Michel, at home, Germany


Posted Aug 24, 2009, 8:10 pm
I lived in Hamburg near to a church called Michel. One day I heard about ToyVoyagers – and decided to became one.

Hummel helped me to escape from a souvenir shop and we explored the city together. This is me in front of the church Michel.


This statue is in front of the Michel – she is called Zitronenjette.



After that we had a nice coffee and cake.



This is the lake Alster – in the middle of my city Hamburg.



Here you see me in front of the Townhall.


There are swans next to it.



Now I will go home with Hummel – and see, how she is living.
Yours Michel

Posted Aug 24, 2009, 8:31 pm

I explored Hummel’s home. There are a lot of beautiful flowers.



And two other bears – but they don’t want to travel….


Then I saw these friendly people – they like to work in the garden.


Here is a guest from Norway – I am not sure, if I would love to go to Norway….


Hummel told me, that I will visit her daughter now. Well – Hummel is my new Mum – she has a daughter – so I will go to my sister now??? That is strange.


Posted Aug 24, 2009, 9:34 pm
Hi Mum,
Today I arrived at RikeH’s house. It is not really a big surprise, that I had such a fast journey.

First Dicker Kumpel gave me a warm welcome. He is really friendly.


Then I said hello to all of the others – and gave them some sweets.


Rhinono came and said ‘Hello Bear’. It seems to me, that she loves bears.


I just arrived in the right time, because we went to a small city called Bad Oldesloe. We made a nice walk there. Can you see this nice mill-wheel behind me?


There are many old houses like this in the city.


There is a nice small river in the city.



There was a beautiful fountain in front of the town hall.


I am so excited – RikeH told us, that we will go to the Zoo soon – and to a birthday party.


Posted Aug 25, 2009, 12:18 pm
Hello Mum !

What a great day. We went to the Zoo of Hamburg today. It is called Hagenbeck and was founded on this place in May 1907 – what a long time!

First we saw the elephants – there are small ones – they are so cute – and they played together.



This was the first gate of the Zoo. Now the Zoo is bigger – so the gate is inside the park.


We saw this funny bird and zebras. A Zoo is really nice, but I prefer to travel around! Look, the bird is sitting on my right arm !!!



The giraffes are the biggest animals.


At the end we’ve been in the Aquarium – what a lot of nice and colourful fishes!



It was a wonderful day in the Zoo!

yours Michel

Posted Aug 29, 2009, 10:52 am
Hello Mum!

I’ve been on a birthday party today. It was a lot of fun – and I ate so much!

First I helped with the barbecue.


Everything looked so delicious!



In the afternoon we get coffee and cakes!


After it, we sat together and had a lot of fun!


Posted Aug 29, 2009, 10:53 am
Hi Mum,

We made a trip to a nice little park near to Sülfeld. Here you can see us on a big stone.


This is a really funny tree.


We found a small lodge at the lake side. It is a place to watch birds!



Can you see me in the tree? (Next to the BIG bird)


At the end of the trip, we went to the playground. What a nice place!



Yours Michel


Posted Aug 31, 2009, 7:58 pm
Hi Mum,

What a great day – I got a postcard from you. I was so excited, when RikeH told me, that the card is for me.


I showed the card to Dicker Kumpel – and told him, that there is the Michel church on it!


Thanks Mum, I miss you.


Posted Aug 31, 2009, 7:59 pm
Hi Mum!

We explored Sülfeld today.

First we saw the beautiful church...


…this is the old school…


...and we found a nice little lake with beautiful flowers.



We enjoyed the sun!


Mum, I would love to send you these wonderful flowers!


Yours Michel

Posted Aug 31, 2009, 8:00 pm
Hi Mum,

It is my last day here – and before I start my trip, RikeH goes to the playground with us. So I can run and play, before I stay in the envelope.






That was really great!

Back home I told the others, that Rhinono and I would leave now. All were very sad – and I got a big hug!



Then I said good-bye to Dicker Kumpel – he was such a great host – and we had so much fun together.


Now I am on my way to Marcie08 in Austria.

Yours Michel

Posted Sep 6, 2009, 8:33 pm
Hi Mom!

Today I arrived here in Graz! I think that was pretty fast. 2 days ago I still was in Germany!
I met so many other TVs: Mr.S, Atta Sandi Rose and LittleWestiePup. I think I'll have a great time here!

My host-mom had a great day today - she got lots of cards from postcrossing.
Then we helped her writing her cards for postcrossing and we found some great cards.
I've learned that there are no kangoroos in Austria!  B) But I guess you knew that...

Bye for today!

Posted Sep 10, 2009, 8:52 pm
Hi Mom!

Puh, the last days were quite exciting! My poor host-mom's laptop kind of died...and with him lots of data... :( So we had no access to the internet... Hard to imagine isn't it? How did people live without it in former days??? :rolleyes:

So we said goodbye to the old computer and went shopping for a new one. And I can tell you that this was no easy decision! We TVs were of course really helpfull!  :)

And on one picture you can see the new computer! And we finally have access to the world again  ;) What a relief!

While we were searching for a new computer we used my host mom's dad's computer. But of course we couldn't occupy it for the whole day, so we helped our host mom scrapbooking. You can see us with the photos and souvenirs!

Ok, here are the pictures now!
Bye for today!

Oh, I nearly forgot to tell you that I completed my first mission! I met another bear- Sandi Rose!

Posted Sep 15, 2009, 8:37 pm
Hi Mom!

Today we had to say goodbye to LittleWestiePup, who is continuing his journey!
We had a Linzer cake and champagne. The Linzer cakes comes from the city Linz, which is in another part of Austria and this year's Cultural Capital of Europe. Graz was that, too, in 2003!

It was nice meeting Westie, though we didnt have much time together!


Posted Sep 15, 2009, 8:54 pm
Hi Mom!

We wanted to do some sightseeing today and started with the Opera House. But then it started to rain cats and dogs  B)  so we decided to postpone the sightseeing and went home to watch a DVD. We watched Marley and me. Have you seen that movie? It was a bit sad at the end, but I think that Marley, the dog, was really cute! And the popcorn and nachos were great  :)

Posted Sep 18, 2009, 3:18 pm
Hi Mom!

What a surprise!

When we opened the mailbox today, we found your card there! That was such a lovely surprise!
The other TVs were of course really curious about the card and so they all sat in a circle while I showed them the card and told them about Hamburg and all the sights you can see on this card! And my host mom told me she is really curious about Hamburg and even wanted to go there before but she never came around there. But now that she knows how beautiful Hamburg is ( B) see, I told her as it is my mission) she will definitely go there!

They told me that my stories about Hamburg had been great for yet another rainy day in Graz!

Posted Sep 21, 2009, 5:34 pm
Hi Mom!

Today we went to the western parts of Styria, to a city called Bärnbach. The city was famous for its coal mining in former days. That's why you see me on some coals and the wagon!
We visited the (catholic) church of St. Barbara there.
The church is named after St. Barbara because she is the patroness of miners. This church is quite famous as is was redesigned by the famous Austrian painter and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. He designed many buildings for example the Hundertwasser-House in Vienna, the KunstHaus in Vienna, a thermal spa in Bad Blumau, the oncology ward of the University Hospital in Graz, to just name a few.
The inside of the church is mostly the same as it has been before the redecoration, there were just a few alterations made to the altar.

The outside of the church is very colorful with mosaics and nothing is really geometric. Everything is a bit different, no straight lines.
Therefore my post today is also really colorful! B)

There is a walkway around the church and the path is uneven, made of different stones, bricks, tarmac... You pass through many archways, which all stand for a different religion with symbols of this specific religion on the archway. And then there is one without any symbols. For all people who don't believe or have a different view of life. My host mom decided it would be best to photograph me under the "naked" archway as not to offend any of her guest's parents!
You can also see that the pathway has been decoreted with an autumn theme!

We were given an extended tour through the church and its history and then it was time for some meal! No pics of that though.
We then went on to another city. I'll tell you more about that soon!

Posted Sep 27, 2009, 4:29 pm
Hi Mom!

After we had visited the church, we continued our travel to Piber. We went by car and were of course all buckled up!

We went to Piber, to the Federal Stud, which is part of the Vienna Spanish Riding School.

You can see the Lippizan horses there. They are born there and stay on there until they are old and/or good enough to go to Vienna. Just the best horses get a chance to go there, the others stay at Piber and you even can buy them there (prices start at € 3.000,--).

There is so much to learn about the horses, so we took a guided tour. I can't write down everything I learned that day, but you can find tons of information her: click me.

The horses that aren't white yet are the young ones. They are really curious and come to the fences looking for some sugar cubes! But you have to be careful as they try to taste anything that is near...  :rolleyes:
The big white horse you can see on one picture is a stallion. He has of course his own quarters! But he got really excited in his paddock, as the mares were there in the morning!  ;) You can also do carriage rides here and you also see some of the special costumes of the riders or carriage drivers!

I also took a picture of some information about the stallion stables!

That was really a great day!

Posted Sep 29, 2009, 7:34 pm
Hi Mom!

Today we made a trip to the Southern Styria, the part which is located near the Slovenian border. This part is very famous for its vineyards. They grow for example Welschriesling, Weißburgunder, Chardonnay (here called Morillon) and Sauvignon Blanc.

We first went to a "Buschenschank". Wikipedia translates it with "inn"... well, thats a kind of restaurant, where the wine farmers serve cold meals which have must contain just products that are homemade. In former days they weren't allowed to buy products and serve them and they also weren't allowed to serve hot meals. Now the rules aren't that strictly any more, but mostly you still find cold meals.

We were sitting on the balcony there, looking over the hills and the vineyards. We had a "Brettljause", kind of a Ploughman's lunch. Well, it's a wooden board (in the traditional version) or a plate (in the modern version) with different kinds of ham, bacon, cheese, pickles and so on. And a glass of white wine, of course!  :rolleyes:

Then we went for a little walk, through the hills and vineyards, up to a small plateau. We rested on a bench there, because it was a little bit steep climbing this hill...
And then we saw this really strange thing...it looked like a windmill, but it makes a strange sound when its windy... My host mom told me that's a very common thing here and called "Klapotetz". And there's a reason for its sound: It was built in the vineyards to scare away the birds who were eating the grapes!

Later we had roasted chestnuts, which are always made here in the vineyards when the grape harvest starts in autumn. And then they drink a special drink here called "Sturm" (translated storm). That's a wine in fermentation stage and it's only available for a short time every year.

After this day I was really tired because I have eaten soooo much!

Posted Sep 29, 2009, 8:10 pm
Hi Mom!

Today I had to say Goodbye to my host mom and my new friends!
I'm a bit sad, but I'm also curious about my next host!

Bye from Austria!

Posted Oct 2, 2009, 11:07 am

I have arrived safely in Bristol, England!

I was greeted by lot's of new friends - Rob, Florentine & MrCoolHH - we are all going on holiday with Julie to Mexico on Sunday, good job too as the weather in England is rubbish - very cold & not allot of sunshine  :(

Will try to get few pictures up for you before i go, but very busy weekend helping Julie pack so may not have time!

I will have my sungalsses & sun cream at the ready, be sure to update you with all the pictures & stories when i am back  B)

Lots of Love, Michel  :p


Posted Oct 20, 2009, 1:37 pm

Just to let you know i am back home to England now, there are so many pictures to update you with, may take few days to sort them out & resize them, but will get them up for you as soon as i can, in meantime i will get on with composing a little blog for you on what fun we had in Mexico  B) :p

Lots of Love, Rob  :D

Posted Oct 25, 2009, 8:40 pm
Hi Mum,

At last i have got all of my pictures to show you .....

We left Bristol on coach to take us to the airport - we left from Gatwick, which is near London. It was early start though had to leave at 4am - EEK!!!

Safety first on the plane, we went through the safety book, and got ourseleves seat-belted in for the 10 hour flight to Cancun Mexico, so exciting!!! Hotel 'Barcelo Costa' here we come ....

Day 1 - first things first, time to sunbath, suncream & sunglasses at the ready!! Over there we had to get used to all the different money - we could use USA Dollars, and Mexican Peso's. Julie took us to the beach at our hotel - it was lovely - white sands & blue sea B)

Day 3 - Julie took us out on a day trip - we went to Tulum, this is an old Mayan Ruin site - the ruins are off a city that dates back to the 1500's. It was on the coast so was used for trade, as well as being very well protected. From there we went to Xel Ha - this was an amazing Ecological park, you can swim with dolphins, roack, jumping, chill on the lazy river in a ring, and snorel around the whole site, reefs & caves - the sea was full of wildlife - all kinds of fish just swimming around you as you float through the water! As well as the wildlife in the water at both places we saw loats of Iguana's just wondering around - they are very common over in Mexico - we managed to get quite close to have pics taken too, would of loved for one of them to become a toyvayoger like me!!

Day 6 - Today was shopping day, we went around the busy part of Cancun & saw some clubs & pubs - Co Co Bongo's is the best club there, the club was taken from the film 'The Mask', and each night has live shows of acrobatics, Circ De Solais and music .... something quite original to normal clubs!

From there we went to 'Bubba Gumps Shrimp Co' - have you ever seen the film 'Forrest Gump', well Bubba was charactor on that & he talked of running a shrimp restuarant ... so the whole place is filled with memorabilia from the film, they play the film all day every day & have the menu suited to the film too - it was awesome, we had the best coktails there!! And when you go outside, you can sit on the bench just like Forrest Gump off the film - with his trainers on, box of chocolates & suitecase - this was one of my best moments of the holiday!

Day 7 - Today we went to a proteced Barrier Reef just off the coast of Cancun to do some snorkeling - it was so lovely, we got a boat through the lagoon, and then out to sea - beautiful!

Enjoy the pictures .... sad to be back in England as weather is horrible - so windy & cold outside, and tonight the clocks go back too, this means going to be allot darker in the evenings now:(

Lots of Love Michel :p

Posted Nov 29, 2009, 3:15 am
Hi Mum!

Today I arrived in France! The postman decided to push my envelope in the mailbox even if it clearly didn’t fit, so I spent a few hours in a rather uncomfortable position  :stare:, but luckily a gentle hand soon came to take me out of there. After stretching a bit my limbs I met the local toys...kind of a little crowd  :).


Then I had my first look out of the window.


Later on I visited the University of Rouen, well, just one office where Sigfrido and I saw a big box on the floor: the box turned out to be full of colourful geometric paper toys.


I was explained that last week the University hosted an exposition about science for school children: the box content is what was left (not destroyed by the little visiting barbarians  ;)) from the mathematics stand. The toys were supposed to show to the kids how the different shapes and colours of the geometric structures were following mathematic laws  :o...or so I understood  ;). In any case they were quite funny to play with and we had a great time the whole afternoon  :D.


Posted Dec 6, 2009, 4:30 am
Hi Mum!

Today I went for a short visit to Paris  :D as I had to go to the airport to pick up a guest (no, not another TV  ;)). The day started with a deluge  :(, so we couldn’t see much from the train, but I had plenty of time to chat with Sigfrido: although he is not officially a TV he’s done quite a bit of travelling, so we had plenty to chat about while looking at the rain.


Luckily, when we arrived in Paris, the rain decided to give us a little break so I could take some pictures. Here I was on Boulevard Haussmann next to the Havre-Caumartin Metro station.


Then I tried to see the animated shop windows at Printemps, but it was too crowded to get close.


So I just took a picture of the store. I guess at night the Christmas decorations must be wonderful.


Then I walk to the Opera where I had to take the bus to the airport...but still had time for a couple of pictures  :).


And here I was on the bus chatting again with Sigfrido.


When I arrived at the airport, first I checked the arrivals information screens...


...and since there was still plenty o time, I explored the check-in area.


On the way back to Paris the deluge gathered momentum again...


... so I just tried to get back to the train station without getting too drenched.
But later on, arriving in Rouen the sky opened up again so I managed to take a picture while crossing La Seine just before arriving at the station  :). Can you see the Cathedral Spire just behind my head?


What a great day, hopefully I’ll be able to see Paris again...without the rain maybe  :rolleyes:.

Posted Dec 8, 2009, 3:46 am
Hi Mum!

Today I visited a shopping centre in an area of Rouen called St Sever that lies on the south side of the river. The centre was filled with Christmas decorations and characters. First I met some bears, even white bears  :D


Not that I have ever thought that white bears were notorious for featuring in Christmas scenes (if you don’t consider the coca cola TV ads, of course  :rolleyes:). Anyway, I also met Santa who obviously came down from Finland today just to meet us ;)


Later on, Sigfrido and I went playing in the children area. First we hitched a ride from this...hmmm, Sigfrido tried to convince me that it was a snail, but it looked more like a turtle to me...whatever she was, she was very nice  :D.


Then we jumped on an ostrich.


After spending the afternoon shopping, we came back home where Sigfrido and  I helped emptying the shopping bags...


...such a tiring day  ;).

Posted Dec 11, 2009, 5:15 pm
Hi Mum!

Today I was again in Paris  :D! The weather still was kind of rubbish, but at least it wasn’t raining, so I could enjoy the French countryside landscape from the train.


In Paris I spent most of the time travelling underground, and when I came out the first thing that I saw was the École des Mines, apparently one of the most important engineering schools in France and one of the Grandes écoles  :o.


Walking a bit down the road I reached a square that is located at one of the main gates to the Jardin du Luxembourg.


Of course I went in and explored a bit around. Apparently during sunny days there is lot of people around, but today it was fairly quiet.


Coming out of the park I had the Pantheon just in front of me. Well, in this photo you can just see the dome as the rest of the building is behind my head, but I can assure you that it’s right there  ;).


