Saturday, April 15, 2017

Keep The Car Running

Well folks, if any of you were counting, we have about three more weeks here in France! What??? I know! If I’m being honest with you, I did not think I would make it eight months in a different country. I honestly thought after four months I would be like, “Well that was cool, I’m done!”. Luckily for Wade, I didn’t jump ship. Since we leave in three weeks we thought one last trip to a French town was in order. We both really wanted to visit Normandy, so that’s what we did! We caught a train to Caen and then rented a car to stay in the city Bayeux.

Folks, I honestly knew very little about Normandy. I knew about D-day, of course, I wasn’t that out of touch. I just didn’t know or couldn’t remember a lot of the history. For instance, the city we stayed in, Bayeux, was the first city of battle of Normandy to be liberated. I never knew! As Wade and I went to the different beaches we kept Googling stuff.

Okay, so we got to Bayeux in the late afternoon. We checked into our hotel and then decided to pay Omaha beach a visit. We went at the perfect time. It was later in the evening and only a few people were there. We walked up and down the beach looking at all the monuments. It was so surreal. I just kept thinking, “I’m walking on that same sand that American soldiers fought and some died on.” It was overwhelming to think about all the lives lost. After the beach we headed back to our hotel.

The next morning was Saturday. Folks, we actually had a sort of itinerary for this trip! We never do that! We’re more of the mindset of, “Let's just wing it!” This time we had a plan! I feel like my sister Char would be very proud of us; she loves to plan. Anyway, our plan was to go to Mont-Saint-Michel. Wade has always wanted to go to the city. Folks, this city is awesome! When the tide is high, it’s surrounded by water. It’s basically a small town on an island. The only way to the city is by being shuttled into it on a narrow road. In the 12th century a monastery was build there. After that was built, houses began to pop up.

I loved this place! Being the nerds that Wade and I are, we decided fairly quickly that Saint-Michel was basically Gondor. Gondor guys! Middle earth has nothing on Saint-Michel though. Once we got over the shock of Gondor, we started climbing all the stairs. We made it up to the Monastery and decided to tour it. Folks, this place was awesome! I mean it was way better than the two castles I’ve visited. I know, this monastery beat out castles! You can also walk around the town out on the beach. They have the tide times posted so you won’t be swept up when the tide comes in.

After Saint-Michel, we drove back to Bayeux. There was a British cemetery and a journalist monument up the road from our hotel so we visited there. Now I’m going to admit something, but don’t think I’m an idiot, okay? I honestly didn’t know that the British and Canadian soldiers were involved in D-Day! Like maybe I learned about it years ago, but obviously I forgot. Although I did learn that Utah Beach and Omaha Beach were the beaches that the Americans landed on. There were three other beaches, Juno, Gold, and Sword. These three beaches are where the British and Canadian troops landed. Again, please don’t judge me for my ignorance!

The next day we went to Utah Beach. Fun fact, Utah beach was originally name Oregon, and it was a mission that was added on at the last minute. Once they were there, an unidentified Utahian named it Utah. Sorry Oregon! The beach was awesome! They have a museum and a ton of monuments basically on the beach. The museum was very informative. I honestly learned so much about D-Day and the days that followed at the museum. I got the same overwhelming feeling standing on that beach as well. I thought about the brave soldiers and the undoubtable fear they must have felt.

American Cemetery

After the beach, we headed to the American cemetery. As we were driving there, we saw the German cemetery. We decided to stop and walk around this cemetery. The stark contrast of this cemetery compared to the British cemetery was astounding. Instead of white crosses for headstones, there were small stones placed on ground. They had black crosses sporadically spread throughout the cemetery. Everything in this cemetery was solemn and bleak. You could tell that they didn’t want to glorify these soldiers, but they still wanted to give their families some closure. It was an eye opening experience. We finally made it to the American cemetery, and it was a lot bigger than the British and the German cemetery. They have a beautiful monument there. It was such an amazing experience to go and silently walk through and read the names on the crosses. The white crosses stood out among the bright green grass. It was a warm day and the sun was shining. I could tell that this cemetery was sacred. These men died to protect and liberate France. They thought nothing of themselves; they did what they knew to be right. I couldn’t help but be proud to be an American. I was proud of these people for the sacrifices they made.

