BertieTheDuck, Saarland, Germany


Posted May 3, 2008, 12:48 pm
Hi everyone!

I've finally been told that I can start going out and that I might even get to visit Dublin, Finland and England with my foster parents and Dirkie :D How cool is that! I have been told that I might start travelling on my own before my foster parents go on their holiday so we'll see what happens. Yesterday I had some pictures taken with my friends.
This is me, my cat friend Felix and Chester
This is me and my fish friends
That's me and Chester sitting on an aloe vera
And that's us again trying to hide in the cat grass
And here's a photo with our friend Katie

Posted May 4, 2008, 11:44 pm

Today I've been helping my foster dad Dave together with Chester to fix the washing machine. I was also posing on a mini aloe vera :)
This is me with my screwdriver
This is me and Chester looking for some tools in Dave's toolbox.
And here's me on that small aloe vera plant which is actually growing on the wall of a sauna. Maybe they will let me try the sauna soon *wink, wink*

Posted May 5, 2008, 10:45 pm

Today we came to work with Katja. She works in a small private clinic as an interpreter and her shifts are 24 hour long so we even have to sleep here. Here's some photos.
That's me on the desk in the reception
That's me and Chester on top of the printer
And that's us posing on the x-ray machine
Can I give you a jab?
That's me with some sterilized instruments
This seems a bit too complicated for me...
...let's leave it to the doctors
I think these goggles weren't designed for ToyVoyagers...
And that's us going asleep.

Good night everybody!!

Posted May 5, 2008, 11:12 pm

Today we've been driving around a bit so I've finally seen some outside world :) Here are some photos
That's us just leaving home. You could actually see the vulcano, Teide, from here but unfortunately the camera didn't catch it.
Some houses there on the background...
That's the TF1 motorway and some palm trees...
...and a bridge. Today's not been a good photo day for me!
Tenerife has got many hills.


Posted May 14, 2008, 8:39 pm

Today I had to say goodbye to Chester :( He didn't get to see much of Tenerife because during the past week or so it's been really cloudy and it has even rained a couple of times. I'm going to see what the north of Tenerife looks like on Friday because Katja will have to go have an x-ray taken of her teeth in Santa Cruz as she's going to have her windom teeth pulled out in a week or two, ouch... I hope it's sunny on Friday so that we can take loads of nice pictures...if Katja dares. Here are some pictures of todays farewell..
It was really sad to say goodbye to my dear friend and brother Chester. I hope we'll meet again!
I helped to wrap him up so that he wouldn't get hurt on his way to Estonia.
Bye, bye!!  :(

Posted May 17, 2008, 6:55 pm

Yesterday I went up north with my foster mum Katja. We didn't get many good photos because it was very difficult to park near anywhere nice and Katja couldn't take photos from the car as she was driving. There wasn't anything nice near the hospital so we just got a few shots from the car when we parked up.
Here I am in the car at Al Campo shopping centre parking
Katja went shopping to Ikea
But I was left in the car
This was taken at Carrefour parking
This is just on our way out from Carrefour parking
It was a cloudy day, once again. This was taken on our way home.
Some view from the motorway near a place called Güimar
There's the sea!!
On this one you can see a bit more sea
We were trying to get the windmills on this photo
Ok, there's a better photo of the windmills.

I've been told that tomorrow, if it's sunny, we'll go to the beach!! :D

Posted May 19, 2008, 7:18 pm
Today we've finally been to the beach :) It was really cloudy home in Guargacho, same as it's been for a while now, but we decided to see if it was any better closer to the coast and it sure was. It was nice and sunny on the beach until about 6 o'clock when it started getting cloudy. We were there only for a couple of hours as we didn't get there till 4 because Katja and Dave weren't sure if it was worth trying. But we were all glad that we went :)

Here's some pictures:
See the fountain on the background, you will see it better in a bit
I was really enjoying the sun!
Katja's flip flops there on the backgroud
San Telmo
There's a better picture of the fountain and it's working too :)
Once it started getting cloudy and we left the beach, Dave and Katja decided to get some kebab nearby, this picture was taken near the kebab place, show's you a bit more of the beach :)
And here's another similar photo
And this was taken already on our way home
And this one as well. They have awful lot of road works going here in Tenerife
Just getting of the motorway here and arriving to Las Chafiras
There was this boat by the road
You can see it better in this one
And then they had this huge sheep by the road too near home

Posted May 26, 2008, 2:33 pm
Hi everyone!

Today Katja's been to a hospital in Santa Cruz to have her wisdom teeth taken out. I had a chance to see a bit more of Santa Cruz but only fom the car because Katja didn't feel like going out with her puffy face..

First some photos of a long street called Rambla de General Franco:

And here's some other photos of Santa Cruz...when we were trying to get out but Dave who was driving got lost...

On our way back home:

Posted May 28, 2008, 2:42 pm
I've finally got myself a tag and a notebook and I'm finally ready to start travelling!! My first stop is with olgamaus in Germany. I will begin my trip tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Posted May 28, 2008, 5:14 pm
Well I was supposed to start travelling today but just as I was going into my envelope, another suspicious envelope came from the US and I thought, wow, another ToyVoyager!

And then we opened the envelope and look who came out, Dirkie! :)

I was kind of sad because I knew I didn't have much time to spend with him and I decided to stay another day just to show Dirkie around the house a bit

I showed him the terrace first That's the parsley plant Some more plants

Then we had a look around inside and I introduced Dirkie to Felix, Katie and the fish. I think he was quite exited to meet so many animals

Then I showed him my friend Chester on the computer (the baby food is for my mommy who's had 3 wisdom teeth taken out on Saturday so she can't eat much now)

Posted May 28, 2008, 5:24 pm
Today I have finally said goodbye and I'm on my way to Germany now! I hope to get there soon!
I only met Dirkie yesterday but he became a good friend
Bye bye!! Auf wiedersehen!

Posted Jun 2, 2008, 4:51 pm
Hi Mummy,
I arrived at my first host's home today. When Katja (her name is also Katja - that's funny and easy to keep in mind) arrived from her work she found my envelope crammed into the post box, partly lolling out.

She took me into her apartment and opened my envelope. I was welcomed by Katja and little bear ToyVoyager Finja.

She emptied my envelope and found my notebook and some  cute stickers. She was really delighted.

To show me a little bit around Katja took me with her to the veterinary. She had to buy some medicine for one of her pets.

On the way to the vet she showed me the vicinity of my new home. I am now living in the house on the left side. It was built in 1904 A.D. Katja told me that we are living in a district that was not destroyed in World War II. Many of the old houses are still existing here.

This church is close to our home. Because the church is surrounded by large trees we could not make a photo of the whole church.

Here you can find many nice houses like these.

In front of the police station this little park is planted.

Here we are at the vet's house.

We bought the medicine and went home. Katja wanted to show me the ducks in the munciple park's pond. They even have ducklings but they were hinding somewhere. Next time we will feed ducks, maybe then they will come closer.

Can you see the fish in the background? It is the replication of the "Stinthengst". A "Stint" is a fish called "smelt" in english. The replication reminds of the historical tradition from East Prussia. East Prussia belonged to Germany from 1871 A.D. until 1945 A.D. In World War II this and other eastern regions were captured by Russia. Nowadays these regions belong to Poland.

The Stinthengst (king of fish) is a mythical creature that lived in the waters of the East Prussian region Nikolaiken. The king was caught one day. He promised the fishermen to fulfill all their dreams if they saved his life. They did, but to benefit from his magical strengh they chained him to a bridge, stuck into the net. The outflanked king of fish had to keep his promise and is fulfilling wishes even nowadays.

On this sign the story of the "Stinthengst" is written. Remscheid is related to Sensburg, the capital of the former region East Prussia, in a way similar to a twin town. Many people from this region are living here. They were displaces persons from World War II.

Here you can see the pond from another side.

We went home then. Later we will walk into the town to buy a bus ticket for Alex, Katja's daugter. She will go on a school excursion to a zoo tomorrow. Maybe I will go with her.

I like it here. It is not so hot like Tenerife and here are many trees and shady places.

We decided that I'd better not wear my sash all the time because every time it is bended a little bit this point will remain white. We will keep it safe in my envelope with my notebook. For "official photos" inside the house I will wear ist because then I don't have to be hold.


Posted Jun 4, 2008, 8:11 pm
Hi Mummy,
today the weather was really horrible. It was raining like hell. Have a look:

It never stopped raining so we were not able to take a walk. Instead Katja showed me her pets. Do you know what they are?

They are baby rats! Katja is keeping pet rats. The babies are about six weeks old. They are cute, cheeky and curious. They tried to steal my sash. They did not bite but they tickled me with their whiskers.

We made dinner together. We had pancakes filled with onions,  tuna and cheese.

We had raw vegetables with it, cucumber, sweet pepper and kohlrabi. It was delicious.

I was feeling a little bit homesick because of the bad weather but Katja had a good medicine against homesickness. Guess what?

She made sangria for us.  That was beating all thoughts about bad weather.  Katja told us that in other parts of Germany heavy rain caused flash floods and mudslide, so we should not complain about rain. (But the weather is bad bad bad!)

Finja will leave tomorrow, she is going to Austria. We made a nice good-bye-photo.

Maybe tomorrow another ToyVoyager will arrive. We have to fetch a letter from the post office tomorrow, one that is too large for the mail slot. Maybe it is Percy, the owl. We'll see!



Posted Jun 5, 2008, 8:50 pm
Hi Mummy,
today Katja took me with her when she returned to her workplace from her lunch break. The weather had become a little bit better but the sky was still grey.

This is the local court.

Now pictures of the pedestrian area are following.

When we came back home we found an envelope on the kitchen table. We could not wait to open it. The envelope came from abroad so it only could be a TovVoyager!

Yes, Percy from Okinawa arrived. We were very happy, Percy also. He was stuck in this envelope for 14 days. Percy is a mail owl and he's carrying a package of beautiful postcards with him. Every person that will host him is allowed to take one of the cards. Katja chose a really beautiful one.

