David and Kathy

David Ferré and Kathy Childs Website

Greetings from Dave and Kathy. With our move to Europe from July to December, 2012, we're going to maintain a blog of what we're up to (see below). We'll return to the US in December to our winter home in Tucson. After enjoying a few months in Tucson, we'll head back to Europe in May, 2013, returning to the US in August, 2013. Our homes in Germany and France are via Home Exchanges with corresponding German and French families.

| July | August | Sept. | Oct. | Nov. | Dec. 2012 |

Slideshow of pictures (with music) - Click Here
(Click lower-right corner of show for full screen)

Sept 1

Every Saturday there is a Trödelmarkt (junk market) in Mannheim (pix). Of course, we had to check it out. Yes, it's all junk but David found an ancient dial telephone (image) for $12 and the fellow would not negotiate whatsoever. Amazing. Later, a visit to MediaMarkt, some outdoor lunch at Jurgens Media Grill, and then dinner at the Royal Indien in Neckargemünd. Excellent Indian food.

Sept 2

Beautiful cool morning led us to bicycle to downtown and the Quadrado Café for breakfast, and then to explore the downtown finding a sculpture display of mounted heads, just as the church bells let loose (video). Back home, Dave decided to find an Antique Market that might be nearby. Bingo! Antikmarkt Rhein-Neckar-Zentrum in Viernheim (pix).

This market was huge and setup inside a shopping mall. Luckily, there was a Starbucks where some coffee and light lunch kept us going. Kathy found an old Dienes coffee grinder, complete with top and glass catch tray (pix) for $50. Going home, our GPS took us the scenic route, including a ferry ride across the Neckar River (50 cents) (video).

Sept 3

Breakfast at home, shopping at the large REWE store and at a bird feed store, then back for lunch. A bike ride to Video World, ice cream stop, home again for a nap. Kathy cooked a great fish dinner, then a video. Today's (pix) is from down the street where a local wine maker sells wine from their truck. If you bring your own container, it's $1.50 a liter, or bottled for $3. Free tasting!

Sept 4

Warning! The movie "Bridget Jones's Diary" is called "Bridget Jones - Chocolate for Breakfast" in Germany. We accidentally rented it twice.

A fine day today and we are being blessed with excellent weather. The day started with a bicycle ride but a tire went flat along the way so we had to get the car to haul the bike back home. After installing some new tires and tubes, we were back in business.

We returned to Heidelberg for an afternoon organ concert played in the Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Ghost) (pix) by Kathrin Kirn-Rodegast. Kathrin is both musician and yoga teacher, teaching piano and Blockflöte at the Schwetzingen Music School, and operating the Heidelberg Yoga Center. She studied yoga for more than 20 years in Germany, Switzerland, and India. Click Here for a few seconds of Kathrin playing Micheelsen's "Toccata - Lobe den Herren." After the concert, we enjoyed a properly cooled beverage in the Marktplatz.

Sept 5

Here is a (pix) of our tomato harvest from the garden of our host family. Kathy is making all manner of tomato dishes. We both got haircuts today but pretty relaxing overall, except for a vigorous bike ride towards Walldorf. My favorite German TV program is: "Werner" and favorite episode is Krankenhaus (The Hospital). Click Here for a YouTube link to view.

Sept 6

Off to Karlsruhe today by train. Karlsruhe made a great first impression with a lovely park and zoo just across the street from the train station, and a helpful information office that provided maps and other items. We walked to our first destination, the Centre for Art and Media, and found this tower of old stereo equipment (pix) (video).

After lunch at the EL29 restaurant, we decided to save this museum for another visit and went, instead, to the Marktplatz and the Museum beim Markt (Art Deco and Art Nouveau), after which we jumped on a Tram to Durlach then the funicular to Tower Hill (pix). Again the Marktplatz for a chilled drink before heading home.