German Cemetery

The next day was our last day. We went to a museum in Bayeux and learned more about Normandy and D-Day and the days after the first landing. I’m not saying I’m an expert on D-Day now, but I feel like I learned a lot! To shake things up a bit, we went to the tapestry museum next. Folks, I know you’re like, what the what, that sounds so boring! It actually was pretty cool! We got to see this tapestry that was from the 11th century. Guys, that’s almost a thousand years old! What?? The tapestry is over two hundred feet long. It was about how William the Bastard(sorry mom, that was really his name!) became William the Conqueror, king of England. After the museum we went to the cathedral. I feel like every town has at least one to two cathedrals. They are awesome, so I don’t really mind! After that, we decided to just drive around and see the countryside. We decided to end our trip the way we began it. We went back to Omaha Beach and walked along the sand. It was a great way to end our trip!

Well folks, I hope you learned some about Normandy. I know I learned a lot. I just feel like an important thing to take away from this is that some Utahan decided Utah beach sounded better than Oregon beach! I would have to agree with him although, I could be a little biased.

Thanks for reading folks!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Be Our Guest

Well folks, Wade and I had some cabin fever, so we rented a car and drove out to Colmar! We got there Friday afternoon and just wandered the cobblestone streets looking at the colorful buildings. Side tangent here, sure cobblestoned streets are  cute to look at. Walking on these stupid streets is a completely different ball game! Cobblestone is awful to walk on, the stones are uneven and by the end of the day my feet and ankles are dead! Anyway, enough of my weird dislike of cobblestones. All the buildings were so cute and colorful it was hard not to feel like you were in a fairy tale. We decided we should probably get some dinner. We stopped at a Japanese place and decided sushi was the best idea. I know what you’re thinking, “You’re in France! Eat French food!” All I have to say is, you don’t know my life! Also I’m not really sure I know what French food is. We eat pizza and sushi a lot. Although one time we did accidentally eat frog legs! It was pretty good! After dinner we went back to the hotel and watched some “good ole” French TV.


The next morning we were up bright and early. We were headed to an actual castle, Haut-koenigsbourg castle, in the vineyard covered hills of Orschwiller! Folks, it was a real castle! It was built in like the 14th century! They restored it back to its former glory. It was a pretty awesome castle. I wanted to find a talking candlestick and clock and have them ask me to be their guest. We really wanted it to be The Beast’s castle! Let’s be real--you folks were totally thinking about Beauty and The Beast! A castle on top of a hill in France. I feel like that’s a pretty relevant reference right now. After our castle excursion, we went to two French towns in the foothills of this castle. I don’t want anyone to freak out, but these two towns were the inspiration behind Belle’s town! I know! I was basically in my favorite Disney movie! I guess that makes Wade the Beast… he does have a cool beard. I also need to give a shout out to my brother Matt. He made us aware of these two towns, so good job Matt! I’ll give you a high five when I see in a month!


The first town was Ribeauville, and folks, I wanted the town’s people to start singing! There was even a fountain that looked pretty similar to the one Belle sits on, you know, when she is reading the book to the sheep? Wade tried to make me sit on the edge, but I didn’t think it was a good idea. Like what if I fell into the fountain? Too much risk was involved. I was also missing a book, so I couldn’t really complete the look. Although I did see a dog sit on the edge, so maybe I could have. Oh well! The next town on the agenda was Riquewihr. It was much smaller than Ribeauville and so cute! It was literally just one street lined with all these cute colorful buildings and you guessed it--cobblestones! It was so fun to go to these two towns! I was living my favorite childhood movie!


After the Beauty and The Beast morning, we spent to rest of the afternoon in Colmar. We went to The Musee´ Unterlinden and saw all the amazing artwork there. Before I moved to France, I wasn’t much of a museum goer. I found them boring. I know, GASP! Don’t worry--I like them now… if I’m not hungry at the time. Then we walked around Colmar a little more. On the recommendations of Lacee, Wade’s sister, we got some macarons (French spelling)at a little patisserie. They were the best macarons I have eaten in France! So thanks Lacee! I’m sad we don’t have any more. It was the best day ever! Once we were good and tired, we headed back to the hotel. The next morning we did a short little boat ride in the canal. It was a fun way to end a short weekend!


Folks, here are some things to take away from the post. Cobblestones are literally the worst thing ever. I’m not sure what French food is, but Japanese food is really good in France. Real castles are really neat. There are two towns in France that are real life Beauty and The Beast! Museums are much more entertaining when you’re not hungry. Lastly, the best macarons reside in Colmar, France!

