display are always contemporary, with genres ranging from pop art to photorealism. Throughout the ages, however, one thing has remained constant in Aachen: its European ethos. You can’t fail to notice that when you arrive in Aachen, you arrive in Europe (From the pages of Trip Advisor)
The girls got back to Geilenkirchen just in time to learn that Abby (Kathryn’s youngest daughter), got to take a tour of the new office she will be working out of next month. The young recent college graduate will be working in an off site Neurological practice of PRMC.
Down Texas way, my traveling granddaughter Rachael took a sightseeing day and went to Waco, the home of Magnolia and, Fixer Upper and Chip and Joe.
Today the ladies, Kathryn and Mary Agnes, got on the SB-3 Bus in Geilenkirchen, 15 Euro for two, and traveled to Sittard, Netherlands for some sight seeing. I’m sure the grapes from a local vinyard will become a tasting at some point, when in Rome, you know. The distance between Geilenkirchen and Sittard is 14 miles. Google maps say it’s a 34 minute ride by auto. I’m guessing the bus is a bit longer, but plenty of time to take in the country side.
Just last week, one of the AM TV shows were interviewing people on the street with a large map of the world. Passerby’s were quizzed on various country’s and their locations. OMG, no orientation to location on God’s Earth is held by anyone they interviewed. I do realize that for the effect they were trying to get, those with geographic knowledge were not put on the air. That’s kind of how things work in that industry. Is Geography even taught in school today? There was a good article in USA Today back in 2015 on just that subject. Check it out if interested at: https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/10/16/us-students-are-terrible-at-geography
In case you’re one of those no-clue individuals, here is a map of Europe.
Sittard from a Wiki view.
The city of Sittard is located in the Dutch province of Limburg, which is the southernmost province in the Netherlands. Sittard shares its eastern border with Germany, and is located about 45 meters above sea level at its city center. As a result of its close proximity to Germany, many of the residence speak not only Dutch, but also German fluently. In this respect, Sittard is truly a blend of numerous European cultures living together peacefully.
The earliest settlements in the area of Sittard have been dated as early as 5000 B.C. However actual settlements of the present day city did not take place until approximately 850 A.D. History says that the name of the city may have actually been given to it by Charlemagne. Others argue that the name came from the fertile nature of the land.
The Duke of Limburg is said to have granted the city its “city rights” in 1243. The 15th through the 17th centuries saw much conflict and war in the area and Sittard was destroyed by multiple fires and rebuild a number of times.
Sittard in WWII
In the years prior to the war, there was a large population of German Jews that had moved to the Netherlands to escape the rise of the Nazi Party. However, as with most other cities in Holland, the German forces occupied Sittard during the Second World War. Most of the Jews were then deported to concentration camps. The 2nd Armored Division finally liberated Sittard in September of 1944. Although the city was on the frontline of the conflict for nearly four months, the historic structures within Sittard somehow avoided being destroyed.
Following the War, Sittard quickly recovered and many of its neighborhoods were constructed in the years after the conflict.
Mining in Sittard
Part of the economic engine that drove Sittard’s recovery and growth was the coal mining industry, which had actually begun in 1926. Prior to coal, the main source of income had been agricultural. However, with the move toward “Green” energy, the coal mines were eventually closed down in the 60’s and 70’s. Industrial terrain and numerous large office buildings now cover most of the areas.
Although the city of Sittard has continued to grow with the years, it has maintained its connection with its history. Many of the buildings in existence still today are indicative of the 16th and 17th centuries. Of special note are the following buildings:
Though the city is quite modern in many ways, the original city walls, built in the 13th century, is still visible in many places throughout the city.
Although a little out-of-the-way, Sittard is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. The city can be accessed my major motorways, rail and even bus. If you are not traveling far, you might even be able to ride a bicycle into the city. Whatever mode of transportation you choose, Sittard is an important city to visit on your tour of Holland, and one that will truly capture you heart.
(Thanks to Wiki for the information)
Once again I say thank you for stopping by.
This weekend Maryland Public Television featured long time DeMatha High School basketball coach Morgan Wooten ,now retired. His mantra was God, Family, School and basketball, what a wonderful way to approach the end result. Peace my friends.
The Oregon Connection
Roaring Springs Ranch
Stacy & Elaine Davies, Managers
Who are these two you ask,the other set of granparents to Mia, Ana, Dax and Zoe. Our eldest daughter, Kathryn’s first child was Samantha(Sam). Sam attended and graduated from the United States Air Force Academy, class of 2012. While at the Academy Sam met Zed Davies, who also graduated from USAFA. Zed is the first born of six to Stacy & Elaine.
