Onto Florence!

I apologize for the lack of posting…. Obviously I’m not very punctual about wanting to get these up!  But just gotta keep trying!

After Dachau we spent our remaining time enjoying the city. We walked Marienplatz numerous times just people watching and walking into the many churches to just observe and explore. We found our fair share of Beer Halls, and indulged in massive amounts of food as much as we could! There will most likely be a post strictly on the food of this trip so stay tuned! Below are some miscellaneous shots of Munich.

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There is a man made river called Eisbach where a part of it was designed to have a wave for surfing. It’s a little bizarre because it’s in the middle of a city, in a park. But I guess you take what you can get in a landlocked country! haha. It was entertaining for sure!DSC_6252

My first lilac find. My nose found them first.DSC_6232

The man above I could have watched for hours. We took a tour of the Residenz which is a multi-generational royal palace in Munich. He was restoring a piece just there in the hallway. We have SO many photos from that place, but a palace is a palace ya know? Ornate, huge, lots of rooms, you get the idea.

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The grand hall in the Residenz.

DSC_6223 I was fascinated with the size of doors during our entire Europe trip. I want one!

To get to Florence, we decided to take a train. I was very excited about this, and even had to convince Jon as he initially preferred to fly so we could just get there asap. I recommend a train ride to all! Our train left Munich at about 9 in the morning, so we packed up the night before so we could just be on our way to the station when we woke up.

I splurged and got us seats in a 4-seater cabin, this was considered 1st class. It was so very Harry Potter! Mind you, I’m used to Septa trains…
The seats reclined so we could lay flat, we each had tables, outlets for charging, and our cabin had climate control!

Below is the Munich station.IMG_20160505_031457 IMG_20160505_031505
haha Above is a candid shot, and that’s a mirror next to him showing you the lady who was sitting next to me.

We ventured to the dining car too to get that coffee he has.
IMG_20160505_125508The scenery as you can imagine on our train ride was mesmerizing. It went directly through the Alps. So fun! And beautiful!

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We arrived in Bologna where we had to get a local train for the last 20 minutes to Florence.
IMG_20160505_170523We were proud that we were conquering the public transit.

Once we got to Florence, we were surprised at how much warmer it was here! Coming down out of those mountains sure made a difference! We walked to our apartment and settled in! (I forgot to take pics of it so here are a couple for the airbnb listing)

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Mind you we found out when we arrived that we were on the top floor, with no elevator. 72 steps one way. WHEW. Thankfully that apartment had AC though 🙂

On to exploring the city next!

~L

Dachau Concentration Camp

The pictures posted in this entry aren’t meant to be strikingly beautiful and motivating.

No one chooses to go to a concentration camp for entertainment but more for the need to experience history. Or at least that is how we looked at it. We were seriously lucky with our tour guide, his name was Marcin Wright, and he owns a local Munich tour agency. Check him out here! We had no idea ahead of time that we were getting a personal tour, but when we showed up at 10:30am he was still advertising in the middle of Marienplatz for more customers. Ultimately no one else showed.

Getting an uplanned personal tour though? We totally scored on that, it absolutely made a world of difference and so much more personal.

From Marienplatz, Marcin, our guide, just had us hop on the metro for a 20 minute ride to Dachau. Again with it just being us, we got to snack on the train and basically start our tour there. He would point out important places on the ride which set the stage for when we arrived at Dachau.

Marcin was very thorough. He was patient with us when we wanted to pause. You could tell by the way he spoke that he really enjoyed what he was doing and took great care in teaching us.

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We start with walking down the side of the property. We take a grass way, unlike the paved ways that I would assume most take. Marcin wanted us to get the real feel of going into the camp like the prisoners did.

On our left was the above white building, an original SS training building including an office for Heinrich Himmler.
Today the building is still a topic of debate as the police and military own and operate it…. I personally would never set foot in there.

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Then as you turn right, away from that white building you come up to the main gate.