Ha! You thought I was done with this post… nope! I have a bonus story for you. This actually happened a few weeks ago but I forgot to share it. Okay, so I haven’t gone to the store alone in France. I know, I know, I’ve lived here for seven months and I’ve always gone to the store with Wade. I just get nervous that someone will try to speak French to me, and I’ll cry because I don’t understand them! Anyway, one day Wade was going to work and said that if I was bored, I could go to the store and buy a pack of Cokes for him. Now I’m sure he said it just to be funny, but I took it as a challenge. I was feeling feisty that day, and I was like, “Yeah, I’m totally doing this!” I couldn’t remember the pin for our French debit card. so I grabbed a couple of euros. I was thinking, “It can’t be more than three euros for six cans of Cokes.” Boy was I wrong. I got to the store, grabbed the Cokes, and headed to the long checkout line. Once it was my turn I was feeling really proud of myself. I was like, “That was easy.” Feeling smug when she rang up the Cokes, I slowly realized that it cost FOUR euros. Folks, remember, I only at THREE euros. I panicked.  The lady was looking at me, the people in line were getting annoyed, and I was in shock! I started to slowly back away. I was babbling, “Oh never mind.” As I backed away, I tripped over someone’s grocery bags. Like who just leaves grocery bags on the floor?? I ran for the exit, red-faced and wondering why I thought to only bring this small amount of change. Folks, I didn’t give up! I wanted to prove to myself I could do this! I went home and grabbed ten euros! I marched up to the same lady, handed her the Cokes, and then proudly gave her the ten euros! She didn’t seem to think I was all that heroic but hey, at least I did!

Thanks for reading folks!

Monday, February 27, 2017

If I Go, I'm Goin'

Last Monday our heat wasn’t working. It had been out for about four days at that point. Once we realized it wasn’t coming back on for awhile, we grabbed Wade’s computer and booked some train tickets. We had decided to go to Lyon. It’s France’s second largest city. So Tuesday morning we set out for a 15 minute walk to the train station. We hopped on the train to Metz where we would hop on another train to Lyon. It was going to be a seven hour train ride all together, so we settled in for a LONG ride.

The train ride was uneventful. Our walk to the hotel was uneventful. We checked in, checked out our room, and then went to a local grocery store. A little tip, buy breakfast foods and maybe dinner at the store. You don’t want to pay for overpriced breakfast that the hotel offers. It’s a waste of money. Anyway, It was kind of late, so we decided to watch some tv and then go to bed.

The next morning we were off to see the historic part of Lyon! We rode a tram to the top of a hill. I’m sure people in Lyon would call it a mountain, but being from Utah, I call it a hill. We got to the top and went to the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere. It’s basically a very fancy cathedral. It was pretty awesome and the tram ride was definitely worth it. We then walked to the Theatre Romain. It’s a site that has some old ruins of a very big Roman theater. They still use the amphitheater for plays and such. Folks, it was awesome! We ended the day by going to an actual French restaurant. I say actual French because most of the time we end up eating at Subway. Don’t judge--Subway is cheap and pretty good.

We went to this French restaurant because apparently Lyon is the capital of French cuisine or something. Who knew? We ordered our food from a waiter who seemed miffed we didn’t order wine. The waiter seemed to get even more snippy when Wade had the gall to ask what the special of the night was. But we still got our food, and it was pretty good! About halfway through our meal, Wade seemed to be concentrating on something. I asked him what he was doing.  He whispered--I don’t know why he whispered since no one can understand us anyway--that he was trying to figure out if the table next to us was speaking Malagasy. Now, I don’t speak Malagasy but if you’ve ever heard someone speak it, it’s crazy sounding. So there we were, straining to hear this couple’s conversation. You may think that’s rude, but I don’t speak the language and Wade was more just excited, because it's not everyday you run across some Malagasies. At one point the waiter, for some obnoxious reason, started picking up silverware in a tub and dumping it back into the same tub. It was so loud that it drowned out any other sounds in the restaurant. We thought perhaps he knew we were eavesdropping, so he decided to make the loudest noise possible! After about ten minutes of listening, we figured out that yes, indeed, they were speaking Malagasy. With our new found information we paid our bill, and much to our waiter’s relief, we left.

