Let the fun begin!

Let the fun begin!
Miles Family - October 2011 - Northern Ethiopian Trip in the Tigray Region

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mittweida Friends and Twilight!

Last Sunday we went to church in Mittweida. There were actually a couple of families who remembered Mitch when he was a missionary so long ago. One family invited us over to their house for lunch after church. Mitch recognized the father. He was in his late teens preparing to go on his mission when Mitch was in Mittweida. The family has 5 children, so the kids played and played and played. They have a large backyard with toys, a treehouse, swinging rope, etc.... Even though our kids and their kids spoke two different languages they got along quite nicely and had a lot of fun. To our new German Friends......thank you Marcus and Yvonne! You have a beautiful family and it was so kind of you to take us under your wings.

Now this is the funny part! After we ate lunch, the adults were talking and Marcus mentioned to Yvonne that maybe I would be interested in the "girls night out" coming up on Thursday. Yvonne said...."oh, she wouldn't be interested in Twilight." My ears perked up and I said....."Ummm, Twilight! I love Twilight."
For those who have been living under a rock for the past two years (aka Dad) Twilight is a series of books by Stephenie Meyer that are being made into blockbuster movies. Believe me, I was not interested in a vampire guy and a human girl falling in love until last year when a friend suggested I watch the first movie with her on DVD in Addis Ababa. Well after that I read all 4 of her books, bought my own set of books, read them over and over in Addis Ababa, and had my friends read the books in Addis too.

Back to the story.................Mitch was cringing because he thinks only the "girls" love the twilight movies (insert...Mitch rolling his eyes), he calls them chick flicks and was shocked that Twilight had penetrated all the way to eastern Germany. He said on the way home......"No, not the Germans too!" hee, hee, hee So Yvonne told us about being a huge fan and that she read the books in German AND English. True kindred spirits!
So the end result.......Thursday I went to dinner at Yvonne's house with other Twihards for a Twilight party and watched the new movie Eclipse at the local theater. It just came out this week in Germany.

This is to my fellow Twilight friends in Addis, Fairfax, Va and Boise, ID...
1. We had mushroom ravioli for dinner and soda pop.
2. The dinner table was decorated with all the books in English with little heart candies spread out.
3. Yvonne's daughter created a Twilight Quiz with Twilight and New Moon collector cards as prizes.
4. We had monster brownies because that went with the theme.
5. We saw Eclipse in German! Yeah, I loved the movie and I didn't understand one word. Well ofcourse I knew what was going on from reading the books, but didn't understand a word except maybe for Danke which means thank you. Yvonne translated a bit for me too.
It was such a fun night. Hooray, I got to see Eclipse. Hopefully, when I get back to Addis I can see it there too! Thanks again to my new German friend Yvonne........

Lunch in Meissen

In between tours of the Castle and the Cathedral we took a break for a bite to eat. We had bratwurst, rolls, potato salad, etc....Mmmmmm it was good!
The view was fantastic. Pictures 3 and 4 over looking all the red roofs was from where we ate lunch. Yeah, I know.......I only thought these places existed in movies. I do have to admit (I love my children dearly) but it would have been a bit more romantic sitting at the table overlooking the city with JUST my husband. Then I wouldn't here Sophi yelling "no" to everything, Glori complaining about "something" and Eli eating his salad like a rabbit instead of using a fork even though we have asked him 10,000 times. Hmmm, like I said........just a bit more romantic! However, we are having a great time as a family making memories.

The first picture was the "gate keeper" to the castle and cathedral. I can just picture the guards standing watch as the weary travelers came up the hill.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Albrechtsburg Castle in Meissen

The view of Albrechtsburg Castle and its close neighbor the Meissen Cathedral is breathtaking. I wish I had a better picture of both of them over looking the Elbe River.

1. A picture of the Princess or Queen Sophia.......ofcourse we had to take a picture.

2. Another picture of the historical murals in the grand hall.
3. Glori in the great hall. Can you see the vaulted ceilings and the sharp angles of the walls. It was so impressive.

4.. Glori Sue over looking the city from the winding staircase up to the castle. That is one thing we have done is walked and walked and climbed stairs.
5. The castle and the dom of Meissen.
6. Part of Albrechtsburg Castle after our tour.
7. More murals of old Kings and Queens.
8. A special masterpiece of this late-Gothic Saxon castle is the Grosser Wendelstein, a spiral staircase. It is mind boggling that it is original. It is all stone!
9. Another hall with murals of battles and stories. There were also statues of the late Kings. To enter this room we had to put on these big slippers over our own shoes and slide around the room. This was to keep the floor preserved. Glori Sue thought she was skating on ice.