These camps continue to have problems with Nazi Extremists and the like because stealing things is so very common. Take that gate for example, it’s famous for what words are formed into it. Marcin told us as we were coming up to it that just recently the original gate was stolen. How does that happen with security these days??  So the gate in my photos is actually a replica.

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“Work sets you free”

The message was instilled in the men to make it as though the harder they worked the higher the chances they would be released. Lies.

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As you walk thru the gates, to your left you look down the property line and see the guard tower. They still line the entire property.

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As you look right from entering there’s a very long three winged building. Today it is the museum.

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This direction is straight from the gate. A large stone yard where prisoners were counted twice a day. Right is the current museum, used to be where prisoners were stripped of their clothes, belongings, and basically their human rights. The one story white buildings on the left are the prisoners’ barracks. Today there are two replicas because the originals were torn down some time after the liberation of the camp. The tall trees line the long aisle between the barracks. The trees for the most part are original. They were planted for visual propaganda of greenery on the property. Note that back then they must have been about 5-6 ft tall…

IMG_20160503_132538We unintentionally visited just days after the annual ceremony put on to memorialize the liberation of Dachau, April 29, 1945. Each wreath represents a group of people. Marcin told us that the order of the wreaths is important because it shows which groups were recognized first. I don’t remember what most mean, but I know a lot represented by their flags, so above the first and third from the right are German wreaths. Below you see some blue and white ones, that is the color of the Bavaria flag of Germany.
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Usually at the way end is the below wreath, pink. The pink wreath represents the LGBT. This year it was fourth from the end. Progress.

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Directly opposite from the memorial are the barracks that go down to the end of the property. Today there are only 2 standing barracks, the remaining 28 buildings are memorialized with a numbered stone and outline with gravel. I felt like I had a boulder in my stomach walking those grounds.

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The above picture is from the back of the property looking back toward the standing two barracks.

We did go through the museum, I was pretty emotional and very interested in what Marcin had to say to us so my camera was an afterthought.

Below is a sample of the original fence. Notice the barb wire fence, then the barb wire ground cover on a hill, then a trench, then grass.
There is a photograph in the museum of man who died with his hand through the fence but he was caught in the barb wire. That is an extraordinary feat and accomplishment so close to freedom. Not only from those obstacles that a skin and bone man achieved, but even just that a prisoner stepping on the Grass was enough to be murdered.

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At the back corner of the property where I’m standing in that above photo is a pathway that led to the crematoriums. This is what Marcin had to say when we got there…

“I do this tour several times a week and have been doing it for 7 years now. I have been through this building once, and I will only ever go through that building once. Never again. I fully recommend you to experience it and make your way through, but I will remain outside here. Take as much time as you wish, I will meet you out at the end of it.”

Again, I took that chance to experience it. Going through is bone chilling. Jon took a couple photos inside, I did not. I will not be posting interior photos on my site. I do agree that it is something everyone should see as it is part of our history. It is a time I will never forget as messed up of a reality as it was.

We ended our tour with stopping at a memorial statue right outside the crematorium.

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“To Honor the Dead, to Warn the Living”

The importance of that statue is the position of the prisoner. Yes, he’s frail and looks weak but look how he’s wearing a coat and his hands are in his pockets. Coats were rare, and hands in pockets were absolutely not allowed. The man is also looking straight out and away with his head held confidently. Prisoners were always told to look down at the ground because they were dirt. Beautiful piece. Ideal location as it’s placed right outside crematorium and near the now grassy tree covered mounds of unknown ashes of all who lost their lives in that building.

I could write and write and write about how important it felt I visited there. Photos don’t do it justice, taking photos shouldn’t even be the focus as it wasn’t for me.

Go visit. Learn our history. Be moved. Be emotional. And if you do? Find Marcin Wright, you will thank me.

www.inmunichtours.com

I leave you with me leaving Dachau. Note: I have been told the quality of the video viewed on phones is not great.

~L

 

Neuschwanstein & Linderhof

We chose to do a planned day trip to see Neuschwanstein. We took a bus and the first stop was Linderhof. King Ludwig II’s hunting lodge. No photos were allowed inside, so all I have are a few of the grounds. The day was overcast with very low cloud coverage, almost giving the photos an eerie feeling. I much preferred it to roasting in the sun though.