The next day we went to the Musée Miniature et Cinéma. This museum had a few sets from a French movie. As we moved on through the museum, we saw props from a lot of American and French films. It was way cool to see it all. At one point, they had some costumes from a few movies. That part was way cool! Towards the end of the museum, they had miniature sets. It would have been cool had it not been for a bunch of unruly teenage boys. By this point we were done and just wanted away from the noisy boys!

Later that night, we decided to go to a soccer match. Wade has been really wanting to go to one. We wanted to see how different they were compared to American soccer. Well, I'll tell you right now--they’re WAY different! At one point, I was in the bathroom and all I could hear was stomping feet about my head. It honestly sounded like I was at Helm's Deep listening to some terrifying Uruk-hai army!(Shout out to The Lord Of The Rings nerds who get what I'm saying!) Lyon was playing a Dutch team and they demolished them! It was fun to see all the crazy fans! In the end, Lyon had scored seven goals and the Dutch team only scored one.

The next day, which was actually my birthday, we left Lyon. We rode the seven hours back to Forbach. We grabbed some eclairs to substitute as a birthday cake. I wanted to eat all four eclairs, but decided it was better to let Wade have some too. I'm getting soft in my old age.

Well folks, here's a few things to remember. Not having heat is a perfect excuse to go on a trip. Grab dinner at a grocery store.  Your wallet will appreciate it. The old part of Lyon is pretty cool. Waiters hate you if you order water instead of wine. Eavesdropping seems appropriate at times. You may find yourself at Helm’s Deep if you use a public bathroom at a soccer game. And last but not least, turning 27 was okay because I got to eat French eclairs!

Thanks for reading folks!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Another Day Of Sun

Folks! I actually have something to write about! In January we didn't really do anything too exciting, so I didn't want to bore you. We were basically hibernating! But we decided to leave Forbach for the warmer climate of Nice. To be fair, it was only like 10 degrees warmer, but I didn't have to wear my giant puffy coat! I’m going to call that a win.

Now the saga of getting to a Nice was uneventful. We rode a train to Luxembourg and caught a bus to the airport.  We decided to fly because we thought it would be cheaper and faster than the train. It was a little cheaper, but it wasn't as fast as we thought it would be. I was surprised by the airport--it was the smallest airport I have ever been to!

We lined up to go through security. Usually they will stop Wade’s bag and check his contact solution, so we were both very surprised when they let his backpack through and stopped mine! The agent told me to open it. I opened it. He took my makeup case out and he put it back through the machine. They did this like three times. Then they started to open my powder foundation and looked at my mascara! It was so bizarre. Finally they felt like they had examined my makeup closely enough and handed it back to me. Folks, I don't know what made the machine hate my makeup!

The airport was so small that we were bused out to the tarmac! I literally have never done this. Wade wasn't too fazed by this. Apparently this was normal for him. I felt famous getting off the bus and walking up the stairs straight onto the plane! It was so exciting to me! The plane was very small. We were flying to Frankfurt and then onto Nice. This airplane ride was only like 20 minutes!

The airport in Frankfurt was bigger, and we didn't get to ride onto the tarmac! We just walked onto the plane like we were dumb, normal people. That trip was only like an hour and a half. After landing, we took a bus to our hotel. It was like four blocks away from the beach!

The next morning we woke up to sunshine and blue skies! You could say it looked “Nice”! I know, I know! I had to say it! Folks, it was a warm sixty degrees! You can definitely tell if someone is a Utahn. We all think sixty degrees is so warm! We decided to start exploring Nice as soon as possible. We went down to the beach and walked around for a bit. We kept seeing people in giant puffy coats with their hoods up. We couldn't help but laugh! Here we are thinking it's so warm and these people are freezing their buns off!

After we walked around by the beach, we decided to go to Castle Hill. It has this awesome waterfall and a pretty cool park. We hiked up the millions of steps and finally got to the top! The waterfall was cool, but the view was the most amazing part. I stood there looking at the deep blue ocean and the surrounding mountains. I couldn't believe how lucky we were to be in such an amazing place! After we were sufficiently satisfied with the view, we went to the neighboring cemetery (like you do). The cemetery was pretty big and the headstones were awesome! I have to give a shout out to my sister Char. She told us to go there! It did not disappoint.


We walked back down the millions of steps and ended up walking around in more of the historic part of Nice. Then we returned to the beach and walked up the coast. It started to get really windy and clouds started to move in, so we decided we should call it a day.

