Sail On, Ye Stately Ships

This has been a nagging task in my brain- not one of duty, but a desirable task that keeps getting pushed off because of duties. But at last! My body is forcing me to sit on the couch with an autumnal wet-weather cold and I feel like I can finally attend to sharing pictures of our summer getaway with you. It was a trip for the books! The financial books are still struggling, but it was oh, so worth it. This year we chose to go to New England because a) it looked dreamy, but b) it was also less expensive to fly to Boston than it was to the Canadian East Coast, which was where we had originally been wanting to explore. But it turns out the east coast of America has an over-abundance of magical places to explore and we wandered the countrysides of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine with city stops at Boston and Portland. My Romantic, history loving side was fulfilled with each and every new inch of land we discovered and my soul was so satisfied with the amount of beauty we happened upon. 

As it turns out, my camera lens had some issues, so some photos turned out blurry and out of focus. At first I was annoyed, but after editing, I realized they had a old film quality to them that was actually kind of appealing! 

The beaches had a quality to them that is unmatched to the west coast. There was an abundance of shells to be found, the sand was so soft, and the rocks even sparkled. These were both taken at Reid State Park in Maine. 

A few vignettes of various towns around Maine. Our favourites included Wiscasset, Rockland, Camden, and Kittery. 

Enchanting Goldenrod along the Portland seashore. 

‘Sail on!’ it says, ‘sail on, ye stately ships!
And with your floating bridge the ocean span;
Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse,
Be yours to bring man nearer unto man!’
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The greatest moment of the trip for me was to visit the town of Concord (above) and tour the Orchard House of Louisa May Alcott. I grew up very much attached to the story of Little Women because I, too, have 3 sisters (I would be Jo in the mix!). I watched the movie every Christmas and was even once played Meg in a high school stage production of the story. We arrived at Orchard House very last minute for the last tour of the day, but I did get to see and hear about all of the parts of life that influenced Louisa in writing her great masterpiece. Hearing those stories brought back memories of my own childhood and I suddenly felt very connected to the Alcott family in a strange, unexplainable way. It was incredibly surreal and felt like a pilgrimage, of sorts.  And yes, I did listen to the Little Women soundtrack very loudly on the way into town. 

The last portion of our trip included a visit to the very memorable Isabela Stewart Gardner museum in Boston. It was absolutely awe-inspiring and I'm sure words and even my photos can't quite capture the feelings of wonder that existed while wandering this space. A must-see for any Boston traveler. 

A few last photos from our time spent in Boston- Harvard and a street in Beacon Hill. I had been asked multiple times after we got back, "Tell me about your trip!" and I had trouble knowing how to respond, how to encapsulate everything we saw, all we took in. But I do have memories that will stick with me forever and small words that describe those. So if I were asked to describe it again I would say, Goldenrod, Crickets, Cicadas, Wild Grasses, Classic Brick, Black & White, Gentle Green, Rose Hips, Salty Air, Steeples, Warmth, Depth. 

Long in City Pent

To One Who Has Been Long in City Pent
John Keats

To one who has been long in city pent,
'Tis very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven,—to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament.
Who is more happy, when, with heart's content,
Fatigued he sinks into some pleasant lair
Of wavy grass, and reads a debonair
And gentle tale of love and languishment?
Returning home at evening, with an ear
Catching the notes of Philomel,—an eye
Watching the sailing cloudlet's bright career,
He mourns that day so soon has glided by:
E'en like the passage of an angel's tear
That falls through the clear ether silently.

Memories of Berlin

Oh Berlin. My experience of Berlin was...well, to be honest I'm not sure how to describe it. I think that's because there is just SO MUCH going on in that city. It's gritty, cool and exploding with artistic expression. While I am an artist, I'm still not sure it was the type of expression I fully connected with, but so very interesting, nonetheless. We came up to Berlin after our experience in Munich and went to visit with our friends, Joe and Joelle, who we know from their days living in Vancouver. Joelle is an illustrator, so I was fortunate enough to be able to see the city from an artist's perspective. They were the perfect hosts and we were so thankful to have them show us around and give input into the history and culture of the city. 