Later I found out that the main boulevard leading to La Seine is named after me, how nice  :)! Actually Sigfrido told me that, although the possibility can’t be completely ruled out, it seems unlikely that in 1867 they named the road expecting my visit more than 140 years later  :rolleyes:. Anyway, here I am walking down Boulevard St Michel  ;).


On the way down to the river I passed in front of La Sorbonne.


Then I reached this massive bookstore where I stopped for while…a long while.


When I eventually came out it was getting a bit dark, but I still managed to take a couple of pictures, in the Latin Quarter’s streets…


…and looking at Notre Dame Cathedral  :).


Posted Dec 15, 2009, 9:35 pm
Hi Mum!

Today I went south of Paris to work at the Paris-Sud University in Orsay. Sigfrido and I were very proactive and spent the time on the train to Paris doing some work in advance  ;).


In Paris we had to change transport and jump on the RER that took us to Orsay…on this part of the trip we got a bit lazy and just spent the time chatting and looking out of the window  :rolleyes:.


Eventually we arrived in Orsay. The campus is so big that there are three RER stations serving it, and they are not really close to each other  :o. Here I was walking from the station to the campus.


I think that the little dome behind me was one of the first laboratories of the campus, some sort of particle accelerator, but I understand that is not much used any more.


Time for some rest  :rolleyes:


The campus is a bit strange as the park is really nice, but the buildings hidden between the trees are not really visually enticing, to say the least. And the footpaths were very muddy  :stare:!


I spent the rest of the day chatting with Sigfrido, as there wasn’t much to do inside the building and by the time we jumped on train to go back home it was too dark to take any photo, so we just went on chatting  ;).

Posted Dec 18, 2009, 4:06 pm
Hi Mum!

Today I was again south of Paris, but in a different University. I visited the École Polytechnique, the most important science and engineering school in France  :o, that apparently is nicknamed X  :stare:.
Luckily the weather was nice, so arriving in Paris I could see the financial centre of La Defénse in the distance  :).


To reach the campus from the RER station there is a nice walk up a narrow path.


Phew, so steep, time to rest a bit.


The path got narrower and, if possible, steeper  :stare:


…but eventually we reached the top and the campus gate  :D.


The campus is so big, they even have stables that you can see behind me and a massive private lake that I didn’t have time to visit.


Here I am approaching one of the buildings.


The rest of day, alas, I was stuck inside with not much to do, and, as usual, I left when it was already dark. But when I arrived home in the evening I found out that someone here in Normandy created a nativity scene with 120 white bears, how cool is that  :D!


Posted Dec 18, 2009, 6:10 pm
Hi Mum!

Today I was “working” again in Rouen. My host was supervising a written exam, so first Sigfrido and I helped checking that all the exam material was ready…


…then we had a quick look at the actual questions paper, wonder how many students would have loved being able to peep into that envelope before the exam ;).


Then, as we were not allowed to go into the exam room we messed up a bit the office  :rolleyes:. I tried to call you but I didn’t know the number and dialing random numbers did not work  :(.


I checked out the heater…


…and kept playing with anything available.


We even explored this new cabinet that, having just arrived, has not been packed with books yet.


Since we were a bit tired we made a coffee room out of it  :).


After the coffee we felt better and spent the rest of the afternoon chatting near the window.


Posted Dec 21, 2009, 6:09 pm
Hi Mum!

Today it snowed here in Normandy :D!


I was supposed to be in Paris, but the trains were a mess so we didn’t even try to go.
So, as Christmas is approaching, Sigfrido and I helped a bit in packing presents.


Since my current host will take me to Canada and will not be back until after Christmas, we were allowed to open some presents in advance  ;). First we found this…whatever it is  :stare:


Then we opened this big candle


But soon we were back to packing work. I am just not sure of how we are going to fit all this stuff in the bag  :rolleyes:.


Tonight I also said goodbye to my friends here, so I was a bit sad, but I was very happy to find out that Sigfrido will come all the way to Canada with me  :).


Posted Dec 26, 2009, 3:53 pm
Hi Mum!

Today I am travelling to Italy  :D, where I will stay for a few days before flying to Canada. I was a bit concerned that I might not be able to travel as yesterday a lot of trains and flights were cancelled due to the snow. But the trains seemed to be running.


Once we got to the aiport there was still plenty of snow around...


...but there were only minor delays. I was so excited that to calm down I sat down in the departure lounge chatting a bit with Sigfrido  :).


Can’t wait to reach my destination  :D.

Posted Dec 26, 2009, 4:28 pm
Hi Mum!

I am in Italy  :D! Today I went exploring a bit the town centre. First I walked down this road where, in the best Italian style, there are plenty of cars parked on the sidewalk :stare:...actually they told me that you can park legally on this particular sidewalk, as long as you pay the parking fee  :rolleyes:.


Then I approached the historic centre of the town and reached this little square...


...and this road with lot of Christmas decorations, there is even a big Christmas tree over there  :).


Then  I stopped at this shop, The House of Chocolate  ;)!


They also had  bear in shop window so I said hello to him.


This is another sweets shop, there’s loads of them!


Then, as it is one of my missions, I paid a visit to the Town Hall. It is actually a double town hall. On one side of the road in this building covered with frescos there are the major’s offices and some ceremonial rooms.


In the building on the opposite side of the road you find the council offices and meeting rooms.


Then I walked down this wide street that leads from the Town Hall to the main square and the Cathedral.


This is a nice old building on the corner of the square...


...and here is the Cathedral with the Neptune’s fountain.


A bit further on I visited the Christmas Market.


The big wall on the side of the market square is the little that is left standing of the middle ages city defensive walls.


At the market I met Santa again, he must have been chasing me all way from Rouen  :rolleyes:!


Posted Dec 28, 2009, 1:46 am
Hi Mum!

Today I went on a church terrace near the house where I am staying. From here usually you have a good view over the valley, but today it was a bit cloudy.


Later Sigfrido introduced me to some of the local toys. There is a big bald eagle...


...the moose tribe...


...this big and friendly hippo...


...and a lot of bears, even white bears :).


At dinner I had a chance to eat a typical Christmas cake, a Panettone, delicious ;).


And tomorrow I fly to Canada :D!

Posted Jan 2, 2010, 7:12 pm
Hi Mum,

Today I was supposed to fly to Canada, but due to the adverse weather here in Italy the airport was shut down until late morning and lot of flights were cancelled, including mine  :(. As you can imagine the departure area was absolute mayhem (the airport was closed most of yesterday too), so to find some peace, while waiting to get at least a flight to Frankfurt (where I was supposed to get the connection to Calgary), I went with Sigfrido to check the arrivals terminal where there was no one around a plenty of seating available  ;).


Eventually, late in the evening, I managed to board a flight to Germany and, hopefully, tomorrow I’ll fly to Canada  :).

Posted Jan 2, 2010, 7:42 pm
Hi Mum,

today I eventually arrived in Canada. sammino, who is a stay-at-home TV, came greeting me at the airport and then introduced me to all the other guests. There is Ronnie from Spain, Lysander from the UK, Nathalie, Henry-Bo and Lucy K are from Germany like me, Mortimer_ comes from Greece and Hedgie is visiting from Australia.


Later, since I was very tired from the trip, I was offered some Timbits to help me recovering a bit and all the others decided that I needed some help eating them  :rolleyes:.


Posted Jan 2, 2010, 9:04 pm
Hi Mum!

Today I went out for my first trip in the Mountains. As it was a bit cold we convinced smaug to take pictures from inside the car ;).
Here we were entering the Bow Valley.


While here we were reaching the gate of Banff National Park.


Once in the Park we had a lovely view over Cascade Mountain.


Then we took the road to Lake Minnewanka: apparently last time they were here the other TVs met some elks, but there was none around today.


And eventually we reached the Lake.


Later this evening we were allowed to taste a typical Christmas cake from northern Italy, a pandoro. Not sure how smaug managed to find one here in Canada, but it was delicious  :).


Posted Jan 2, 2010, 9:41 pm
Hi Mum,

Today smaug took us out to visit a place not too far from Calgary called Elbow Falls, where the Elbow River forms some nice (guess what!?) falls  :rolleyes:.
Here I was just downstream of the falls. (No, there are not ice falls: although it is very well hidden, there is also some “liquid” water coming down ;)).


And this is the river flowing away in a nice little canyon  :).


Later we played a bit in the snow, but it was freezing cold and we soon make our way for the heat of the car  :rolleyes:.


Posted Jan 3, 2010, 10:45 pm
Hi Mum!

Happy New Year  :D!

Today the weather was fine and it wasn’t even too cold (-15C  :stare:), hence smaug decided that it was a good idea to have a walk in the forest to try burning some of the excessive food eaten over the last couple of weeks. So we TVs went too, working as ballast in the rucksack  :rolleyes:. We spent most of the day under tree cover and it was a bit too dark to take photos, but we still found a couple of points where we could take a few decent shots  :).


Posted Jan 3, 2010, 11:07 pm
Hi Mum!

Today we were all a bit sad as three TVs are leaving Calgary. Ronnie and Lysander are going back home in Spain and UK, while Henry-Bo is moving to his next host in Hong Kong.
So we all gathered together to wish them a safe journey :).


Posted Jan 10, 2010, 8:06 pm
Hi Mum!

Over the last couple of days temperatures here in Calgary crept over freezing point for the first time in weeks, it was really nice and warm :)! To take advantage of this unexpected spell of summerish weather, today we went for a hike around Lake Minnewanka...where temperatures were not that summerish at all  :o.
On the way to the lake we met the elks  :).


Apparently they are often at this spot along the road, we decided that they are probably paid by the park tourist board to attract tourists ;), but they are cute, aren’t they?


As you can see the lake was nicely frozen...


...and the path wasn’t in much better condition.


At one point we had to cross this frozen stream that looked quite slippery...


...and the little bridge crossing it didn’t give us much more confidence.


But somehow we got across, and ended up at this junction where we found this sign: grizzly bears  :D! I wish that I could meet one...they are not white bears, but still relatives they are ;).


Unfortunately Smaug said that we were not entering that area today and, anyway, all the bears were likely to be asleep for winter. Eventually we reached our destination, a bend in the lake about 10km from the parking lot.
Here you can see the “beach” behind me,


The lake looking upstream...


...and downstream.


Everything was frozen or covered with snow. On the way back it was getting a bit darker so we didn’t take any more photos.

Posted Jan 11, 2010, 12:58 am
Hi Mum!

Today we said goodbye to one of the guests here. Nathalie is moving to her next host in Russia so we all gathered together to wish her a safe journey :).


Maybe I’ll meet her again somewhere around the world :).

Posted Jan 19, 2010, 4:56 am
Hi Mum!

Today smaug had to do some work so, since we were a bit bored, we followed him to the office. As he was busy with his stuff, we started messing around. We tried to call home but smaug didn’t tell us the code to get the external line, so we just managed to make ring every phone in the office  :rolleyes:.


Then we played a bit with the screens and the plotter.


We even had a look at the books, but there was nothing interesting.


So we ended up sitting next to the window and chatting the whole afternoon...that was fun ;).


Posted Jan 20, 2010, 8:34 pm
Hi Mum!

Today a new guest arrived here in Calgary :)! Smaug didn’t tell us anything about new arrivals so we were quite surprised when he told us that there was an envelope that we might like to check. So we got very curious and gathered all around the envelope, apperently it came from the States.


As we opened it a little head peeped out of the enveope. It was a Dutch rabbit called Nijntje :).


We were all very happy to have a new friend here so we started chatting and she told us of her previous journeys, she’s even been Voyager of the Week recently :stare:.


By the way, my friend Sigfrido told me that your card from Hamburg arrived in France while he was here in Canada and asked me to pass you his thanks :). Of course, even if I wasn’t there when the postcard arrived, I told him already a lot of things about how beautiful my hometown is and I am telling my friends here too ;).


Posted Jan 26, 2010, 3:32 am
Hi Mum!

The “warm” spell that we enjoyed over the last few weeks is gone. We are back to cold weather and snow...perfect weather for chatting in the warmth of the house ;).


So when today smaug told us that it was time to go for a walk we all wished him a nice day and recommended that he brought back some sweets  :rolleyes:.


Alas, he meant that it was time for us to go for a walk, so he dragged us along the river path  :o. The river is covered with ice.


Somewhere the pressure lifted the ice and created some strange  ice-ridges in the middle of the river. Maybe you can see one in the background.


Eventually we came back home where we spent the evening surfing the net...it was much nicer inside ;).


Posted Feb 9, 2010, 4:27 am
Hi Mum!

Today a new TV arrived here :). Smaug mentioned (for once :rolleyes:) that someone was on his way but without giving us any detail, so we got really excited when the parcel arrived.


And it turn out that that our new friend is Dean, a horse from the USA :). He brought us some lovely sweets and a nice card from North Carolina :D.


Apparently he is just back from China, so we are very curious to hear about his trip, plenty to chat about ;).

Posted Feb 27, 2010, 9:26 pm
Hi Mum!

Today we watched a bit of Winter Olympics on TV. First we followed the men downhill, the biggest event of the games :stare:. I wanted to cheer on the Germans but I'm afraid they didn’t do really good :(, so I just enjoyed the show ;).


Later we watched some cross country skiing, where Germans were much better, still not enough for a medal :rolleyes:.


In the afternoon the weather was quite nice so smaug took us out for a walk :). First we went to see the Saddledome. The arena is the home of the Calgary Flames hockey team, but it also hosts other sports, concerts and, during the stampede, you can find games with cattle and horses in there :o.


On the other side we could see downtown Calgary with the Calgary Tower.


Then it started getting darker and we went home where we watched some more Olympics on TV ;).

Posted Feb 27, 2010, 9:58 pm
Hi Mum!

Tomorrow Lucy K will travel to her next host, she is going to Lithuania :o. So tonight we gathered together to wish her a safe trip :).


Posted Mar 8, 2010, 4:28 am
Hi Mum!

Today it was Mortimer_'s birthday, so this morning we all sang happy birthday for him :).


Later smaug and sammino arranged some special cheese meal for him.


It was hard work, but, with some little help ;), he somehow managed to finish it :rolleyes:.


Later we decided to watch a movie :). Smaug recently got his new zone-free DVD player so we tried to set it up....without much success :(.


After the failure with the DVD  we sat down to chat a bit. Last week I received your postcard (by the way, smaug asked me to thank you :)) so I took the chance to tell the others how beautiful Hamburg is, it’s one of my missions after all :).


Posted Mar 12, 2010, 5:06 pm
Hi Mum!

Today smaug had to drive through Banff National Park and we went with him :). He was a bit in hurry, but the day was so nice that he wanted to take some pictures of us and so stopped briefly around Banff.
Here you can see the Bow Valley behind me…


…while this is Cascade Mountain :).


Hopefully next time we pass here we’ll be able to take a few more photos ;).

Posted Mar 14, 2010, 3:33 am
Hi Mum!

A new guest arrived today :). We were very curious when we saw that smaug came back home with a parcel.


And, after opening the envelope, we found out that our new friend is Etwas, a ghost and he comes from Germany, just like me :). He arrived directly from Russia and brought over a nice card and some lovely Russian chocolate, how nice :D.


We wanted to know everything about his travels, but he is a bit tired after such a long trip, I guess we’d better let him get some rest ;).

Posted Mar 19, 2010, 3:10 am
Hi Mum,

Today I said goodbye to all my friends here as tomorrow I will be travelling to my next host in China :D!


I was a bit worried of going so far away, but sammino gave me a big hug and told me that I will visit a very nice host, so now I am actually very excited :).


Next update will be from Beijing ;).

Posted Apr 5, 2010, 2:37 pm
Hello from Beijing!
Here I arrived at Beijing and I met my new host Whatif. :cyclops:
Beijing is more warm than I have thought and it seems that I weared too much.. :stare:
Today we visit Beijing University of Technology to see the Gymnasium of the Beijing University of Technology! B)










Miss you mum!!


Posted Apr 29, 2010, 4:35 pm
Hi mom!!! B)
I guess you must missed me a lot!! :cyclops:
You know what, I have a great news to tell you. I had a great trip to Taiwan with my host's Mom! It was warm there and I ate a loooot of wonderful food!  Want to see me??  :rolleyes:
Here is the show!













































Posted May 25, 2010, 5:24 pm
Hi mum!,







When I knew I will go to my next station I felt exciting, because whatif told me Hongkong is a fantastic place! I know whatif is going though some hard things and can not always take me with her. But I felt good in Beijing,  and I hope I will come to Beijing again next time, winter is better I guess! Still lots of place to go, ha!  :rolleyes: 
See you!
And see you in Hongkong! :cyclops:

Posted May 30, 2010, 12:23 pm
The first place I visit is Tsim Sha Tsui, where the Culture Centre locates.
Right besides the Cultural Centre, it's the Clock Tower.

When I arrived it's already night time, and tonight there's a art projection outside the centre.
It's "Blink, Hong Kong" by Simon Boswell, with some projections of celebrities,
like football player, Beckham; kung fu star, Bruce Lee & Jacky Chan; King of Pop, Michael Jackson and so on,
together with some sound effect, especially when they blink their eyes.
Though I don't know what it means or what the artist want to express,
it's nice to see this art piece.

Another thing that should not miss here, for sure that it's the view of Victoria Harbour.
There are colourful lights on every buildings, with nice ships sailing on the sea.

Next thing that should mentioned is, there's usually an ice-cream car called "Mobile Softee"parked by the side of the Centre,
always with "Blue Danube" boardcasting.

Posted Jun 5, 2010, 8:49 am
It's early of the morning, Vi had to back to the office,
I followed her and came to the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier.
It's just next to the Clock Tower.
there are two levels for the Central Line,
we went to the lower level, there were many people waiting there.