Anyway inside Linderhof was our start of seeing just how opulent and over the top royalty was with building and decorating their homes. Gold leaf’ed everything, marble, exotic woods – it was all there, all over everything. So what some would think a ‘hunting lodge’ to be a nice little cottage hidden away couldn’t have been further from that in how it really looked. Was certainly interesting to tour!

I personally was obsessed with seeing the kitchens and bathrooms in all of our tours in Europe because they’re rarely ever shown. Wouldn’t you be interested to see where royalty brushes their teeth?? ok maybe I’m alone on this…

DSC_6114Above is the ‘backyard’ of Linderhof.

Below is the Front yard, with own personal groto at top of the hill. We didn’t have enough time to go up there, but there’s a cave inside with boat… strange.

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DSC_6106Below is looking at the lodge, ya know a modest hunting lodge.
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From Linderhof we made our way through a small Bavarian village called Oberamagau. Apparently famous for their Passion play, and paintings on their buildings… we only heard this about a dozen times while there for only 45 minutes. #claimtofame.

DSC_6120It was a quaint, storybook looking village for sure.

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IMG_20160502_115850I really should have bought that hat, would have upped my ski game 10 fold for sure.

From Oberamagau the bus made the ascent to Neuschwanstein. This castle of Ludwig’s is ridiculous. Ludwig moved in 16 years after starting (that’s starting from even making roads to the location), and how it looks today was not completed for another 8 years after that! And what stands today is not complete because Ludwig passed away is 1886, 2 years after it was done.
What’s a bit disturbing is a mere 7 weeks after the king’s death, Neuschwanstein was open to the public for tours… as has been ever since.

DSC_6130Both above and below are photos taken from the bus on our drive up. Imagine being on the construction crew having to construct that in 1868… uh no thanks.
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Below is a famous bridge that a lot photos are taken from because when you’re on the bridge Neuschwanstein is framed perfectly down below you. But of course when we were there that bridge was closed for repairs… so my photo is from standing at the castle.

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The Alps made it so picturesque. I just couldn’t help wish the cloud coverage were just a little less so I could see them more!

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DSC_6152Above is the front of the castle, which is actually a giant door that leads to a courtyard.

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Below is actually Ludwig’s Mother’s own castle. My kind of lady! Granted my zoom lens doesn’t show very well the distance, but Neuschwanstein is quite a ways above hers. I just kept thinking of the movie Stepbrothers where Will Ferrell and John C Reilly are sitting in recliners and Will yells to his mom “MA! Make me some Meatloaf!”  I could see the spoiled Ludwig yelling that from his balcony.
DSC_6142below is a little better
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When on the tour inside, no photos were allowed to be taken 🙁 But when we finished the tour there was a balcony you could go out on. We finally got someone to take our photo, so we could have 1 where we don’t always look like floating heads and below is it… Oops.

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Of course it was super ornate with gold and expensive woods and stones throughout. Just our luck that our tour, they didn’t have Ludwig’s personal bathroom off his bedroom open to see (usually it is!!). From what I heard, he had a super ornate toilet that looked modern day, thanks to being so high up on a mountain that gravity was the “flush”.  I would’ve totally looked in his medicine cabinet too..

To get to the castle, cars/buses can only go up so far. From there it’s walk or take a horse drawn carriage. We walked, but look at those strong horses!
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I definitely loved the day. I’m glad we went the tour route, because I fell asleep on the way home on the bus.

Yea the clouds were dense and a little more low hanging than I’d hope for, but the rain held off which is most important. We got a glimpse of the Alps, learned so much about the once King of Bavaria, and I loved it!  We would recommend seeing Neuschwanstein and Linderhof abosolutely.  And don’t forget, if weather does get in the way there’s always a beer close by to enjoy!

Stayed tuned, another biggie post coming of us visiting Dachau concentration camp.

~L

A Forgotten Door

So a quick house post for a little update I did July 4th weekend. It was kind of spur of the moment!