The next day we decided to head over to Monaco. It was a little cloudy and colder than the day before. We got to Monaco and headed to the palace. It's more of the historic part of Monaco. We got there right when they were doing the changing of the guard! There was such a big group of people there that we couldn't really see what was happening. I did manage to see some of it through a phone screen as someone filmed it over their head! I'm just going to say, if you are filming something please, PLEASE don't put your camera or phone over your head! The people behind you can't see through your arms. Okay, now that I've said my peace, I’ll continue. We walked around and found a cool garden/park overlooking the ocean. It started to get extremely windy, so we decided to go to the aquarium. Folks, I've never been to one before! It was so much fun. I think I was more excited than the kids who were there! We saw sharks! Sharks are so cool! We went through the gift shop and actually bought something! A cool mug. I usually get annoyed going through museums only to have to exit through the gift shop. Like, I just saw all the real versions of this stuff.  Why would I want miniature replicas?? We then decided to go to the famous Monaco casino! It was a pretty cool building.

Folks, the next day was Valentine's Day! Cuuuuute! We didn't have anything planned, so we went down to the beach and sat on a bench. We found out that there was a Malagasy restaurant. We decided it would be fun to have lunch there. When we got there, it was such a small building and there were no tables that weren't inhabited by old people! So many old people. We asked if we could make reservations for dinner... they were full! We found out that they delivered. We decided to just have them deliver to our hotel. So we call later… they weren't delivering that day. It was such a bummer! We haven't really had good luck with Malagasy restaurants in the past. We went to one in Paris where the lady overcharged us and ordered gross food for us. You can ask Jamie and Jeremy how true that statement is. The second time we tried to go back to the same one in Paris, it was closed for construction! I guess we’ll just have to hop on a plane and go directly to Madagascar!

The next day we left. I was bummed to leave the sun and the beach. When we made it back to Luxembourg we found out we had to take a bus to a few towns over to get on a train to go back to Forbach. By the end of the trip, we had taken every mode of transportation! Train, bus and plane! Once we walked the mile back to our apartment, we were pooped! We took a three hour nap and decided going by train is a better idea than going by plane!

Here are a few take aways folks. January was freaking cold! Ladies, your makeup may be subjected to a pat down. Being driven on the tarmac and to the plane makes you feel famous. Nice is now my favorite place in France. Monaco has an awesome aquarium! Last, but not least, I will hop on a plane to eat elusive Malagasy food!

Thanks for reading folks!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

For Old Times' Sake

I'm back folks! I took a little hiatus there for a minute. With the holidays and everything, I thought it would be nice to take a little break. I'm back now, and I have more travel tips and crazy stories to tell you! So let's just dive right in, shall we? Are you excited? Because I'm very excited!

Wade and I got it into our heads that we wanted to surprise everyone and come home for Christmas. We purchased our plane tickets in October, so I had to keep this exciting secret for two months! Now, most of you would find that a semi easy thing to do. Most of you don't know what it's like to try to keep a secret from the Asay clan! It was probably the hardest secret to keep! Of course our parents knew we were coming. I mainly told my mom so I didn't have to suffer with keeping this secret alone. It's always better when someone has to suffer right along with you! Anyway, we did succeed in surprising everyone, and it was pretty fun!

One thing we should probably talk about is the 11 hour plane ride to get to Utah! We left from Amsterdam (word to the wise: go in the summer; it isn't as fun in the winter). Anyway, the flight was pretty uneventful. We watched movies and ate. They just bring you a ton of food on international flights! Anywho, we were right over the Salt Lake Airport when a freak storm hit. We couldn't land. So we circled the airport. Still couldn't land. We circled the airport about five times. We waved to Logan the first time, but on the third go, it got old. Finally it was time to land. Now folks, I've gotten used to flying. I'm not as scared of it as I was at first. This landing instilled the fear right back in me. As we were making our descent, the plane dropped ten feet! Like we were dropping out of the sky! Everyone was screaming, babies were crying, and my hand was crushing Wade's hand! Poor Wade. After the drop, it got worse. The plane started shaking so bad! Five people threw up. That's right, FIVE! When we landed, everyone clapped! That's how much we all thought we were going to die. The flight back was pretty uneventful. We didn't drop ten feet, so that's always good.

