Tuesday, October 19, 2010

LegoLand is Awesome

Over the Columbus Day 3-day weekend David and I decided to go to LegoLand.  It's about a 3 hour drive from our house, mostly on the Autobahn so it's not too bad.  It would definitely be better to go and stay the night rather than trying to do it all in one day.  We wanted to stay in the LegoLand Hotel at the park but they were booked so we ended up staying at a hotel that was about 2 miles away.  Not as exciting but it was close and fairly cheap so we went with it :)
I didn't get any pictures of the parking lot but I should have for one reason: They have it down to a science! I've have never seen a more organized amusement park parking lot in my life.  I don't know about everyone else but I dread parking at big events because it's dog-eat-dog when it comes to finding a spot and then leaving the event.  Here they had people directing traffic, all the lanes are one way and there's only one way to the exit and it's one way as well.  Our first day at the park we left around closing and we were still out of the parking lot in 15 minutes.  I was amazed.  Anyway, I know my telling you about it doesn't do it justice, you may have to have been there, but I'm telling you it was pretty amazing.

Now on to the inside of the park!

When you first walk in there is MiniLand.  It's a series of small set ups built entirely out of Legos modeled after real European cities.  Below is Mini Amsterdam.  It was just amazing! They had Berlin, Frankfurt, Venice, Lucernce and Neuschwanstein Castle. I admit, that when we first decided to go to LegoLand I was a bit wary.  It seemed mostly for kids and that there wouldn't be a lot to entertain childless adults.  I was wrong.  Looking at all these models of cities built entirely out of Lego was amazing!  And the detail they put into these things was just amazing.  The bus down in the bottom corner by the windmill actually moved, they had working lights and other moving parts, it was just mind-blowing.

MiniLand Amsterdam

In the big soccer stadium they even had little nekkid Lego dudes in the shower.  How cute is that??

Dave and the Frankfurt Lego skyline
To kind of give you some idea of scale, this is David in front of the Frankfurt skyline.  Of course the skyscrapers are probably about as tall as me so I could walk through the display feeling like Godzilla! Mwah ah ah . . . . oh well.

These were the signs for the bathrooms which I thought were just too cute.  The distressed looks on their faces and the "Pee Pee Dance" poses just made me smile.

Germans are very environmentally aware.  Recycling is required by law throughout the entire country and there are signs everywhere on base reminding us to shut off all the lights when we leave the house.  The hotel we stayed at took it a little farther.  In order to turn the lights on in our room we had to put this card into this card reader.  It completed the electric circuit for the room allowing us to turn the lights on when we were inside.  Since you have to take your key with you when you leave, you have to take it out of the card reader, thus breaking the circuit and preventing you from leaving any lights on when you leave.  I think it's rather ingenious and that more hotels should get into doing something like this.  Plus, like my friend Janessa pointed out, I know my Dad would have loved something like this when we were home. 

Too bad they don't sell something like this for Father's Day . . . they would be the most popular present EVER!

Anyway, so that was the basics of our trip to LegoLand.  David now wants to hit up the ones in Denmark and the UK before we leave and he's got plans to make a week out of Comic-Con and LegoLand California one year.  That outghta be an interesting trip :)

Highlights from Paris - Day 1

A few months ago I spent two days in Paris with my husband and my parents and I had a wonderful time. For about a week before we got there I kept singing to myself, "I'm going to Paris, I'm going to Paris" like some huge weirdo. I was insanely giddy about this prospect up until we actually got off the train in Paris. It was almost like a dream - I couldn't believe that a small town country bumpkin like me could ever get to say I went to Paris. But there we were.

Our first stop was the Notre Dame cathedral. Being that I'm a huge Disney freak I wanted to run into the church yelling, "Santuary!! Sanctuary!!". Thankfully I have more tact and decorum than that and I decided it would be best leaving that stunt alone. We wandered around the inside and I marveled at all the statues, tombs and other monuments they had in the church. As beautiful as this church is, I must say the Cathedral at Cologne has it beat in the amount of awe it inspires. The Cologne Cathedral is just enormous and imposing while Notre Dame, not being tiny cathedral by any means, seemed to give off more of a serene feeling with it's architecture.

There was a beautiful park on the side of the cathedral that borders the Seine River. People were sitting on the benches and enjoying the warm weather. It was an absolutely gorgeous day in Paris. We left Germany in the rain and came to warm and sunshine - ahhhhh. We at lunch across the river from Notre Dame at this cozy little restaurant with outdoor dining. Turns out most every cafe, patiserrie and restaurant offer sidewalk seating in Paris. It was great.

Our next stop was the Eiffel Tower. Not to sound ignorant or anything but that thing is huuuuuuuuuuuge! Pictures NEVER do architecture justice in my opinion so it was just kind of crazy to be standing underneath the Eiffel Tower and looking all the way up. The area underneath the tower is enormous. It seemed like you could almost fit 2 football fields underneath it and still have plenty of room. But I'm horrible at my spatial relations sometimes so I could be way off about that, but the point is there is alot of room there. We all got tickets to the very top of the tower and started heading up. They take you in an elevator up to the 2nd floor (if you're feeling frisky you can climb the stairs) and then you have to transfer to second elevator to get to the top. I made it to the top but as soon as I got up there I went right back down . . . I couldn't handle it. The older I get the more afraid of heights I am and I swore I could feel the top of the tower moving. If you've ever been in the Space Needle you know the feeling. But now I can say that I've been to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Woohoo!

We utilized city transportation to get around everywhere which was nice because we were right next to a subway station. I am an overplanner when it comes to stuff like this - I hate not knowing how to get somewhere so when I planned the trip I made sure our hotel was down the street from the train station where we came in which also had metro lines. The Paris transit coordinators had a website that you can plug in where you are leaving from and where you are going to and it will direct you to the nearest station, tell you which train you need to be on and which direction it's going (they only post the end destination on the train reader boards) and any connections you need to mak. It was great. I also downloaded the same app for my iPhone in case we deviated off schedule or course. Yeah, I'm prepared like that.

Anyway, we caught a metro train during rush hour and after that my Mom had said she'd had enough fun. It was crowded and hot and her claustrophobia was getting the better of her. So we got off the train and walked to a restaurant that was just outside our hotel. We sat there and had drinks and people watched before we decided to go ahead and have dinner there. It was a cozy little restaurant with Gnome Decor all over the place. I loved it. Poor Dave kept trying to get a Chocolate Mojito and never did get one, the waiter never quite understood what he wanted. 

After we all retired to our rooms for a bit because it had been a long day. We'd been up at 5 to catch our train and had been wandering the streets of Paris since we'd arrived. There was talk of going back to see the Eiffel Tower at night but none of us really wanted to put the effort into going back. After an hour or so David and I went and got Dad and we took a walk around the block to get some fresh air. Dad was really interested in doing an open air bus tour he'd seen all around the city and we found they had a stop close to our hotel so we decided that was our plan of action for the next day. With the game plan set it was off to bed!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Just So We're Clear . . .

A Milano is not a cookie . . . it is a divinity unto itself.  Its name shall not be sullied with that of the plebeian pecan sandie or the bourgeois biscuit.  No, my dear fellow, a Milano is so much more than a mere cookie I daren't even speak the words "Chocolate Chip" in its presence.  The pale comparison that a regular cookie provides only enhances the Milano's status of  keep-your-hands-off-my-cookie-or-I'll-stab-you.

That is all.