See, the ferry's coming, each ferry has their own name,
the one we took is "Silver Star".
After getting on the ferry, Vi chose a seat to sit down while I decided to take a look around.
She told me to be careful or else I will drop into the sea.  :o

I went to the control room to take a look, the captain was too shy that he hide himself from the camera...
The stairs are for the crews only, to go upstairs to the upper level.

On the left, it's the Kowloon Peninsula with Cultural Centre and Clock Tower;
the left is the Wanchai of Hong Kong Island, with the Convention and Exhibition Centre.
And then I saw the Central Ferry Pier~
Crews on ferry and pier were standy by for the boarding,
their uniforms are with the nice navy blue.

After getting off, I saw some guys fishing,
wow, quite many fish and some were big ones!  ;)

Posted Jun 5, 2010, 9:30 am
Central is a place full of business people,
at the same time, there are also places for relaxation.

Today I went to one of them and surprisingly I found a few fountains.
They are with different styles, nice~
In the area, a statue was set up for memorable,
he is Sir Thomas Jackson,
he was the manager of HSBC through the last quarter of the 19th Century,
so was an important figure in Hong Kong's history.

Don't you think I am as smart as him?

Posted Jun 5, 2010, 11:28 am
You know what?!?! What I did today was just COOL!!!  B)
I went to the Space Museum at Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon with my TV friends here,
Miegalyte, Ferda & Hypno-dog.
It's a sphere shape building and really looks like a giant white egg.

Inside we saw some exhibits showing the law of gravity,
the solar system, and the most unforgettable experience is...
I was in the outer space~  :cyclops:

I even had a chance to be the captain of a rocket,
I went into the control room to have a try on it!  :D

Other than all these, we bought a ticket from the OMNIMAX Show,
there are three of it, we chose the "Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure".
We wated it in a sphere shape theatre,
the creatures were so close that seems they are jumping out from the screen!

Posted Jun 14, 2010, 5:04 pm
We were all here to enjoy a happy dinner,
it's wonderful with fun and laughters,
the food are great and very different from what I had in the past.  :o

We tried shrimps, clams, sweet sour pork, tofu with mushroom...
All of us were full... :p

Posted Jun 14, 2010, 5:14 pm
The weather is unstable and not very good recently,
it's not a time for outing but only stayed indoor.

I stayed by the window side, staring outside and keep sighing,  :thinking:
Vi knew that I was a bit upset about the weather,
so she tried to cheer me up with a funny comic.

It's a Japanese comic, called "GON",
it's the name of the baby orange dragon,
there's no words in the comic, drawing only,
the brush strokes are amazing and stories are too funny that I nearly can't stop reading it!  :p :p

Posted Jun 20, 2010, 5:30 pm
We the toy voyagers went to Stanley today,  :rolleyes:
it's a tourist spot with heritage buildings, nice scenery,
beautiful beaches and great food.

People are crowded in the Stanley Market,
we walked through it and came to the seaside.
I climbed onto the huge rocks and took some photos.  :)

Posted Jun 26, 2010, 2:14 pm
There are two well-known heritages in Stanley,
the Blake Pier and the Murray Building.
Both of them were originally locates in Central.

There are now few restaurants inside the Murray Building,
we chose one and had the salad and pizza as afternoon tea~  :rolleyes:

Posted Jun 26, 2010, 2:31 pm
It's the first time for me to take the double deck bus,
it's a bit high to me so I moved in a quite careful way.

But then I found it it's safe indeed, so I started to explore the bus.
All of us were so eager to sit in the first row, yeah!
A little window was there for the driver to keep knowing what's happening up here.  :rolleyes:

We passed through the bridges, and guess where's our destination?
It's Mongkok~

It's very good that the bus has a monitor to show the next stop,
it's very good to tourists like us~

The bus also passed through a construction site where bamboo scaffolding was there.

Photos were also taken from the Nathan Road,
the first and longest road in Kowloon.
I was surprised to see all those shop signs on both sides!  :o

Posted Jun 26, 2010, 2:35 pm
Nathan Road is so crowded that out of my expectation.
I just can't believe my eyes to all those signs!  :cyclops:

Posted Jun 26, 2010, 2:44 pm
I had a very different dinner tonight.

Sushi! I love Salmon~~  :D
I even tried to eat by using chopstickes!  ;)

Posted Jun 26, 2010, 2:55 pm
I went to the Ladies Market and there are lots of things to buy there,
clothes, souvenirs, toys, bags, anything you name it.

Vi bought something from the store,
Vi told that she chose it to be the new Regit Brown.
To me, it's just like a little piece of brownies.  ;)

It travelled home with us and we shared a lot of our travels with her.

Posted Jun 26, 2010, 3:06 pm
Desserts day~

I had the chocolate souffle and wraffle with almond ice cream!  :cyclops:
I am not afraid of being fat~
Bears should eat more for storing fats before winter comes, right?  ;)

Posted Jul 4, 2010, 2:25 pm
Good weather~
And just captured this beautiful scene of the Victoria Harbour!  :D

Posted Jul 4, 2010, 2:55 pm
The first time for me to see Henna!

It's the Indian art of hand drawing,
different from tatoo, you can draw a new one whenever you want to.
Finish the drawing and wait for it to tried,
and here comes the pattern~  :o

Posted Jul 4, 2010, 3:08 pm
"dim sum"~ "dim sum"~ Yummy "dim sum"~~~

I had my lunch in a Shangjai Restaurant and tasted the well-known "Xiao Long Bao".  :D

You can took a glance of the dim sum on the menu.
On the left, it's the Xiao Long Bao (with pork filling),
wow, it's very juicy!  :cyclops:
the middle is the fried turnip roll,
and the left is the pork dumpling.

I tried to eat with chopsticks, but then I decided to use spoon~ hee!  ;)

Posted Jul 4, 2010, 3:24 pm
Other than Ladies' Market, there are also other theme streets in Monkok,
for example, there's the sport shoes street,
what you can find is sport shoes from different brands.

And today I was in another street, the Goldfish Market,
people come here to buy stuffs for their aquarium,
buy food for fish, and other kinds of pets too!  :rolleyes:

I saw a store selling "Siu Mei", which means the roasted/ barbecued meat,
usually suckling, chicken or goose,
the food are hanging there and people can tell the chef what they want,
this store is having a traditional style and settings.

Posted Jul 4, 2010, 3:47 pm
It's so colourful and energetic here in Wan Chai.
That's what the buildings tell me.  :p

On my way to the Blue House Livelihood Exhibition,
I saw many colourful buildings.

The Blue House is well-known for its architectual structure and its historical value.

I even took a photo with the old style postal box too.

Old people tend to stick the picture of Gate God on the door to keep away the bad spirits and evils.

Posted Jul 4, 2010, 5:05 pm
Great dinner with delicious food.

Cold tofu salad, black sesame pork ramen, salmon rice dumpling,
dried puffer fish, fried chicken bone dumpling, edamame bean and so on~

Wow! Looking at me with so many food~  :cyclops:
Also a banana split as dessert! Cool~~~  B)

Posted Jul 4, 2010, 5:12 pm
Finally I had collected a whole set of coins! (HK$)
behind each of them is the bauhinia, flower of Hong Kong.
There are $10, $5, $2, $1, $0.5, $0.2, $0.1,
do you want me to take them home?  :rolleyes:

Posted Jul 4, 2010, 5:53 pm
MTR (Mass Transit Railway) Journey day.

MTR is an underground train, just like tube/ bahn/ metro,
it's air-conditioned, fast in speed and almost the main transport of many people.

Take a look of the system map and it's almost all over Hong Kong.

I started my journey at Wan Chai, the calligraphy of the station name is very beautiful.
I like it!  ;) Only the stations of Island Line (blue one) have calligraphy~
Different stations has their own colour as identity.

Got on the train and changed to the Red Line at Admiralty,
finally I arrived Yau Ma Tei, a transition of the Red and Green Line,
it's the beginning of the Green Line.

Posted Jul 11, 2010, 8:00 am
This is a common street dessert here,
it's tofu pudding, can be serve in both hot and cold.

In the past, they are kept in a wooden pot,
but now usually in steel pot.

Before eating it, you can add some yellow sugar to it,
depends on how sweet you want.
Not adding sugar is also okay, because it's already full of the taste of tofu.

Adding sugar makes it becomes a bit yellow, tastes good~  B)

Posted Jul 11, 2010, 8:07 am
Behind me is one of the well-known hills in Hong Kong.
This one is called "Lion Rock Hill",
it locates in Kowloon.

With the head facing left, it shapes like a relaxed lying lion.
Looking down of what's happening down in the Kowloon area.  :cyclops:

There's also a well-known song called "Under the Lion Rock Hill" in 80's.

The sun is so beautiful that I took a photo with Vi, can you find me?  ;)

Posted Jul 18, 2010, 8:21 am
This is the Mid-Levels Escalator, the longest outdoor escalator.
It helps a lot for people who live up on the hill,
and time saving of course.  :cyclops:

Posted Jul 18, 2010, 8:35 am
This prison is very near to the Mid-Levels Escalator,
it is the first prison in Hong Kong but closed already few years ago.


Posted Jul 18, 2010, 8:39 am
This Police Station is right next to the prison, :rolleyes:
it's having a western style and very different from its surroundings.

Both of the police station and prison closed few years ago.

Posted Jul 18, 2010, 8:42 am
Yummy chewy fishball~
It's a typical and well-known street snacks,
you must try it! :p

Don't you think it really looks like the tic-tac-toe?

Posted Jul 18, 2010, 8:48 am
Giant Figures of Toy Story's characters!
Cool~ I enjoy the time being with these toys.  ;)
After that I even had a try with another typical street snacks:
egg shaped waffle and taiwan style drinks,
there are colourful and chewy jelly with the juice.

Posted Aug 1, 2010, 12:38 pm
Heritage 1881 is now a shopping mall and heritage hotel.
Originally it was the headquarters of the Hong Kong Marine Police from the 1880's to 1996.
The Victorian architecture tells the colonial background.

I played around the cannon, and saw the Time Ball Tower,
there's a tradition of dropping the time ball at 1pm every day.  :)

Next to the it is a typhoon mast where signals were raised manually during typhoons in the past.

Posted Aug 1, 2010, 1:04 pm
A red bear met a red Fire Engine~ :D
Of course I should take a ride on it~

Posted Aug 1, 2010, 7:05 pm
My breakfast today is a local style red bean pudding.
It's sweet in taste and the red bean are chewy~  :)

People used to call it "bowl-pudding",
because it's poured into a little bowl to wait for it to cool down to become jelly like.
After it's cool, they will used the bamboo stick to take it out,
just like the way you see it in the photo.  :p

The one I had is made from yello sugar, so the colour is a bit brown,
another one is made from white sugar, that the colour is white.

Posted Aug 1, 2010, 7:07 pm
I travelled the star ferry before,
but it's my first time to be on the upper deck.

Every chair has a star on it~  :rolleyes:
After a few rainy days, we have great weather finally.

Posted Aug 1, 2010, 7:09 pm
People used to have "cool tea" when they had too much fried food.

"cool tea" is not really a cool tea, just because in the theory of chinese medicine,
fried food is something "hot", so having "cool tea" can help.  :rolleyes:

"cool tea" is a drink made of some chinese herbs,
there are many kinds of tea, the one I had today is "24 taste",
it's because it's made of 24 different herbs.  :o

Though it's bitter in taste, it's good to health~

Posted Aug 1, 2010, 7:13 pm
Another special transportation today - tram.

All the trams usually have advertisements on their body,
It's not easy to see one having its own green colour.  :rolleyes:

Etwas, Rendolph, Kirin and I enjoyed our time on the tram.

In Hong Kong, we can pay the fare by either octopus card or coins,
and tram is having a fixed fare no matter how long your journey is,
as all of us don;t have an octopus card,
we decided to pay by coins, the fare is HK$2.0.

Posted Aug 13, 2010, 3:55 pm
Hi Mum,

here I am, at my new host´s house in the Czech Republic!
The trip was ok and faster then I expected.
(Thanks to vivyanhui, who put me in the very nice envelope with thanks to the postmen)!

I met 2 other TV´s here Twix and Fed and also 3 home staying toys.
They told me their life mission is to take a good care of all the TV´s who comes over.
Very touchy  :rolleyes:

All of them are sending many thanks for the beautiful postcard from Hong Kong and the candy to vivyanhui.


As I wanted to stretch the legs after the time in the envelope,
we jumped into the car and went for my first trip in here.
We went to see the Macocha Abyss which is nearby.

Here I am looking from the top view point.
It was very impressive and very nice. On the first picture you can see small grey platform behind me.
That is a lower view and we went there by foot.


And this is it...


Tourist signs we saw on our way back up.


After this trip we decided to go to have a something to eat.
Fed and I bought a langos (hungarian meal) and Twix got fried cheese in a roll.
And we all had the coke too. Yummy yummy!


The buffet is nearby biiig lake and our host insisted we have to go boating!
We were quite scared, but we managed!
I was also trying to paddle, but it is quite hard job... anyway, we had great afternoon!


Bye for now, Michel

Posted Aug 15, 2010, 3:06 pm
Another exhibition today, all are big creatures!  :o
They are so real and amazing...  :)

They are made of old tyres, thought they all look very stronge and fierce,
you can feel the lonely and a little bit sad when looking into their eyes.  :thinking:

Posted Aug 15, 2010, 3:12 pm
The dinner tonight is Korean style barbecue.
In the middle of the table is where you cook the food yourself.

There are salad, meat and some korean appetizer as well.
Delicious!  B) :rolleyes:

Posted Aug 15, 2010, 3:17 pm
After dinner, we went to the seaside to have a walk.  :rolleyes:
Still cars on the highway even it's night time.

Posted Aug 15, 2010, 3:21 pm
I am going to leave Hong Kong and to my next stop,
so this will be my last time to see the Victoria Harbour.
I will miss the time on the ferry and the great night view here.  ;)

Posted Aug 15, 2010, 3:29 pm
I packed my things and ready for the flight to Czech Republic,
my friends here gave me a big big hug to wish me a safe landing.
They are so sweet!  :rolleyes:

I think we can meet each other somewhere else in the world!  B)
Then we can shared to each other about our trips!

Goodbye friends!
Goodbye / bye bye Hong kong!
再見 / 拜拜 香港!

Posted Aug 21, 2010, 7:10 pm
Hello Mum!

We went to a ZOO yesterday. It is pretty big one in town called Dvur Kralove. I saw sooo many african animals (no bears, pity).
There were loads of giraffes, rhinos and also zebras (I liked them most)!
Look at the pictures!









And I must not forget, on the way back we were really hungry, so we stopped in very pretty town Litomysl for dinner.
There was quite pretty square, do you agree??





Bye mum! Yours, Michel

Posted Aug 22, 2010, 7:20 pm
Hi Mum,

today was a small airshow at the village, so we decided to check it out! And you know what we saw?
Helicopters and ultralight airplanes... It was really cool!  B)







When we got back, we decided to do a goodbye party for Fed and Timothy III. cause they are leaving soon.
(Timothy III. is brand new TV of my current host).
We sat in the garden, enjoyed the sun, good food and colourful drinks! It was very nice and pleasant...





Bye, Michel

Posted Aug 29, 2010, 6:24 pm
Hello Mum,

today we went for another trip.
Our plan was to visit one very nice baroque church and then visit one of the caves in the Moravian Karst.

This baroque church is in village named Krtiny (very difficult to pronounce) and it is dedicated to St. Maria.
The church was built in 1718 by very famous Czech architect Jan Santini-Aichel.

Here are some pictures from inside…



… and outside of the church.



There is also a special system of more than 30 bells which plays melodies on special occasions.
One of these occasions was also today, so I actually heart it play!!


After this cultural visit we went to the karst area to admire the nature.
This is the entrance to the area. It is called the “Skalni mlyn”, which is rock mill in translation.
Here I am right in front of it.


The cave we went to is called Catherine´s Cave. Here we bought the tickets.
I also studied some information materials on it.




And this is the entrance. Unfortunately the light conditions in this cave were very bad.
Though we were trying to get loads of images, these are the best we have… and they are not good at all.
Sorry for this mum.








On the way home our host showed us one more thing.
It looks like a crater in the field. But it is not a crater but a sinkhole.
Because this area is full of caves, sometimes the ceiling of one of these caves collapses and this is the result you can see on the surface.
And when it rains the water disappears into these sinkholes.



And yet I took some photos with nice flowers we saw on the way.
Here I am in the chamomile.


And here I am with the poppy.



And here I am exploring  the poppy seed. Funny, isn´t it?


And the last images are showing the countryside.



That´s it for today.
Love, Michel

Posted Sep 1, 2010, 9:16 am
Hi Mum!

We heard that Twix is going home to his mum soon. Our current host told him, that he just can´t leave without a proper goodbye.

And because everyone loves good food, my host decided to bake „der Apfel Strudel“ for all of us here.
As you know this desert has many variations. We did a pretty basic one.

You only need a puff pastry, apples, sugar, egg… hmm, and that´s it.

First you do this funny shape from the ½ of the puff pastry. I was a bit confused about this shape at first, but my host said I doesn´t matter that much.  :stare:


We helped with slicing and grating apples.



When you are done with the pastry and apples, you just put them into the middle of the pastry like this.
Then sprinkle with vanilla sugar.

(At this point we were done, but people put many other things inside. Such as peanuts, cinnamon, cocoa… )


Then you roll the pastry and close the edges like this.
You spread on a whisked egg and that´s it.


We did this process again with the second ½ of the pastry and put the tray (with the baking paper) into the oven. The temperature was set for about 150°C.