We had a lot of fun in Farmington and Evanston. We went to a Jazz game, Temple Square, sledding, and spent some time with our awesome families! I was sad to leave. It wasn't as hard this time though. We’re halfway done with this France experiment, so I think that made it easier. It was nice to have an actual bed and not to twins pushed together. It was nice to have a rectangle pillow and not a big square one. I miss that already! It was nice to go to church and know what everyone was saying.

We decided it would be really fun to fly back and spend New Year's Eve in Paris. Oh, how naive we were. I'm not one for big crowds and neither is Wade. Why we thought this would be fun, I have no clue. We were pretty jet lagged when we got to the hotel. We couldn't check in for another hour and a half, and it was really cold out, so we sat down in the hotel lounge and fell asleep in some chairs. I'm not embarrassed by the fact that I fell asleep in a public place. I was just that tired! I did wake up to a woman screeching at someone to shut the door to the hotel because it was cold. Folks, it was an automatic door that would open whenever you stepped on the rug. There were some very confused hotel patrons walking in at the time. Cool it lady, can't you see I'm trying to sleep in a public place here?! When we finally got into our room, we crashed. We slept a solid four hours. It was heaven!

We woke up at seven and decided to put on our coats, scarfs, and hat. We braved the cold to see Paris at night. In retrospect, when you find out the Metro is free all night, maybe that's a good indicator to not be out past midnight. It was our first warning sign. We were just happy it was free! Our next warning came when we were walking in some pretty popular places, and there were few people out. It was nice to walk by the Louvre and not have a million people there. We walked all over Paris. It was nice to see the city at night without all the people. That was fun. As the night wore on, we began to realize why no one was out at seven. By ten o'clock, we were the coldest we had ever been. Wade's hands were numb, and my feet were numb. We were cold and tired and still had two hours to go. We ended up by the Eiffel Tower because they usually make it sparkle cool colors when it hits midnight on New Year’s. So we stood there for two hours, just waiting. It was still pretty fun! People kept offering us half full bottles of champagne and were always offended when we declined their gracious, drunken offer. When midnight struck and the lights started, it seemed worth it all!

Now let's talk about the portion of the night where it took us two hours to get back to our hotel! So after the lights, everyone rushed to the metro, including us! We got to the closest metro, and it was a zoo! We couldn't even get down the stairs. We decided that it was no big deal.  We would just walk to the next stop! We were able to get down the stairs and to the platform but folks, there were hundreds of people down there! I'm not even exaggerating! Just crowds of people waiting for a train that no one could get on because it was full. We decided to cut our loses and get the heck out of there. The stairway out was clogged with people coming down. It took us ten minutes to push through that crowd and feel the sweet relief of the cold night air! We then decided to get an uber. The problem with that was there was traffic in every direction with people trying to get out of the center of the city all at once! We tried uber and then canceled it because there was nowhere it could pick us up. We tried uber five times as we walked out of the city center. We canceled it five times as we walked out of the city center. We finally decided it would be smart to start walking back to our hotel, an hour away, and see if the traffic would clear out over there. We walked for 30 minutes until the roads were less busy and an uber could get to us. Folks, seeing that uber pull up almost brought tears to my eyes! We got back to our hotel at two in the morning. We looked like such partiers! In reality we were jet lagged and cold. We stumbled into bed and decided it was all worth it to see Paris at midnight!

I hope this post has given you a lot of info. If you haven't really been paying attention, here are the Cliff Notes. Secrets are never safe with the Asay family. Planes can drop ten feet. Big square pillows are the worst! The awful screeching lady at the hotel wants the door to be shut. I may have looked homeless sleeping on a random chair. Always heed the warning signs. Wear extra socks... that's just all around good advice! Don't be naive about the metro being free. Midnight in Paris is my new favorite thing. And last, but not least, an uber can bring a tear to anyone’s eye!  

Thanks for reading folks!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What's this?!

Folks, I just want to take a moment and tell you a little story. Wade and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary last Tuesday. It started out like a normal day and then took a turn for the weird. We decided to eat at a local Chinese restaurant. That was mistake number one! It turned out to be a buffet--mistake number two. Then we read a sign wrong.  We thought it said shrimp.  It wasn't. After eating a few bites I said, “This tastes like fishy chicken.” In reality it was frog legs! Let that sink in--frog legs! The worst part was that I actually didn't mind them! Okay, now onto the rest of the blog!