These two young Airmen became engaged and married the day after graduation in May of 2012. The ensuing years would find them stationed in Columbus, MS and Oklahoma City, OK. For a short time Zed would find himself at Naval Air Training Facility, Pensacola, Fl prior to Pilot training in Columbus, MS. As I write this blog they are now safely in their new home town of Gielenkirchen, Germany.
So, the below is a bit of information from Country Natural Beef and the Roaring Springs Ranch, managed by Stacy and Elaine Davies.
The historic Roaring Springs Ranch headquarters are located in the sweeping Catlow Valley on the high desert of southeastern Oregon in Harney County. The ranch is a contiguous block of land located between Adel, Fields and Frenchglen.
In 1872 the cattle baron Pete French occupied the area that includes the present day ranch and developed a magnificent ranching empire. In the early 1900’s the federal government purchased the heart of the ranch to create the Malheur Wildlife refuge and the remainder of the ranch has since changed hands several times including Eastern Oregon Livestock Company, Swift and Company, Gill Cattle Company, and Allied Properties, among others. In 1992 the Bob Sanders family of Vancouver, Washington purchased the ranch and they still own it today.
The mission of the Roaring Springs Ranch is to be sustainable: This requires a focus on the economic, ecologic, and social function of our operation.
We are proud of the abundance of diverse wildlife species that share the landscape with our cattle, horses and ranch families. We are proactive in finding solutions to challenging resource issues. Clean water and air, beautiful scenery, open space, healthy fish and wildlife species are important outcomes of our management strategies. Through co-operative projects with a multitude of agencies and interested groups and individuals, we are able to ensure healthy ecosystems on our private land as well as our permitted public lands. Projects have focused on sage grouse, bighorn sheep, antelope, deer, elk, neo-tropical migrant birds, raptors, waterfowl, and overall ecosystem health. We are very proud of our wildlife populations and the health of our watersheds.
Roaring Springs Ranch recognizes the importance of the role we play as resource managers and food producers for our urban friends and customers. We are confident about our land and resource stewardship and take many opportunities to share our achievements, direction, failures, and opportunities. We value the input of others and seek opinions on issues that are important and include them in management decisions where appropriate. Involving and communicating with beef consumers, public land users, policy makers, voters and all of those who share our love for America is a responsibility we take seriously.
Cattle fit naturally into this environment with its diversity of vegetation types and over 4000 feet change in elevation. The conversion of grass to beef on rocky, dry sparse rangelands is the most economically sustainable use of our land. Marketing our beef directly to the consumer has insulated us from price swings and non-profitable years so common in the normal cattle business. Attention to detail, long term planning, frugal spending, and a consumer direct market are the recipe for economic sustainability.
A healthy environment, happy people, and robust economies are not in conflict but in fact are dependent upon one another. Our job is to leave this ranch in a position to benefit the families of Roaring Springs Ranch for many generations into the future.
Mary Agnes and I were honored to attend the feeding of the flock after the wedding at the reception held at the home of Eric and Melissa Bringhurst in Castle Rock, Colorado. Should you ever bite into a piece of Country Natural Beef, you’ll be in for a treat.
Prior to the kids going off to Germany the Davies grandparents spent time with the kids for a few days in Alabama and Georgia. The following pictures appeared on Facebook and I share them with you now.
It doesn’t matter if the grandparents are from the East or West, It’s the “LOVE” that matters. More pictures exist on FB, check out Elaine Davie’s FB page should you wish to see more pictures of the kids.
I hope you now have a little better feel on the Davies side of the Berthiaume – Fiddler Clan. The DNA keeps multiplying East to West and North to South.
My personal thoughts are also with G and Granny, in Geilenkirchen trying to make the transition a little smoother for the Davies Clan. I love you girls, see you in a week.
Yes, Rachael made it safe and sound to Austin, TX. If you have an address for her, send her a “You Go Girl.”
And last but not least,
As I commence writing this post, I should have done something like “Travels with Charlie,” Steinbeck’s book, or some kind of version of it. After all, there are four Standard Poodles in the Rooster’s family.
The Rooster’s family just does not sit still. Be it a town within a state, a state within a country or multiple countries throughout the world, they are on the move folks. Some spouses are crisscrossing and waving to each other out the car, bus train or plane window.