And voila, final touch with sugar on the top and it is finished. YUMMY!

You can serve it warm or cold, with coffee, whisked cream, custard… anyway you like it!


Twix had a perfect dessert to share with us before his journey home! And I tasted something like a cake - what do you think mum, does it count?

Love, Michel

Posted Sep 5, 2010, 4:02 pm
Hi Mum!

You´d never guess what I did today! I tried a very special sport – a fire shooting.
Not far from here is an open firing range and I went there today with my host´s husband.
During the way I was told all the rules about the safety and I had to promise I would really really behave, which of course I did. 

And then when we got there my host let me to try loading a gun and shooting and everything! It was amazing…

Check out the images.





While my host or other my TV friend Edward R. Bear was shooting, I was counting the points for them. I used this small monocular for it.



Well, I am gonna go to help with cleaning the gun and then to have some rest.


Bye Mum! Yours Michel

Posted Oct 1, 2010, 3:50 pm
Hello mummy! As you know I went for a small holiday with my host couple days ago. Now we are back and I have plenty of pictures for my travelog.
At first we thought we will travel through more states, but then we decided to stay only in Austria, because it is such a beautiful country!

As we were to many places, this holiday will take more updates - and this is the first one. So buckle up and lets start!

It was 5 of us on the trip - my host, her husband and 3 toys. Me, Edward R. Bear who is frim N.Y.C and one of the homestaying toys of my host - Eio. This is our first picture from the trip at all. Safety first!


The first destination was near Salzburg. But on the way we were passing beautiful area of Attersee! It was really really nice - hills, trees and magically clean water. We were just sitting on the shore and enjoying the atmosphere.









So this is the first part! Stay tuned, cause much more is coming up soon.

Posted Oct 1, 2010, 6:08 pm
Hello again with the news on our Austrian trip...

Later in the evening we arrived to Sankt Gilgen. It is a small town very close to Salzburg.
We took a walk around and we saw:

- a nice square


- a cable lift (but we did not take this particular one)


- the house where Mozart´s mother was born.


And this is the hotel where we were staying this one night =)


Love, Michel.

Posted Oct 2, 2010, 4:15 pm
Hello Mum!

Today I have images from Salzburg for you! These two are from main square. Behind me is the Dom church.


And from the other side =)


We also visited the Hohensalzburg Fortress. You can see it up on the hill.


Following images are showing the magnificent view from the top of it.






For our way up we took a cable railway - right behind me on this picture (See? The cabin is actually on it´s way up on it!).


And in Salzburg you must not forget to see Mozart´s Birthplace!


And because my host knows I like town halls, here I am in front of the one in Salzburg.


And do you know the famous musical Sound of music from 1965? It was made in Salzburg and it´s surroundings. There is one scene where Julie Andrews teaches the kids how to sing - the song is called Do-Re-Mi. Part of this scene was made in gardens of Mirabell pallace. We were there and here you can see me on the fountain and also the stairs which appeared in the movie! Cool!

(It was impossible to take picture only of me, there were so many people who wanted to be photographed there...)



That´s it for now! Next images will be from Innsbruck =)
Yours Michel

Posted Oct 3, 2010, 3:34 pm
Hello Mummy!

Another part of our Austrian trip is coming up! After wonderful Salzburg we went for a couple days to Innsbruck. We refused to stay in the back of the car and decided to sit in the front like this =)


When we got to Innsbruck, we decided to go for a walk in the old center of the town. Look at the mountains - they are creating a wonderful panorama!





And I must not forget - we did found the town hall! Great!


This is the Arc of triumph in Innsbruck.


After the sightseeing in the town we visited famous Innsbruck ski jump stadium. As you probably know, Innsbruck is an Olympic city - two winter Olympic Games were held there. From the ski jump stadium is wonderful view at the city and its surroundings. Here it is. (Sorry I am not on the picture – it is taken against the sun and it was a bit difficult.)


When we got up there, we got a little refreshment in a restaurant which is part of the ski jump bridge and then we enjoyed the view. Isn´t it breathtaking?





I also checked the part from where the jumpers are actually starting the jump - it was quite scary to be honest.



We also saw this Olympic symbol in the area.



On these "plates" the Olympic fire was lit - one for the first games and the other one for the second games in the city.


And on this image pay special attention to the far hill behind me. We went there later via this cable lift!



The mountain is called Patcher Kofel and all the downhill skiing disciplines were held there. And here we are - magnificent view again!





On our way back down we skipped the cable lift and went by foot. Here we are, hiking!


And now guess - do you know what it is behind me? We came across it on our way down the hill. It is a bobsleigh run! Behind me you can see the start of it.


And here I am exploring the bob!




And to finish today´s news I also attach images of us in our hotel room.



Wow, today it was long one, but I hope you like it!
Love, Michel

Posted Oct 6, 2010, 3:23 pm
Hi Mummy,

today I have couple images from our way from Innsbruck to village near Zell am See. We went through beautiful small city called Gmünd and these images were taken there.




We also stopped there for a quick luchch and cup of green tea to get warm, because as you can see, there was snowing in this area already. it is because Gmümd is in the mountains.


The snow is also the reason for one special event - taking cows from hills back to valleys for the winter. All the cows are decorated for this special occasion and we saw really loads of them during our way.


Later on our way we were passing this barrage - very nice view, isn´t it?


And we also saw a mountain waterfall!



Love, Michel

Posted Oct 10, 2010, 5:36 pm
Hey Mum!

Today is time for images from Zell am See. It is very nice area, there is one of the most popular mountain lake in whole Austria. And it is surrouded by famous ski resorts.

Here I am at the shore of the Zeller See.


You can join a ship cruise and enjoy the magnificent counryside all aroun the lake (and still you can have your coffee and delicious "Apfel strudel" in the cabin like we did.





Here is the ship. Isn´t she beuty?


In the city is very old romanesque church - very impressive piece of history.


I will write again soon. We still have images from Kitzbühl, Kaprun and Hochalpenstrasse to go =)

Love, Michel

Posted Oct 10, 2010, 6:06 pm
Hello again,

we also visited Kitzbühel while we were on our Austrian trip. We were espetially interested in one of the cable lift there - the Kitzbüheler Hornbahn.

Unfortunately the weather went a bit wrong, so we sort of missed the great view on the top of the Hornbahn, but it was great to visit this place anyway.







Bye! Michel

Posted Oct 11, 2010, 11:12 am
Hi mum!

On our trip we also visited famous hydroelectric power station in Kaprun. It is power station situated in the mountains. There are two big water barrages, one of them is situated more then 2000 m above the sea level (!) and it is called Mooserboden. And both of the barracks are surrounded by mountains... visiting this place was really worth it!

See yourself!









Isn´t it just beautiful?
Yours Michel

Posted Oct 13, 2010, 1:24 pm
Hello Mummy!

Today I have the last set of images from Austria for you. As a last thing we decided do visit the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse. It is about 40kms long road in the Hohe Tauern National Park in Alpes with 36 bends and an altitude ascent to 2504 (!) metres.

Unfortunately when we were on the road itself, the weather changed from partly shiny to cloudy, so we haven´t actually seen the Grossglockner, but still we have some pretty pictures =)

The last one is the glacier below the Grossglockner, it is called the Pasterze.








Love, Michel

Posted Oct 25, 2010, 8:55 am
Hi Mum, we finally made it to the post office, so I am on my way to Germany now! Keep fingers crossed for me to travel safe and fast!

I will write again as soon as I arrive.
Love, Michel

Posted Oct 28, 2010, 2:21 pm
Hey mum,

I arrived in Essen today. I brought a postcard and some candy with me and Fabi was really happy to see me.

The other ToyVoyagers who are here welcomed me really friendly.


AdrianMunk and Gwyn are new to ToyVoyagers, so I told them about my travel until now. They really liked it.


Scathach asked me a lot as well, so we talked a while.

Hope I will have a great time here.


Posted Nov 2, 2010, 9:36 pm

today we visited the old synagogue in Essen. It is a museum now. You can learn a lot about the history of the synagogue and about Judaism in it. I learnt a lot. But you will see.


That's the old synagogue from the outside. It was just renovated and opened again some weeks ago.



That is a model of the synagogue.


There were pictures inside where you could see how the synagogue looked when they still used it for Jewish services.

This is an interactive card. You can touch a place like New York and London and get to know what is important for Jewish people. Like where is a synagogue? Where can I eat Jewish food? And such.

Here you could learn a Jewish dance. We had fun trying it.

That's how the synagogue looked from inside.

Now some pictures without me to show you how nice it was there:




It was a nice day and I hope we can visit a lot more nice places while I am here.


Posted Nov 2, 2010, 9:38 pm

I guess Fabi took her Halloween costume a little bit too serious...I was scared...but it was nice.




Posted Nov 28, 2010, 12:20 am
Hey :)!

Sorry for not updating so much. Fabi is really stressed in November. So I am not sure if there will be a lot updates this month. But if you want I can stay longer and see some places in December then.
Today we went to Kettwig for a short moment. Fabi was in a hurry, so she just made 2 pictures of us and we went away again.




Posted Nov 28, 2010, 12:23 am
Hey :)!

Today we visited the grandparents of Fabis boyfriend. Fabi showed us a church which is right over the street from their home. I am sorry that I haven't more pictures for today, but we weren't there for a long time.



Posted Nov 28, 2010, 12:28 am
Hey :)!

Today we went to the castle ruin in Essen. It is a really nice place to be. I loved it a lot.

Fabi said from now on she will try to make more pictures again. She can't promise, but she will do her best.

So enjoy the pictures of the castle ruin and us.






Posted Nov 29, 2010, 6:21 pm
Happy first advent :)!


Sorry for the bad photo quality :(!

Posted Dec 20, 2010, 5:04 am
Hey :)!

Today Fabi and her best friend went to Cologne. Her best friend is a big fan of bears, so Barney Bear and I were allowed to go with them.
We didn't do a lot, just made some photos for her best friend of a restaurant and then we were allowed to go to the Rhine and watch the boats.

It was already dark so the pictures are not so nice, I am sorry.




Close to the part of the Rhine where we were was a little tower which looked really cute.


We don't know what kind of tower it was, but it looks really old, or?

Love from Cologne,

Posted Dec 20, 2010, 5:08 am
Hey out there,

today we went to the Margarethenhöhe in Essen.

From wikipedia:
Gartenstadt Margarethenhöhe: Founded by Margarethe Krupp in 1906, the garden city with its 3092 units in 935 buildings on an area of 115 ha (284.2 acres) (of which 50 ha are woodland) is considered the first of its kind in Germany. All buildings follow the same stylistic concept, with slight variations for each one. Although originally designed as an area for the lower classes with quite small flats, the old part Margarethenhöhe I has developed into a middle class residential area and housing space has become highly sought after. A new part, Margarehenhöhe II, was built in the 1960s and 1970s but is architecturally inferior and especially the multi-storey buildings are still considered social hot spots.

It was really nice there with all the snow around us.





I hope you like the photos.


Posted Dec 20, 2010, 5:28 am
Hey :)!

Today we went to the christmas market at the CentrO in Oberhausen. CentrO is a big shopping centre, but we didn't went inside. We were on the christmas market outside.


Fabi made a lot pictures without us, which she wants to share with you as well. So first the ones without me and then the ones with me, okay?



Fabi absolutely loves the cow bear.







And now, finally, ME:



Love from Oberhausen,

Posted Dec 20, 2010, 5:50 am

today we went to Sealife in Oberhausen. It is like a zoo, just under water. We saw so much nice things and now I want to share some photos with you.

First a group picture:

We were all really excited what we will see there.




Do you know about Paul? The octupus who told who will win the soccer world cup? He lived here. But now there is a new octupus who is called Paul II. and he is trained to do the same like Paul did.


We were scared because of the sharks coming so close. So we hide in the bag. But Fabi told me to come out and come closer for some nice pictures for you.







Love you lots,

Posted Dec 20, 2010, 6:03 am
Hey mum,

we wanted to show you the snow outside, without going outside. So we all sit down at the window and tried to make a photo where you can see the snow.





Snowy love,

Posted Dec 20, 2010, 5:19 pm
Hey mum,

you can follow my travel on the website of Deutsche Post with the code: RR908502025DE

I hope I will arrive before christmas.

Lots of Love,

Posted Dec 31, 2010, 6:58 pm
Hi Mom,

I arrived safely to Helsinki today. I spent Christmas in airports, but it was quite interesting and there were some other toys too :)

I arrived here just in time to celebrate New Year's Eve with my new host Kirsi and her toy friends. Here lives also a handsome black cat called Lauri and Kirsi's boyfriend Ikke.

More later...

Happy New Year Mom :)

Posted Jan 15, 2011, 11:13 pm
Hi Mom,

Here I am again. I guess you have been worried, because I haven't updated my travelog in a a long time, but everything is OK. My host slipped on ice a few days after New Year's Eve and she hurt her back and neck quite badly - no broken bones though. She had to rest a lot and had some strong painkillers so she couldn't take me any places outside. I played with my new toy friends a lot and we had fun together. Now my host is finally feeling better and I can update this with her :)

It was really cold here when I arrived and one of my host's teddybears gave me some warm clothes. I can use them as long as I stay here :)

The New Year's Eve was great. We had some snacks and I got to know my new friends a bit better. Manu is the most famous rubber duck of Finland and K-Bear is soon becoming a TV too. She is a nice and sweet little girl teddy. We watched the fireworks at balcony. My host lives on the 8th floor and the views are just great here. I was at the balcony to get some fresh air a lot when my host was in bed sleeping her pain away.

One day we went to the city by a tram. It was nice :) We went to a café and there were so many delicious homemade buns there that it was hard to choose which one I'd like to have.

Tomorrow we'll go to a library and after that to the city. I hope we can take some photos there if it isn't snowing again. Here's lots of snow everywhere and more is coming all the time.

Bye for now Mom. I miss you <3


Posted Jan 27, 2011, 7:23 pm
Hi Mom,

Here I am again. Wow, so many great things has happened after I wrote here the last time. Where should I start?

Well, I've been out a lot, even though it has been cold, snowing or raining. I don't mind any of that, because I have warm clothes, but my host's camera doesn't like wet weather at all. There are not so many pictures of me walking outside or playing there with my new friends, but here's one where I am in a park. (Picture no.1)

On special Sundays my host's boyfriend cooks us special breakfasts. Those are not so light meals, but they are perfect for lazy Sundays :) (Picture no.2)

My host loves latte and reading. She often goes to a café with a book and reads there while having a latte. I've been there with here and I've learned to like latte too. Sometimes her books are not suitable for a small bear like me and I might take a nap on a couch there. (Pictures no. 3-5)

One day in a small shop we met a big yellow guy called M and he asked us had we seen his friend the red M. Unfortunately we couldn't help him, but I hope he has now found his friend. (Picture no. 6)

We have visited the nearest library a few times. It is a beautiful building and I've met some really nice toys and a statue there. (Pictures no. 7-12) We have borrowed a few books and the last time we got a great book me and the other toys. It is called a Small Unicorn and the pictures are beautiful. We have read that book over and over again. The story is wonderful and I like it very much. Picture no.13) If it has been a cold day we cover us with a warm blanket and sometimes we fell asleep there. (Pictures no.14-16)


Posted Jan 27, 2011, 8:33 pm
I tell a bit more about my adventures here in Helsinki now. My host's cat Lauri is a sweet guy who likes to sleep in warm places. Sometimes I have have a nap with him in his basket. (Pictures no.1 and 2)

I've became good friends with my host's teddybears Mille and Milla too. We can sit and chat for hours. (Picture no. 3)

As I said earlier my host Kirsi loves latte and she makes that many times a day at home. Here's how she makes it - and she normally put some flavour syrup there too. (Pictures no. 4-6)

Here are two pictures from the kitchen window, nice view :) My host collects rubber ducks and you can see them here everywhere. (Pictures no. 7 and 8)

Sometimes we stay at the kitchen and pretend that it is a nice café. Well, mostly when it's too cold to go out... We write lots of postcards and have latte. My host is addicted to postcrossing and she gets many nice postcards almost every day - and she also sends lots of cards. (Pictures no.9 and 10)

Posted Jan 27, 2011, 9:45 pm
It's wintertime, but it's never too cold for ice-cream. My favourite ice-cream here is the 3 chocolate one. There's white, dark and milk chocolate ice-cream in one package and it's delicious :) (Picture no. 1)

One evening we went to a fine restaurant. My host Kirsi and her boyfriend Ikke had a wonderful dinner there. The reason I got to go there with them was the restaurant's delicious cakes - and I love cakes as you very well know Mom :D Kirsi had a piece of lemon-lime-cake and Ikke had cheesecake - I got to taste both of those cakes and they were really tasty. I saved small pieces of those cakes to Kirsi and Ikke  too ;) (Pictures no. 2 and 3)

On Monday new stamp were reliesed here in Finland and we went to the main post office to write some postcards and get the special first day cancellations. Two postcrossers MsMoney and Kherya came there too and in the afternoon our table was full of postcards and new stamps. I had great time there with Manu and K-Bear - we got to write some cards too :)(Pictures no. 4 and 5)

On Tuesday a new ToyVoyager arrived. His name is Blinchick and he came here from Chile. He is originally from Russia, but he has travelled all around the world. We wanted to hear all about his trips, but he was tired after a long flight and we talked only a short time before he went to sleep. Oh, before he went to bed we had a great chocolate dessert and some gingerbreads to make him feel himself welcome. (Pictures no. 6 and 7)

I saved the best news here... Last Saturday Manu and I went to the Travel Fair with my host. It is a huge event and there were lots of people everywhere. Kirsi's friends Tiina and Markus came there too and we had a great afternoon there together. The most important thing was that I got to meet some special Finnish characters. At first I met The Snork Maiden and The Litlle My; they are famous Moomin characters and in Finnish they are Niisku- Neiti ja Pikku Myy. The next person was even more famous than the Moomins. Can you believe Mom that I met the real Santa Claus or Joulupukki as he is called here in Finland. I was sooooo excited and I forgot to tell him what I want for Christmas. I'm glad Manu was there with me. Santa Claus noticed my beautiful pullover and he was very pleased to hear that I had travelled all the way from Germany to Finland. Manu and I told to the other toys about Santa Claus over and over again when we finally got back to home. Wow, that was a fantastic day :):):) (Pictures no. 8 and 9)

OK, now it's time for me to go to bed. I miss you Mom. Kisses, Michel


Posted Jan 29, 2011, 6:38 pm
Hi Mom,

Yesterday my host went to a hospital for a few hours. It was a beautiful sunny day, but a way too cold, -17C. My host asked would we like to join her so we could take some pictures, but we all answered "No, thank you!" It was nice to stay inside and we had so much fun there together chatting and getting to know each others a bit better. -17 C and really cold wind, hrrrrrr...