Moving into this house, we love our front door. It’s pretty worn and definitely needs some TLC, But it’s a solid wood door which don’t come cheap. When we get time to re-do it, it will be a beauty!
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Unlike this front door, we really barely ever noticed our back door! At least I didn’t until we moved in. It was kind of generic and just blended in with the house. It is also the door we use daily since our driveway is on the back of the house, so it gets much more use.
This was how it looked before we moved in, the white one on the left:
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So after painting the room, I realized that the door was two different colors and so very dirty. All the wall colors I chose are in the grey and blue family that all go really well together, but I felt like I was missing some yellow in my life.

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The thought came to me on a Saturday night, Sunday we went to Home Depot for various other things and I went to the paint department to just get some swatch cards to take home.

A habit of mine is to Always look at the reject pile of paint that is there. After having pulled about 12 different yellows to take home and out of the fluorescent lights there sat a pale yellow gallon of paint in the ‘rejects’. I mean, seriously?!!?

I proceeded to obviously take home the $9 gallon of paint+primer.

You tell me how I did!

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Needless to say, I love it!

Back to projects that are actually on our list!

ps that door is also solid aside from the glass, so I’m glad she’s able to shine now!

~L

Munich, where to begin??

Honestly, I have no idea how to write these posts! I don’t know how to fit in All my feelings and opinions and reactions to our five day stays in each city!

I will do my best. But for real, the bottom line to All of my Europe posts is that we LOVED all three cities we went to. I think we would in a heartbeat go back to any of them. Food, locals, and history made each city completely unique but all the more awesome in their own ways!

Munich. Capital of Bavaria which we learned very quick. They speak Bavarian which I would say is a dialect of German? The Mr and I could understand none of it! But I loved observing. We arrived on a Saturday afternoon and had to take a train into the city.

DSC_6065Welcome to Bavaria!

With our trusty Rick Steves book in hand, we easily made it to our apartment that we rented.
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Very simple, quaint, had a balcony and full sized bathtub! To the right was a giant tv, but we never used it. In every city I rented apartments more for location than anything. No AC here, but it was cool/chilly in the evenings to just open the door a little. Worked perfectly for us! The little kitchenette in top left worked great for us too to keep waters and beers.

Our flight to Europe left at 11:30pm Friday in NJ, so by the time we made it to our apartment (roughly 6pm Saturday) we were exhausted. I barely slept on the plane, so the bed was calling my name. So we got dinner at a beer hall right around the corner. I think for some reason we stood out more than usual or our mood was just off because of the travel day, but our service was awful there.

IMG_20160514_221536I’d like to say in Germany, I also partook (is that a word?) in the beer! I am not a beer drinker, but when in Germany I thought I should do

Day 2 we woke up feeling more rested so we got out the door to go check out Marienplatz. It’s sort of the town square. No vehicles and lots of shopping and churches and restaurants.
First up was getting some window shopping in. I thought Jon would look great in a traditional ledderhosen, don’t you?? We even saw a dapper man suited up!
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what about me?
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and for a live model…
DSC_6099Love the jacket on the Dachsund!
Then we made our way to see the famous Glockenspiel. Pictures don’t do it justice it was beautiful.
DSC_6096IMG_20160503_190033 Every time passed this building we would have just missed the actual Glockenspiel (clock) going off…

We then went up the tallest open cathedral to see the view of Munich from above.
DSC_6089we did not put that lock there… but that’s the glockenspiel beyond it!
DSC_6087some interesting writings as well..
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I rounded out the day with of course indulging in a true Bavarian Pretzel!

IMG_20160501_125529I may have had lots of them in our 5 days…
Stay tuned, because I will put up some pics of visiting the Disney castle next!

~L

Today, I prefer distraction.

So it’s another father’s day. I really don’t want this to be an annual post, but with how social media is anymore I find comfort in writing out my feelings on a day like today.

Social media is like an explosion on holidays . I suppose in majority of ways that’s a good thing as it’s usually full of positive posts for the whole day. When you’re someone like me, and you’re dad is not physically here this day becomes difficult. Here I am 4 Father’s Days without him and I still look for ways to be distracted both from social media and my mind.