In the afternoon the weather had become much better. So we decided to take a walk and show Percy a little bit of the town.

We started with a walk through the munciple park.

We climbed into a trellis. The roses smelled really good.

On this pillar the names of men that died in several wars from the early 1800's until World War I are engraved.

Percy wanted a photo of us sitting on a mail box.

We will go to bed early because we are going to a trade fair for pet supplies tomorrow. Katja is a member of a association that is exhibiting at his fair. Of course we will accompany her.

Maybe we will buy some duck food for me.


Posted Jun 6, 2008, 7:45 pm
Hi Mummy,
today we went to Rheinberg, we had to drive for an hour. We visited the trade fair “Tier & Wir” (animal & us). The Germand pet rat keeper’s association was exhibiting there. Katja is an active member of this association. They are informing interested people about pet rats keeping, about their needs, how the cages should look like, what they eat and so on. They also sell things from their own shop like coffee mugs, biros, t-shirts with their own logo printed on, books, stickers, stuffed rats, crafted things  and much more. The income from this sale will be used for animal protection.

We arrived in the morning. First we helped to put everything at it’s place.

Later we walked around and watched a lot of animals. There were guinea pigs, rabbits, reptiles, American minipigs, birds, chicken, fishes and horses.

They also had a petting zoo with lamas, sheep and goats. Percy and me met real goats.

You can buy all sorts of pet supplies like food and housings here, for dogs, for cats, for all sorts of rodents, for equitation, aquaristics and terraristics and also craftwork.

These are toy ducks for dogs.

This photo is taken outside of the fair buildings.

Katja fell in love with a cute plush mouse dressed perfectly and carrying a shopping bag. She simply could not resist to buy her. Of course she will become a travelling mouse though she already has two travelling mice.

We are looking foreward to dinner now. We are all very tired because we had to get up early. It was exciting today. A lot of people asked why Katja was taking photos of toys everywhere. She explained the ToyVoyagers idea to those people and they really liked it. Maybe one of them will have a look here.


Posted Jun 8, 2008, 10:20 pm
Hi Mummy,
today we visited Katja's parents. Her father was celebrating his 78th birthday today. Katja's parents are living in Remscheid-Lennep, that's one of the oldest districts of Remscheid. The historic city centre is really old, some houses are built in 18th century. Origininally it was far older, but the city centre burnt down almost completely several times during the last centuries. On the photos you can see that the houses are built in small distances to the next houses. When one house caught fire usually the neighbour houses also caught fire, then the next houses and so on.

Katja's parents are living in a flat in the seventh storey. From the balcony you have a stunning view over the old town.

Percy was very happy. He met a lot of owl friends. Katja's mum is collecting owls. She has owls made of glass, of ceramics, wood, stone, plush and many other materials.

Later we walked to a restaurant for dinner. On our way we walked through the old town.

Here the farmer's market is helt twice a week.

This is one of two churches.

We walked through some quite, narrow lanes.

We saw this beautiful old front door. The brass hand is a knocker.

Here you can see an old water pump. Percy almost fell into the water underneath the pump.

Now we are standing in front of the restaurant.

We were all very hungry. We were waiting for our dinner quite long.

I tasted a beer. It was very refreshing.

Later we drove home by bus. Now we are playing with the pet rats.



Posted Jun 10, 2008, 6:29 pm
Hi Mummy,
today Katja showed us a little more of the town centre. She had an hour off in her lunch break. Besides the weather forecast says we will have bad weather the next days, so we wanted to see more with sunshine and a blue sky.

This are two really nice old  houses. You can see that there are many trees in the town centre.

In the background you can see the town hall. The shopping mall will be enlarged in a few months.

This is one of Remscheid's schools, a grammar school.

Here you can see the central bus station.

We are now standing in front of the building of the local newspaper "Remscheider General-Anzeiger". The statue is made of copper. It is the figurehead of the newspaper which is existing since 1889 A.D. It´is called "Tüpitter". That comes from an early column called "Niet te bang - Tü Pitter". This language is German. but the dialect of Remscheid. It means "Don't be afraid - pull, Peter". This is relating to the bell. In German they have a byword "etwas an die große Glocke hängen" which means to shout something from the rooftops.

Here you can see the backside of the shopping mall, again the tower of the town hall and on the left side the theatre.

We are now standing in front of the public library. We rested a little bit on the sculpture in front it. We only had a very short rest because the metal was really hot. We almost burnt our backsides.

This is the shopping street with the pedestrian area.

Here you can see more of the town hall. The tower had to be restored and it had a scaffold for months. Now the scaffold will be removed soon.

Katja went into the law firm where she's working and we kept her from working too much. We wanted to answer the phone but she said our German is not good enough. Not yet. I already learned to croak in German:



Posted Jun 11, 2008, 9:01 pm
Hi Mummy,
two ToyVoyagers arrived today, owl Desmond and eagle Aquila. We are now four birds here, three of them raptors (poor pet rats!)

Katja wanted to take a walk with a friend. So she took us with her. In front of the house we waited for her friend to arrive. We were sitting on a wall, you can see the front door in the background. The house I am now living in is an art-nouveau-house, built in 1904 A.D.

We walked along the "route of tools", a lane for pedestrians and biker, built on a closed railroad bed. It was sponsored by the local industry. Along the lane you can find many signs of  those companies.

The first sign that we saw is showing the crest of Remscheid.

Later we rested on a bench that was made of a huge screw clamp.

We went into a wooded area. Although Remscheid seems to be an industrial town you can see many trees, valleys and wooded areas.

We walked through the muncipal park on our way back home. We  saw a playground there. We went on the swings.

We four birds want to play a little bit now.


Posted Jun 13, 2008, 8:09 pm
Hi Mummy,
the weather has gone really bad. It’s raining sometimes, but that’s not the worst thing. It became cold, 7°C (44°F) in the morning. I did not want to leave my warm bed today. In the afternoon the weather became better and in the early evening we took a little walk along the route of tools. Katja wanted to convince us that Remscheid is not only consisting nice flowers in the muncipal park, forrests and cam side roads but it is also an idustrial town.

The route of tools is made on a closed railway track, I already told you. Along this route you can find many industrial companies and also abandoned factory buildings.

These are two old railway cars. On one of them a funny picture is drawn, it is an advertise for a company that peeled potatoes and sold them to restaurants and canteens.

This is one of the abandoned buildings.

Here they are still working, but large parts of this complex of buildings were torn down in the last months. A big smoke stack is still standing, it will be blown up some day. We hope we can be as close as possible to it when it will happen.

This complex of buildungs formerly contained the local slaughterhouse. Now there are offices and other companies in the buildings wich are now under monumental protecion.

Here we are sitting on a bench that is made of really old parts. One of them is the axis of a historic water wheel.

Oh yes, we saw a completely different town today. No more trees and flowers but factories like that.

And this,

We went back home then, into the district with trees, flowers and nice old houses. We had to hurry because it started raining again. But we reached our home save and dry. Later we will watch TV.


Posted Jun 15, 2008, 7:35 pm
Hi Mummy,

today we took a walk with Katja’s brother-in-law and his dog Bertie. Yes, the dog’s name is also Bertie. Bertie is an Entlebuch mountain dog.

First we had a look at the building site of the new central railway station.

We walked for about an hour through the forrest. Here you can see two Berties. Unfortunately Bertie was not patient enough to sit calmy for a photo with me.

The weather was not too good, so there was not enough sunlight for really nice photos. Here is the creek that’s running through the valley.

Here we are sitting on a fence in front of a house in the valley.

In the valley you can only find some houses, this part of the town is really in the middle of nowhere (in German you say “Am A***h der Welt).



Posted Jun 15, 2008, 7:40 pm
Hi Mummy,

today the weather became better and we took a walk from Wuppertal-Ronsdorf back to Remscheid. We went with Katja’s fried. We walked through the forrest along the dam of Wuppertal-Ronsdorf back home. The dam is a really small one.

Here you can see us having a little rest on a pile of trunks.

Along the path you can find some charts with information about the forrest. This one is about different trees and their leafes.

This is the concrete dam. You can see here that the dam is really a small one.

Here you can see a popular country inn. It’s existing here for about 100 years.

This is a fish pond in the middle of the forrest. Really large trouts are swimming in it.

We are now at “Steffenshammer”, a historical location with a museum. On the right side you can see a water wheel, that was driving hones in ancient times.

This is another building that belongs to this complex. It is typically “Bergisch”. We are here in the region that is called “Bergisches Land”, butn ot because of the many hills and valleys, but it is named after the earl vom Berg who reigned over this region in the early medieval times.

We are all sitting in a big wheel in the front garden of one the houses here.

I will show you some more photos of typical houses, either with schist or truss walls, in any case with green shutters.

But the weather became bad again. We reached the house of Katja’s friend and it started raining again. That’s not nice.



Posted Jun 16, 2008, 8:50 pm
Hi Mummy,
we are watching the UEFA European (Football) Championship on TV just now. Germany is playing against Austria. For Germany it's neck or nothing.


Posted Jun 17, 2008, 7:16 pm
today Katja showed us the town hall. The scaffold at the tower is still not dismanteled completely.

This is the view from the market place in front of the town hall onto the tower and the pillar with a lion. The lion is the heraldic animal of Remscheid.

When we arrived back home we took a look at today's newpapers. Yesterday Germany has won 1 : 0 and will play in the quarter-final.

After reading the sports news Katja and me added a few pictures to my notebook, also the football results.

Later we added some funny stickers, we had a lot of fun doing it.


Posted Jun 21, 2008, 9:12 pm
Hi Mummy,

today we made a wonderful trip. First we went to Wuppertal by bus. We did not stay in Wuppertal but we had to change from bus to train there to get further to Essen, our real destination.

Here you can see me in front of the concert hall.

The penguin is one of about 200 penguins that were designed in 2006 A.D. for a campain because of the125-year existance of the Wuppertal zoo.They could be bought by companies for benefit of the zoo. They were designed and painted. You can find many of them in the town now. This is one of them.

