Tuesday, December 30, 2008


She is our newest family member/marriage saver/most awesome purchase ever. She is a GPS system. And she always knows right where we are, even when we think we are on some back road in the middle of nowhere, she confidently says in her slight British accent "drive 400 meters, then turn left." It is lovely.

Although Adam and I have always had a pretty good driver-navigator relationship, Chloe just makes every drive stress free. No worrying that if you miss the turn you will suddenly have to stop in the middle of the autobahn to figure out where you are. Instead, she says "recalculating", although I think she reveals a little hint of frustration, and then again in her confident voice says, "continue 250 meters then turn right."

In addition to her, so far, always correct directions, she tracks your ETA (estimated time of arrival). So, you never have to wonder "Are we there yet?" Just ask Chloe.

Friday, December 26, 2008

What is flickr?

First of all, for those concerned, we made it safely to Aix en Provence. It was an amazing drive. I had to force myself to keep my hands on the wheel instead of reaching for my camera. We drove from Germany, through Switzerland (the mountains were incredible!), and then down through France. The French countryside is just as beautiful as any picture you have ever seen. The buildings all have clay shingles and that light pinkish-tan color. Along the freeway you could look at the surrounding hills and see old castle ruins. The drive was great, and thanks to our new toy, Garmin Nuvi 270 we didn't have a single problem getting here.

Now, about Flickr. I have been asked a few times to explain myself so here it goes. Flickr is a photo sharing website owned by Yahoo. At its most basic, it is a site where anyone can sign up, upload pictures and then share them with just your friends or the entire world. If you look up you will see a slideshow of our pictures. If you click on the slideshow it will link you directly to my Flickr site. So, Flickr is the site where I upload our photos.

But there is really so much more to Flickr than just its basic function. I like to think of it as a constantly changing photographic art gallery. Everyday I can walk through it and find hundreds of new and beautiful pictures. In fact, I have learned a lot about photography by doing this, and I think, learned to take better pictures because of it. So, on Flickr there is a page called Explore. This is the daily 500 photographs. From the little research I have done it seems that no one knows for sure how the daily list is compiled but is done with some kind of computer program/alogorithm. On each and every photo on Flickr a member can 1) view it 2) comment on it and 3) add it as a favorite picture. Somehow, Flickr takes all 3 of these pieces and compiles a daily list of the top 500 photographs. And I want to make that list!

Here is an analogy (I didn't come up with it on my own, I read it from another Flickr member): Remember little league baseball? When your coach would remind the team that winning isn't everything? Well, its not. There is a lot of fun to be had playing baseball. Wait, let me change the analogy. Everyone knows baseball and fun cannot go together! So, your water polo coach says winning isn't everything. Face it, you had fun. You got to play. You worked hard. Maybe you even scored a point. So even though you didn't win it was still worth your time. But, as everyone who has ever played any kind of game can attest to, winning is still fun. So here is how this applys to Flickr. Flickr is fun. I enjoy posting my pictures and I enjoy viewing the pictures of others from all over the world. When I'm about to go somewhere new, the first thing I do is Flickr search that place and view pictures of it. So in its own right Flickr is fun, but it would be so much more fun, an added bonus, to make it onto Explore one day. There you have it. An explanation of my craziness. Laura is about to cut me off of Flickr since I kinda became a little obsessed about making Explore. But she gave me good advice, just keep taking good pictures and one day it will happen.

So for all of you who have been checking out my pictures, thank you. I hope you have enjoyed them. I certainly know I have enjoyed taking them and I am very proud of many of them. And just so the whole world knows, Laura is often a huge behind-the-scenes help, even when she is in front of the camera. My latest set of pictures, with Laura in the red dress on the snow covered hill was all her idea. She is also the one that has to wait for me while I stop again and again and again to take pictures.

I think that about covers it. I hope my explanation helps everyone understand just a little better. And I will be sure to let you all know if I ever make Explore! cross you're fingers!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

1...Christmas Day

1...bottle of Kandern red wine
1...baguette from Heiber's
1...ofenkase (oven cheese...yummy!)
1...lunch for the two of us on Christmas!