I can’t help but think I’m more heavy-hearted than some because I don’t have kids myself. This day would probably be more focused on my husband being a dad than my own dad if that were my life. But it’s not. Don’t read into that. I just bought and moved into my first house and returned from traveling in Europe for 2 weeks; my life is good. It’s just on this day that my thoughts linger and the always-looming dark cloud hovers a bit because my Dad was taken too soon from me and this Earth…

I spent the day planting a garden here at my first house. It’s a little out of order since there is still many things to do inside, but taking a break from that stuff and getting some color and ‘pretty’ completed feels comforting. And the whole time I thought of my dad when picking out some vegetables that I put in pots because we have a large amount of rabbits around (even found a nest in the garden we cleared…). Until we observe a bit more, I just put some annuals there and then some vegetables in some cute pots. But my dad always had interest in gardens, and even had some good ones for many years. I enjoyed doing that hobby with him, but I haven’t attempted from seed like he did.

I can easily get stuck in the place where I ache for my Dad til tears come and don’t end, but I fight continually to do him proud and to live in the present. He showed quite literally that life is Too short.

I love you Dad, thank you for my gardening hobby – I know you’re with me, but oh how I wish you were here With me.

<3

~L

Packing 2 Weeks in Europe in a Backpack Carry-on!

Welcome Back!

So now that we are slightly settled in our new house, let’s get back to talking about our trip to Europe!

Let’s start back before we even got on the plane, packing! We had been discussing and planning for this trip for over a year, so I had spent a good deal of time thinking and researching what we should and needed for our trip. This trip for us was more about being active and seeing the sites than relaxing like you would at a all-inclusive resort (after these 2 weeks, a resort with laying at the pool all day sounds like a great next trip!). Once we were both on the same page regarding that I focused on how to bring enough clothes, but not too much which is very fine threshold! Early on we agreed on carry-ons only. This did away with any risks of losing luggage. Very important when we had a lay-over both ways in Copenhagen! It also saved us a lot of time at the airport of Not checking baggage while departing, and Not waiting at baggage claim when we arrived.

Jon can affirm pretty loudly that I’m an anxious traveler. I’m anxious all the way up to sitting at the gate waiting. That’s when I finally exhale and relax, “we made it”. I want to get to the airport with plenty of extra time, get through security, and settle down in some seats at the gate. That’s not too much to ask for, is it?

planesillySo then I had to decide on the type of carry-on… which why would you think needs a decision? Well I just wanted traveling to be as easy as possible. And even though I’d never been to Europe I just kept thinking about the getting on and off public transportation, lots of people, and  the tight cobblestone streets. With these thoughts I immediately went to a backpack. Easy to carry and hopefully easier to navigate our way through the cities. Then I thought “could we really do it??”.

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In comes this Tom Bihn bag that I found online. I got excited. Then came Christmas and my mom got us each one!
So from Christmas til April I spent convincing myself we’d be able to do it. And here’s how! :

First I decided we would do laundry on our trip. Not exciting, but it wouldn’t take up too much time out of our trip. Only once, not a big deal.

Next I read many a great things about packing cubes. I got these from my sister, and I also got another 3 pack of the size small ones. I loved them, Jon was ‘eh’ about them.

Onto packing!

DSC_6053First I laid out everything and rolled it up. Left to right: Black packing cube has socks and underwear. Pajamas are below that, 3 pairs of pants, 1 chambray shirt, 3 tshirts, 2 camis, pullover sweater, cardigan (under pullover), 4 dresses, power adapter, pair of Toms, skinny brown belt, 2 long sleeve shirts.

Reminder: We went 4/29-5/15. I was very thankful for my long sleeves and pants. Italy was warmest, but I still did fine.

What’s not pictured is what I wore on plane: leggings, booties, 3/4 sleeve shirt, open sweater, jean jacket, blanket scarf, and my marmot. haha little excessive!

