Back in Bavaria

imageI love Munich. Many years ago, when my ex-husband was working for Siemens, he was given the opportunity to go on a one month assignment to Munich. We jumped at the chance. At that time our older daughter was 2 years old and I was working as a contractor, so we were mobile. What a great experience.

I don’t speak German, but that didn’t matter. Most people speak “some” English, so asking questions and getting around was not an issue. I remember going to Oktoberfest and being really surprised AND not in a good way. I thought Oktoberfest was like the inside of the Hofbräuhaus, instead it was a big outside Fair and the drinking imagewas done in tents and the weather was cold!

That’s Ok, it just wasn’t what I had visualized. There was a ferris wheel, different outdoor games, etc. I felt like I was at an American Fair. However, riding the train to Oktoberfest was fun, because people were dressed in their lederhosen and dirndles with the green hats and feathers. I took a photo today of this street singer dressed in tradtional Bavarian outfit.

It happens that my hotel has a view of the Hofbräuhaus. As I heard the singing, I remembered being in Munich for the World Cup in 2006.  All of the soccer players were coming in town from different countries, they had their jersey’s on and they were excited, the fans were too, so there was a lot of drinking and singing going on.

For those of you who don’t know much about the Bavarian dress, I took a picture of imagethis retail shop’s window, so you could see how the ladies would dress and what the men wear. I highly recommend a trip to Munich. It is so much fun and who knows, like me, ladies you might just go home with a dirndle. I’ve worn my dirndle to holiday cocktail parties many times. The guys would say I looked like a cute “Swedish girl.” So ladies, if you are single, dirndles are a good way to make conversation.

And men, “in Munich,” ALL guys wear ledershosen with bright colored shirts. You can do it too! Make sure you wear the red knee high socks with tassels. Am I scaring you yet?  You gotta dress the part AND don’t go on the ferris wheel if you’ve been drinking!

Be an Artist

imageThere seems to be an art craze going on right now. I am not an artist by trade, but I have always wanted to learn how to paint using water colors in particular. So, I was pleasantly surprised when a friend recently told me about a company called, “Corks and Canvas Events.

Apparently the owners, Lisa Cryder and Stefanie Hare, came up with a great idea of combing painting with visiting different wineries and wine bars in the Seattle area. Visit their website and you’ll see you can choose a painting you’d like to paint and then find the date for that event. Art supplies, instructions and one glass of wine are included in the fee. You socialize with new people, learn how to paint and as they say, “go home with a masterpiece.”image

On another note, have you noticed that Adult coloring books are sprouting up everywhere? I don’t know how I missed that one. It seems like the coloring books have popped up over night. I noticed they are on all sorts of topics and you can choose to color in markers, colored pencils or crayons.

Somehow, I think my attention span might get a little bored with coloring… not sure. I think I would prefer putting a puzzle together or playing Canasta. Although, I’d have to freshen up on the rules of Canasta, I haven’t played in a long time.

The good news is, if you want to be an artist, you don’t have to sign up for a 6 week long art class to learn how to paint anymore. Just find a painting event in an area near you and “presto” you can be an artist in one night! Move over Picasso!

Museo Stibbert


Photo of the Museum Courtesy of

Yesterday I heard the sound of a freight train and a sudden memory of being at my grandmother’s house in Italy flashed by. She lived close to the train tracks and in the middle of the night very loud freight trains would go by.  At first, it was annoying, but then it became a welcomed hum in the middle of the night. That sound is still a connection to Italy, the memory of “staying at Nonina’s house.”

Another fond memory of being at Nonina’s house was visiting the “Museum Stibbert.” Most people who have visited Florence, Italy do not know about this special museum. When my mother was young she spent many afternoons at the Stibbert gardens and going through the museum. She said that is where her love of travel and seeing the world came from.

Frederick Stibbert was fascinated by antiques, especially military armour (European, Islamic and Japanese), which he collected and staged in battle scenes. In the photo you can see how he staged the armour in life size form, so you could appreciate the armour and the men going into battle. It’s fantastic to see. Frederick spent a lot of time, thought and money into creating each individual room.

Visit the main website for Museo Stibbert where you can view more photos of the different rooms — you’ll be amazed. Frederick’s father was from England and his mother was from Florence. His father left him very wealthy, so that he could pursue his passion in life. When Frederick died in 1906 he left this museum to the city of Florence. They opened it for visitors in 1909.

Every tourist should have this on their list of sites to see when in Florence. Of course, I am partial to it, because it was about 10 minutes from my grandmother’s house, so I have many memories of visiting this museum and its gardens.

Here’s to special memories that come to us when we least expect them – this time it was the sound of a freight train.


Photo of the outside of the Museum courtesy of