We slept in, we made waffles, we seriously considered calling our families at their 1 in the morning time, we opened a few gifts (most of which were very generously shipped over to us-thanks everyone who sent us something!) and then we hung out. In a little while we are going to The Shuman's, a BFA family, for Christmas dinner. A good holiday. A hard one to be away from friends and family, but a good day nonetheless.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2... DeClercq popsicles

We are loving the snow and the beauty that it brings in our postcard-perfect German village. But it is COLD. We really do need to wear gloves and a scarf at all times.
But, if the alternative is 80 degrees on Christmas, I will take the cold. I have loved the seasons here, even winter.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

3... weeks off
Need I say more?
We get such a nice long break because so many of our students travel so far to get home for Christmas. We have fewer days off throughout the year, and longer Christmas and Easter breaks. I guess it makes sense to forgo Thanksgiving and have 3 weeks at Christmas so the kid travelling to Timbuktu doesn't have to just turn around and come right back.

Monday, December 22, 2008

4... Christmas Markets
and Colmar

At each market there are Christmas lights, hundreds of people all crowding around the Gluhwein (hot mulled wine) booths and of course, bratwurst. Even chestnuts roasting on an open fire.
Stall after stall of crafts, Christmas decorations, and food are around every corner. It is a great way to get into the German Christmas spirit.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

5... dozen Christmas cookies
4 of us girls, ladies, whatever, (I never know the appropriate term. I don't really feel old enough to be a "lady") got together on Friday to bake in my big classroom kitchen. We made buckeyes, known to us West Coasters as peanut butter balls, toffee nut bars, and sugar cookies. I attempted twice to make almond roca but I was a terrible failure. The girls assured me it must be the German butter or the German sugar, and not me that was the problem. Regardless, I threw out a lot of ruined butter sugar. Big ol' bummer for me.
I only took a few cookies home since it is just the two of us this Christmas. I didn't figure we needed 30 peanut butter balls. Because honestly, then we would eat them all and would have to climb a lot of stairs to not have that have a lasting effect.
However, the best part was that Adam earned a nickname... the Sugar Vacuum. Due to his unnatural ability to consume LARGE amounts of anything containing sugar.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

6... th of December
is when St. Nikolaus comes in Germany.
In Roman Catholic areas of southern Germany, Sankt Nikolaus still comes as a bishop with flowing beard and a bishop's miter and staff. Children clean and polish their shoes or boots in preparation for the saint's visit. On the evening before St. Nicholas Day, children put letters to the good saint along with carrots or other food for his white horse or donkey on a plate or in their shoes. These are left outside, under the bed, beside a radiator, or on a windowsill in hopes of finding goodies from St. Nicholas the next morning. During the night Sankt Nikolaus goes from house to house carrying a book in which all the children's deeds are written. If they have been good, he fills their plate, shoe or boot with delicious fruits, nuts and candies. If not, they may find potatoes, coal, or twigs.
Children practice poems and songs for Sankt Nikolaus and make little presents for him.
Friends and neighbors come to share in the fun. Candles on the Advent wreath and the big Christmas pyramid with a nativity scene in the center are lit. Stories are read or songs sung as everyone waits for a knock on the door. When it comes, they all know it is Sankt Nikolaus, who comes in with his big book, golden crozier, and a big heavy sack. One of the children gets to hold the golden staff. Each child stand in front of the saint. Nikolaus asks each child, "Have you behaved yourself?" "Do you do your homework?" "Do you keep your room tidy?" "Do you help your parents?" Then he opens his big sack and gives presents and candies and treats for all to share. Nikolaus leaves quickly as he has many places to visit.

But for many children, Nikolaus also elicits fear, as he is often accompanied by Ruprecht, who threatens to punish the children for misbehavior.

Friday, December 19, 2008

7... packages shipped
and not a cent in international shipping! Necessity breeds creativity. We rocked online shopping this year. Even our Christmas cards were all done online!
We had stuff shipped to family of friends who are going to hand carry it to Germany! We sent packages back to the States in friends' luggage to be mailed once it is only a domestic fee. And other packages are flying home in a duffel bag to be picked upin person. So much more work than just throwing it in the back of the Jeep!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

8...ways to wish you a Frohe Weihnacten

2 Facebooks
1 blog
2 emails
snail mail
and a partridge in a pear tree (but only if it is a homing partridge, otherwise it will get lost and therefore is useless)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

9... hours difference between Germany and California

Makes it difficult to pick up the phone, well, click on the icon in Skype, and call when you think of something funny or have a random question... because most likely anyone you want to talk to is either sleeping (and I have had to hang up mid-call because I realized a 3 AM phone call from your daughter probably means someone is dead!) or at work when we are up and at home. It's a crazy thing, these time zones! Germany is in Time Zone A below. CA is U. Cute, U are CA.