Also note that everything I packed (Jon too) coordinated together so that many outfit options were possible. It helped make me not feel like I was wearing the same things twice or more.

DSC_6056 DSC_6057 DSC_6058I could fit 4-5 rolled up items in the small bags and lay 2 folded things on top.

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DSC_6061On the bottom of my bag before any clothes went a file folder with all of our excursions printed out, and photo copies of my license/insurance/passports and a cross-body purse. I took a big tote as my personal item which had my DSLR, Nook, wallet, headphones, etc. The cross-body I used daily while in Europe and it was perfect.
DSC_6063As you can see it was all snug! The vera bag on top was all my toiletries (makeup, jewelry, brush,etc). Jon actually had the clear quart bag of our travel size shampoo/soap so he could easily take it out at security.
Also under my Toms on the right were a couple grocery store bags for dirty laundry. And under the black cube on the left was another light gauzy scarf.

IMG_20160515_133644I got no picture of either of us Wearing the Aeronaut, but have this sweet shot of me and the cart which I loved at the Copenhagen airport! Also there’s the tote I used for the planes.
I was a bit anal of the size and weight of the bags because I just didn’t want to risk getting to the gate and them Then be checked…

We had layovers both directions and we took a puddle jumper from Italy to France. The puddle jumper had the most restrictions so that’s what I based everything off of. Air France’s site said carry-on bags could not exceed 18 pounds. So the weight stopped us before space in our bags stopped us when packing which sounds crazy with how small they look, but they are roomy!

And overall it all worked out amazingly! I highly recommend Tom Bihn bags for this type of travel! I also recommend packing cubes. We stayed in little apartments in all the cities so it was nice to know where everything was even in tight spaces. And doing laundry in Italy also was great because we used the time to plan out a couple days through our Rick Steve’s books (which we also used all day every day)!

Next up will be our first city, Munich!

Stay tuned! And let me know what your favorite/preferred travel bag is!

~L
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A little Europe Tease

We did it! We are officially back home from our 2 week vacation traveling in Europe! Both literally and jet lag-wise (whew what a doozy!)

So where I have not even touched my DSLR camera since home where all my photos are sitting on my SD card still… my husband took over 700 photos on his phone! SO I had him send me 1 photo from each city that he loves. And these will be the teasers for my big post! I’ll actually probably break the posts down into several, but we’ll see!

Getting back into the grind has no grace period since we are moving out of our rental This Saturday and into our HOUSE! We have been at the house every day this week still painting and cleaning it up for the weekend… so tiring. But it’ll be worth it!  Stay close as I have a lot to post! Til then here are Jon’s pics:

First up we flew into Munich, Germany. We did a day trip to go see Neuschwanstein and Linderhoff Castles. Below is Neuschwanstein – used as a reference for Disney castle! Jon took a panorama of it up on its pedestal of a mountain.

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Then we took a train to Florence, Italy. Florence is quite compact, and yet smack in the middle of the city is the Duomo which every time we came around the corner to walk into the square it took our breath away! Don’t you agree? IMG_20160506_121108

 

And we took a puddle jumper of a plane to Paris, France. I don’t think the photo needs an explanation. It was just stunning. Best was that our apartment we rented had a view of it out our window! (below photo is not out our window**)

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That’s all for now! Stay tuned!

~L

Upstairs to the 2nd Apartment

So last update was me sharing the first floor of our little house with you, where we will be living. Now let’s move upstairs to the other half of the house!

Disclaimer: where we thought our attention at updating would be done around the full house, due to time constraints all we achieved so far upstairs is sanding the wood floors. We had to rearrange our priorities, so that we can move in on time. From there we will have much more time to just run upstairs and work on it. But let’s take a look at how it looked when we bought it to give you an idea of the layout!

Below is the view from the back of our yard. Our driveway is on the left past the fence. Those stairs going up is the apartment’s ‘front’ door. Very decent size deck with a gate at the top of the stairs.
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Here’s the deck. Needs a good powerwashing.