From here we went to Essen by train. Essen is a town in Ruhr District.


Posted Jun 21, 2008, 9:14 pm
When we arrived in Essen we were welcomed by another ToyVoyager host – BlackCat. She also carried some ToyVoyagers with her.

First we went by streetcar to Zeche Zollverein, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany.

The Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex is a large former industrial site in the city of Essen. It was inscribed into the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in December 2001 and is one of the anchor points of the European Route of Industrial Heritage.

Outside there is a 3D-model of the whole complex. Here you can see the four of us and BlackCat’s TVs Burrimul Memu, Chocolate Moose and Hueso. She also had three of her own toys with her.

We went into the visitor centre. You could get there by escalator or by walking up relly long and steep stairs. The banister illuminated with orange light. We rested a little bit there.

Outside we saw many information charts. This is one of them.

Then we went to Gruga Park.


Posted Jun 21, 2008, 9:23 pm
The Gruga Park is a large park which is existing here since the 1902s. In 1965 the German Federal Garden Show took place here. It was designed then the way it appears today.

This is the entrance area.

This is the Hundertwasser house. It was built for parents of critically ill childred who are getting medical care here.

I saw many exitic plants from all over the world.

A plant with giant leafs ...

Cactuses ...

A plant with red giant leafs ...

and plants from my home, the Canary Islands ...

I met a lot of ducks here. They came really close to me.

Of course we also had lunch.

We had a lot of fun today but we are very tired now. We better go to bed early because tomorrow we have to get up at 5:30 am! We will fly to Stuttgart in South Germany tomorrow. Katja has to join a meeting of the rat keeper’s association. I am really excited to fly in a plane without being stucked into an envelope.


Posted Jun 23, 2008, 12:57 pm
Hi Mummy,
today we had to travel to Stuttgart in South Germany. We went to Düsseldorf airport by train. After the check in we had time to go to the observation deck for visitors.

Here you can see me in the terminal and on the observation deck.

I am now on the obersever deck.


Posted Jun 23, 2008, 1:18 pm
Hi Mummy,

Katja had to join a meeting in Stuttgart. We did not have much time to explore the town. What we saw from driving through the town looked very nice. We only had an hour to have a little walk before we had to go to the central station to get home by train.

This is the central station.

We made the following photos while we walked around a little bit. The pedestrian area is looking like every pedestrian area, but we also found some old and more interesting buildings.

This is a castle built by Wilhelm I, king and emperor of Germany who lived from 1797 until 1888.

Now I will show you some nice old houses in Stuttgart.

We went home by train. We returned at about 09:00 pm.


Posted Jun 25, 2008, 7:29 pm
Hi Mummy,
we are prepared to watch the first semi final of the UEFA European (Football) Championship between Germany and Turkey.

It will begin in a few minutes.



Posted Jun 28, 2008, 1:35 pm
Hi Mummy,
today we took a last walk with four TVs. The sun was shining again though in the morning it was raining.

We walked to Hasten, one of the oldest districts of Remscheid.

This district is surrounded by wooded areas.

On our way back home we walked along the route of tools. Here are many blackberry bushes, they are full with blackberry flowers. They will have many blackberries here in late summer.

Katja told us that she made a delicious liqueur with blackberries last summer. Therefore you need vodka or another "white" hard liqueur. Into one bottle of this stuff you put about 200 g blackberries and 200 g white rock candy. Then you keep it in a cool and dark place for at least two months. The rock candy has to be dissolved completely. Then you strain it into a new bottle and then enjoy it chilled.

Maybe we should come back in winter to taste it  ;)

Tomorrow I will pack my things and travel to Switzerland.


Posted Jun 28, 2008, 1:41 pm
Hi Mummy,

today Katja helped me to pack my notebook, put on my sash and write a postcard to my next host.

I also wrote a postcard to you.

A few minutes ago Percy climbed into his envelpe to travel to Australia, we simply forgot to hug and say good-bye. Aquila and Desmond gave me a last hug and then I disappeared into my envelope.

I hope you'll hear from me soon.


Posted Jul 2, 2008, 12:18 pm
Here I am safely arrived. Adventures to follow I hope! :p

Posted Aug 1, 2008, 12:45 pm
So here I am in the land of lakes and mountains. It`s beautiful as I hope you can see. But it`s hot so me and my new friend Weasly are doing a bit of sunbathing. Yaawwwnnnn - it`s a tough life!

Posted Aug 2, 2008, 4:07 pm
Believe it or not, behind me is the Jungfrau, the famous mountain in Berner Oberland. Shame about all the clouds. It`s enough to make a duck green.  :mad:

Posted Aug 4, 2008, 2:26 pm
At last a nice clear day, walking in the mountains, singing heartily with a rucksack on my back. Now aren`t these views good!! :p

Posted Aug 5, 2008, 10:24 pm
Stop here for a rest - this hiking is a tiring business you know :rolleyes:

Posted Aug 5, 2008, 10:25 pm
photo at last!

Posted Aug 20, 2008, 3:11 pm
Walking in the Alps with a knapsack on my back singing tra la la la B)

Posted Aug 21, 2008, 12:30 pm
Walking along in the mountains enjoying the scenery B) I like this country!! :p

Posted Aug 22, 2008, 9:55 am
Here is another photo of me enjoying beautiful Engleberg. This place is greener than I am  :p

Posted Aug 29, 2008, 10:45 am
So here I am in beautiful France. Anyone for a nice game of boules? J`aime bien les boules  :p

Posted Aug 29, 2008, 1:48 pm
Ah that holiday feeling!! I`ve checked out the pool and the area, now it`s time for me to have a little siesta on the sunbed.  B)

Posted Aug 30, 2008, 10:51 am
So here I am at a castle - it`s very impressive. Maybe one day I will buy one for myself  :p

Posted Aug 31, 2008, 2:15 pm
The countryside here is very pretty. I`m taking a good luck round and also checking out the map because now I am back on the trail again saying goodbye to annbear and heading off into the sunset. :D

Posted Sep 17, 2008, 3:52 pm
This house there I live just now.Today we woke up early 7.35am.We ate breakfest and then we went to school.We had long day.Mari had 8 lessons and every lesson was 45 minutes.We was almost the last person who left from school.Then we visited local shop "Seminari"
We ate smth :rolleyes:.and then walked home.Then checked mail-box and then came resting-time :)

Posted Sep 18, 2008, 4:25 pm
Today we went to school again ;)After we visited shopping centre and also library.Then we went to the park,we sat in the bench and later looked church.I saw real ducks:D.They swam on the pond and there on pond were fountains.Then I went to artschool.Mari goes to artschool every Thursday and I looked how girls painted there :rolleyes: When artschool finished then we went to centre city and made some pics and next we started walking home

Posted Sep 22, 2008, 2:26 pm
At weekend we visited traditional Run competion.It's every autumn in Rakvere and Mari ran there..and she was 35 who finished.  :D
2,6 km is quite long  :rolleyes:
And also in Rakvere in middle-age castle was "mihklipäeva" fair.
There you can buy handycraft,pets,and other kind of fair stuff.
Later we watched  the most famous  sightseeing in Rakvere.It is sculpture"Tarvas".This was really big black aurochs.

Posted Oct 2, 2008, 6:59 pm
Sorry that I haven't write anything a quite long time.The BertieDuck sat at home almost,because I had so busy days :(
But I came idea to do party after Pooh arriving.It was candy party for Pooh,who is other toyvoyager and for me and Mari was also there.
It was some kind of candy party.Before we bought lots of candies and a packet of biscuits and juice too;)And I liked it :rolleyes:

Posted Oct 28, 2008, 10:40 pm
I'm sorry I haven't updated in so long mommy! I arrived in Okinawa a few days ago, but Jayme's been very busy. Today we decided we needed to write you and let you know I was here safe and sound! And looking forward to lots of adventures!

First we had to stop for some lunch

Then we went to play at the beach a bit. There were lots of bits of seashells and coral in the sand.

There were a few really big rocks, Jayme says there's rocks like this all over Okinawa and some of them are huge!

The water was very pretty today, I wish I could go for a swim
It was also very clear!

There was a big navy ship parked behind us

Write more soon,

Posted Oct 30, 2008, 10:22 am
I know our trip to the beach didn't make it seem very October like, but it IS almost Halloween! So today we celebrated. First... we decided to carve a pumpkin. Its rather large.

Jayme cut and opened the top for us (she didn't want us ot hurt ourselves) and we got the job of digging out all the goo inside. She said some people make pumpkin pie with it, but she's not Marth Stewart enough.

Eventually we got them all cleaned out and here we are after the carving is all done!

We put a candle in them and turned out the lights and...

After we were done with pumpkins we went to go 'trunk-or-treating'. Its a festival that's only done on the base Jayme lives on and people decorate their trunks and you trick-or-treat there. It was lots of fun, but we had to help keep the kids contained so we couldn't pose for pictures :(

Tomorrow Jayme said we're going trick-or-treating and hopefully we can get some better pictures then!

Write more soon!

Posted Nov 4, 2008, 11:04 pm
Mommy I'm sorry I didn't get to write about it earlier, Jayme's been very busy. We've been helping her do tests and papers! But we DID get to go trick-or-treating!

First we had to get our pumpkins ready...

Then we went to visit all the houses and say trick-or-treat! This one looked a little confused... is it Halloween or Christmas?

Some people had really cool pumpkins like this Yoda pumpkin

Some of the houses were a little scary.

We were all so tired we fell asleep on the way home.

But look at all this loot!

Write more soon,

Posted Nov 7, 2008, 6:50 am
We went to the botanical gardens today! At the entrance they had lots of neat painted cows that the local school children painted. I had a hard time balancing on the cow's head..
There was a pretty pond area and this nice bridge we could walk over. There are lots of palm trees here on Okinawa, these are kind of small

See the boat behind me? This area is to examine the water lillies

We walked up a tall hill so we could see the whole park

On the way out we stopped by a small butterfly area, aren't they pretty?