But, on the flip side Skype is free. Can you imagine? Talking for as long as you want without worrying about the cost? Free international calling. What's next? Flying cars?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

10 dozen pages of essays (or 10 days of snow, either will work)
Adam here-The end of the semester is upon us and pages and pages of student writing is falling down on me like an avalanche. Fahrenheit 451 tests to grade, research papers to grade, and the now infamous Sono Libero. Whew, I finished that today. The Sono Libero is the creative writing class' short story journal. My class wrote, collected, edited, printed, copied, cut, and bound 100 copies of pages filled with creative short stories. And even though my students did a lot of the work, I ended up doing a whole lot of it myself. But gloriously, we finished today!
Now I just need to finish grading everything else so that I will have time to grade my final exams! Yeah for the end of the semester.
As for the snow, it is just cold here. How long will it stay snowy on Mission Peak? 2 hours? It hasn't actually snowed for over a week but it has been so cold that the snow hasn't melted. I've made dozens of snow balls to throw at Laura from the same pile of snow. It just never gets old. Well, she thinks its old.
Anyway, let the countdown to Christmas (break: 3 days!!!!!!) continue!

Monday, December 15, 2008

11...hours of Christmas music
My question is: if we have that much Christmas music on the Zune, why does the shuffle always seem to land on the annoying Christmas songs like Dominick the Christmas donkey and not the always enjoyable Carol of the Bells?
We have yet to find a German all-Christmas-all-the-time radio station. Actually, I think I have only heard one Christmas song on German radio and it was Santa's Coming To Town, so Adam burned a CD of our favorite festive tunes to listen to while we drive through the snow to school in the morning.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


12... days until Christmas

In honor of one of the most annoying Christmas songs around, and to help everyone get in the festive spirit, we are going to countdown to Christmas on the DeClercq blog.
I promise, there will be no lords a'leaping, maids a'milking, and unfortunately for me, no 5 golden rings.
There will be insights into German Christmas, our daily grind, pictures, and some fun.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I walked through Kandern this afternoon, on a mission to buy little Christmas-y bags to fill with chocolate truffles, which my classes are making tomorrow morning (don't you wish you were taking Independent Living with Mrs. DeClercq!). It was snowing, so I was bundled up in my tights and Ugg boots, coat, scarf, and gloves. The snowflakes were sticking to my eyelashes and making my dress look polka-dotted. As I walked the two blocks or so to the store, I watched store keepers hanging Christmas lights. I saw a truck filled with Christmas trees on its way to the Christmas tree lot. I could almost hear the wind humming a Christmas carol. It was absolutely beautiful.
I bought my bags and started the walk back. I stopped to buy a Christmas ornament that I saw in a store window. She wrapped it up like a gift for me, complete with ribbon. Then I made another stop at the florist where I bought three pointsettias. Each of the plants was individually wrapped and taped closed. As I walked back in the snow, with my arms full of Christmas, I couldn't help but sing to myself.
This must be what it is like to live in a Christmas song.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Weihnachtbaum, Tannenbaum, Christmas Tree

We bought a Christmas tree!
We borrowed a big dorm van and drove to the nearest Home Depot equivalent with Luke and Stephanie Welbourn, fellow BFA-ers... and picked out a tree. It was pretty painless. The men carried our trees to the cashier, threw 'em in the back of the van and we were off.
German tree stands are FANTASTIC! You drop it in and there is a wire that tightens around the trunk. No lying under the tree in a pile of needles depsperately trying to crank a screw into the base of a no-longer-straight tree. We are thinking of importing them...

We put on our string of lights, a few decorations I found in our crawl space and we were full of Christmas cheer.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Red Cup Day

It is a tradition... when Starbucks releases their red holiday cups, I celebrate. Nothing elaborate, just a count down and then a trip to enjoy a hot holiday-flavored beverage in a festive red cup of Christmas spirit. This year, Red Cup Day came a little late. Shocking as it may be, the huge town of 3000 people, Kandern, does not have a Starbucks. I was as surprised as you... So, I had to hear through the grapevine that the cups had been unveiled. Then, I had to find people to go with, because you simply cannot celebrate this occasion alone.