Today it was only -7C and it felt much warmer so we went to the city to see some sights. Manu and K-Bear stayed at home so Blinchic and I got a private tour. We went to the city by tram. It's the easiest and fastest way to travel here. The tram stop is in front of my host's outdoor. We waited for a tram and Blinchick was out here for the first time. (Picture 1)

At first we went to the main railway station of Helsinki. (Picture 2) It was designed by architect Eliel Saarinen and it has been there since 1919. Right next to the railway station is the most important building of Helsinki - the main post office. Oh, my host is addicted to Postcrossing
( www.postcrossing. com ) and that's her oppinion. The post office is the yellow building behind me. (Picture 3) We went in to the post office again and it looked as impressive as I remembered. (Picture 4) There's also the nice café where I was at my first Finnish postcrossing meetings. Mailboxes are here bright orange and in the 1st of February there are also going to be blue mailboxes for the 1st class mail. I like the colour of those boxes. (Picture 5)

We walked about 200 meters and saw three interesting buildings. The first one was Kiasma, the contemporary art museum. (Picture 6) It's a modern building in the middle of the city and all the old buildings. Kiasma was opened in 1998. The next building was the Parliament House of Finland and it's Eduskuntatalo in Finnish. (Picture 7) It was built between 1926 and 1931. It is a huge building and I think it would be interesting to go inside of it too. My host told us that there are arranged guided tours sometimes and she promised to find out when the next ones are. She hasn't ever been inside of the Parliament House either... The last of these buildings was the National Museum of Finland. (Picture 8) The tower is 58 meters high. I wasn't so interested in the history of the building anymore after I noticed a big bear statue in the front of the museum. My host just had to take a photo of me and Blinchick with the statue. (Picture 9) Kirsi told us that there's also another bear statue in a place which is called the bear park, Karhupuisto in Finnish. That statue is now covered with snow, but we can go to see it someday.

We jumped to a tram again and went to the Senate Square. There is a big white church and it is the Lutherean Cathedral of Helsinki. THe Cathedral looked beautiful. (Pictures 10 and 11) There was a lot of snow at the Senate Square and I wanted to have my photo taken with snow. (Picture 12) I was really brave and sat on the snow. Blinchick wouldn't dare to do the same and so he got to sit on my lap. (Picture 13) Wind was freezing and we were almost frozen so we stopped our tour of archoitecture and went quickly back to home by tram. We had lots of hot tea there. It was a cold, but nice day and I saw and learned a lot about Helsinki.

Posted Jan 29, 2011, 9:49 pm
Today our host asked us what would we like to do. I said I'd like to visit in the town hall if that's possible. My host said that it is a good idea and there are always interesting exhibitions there. So once again we took a tram to the city and went to the town hall of Helsinki. This time there was a photo exhibition and the photos were all wonderful black and white pictures from 1940 to 1998. My host called to her boyfriend and invited him to the exhibition too. The town hall was a very intersting place and the others liked it too. (Pictures 1-4)

Kirsi's boyfriend was still at work so we walked around while we waited for him. At first we saw the Orhodox Cathedral of Helsinki. (Picture 5) It was only -2 C, but we noticed soon that it's always windy by the sea - and the wind was strong and cold. I'm not going to tell you any history of the places we saw, because we had just a quick tour there and wanted to go inside to a warm place soon. The next building was the Presidential Palace. (Picture 6) Did you know Mom that the President of Finland is woman? Her name is Tarja Halonen. My host told me that The President was not in the Palace, because the flag of Finland wasn't fluttering on a flagpole.

There was a big ferry going to Suomenlinna, which is the UNESCO site of Helsinki. (Pictures 7 and 8) My host told us that it is a beautiful island and there's an old fortress. The island is a popular place especially in the summertime and people go there for a picnic or for a walk. The huge boat behind me (Picture 9) is Silja Line's ship and it travels from Helsinki to Stockholm, Sweden and back to Helsinki. Those boats are really popular for cruises and there's also red ones which are Viking Line's boats. The blue building behind me (Picture 10) is the town hall of Helsinki where we already visited. There was a smaller boat too and it was a café, but we wanted to go to a warmer place. (Picture 11)

We went to the Old Market Hall and my host told us that it is the oldest market hall of Finland. (Picture 12) We walked straight to the café and Kirsi ordered a big latte. The mug was warm and we all warmed up slowly. (Picture 13) The latte was really good also. Kirsi's boyfriend called and we didn't have time to see everything in the hall, but we can go there back later. We walked to the town hall again and watched the photo exhibition with Ikke. Then we went to a grocery shop and back to home. No more photos, because the battery of Kirsi's camera run out of power - or maybe it was just frozen...

Posted Jan 29, 2011, 11:21 pm
Hi again Mom,

One more update and then I'll go to bed. This morning we woke up early and went to the city for breakfast. There's a nice and peaceful little café called Salt & Pepper. We had a great breakfast there and it was fun to go out for a breakfast. (Picture 1)

We came back home by tram and it was still so early that the tram was almost empty. Finally we had a good chance to take some photos inside of a tram. (Pictures 2-6) Too bad the windows were so dirty...

We all slept in the afternoon for a few hours. We had a lazy Saturday evening and we just watched TV and chatted. We won't have a lazy Sunday, because we'll go to a birthday party. It's so exciting I can hardly wait for tomorrow, but I'm sure we'll have fun there :)

Bye for now! Yours, Michel

Posted Feb 5, 2011, 9:46 pm
Hi Mom,

We had fun in the birthday party last Sunday and we all ate lots of cake. There were so many guests and children that my host couldn't take any pictures, she didn't want us to get lost there.

After the party we drove by the sea near a café to see some snow sculptures. It's amazing what they can make of snow. It was already dark, but my host got a few photos of us there playing there. (Pictures 1-3)

One day my host took us to the Bear Park to see the big bear statue. Wow, it was a great statue and it felt like the bear was actually alive. (Pictures 4 and 5)

You can see icicles here everywhere and you have to watch around, because they can fell down and hit you. Here are a few big icicles. (Pictures 6 and 7) They look beautiful, but they are quite dangerous though.

On our way to the main post office we saw the National Theater of Finland. It is a beatiful building and my host told us there are many interesting details on the walls of the theater. Too bad we didn't have time to go there and see those details. The statue in front of the theter is made to honor the national writer of Finland and his name is Aleksis Kivi. It was funny to see that statue and hear his name, because the address of our host is Aleksis Kivi's Street  (Picture 8)

There was a big happening in the city a few days ago where they celebrated the Chinese New Year. We saw dragon dancers and acrobats there, but unfortunately we were standing too far from the stage so no pictures of them. The area was decoreted with beautiful red lanterns and you can see some of them behind me. (Picture 9)

Yesterday my host went to the city to meet her friend. She had surprise for us when she came back home. We all were sitting and waiting on a couch and then she introduced us to Kerttu. She is a tiny moose girl and she wants to become a TV too. Kerttu is very sweet and we all liked her right away. (Picture 10)

Today we all went to a Chinese restaurant to celebrate the Chinese New Year, better late than never. We had a delicious meal there and it was also a welcoming party for Kerttu. (Pictures 11 and 12)

Today it was also J.L. Runeberg's day. He was the national poet of Finland. We celebrated his day by eating small cakes named after him, in Finnish they are called Runebergin torttu. (Picture 13)

OK, now I'll go to bed. We have to wake up early tomorrow, because were are going to the movies with our host to watch a new animation movie by Disney. I'm looking forward to it already.

Bye Mom! I miss you <3 Michel

Posted Feb 11, 2011, 10:30 pm
Hi Mom,

Here I am again :)

The Disney's movie was great and we had special glasses, because it was a 3D movie. We ate a lot of popcorn there too, yammy! Unfortunatelly it was not allowed to take any pictures at the movie theatre so you can't see any parts of the movie.

On Monday we all went to the main post office - it was time for K-Bear to start her trip to Germany. It was the first time she was travelling alone and she was a bit nervous, but also excited. We had a big latte there together and wrote a few postcards. (Picture 1) Too soon it was time for a group hug (Picture 2) and after the goodbyes K-Bear jumped to an envelope and started her own adventure.

On Tuesday my host had a bad headache and we stayed inside reading and playing. There was a snow storm and we didn't want to out so it was a good day to stay at home.

On Wednesday a mailman brought a big box to my host and we were all curious to see what was inside of it. At first we saw a blue towel and soon we noticed that someone was looking at us. (Picture 3) My host picked the towel on the couch and the eyes inside of it watched us carefully. (Picture 4) After a while we saw a bread coming out of the towel and my host told us that he is Bernd the Bread, a ToyVoyager from Germany. Bernd gave us some chocolates and a nice postcard of Hamburg. (Picture 5) I was thrilled - he is also from Hamburg. I spoke a little German to Bernd and he was happily surpised. Now we can tell all about our beautiful hometown together. (Picture 6) It was also great to see that postcard, sometimes I feel myself a little homesick... We wanted to know all about Bernd and his afventures, but he was a bit grumpy and really hungry after his long trip - just like I was when I arrived here.

In the afternoon my host told us that she was going to the TV (means television, not ToyVoyager this time) studios for a few hours and we could come there with her, but we would have to stay in her bag and be quiet. We all thought that sounded really interesting and so we jumped in to her bag. My host worked at the studios as an assistant for a TV serie and we could hear everything what happened. Kirsi didn't have her camera with her, because it's forbidden to take cameras there in the studio area. She has been an assistant in four movies and 3 TV series and she said it's fun and interesting to see all that behind the scenes.

At home we were all a bit tired and Bernd went to sleep right away. We got a big muffin and some cookies for a snack (Picture 7) and then we went to bed too. I got a new experience again today and I feel almost like I'm a movie star :)

Yesterday we went to a small tea room, there were only four tables, but over 300 different teas. My host met two of her best friends there and they chatted and chatted a long time there. They also laughed a lot and that sounded nice. It was really difficult to choose what tea we'd like to drink, but finally we decided to have wild cherry tea with croissant and jam. It was a perfect choice, the tea was warm and delicious. (Picture 8)

Today it was freezing, -12C and terrible wind. We wanted to go outside to get some fresh air though and we played in snow for a short time. (Pictures 9 and 10) I found a small cave and it was actually warm there. (Picture 11) Well, it wasn't warm there for long and soon we wanted to go back home. Bernd liked the "cool" weather, as he said, so my host went to the city with him to see some sights. We stayed at home reading and watching TV until they came home. It's getting colder here and I think I don't want to go out anymore...

Until later Mom. Yours, Michel <3

Posted Feb 14, 2011, 8:39 pm
Happy Valentine's Day Mom <3<3<3

Today it was Valentines Day or Friend's day (Ystävänpäivä) as they call it here in Finland. We had a special photo shooting by our host and it was fun. We also had chocolates and a big doghnut - all heart shaped of course :)

Btw, it was -22C here this morning so it was really nice to spend a day inside playing.

Oh, my host just told me that I'm going to travel somewhere tomorrow, but she said that the destination will be a secret until tomorrow. Now I'm really excited and I just hope there will be much warmer than here... Hmmm, where I am going? How can I go sleep without knowing where I'll be travelling? Is this fair? OK, maybe I can wait until tomorrow...

Hugs and kisses, Michel <3

Posted Feb 28, 2011, 9:59 pm
Hi Mom,

Here's my last update from Finland. I'm already travelling to the sunny California when you read this, but before I left I told my host what she should write here.

After our photo shooting of Valentine's Day my host finally told me where I'm going next - to California, USA :D Wow, I guess there's much warmer than here now. Oh, I'm so excited and ready to go - but I know I'll miss my new friends a lot...

Here's what we did in my last days in Helsinki. It was really cold outside (-24C or even -27C) so we mostly stayed inside. We read a lot (picture 1) and I lerned to like Moomin stories very much. We watched movies like Shrek 3 and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I really liked them both and the other movies too. You can't just watch Charlie and Chocolate Factory without any chocolate (picture 2) and we had some hot chocolate with chocolate biscuits ;)

Sometimes we played hide and seek. There were many great hiding places at Kirsi's place and I always found the best ones. Here you can see me going inside of Lauri the cat's tunnel (picture 3) and behind other teddy bears (picture 4). We also had nice talks with some other toys. Here's Little Hunger and Helppi with us. (picture 5) Helppi was really friendly and cheerful (picture 6) - he always made us smile.

I got to taste some typical Finnish sweets called salmiakki, salty liquorice. Bernd tasted them too, but Manu and Blinchick didn't. (picture 7) I tried to write my name with the salmiakki alphabet, but there were not all the letters. (picture 8) Sometimes I jus looked at all the wonderful postcards my host has - there are lots of empty cards ready to be sent and many boxes of received cards at her place. (picture 9)

I don't want you to think that I didn't eat anything else than chocolate, candies and cakes here Mom, but my host just didn't take any pictures of me eating. Well, for my last dinner here in Finland I had one of my favourites - meatloaf and mashed potatoes :) (picture 10)

Before we left to the post office I met all the teddybears. They wanted to say goodbye and wish me a safe trip. They were so sweet that I almost cried... (pictures 11 and 12) My closest friends Manu, Blinchick, Kerttu and Bernd came to the main post office with me and my host. It was time to take the last group photo of us. (picture 13) A big group hug (picture 14) and then I said bye to most of my dear friends. I wanted to speak some German before leaving so I talked a little bit about Hamburg with Bernd; oh my beautiful hometown...

I took off my trousers and at first I felt myself a bit naked (picture 15), but Kirsi told me that I wouldn't really need them in California. I jumped to an envelope and I was ready to go towards my new adventures :) Thank you Kirsi, thank you Finland, thank you my friends!!! I had fun with you :)

Bye for now Mom, see you later :) Kisses and hugs, Michel <3

California dreaming... Here I come :D

Posted Feb 28, 2011, 10:08 pm
Hi Mom,

I'm a bit worried now. I've been travelling for two weeks now and I don't have any idea where I am. All I can see is the envelope... Well, I think I'll have a nap again and maybe I'll wake up with my new host in California :)

I miss you Mom. Hugs and kisses, Michel <3

Posted Mar 2, 2011, 1:39 am
Hi Mom!  Just letting you know I arrived safe and sound in San Diego, California! 

Posted Mar 4, 2011, 9:25 pm
Hi! It's me, Michel! My host wanted to post my arrival pictures, so here we are...

When I arrived I was greeted by Henry the Adventure Hound, Aku, Mad Max and Dorothy.


I showed the other toys the postcard and told them all about my trip to Finland!


The other toys asked if they could have a piece of the chocolate I brought, in return they would share some candy.


I chose some Pop Rocks, which are watermelon flavored pebble like candies that pop and explode in your mouth!


After I got settled in, my host needed to work on some homework. So I decided to help quiz her on some flashcards!  Now to find a good one...


I picked one that describes me! "Cute!"


My host says she will take me to see one of her schools tomorrow...

Posted Mar 6, 2011, 8:22 pm
Today my host took me to one of the colleges she attends.  It is called Miramar college.


The school recently got funding to build more buildings, so there is lots of construction going on!  Despite this, the grounds are really beautiful.


This is a cozy area for students to study at or socialize!


There is a big dribbling fountain right in the middle.


What's in here?


Behind me is the science building, the round field in front of it has many different lights.  At night it looks like an airplane landing strip!



Around the ring of the field is a compass with degrees and directional markings.


This is the English building!



Humanities building.


I hear one day this will be the new library!


These are solar panels that shade the cars in the parking lot.  My host has no idea what the panels are powering though, maybe the school lights?


If you don't drive you can always ride your bike and park it here!


Whew, that was a lot of walking around!  I don't have long legs you know!  Lets all take a rest!


Posted Mar 15, 2011, 6:46 am
Good Morning!  Today we said "Hello!" and "Goodbye!" to a few toyvoyagers.
Henry the Adventure Hound and Mad Max were heading off to their next adventures!

Boo arrived in the mail today.


Boo brought along some nice coffee and tea!  How thoughtful!


After Boo arrived, we decided to take a trip to Mount Woodson in Poway.


Mount Woodson is a beautiful hiking area surrounding by lots of boulders... and lots of uphill so my  host found out!

We started our 10 mile hike early in the morning to try to avoid some sun.  As you can see there is still a lot of fog over the man made lake at the park.


As the sun came up, my host decided I should take off my sweater before I got too hot!

The area is nothing but random stray boulders everywhere!




Almost to the top!  Only 1.5 miles left!


Let's take a break!  Its tiring sitting in a backpack all day!