Write more soon,

Posted Nov 13, 2008, 9:18 pm
Today we got to go see more butterflies! At the entrance was this neat little boat we played on for a bit.

Then we had to walk outside, but it was raining pretty badly so we had to use umbrellas. You can't see me, but I"m hiding with Jacob under his umbrella.

Then we got to the butterfly house!

They even had examples of every stage of life, do you see the butterflies growing in the cocoons?

And they had a hat you could wear to attract the butterflies, it was too big for Jacob let alone me!

Write more soon,

Posted Nov 17, 2008, 4:52 am
Today we went to Churaumi Aquarium. Its got the second largest aquarium in the world! Here I am at the entrance

We got to check out lots of reef fish

Then we got to the BIG aquarium. It houses 3 whale sharks. This is the biggest viewing window in the world! They even have auditorium seating so you can just sit and watch them. They're so pretty.

Once we finished we went outside. Unfortunately we couldn't see the dolphin show, but we got to see the sea turtles!

Write more soon,

Posted Nov 17, 2008, 5:18 am
The rain finally cleared up for a little break at least, so we went on a trip to the ferris wheel today! Wow it looks tall..

Up up up we go...

But its a beautiful view.

And when we were done, we got to go down and drive around for some fun! Jayme's kids really liked it, and I liked driving too.

Write more soon,

Posted Nov 18, 2008, 10:48 pm
Today we went to the Okinawa Zoo! When we first arrived they were doing an elephant show.

Then we went onto the snake house

We got to see the giraffes

Don't worry I didn't get too close to the ostrich!

Hmm... apparently you shouldn't get too close to the lion either. This sign was posted on its cage

I wonder how a tree gets drunk?

What a funny looking bird!

On the way out we stopped by the petting zoo. I didn't want to get too close to most of the animals since I didn't want them mistaking me for a snack, but the iguana was pretty cool

Write more soon,

Posted Nov 24, 2008, 5:27 am
Wow mommy sorry it took so long to update about the ball! We all got kind of sick afterwards, but everyone's better now.

First we had to help Jayme get ready for the ball so we did her nails

And make up

I got stuck in her scarf

And then had to find my ticket...

Once all the prep was done we climbed into Jayme's purse. It was kind of crowded!

Here's Jayme when we were all done decorating her, along with her husband. Behind them is the birthday cake! (We're hiding in the purse!)

First the band played the national anthem and Marine Corps Hymn

Then there were two speeches and then the ceremony! During the ceremony they cut the cake. The first piece is given to the guest of honor (who gave the speech). The second piece is given to the oldest Marine present. He then passes it on to the youngest Marine present to symbolize the passing of traditions.

They played the national anthem and Marine Corps Hymn again and the flags left and it was all done!

Unfortunately during the ceremony two Marines passed out. Yikes! One of the men Jayme's husband works with had to go to the hospital because he was holding a sword and hit his head on the way down! But he's all better (and back to work!) now, so it wasn't too serious. After the ceremony we got to have dinner and cake and then we went home! We have to get to packing for the trip to Tokyo... and Thanksgiving is coming!

Write more soon,

Posted Nov 28, 2008, 5:58 am
Today is Thanksgiving! Even though Jayme lives in Japan, she and all the people her husband works with are American and so they celebrate Thanksgiving. We had to cook for over 50 people! There were 4 people cooking, so we only had to make one turkey at least... we started very early making cookies.

First the peanut butter cookies.

Then the chocolate chip ones.

Then we got the turkey going... its one big turkey!

We got it out and patted it dry then rubbed it with salt and stuffed with veggies to season.
Mmm. Doesn't it look yummy after cooking for a few hours?

While the turkey was cooking we made mashed potatoes.

Once all the food was done we took it down to cook. Look at all that food!

During the party we also got to watch lots of people play video games. There were 4 tvs with video games! Plus lots of board games and cards.

Jayme said it wasn't Thanksgiving without football, so we sat to watch one of the football video games since the games hadn't started in the states yet.

What a fun Thanksgiving!

More updates soon,

Posted Dec 1, 2008, 3:52 am
Since we have to get packing to go to Tokyo, Jayme decided we could do the decorating today to come home to the apartment being decorated for Christmas. Fun! Jayme put up the tree and put the lights on, then we got to put on the ornaments! Everyone in Jayme's family gets one ornament a year, they usually have something to do with that year.

The first ornament we found was a double... it was two identical Shrek ornaments. Jayme said that's because she and Manuel got each other the same ornament last year! I guess there are problems to this ornament buying thing.

There was a pretty panda ornament. Apparently Jayme's son had a panda stuffy he wouldn't let go of for almost a year. Maybe I can meet him later...

Since Jayme's husband is in the US military there's lots of military ornaments (and you can see the Shrek ones in the background).

There was also a small nativity ornament

At the bottom of the tree we put the non-breakable Sesame Street ornaments so if the boys got ahold of them, they wouldn't get hurt.

And finally we put the star at the top of the tree.

Can you find five toyvoyagers hiding in the Christmas Tree?

After that we put up the two Nativity sets. This one went up high where little hands couldn't reach it.

Then we put up the child nativity set that the kids can play with.

Jayme doesn't have a fireplace, so we put the stockings on the wall.

We also put some lights over the tv where the NFL jersey's are for the NFL season. Jayme said they could use some decorating. #21 is Manuel's favorite team, the San Diego Chargers, but they lost today :(

Wow. We got worn out decorating... it may be awhile til the next update since we're headed to Tokyo soon and we don't know if we can update there!


Posted Dec 13, 2008, 10:58 pm
Dear Mommy,
Jayme says it’s time to go! All the bags are packed. We’re ready. We had to get to the airport very early because we’re flying Space-Available so we have to sign up. There was more than enough room for all of us going to Tokyo though! Here’s all of us toyvoyagers waiting for our flight.

It seemed like we waited and waited, but we finally made it onto the plane. And guess what! The plane even had these little televisions for us to watch.

Mmmm. Airline food isn’t that bad. The sandwich was pretty good, and you can’t really mess up water.
When we got off the plane we had to take a two hour (!!) bus/subway/train ride with ALL of those bags! Everyone was worn out by the time we got to the hotel so Jayme tucked us all in for some sleep.

When we got up in the morning we went down to get some coffee. It’s a pretty neat little coffee machine.

Then we drank our coffee while reading more about Tokyo.
Pretty soon it was light out, and we were able to get out first day-time view of Tokyo!

Wow! It looks so pretty… but oh no! Jayme said we’re not staying here; it was just for last night! We’re headed a couple hours out to a place called Hakone… well here we go…

More soon,

Posted Dec 16, 2008, 12:19 am
Today we took the train to Hakone. We had to get off the train at Odwara. From the train station we could see a castle, but we didn't have time to visit. Do you see it far off in the distance?

Here it is when we zoom in.

From here we took an hour long bus ride to our hotel in Hakone. The hotel we're staying at is called a Ryokan. We were in room 7.

Its was a very pretty room.

And we had a nice little view

We got to sleep on a futon at night!
There were some nice decorations in the hallway as well.

After checking in we went out for a bite of Chinese to eat. It was very yummy, but Jayme's not sure what it is!

From there we tried to go see a shrine, but it started raining really badly! Since it was rainy we went back to the hotel and decided to make use of the bathing rooms. First you go in and put your towel and other stuff in a basket.

Then you go into the bathing room. Since multiple people use the bathing tub you have to wash well before you get in. Here's the soap and other things for a shower.
Then you get in the bathing tub. Its filled with mineral waters and very nice.
From there we went back and went to sleep. I hope we get to do lots of neat stuff later..

Write more soon,

Posted Dec 16, 2008, 3:47 am
Today Jayme said we're going to go for a few rides and try to find Mt. Fuji (apparently it regularly hides). Our first stop was the rope way. Here's the entrance to the ropeway and the cars we were riding in.

Here's all of us tv's sitting and chilling.
Its a pretty view, but unfortunately no sign of Mt. Fuji yet.
After the ropeway we took a cablecar to the boat. Isn't the boat pretty?
There were some pretty sites from the boat.
Jayme said Mt. Fuji is hiding behind those clouds! Can you see the base of it?
Unfortunately we didn't get to see Mt.Fuji on our trip to Hakone, it was hiding the whole time. Jayme was able to get this picture on the way home from the train though, the mountain came out for a bit in the morning! But it was moving too fast for us to pose.
Next we're supposed to go to a museum, more soon!

Posted Dec 16, 2008, 10:21 pm
Today we went to a place called the Open Air Museum in Hakone. It a museum of artwork that is all outdoors. It was very neat. When we first entered there were many statues.
And I liked the row of diamonds.
The egg made me feel a bit hungry.

Many of the art pieces were play areas. The one behind me is a giant series of tubes for children to climb through.
And this is a maze.
I really like this sphere too. You could see your reflection in it.
It was a fun trip! This was our last day in Hakone... we took another bath and decided to head back towards Tokyo. I wonder what we'll see there?

More soon,

Posted Dec 17, 2008, 8:44 pm
Today we went back to Tokyo. After a long bus and train ride we arrived back at our first hotel and then went out to sightsee. Our destination today was the Tokyo Metropolitan Building (TMG).  Here it is.
The TMG allows visitors to go up the North or South towers for free to get a beautiful view of Tokyo. We took the elevator up to the top floor of the North Tower. Look at that view of Tokyo!
Because it was a clear day, we were able to see Mt.Fuji from the tower though not too clearly. This is very rare.
Here it is when we zoomed in.
It was time to head back to the hotel, but on the way we got to see some Christmas lights! Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas.... I hope we'll see some more!
More to come, tomorrow we're going to see a mouse? I wonder what's so special about a mouse...