The thing I'll remember most? Street art/graffiti EVERYWHERE. Oh and currywurst, lots and lots of currywurst

From the top: // 1. typical shop in East Berlin- super design-y and covered in graffiti // 2. germany vibes // 3, 4 +5.. SO much to look at. M looks like a tourist with his Uniqlo bags // 4. prost! Toasting to Berlin at one of many of M's stops to third wave coffee shops...this one's at The Barn // 5. soccer supporters marching the streets and chanting // 6 + 7. classic tourist destination- the Brandenburg Gate. I can't take a normal picture // 8. devouring currywurst // 9. just another bit of berlin // 10. you can't tell, but Berlin was FRIGID and we were shivering in this photo // 11. Neueheimat- one of the coolest food fests/markets/cultural hubs I've ever been to! // 12. getting our Berliner Schnauze on //13-15. more of neueheimat. I think this was my favourite place in the city! // 16. need to send a letter? Pick a box. // 17. east side gallery (berlin wall) // 18. Oberbaum bridge, a symbol of the city's unity. 

Memories of Munich

I thought that I would be able to be able to create one post dedicated to our travels in Europe, but as I looked through my pictures yet again, I realized that there would be no possible way without completely overwhelming you with images! Best to break up our journey in sections. Well, it's already been a week back in Vancouver, and I'm already feeling homesick for our magical travels, especially Paris. As I look back on Munich and think about all of the wonderful things we were able to experience, I'm realizing that I left a small part of my heart in this city as well. I will never be able to explain the feelings that I held while wandering through the streets of this city, but I hope these images capture little pieces of those feelings. We were only there for 2 and a half days so we packed in as much as we could. 

The main purpose of stopping in Munich was not just to see the beauty that the city beholds, but to make the trek through Bavaria to a small town called Oberammergau (look to the pictures with snow!). I have heard this town name spoken since childhood but never really knew the significance of it until traveling through the snow covered hills to the wonder that lies there. My great-grandmother, who we called "Oma", used to talk about this place with such fondness. She was never one to open up much about her life during the time she lived there, post WWII, but she did describe this town as "feeling like heaven". As I discovered more information about the hardships and persecution she endured before arriving there, I began to understand why this place was so very special. It was more than just a pretty resort town, it was a refuge and place of freedom. And I couldn't help but feel a little emotional upon arriving at the Oberammergau station. It felt surreal...I was following her path to safety and rest. It felt sacred. Oma passed away when I was 13 but memories of her do pop into my mind every once in a while. And despite the fact that the town has been taken over by tourism and souvenir shops, I was able to find some connection with my Oma once again. 

Pictures from the top:// 1. charming view from our hotel window // 2. coffee shop details // 3. awkward coffee holding hand // 4. historic streets at 7am // 5+6. the wandering husband // 7. does it mean that I'm getting old when I become fascinated by park birds? // 8. Englischer Garten // 9. a German Romantic // 10.  beautiful views at the park // 11. again with the birds... I guess I must be old at heart // 12-14. views from The Residenz museum- like Versailles but without the tourists! I'm so glad we went. // 15-17. views from Oberammergau and Bavaria. // 18+19. I think these speak for themselves...just plain beautiful. // 20+21. Views over the city from atop a church tower. 

German Romanticism

Munich1

Hello dear followers! Just a note, if you follow me on Instagram you'll know that I've returned from our magical trip! Posts and updates to come soon, but just wanted to let you know that I'm alive (in case you were worried, of course). Also, a little bit of Tuesday eye candy for you. This is a shot from Englischer Garten in Munich, one of the most beautiful parks I've seen. I could have spent hours here. More on that in my IG post...