We reached the top of the summit, but the view was about the same.  I did get to pose for two more pictures though!

This is a picture of the lake again, now that the fog has cleared up, you can see so much more!


A bronze lion and her cub, and me of course!


Posted Mar 22, 2011, 6:13 am
Hi Hi!  My host had to study primates at the zoo for school, so she invited me along to see the animals!


Here I am with a primate!  Well, one that will stay still long enough to take a picture with!


After the primates we visited the "insect house".

Meet Mr. Hissing Cockaroach!


And his neighbor Mr. Rhino Beetle!


Next we visited several animals.









This is a helicopter by the polar bear exhibit.  But there were no polar bears in their tank!  :(


Eeep don't eat me!


My host wanted to see the elephants and we saw plenty, but no real ones!  All the real ones were in cages getting groomed.



This one wears underpants!


Guests can ride a tram that goes over the zoo.  You can get on it at the entrance and ride all the way up to the polar bears.


Posted Mar 31, 2011, 12:52 am
Hello! We greeted a new toyvoyager this week!  His name is Captain Caramel.


Captain traveled all the way from the UK to come visit us in California.  He also was thoughtful and brought our host a postcard with a recipe for bread!


I took a liking to the Captain right away, it is so nice to see another traveling bear!  I hope we can all become good friends!


Well not much to report this week, my host has been sick the last few days so we have not gone out, but will soon. 

Miss you!

Posted Apr 4, 2011, 10:03 am
Today my host took me to a "home improvement" store called Home Depot.


We looked at various plants and potting materials.



My host wanted to build a container garden for growing vegetables on her patio.  Which seeds should we get?


After picking out seeds, it was time to find out more information on planting!



We placed the seeds in a wet towel and covered the containers with plastic so that they will germinate!


Well, that's all we can do for now!

Posted Apr 11, 2011, 11:23 pm
Hello!  Today we went to Lake Miramar!




Some of the inhabitants of the lake -


However, not everyone is welcome at the lake!


What is this creature?  Oh nevermind, it is just a dirty abandoned baby sock!  :p


Fishing boats can be rented for a small fee.  Don't forget your fishing license!


My host wonders what this building is next door to the lake?  It is super secret!  Is it a water treatment plant?


Posted Apr 16, 2011, 9:52 pm
My host had taken some pictures of me doing some more gardening, but now they are missing!  *Sigh*

Well, nonetheless I have been put into my package and am being mailed off to my next destination! 

Hopefully the trip will be short  :p

I sent some souvenirs home mum, I hope you like them!  I picked them out just for you!

Posted Jul 26, 2011, 9:23 pm
Hi mum, I'm here! :) I was helped out of my envelope by two friendly TVs called Edelweiss and Buzz Bluejay. I showed them my postcard which they and my host liked very much, then they gave me a hug and showed me the shelf where the TVs sleep.

I hope to venture outdoors soon!

Posted Aug 1, 2011, 10:30 pm
Today we were surprised because our host got up at 6am for once! And said that we could go on a morning stroll :D We visited the horses and even saw a rabbit! It is nice that there are stables here so you see horses walking around the neighbourhood with their owners, but behind their fields is the motorway which you may be able to see on one of the pictures. The constant noise of cars and lorries ruins the atmosphere a bit. A white horsey came to say hello :)  We didn't get too near though in case he wanted to eat us! When we got back the room looked pretty because my host's glitter ball was reflecting the sun, so we took a picture of that too.

P.s. We noticed when looking at the pictures that I had acquired some fluff on my nose! Don't worry though mum, we have got it off now :)

Posted Aug 1, 2011, 10:37 pm
Today we were surprised because our host got up at 6am for once! And said that we could go on a morning stroll :D We visited the horses and even saw a rabbit! It is nice that there are stables here so you see horses walking around the neighbourhood with their owners, but behind their fields is the motorway which you may be able to see on one of the pictures. The constant noise of cars and lorries ruins the atmosphere a bit. A white horsey came to say hello :)  We didn't get too near though in case he wanted to eat us! When we got back the room looked pretty because my host's glitter ball was reflecting the sun, so we took a picture of that too.

P.s. We noticed when looking at the pictures that I had acquired some fluff on my nose! Don't worry though mum, we have got it off now :)

Posted Aug 6, 2011, 9:32 pm
Hello mum! Guess what I saw today?! Warrington town hall! :D Buzz and Edelweiss had already been but since it is part of one of my life missions they were happy to come along :) It had a nice golden gate in front, and a UK flag on top.

On the last picture we are back at our shelf, where there was a Guatemalan worry people invasion! :O They were very friendly though and said they had come to take away TV worries during the night :)

EDIT: I don't know why the first picture isn't showing mum :( I have added it again at the end just in case it never reappears!

Posted Aug 11, 2011, 9:26 pm
We're back :D (on sunday night we travelled down to stay with my host's friends in Gloucester). I am going to split these updates into sections. This section shows us on monday morning, learning how to quill; a skill which our host's friend taught us :)

I cut some strips of coloured paper and chose the yellow B) Then I used a cuticle stick which had a slit cut into the top to keep the paper strip on, and twisted the paper into a spiral (We forgot to take a picture of me with the stick so I have included one of Edelweiss demonstrating, although you can see my leg ;) ). I put the spiral down, then glued the end of the paper so that I could pinch the sides of the circle to make a leaf shape. Finally we glued all of these onto the card and stuck pipe cleaners on to make the trunk of the tree. At the end of our stay we gave the card to our host's friends as a thankyou for looking after us :)

Posted Aug 14, 2011, 5:05 pm
On monday afternoon we went for a stroll to the local park. We had to go through a church graveyard to get to it, which was nice and calm. Then we entered the park and for some reason it looked a bit like Autumn, with the leaves falling already! :stare: Some of the trees must be confused. There was a building hidden behind the trees which looked pretty. Then we found a mini nature reserve to investigate. There didn't seem to be much wildlife about... maybe they could sense the rain coming!

Posted Aug 18, 2011, 12:41 am
The third of our mini break updates:

This morning we visited the town centre of Cheltenham. Look how high I got on the statue mum! :D A little further along Pengy and I were posing on the wall for our picture, then noticed that behind us was a a cute group of fluffy ducklings! We zoomed in the camera to get a closer look :)

We went to a park for our lunch, then did some climbing and sunbathing  B) The sun was so bright that the climbing picture isn't clear as we were a bit washed out by the light! :/ The fountain looked cooling, but we didn't really want to jump in as it was rather green.

On our way back along the high street to the buses we saw a nice building that was the bank, then a horse statue where a girl was pretending to feed it :) I will update again soon to show where we got the bus to next.

Posted Aug 21, 2011, 11:22 pm
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM!!!! :D A little bird (not Buzz ;)) told me that you were having a party - I hope you had a great time!

Pengy,  Buzz and Edelweiss helped me make the banner below so they wanted a photo with them in too :) And I have included some pics we took of me and the postcard we sent. Do you recognise the bear on the card?! B) I think the head is a slightly different shape to mine but ah well.


Posted Aug 26, 2011, 10:30 pm
The final instalment of our mini break...

In my last update we were just about to get the bus from Cheltenham to Gloucester city centre. Here I am on the bus :) When we arrived we were glad we'd made the journey. The cathedral is so beautiful and calming. We were even allowed to take some pictures inside and it wasn't really dark like some cathedrals. We were messing about around the walls when a man went past saying 'what a good idea to take your teddies with you on a day out!' He didn't stop long enough for us to explain that we weren't any old teddies - we were teddies travelling the world! :p Ah well.

We managed to get some pictures in the centre grassed bit of the cathedral, just before the camera's battery died and signalled it was time to travel back to our host's home! We had lots of fun mum :)

Added trivia found online (My host likes visiting places where bits of the Harry Potter movies were filmed ;) )

Gloucester Cathedral - Gloucester (Hogwarts School, Corridors)
The cathedrals magnificent cloisters were used as the the corridors of Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone' and 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' and were the setting for ghost scenes. The talking pictures in the Sorcerer' stone, and the overflowing bathrooms in the Chamber of Secrets were also filmed here.

Posted Aug 28, 2011, 5:32 am
On our walk back from the library where my host had been studying, we went along a bridge. There wasn't much else to see on the walk apart from the Free-range chicken farm near to my host's house. I don't think we were meant to be on the land so we zoomed in a bit.

The next photo is us inspecting the exciting looking sequin glitter glue I was using to make mum's birthday banner - the others helped too though! ;)

Posted Sep 10, 2011, 6:48 pm
My host travelled to Durham for a meeting about her education, so us toys went along too. We had fun taking pictures from the back of the car :D I managed to get a photo of some windmills mum, before they flashed past! I don't know if you can spot them as they look small on the picture, but I liked them very much :) We're not sure what the landscape was that we passed, on the map it looks like we skimmed the top of the Yorkshire Dales.

We had a break to stretch our legs and met some sheep B) They wanted to talk to us I think but our host was wary about our safety.

When we reached our destination we didn't have much time to investigate as the journey is a long way to go there and back in a day. But we just about had time to walk along the river a bit and saw the cathedral in the distance. Since Edelweiss had seen it before she described to the rest of us what it looked like close up  We had parked in my host's college grounds which is on a hill next to the river Wear, so we had a quick look around there too.

(Sorry the pictures are a bit out of order towards the end!)

Posted Sep 16, 2011, 8:52 pm
Hi Mum!

Today my host took us to a nearby city called Liverpool. We visited her favourite shop which is known as 'Quiggins'; it is full of gothic/retro/vintage/alternative clothing and objects. Sorry the indoor pictures are blurry; it is rather dimly lit and we suspected a flash may not be allowed!

The next pictures are of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, just up the hill from Quiggins. We waited for a group of tourists to move so we could get a group shot undisturbed :) From the other side of the cathedral we zoomed and could just about view the top the Liver Building, which has two liver bird statues on top. This building is situated next to the Docks and River Mersey. We will hopefully go to see that side of Liverpool another day.

P.s. I got fluff on my nose again! :p I'm not quite sure why, whether it is due to the material of the bag we travel in... We are gonna try to stick to a plastic type bag from now on and see if that solves the problem.

Posted Sep 24, 2011, 11:24 pm
Today we went back to Liverpool!  But when we got there we realised there was someone missing... :o Edelweiss! There was a moth whizzing around the other day and since Edel is made of wool she had crawled into her plastic bag with the cedar wood for safety. When my host scooped us all off the shelf in a rush this morning, Edel was still in her bag on the other shelf! :( So sad. But when we got back she said she'd had a nice rest, and was happy to see our photos :) 

It was a day of typical English whether; dull sky and the constant threat of rain. We made our way past St George's Hall (the one with all the collumns) and through St John's gardens. These are part of the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City UNESCO world heritage site (gosh what a mouth full!), along with Pier Head and Albert Dock which we are making our way towards.

We reached Pier Head where the Royal Liver Building is. This is the main landmark in Liverpool and according to legend if the birds on top fly away, the city will no longer exist :stare: This is the building that I saw in the distance the other day when we visited the cathedral.

We wandered along a bit more to reach Albert Dock, where The Beatles music band museum is. THEN... we saw the Yellow Duck Marine! :D It is a site-seeing bus/boat created due to The Beatles 'Yellow submarine' song. It tours the main sights on land, then splashes into the river and turns into a boat. We heard the driver saying in a strong scouse accent 'The louder you scream, the bigger the splash!' LOL. Buzz, Michel, Pengy and I started singing 'we all live in a yellow submarine... a yellow submarine... a yellow submarine...' Because we're cool B) We got so carried away singing we didn't get the big splash on camera, but I managed to snap a photo of it sailing away just before it disappeared from site.

We also spotted some Superlambanana decendants :p The original one was much bigger and bright yellow, as you would imagine a bannana would be ;) It was created for Liverpool due to its history of bananas and lambs being common cargo at the docks, and also to make a point about the dangers of genetic engineering. In 2008 125 small replicas were made, with lots of different designs and scattered throughout the city. The superlambananas you can see me with are part of a collection of 8 new ones which arrived in 2010.

Posted Sep 30, 2011, 7:04 pm
Hello Mum! Today I jetted off to the USA! But before I went I organised these pictures that I wanted to show you.

The first are of BineHH's arrival, a relative of mine :D She jumped up to give me a hug which took me by surprise a bit and the other TVs laughed. But we are good friends :) She had brought with her a wonderful card from her previous host, with cool drawings on!

The next are of Pinky Bear's arrival. On this day two other toys joined us, having just come from the charity shop. They are going to become toy voyagers soon! They don't have names yet, but I got on really well with the monkey. She is similar to my size, so we felt on the same 'level' ;)

Finally, it was time for me to jump into my envelope. It was sad to leave, and particularly sad to say goodbye to BineHH, but I am comfy and looking forward to my next adventure!

See you when I get there Mum :)
Love Michel

P.s. Oh, when I left another bear appeared on the scene, who had been sitting in the hall for months because someone in this house didn't want him :( My host rescued him and said he could take my place as 'Guardian bear of the TV visitors'  :p


Posted Oct 20, 2011, 5:05 am

Today I arrived in Santa Paula California. I am excited to start a new adventure here and see what this place has. I just wanted to let you know that we are currently having internet problems at my hosts house so a friend let us use her computer today to let you know I have made it safely.

We walked around town today looking at statues and murals, but I will have to upload those pictures tomorrow and I am limited on time here on this computer.

I do have time to upload one picture of me and my host walking to where I will be staying from the post office where she picked me up today. She seems like a really nice girl and says she loves bears, so I know I will be treated right here. She says there are many bears at  home for me to meet along with 2 other TVs that are currently staying with her at this time.

Til tomorrow.

♥ Michel

Posted Dec 16, 2011, 6:44 pm
Today we started working on the christmas lights. My host used her phone to take pictures so I was able to upload some pictures and make an update. I am doing great and was told next week will be going to the oil museum.

First we had to get all the christmas lights out of the storage shed. After we did that we had to plug them in and make sure they all still lit up.

We got few new lights this year. We put up few and will finish the rest tomorrow. Then I will get a chance to get a picture at night with them all lit.

Til later,

Posted Dec 16, 2011, 7:08 pm
Today was a fun day. We went to the pumpkin patch to pick out some nice pumpkins. We saw many different kinds of pumpkins, corn, and gourd. We also saw a few animals there. It was quite windy so we didn't stay too long.

We got a picture with the scare crow. He seemed nice. We wanted a tractor ride but there was no rides today.

The goats were friendly and let me get a picture with them. I guess they were too busy eating to notice a picture was being taken.

I also saw three big pumpkins that were already carved. I think they were monsters. They were to advertise the pumpkin carving classes. I think that would be fun, but really messy.

We left without a pumpkin. Didn't find one we liked. We will try a different place later.

Hope you are well.


Posted Dec 27, 2011, 2:52 am
Here is a quick picture of me and what the Christmas lights look like at night. We are heading out to do some Christmas shopping. It is a bit cold out , but its not too bad.

Posted Dec 31, 2011, 3:59 am
Today i made a few new friends. I will only have a few more days to get to know them because i will be on my way to Germany at the start of the new year. I told them about the how i came to visit here and they think it is a wonderful idea. They would to travel and see the world as well.

Posted Dec 31, 2011, 6:45 am

I hope you are well. Today we decided to go for a drive. We took the 126 freeway East to Interstate 5 North. We didn't really have a place that we were going to. Ut was just to have a nice drive and enjoy the scenery. We saw many pastures and a few animals. It was a bit cold and foggy in some areas as we kept going north. Good thing we were able to keep warm in the car.

Having a good time,

Posted Jan 4, 2012, 9:05 am
I am very excited. Today we went to Disneyland. It was hard to get many pictures because many rides did not allow flash photography, so quite few of the pictures that were taken are a bit dark.

We just got home. It is late and we are all very tired but i just wanted to make sure to upload at least one picture of Lester and I outside the small world ride. The rest will have to wait until after a good nights rest.

Posted Jan 6, 2012, 6:23 am

Here are the pictures from yesterday at Disneyland.

First we went to Disney California Adventure. There was a lot of people so we didn't really get to ride many of the rides because the lines were so long.
The first ride we got on was California Scramin'. It is a high speed roller coaster. I was very excited to ride it. but I had to stay in a safe place so that I wouldn't fall out. That ride was very fast and had a few drops and a loop.
After that ride, we walked around Paradise Pier. They had many game booths and stores. We wanted to ride Mickey's Fun Wheel, but the line was too long. The wait was over an hour.
After a bit more walking we were feeling a bit hungry and decided to eat at Boudin Bakery where we got Creamy Broccoli and Cheddar in a bread bowl. It was quite delicious. We sat and watched the ducks in bathe in the water as we ate. They were cute
Once we were nice and full we went to "A Bug's Life" to get a few pictures with the statues there. Everything was over sized there which made it very fun.
We rode the Monsters Inc. ride, but it was too dark to get any good pictures.

At the Disneyland park there was way more people and even more longer lines. We walked around and took a few pictures.
We rode the Buzz lightyear ride. It was fun and entertaining.
The last ride we rode was the Small World ride. That ride was very pretty and it was fun to look at everything there. I really enjoyed it.

Posted Apr 20, 2012, 1:40 am
Dear Mum

I'm sure you were worried about me and it was actually a horrible trip. For some reasons my envelope was returned to California and I had to start my journey again and then it took ages to reach Germany. However, I'm fine and safe in Heidelberg now. There are some nice other TV's here and photos will follow soon but my new host is busy with her work and studies at the moment. However, I wanted to let you know that I've arrived at least.

Lots of love,


Posted Apr 25, 2012, 5:17 pm
Dear Mum

I'm doing fine here and will soon show you my surroundings. Look how many other TV's there are:



I brought quite a few gifts for nuriayasmin with me from California and she was very delighted.