Finally, last night, we celebrated belated Red Cup Day. This was my first International Red Cup Day. And the snow just made it extra-special.

I was disappointed that there were no Eggnog Lattes, but the Dark Cherry Mocha was delicious.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I got my haircut by Oliver; he's German. I had practiced all my German phrases. Ich bin hier um meine Frisur. (I am here for my haircut). Mir gefällt die Frisur in dieses Bild. (I like the haircut in this picture) and the all-important. Sprechen Sie Englisch? (Do you speak English?) The "please, please, please" is implied in the desperation in my voice. You get the picture.

It turned out to be virtually painless as he spoke better English than most Americans I know. We talked about where in California he should take his wife, why I like the rain, and how there is nothing to do in Kandern after 8.

Adam thinks this is the best haircut I have even gotten. I love it. As I was looking at the pictures to post, I relaized that it won't look that different from the last time many of you saw me. You have not had the opportunity to watch it grow out unevenly and get stragglier and stragglier with each passing day. So, just imagine what your hair looks like right before you get it cut again. And that's about what it looked like.
So, finally, here are the pictures of the new 'do.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Reality Show or Classroom?

It's a good day here in Kitchen Stadium! Independent Living has officially started the much anticipated Cooking Unit. *wild applause* When I announced that we would be starting this unit, one of my students sat up in his chair, clasped his hands together and proclaimed, "Mrs. DeClercq, words cannot express how excited I am!" If that doesn't warm a teacher's heart, I don't know what would.

We have successfully made trail mix, baked granola, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Everyday my students want to turn the lesson into a reality show- Next Top Chef, Iron Chef, Hell's Kitchen, Survivor, Weakest Link. You name it, they've mentioned it. They wanted to "vote people off the kitchen island".

Just to placate them, I always taste each team's food and proclaim a winner. They love it. I think they might be keeping score.

Pictured above are the plates of cookies we made today. Beautiful, huh? And although you can't try for yourself, they are DELICIOUS. Way to go Independent Living!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thanksgiving at Maugenhard

On Thursday night, Laura and I were invited to Maugenhard dorm for Thanksgiving dinner. This is the dorm that Laura serves in on Wednesday nights. Scattered throughout these photos are some of my students, a few of Laura's students, and one of my small group guys. This is a super cool place to be. All the boys here are neat young men and we were glad to be able to spend the evening hanging out with them. (Check out the picture with all the pies-Laura helped make most of them on Wednesday and all the boys helped to eat them all on Thursday.)

Adam read The Shack too

Adam here- I also just finished The Shack. You should read it. The trick is to not take a lot of the controversial parts as literal. It is meant as a metaphor, as an allegory. Anyone who can't pick up on that will miss out on the bigger picture of the book. It uses distinct imagery to show the reader what an intimate relationship with Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit might look like. The story itself is interesting and gripping. The spiritual commentary is thought-provoking. I thought it was a good read and I recommend it. When you do read it, let me know what you think.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Shack

I (Laura) just read this book...

Literally, I finished it a couple of hours ago. And for those of you doing the math, it is 3 AM here. I am wide awake and thought I would share my thoughts on the book.

I am not one who is easily swayed by public opinion. I read the DaVinci Code when the Christian community was afraid you would lose your salvation simply by beholding its front cover in line at Costco. And I was reluctant to read The Shack simply because everyone was talking about it.
But read it, I did. And in about 24 hours, too.

It was a great read. Very enjoyable. With tons of food for thought. I filled journal pages with quotes and hmm.... moments from my reading. If you are on the fence, I say read it. What have you got to lose? Except maybe a couple of preconceived ideas about God.

As with anything you read, especially a novel that deals with spiritual issues, there will be things that cause you to raise your eyebrows. If a book keeps you confortably where you are right now, what is the point? This book will not leave you comfortable. You will be uncomfortable; I think that is the point.