For today, Jeff is at home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. As some of you are aware, he just returned from Stockholm, Sweden 48 hours ago.
Oh and daughter Kathryn, Jeff’s other half, she and the Rooster’s wife just left PHL yesterday afternoon for Düsseldorf, Germany after an, Oh so brief stop in Dublin. I’m sorry Rita no time for a visit to Kilkenny.
Before that Sweden visit, Jeff happened to slip into Thailand, the Philippines, and New Zealand, then coming home via San Francisco. On the way out it was west to east, so he got a circumnavigation in. There must be some kind of a reward out there for that, right? Ah, there is, but it’s for boaters. https://www.cruisingclub.org/award/Circumnavigation
Bangkok, Cheap shopping and fish stories.
The Air Force family of Sam, Zed, Mia, Ana, Dax and Zoe as many of you know, have transitioned from Tinker AFB in OKC, shipped most of what they own to Geilenkirchen, Germany and have been attending Squadron Officers school. I reported on that a while ago. We had them here over the fourth if you remember and off they went to Michigan for a few days before arriving at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, AL. Sara’s daughter. Our Grand and Sam’s cousin went with them to be a Nannie.
Hey Sam, how about a graduation photo!
Things got a wee bit busy in the cramped quarters at the base, and after a week or so, Kathryn and Abby drove to Charlotte, met the family and transferred the kids and Rachael and returned to the Eastern Shore for a couple of weeks. Jeff and Kathryn reversed the trip two weeks ago, and they made the transition in Salisbury, NC this time. It was right after that switch that Jeff headed off to Sweden.
I must give a round of praise for Abby and Rachael. Those two girls were just amazing in caring for their three nieces and nephew. Rachael by day ran a well-organized house with four children five and other. When Abby returned from a hot day’s work at the nursery, she would help her mother and Granny with baths and what all. Granny made most of the weekday meals. Kathy would work the hospital by day and grandchildren by night. Folks, these are four women who can start on my team any day of the week. Semper Fi my ladies, Ooh-Rah!!
For the past few days, the Oregon G-Parents have been with the kids and Rachael in the Atlanta area. Great Wolf Lodge and the Aquarium were on that schedule. Stacy and Elaine took a few days off from the Cattle Ranch in Frenchglen, OR to spend some of the last days for a while with the kids. ( I’ll do a blog on the Oregon grandparents and their ranch soon)
Sam and Zed graduate today, head to Atlanta tomorrow and fly out Saturday with the kids, 4, 5 & under!!!! They will be met on arrival by Granny and Kathryn, (G) & (Great Granny), on landing, and help with the Jet Lag and transition for the next week. Grannies, the gift that keeps on giving.
What about Rachael you ask. Well, she just happens to be taking a phone job interview as I write and left today for Austin, TX as a possible new home location. Rumor has it there may be some Mid-West Irons in the fire also. https://www.statesman.com/news/local/for-second-year-austin-named-best-place-live-america-news-and-world-report/1R3DZ3wmujbm8r7GakwaMO/
And Abby, the recent college graduate has been hired by the local hospital working in an off-site Neurology office. She has been in a training program for the past few weeks learning the ins and outs of an office tech. Put that Psyc degree to work young lady.
The Connecticut connection of son Matt, Beth, David in NYC, Kevin, Jill, and Rebecca have no Moss growing beneath their feet either. Mexico at an all-inclusive two weeks ago, a week at Cape Cod and a quick trip to Gloucester, Massachusetts has rounded out their travels. Matt, David, and Kevin also did the Circle of Hope Hackers Conference in July. https://hope.net/
Kevin did get two weeks in at Ft. Drum, NY with the guard and will start at UConn next week. He also spent some time in New Hampshire with the Love (Marissa) of his life and her family.
As for the Rooster, he got a shot of juice in his Right, Hip Bursa this week, and he’s halfway through a Pastoral Care in Hospitals course. Should he be found worthy at the completion of the course, he will be a Pastoral Care Volunteer. We can only hope they won’t be upset at having a Rooster roam their halls.
Thanks again for dropping by. Cooler weather comes in soon, the leaves will begin to change and soon the smell of Turkey will be wafting from the oven. I know this will happen as the Wolly’s are starting to appear on the roads.
Off They Go
They arrived on the 3’rd with all their stuff and were gone on the 8’th. Who you might ask, the “USAF Family Davies,” granddaughter and hubby, 4 great grandchildren and all the joy and happiness they bring on their visit.