The weather isn't very nice but it looks very green when I look from the balcony and hopefully we'll get some sunshine soon.



I've met Sammy, nuriayasmin's cat. He's very nice and currently losing his fur everywhere, so I think I have to take care I don't look as black and white as him soon.



Posted Apr 26, 2012, 10:26 pm
Dear Mum

We went to Mannheim and took some photos of the water tower and the Friedrichsplatz with its fountains and flowers. A very beautiful place.






Posted May 1, 2012, 4:23 pm
Dear Mum

I spent two days at the UNESCO world heritage site of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. The weather was great and the landscape fantastic.

On the train to St. Goar.

St. Goarshausen


The Loreley statue in St. Goarshausen

View from the Loreley


Climbing up to the youth hostel at Stahleck Castle in Bacharach.


Posted May 1, 2012, 4:26 pm
Dear Mum

Today I visted the beautiful town of Bacharach and then took a boat to Rüdesheim were I rode the chair lift to the top of the mountain.







Posted May 9, 2012, 10:51 pm
Dear Mum

Today we said good-bye to three TV's.

HolgiHH is travelling to the USA.


Králi will stay in Germany and travel further north.


Sheela is travelling to the United Kingdom.



Posted May 18, 2012, 8:43 pm
Dear Mum

Today I strolled along the river Neckar. Nuriayasmin showed me some quiet places a bit outside the city where she likes to sit down and study.




I also saw the Botanical Garden which has a lot of nice plants and flowers from all around the world.








And here I'm looking down the Neckar from one of the bridges. Shortly after this photo was taken, it started to rain and we headed home.


Keep fine,

Posted May 26, 2012, 10:42 pm
Dear Mum

We're on a holiday in Denmark and only arrived today. We're staying at a very nice holiday apartment at the Baltic Sea coast. It's very spacious and the look to the sea is great.





Posted May 28, 2012, 9:37 pm
Dear Mum

This afternoon we went to the beach, enjoyed the sunshine and played in the sand. It was wonderful.








Posted May 31, 2012, 8:05 pm
Dear Mum

Today I visited Aaro Island. It's very small but has a beautiful nature reserve.






Posted Jun 5, 2012, 9:59 pm
Dear Mum

When we returned from Denmark, nuriayasmin told me that you found a new host for me so it's once again time to say good-bye.  I'm going to the Czech Republic, that sounds great. Coco Presley wished me a safe journey and helped me with my envelope.





Will write to you as soon as I've arrived. Bye.


Posted Jun 16, 2012, 7:36 pm
Dear mum,
I arrived safe to the Czech Republic, but mailianne was too busy, so she didn't take photos of my arrival.
Today we finally were on the first trip. It was a trip to Olomouc and this is a short photoreport:
1) Astronomical Clock  -  It looks very different than the astronomical clock in Prague, because it was reconstructed in the style of socialist-realism in the first years of communist rule in Czechoslovakia (1948-early 1950s). The religious and royal figures were replaced with athletes, workers, farmers, scientists and other members of the proletariat.
2) Holy Trinity Column (UNESCO site since 2000) - really imposing  Baroque column
3) a turtle statue in a fountain ...
4) ... really big turtle :D (don't worry, I didn't get wet)
5) with the fountain and the column again
6) Caesar Fountain - Caesar Fountain is a copy of the J.J.Schauberger sculpture of Constantine the Great

Posted Jun 16, 2012, 7:57 pm
A quick stop in Laskov.  It is an unimportant village, but mailianne said that she must take photos of me and these wooden bears.

Posted Jun 19, 2012, 8:15 pm
The weather was very warm today, so we decided to go swimming and borrow a pedalboat.

1) on the pedalboat
2) pedalboat rental
3) a view with the Red Chapel in the Pastviny village
4) a view from the bridge

Posted Jun 30, 2012, 2:27 pm
Hi mum,
I am fine! Today mailianne showed me the Pardubice chateau.  But she had low battery in her camera so we took just these two photos. :(

Posted Jul 3, 2012, 11:59 pm
Today is Halloween and we decided to come get a few pictures with the tombstones and headstones. We wanted to come at night but this cemetery closes once it gets dark.  We had a good time looking at the stones. Some were really old and were a bit hard to read. We enjoyed being here. It was quiet and peaceful. We even stopped by to see my hosts grandmothers headstone. As I was walking along I fell into a hole. It was a bit scary, but my host helped my out. I'm glad we didn't see any ghosts while we were here.

Posted Jul 4, 2012, 4:29 am
Today is Christmas. It is a bit cold out, but I'm told its not as cold as other years. We had Posole and Spaghetti for dinner. It was hot and very tasty. I helped boil milk for some hot chocolate. It was also hot and tasty. All the gifts this year were just for the kids. It was a nice family time. I enjoyed watching them open their gifts and seeing the joy in their faces.

Happy Holidays!

Posted Jul 5, 2012, 9:05 pm
Today we were in Pastviny again. This time I saw the dam, the artificial lake and a lot of fishes

Posted Jul 5, 2012, 9:56 pm
When we were coming back home we did a quick stop in Letohrad. Mailianne likes the Golem statues guarding the entrance to the press company called Golempress, so she took a few photos of them with me.

Posted Jul 6, 2012, 7:31 am
Novy Dvur is mailianne's favorite restaurant, but she has not been here for ages to have dinner. It also includes a museum of crafts.  We did just a quick stop here so we didn't eat anything and didn't see the museum. :(

Posted Jul 14, 2012, 5:58 pm
Mailianne's TV Rishu arrived today. He will be my companion for following couple of days. 
(I am curiously looking at Rishu's postcard.)

Posted Jul 29, 2012, 5:52 pm
Hi mom,
today our vacation started. First we went to Prague by train and then we used special bus to get to airport.
In the pictures you can see the Art Nouveau Fanta's Café in the Prague Main Train Station. You may know it from the music video of a Belgian group called Lasgo ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJvLDOV7SQM ).

Posted Jul 29, 2012, 6:13 pm
... in the airport I watched aircrafts (the one in the picture is not ours, but looks very similar) and I found a new friend...

Posted Jul 29, 2012, 11:16 pm
.... arrival to Naples and sailing on a ferry boat...

Posted Jul 31, 2012, 12:50 pm
First day in Ischia we visited a botanical garden called La Mortella (it means Myrtle)

1) and 2) view to San Francesco beach from a street above
3) typical Ischian vehicle (it has only 3 wheels)
4) - 6) in the botanical garden
7) I hope I will win the Golden Bear for Best Plant with this photo :D
8) resting in a garden restaurant (Rishu was very tired)
9) The words in the circle around the fountain say: "This green arbour is dedicated to Susana, who loved tenderly, worked with passion and believed in immortality." (Susana Walton was the founder of the garden.)

Posted Aug 1, 2012, 9:44 am
Quick stop in Cassamicciola
While the pople were tasting some liqueurs, I was posing with figures and tried to start the three-wheeler.
It was a really bad rainy day, so we didn't take more photos. :(

Posted Aug 5, 2012, 7:31 pm
Day four and the first big trip out of Ichia

We spent 1,5 h on a ferry and then we saw the archeological area in Pompei and Vesuvius
First two photos are from the ferryboat (the thing that looks like dung is a rope :D ), the rest from Pompei.
The weather in Pompei was very hot, so I didn't want to pose for many photos there. I wished I didn't have the sweater. :)

Posted Aug 5, 2012, 8:11 pm
... and these photos are from Vesuvius

(btw. you can see a bit of steam in the first photo and Rishu said he feels like home there.  He thinks there surely must be other dragons in Vesuvius. :D )

Posted Aug 7, 2012, 8:34 am
Quick stop in Laco Ameno to see Il Fungo. Il Fungo (The Mushroom) is a 10-metre volcanic rock formation spat out by Monte Epomeo thousands of years ago.

Posted Aug 8, 2012, 3:13 pm
What an amazing trip today! We visited a small beautifull island called Capri. In the first picture you can see the interior of the San Michele Church (another church with my name! :D ) especially the cool majolica floor depicting the expulsion from Paradise.
Other pictures are views from the Villla San Michele (me again! :D) more precisely from its garden. The villa belonged to Dr. Axel Munthe and now it belongs to the Kingdom of Sweden and it's a museum. There is an Egyptian sphinx in the garden and it is said that pat on her ass by right hand will bring you good luck.

Posted Aug 8, 2012, 6:12 pm
Last day of this vacation we visited the Aragonese Castle in Ischia Ponte.

1) the iron constructions were there because of planned event (the Festival of Saint Anna), but unfortunately we missed it because it was delayed to Saturday evening

2 - 3) views from the castle to Ischia Ponte

Posted Dec 24, 2012, 9:26 am
Hi Mum,

today I arrived at Bruchsal. My host welcomed me as a very special guest for Christmas. She is so happy to have me with her for the holidays. And I met many other toyvoyagers already. We had some fun exchanging our stories. I will post some photos of it soon.

Bye, Michel

Posted Jan 30, 2013, 7:36 am
It is Sunday, the fourth of advent. So nobody did think, that the doorbell would ring and the postman would come and bring a package. But suddenly we heard a bell ringing and we were shaken back and forth. Of course we were very excited, especially because it was the day before Holy Eve. So we all sat in our package and waited. In the meantime this happened outside the package:


What a big surprise for us! There were so many new toyvoyagers outside the package: Kari, Robby, Fiona, Hömpfmömpf, Madam Miff, Chalon, Kara and Mysterio. So the house got crowded:)




They told us to walk out of the package, so we could introduce each other and exchange adventures. We had a nice chat.




Posted Jan 30, 2013, 8:03 am
Our hosts received a present: An Anastatica. Anastatica is found in arid areas in the Middle East and Sahara Desert, including parts of North Africa and regions of Iran, Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Iraq, Jordan, and Pakistan .

After the rainy season, the plant dries up, dropping leaves and curling branches into a tight ball, and "hibernates". Within the ball, the fruits remain attached and closed, protecting the seeds and preventing them from being dispersed prematurely. The seeds are very hardy and can remain dormant for years. Wetted again in a later rainy season, the ball uncurls and the plant wakes up from its dormant state, which causes the capsular fruits open (dehisce) to disperse the seeds.


Then we finished some other cookies called Staenglein. They are very yummy.


On Holy Eve we had the family's traditional dinner: chicken fricassee in pasty with lamb's lettuce.


Later we sat around the plate with cookies and sang Christmas carols under the Christmas tree.
sorry, it was so dark, so the photos aren't that good and somehow the flashlight didn't work.




Posted Feb 17, 2013, 3:16 pm
It's the last day of the year and it's not raining. So we decided to go out on a sightseeing tour in Bruchsal.

At first we walked through the so called Bürgerpark, citizens' park. It was created in end of 1980something. There are two memorials of National Socialism victims and a third memorial as sign for understanding between different people of the world.


Here you see the medieval tower and a part of the community centre. The tower was built in 1358 and is the oldest building of Bruchsal. It belonged to the old castle.


Bruchsal has about 42 000 inhabitants, if you also count those in the five suburbs, which are Heidelsheim, Helmsheim, Untergrombach, Obergrombach and Büchenau. It was first mentioned in 796 A.D., but there had been an older settlement. 80 % of Bruchsal had been destroyed during World War II. on 1rst of March 1945. So you hardly find really old places.

Schloss Bruchsal is one of the most beautiful Baroque palaces in Germany and the only episcopal Baroque residence on the Upper Rhine. The foundation stone was laid in 1722 by Cardinal Damian Hugo von Schönborn, Prince Bishop of Speyer, who made the palace the centre of his absolutist dominion.
After being almost completely destroyed in the final days of World War II, the main tract was painstakingly reconstructed according to the original design and work was completed in 1975, including the magnificent dome, Marble Hall and Prince's Hall. The staircase designed by Balthasar Neumann is considered to be an architectural tour-de-force and has been described as the "finest staircase in the world".

We're now standing in front of one of the three entrances to the palace church called St. Damian and Hugo. From here you can see the county court, the Damian Gate and the tower of the jailhouse. The building on the left side,m which of course is the right part of the building,  houses the chamber music hall.


Inside the church you can see these plates, which show the palace during the years. In the top photo you can see, how it looked like after World War II. In the last photo we were standing just in the corner, which you see in the middle of this top photo, between main building and church.


The church wasn't rebuilt in baroque style. It is really modern. Somehow that's sad, but the costs were just too high. Here we are at the backside of the church. You see, that the tower isn't directly next to the church.


This is the backside of the palace. In summer there are weeks, when they play open air theatre and in winter there is a second Christmas market since a few years.


Next to the main way through the palace garden you find a lot of statues. At one crossing you see in each corner one statue of the four elements: fire, water, earth and air. Here you see the statue earth.


The statues in the next crossing's corners show the four seasons: winter, spring, summer, autumn. Here you see winter.



At one small gate you come to this street with really old houses.


Here you see the mainbuilding of the palace.


Just turning around on our heels we saw the county court building and the Amalie fountain.



The Amalienbrunnen is called Schnecklesbrunnen ( in Bruchsal dialect), which means snail fountain.


This is the gate called Damianstor. It is the entrance to the palace area. In the Damian Gate you can visit art exhibitions.


We walked to the Stadtgarten, another park. This fountain is called Ferdinand Keller Brunnen. Behind the fountain you can see a part of a grammer school called Schönborn-Gymnasium.


The Belvedere on the edge of the "Stadtgarten" was built by Leonhard Stahl in 1756 as a hunting lodge for Prince Bishop Franz Christoph von Hutten. The location was chosen so that the lodge would command an unspoiled view of the palace, town and Rhine rift valley beyond.

Especially worthy of note are the two towers, each of which has a viewing platform topped with a Chinese-style baldachin – an example of the fashion for chinoiserie prevalent at that time. Today, the Belvedere is used as a venue for concerts and theatre productions.


At top of the Andreasstaffel, high stairs, you have a great view over Bruchsal. The houses below belong to the oldest part of Bruchsal. You also can see the tower of the ancient castle and of two churches (from left). The houses, which are in one line right in front of us, belong to the Huttenstraße.




Here you see the baroque church St. Peter in the far. If you take a look right to the edge to the wood, you can see a big house. This house is called Sancta Maria. It is a school for social education and it is still home for Franciscan nuns.


The buildings right in front of us and the white building in the far on the left side are all part of the old people's home. The big grey building behind the white is another grammer school called St. Paulusheim.


We also walked a bit down the Andreasstaffel and had a few to the top from there. You see that small house. It is called Wingerthäusle. Maybe you can read about it in the next photo, it might be a bit small.



We saw a beautiful house next to the Stadtgarten. If you plan to stay in Bruchsal for a holiday, you can rent this house for a while. It belongs to a hotel and restaurant.


Finally we walked back home again. We came to the baroque church St. Peter, which is only a few hundred feet from our host's place. THe church is still baroque inside. It is located at the edge to the graveyard.[img]null[/img]



Posted Feb 17, 2013, 4:30 pm
We have our Silvester Dinner now. It's fondue with minced meat and different sauces and some other little food like cornichons and more. It way yummy.


Posted Feb 17, 2013, 6:02 pm
Finally it is time to welcome the New Year 2013. We watched the fireworks and our host's children made a special firework with sparklers for us. Then we went to bed, really tired.



Posted Feb 17, 2013, 6:25 pm
On January 6th is Epiphany. Children go out as the three kings and collect money for church and special needs. Many people offer them sweets. That's why they also carry bags with them to put the sweets, chocolate and other things like apricots and appels in it. Here you see some of the sweets the sons and daughter of our host brought home on 5th January. (This year they went on 4th and 5th). Maybe they will share them with us, who knows.


Posted Feb 17, 2013, 7:26 pm
Finally we have some snow, so we decided to go on a walk around the Kreuzbergsee in Tiefenbach. The lake was contured as recreational area in 1974 and it's magnitude is about 200.000 m². It is about 340 m long and 70 m broad.




Posted Mar 29, 2013, 4:12 pm
The weather was so grey, that we had not really a chance to go out and see other places. It had snowed during the night - everything is white now. At least it isn't so dark outside now.


Posted Mar 29, 2013, 4:33 pm
Today I joined my host on a trip to Blaustein. Her son studies at the university of Ulm and she visited him over the weekend. He has a nice view out of the window and today we had been really lucky, because the sun was shining.



Posted Mar 29, 2013, 5:10 pm
Blaustein is a municipality in the district of Alb-Donau Baden-Württemberg in Germany. It is situated on the Blau River, 6 km west of Ulm and has about 15,000 inhabitants.

It was created in 1968 after the union of Ehrenstein and Klingenstein and some more municipalities joined.

It is home to one or more prehistoric pile-dwelling (or stilt house) settlements that are part of the Prehistoric Pile dwellings around the Alps UNESCO World Heritage Site.

View to Löwenfelsen in Ehrenstein


The river Blau really shimmers blue sometimes. The name comes from the celtic name Blava. The blue colour comes from light scattering due to the high chalky spring water. River Blau is a left tributary to the Danube.


It was so so cold, that we hurried home again after these two photos.

Posted Mar 29, 2013, 5:47 pm
The next day we joined our host's son and her on the way to the university and after we said goodbye to him, we walked back home. The way was rather steep and I had a lot of fun on the icy way. But you can see, that the sky was grey again.




Back in Blaustein we walked through the Szeklertor, which is a present of the partner city Cernat in Romania. The Székelys derive their name from a Hungarian expression meaning "frontier guards" and were regarded as the finest warriors of medieval Transylvania, but it isn't completely proven.