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This is the room you walk into. Very 60s… We are calling it a mudroom even though it’s fairly large. There is a washer and dryer hookup in this room, so we can’t imagine it being a living room and trying to watch tv while a spin cycle is going on..   We plan to take paneling and drop ceiling down and update flooring.

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Now below is the psychedelic kitchen. Equipped with the fabulous green linoleum floor, metal cabinets that are bubble gum pink inside, and a counter/backsplash that is a groovy geometric pattern. The bones are decent along with the size, everything else is still in question because costs can add up quick!

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Around the corner from the kitchen, and directly above the garage downstairs is what we are calling the living room. Unfortunately at one point (or many..) someone had pets (I believe just cats..) here and this floor got the most stains… Hence the carpet. We sanded and they still aren’t gone, so we’ll see how everything turns out.

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Now the door past the kitchen is to the bathroom. Opposed to the pink one downstairs, this one is emerald!  ….. no comment. It functions.

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And finally there are two bedrooms. One Really big one with two big closets, and a little one off it which is where it leads to the staircase within the house to connect the units. We are deciding to keep the stairs and access between them in case we can ever rent out the whole house to someone when we move on. We will be getting a steel fire rated door though to separate the units.  Otherwise these rooms just need updated paint and to re-finish the floors.

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So there’s our house! LOTS of work to do. But it’s ours and we are excited to learn and experiment!

Anyone else update some 60s houses?

Stay tuned for updates!

~L

Let the Renovations begin!

So it’s been almost 2 weeks since we settled on our house! Here she is!

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Built in 1948, this quaint cape cod is actually a duplex. At some point, we’re not sure the year but the second floor rear part of the house was added on to pretty much double the square footage of the house. That add-on consists of a kitchen, living room, den and bathroom on the second floor. (the original house already had 2 bedrooms on second floor).

Before we move in and attempt to acquire a tenant we are trying to spruce up the place a bit. So pretty much all open time and the available weekends we have we’ve been there. Externally we just plan to clean things up a little bit such as trim/remove the landscaping. I would like to paint the shutters to update them a bit but it’s not very high on the list.. And I know the awnings aren’t attractive, but I think they’re quirky and so I’m undecided so far as to keep them or not. The biggest internal projects have been re-doing the wood floors (6 rooms, plus stair case), and semi rearranging the kitchen on the first floor (where we’ll be living) to be more efficient. The kitchen was made without a place for a refrigerator, weird right? And there was a bottom cabinet missing randomly… So Jon’s dad has taken on the project. We do not have the money to completely gut it and upgrade it (even though we wish we could!), so his Dad is using what was there to make it work. Below shows how we bought the house, and what it looks like so far about mid way through…

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And I know that lower wall looks real nasty, but it’s not. Over the years there were layers and layers of like a vinyl wall covering so that’s just all the layers… That wallpaper border will also be going soon.

We also removed the gross carpet that was on the stairs. I removed all the staples, and I have a new appreciation of carpeting! geez, there was like 20-30 staples PER STEP!  We’ll keep them as is with the tops freshly stained and the risers painted a fresh white.

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We’ve finished sanding the floors, and this week we will be staining and poly-ing them. Actually Jon is pretty much solely responsible for all of the sanding of the whole house. He’s done Amazing at all of it. I came down with an annoying energy sucking chest cold, so the physicality of renovating and not to mention the amount of sawdust in the air made my ability to be at the house not possible.

IMG_20160218_090305This will be our bedroom, bye bye chair rail and this is the original floor color.

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The front of our house gets awesome sunlight in the mornings. Here’s our living room pre any renos. Bye Bye vertical blinds, and orange walls, and dirty bricks.
IMG_20160218_090155View from the kitchen. Again, not a fan of the chair rail. And Fridge will also not be in the dining room anymore!

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You can see the difference once sanded above, and below is a full room sanded! So excited!!
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Below is the fun part! We picked our stain we’re going to do (I had to talk Jon down from black… hello dust!) And then picking paint is a freedom I’ve never done! The endless options are a little overwhelming but exciting!

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There is the first floor update! I’ll update on the second floor with pics hopefully this week sometime! Thanks for checking in!

~L