They arrived in time to decorate a float and ride in the Allen, MD Fourth of July parade. They ate Grandmom (G) and Grandpop (Pappy) out of house and home. Lady Liberty of the Yellow Lab variety has been pulled, prodded, sent fetching, and loved for 5 continuous days. She has responded by eating all dropped food items well befor the 30 second rule could take hold. Weight Watchers has a new client.
They got to go on a boat ride, swim in Uncle Greg’s pool and G & Pappy’s blow up pool next to the fish pond and watch the frogs. They fished Miss Sue’s pond for the big one with Pappy and Abby.
They were loved by all who came by to wish them safe journey as they head to Germany by way of Michigan and Alabama.
Aunt Rachael got a warm up exercise for her upcoming stint of six weeks of being a Nanny while Mom and Dad attend Squadron Officer’s School at Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, AL.
Once the school is completed it will be off on Big Bird to cross the pond to Germany. So, God Speed my children, Granny and G shall be there to greet you and spoil you and help get you settled. I’m sure you’ll have many visitations over the next few years, I plan to be one of those visiting.
L to R – Pappy, Abby, Zed & Dax, Mia & G, Sam, Rooster & Wife, Ana & the All American Girl ZOE.
For the past few years we have been minimizing. I’m guessing Mary Agnes much more so than me, there are just some things that I will not part with. At least once a month I’ll get the question “got anything for Halo.” Halo Ministries is a local organization that takes in any and all things one would part with and then sells them in their Thrift Store. They also run a shelter for men and women and have a soup kitchen. It’s a nice Ministry that does good things.
Just last week I got the notice a trip to Halo was planned. I found a few old ties and belts that I was willing to part with and off they went with the weeks donations. “That’s all, I was asked.” I’ve been told we are trying to make things easier for the kids once we’re gone. We are only going to Delaware tomorrow I said. I got that look that said you know what I mean. Ouch!
So a few days ago we made the 50 mile day trip to Delaware to visit Sarah the sister in-law who has been going through one of those hiccups in life for the past six months. We dropped Ben the dog off at the Pet Palace boarding kennel the night prior and would pick him up on the return.
We would pick up Sarah around 10:00 and head off to the outlets. No sales tax in Delaware, great outlets. We go to “That Store,” called Christmas Tree Shops in other states, and I drop the girls off. I stay in the car, catch up with my Journal writing, check email, etc. I’ll go inside at Harbor Freight, Cabela’s & Bass Pro, but that’s about it.
Forty minutes later Mary Agnes comes out the door pushing a cart just loaded with bags. She pops the back hatch and transfers the bags. “Where’s Sarah” I ask, “still shopping” she says as she closes the hatch and returns to the store. After a total of fifty-five minutes they reappear with cart #2 and off load once again. It’s only a Subaru I say, not a Penske Rental. I get that look from both of them.
Now where I ask, after the load transfer takes place. To the grocery store, we will buy the makings for lunch and visit sister in-law Barbara and husband Mike and make lunch for us all. A loaf of bread, Egg and Chicken Salad, Grandma Utz potato chips and some ice tea are bought and paid for and we are off to Barbara’s. I shall not even mention how I’m given directions by Sarah to get out of the parking lot maze. Suffice it to say a GPS she is not.
We have a nice lunch, learn about an upcoming trip to Alaska, one of those boat and train adventures and say our goodbyes and are off ninety minutes later. We will drop Sarah and her packages her house and head for our every six-week stop at the Big Box store. In this Case it’s BJ’s.
At this stop we only purchase what is needed. With some rearranging I find room for all we’ve needed to purchase as well as those items from that first cart full of bags. So I ask the question. “I thought we were minimizing.” Once again, THAT LOOK. It seems these are mostly items for others which makes it a bit easier.
We beat a good summer rain storm home and stay dry while off loading. I pick the dog up from the kennel, take him for a good run in a field as he rids himself of 22 hours of incarceration. Once back in the car he is a happy 20 month old 65 pound Standard Poodle. We feed the dog, open a cold bottle of nice wine, retreat to the porch and do what we do best – solve all the problems of the world.
It’s been a good day, and I didn’t have to get rid of a thing. Oh, and the stuff in the bags. It turns out they are patriotic decorations, paper plates, cups and the like for the Forth of July parade and picnic. The Oklahoma Grands and Greats will be in prior their stop in Alabama and ultimate flight in August to their new home in Geilenkirchen, Germany.