There were things I loved, things I vehemently disagreed with, and things that I'll have to chew on for awhile. But one of the quotes I scribbled into my journal is the following:

God on being God
"I'm not like you....
the problem is that many folks try to grasp some sense of who I
am by taking the best version of themselves, projecting that to the nth degree, factoring in all the goodness they can picture, which often isn't much, and then call that God."

I know that I am thankful God is so much more than merely the best human I can imagine. I have an active imagination, but it's not that good.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

BFA invades Herbstmesse

Thursday night, BFA students, staff, and parents packed 5 buses bound for Basel, Switzerland. 30 minutes later we were invading Herbstmesse. Herbst = Autumn. Messe= Fair. It was a Fall Festival. There were carnival rides and bratwurst stands on every corner.
We were all bundled up to the gills but ready for fun. This So Cal girl had tights on under her jeans, three layers and a coat with a scarf and gloves. And she did just fine. No complaining about the cold from me!

The highlight of the evening was the bumper cars. We practically bought out the ride for 2 hours. BFA pre-purchased 400 tokens and for 1 Swiss franc, or about 85 cents, you could have your turn on the bumper cars. Seeing as how most of the other rides were between 8-12 francs a piece, 1 franc for the bumper cars was a bargain!
Once you have your token in hand, you just wait for the previous round to end, then mad dash for a car. There is no line and no barrier. If you aren't lucky or aggressive enough to get a car, you wait til the next time. If you want to ride 10 times, just stay in your car.
Adam and I went 3 times. And everytime, our students were bound and determined to rattle our teeth loose. All in good fun, though. We were aiming for them with as much determination!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Good Morning, Riedlingen

Adam here- Actually, we are both here composing this one together. There are some events in life too great for either one of us to handle on our own. This morning was one of those times. Laura, lovingly and quietly tried to rouse me from my slumber. She wanted to share a peaceful and beautiful moment. She informed me that it had snowed. SNOWED! Who wants to wake up to a cold house and snow all around. It is after all frozen water! All over the car, all over the stairs, on the roads. Who needs such trouble.

When I did get up I did look out the window and it was rather beautiful. My experiences in the snow are so limited though that I was a little afraid and very stupid. I am still desperately trying to hold on to my sandals and shorts. I don't want it to be so cold yet. So when I didn't put on my winter coat this morning (the one we specifically bought for Germany's winter) Laura just rolled her eyes at me and reminded me that I am probably going to freeze. I remained stubborn...and cold. I guess there is just no getting around it at this point. We are just in for a cold winter and the cold, wet, and snow are now a part of my life.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

baked goods, lots of 'em

I get a strange joy when I bake for kids here. I obviously enjoy cooking; I did go to school for a year, and pay a lot of money to learn how to do it. But, it is different than just enjoying it. It doesn't feel like a chore or an obligation (like on some week nights when I just wish and wish that a In-n-Out would appear in Riedlingen so I don't have to cook; it never does and I cook).
I know that if I make cookies for Adam's small group, they are going to truly appreciate them. Same goes for when I make 100 brownies at the dorm. Those boys are going to fall over themselves to get a brownie.
The funny thing is, I am just now starting to learn that when you bake for boys, especially high school boys, you have to make A LOT. I made 3 dozen cookies for Adam's small group. I thought, well, there are 6 of them, plus Adam, that makes 7. They'll probably eat 2-3 each, and that will leave us with some for the rest of the week. I realize now, that was poor planning on my behalf. Not only did they inhale all the cookies in a matter of minutes, they drained our milk and possibly licked the plate. Luckily, I hid two for myself.
Now, I never expect to see left overs. And I will remember to buy 2 liters of milk on Wednesdays.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

These are a couple of my small group guys. When the gym at school is open we go in and play basketball or soccer. (from left to right: Sam, David, and Josh)

This here is Spencer (to the right)
I really don't know what he is doing.
I think he took this photo himself.

Here we have Sam and Ben. Sometimes we
hang out in Laura's classroom. She has plates and
cups. Cups because we are thirsty after running
around and plates because she makes us special

This is Phil. David is sitting behind him. David is an MK who lives in Zurich. He drives over an hour to be with us on Wednesday nights.

Ben (left), Josh (right) and Sam (behind) are hanging out. You can see the brownie dish pretty much cleaned out in the foreground.

