Sunday, February 21, 2010


We finally got to Munich this weekend. We had intended on going last week for a couple of days but the weather kept us home. So we just went for the day to see the city center it didn't help that we forgot our little guidebook of all the things we were supposed to see, so we ended up just roaming around.
This is our car in a parking garage. Notice how VERY little space there is between cars. Macen and I had to get out before James parked the car because there wasn't enough room. Germans have very small cars so these small spaces are everywhere but I have to say every single car I saw pull in had a hard time parking and numerous people let their passengers out before parking, it wasn't just us. James uses this to remind me that it was a good idea to get rid of the truck and get the Edge.
This is the Siegestor, a monument originally dedicated to the glory of the Bavarian Army during the Napoleonic Wars. It was partially restored after being damaged in World War II with an inscription that reads "Dedicated to victory, destroyed by war and a reminder to us all". Read more about it here.

This the National Theater in Munich. It is the home of the Bavarian State Opera and the Bavarian State Ballet. As much as James isn't a fan of those things I'm sure I'll expose him to a little culture there before we leave.

The building straight ahead is the famous Hofbrauhaus. James hoping to have a beer here but it was very crowded so we couldn't find a seat. There was Oompha band playing polka music, bar maids in traditional dress, and Munichers with those funny little alpine hats with the feathers in them.

There was a mime outside of the Hard Rock and Macen took an interest in him. And then he kindly took a pic of us.

We'll call the street above - Major Retail Therapy Dr. It is home to all the high end shopping stores like Dior, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, etc. If you can name it, it was probably there.

Here are some more beautiful buildings in the city center. I'm not sure what the top one was but the bottom one is the New Town Hall or Neues Rathaus. There are certain times during the day when the glockenspiel or carillion on the facade springs to life and puts on a show. We didn't see it but we'll look for it next time.

We roamed up and down some of the streets and found this outdoor market. There were a lot fruit and vegetables stands along with a few wine and cheese ones. On the opposite side of the street there was a row of fresh meat stores meaning lots of raw sausage.
We had a good time and got a feel for the city. There is so much to do there though so we can't wait to get back and take in some museums, landmarks and even take Macen to the zoo and circus.
Oh and we refrained from endulging in the bakery goods. We actually didn't see as many as we normally do. But since we have mentioned the restroom you had to pay to use, I'll mention a rotating toilet. A plastic piece came out from the back of the toilet started squirting liquid into the base as the toilet seat rotated around atleast a full circle. And it could have been my imagination but the seat appeared to take on a distorted look as it rotated. which is why it could have rotated for more than a complete circle. I'm sure it was just the shape of it but it really messed with my vision. Emilie or Shannon, you might need to explain this one to me. Ha ha!
James got his picture taken in the countryside courtesy of the German police. He will be receiving a speeding ticket in the mail very soon. They told us in the driving class that you'll definitely know when they take your picture and they weren't kidding.

Hard Rock Cafe

Our main reason for heading to Munich was the Hard Rock Cafe. If you have been to our house, you know we collect the Hard Rock Cafe Pilsner glasses. We have around 25 and James has drank a beer out of all but 1 and I had a chocolate shake in that one. So our very respectable goal while living in Germany is to hit up as many Hard Rocks in Europe as we can :) Hey, it's too ensure we travel. Besides it's also a chance for us to get some authentic American food when we are tired of expanding our culinary limits. Ha ha! So here is our first one in Europe:

Friday, February 19, 2010

All is right with the world again

I found the Hershey Bliss Dark Chocolate at the PX today. And yes I bought a bag! I think they had the milk chocolate bags in the dark chocolate slot when we looked before. A great day. James will be thankful. I had resorted to looking on Amazon for them and was contemplating using the subscribe and save option to have them shipped to me (via my sister) at regular intervals throughout the year. Unfortuantely, Amazon won't ship food over here and it appears they have outsmarted and their attempt to supply those of us overseas with items we can't normally get. James was making fun of me for having chocolate shipped over here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snow fun

We finally made it outside to play in the snow and get some sun while it was shining. While we have lots of snow, its too powdery to form anything. We couldn't build a castle or a snowman. Macen was really wanting to build a snowman after the huge ones we saw the other day. He did enjoy throwing handfuls of snow though. I had to bribe him to come inside after awhile.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The World's Largest Snowman!!!!!

That's what we found on our way to Amberg today to check out some local shops. Most of you all have heard us whine/b!+<#/moan/complain about the snow. Here's our proof that it really is as bad we've been talking aboutThe Snowman had to be at least 40 feet tall and as you can see there is still plenty of snow on the ground around it. I think they actually took snow from local parking lots or the roadway and piled it up although I have no idea how they got it so high, I've never seen a 40ft tall front end loader.
Doesn't this look yummy a chocolate covered donut with a mousse cream center with a donut pastry bottom. We stopped at the local grocery store today and they had this in the bakery and Shantel just had to have it. It was really funny watching her try to eat it with the mousse squeezing out the sides. She said it was really good, even if it was one heck of a fat pill. I've got no room to talk though I had two apple struedels. I'm telling it's not going to be the beer that gets to us it's going to be the bakeries, since we both also had a fresh pretzel to go with our pastries and it was really cheap less than 4 Euros for everything. Time to hit the spin bike for me to work off those calories

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Macen is hopped up on sugar! Hope everyone has a sweet day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pity Party: We're gonna whine

While for the most part we are enjoying Germany, there are some things we miss from the US.