Posted Jun 2, 2013, 9:26 am
Today I watched tv, because it was a special day. We followed the flight of former Pope Benedict XVI. out of the Vatican.


Posted Jun 2, 2013, 2:37 pm
Wow! We have another sunny day! I really had no chance to see the flowers in the garden behind the house until now, because the weather was that bad. I can't remember, that we had springweather like this before. All flowers are blooming at the same time and the trees got leaves within minutes it seems.


Posted Jun 2, 2013, 8:09 pm
We are on the way to Bad Wildbad, where our host's husband has an appointment. As the weather was so terrible again during the last weeks, we took the chance to take some photos today.



Posted Jun 2, 2013, 9:06 pm
Today I'm on a sightseeing trip by car - the weather had been terrible during the last days, but today it is a little bit better.

Here you see one of Bruchsal's oldest streets: Württemberger-Straße.
although these houses, which you see here, aren't the oldest in this street.


Posted Jun 3, 2013, 4:35 pm
Then we drove to Heidelsheim, which is one of Bruchsal's surburbs. Heidelsheim belongs to Bruchsal since 1974. The river Saalbach also flows through Heidelsheim. The small city was first named in 770 A.D.


Posted Jun 3, 2013, 4:59 pm
We drove to Blaustein on the Autobahn. My hosts' one son lives in this town, which is close to Ulm. Here you see some impressions during our drive, which took about 2 hours one way. You still see thick clouds in the sky.




Posted Jun 3, 2013, 5:19 pm
It seems, that sightseeing means to look out of windows or driving cars. The weather was too cold and we only had a little time in Blaustein before we had to drive back to Bruchsal again, so here you can see just a view over the roofs.




Posted Jun 14, 2013, 12:52 am
Hi Mom!

Today I arrived at a new destination: I am with sannah in the United States!  :D

My temporary home now is Rochester, Minnesota. This is one of the most popular buildings downtown, the Plummer Building.


But in the summer, downtown is always crowded on Thursdays because of a market, so sannah did not feel safe taking photos with me downtown, we will come back later.

Since the weather today was georgeous (first time with blue sky for weeks! sannah said), we went by bike. There are a lot of bike trails in town allowing us to travel safe without heavy traffic except for serious high speed bikers, people jogging or (the most dangerous kind!) carrying fishermen's gear.

One main bike trail along the Cascade Creek connects sannahs place with downtown.

This is Kutzky Park. The houses on the right are typical for this neighborhood, built around the 1930ers, but still in good shape if they have been taken care of.


And here we are at Cascade Lake Park. The path is rambling between the creek and (artificial) lakes. In this area has once been an active quarry.


In the distance, you can see the skyscrapers of downtown Rochester:


I must admit that it is hard to see, but in the middle of today's last picture, you can see a building complex rising above the horizon: Assisi Heights is a modern monastery.


sannah said that I have just arrived in time for joining her, sannah-man and their other guest Nils on their weekend trip starting tomorrow after lunch!

I am already excited. But I need a little rest first, maybe chatting with Nils - we have met before, do you remember?

All the best,

Posted Jun 19, 2013, 3:09 am
Hi Mom!

sannah has taken me on a trip for the weekend: We went further north and stayed in Silver Bay, a tiny town on the north shore, the shore of Lake Superior. Actually, this lake looks much more like an ocean to me ... On a hill over the mountain, you can overlook the scenery. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't that good on Saturday ...


The town is a very young one and was established for housing the workers (and their families) of the local iron mining company about 60 years ago. This site is shown on the following picture.


But in order to satisfy the needs of the tourists entering the north shore (very often bringing a boat), Silver Bay also has a little marina.


And since it is my task to take photos of town halls, this is the tiny city hall of this tiny town!


Of course, this was only the first part of our trip!

All the best,

Posted Jun 20, 2013, 2:11 am
Hi there!

As I promised, our trip has just started in Silver Bay. We later on went to Palisade Head, a large cliff rising about 40-50 meters high above Lake Superior. But luckily, we didn’t have to climb – there is a single lane road winding to a small parking lot on top of it.

The access is free of charge and the view – well, have a look yourself!


sannah has been told that the hike to the edge of Shovel Point is a nice one. Not too difficult, but not too easy, either! But we had to buy an entrance ticket to the Tettegouche State Park in order to walk there – and so we did. And again, the view was awesome, but the weather could have been nicer. A blue sky makes better pictures!


On some photos, you could see Palisade Head in the background - it's the cliff with the antenna.
At the pike of Shovel Point we noticed that there are caves in the cliffs!


A little more from the north shore is about to follow!

All the best,

Posted Jun 22, 2013, 12:23 am
Hi there!

Sunday = sunny day! We packed our things and said goodbye to our room, started the car – and stopped again just a few miles south at Split Rock Lighthouse. It is one of the most photographed views of the entire state, an icon – if you want to say so.

We had a short guided tour which focused on the history of the building. The decision to build it was made after the year 1905 when a stormy season on Lake Superior caused too many ships to crash along the north shore. Split Rock Lighthouse finally was dedicated in 1910 and operated until 1969.

The tour provided lots of information in only 20 minutes, but afterwards we were free to explore more on our own. At first, we took the spiral stairs up to the top of the lighthouse and saw the beacon. On our way down, we had a look outside through one of the small windows.


And then we finally took the 170(!) stairs down to the shore in order to take some panoramic views with the lighthouse. About 100 years ago, a tramway was installed where the stairs are now. It transported the building parts which had to be delivered by boat because there has not yet been a highway from Duluth to the construction site on top of the cliff.


We really enjoyed the site and the weather was perfect, but we had to go …


On our way back home, we also stopped at Gooseberry Falls. I guess they are most impressive in spring when the snow melt increases the volume. Surely nobody would be that close to the river then!


All the best,

Posted Jun 29, 2013, 11:35 pm
Hi there!

Though the weather wasn't really nice today, it was good enough to go out and take some pictures of downtown Rochester!

Rochester is home of the world famous Mayo Clinic. If you are really ill, here someone will take good care of you and try to find a cure. sannah-man works here, too - like about one third(!) of the city's population. While the streets are crowded, especially during lunch hour on workdays, there are less people on the streets on weekends.

sannah took me on a small tour through downtown. We started at the Old City Hall - as far as sannah knows, nowadays there are apartments in that building.


Then we passed the so called Historic Third Street. In those two story buildings there are mostly pubs or restaurants and some antiques shops.


At the Zumbro River, we met the big administration building which does not only contain the modern City Hall of Rochester. It also is the government center for Olmsted County. And sannah is sure that I have seen more than 5 different town halls on my travels - therefore she checked the box: Mission completed!


A skywalk connects the government building to the other facilities downtown. Skywalks can be found all over downtown - when it is freezing cold in the winter (and the wind can make that even worse!), no one has to leave the heated buildings to go for lunch or to the parking lot ...

Afterwards, we headed back west to the Peace Plaza - the closest thing Rochester has to a market square!

Nowadays, this is a book store, but once this has been a movie theater!

This is the western side of the Peace Plaza - another skywalk and the high building in the back is the Gonda Building - one of the main buildings of the Mayo Clinic and also one of Rochester's highest:

Those three flags show what Rochester is all about. From left to right: United States - Minnesota - Mayo Clinic.

Do you remember this building?

It is the Plummer Building! Dr. Plummer was a physician at Mayo Clinic and planned this building which has been known as "The Clinic Building" until two or three decades ago when Mayo started another expansion ...

I found some interesting details!
This stone shows Dr. Plummer designing the building ...

... and other stones invited me to play!

This is the main entrance door to the building. Did I say door? I meant portal! I think it is made of bronze, but sannah wasn't sure either.

From a distance, you can see the Plummer Building in total!


At the end of the tour, sannah took me to the skywalk in order to make some photos from a bird's eye view!

This is 1st Ave W ...


... with some old buildings ...


... and 2nd St S.


I think I know the city (sannah calls it "village with big clinic") of Rochester much better now! What about you?

All the best,

Posted Jul 13, 2013, 5:08 pm
Hi there!

The past days have been weird! sannah and sannah-man pack things into boxes, leave with boxes and come back a little later without them.

sannah told me they are moving house.

She also put Nils and me in a bag in order to keep us safe she said.


I hope this is over soon!

sannah promised me it will and that we are going on another trip afterwards!

Sounds good to me!

All the best,

Posted Jul 21, 2013, 5:01 am
Hi there!

We have just moved in the new apartment and sannah said we are going on a trip as a reward. Yesterday, we went by plane - which was pretty exciting - and landed close to the Atlantic Ocean – in Boston, Massachusetts.

Today, we started to explore the city, but it was very hot and humid. So we stayed close to our room in Back Bay, one of Boston’s richest districts.

First sannah took us to the MFA, the Museum of Fine Arts. No photos inside, but that is the main entrance.


Then we went back to Copley Place, a famous square surrounded by several historic buildings. Among these are the Boston Public Library,


the Old South Church and the Trinity Church next to the highest building of Boston, the Hancock Tower with 60 floors.

Then we turned southwest back to the center of Back Bay, the Prudential Towers – Pru for short. Around office buildings, there is a large shopping mall with several stores. There we had an iced coffee as an refreshment.


In the evening, the light was very calm, so we took nice pictures at the Plaza between Pru and First Church of Christ, Scientist.

Tower 3 in the background. A lot of youngsters enjoyed running and playing in that fountain!


The dome belongs to the First Church of Christ, Scientist.


Looking back to Pru.


Temperatures are supposed to cool down overnight – I hope that will happen. sannah is going to explore more of the city with us in the following days.

All the best,

Posted Jul 22, 2013, 3:26 pm
Hi there!

Boston is a very historic city! You might have heard of the Boston Tea Party which was leading to the independence of the former colonies from the British Empire. Well, there was a lot more than just this tea party going on in the 1770s. The Freedom Trail is a walk along all the historic places that have something to do with the way to freedom. It is marked by red bricks and lots of other tourists followed it yesterday.


The Freedom Trail starts at Boston Common, which is to Boston what the Central Park is to New York. The first impressive building we saw was the State Capitol of Massachusetts. There is a little tower on top of the golden dome, but it obviously needed repairs.


The nice Park Street Church was built shortly afterwards. Here William Lloyd Garrison gave his first public speech against slavery.


The Granary Burying Ground is the third oldest burying ground in Boston. The five victims of the Boston Massacre are buried here, as well as Samuel Adams who signed the Declaration of Independence.


King’s Chapel does not really look like a church, what do you think? What caught my eye was that people would not sit in lines of benches, but in little red plush booths. I have not seen anything like that before – looks more like an opera to me!


Next to the Old City Hall is the site of the First Public School in the U.S. (founded in 1635).


Benjamin Franklin is an alumni of this Boston Latin School, his monument now marks where the school once has been.


The Old South Meeting House is the second oldest church in Boston. It was used for public meetings – the biggest one was in 1773 when more than 5000 people protested against the tax on tea.


The Old State House Museum is both the site of the Boston Massacre in 1770 – and six years later, the Declaration of Independence was read from this east balcony.


Faneuil Hall still is the market place and public gathering space it has always been. There are lots of pubs and restaurants around that area in downtown Boston.


Those sites have all been very close. The trail now continued facing north to the North End which now is the Italian quarter of Boston with lots of Italian restaurants. It also is home of Paul Revere who was a silversmith and is most famous for his midnight ride when he announced British troops were coming to fight.

From the Old North Church with its widely visible tower, two lanterns were hung that started Revere’s ride. This action is often regarded as the spark that ignited the American Revolution.


From the North End we crossed the St. Charles River and entered the quarter called Charlestown. In the Navy yard, the USS Constitution is anchored, the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world! You also have a great view of Boston’s skyline from here.


The last site is the Bunker Hill Monument. The Battle of Bunker Hill was one of the bloodiest battles of the American Revolution on June 17, 1775: ill-equipped, but determined Colonists where fighting the powerful British Army. 1400 dies where nowadays the 67m obelisk commemorates this first major battle.


Now we reached the end of the more than 4km long Freedom Trail. Luckily, sannah carried us around – our feet and little legs would have hurt a lot! See, the red line shows the long way we went.


It was a nice day and we learned a lot!

All the best,

Posted Jul 25, 2013, 4:01 pm
Hi there!

We continued exploring the city. In order to get an overview, we took the elevator up to the 50th floor of the Prudential Tower. The elevator went so fast that that our little ears started to hurt a bit. But WOW – what a view!

We started facing east: The tall building is the Hancock Tower at Copley Square, the highest building of Boston.


The Charles River north of the Prudential Tower is leading to the Massachusetts Bay (and therefore into the Atlantic).


On the other side of the Charles River, Cambridge is located – with one of the most famous universities of the world: Harvard. And even closer to the river is another well known institution: the MIT – the dome right of the bridge.


This is Fenley Park, the baseball stadium of the Red Sox. Baseball is quite important in Boston since it’s the season. In a few weeks, American football with the NE Patriots will start again.


To the southeast, Boston is secured of the power of the Atlantic Ocean by several small islands.


On the inner wall of the building, a permanent exhibit provided information about Boston’s history, celebrities, sports teams, immigration or trivia.


Between feet and miles, a smoot is a local unit of length. It’s just a matter of definition!


With all the red brick buildings, Boston reminds me a little of Hamburg. Would you agree, Mom?

All the best,

Posted Jul 25, 2013, 5:14 pm
Hi there!

When I reported on the Freedom Trail, I mentioned the Boston Tea Party – the well know incident in 1773 when Colonists, supposedly dressed as Native Americans, dropped English Tea overboard in order to show what they thought about taxation. Read more here!

However, the actual site of the Tea Party is not part of the Freedom Trail – for whatever reason.

So sannah took Nils and me there later. The museum is supposed to be very nice and offers some historical reenactment, but we arrived late that day and the last show was already running.


This is one of the vessels used for bringing goods into the inner harbor. The tea was dropped into the harbor here and it was reported that the water was tinted for days because of the amount of tea.


Are you ready to have a tea party now?

On our way back downtown, we passed the Government Center. Comparing the Old City Hall on the Freedom Trail and this new City Hall of Boston, I like the old one a lot better!


But in general, Boston has priven to cherish its historic heritage, it is a good mixture of old and new! I like this city.

All the best,

Posted Jul 30, 2013, 5:03 am
Hi there!

We are on our way to another place that neither sannah nor Nils or me have visited before: Chicago!

But it really was a looong road trip until we got there and we passed a lot of farms in Minnesota and Wisconsin.


All the best,

Posted Jul 30, 2013, 5:06 am
Hi there!

We are staying in a hotel in a suburb of Chicago. But before going to bed, we wanted to go to the shore of Lake Michigan. And so we did, we were even lucky enough to catch some twilight mood.


All the best,


Posted Aug 2, 2013, 12:30 am
Hi there!

We took the train to Chicago Union Station and then walked through the city. We just had a few hours for exploration before our meeting.

The first thing we did was a very tourist-y one: We went on top of the Willis Tower, formerly known as Sears Tower . The weather could have been better, but we still had a nice view – especially with the Lake Michigan in the background.

To the south


To the southeast


To the east


And to the northeast.


Then we went for a walk through the city. In the Millennium Park and especially the Grant Park, people were preparing everything for an upcoming rock festival this weekend. We also found something “typical German” … *no comment*


This is the Clarence F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain in the middle of the Grant Park.


Barack Obama lived in Chicago before he became president. But we were only able to pose with another president – one that couldn’t run away from us …


The skyscrapers and architecture of Chicago were really impressive. I think we’ll come back some time and hope for better weather then!

All the best,

Posted Aug 3, 2013, 9:47 pm
Hi there!

We are back home in sannah’s new apartment. The view is great since it is located directly at the Zumbro River. I like to hang out in the "green bay".


Lots of ducks and even geese like to bath their feet here. And look, there is somebody fishing!


I like enjoy looking at out the window – there’s always something new to discover at Zumbro River .


In less than two weeks, we are going (back) to Germany.

Looking forward to meeting you again, Mom!

Posted Aug 19, 2013, 6:02 pm
Hi there!

We have traveled far in the past days – from the US to Germany where sannah visits friends and her family.

Though the weather was not that nice, sannah took me sightseeing to her former university city: Halle at the river Saale. A few months ago, the city hit national news because of a severe flooding.

We started at the Market Square. The main church Unser Lieben Frauen has four towers! sannah told me that until the 16th century, there were two churches with two towers each. But they were torn down except for the towers and a new church was built in between.


This nice and old looking building with the cute little tower is the Stadthaus – a city house, but not the city hall. (The city hall actually is the gray concrete block above my head.) A little more than one and a half year ago, sannah got married in the Stadthaus, she told me.


Oh, this monument of the world famous composer G. F. Händel is a popular meeting point on the market square. Händel was born in Halle and his monument faces west towards London where he died.


North of Halle’s Old Town in the Mühlwegviertel sannah lived before moving to the United States – not in this street, but in a very similar looking one.


We then went back to the University Square. But before seeing the beautifully restored historic university buildings, something else caught my eye: A column wayside shrine at the Universitätsring!


But now, the University Square – this is the Melanchthonanium.


Here I posed with one of the two lions in front of the entrance to the Löwengebäude which means lion buiding in German. Both buildings serve mostly official and representative purposes.


In this building called Robertinum, sannah took classes in classics (history of the Roman Empire).


It was nice to get to know all these places! But I am looking forward to seeing you again soon, too!

All the best,

Posted Oct 12, 2013, 12:54 pm
Hello friends,

I am back home! It is great to be together with my relaitves Hippoda, Diddl-Maus, Bussi and Fiete.

We all came back home. Only our brother Tobbi got lost.  :(

Thanks for all who hosted me and my brothers and sisters. We stop travelling around now.