This is Andrew. He is one of our guitar players. He lives about 2 minutes away from the school but he skateboards anyway. He tries to show off his wicked moves. Then he wants to see what I can do. I mostly fall!

And here we have Phil and Andrew playing their guitars. They are both very talented.

Those are my guys. They are a great group of guys and we are really starting to bond together. It took a few weeks (I knew it wouldn't be immediate) but we are starting to become friends. Thank you, if you were praying for us. This last week was only the second time for the whole group to be together. Between school and being sick, it has been tricky trying to get 7 Juniors together from all over the Kandern area.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Star Trek

Adam here- I just saw pictures for the new Star Trek movie. I'm excited.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lesson Learned

We learned a lesson this weekend... always, and I do mean ALWAYS, take your camera with you.
As we walked out the door Saturday afternoon, I asked Adam "Should we take the camera?" He said "No, we are just going to Lorrach, it's not anything new." Famous last words.
When we got to Lorrach, we stumbled upon their Herbstfest aka Fall Festival. Now, that isn't all that original. It seems like the Germans are always looking for an excuse to eat bratwurst so this was just another festival. However, at this particular festival, there was something new. An entire cow on a spit. You read me right... a COW on a SPIT. Turning like it was a chicken or a pig in Hawaii. Needless to say, we were wishing that we had our camera so you too could experience our disbelief.
Then, on our way out of Lorrach, we got trapped in the parking garage. TRAPPED! No, there wasn't a cave in or anything. Just a car backing up and then running into another car... Again, not that new, except there was no one in either car. It all happened literally feet from our car and was the result of not setting the emergency brake. As we stood there wondering what to do with the car crash that happened before our very eyes, the owner of the runaway car miraculously came back, probably to set his E-brake. Instead, he just swore.
So, on our routine drive to Lorrach we missed two photo ops. So, you'll just have to use your imagination! And we'll try to remember to take our camera next time.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Paris in Pictures

Laura here...
I thought I would post about Paris, too. It's not everyday you get to spend a weekend in Paris. So, once we arrived in Paris, we jumped in with both feet and did a whirlwind tour. Here's what we did:
Notre Dame: we picnicked outside and then a sudden rainstorm convinced us to admire the stained glass from the inside. After the rain cloud blew over we soaked up the fall colors.
Book shopping at Shakespeare & Co. If he had his way, Adam would have pulled up a pile of books and lived there! Louvre: We walked the outside of the museum first. The the Tuileries Gardens. Another rain storm convinced us we should see Monet's Water Lilies. Then it was back to the Louvre for the after 6PM Friday evening half price tickets! We are admittedly, not huge art fiends. But we do love to people-watch. And there were lots of people in the Louvre. They were more interesting then the art sometimes.
And Adam likes a good castle. Here he is next to a preserved moat wall in what felt like the basement of the Louvre...
Pantheon: church/monument to the Resistance and final burial place of Vistor Hugo (author of Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables) and Alexandre Dumas (Count of Monte Cristo).
Much walking: to Carnavalet (free museum!), through parks, the Jewish Quarter, and into a bakery for baguette sandwiches.
Opera Garnier: have you seen Phantom of the Opera... that's the Opera House. Supposedly there is an underground lake (how we were wishing we were Rick Steves or the hosts of a travel show, so we could get the "insider tour"!) and an 8-ton chandelier. We had to be content with the Grand Staircase and foyer. We hummed Masquerade for hours.Much more walking: along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower.
Then up, up, up the stairs, and an elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Very windy and a little scary!

Then, down, down down. And on to dinner- the best French Onion Soup I have ever had! We walked back to the Eiffel Tower for more pictures. And it was lit up like the European Union flag, blue with stars. At the top of the hour, it blinks! Then on to the Arc de Triomphe and late night shopping on the Champs Elysses. There were mobs of people and more traffic than we have seen in months at 11 PM! DAY 3
Catacombs: down below the water mains and the Metro system we walked a labyrinth filled with the bones of 6 million people. They are piled 5 feet high and sometimes 80 feet deep! It was sobering and a little creepy. Can you imagine priests bringing cartloads of bones down into this maze in the middle of the night by the light of a candle? This is my creepy shadow falling on the bones... Some cheese shopping...
Then back on the train and on to Mulhouse, and then Kandern.

One of the benefits of being a missionary in Europe is being in Europe!