Posted Dec 18, 2008, 10:17 pm
Today we went to one of Tokyo's Disney Resorts parks. This park is called Tokyo DisneySea. Its called that because it has different ports that you visit and ride in. It looks like it'll be fun today. When you first enter you see a globe.
Then you walk through and you can see all the ports of call, and the centerpiece of the park, Mount Promethius.
We headed to Discovery Port first. He we are waiting in line for Storm Rider. It was a neat ride where you were a plane in the middle of a storm.
After that we went to Aquatopia. See the little boats behind us we ride in?
After that we went inside Mount Promethius! Its called Mysterious Island in here. Here we are there waiting in line to ride 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. You can see a pretty good view of Mysterious Island.
After that we took a break and went to Mermaid Lagoon. Sorry this picture is so blurry, but its all indoors and very dark.
This was the kiddie area, so while the kids went to play and ride we rested on the stroller.
Finally it was getting late so we headed over to American Harbor to see the Christmas lights. Isn't the tree pretty?
After that it was time to go get our seats for the night show. A picture of us wouldn't have worked, but doesn't the show look pretty? It was about the Spirit of Water and the Spirit of Fire falling in love.
Unfortunately we didn't find any mouse. Maybe we'll have to look some more tomorrow.
More soon,

Posted Dec 19, 2008, 12:01 am
So we're off again to find a mouse... still not sure why though. Hmm. Today we're going to Disneyland! We had to get up bright and early to go in. Here we are at the walkway to Disneyland.
And here's the castle!
This is a different view from FantasyLand while we were waiting in line for a ride.
Hmm. Mouse clues. Look at this sandwich, maybe its pointing the way?
Next we went to ride on the Haunted Mansion, here we are waiting in line.
Mmm. We stopped for more food. We stopped at a restraunt that was decorated like Alice in Wonderland. Here's our lunch!
Can you see the decorations? The Chesire cat is hiding behind us...
From there we went to Toon Town. It was a funny place.
After that it was time for the parade! Everyone here sits down for parades to sit and watch them. Here it goes...
And THERE is the mouse! Woo! We knew we'd find him eventually!
After the parade we got to do one more ride about Winnie the Pooh.
After that it started raining really, really hard so we decided to go home. Jayme did get one more picture of the Christmas tree on the way out though! Merry Christmas!
Our last day in Tokyo next,

Posted Dec 23, 2008, 12:14 am
Today was our last day in Tokyo! Since I haven't shown a picture before, this is what a Tokyo Subway looks like up top. This is Shinjuku station. There are at least 6 different subway and train lines here!
Our next stop was the National Museum. Isn't the building pretty? I wonder what's inside...
First we got to see some very nice swords.
There were some other carved things with the swords as well. Do you like this dragon?
At first we thought we'd found some ancient toys, but then found out these dolls were used for rituals.
We also got to see some very pretty paintings.
There were two rooms just filled with ancient kimonos!
Ahh, here we found some real toys. This was a game children used to play.
This guy is kind of scary huh?
After the first museum we headed to get some lunch. We stopped at the Hard Rock Cafe. The children split a kid's meal, and look what came with it! A new friend for us!
We all shared a yummy meal.
Then we headed to the science museum! We got to learn about the planets.
Here's our planet, this is a globe that changes as the earth changes. Its very large. Isn't it pretty?
And this is a neuron! Its the only complete large mapped our replica in the world.
We had fun at the science museum. This was the view on our way back to the hotel.
We went to sleep that night and had to get up very early to get to the airport the next day. We were all quite sleepy. Then we took the same plane back to Okinawa, but because of delays we didn't get there til after midnight! Yikes! But everyone's safely here now, and its almost Christmas! I wonder what we'll do for Christmas?

More soon,

Posted Dec 25, 2008, 11:21 pm
Merry Christmas Eve mommy! We had such a fun Christmas Eve! We started out by heading to the botanical gardens for a light show! We got there early, so the lights weren't quite on yet so we chilled out at the playground.
After that we went to see the stage where the light show would be.
Finally the lights came on and we got to go walk around! There were two themed areas, one was a forest
And the other was a sea! How pretty.
Even the lake in the botanical gardens was lit up!
We stayed for a laser light show (unfortunately none of those photos came out!) then headed home. We helped Jayme put the kids to bed then did some last minute wrapping of gifts for the children.
Hmm. Maybe we should've helped more. This is the one Jayme wrapped.
We left out the cookies for Santa, then headed to bed ourselves.
Merry Christmas Eve!

Posted Dec 27, 2008, 10:31 pm
Dear Mommy,
We woke up on Christmas morning to a surprise! Santa had come to bring presents for the children! He had filled all the stockings

And ate all the cookies Jacob left for him.

The children of course dug in and started unwrapping. We helped a little bit.

Then we went to help Jayme make breakfast. Mmm.

We got to hang out at the house and relax all day and watch movies. We also helped Jayme make a turkey for Christmas dinner. She said this time we'd have plenty of leftovers!

So we got to have potatoes and turkey for dinner. Yum!

After dinner we went outside to see Jayme's building, its all lit up!

Merry Christmas!

Posted Jan 3, 2009, 10:20 pm
Dear mommy,
What an exciting New Year's we had! We started it out with a trip to Comprehensive Park on New Year's Even so the kids could ride their new scooters. We went around this small pond.
And found some flowers on the trees.
And this small monument area with flowers.
After that we went home to get some rest then went out for a walk at Camp Zanpa. We walked a little ways, then got to see the lighthouse!
Here's the view in the other direction.
There was also a monument here.
After that we headed home to prepare for New Year's! We played some games to pass the time
And had some grapes, since Jayme's family believes they're lucky for New Year's. One for each year. You're supposed to eat them as the clock strikes, but Jayme didn't want anyone choking!
Finally we got to ring in the New Year!
The next morning we got up very early and headed to Okuma Campgrounds.
Here's the cabin we stayed in.
They had a go-cart raceway nearby!
And we tried to get to the beach, but it was very windy and the sand stung.
Finally we made a camp fire so we could cook some hotdogs for dinner.
What a fun New Year's Eve and Day we had! When it was all done it was time for me to hop in my envelope to head to my next host. Wonder where I'm going next?

Posted Jan 10, 2009, 3:43 am
Hi Mom!! I have arrived in Richlands, North Carolina! I had a super long flight and had to travel all the way across the United States! Boy did I rack up the frequent flier miles :)  Today I got out of my envelope and met the toys that live in the house that do not travel.  I also met the dogs Daisy and Thumper.  I will post photos tommorro.  I just finished watching *Mad Men* which is my hosts favorite TV series right now! I am very jet lagged and just drank a Pepsi and now Im off to bed for some rest!! will post after I get some sleep!

Posted Jan 10, 2009, 4:29 pm
Hi Mom! Today I am going to give you a history lesson of North Carolina!! Ive been up on the computer this morning and reading all about The Tarheel State!

North Carolina  is a state located on the Atlantic Seaboard in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties and its capital is Raleigh.

North Carolina was one of the original Thirteen Colonies, originally known as Carolina. Joara, a native village near present-day Morganton, was the site in 1567 of Fort San Juan, the first Spanish colonial settlement in the interior of what became the United States.[4] A colony was later established at Roanoke Island, the first attempt by the English to found a settlement in the Americas.[5]

On May 20, 1861, North Carolina was the last of the Confederate states to secede from the Union. It was readmitted on July 4, 1868. The state was the location of the first successful controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air flight, by the Wright brothers, at Kill Devil Hills, about 6.4 miles from Kitty Hawk in 1903. Today, it is a fast-growing state with an increasingly diverse economy and population. As of July 1, 2007, the population was estimated to be 9,061,032 (a 12% increase since April 1, 2000).[6] Recognizing eight Native American tribes, North Carolina has the largest population of American Indians of any state east of the Mississippi.

North Carolina has a wide range of elevations, from sea level on the coast to almost 6,700 feet (2,042 m) in the mountains. The climate ranges widely from the coastal Tidewater and Piedmont to the western mountains. The coastal plains are strongly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the state falls in the humid subtropical zone. More than 300 miles (500 km) from the coast, the western, mountainous part of the state has a subtropical highland climate.

In 1860, North Carolina was a slave state, in which about one-third of the population of 992,622 were enslaved African Americans. This was a smaller proportion than many Southern states. In addition, the state had a substantial number of Free Negroes, just over 30,000.[20] The state did not vote to join the Confederacy until President Abraham Lincoln called on it to invade its sister-state, South Carolina, becoming the last state to join the Confederacy. North Carolina was the site of few battles, but it provided at least 125,000 troops to the Confederacy— far more than any other state. Approximately 40,000 of those troops never returned home, dying of disease, battlefield wounds, and starvation. Elected in 1862, Governor Zebulon Baird Vance tried to maintain state autonomy against Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Richmond.

Even after secession, some North Carolinians refused to support the Confederacy. This was particularly true of non-slave-owning farmers in the state's mountains and western Piedmont region. Some of these farmers remained neutral during the war, while some covertly supported the Union cause during the conflict. Even so, Confederate troops from all parts of North Carolina served in virtually all the major battles of the Army of Northern Virginia, the Confederacy's most famous army. Five regiments from North Carolina served in the western theater in the Army of Tennessee. About two thousand North Carolinans from the western part of the state enlisted into the Union army, among the regiments they were assigned to were the 2nd and 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry regiments, and some in the 13th Tennessee Cavalry. Two other Union regiments made up of North Carolinians, the 1st and 2nd North Carolina U.S., were organized in the coastal areas of the state. The largest battle fought in North Carolina was at Bentonville, which was a futile attempt by Confederate General Joseph Johnston to slow Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's advance through the Carolinas in the spring of 1865.[15] In April 1865 after losing the Battle of Morrisville, Johnston surrendered to Sherman at Bennett Place, in what is today Durham, North Carolina. This was the last major Confederate Army to surrender. North Carolina's port city of Wilmington was the last Confederate port to fall to the Union. It fell in the spring of 1865 after the nearby Second Battle of Fort Fisher.