Sept 7

Heidelberg this afternoon to walk the Carl Theodor Bridge, which dates from 1786 and is the first stone bridge across the Neckar River. Earlier bridges starting in 1284 were made of wood but did not last. Of course, if you walk the bridge, you have to stop at the Brückenaffe (Bridge Monkey) (pix). While on the bridge, the silent solar-powered boat "Neckarsonne" passed underneath (video).

Sept 8

We do love Germany. Castles, ancient towns full of history, restaurants in business for 300 years like the St. Georg restaurant in Heidelberg (pix), and gardens like what we have in Schwetzingen, lovingly maintained for more than 250 years, or all manner of house, tower, palace, gate, wall, and even Roman ruins over 2,000 years old, and churches from the 1,200s. One great pleasure we have nearly everyday is to drive to historic small towns just to wander the streets, or visit the amazing towns on the Wine Road, as it's called, each town seemingly more lovely than the last. Our favorite small town is Ladenburg, then middle size is Weinheim, and larger size, Karlsruhe, which makes a lasting impression, but all the towns, and our own Schwetzingen have so much to offer.

And little things like church bells, real bells and real loud, too. Friendly, helpful people, especially with our lack of German. We love joining the locals riding our bikes, taking our bikes to the train (pix), and in the larger towns riding the trams and buses. Even food shopping is an adventure trying to find pumpkin (Kürbis) or flour (mehl).

We love the bakeries with their tempting offerings, and the outside cafés where you can have a relaxing coffee in the morning, or a beer at night, and watch the world go by. And the Farmer's markets, flea markets (pix), antique markets, music festivals, and you can be as busy as you want. So much to enjoy and to appreciate.

Sept 9

Off to the Flohmarkt in Beerfelden, a town in the Odenwald mountains. We skipped breakfast to get there early, so afterwards, we went to a café offering a huge breakfast buffet but... no empty seats. So we bought some takeaway and found a nice sitting area (pix). Then home to pack and get ready for our departure for Sweden.

Sept 10

Driving the autobahn requires that you keep your wits about you. Heavy trucks traveling at 50mph mix with BMWs traveling at 115mph. Then add dozens of construction zones... less than fun. Nevertheless, the weather was perfect and we arrived in historic Lübeck only 90 minutes late and checked into our "Hotwire.com" hotel.

We were close to the Holsten Gate (pix), which takes you to Old Town. We strolled by City Hall, the Market Platz and finished at St. Mary's church from year 1251, but rebuilt after total destruction during WW2 except for the bells. During the bombing and fire, the bells fell from the tower and imbedded in the floor, where they remain today (pix). Dinner at Lübecker Hanse, which was tucked back on an ancient side street.

Sept 11

Today we traveled to the Lim fjord region in the North Jutland area of Denmark, and the small harbor town of Glyngøre. For the next several days, we'll be living in an architect's summer home that we rented over the Internet. The design of this home is quite simple (pix) (pix) and the floor plan uses the space in the most clever way.

Dave wants to measure everything in the house for a future building project, but we also want to visit the area. The Limfjord waterway weaves its way through a series of islands, all interconnected by bridges or ferries. Our rental house has a view of the Limfjord and Mors bridge, while nearby is the island of Fur, accessed by ferry.

Sept 12

After breakfast, we took off for a driving tour of Mors Island. The town of Nykobing Mors was a delight where the church was especially impressive, and the horse statue in the main square (video). We got delayed in our tour at Hanklit cliffs, famous for finding fossils. We found none but Kathy put together some impressive rock art shots (pix). We were so close to Thy Island, that we detoured to see the town of Thisted (pix).

With rain starting (again) we decided to go back home for a late lunch. Dave then started a floor plan drawing of our rental house, while Kathy took a long nap. Later out again to our own neighborhood and the restaurant Limfjordenshus, famous for shellfish and mussels. Excellent and recommended. Finally back home to watch a video. So beautiful here.

Sept 13

We were promised clear weather today, which didn't quite happen but it didn't slow down the Wooden Boat Festival where nearly 200 boats (pix) (video) passed underneath the Mors Bridge on their way to Nykobing Mors harbor. A few hours later the boats were available for viewing but we decided to skip that part of the festival.

