Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday in France

It's great to know the Church is the same all over the world.
Another beautiful walk home.

Brooke loved the special cheese for her baguette and the frozen Buche de Noel for dessert. So did the rest of us.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Exploring Metz

Saturday morning we awoke to snow! And yummy French pastries. Have you ever had dessert for breakfast? Eclairs are delicious even after croissants.
Then it was time to explore Metz again. Here's the first church we passed.
And the second. This one has a working bell tower and you can hear the bells ringing every hour from Brad's apartment.

Brooke was intrigued with the "Smurf" book in the shop window.
We quickly walked through the outdoor market, and took a picture of the indoor market building, but we weren't there to shop.
We were there to visit the Metz Cathedral (church #3), otherwise known as Saint-√Čtienne de Metz, a Catholic church built in the 13th centuy.
We have no idea how they built it so tall without cranes and modern machinery
It was filled with beautiful stained glass windows.

Isn't this a beautiful organ?
It was nice to know I'm not the only one who takes a while to put away Christmas decorations. The picture doesn't do justice to their nativity at all.
Wayne was most interested in the baptismal font, which was really used for baptism by immersion for adults, at least at one point during this building's history.
The exterior had beautifully detailed workmanship as well.

We then walked through town to the opera house, the oldest working one in France, passing by another river as we did so.

The Opera House
We then discovered another church (#4), this one with beautiful purple accents, so we stopped to take some pictures for Holly.
It's hard to believe this is the same building, just from the other direction and across the river.
Next stop was feeding the ducks. (Note to self: pretzels don't go over as well as bread crusts.)
That was followed by a walk over to the park.
Brooke's favorite first stop is the swings.
That was followed by fixing a hamburger for Grandpa, right next to the only palm tree in Metz!
Lots of fun slides and such!

Edited 5/4/2016 - These statues are in a nice park, but I didn't include a picture because it was kind of dreary and barren. This is what it looks like in the spring:
Makes a difference!
We sure saw a lot before lunch! According to the missionaries, Tezel is the best kebab place in the town, and we definitely enjoyed ours.
There was still more of the city to explore after lunch! The Christmas market was still up, although not for much longer.
We stumbled across a Michelin-starred restaurant. Hopefully Brad and Cody will be able to experience dinner there before they leave.
The chapel of the Templars is an interesting octagon-shaped building.
The basilica of Saint Pierre aux Nonnains has been around since the 4th century, and is one of the oldest churches in Europe.
Apparently, the Gregorian chant started here. Isn't that interesting?

We saw another purple statue.
Thanks for being awesome tour guides!
The day wasn't over yet, though. We took the bus to the grocery store to help restock the fridge and pantry.
Robyn had her first experience sitting in the cart (and not the stroller). She was a bit ambivalent about it, but we managed to get a couple of smiles.
The walk home took us through a quaint cemetery.
Brooke was super excited to get her own little baguette from the bakery for dinner. Robyn enjoyed pieces of the "big" baguette.
It was a long day, but absolutely wonderful! Kudos to you for making it to the end!!!

Friday, January 29, 2016

F is for Friday (and Family in France)

To start our grand vacation, we flew to Paris, arriving on a Friday morning.
Next we took a train to Lorraine, which we learned was a fairly new TGV station built between Metz and Nancy, so out in the middle of nowhere.
That was followed by a bus to Metz. I was surprised at how green the fields were for being below freezing in January.
Look who was waiting for us in the bitter cold!
We walked through the Metz train station to get to the city bus stop.
And before we knew it, we were walking up the street to Brad's apartment (the white and yellow building on the right).
Brooke was eager to share the chocolate coins she had saved from Christmas just to share with Grandpa. She was also excited to play doctor and help replace Grandma's bandage on her finger. She's going to be a great doctor some day.

Once Brad was home from work, it was time to brave the cold again (now it was snowing!) to go do some exploring.

First on the schedule was visiting La Porte des Allemands, or the German Gate. It was part of the city wall in the 13th century, but now the town has grown around it.

The Seille River

Looking through the window to see the river.

Waiting in the warmth for Grandpa to finish reading the signs!
Our second stop was the Maximin Church, found down a narrow alley. At this stop I discovered I really don't know how to take good pictures inside dark churches. The stained glass was quite beautiful, so maybe one day you can visit and see it for yourself. 
Then it was time to walk back to the bus stop and go home for a yummy dinner.
After dinner we opened belated Christmas presents. As you can see, I haven't figured out how to take good pictures of active little girls either, but I thought this one was quite fun. 
Finally it was time for Grandpa to be tucked into bed by two darling little girls.
It was definitely a fun-filled Friday in France.