How are you doing? Olympics is occupying a lot of my time LOL, but I've been sneaking some reading here and there. Luckily for me, I have not been so busy at work. However, I'm still not back on my game when it comes to blogging. I wish to start reviewing books and blog-hopping... but seems like my brain is still too exhausted to think (part of it is due to waking up early every day to watch the Olympics ^_^;). So I guess I'm going to take it easy... So instead of a review, you get more pictures of the trip! :P
So the main purpose of our trip to Europe was not Paris, but Germany. Why Germany? Well as you know, I have an aunt - my mother's sister - living in Germany and it's been 10 years since we last saw her and her husband :) So our main purpose was to visit them :) However, that's not our only link to Germany. In fact, my parents met in Germany. My father left Vietnam at the age of 18 to go study in Germany. He and my aunt were college friends and while visiting my aunt, my mom met my dad. They had a 4-years long-distance relationship till my dad moved to Canada to get married :P Lucky me, right? And yes, that is a picture of my dad not long after he arrived in Germany. In those times, it was critical for my dad to excel in his studies, because otherwise, he would have been enrolled in the military. Then, he had the chance to go study abroad and jump on it. He was not alone though, two of his buddies also went :) They are still living in Germany and we also visited them :)
So from Paris, we rented a car and drove to my aunt's. She lives near the border, so the trip wasn't that long, only 4 hours :) We got a Chevrolet Cruz. My dad was so disappointed to be in Europe and drive an American car LOL. Oh, before my next trip to Europe, I need to learn how to drive a manual car... Renting one is so much cheaper than an automatic! As it was, my dad was the designated driver for the whole trip...
Our rental car. On our way to my aunt's, border straight ahead!
My aunt lives in a very small town called Sankt. Ingbert, twenty minutes out of Saarbrücken. Actually, when I was in my teens, about 15 years old, my parents sent me to my aunt's for three weeks :) The town is very small and quiet... and well, that hasn't changed LOL. But I like the atmosphere... it's very calm and it's the kind of place where you go to the market every day and can walk to almost everywhere. And something I didn't remember is how people greeted everyone on the streets, even if you don't know each other :)
Downtown of St. Ingbert
If you go to Germany, you have to eat their wursts (sausages)! It's a must :P So that's exactly what we did on our way back home, even though we were not hungry LOL. This stall has been there for decades... and it's still has yummy as ever :P
We also did a day-trip to Luxembourg, which is a really small country nestled between France, Germany and Belgium. This is also where my cousin O is working... although not on that day. It was okay though since we were meeting him later for supper :P That day was rainy, but we were not surprised since my sister was with us and well, that's the story of her summer LOL. We visited downtown Luxembourg which is very pretty, but not outstanding... Luxembourg is also divided into Haute-Ville and Basse-Ville (High- and Low-City). We pretty much stayed in Haute-Ville... and we went to explore the Casemates... Basically, Luxembourg used to be protected by a fortress which was build on the Bock which offers natural fortification.
Downtown of Luxembourg
Casemates - yep, we're going down!
Views that you get from the Casemates! Awesome, right?
However, the inside is very primitive and small... Those stairs were tiny!! People were really small then!
Views of Basse-Ville.
Luxembourg's emblem and some landmarks
See the picture above where my sister is sitting looking bored? Well actually, she was hungry and as a result, very grumpy LOL. We had food, but left it in the car... so we fed her with a classic: McDonald's! I like that McDonald's adapts its menu depending on its location. I don't think we have any chicken sticks in North America, right? Oh and did you know that McDonald's in Germany serves bubble tea?!?
Food!! LOL, my sister was not the only one being hungry :P
McDonald's chicken sticks... I still prefer McNuggets LOL.
I have to say, I wished we had had a bit more time in Luxembourg. There are some landmarks that we didn't get to see and I would have liked to explore the Haute-Ville a bit more. At the same time, it was really rainy... And the souvenirs in Luxembourg aren't great... It seemed to be to be very dated ^_^; However, regular shopping looked good! Leaving Luxembourg, we went to Trier to meet up with my cousin O and have supper.
My cousin O with maple syrup - yes, he's very tall LOL. Having dinner - not very long after McDonald's ^_^;
The next day, we went to Trier to visit my dad's foster mother. Basically, when my dad came to Germany at the age of 18, he enrolled in a program where he was welcomed into a family for a month - to get accustomed to the lifestyle. After his month was up, my dad asked if they could take in his friend... and since there was only a couple of months till university started, she told my dad to stay on. Mrs E and her family basically took on three Vietnamese youngsters and they became a family :) So every time we go to Germany, we visit her. My parents are actually planning to go back to Germany next year to celebrate her 85th birthday :)
Toasting our reunion!
Her house back then; her house now
Mrs E. was very happy to see my dad again and so was my dad. For the occasion, she made a cheesecake - knowing that it's my dad's favorite :P So we had lunch and dessert... but turns out in Germany, they usually have coffee and cake at around 3pm... but we were sooo full!! LOL. Still, we each ate a small piece. Then, Mrs E. asked my sister a question - in German of course. My sister thought Mrs E asked if it was good, so she answered yes. Turns out Mrs E asked if my sister wanted a second piece... and second piece she got LOL.
Cheesecake. Too much cake!
Mrs E lives close to Trier, which is probably the oldest city in Germany. It was there during the Roman Empire and as such, still has some ruins... So we went to explore them :) We walked, but we also took the little train :) I think that's a really good way to explore a city, figure out what you want to see and then, walk there.
Porta Nigra - front and back.
On the little train
Cathedral of Saint-Peter (der Dom) and right next door, Church of our Lady
Palace of Trier
One of what I really wanted to visit in Trier was the ruins of a Roman bath. It looked so small on the outside, but what you don't realize is so much is underground!! We went down... but it was very small and tight and LOL, I was pretty happy when I saw the arrow indicating the exit! LOL. I joked with my parents that we could show some of the pictures and say we've been to Rome :P
Pretty awesome right? One last post to come soon!