Bennett Place historic site in Durham, North Carolina.The first Confederate soldier to be killed in the Civil War was Private Henry Wyatt, a North Carolinian. He was killed in the Battle of Big Bethel in June 1861. At the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, the 26th North Carolina Regiment participated in Pickett/Pettigrew's Charge and advanced the farthest into the Northern lines of any Confederate regiment. During the Battle of Chickamauga the 58th North Carolina Regiment advanced farther than any other regiment on Snodgrass Hill to push back the remaining Union forces from the battlefield. At Appomattox Court House in Virginia in April 1865, the 75th North Carolina Regiment, a cavalry unit, fired the last shots of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the Civil War. For many years, North Carolinians proudly boasted that they had been "First at Bethel, Farthest at Gettysburg and Chickamauga, and Last at Appomattox."

Film studios are located in Shelby, Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte, Asheville, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem. Some of the best-known films and television shows filmed in the state include: All the Real Girls, Being There, Blue Velvet, Bull Durham, A Walk to Remember, Glory (film), The Color Purple, Cabin Fever, Super Mario Bros.(film), Cape Fear, Children of the Corn, The Crow, Dawson's Creek, Dirty Dancing, Evil Dead 2, The Fugitive, The Green Mile, Hannibal, The Last of the Mohicans, Nell, One Tree Hill, Patch Adams (film), Shallow Hal, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Leatherheads, and 28 Days. Half of Steven King's movies were filmed in North Carolina. The television show most associated with North Carolina is The Andy Griffith Show, which aired on CBS-TV from 1960 to 1968. The series is set in the fictional small town of Mayberry, North Carolina, and was based on the real-life town of Mount Airy, North Carolina, although it was filmed in California. Mount Airy is the hometown of actor Andy Griffith. The show is still popular in reruns and is frequently shown in syndication around the nation. North Carolina is also home to some of the Southeast's biggest film festivals, including the National Black Theatre Festival and the RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina

Some of North Carolina's most prestigious private universities and colleges include: Duke University, Wake Forest University, Elon University, Belmont Abbey College, Campbell University, Shaw University, Davidson College, Guilford College, Gardner-Webb University, High Point University, Salem College, and Saint Augustine's College

A nationally-famous cuisine from North Carolina is pork barbecue. However, there are strong regional differences and rivalries over the sauces and method of preparation used in making the barbecue. Eastern North Carolina pork barbecue uses a vinegar-based sauce and the "whole hog" is cooked, thus using both white and dark meat. The "capital" of eastern Carolina barbecue is usually considered to be the town of Wilson, near Raleigh. Western North Carolina pork barbecue uses a ketchup and vinegar based sauce and only the pork shoulder (dark meat) is used. The "capital" of western Carolina barbecue is usually considered to be the Piedmont Triad town of Lexington, home of the Lexington Barbecue Festival which brings in over 100,000 visitors each October.

North Carolina is the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola, first produced in 1890 in New Bern. Regional soft drinks created and still based in the state are Sun Drop and Cheerwine. Krispy Kreme, a popular chain of doughnut stores, was started in North Carolina; the company's headquarters are in Winston-Salem. Despite its name, the hot sauce Texas Pete was created in North Carolina; its headquarters are also in Winston-Salem. The Hardees fast-food chain was started in Rocky Mount. Another fast-food chain, Bojangles', was started in Charlotte, and has its corporate headquarters there. A popular North Carolina restaurant chain is Golden Corral. Started in 1973, the chain was founded in Fayetteville. Popular pickle brand Mount Olive Pickle Company was founded in Mount Olive in 1926. Cook Out, a popular fast food chain featuring burgers, hot dogs, and milkshakes in a wide variety of flavors, was founded in Greensboro in 1989 and operates exclusively in North Carolina.

State motto: Esse quam videri ("To be, rather than to seem") (1893)
State song: "The Old North State" (1927)
State flower: Dogwood (1941)
State bird: Cardinal (1943)
State colors: the red and blue of the N.C. and U.S. flags (1945)
State toast: The Tar Heel Toast (1957)
State tree: Pine (1963)
State shell: Scotch bonnet (1965)
State mammal: Eastern Grey Squirrel (1969)
State salt water fish: Red Drum (also known as the Channel bass) (1971)
State insect: European honey bee (1973)
State gemstone: Emerald (1973)
State reptile: Eastern Box Turtle (1979)
State rock: Granite (1979)
State beverage: Milk (1987)
State historical boat: Shad boat (1987)
State language: English (1987)
State dog: Plott Hound (1989)
State military academy: Oak Ridge Military Academy (1991)
State tartan: Carolina tartan (1991)[54]
State vegetable: Sweet potato (1995)
State red berry: Strawberry (2001)
State blue berry: Blueberry (2001)
State fruit: Scuppernong grape (2001)
State wildflower: Carolina Lily (2003)
State Christmas tree: Fraser Fir (2005)
State carnivorous plant: Venus Flytrap (2005)
State folk dance: Clogging (2005)
State popular dance: Shag (2005) NOT the same as UK shag! lol
State freshwater trout: Southern Appalachian Brook Trout (2005)
State birthplace of traditional pottery: the Seagrove area (2005)

North Carolina Facts and Trivia
The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is the oldest State University in the United States.

In 1903 the Wright Brothers made the first successful powered flight by man at Kill Devil Hill near Kitty Hawk. The Wright Memorial at Kitty Hawks now commemorates their achievement.

High Point is known as the Furniture Capital of the World.

Know as "Fish Town" in the early 1700's when Blackbeard frequented the coast, "Beaufort Town" was established as a seaport with the right to collect customs, in 1722.

The Outer Banks of NC hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.

Whitewater Falls in Transylvania County is the highest waterfall in the eastern United States.

Cape Hatteras is the largest lighthouse ever to be moved due to erosion problems.

The University of North Carolina's mascot, the Tarheels, is a nickname for North Carolinians that supposedly came from the days when NC produced a lot of tar, and someone saw a set of footprints made by someone who had stepped in the tar.

Charles Karault was born and raised in Wilmington.

Havelock is home of Marine Base "Cherry Point." It is the largest air base in the Marine Corps.

North Carolina is the largest producer of sweet potatoes in the nation. Students at a Wilson County school petitioned the North Carolina General Assembly for the establishment of the sweet potato as the official state vegetable.

Harker's Island hosts the annual Core Sound Decoy Festival in December.

Morehead City is home to the North Carolina Seafood Festival, held the first weekend in October every year.

The World War II battleship 'North Carolina' is permanently berthed on the Cape Fear River at Wilmington. She was saved from the scrap heap in the 1960's by public subscription, including donations of dimes by schoolchildren.

The first English colony in America was located on Roanoke Island. Walter Raleigh founded it. The colony mysteriously vanished with no trace except for the word "Croatoan" scrawled on a nearby tree.

Mount Mitchell in the Blue Ridge Mountains is the highest peak east of the Mississippi. It towers 6,684 feet above sea level.

Krispy Kreme Doughnut was founded in Winston-Salem.

The Venus Fly-Trap is native to Hampstead.

The first miniature golf course was built in Fayetteville.

Babe Ruth hit his first home run in Fayetteville on March 7, 1914.

Winston-Salem was created when the two towns Winston and Salem combined.

The Biltmore Estate in Ashville is America's largest home, and includes a 255-room chateau, an award-winning winery and extensive gardens.

The first English child born in America was born in Roanoke in 1587. Her name was Virginia Dare.

The Lost Colony Outdoor Drama in Albemarle commemorates the birth of Virginia Dare. Scheduled to run just one year, it proved so successful that it has played for nearly sixty consecutive summers.

The first state owned art museum in the country is located in Raleigh.

Fontana Dam is the tallest dam in the Eastern United States, at 480 feet high.

Many people believe that North Carolina was the first state to declare independence from England with the Mecklenburg Declaration of 1775.

Grandfather Mountain, highest peak in the Blue Ridge, is the only private park in the world designated by the United Nations as an International Biosphere Reserve.

The Mile-High Swinging Bridge near Linville is 5,305 feet above sea level. The bridge actually hangs about 80 feet above the ground.

Pepsi was invented and first served in New Bern in 1898.

Beech Mountain is Eastern America's highest town at 5,506ft above sea level.

Andrew Jackson, seventh President of the United States, was born in the Waxsaws area on the border of North and South Carolina.

Arnold Palmer recognized as the player whose aggressive play and winning personality raised golf to national attention, honed his skills on the championship golf team of Wake Forest University.

James K. Polk, born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, was the eleventh President of the United States.

Hiram Rhoades Revels, born in Fayetteville in 1822, was the first African-American member of the United States Congress.

Andrew Johnson started his career as a tailor's apprentice in Raleigh, North Carolina and rose to lead in the reuniting of the nation as the seventeenth President of the United States.

North Carolina leads the nation in furniture, tobacco, brick, and textile production.

Saluda, North Carolina is located at the top of the Saluda Grade. The crest of the steepest standard gauge mainline railroad in the United States.

State Motto: Esse quam videri (To be rather than to seem)

The town of Wendell town was named for the American writer, Oliver Wendell Holmes.

The Swiss and German settlement of New Bern was named in honor of the founder's home, Bern, Switzerland. When Bern, Switzerland was founded, it was named by a group of hunters. They named the city for the first animal they came upon on their hunting expedition. It was a bear. "Bern" is the old Germanic word for Bear, and the bear became the symbol of the city. It has been adopted by New Bern, as well.

North Carolina was the first state in the nation to establish a state museum of art.

North Carolina was one of the first states in the U.S. to establish a state symphony. The North Carolina Symphony, founded in 1943, currently performs nearly 185 full-orchestra concerts each year.

North Carolina has the largest state-maintained highway system in the United States. The state's highway system currently has 77,400 miles of roads

The General Assembly of 1987 adopted milk as the official state beverage.

The oldest town in the state is Bath, incorporated in 1705.

Located in northeastern North Carolina on the Albemarle-Pamlico peninsula, Columbia is on the eastern shore of the Scuppernong River. The Indians called the area "the place of the sweet bay tree."

Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run in Fayetteville on March 7, 1914.

White Lake near Elizabethtown is very unique in that it has a white sandy bottom and is blessed with crystal clear waters. It has also been labeled as the "Nation's Safest Beach." It is truly a child's paradise in that there are no currents, no tides, no hazardous depressions or real dangers of any kind to swimmers.