10. Have you ever heard of Meissen Porcelain? "White Gold" from Meissen is legendary. The very famous and EXPENSIVE Meissen porcelain was invented and manufactured here in Albrechtsburg Castle starting in 1710 and was known as Europe's first porcelain manufactory. The porcelain "masterpieces" are amazing and there were MANY pieces on display (ex. the white vase with birds and blossums) to celebrate the 300th year anniversary this year. The Meissen factory is now located down the street and can be visited. However, we were short on time and could not even think about taking Sophi there. At 250 euro a tea cup, we were definitely NOT going there. If you are curious, go ahead and google Meissen Porclain in Germany. It is fancy schmancy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Meissen Cathedral

Yesterday we visited the city of Meissen. The Meissen Cathedral stands in the center of a plateau high above the Elbe River and sits next to the Albrechtsburg Castle.
Stay tuned for the commentary....it is really late and I am going to bed. hee, hee, hee
3. This is a picture of the burial chapel of Duke Georg, the last of the Catholic Wettin Dynasty.
5. Eli was being a great big brother and decided to carry Sophi for just a little bit. The kids really did have fun climbing to the top of towers and looking out on the city, etc....

The little forest path in Mittweida

Another must see in Mittweida was the little, forest path that leads to a restaurant. As a missionary, Mitch would volunteer "manual" labor in the forest cleaning up or whatever was needed. Community service type work, but NOT because you were going to jail and are getting off by doing a little work. No this was quite different.......Volunteer work is that thing that most people say..........oh, I don't have time to do that!

The story goes.........Mitch was working in the forest with other missionaries and said to himself that "someday, I am going to bring my family (a wife and children that he has never met at that point) to this exact spot. Really, this is no joke. He just thought the place was beautiful and peaceful.

Ofcourse we found this little path in the forest and hiked about a mile and 1/2 to the restaurant by another lake. It was soooooooooo nice! Now keep in mind that we have been living in Addis Ababa for two years, so yes everything here is nice/better, but I mean REALLY nice.

It was a HOT day but with the trees providing shade and a small breeze we were happy. The dinner was great traditional food and the kids even had meals put together in characters. Eli's mashed potatoes were shaped like a dragon with sugar peas as spikes along the dragon's back. Little sausages were cut to look like feet and he even had a tongue formed from tomato skin. It was a hit. Sophi had octopus hot dogs/ fries and Glori had chicken / fries shaped into a flower.

So after 17 or 18 years, the little forest path that leads to the restaurant was a perfect outing and another item marked off Mitch's bucket list!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


On Saturday and Sunday we traveled to one of Mitch's favorite cities, Mittweida. It is another beautiful town with a neat, city park with a lake. We strolled through the park looking at the swans, wild life and the scenery. We all played in the playground and even rode on the teeter totter. Even us grown-ups can have fun!

We ate lunch at this restaurant next to the lake and had ice cream desserts afterwards. Glori and Sophi had desserts shaped as bees. It was very cute!

3. The picture of the grayish, brown ,3-story, corner building is the exact apartment Mitch lived in about 17 years ago on his mission. He was living on the 3rd floor. Mitch had to go down "memory lane" again. We let him......again!
4. It appears that every large or tiny town that we encounter has a church building, maybe even a couple. Some are simple, but most are grand buildings with high towers and pointed roofs. Here is Mittweida's church building with the clock tower.

5. The other picture with the ornate, pink trim building is the city hall. It has the gold statue in front of it. We actually seen the tiny replica displayed in Klein Erzgebirge where I posted a message days ago. I am not sure I posted the picture there, but they do look exactly alike. The city hall or Rathaus is just a short walking distance from Mitch's old apartment.

1. and 2. The other pictures of these beautiful houses are two homes Mitch used to walk by on a daily basis. He has said more than once (I repeat, more than ten times) that he loved these houses and wanted to make sure we saw them on this trip. So there you are......I am sure in the millions.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Burg Kriebstein (Castle)

Today we traveled to Kriebstein Castle, Saxony's most beautiful knight's castle. Now this was a treat! Here is some information from the flyer we obtained at the castle today.

The first documented reference can be dated back to the 14th century, when the Knight Dietrich of Beerwalde established the residential tower in 1384 which is 45 meters high. Apart from the extensive reconstructions of the first floor, the tower has remained almost unaltered up to the roof until today. The tower itself together with its furnishings presents an authentic record of the building and living style of the late Middle Ages.