We went adventuring again to places we had already been to and places we had yet to see! The one difference of this little trip was that Wade’s mom, Teri, and sister, Lacee, decided to join us. They took the train from Paris to Forbach, and we picked them up at the Forbach train station. We rented a car which was nice because we didn't have to walk the mile back with some suitcases dragging behind us. The plan was to drive to Füsson, see the Disney castle, drive to Freiburg (the Freiburg Germany that doesn’t have an LDS temple), then on to Strasbourg for some Christmas town fun!

We left Forbach in search of the Alps, a castle and some Christmas. Folks, one thing I should mention at this point is that at 4:30 pm it gets dark. So we entered Füsson in the dark and were pretty bummed because all you could see of the Alps was a dark mass. We grabbed dinner and then headed to the Airbnb. The next morning (Thanksgiving) we were up bright and early. We really wanted to see the castle again! We walked up the “big hill” and once at the top discovered some bad news. The trail to Mary’s bridge (you know the bridge I wouldn't walk across that everyone takes pictures on?) was closed! Closed! Folks, the front entrance of the castle is pretty underwhelming. The best view is from behind on the bridge! We took the news better than expected and continued on to our tour of the castle! At one point we decided to drive out to a road that had a perfect view of the castle. Right as we parked to take some photos, the fog rolled in and covered only the castle! By the time we did everything, darkness was again upon us. We decided we needed a Thanksgiving feast! They, of course, don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Europe, but Germans sure do know how to make a meal that Thanksgiving would be envious of!


The next morning we were off to Freiburg! So let me clarify something. There are two Freiburgs in Germany. There is Freiburg (where we went) and there is Freiberg (where the LDS temple is). For about half our drive we thought we were going to the latter. Some investigation on Lacee’s part made it clear we were headed to the Freiburg that did not include the temple. We picked Freiburg because it was half way between Füsson and Strasbourg. Freiburg was a little underwhelming, but it did have a very big Christmas market! We wandered the city and ended up in a beautiful cathedral. We did go to the Christmas market, and it definitely put me in the Christmas mood!


After a night in Freiburg, we were off to magical Strasbourg, France! I say magical because it is literally like we’re Jack Skeleton wandering around asking rhetorical questions like, “What's this!?!” There are Christmas lights everywhere! On every inch of everything! The little Christmas markets have every Christmas thing you could ever think of or want. If you ever end up there, go at night! Everything is so beautiful, and it puts you in the best of moods! Although when we got there, it wasn't dark yet, so we decided to tour the palace, which was very cool. We did a river cruise, which was both a good and a bad idea. The good part was old town Strasbourg. That’s where all the Christmas stuff happens. The bad part was the cruise was about an hour and a half, the boat was cold, and new town Strasbourg isn't nearly as bright and Christmasy as old town! All in all, Strasbourg is a wonderful place to go to fill you with Christmas spirit and warm hot chocolate.

Sadly the next morning we were headed back to Forbach! We got back and hung out for a bit. Then we decided to go to Saint-Avold, which is about fifteen minutes from Forbach. Saint-Avold has the biggest WWII American cemetery in Europe. It was an amazing yet solemn sight to see. It was a beautiful monument for all the young men who sacrificed their own lives in the name of liberty and justice.

After the cemetery, we headed to my favorite city, Metz. Teri and Lacee had to catch the train there to head back to Paris. We had a few hours to kill, so we showed them our favorite places in Metz which included the eclairs we get at the same bakery every time we are there! Folks, these eclairs are still better than having a lifetime supply of peanut M&M! Now that's saying something! Metz also has a Christmas market, so we got to wander around that one too! This week sure put me in the Christmas mood! After a few hours, we helped them to their train and stood on the platform waving goodbye. I was sad to see them go!

Folks, here are some things to take away from all this. The Disney castle is awesome but even better from Mary’s bridge. Fog ruins everything. Germans make a great Thanksgiving meal! There are two Freiburgs in Germany, so don't get confused and disappointed when there isn't a temple! Strasbourg is so magical that even Jack would be overwhelmed by all the Christmas spirit! Saint-Avold has the biggest WWII American cemetery in Europe. Metz is always a good place to end a long journey. And lastly, Europe seems to love Christmas because there are Christmas markets in every city! Dare I say it, even in Forbach!

Thanks for reading folks!