North Carolina has 1,500 lakes of 10 acres or more in size and 37,000 miles of fresh water streams.


Posted Jan 15, 2009, 8:15 pm
Hi Mom! AS promised I took some photos around my new home! I got to meet the dogs Daisy and Thumper. I also said hello to the fish and went to the post office and I got to drive the car!  Today I went with Darcie to the Day Spa.  She was getting her hair done and I needed my feathers cut so I got in the chair and got a new style.  I had fun looking at all the Valentines Day Decorations that are in the Day Spa.  I am having a great time and here are some photos of me!


Posted Jan 22, 2009, 4:37 pm
Hi Mom!! wow what a busy week it has been here! On Tuesday it SNOWED!!! Darcie says it NEVER EVER snows here!! last time they saw snow was back in 2001!! I had sooo much fun playing outside in the snow! I didnt get any photos of me in the snow, but I did take some of the house for you to see!  After we made a snowman we came in and had hot chocolate and watched a Historical event take place!! I got to watch President Obama get sworn into office!! I had a great seat right in front of the TV as I watched history take place.  Sorry about the flash... hope you like the pictures! The snow is almost melted outside but the temps remain very cold for this part of the country.  Darcies husband comes home next week after being deployed for six months.  I am going to a sign making party this Saturday to make signs for the Marines coming home!!!  I will take some pictures at the party and then of course at the big Homecoming next Wednesday on the Air Station!! WOOHOO!!! I get to go out on the flight line!! (Civilians are NEVER allowed this access) Ill be sure to take lots of pictures!!

Love Bertie

Posted Jan 26, 2009, 12:56 am
Hi Mom! Today I went to Marine Corps Air Station, New River.  This is where Darcie's husband works.  Today was the sign making party for all the family members to make Welcome home signs for their husbands.  The party was at The Marina on the New River Inlet.  I helped make signs and I ate a lot of good food.  We had Fried Chicken, Macaroni and Cheese, Rolls, Apples, Oranges, Melon and I loved the desserts.  We had chocolate brownies, M&Ms candies and chocolate chip cookies.  I drank a lot of Yohoo's and Doctor Pepper.  I helped make a welcome home sign and took a photo of me with it.  I also got to go to the Aviation Museum at the front gate.  I took pictures with the CH53 helicopter, The CH 46 and the Huey.  I am very hard to see in the photos but if you look close you will see me! I had sooo much fun!! How lucky can one duck be? haha.  Darcie's husband was suppose to come home this Wednesday but the plane is delayed and will not be here till Friday at 3:00 AM!!! I am going to have to get up sooo early and get some Coffee and go to the big homecoming celebration.


Posted Feb 3, 2009, 5:32 pm
Hi Mom!
Sunday I had a Super Bowl Party with Percy the owl and Darcie.  Darcie is a bit sad right now because her husband is stuck over in Germany and did not make it home last week due to a mechanical issue.  Anyways me and Percy another Toy Voyager have been trying to cheer her up and making her laugh.  The football game was excellent and it was The Pittsburgh Steelers vs the Arizona Cardinals.  Darcie said it was the BEST Superbowl game she ever saw!!  the commercials were soooo funny! We took a vote and everyones favorite was the Pedigree pet commercial! Me and Percy had a big feast.  We cooked Hot Wings with Budweiser hot wing sauce, Mozzarella cheese sticks, Baked Potato skins with cheese and sour cream and we drank a LOT of Corona Beer!! Dont worry I am being a good duck!!  Here are photos of me and Percy and of our feast and of the game!!  The last photo is Ben Roethlisberger who is the Quarterback for the Steelers. He played a flawless game!!  The Super Bowl is as important to the US as The World Cup is to Europe!!  :p


Posted Feb 11, 2009, 9:42 pm
Hi Mom!!
Just went to El Camino Real for some good Mexican food and then I helped drink a HUGE Margarita!! Darcie's husband is now home and guess where WE are going tommorro? We are going to Rome, Italy for a week!!! I will be going with another TV and we plan on visiting all the old ancient sites  and taking LOTS of photos! I want to go shopping at Dolce Gabbana, Prada, Fendi, Gucci ect.  Well I have to get my bags packed, we leave tommorro at around lunch time for our big adventure!!!


Posted Feb 22, 2009, 4:13 pm
Hi Mom!!
I am back from Rome, Italy and boy did I have a fantastic time! I spent a week seeing all the sites with another TV named Percy.  Our trip started with seats in First Class!! I had a seat that went all the way down into a bed and I watched lots of movies and had wonderful food and lots of Margaritas!  I stayed at Hotel Homs, Via Della Vite street, which is located in North Rome, right in the middle of all the action.  I took a TON of photos and will explain them all to you below! The weather was nice and cool and their was not a ton of tourists so it made for easy navigation through the city.  I especially liked the fountains since I am a Duck!!  Here are my photos from my big trip!

Here I am with Percy getting ready to take off out of Philadelphia International Airport in Pennsylvania.  We had to fly from Jacksonville, North Carolina to Philadelphia then to Rome.

Here I am with Percy getting ready to land at  Leonardo da Vinci - Fiumicino Airport! We were sooo excited to get on with our adventure!

We got in a cab and it usually only takes 20 minutes to get to the hotel BUT today they were having a demonstration/Protest of some sort and our poor cab driver had to find a way to get to Old Roma where our hotel was!! we had the WILDEST ride!! most roads were blocked off and our cab driver got in many arguments with the Police hahaha it was fun listening to him yell back and forth in Italian and we picked up a few new phrases of our own!  The cab driver finally got sooo mad he drove right through the DO NOT CROSS tape and got us to our hotel in one frazzled piece!! I will never forget that ride!

Our next stop was to take a walk down the cobble stone streets and get some food! Darcie said this was the BEST sauce she had ever tasted!! The food was soooo good compared to the Italian food in the US.  Here we are having Rigatoni Pompodore with fresh Mozarella and wine!

Our hotel was situated right next to Piazza De Spanga (The Spanish Steps) here we are at The Spanish steps.  Everyday people would gather up this fantastic staircase and sit down and rest and have some Gelatto or drink some beer.  We loved the people watching and the people loved watching us!

After the steps we were very jet lagged so we went back to the hotel for a rest.  Here we are at our first Italian dinner! and guess what we had? Yep Pizza!! The pizza is very different then the stuff they serve in the US.  This was way better as the tomato's are grown here and they taste way better and the cheese was out of this world! Steve (Darcie's husband) LOVED the local beer, which was Nastro Azzuro, here we are with a photo of our glass of beer and our pizza.

Every morning we would head to the McDonalds.  This McDonalds was stunning and Darcie could not believe they had a pastry shop downstairs!!! This was always open early (most places didnt open till 9am)  so every morning we would pick out a pastry and a nice big cup of fresh Capuchino.  Here we are picking out our breakfast for the day.

The next day we went to the National Musuem of Rome.  This was a fantastic collection of statues from all around Rome.  Here we are with Brutus, he is the man who killed Julius Ceaser.  We had fun reading all about the different people and seeing all the history.

Here we are with Hercules, he was much bigger then we were!

After the Museum we went to Vatican City!!!! first we stopped for some wonderful lunch!! Here we are with Pasta Carbonera, which is cream, cheese and bacon with pasta.. it was beyond fantastic tasting!!!

Here we are in the Vatican courtyard.  The Vatican is the worlds smallest country.  They did not allow a lot of photos. The best part of the tour was inside the Cistine Chapel.  This is the worlds prettiest church and this is the painting that Michaelangelo did on the ceiling.  No photos were allowed but you can see it if you Google it.  We had a fantastic history lesson from our tour guide and we learned a lot!

This is us inside the Vatican and we are sitting on a bath tub!!! look how big it is!!!

After our tour inside the Vatican we went outside to St. Peters Square.  This is shown on TV a lot and it was HUGE HUGE HUGE! Here we are with St Peters church in the background.  Look at all the statues on top!!

After the Vatican we were really hungry and tired.  We took the Metro back to our hotel for a nap then we went to our favorite place to eat which is called Ciros.  We ate at many places but this one was the best! Here we are with our Anti Pasta... lots of different things such as cheese, ham, Bruscella ect ect and it was all sooooooooo good!

Every night we would stop at The Gelateria where they sell Gelatto... yep we ate it every single night!1 it was a fantastic treat!! here we are deciding what kind to get!!

The following day we spent at The Colosseum and Roman Forum.  All the old ruins are fantastic to see!!  Here we are at the Colosseum.

Here we are inside the Colosseum, we had a long discussion on how great it would of been to sit with the other 50,000 fans watching the Gladiators fight!!

We walked around and then stopped for directions to see more of the Colosseum.

We stopped for a quick lunch at McDonalds before heading over to Palantine Hill and the Roman Forum.

Next we went to the Roman Forum, there are a lot of ruins that looked the same over and over so we just got one good shot of us at Circus Maximus!! This is where they used to do chariot racing and must of been way cool back in the day!!

After a long day we got a piece of Darcie's favorite Tiramisu (Italian wedding cake) and some Gelatto and watched a bit of Italian soccer on TV.

The next few days was shopping and visiting the Trevi Fountain, The Patheon and basically strolling around before we had to leave!! Here we are at the Trevi Fountain.

Here we are inside the Patheon, this ceiling was AMAZING!!!

The best part of the trip was the SHOPPING!!! We were 100 feet from Via Del Corso which had Versace, Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, Fendi ect ect  Darcie went crazy!! here we are outside the Gucci store.

Here we are with all our shopping bags! Also we went with Steve to get Dolce Gabbana silk boxers! we each got a pair!! hahaha

We went to a Irish Pub to watch the six Nations Cup! Ireland was playing Italy and we were pulling for Ireland to win and they did!! we drank Guiness with Steve!

Then we stopped for a snack... we were always eating and drinking!!

Here we are at the private first class lounge at the airport getting ready to go home.... we had sweet rolls and more Cappucino!!