The last owners were the family of Arnim who had been living there from 1825 until 1945, almost 120 years. The family of Arnim was expropriated in 1945 and Kriebstein Castle became state-owned. Since Januray 1st 1993, Kriebstein Castle has been owned by the land of Saxony. At the beginning of the 1990's, the renovation process started , facades and rooms were refurbished and total restoration process ended in April 2004.

3. The black Waldenburg tiled stove is from 1680 and is decorated with big shells.
8. The other green tiled stove was built in the 19th century.

2. The 2nd picture shows the saga of the faithful lady of Kriebstein. Margrave Friedrich der Streitbare seized the castle in 1415 from the knight Deitrich of Staupitz. After a period of time the ladies were permitted to leave the castle with the most precious thing they could carry on their backs. It was expected that the ladies would carry jewels and money, but the ladies carried their husbands out of the gate. The Margrave was overcome with emotion and saved the knight Staupitz's life.

7. The winged alterpiece with 5 people in it is especially rare. It was painted in 1520.

6. There was a treasure find in 1986. Books, silver and china were hidden in a chimney over 3 floors during WWII. Most of the objects were from the Steinort Castle in east Prussia. Its former owner Heinrich Duke of Lehndorff was actively involved in the attempt on Hitler in 1944 and was consequently imprisoned and killed. All the pieces of art and valuable items were transported to Kriebstein Castle.

1. The chapel is a compact square room and the paintings date back to 1410. The paintings were restored in 1994 and form one of the best exhibitions of late Middle Ages wall paintings in Germany today.

4. The castle is now a museum, restaurant and the church is used for small, quaint weddings. Today, there were actually 4 weddings and it was fun to see 2 beautiful brides. One of the brides was marrying a fireman. The groom's fellow fire firefighters dressed in their dress uniforms and filled their water hoses with air. The hoses were then bent to create a tunnel of arches that the bride and groom walked through. Very interesting. We had never seen that done before.

We have too many pictures to post all of them. It was a very exciting day to learn the history behind all the furnishings and treasures. We are going to try and go back on Wednesday for a private tour of the tower. With all the weddings today, it was difficult to see everything. Stay tuned for more later!
A sidenote: If you want to see the picture more clearly then click on the picture and it will go to almost full screen. :)

Visit to the Big City of Leipzig

Two days ago we visited the city of Leipzig. We felt like it was "huge" compared to the small little villages we have been driving through and touring. The city has many trolley street cars, vehicles and many, many bicycles. Trying to read the road signs, staying out of the trolley cars paths, dodging bicyclists and listening to "Greta" our GPS navigation system in the car was quite the task for Mitch driving and me "navigating." However, we managed to find a parking garage in the perfect spot and to have a picnic lunch at a park in the middle of downtown. Thanks to Mitch's long term memory we had no problems.......his short term memory now that is a different story, hee, hee, hee

Mitch quickly became our tour guide and we meandered through the streets with the kids and the stroller. Sidenote: we couldn't figure out why we get stared out so much. It is not because we look like foreigners (I mean Mitch speaks pretty good German) it is because we have more than one or two kids. No joke! We have seen very few families with more than one or two kids. Our hosts back at the farm explained that it is just the culture.
Anyways, back to Leipzig. Mitch explained that many of the colors on the buildings have changed from dark gray to now very nice lighter colors. Years ago, most of the buildings were heated by coal and therefore produced a black or gray soot. Now, you can tell which buildings have been cleaned and which ones the city is still working on restoring.

We took many pictures, but these are the ones that made the blog.

1. The first picture is of Mitch and the kids in front of a statue in front of the Neues Gewandhaus. The statue is called Mendebrunnen.

2. The second picture is of the "City Building." It is designed to symbolize an open book. Very modern looking!

3. Old Town Hall, market area. This is the center area where locals gathered to peacefully protest travel restrictions from East Germany in 1989. More and more people gathered and this eventually led to the peaceful end of the East German Communist Government. In laymans terms, it led to the wall coming down and Germany was one country. Very cool to see this in person even though the area was under construction. Those construction guys......Jeez, I tell ya they are always making a mess of things. Sorry honey, but you are. hee, hee

4. The fourth picture is of the famous St. Thomas Church or Thomas Kirche. It was built in 1212 and it is famous because this is where Martin Luther introduced the Reformation in Albertine Saxony on Whit Monday 1539. Also, because Joann Sebastian Bach was cantor and "director musices" from 1723 to 1750.
5. The last picture is of the new city hall building. It has been recently renovated, but built originally between 1899 to 1905. The tower is 114 meters high and the building has over 600 rooms. The stone has been cleaned back to the light gray color.