Getting dollar bills back for change. This may sound weird but it's actually strange to not get bills back most of the time for change when using Euros. The smallest Euro bill we've seen is a 5 Euro. That means if something costs 16,50 Euro and you give them a 20 Euro bill you'll get a 2 Euro, 1 Euro, and ,50 Euro coin back. I keep looking for single Euros. This is also weird since 1 Euro is normally worth $1.30-$1.60 depending on the exchange rate and we typically give Macen our change for his piggy bank. The kid is not getting coins worth more than a $1 from me.

The food. German food is good, we've enjoyed the wursts, schnitzl, and cordon bleu as well as the excellent beer. But I want a steak and I know Shantel wants a big juicy burger. On post we've got Burger King, Popeye's Chicken, Subway, Pizza Hut, Charley's Steakery Sandwiches, Taco Bell and a couple of Army specific fast food joints but you get tired of those after awhile. And since chocolate is a food group, they don't have the dark chocolate version of Hershey bliss here in the commissary. There is some great chocolate in Europe, so I guess we'll have to try lots of experimenting to find a new favorite.

TV. Well the good part of this is we don't have a cable bill. On the other side we went from over 300 channels of DirecTV to the 10 channels of the Armed Forces Network (AFN). The networks provide AFN with programming free of charge but AFN doesn't seem to get all of the most popular TV shows. We get American Idol but no Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice or Desperate Housewives for Shantel or no House or Lie To Me for me and no Word World or Wow Wow Wubbzy for Macen. We also don't get commercials so we see a lot of history and geography lessons as well as public service announcements. We have learned about which allows us to watch our favorite shows the week after they aired in the States. We've also learned we can download some of Macen's favorite shows from iTunes. In order to watch our shows from iTunes or hulu we've hooked up our desktop computer to the 46 inch LCD TV so it's really just like watching TV.

Shopping. This one really frustrates Shantel and it will probably eventually get to me. We do have a PX here and you've seen where we've been to IKEA and bought some things but our choices are really not what we are used to and we always have to consider that the electronics must work in the States as well. That means lots of internet shopping. The problem with that is not everything can be shipped to an APO and it really doesn't make much sense about what can and can't be shipped. We've resorted to signing up with a third party shipping company and we'll see how that works.

The Sun. Or the lack of it. When we left Missouri/Kansas, they were in the middle of some severe winter weather, and we arrived in Germany and they were in the middle of some severe winter weather. Well it's done nothing but snow since we've been here. We have only seen the sun on two or three occassions and we haven't seen the ground at all because of the snow either.

Monday, February 8, 2010

For the love of all material things...

We can't even express how happy we are to have our things. Yeah, they are material things but we were without them for 3 months. I couldn't wait for the movers to come at the beginning of November to take everything away. I was excited to live the simple life for awhile, to do without the material things. But it feels so good to have our stuff!

We are nearly done arranging and organizing the house. It has been so comfortable to sleep in our own bed and Macen has an new bedroom set he is very happy with. I'll get pics posted of his room later. James was happy to have his big tv back. We have moved 4 times in the last 4 1/2 years so I have not had any desire to put much on the walls or decorate our houses. But with the idea of us being here for 3 years, I am ready and excited to complete our home.
And with getting our things, we were finally able to give Macen his Christmas present from us. The pics above are Macen with his new train table. He loves trains and I started buying pieces for it last May. I was just as excited to give it to Macen and James was as excited to set it up as Macen was to get it. So you can see this was a big deal to all of us.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Our Stuff Is Here!!!!!!

I'm sitting here typing this exhausted, drinking a beer and looking at boxes, boxes everywhere and the dining room table top leaning against the couch! This means we've got our stuff but I have absolutely no clue where to start!!!
The movers came today and it was absolute chaos. Only one of them spoke english to any extent and the experience was way different to what we are used to in the states. When we move in the states everything is pretty lockstep. The truck driver gives me or Shantel the inventory slip with numbers on it and we mark off the numbers with the box or furniture item that corresponds to the inventory sheet and they put the boxes in the room where it goes. These guys today just started bringing boxes and furniture into the house without giving us an inventory sheet amd really just dropping it where they found an empty spot. It was chaos. We had also heard that the movers wouldn't come back and get the packing materials so we are frantically going through the boxes putting stuff away so we aren't left with the boxes and saving all of the numbers tags for later inventory.
Before they left though they took all the boxes and packing material that we had emptied and told us to call them and they'd come back and get the stuff that's left. They also put together most everything that had been taken apart.

Right now we think we have everything, although I haven't seen my "Triplets" autographed picture of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin, but I really hope it's around here somewhere. Unfortunately they did break the toy box that Grandpa Scrogin built for Macen: one of the feet broke along the wood grain. Also Shantel's beloved bedroom furniture suffered some scratches.
Here's the pictures of our day.The living room before we got the rest of the sectional in. That was an adventure as they had to take the sleeper sofa around behind the house and through the back door since it wouldn't make the entry way corner.The upstairs foyer. It got much worse before the day was over.It took two truck loads to get our stuff here. They unloaded the first one and then went back to the warehouse for the other four crates. We've got way too much stuff! Oh yeah have I mentioned that it snowed another 4 inches last night? Shantel made me volunteer to go to Iraq so she could leave Colorado where it snowed all the time, what's she going to do to get out of Germany?The living/playroom. It also got much worse before the day was over.

Macen racked out after the movers left. The kid didn't get a nap today and we'll pay for that tomorrow. He wouldn't eat any of his doritos for dinner and if you know Macen, he hasn't met a chip he didn't want to eat.