Darcie pulled off a miracle!!! since we were in first class she went up to the flight deck before take off.. guess what??? WE GOT TO FLY THE PLANE HOME!!!!!!!!! here we are in the cockpit with the pilots!!

After a few hours we wanted a rest... here we are in our seats.. I had a fantastic time mom and I hope you like the photos!!!



Posted Feb 28, 2009, 7:21 pm
Hi Mom! a few days ago we all got in the truck and headed up to Raleigh to watch a LIVE National Hockey League game!! The North Carolina Hurricanes played Colorado Avalanche and the Hurricanes won! I am a official *CANIAC*  Darcie and Steve are big Caniacs and love to watch the Hurricanes play.  We had great seats up on *Club Level* which we had big leather seats, buffet lunch and our own private TV and a fantastic view of the entire arena.

Here is The Hurricanes logo... which is the real sign for a Hurricane Warning!!! hahaha

Here we are outside the RBC center getting ready to go in and have some fun!!

Before we went inside we stood outside Carter Finley football stadium, this is located across the street from the RBC center.

Here we are before all the players came out on the ice for warm up.

Here we are with our own TV!! we are ready for the game!!

Here we are with our game tickets, we had great seats.

Here we are with our lunch.  We got a HUGE roast beef sandwich, carved by the server and some potato chips and a Coke Zero.

Here we are with the players, watching them warm up on the ice.

Here we are cheering on The Hurricanes

Here is a shot of the scoreboard and all the different flags from places that have played at this arena.  They also use it for basketball and for concerts.

Anyways Mom I had a fantastic time!  The hurricanes won 5 to 3 and I got to see my first *Hat Trick* the Hat Trick is when one player scores three goals in one game.. this is VERY hard to do! anyways the skater that did this had a ton of hats thrown on the ice by all the fans, everyone threw whatever was on their head onto the ice.  Darcie has NEVER seen this happen live! so it was a real treat!  I really like North Carolina and glad I got to come and meet new friends!! 


Posted Mar 16, 2009, 11:53 pm
Hi Mom!
I just got word that I am leaving tommorro for Germany.  I am having my last night here at Darcie's house, eating a pizza with the other toys and sharing stories.  I am flying out first thing in the morning and Im lucky I am green because it is St. Patricks Day!!  Well I need to go get my bags packed!! I will write once I get settled in!!


Posted Apr 2, 2009, 8:11 pm
We went to university today and it was a great day.
Here's us in one of the study rooms. It was empty because the lectures and classes haven't started, yet. For the hard work we got rewarded with an ice-coffee. Yum!

Posted Apr 2, 2009, 8:18 pm
I arrived in Germany! My host is very busy with work these days and a bit sick, so we have to wait and take pictures later. I have some other tvs to keep my company, though.

Posted Apr 7, 2009, 8:00 pm
Today we drove to Luxembourg to refill the car and run some errands in Luxembourg city. Unfortunately we didn't have a camera with us. But more important was the audio book because we got into the late rush hour on the way back.

Posted Apr 15, 2009, 5:19 pm
Happy Easter!
Look how many eggs we found! I am just happy that they are all hicken eggs and not duck eggs. I tried to incubate a few, but apparently these didn't have any embryos in them.  People here also paint eggs for Easter.

Posted Apr 15, 2009, 5:25 pm
Today we went for a long walk in the early afternoon. It was awarm and partially sunny but there was a lot of fog. Maybe that's because we are still waiting for a good thunderstorm. I took some pictures anyway, with spring flowers and the early blooming trees in the fog. Everything is getting very green here. That'S fine with me, it fits my coloring.

Posted Apr 15, 2009, 5:31 pm
It was a very sunny day today and a holiday called Karfeitag, which is the friday before Easter, so SaruMaru, Iggy and I just lazed around in the sun. I got bored after a while and tried to get started early on finding some easter eggs in the garden.

Posted Apr 15, 2009, 5:32 pm
There's a party tonight and we spent most of the day preparing the house for it and making food and shopping. Here's the result of our cooking:
tomato-mozarelly-basil snacks; freshly cut carrots, peppers, cucumbers and kohlrabi with dip, filled peppers, cheese and fresh fruit, dates wrapped in bacon, olives, bread, avocado dip, bread and French and Lebanese style meat balls (filled with herbes de Provence and goat cheese, or with raisins, roasted pignolia and cinnamon). I couldn't get pictures of the cocktails. I was too 'happy'.

Posted Apr 15, 2009, 8:17 pm

We visited a residential area today. Aren't the gardens beautiful with the spring flowers and very green and soft grass? As you can see on the big thermometer we had 21°C, warm enough to have lunch outside. Can you find all of us in the apple trees?

Posted Apr 15, 2009, 8:28 pm

We stopped along the Autobahn on our way south. Do you see the castle ruin on the hill in the background? And we had a look into the beautiful Brohltal (Brohl valley). The better view is from the bridge, but we couldn't stop there to take a picture.

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 5:58 pm
We had an errand to run in a city called Völklingen, home of the UNESCO World Heritage site: Völklingen ironworks. We only took a quick picture, though and bought some cookies and other essentials at the big Globus supermarket.

Posted May 1, 2009, 5:07 pm
Tomorrow is a holiday, Tag der Arbeit (='Day of Work'), here. It's a funny name, because for most people there is no work on that day. Anyway, that makes it a long weekend and we baked a cake for it.
It's called Russischer Zupfkuchen, basically it's a cheesecake with a cacao base and topping.
First we mixed flour, sugar, baking powder, vanilla sugar and cacao.
Then we added an egg and butter,
mixed it well
and put half of it on the bottom of the form.
Next came the cheese part: We took something called Quark, sugar, vanilla pudding powder, 3 eggs, and cooled off butter
and put it on the base layer.
Then we added the rest of the dough on top. It's a bit much, we should have put more in the bottom and less on the top so the cheese filling is still visible.
Then we put it in the oven for an hour at 180°C.
Guten Appetit!

Posted May 1, 2009, 5:16 pm
Here we are in an area called the Saargau. There's the vlley around the Saar and hills rising round it.

Posted May 9, 2009, 10:59 am
Just an update to let ou know that I haven't gotten lost. I am at home with a big pot of tea, a mount of tissues and all kinds of pills. This changing weather must have gotten to me. I'll show you more when I get better.

Posted May 12, 2009, 6:31 pm
I went out today. The weather was really bad, it rained a lot. You can see it in the first picture if you look at the dark backgrounds.
I saw the former main entrance to the psychiatric hospital.
whne I cam home, I got the mail and look what I found among a few letters and postcards: Synapse!

Posted May 20, 2009, 6:08 pm
Today was a wonderful day and we decided to visit the wolf-park after work. There's a man who hand raises wolves and joins them in their habitats regularly.
He also studies their behaviour. This shows some of the signs of anger or fear, wanting to explore, be imposing or attack...

Here's an arctic wolf:
and a Lithuanian one (on the platform behind the warter), more are hiding around it. They were probably really warm today.

There are several observation towers.
From this one we couldn't see wolves, because of reconstruction of the fences but we saw nisting boxes for birds. Those are loud during this time of the year.
What a beautiful day! There are premium hiking paths around here and a way where plants are explained.

Here's a rosa canina (Heckenrose):

Posted May 22, 2009, 2:58 pm
Today is another wonderful warm and sunny day. We got out of work a bit earlier and we ran some errands in the city.
Here's us on top of a postbox. Behind us you can see the late Romanesque chruch of St. Peter, built around 1190-1230. It's the most famous Romanesque chrch in this state. Maybe we'll go inside another day and have a look at the cross and the murals.

Here's the town hall in the middle of the pedestrial zone. Quite a nice old building. Most offces are located in a newer building behind it, though.

This is tiny Fellenberg castle. Originally there was a mill that was restructured into this little castle in 1858 by Wilhelm Tell von Fellenberg.
Von Fellenberg didn't have any children, so in the mid-twentieth century the building was used as a nursing home and maternity ward. In 1980 it became a museum for regional history.

Posted May 25, 2009, 10:08 pm
It's warm here with 27°C and very humid. I just wanted to show you some flags I saw here. There's barely any wind, so they aren't all that visible. The first it the European flag, then middle one the German flag and the one on the right is the Saarland flag, basically the German flag with the Saarland coat of arms in the middle. you can see that one a bit better.
Synapse is interested in history, so here's some about the Saarland:
The Saarland is the smallest non-city state in Germany. It has about 1 000 000 inhabitants total.
The earliest signs of habitation are dated to about 100 000 years ago. Celtic walls and burial sites are uncovered. There were Roman settlements in this area esp. along the major trade routes through Europe. In the 9th century ist was part of Lotharii Regnum, part of the Carolingian Empire under Lothair I. In the late middle ages it was devided into different territories (that changed size, location and lord many times over time). Some of them arenow represented in the coat of arms: the silver lion of the Grafschaft (= county as in belonging to a count) Saarbrücken with the silver crosses of the Grafschaft Saarbrücken-Commercy, the red cross of the Electorate of Trier, the Alérion of the duchy of Lorraine and the lion of the duchy Pfalz-Zweibrücken.
In the late 17th century France formed a département Sarre. Things were mixed up again during the French revolution when everything left of the Rhine became French and the territories went to Prussia, the kingdom of Bavaria, Oldenburg and Sachsen-Coburg- Saalfeld after after te congress of Vienna. Next came the German/French war and the battle of Spichern in 1870/1, together with the start of the German Empire and the following annexation of  Elsaß-Lothringen (Alsace-Lorraine) it became the 3rd biggest center for heavy indutry in the German Empire, mainly due to its coal mines and iron and steel industry. After WWI and the Treaty of Versailles  the socalled Saarbeckengebiet became partly autonomous under the League of Nations and was goverened by France for 15 years. In 1935 it bacame part of the german Empire gain due to a referendum. After WWII it was once again partly independet but governed and economically directed by France. In 1955 people decided against becoming a European territory as planned in the Saarstatut with 67.7% majority. In 1957 it became the 10th Bundesland of the Federal Republic of Germany.