So we headed for Fur (FOOr) Island and the now-famous Fur Brewhouse (pix). This was an old factory building restored years ago. There is also a restaurant where we had a couple of "sampler" plates, with beer, for $50. There is a rumor that Scandinavia is expensive, so let's set the record straight - it is. Gas for our car is $9.20/gallon.

Sept 14

We hit the road at 4:00am to arrive at the Frederikshavn ferry terminal for our 7:15am sailing to Sweden on the Stena "Jutlandica" (pix). This is a great boat with several restaurants, casino, and a lovely 10th-level sun deck (video). Back on shore, we took an expressway towards Stockholm, stopping only once for lunch at the Lilla Matstället restaurant. Alas, the entire journey was complicated by constant downpours of rain.

Once we checked into our hotel in Stockholm, we took a leisurely walk through the Old City (pix) to stretch our legs after too many hours in the car. Then on to the Irish "Pickwick's" pub to dine on fish and chips, and a couple of the local beers. Like many other cities, the ancient streets are now 100% pedestrian and no traffic allowed.

Sept 15

Breakfast at Coffee Express, then the Stockholm Tourist Office to buy all-day transport passes ($12 for seniors). The subway is called the "Tunnel Train" and stations have a large T. We took line T-13 to Skärholmen, where they was a large thrift store, shopping mall, and farmer's market. Lunch was at at an outdoor stand.

On to Täby Centrum for a large flea market and noted the Fika and Vila sign (pix). Fika mean "coffee break" and many older folks were selling bags of cinnamon rolls for $3. Later, dinner at Papa-Grappa, well outside the city center, to dine with the locals. Finally, near the hotel, the finish line for the Stockholm 1/2 Marathon (pix) (video).

Sept 16

Breakfast at the hotel then bus 69 to the walking path along the Djurgårdsbrunnsviken (water). A lovely day and lots of people out walking. Back to bus 69 and on to Café Blockhusporten (pix) for a snack and beverage. Return to the city center to tour various design centers such as Svenskt Tenn and Nordiska Galleriet. Lunch at an outdoor stand.

Yet more walking to Östermalmstorg Square then back to the hotel for a rest. Out again, this time bus 4, the longest bus run in Stockholm, ending up near the Gullmarsplan windmill. Next Tram 22 to Sickla Udde, a delightful area of condos, restaurants, and shops, all on beautiful bay. Dinner at Indian Restaurant Nammaskaar (pix). Great!

Sept 17

Breakfast at the hotel and then on to the National Library of Sweden to meet my friends Jan Henrik Amberg and Jörgen Lundmark. We gathered there to see a rare video from the 1960s of my favorite pianist, André Tchaikowsky, playing the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3. The picture of André playing (pix) is a fuzzy photo of a fuzzy video (YouTube). I'm working on getting my own video copy.

Then a very nice 5-hour drive to Malmö, Sweden where I thought I was going to meet another friend but he skipped out to Poland so maybe later. Malmö made a very good impression and our before-dinner walk took us by the fabulous Lilla Torg square (pix), full of restaurants, where we selected the nearby Mando Steakhouse.

Sept 18

Fabulous hotel breakfast, then a drive towards Hamburg, Germany, with a stop at Kolding, Denmark, to take one more real estate tour. Their simple kind of furniture design carries over to their architecture as well (pix). Lunch in one of the town's cafés and then back on the highway arriving in Hamburg in late afternoon.

After checking in to our hotel, we went for a walk along the lakes Aussenalster and Binnenalster towards Old Town, which was all expensive stores, so we started back with a stop at a food court for dinner, and then restaurant/bar Alex, right on the Binnenalster, for a cold beverage. Outside Alex was a display of Duratrans (pix).

Sept 19

Sunny morning for a walk along Lake Aussenalster and the adjacent street with the most wonderful looking apartments. The US Embassy was there as well with a double fence and several guards. Since we wanted to see a bit more of Hamburg before departing for home, we drove over to see HafenCity, a new urban community.

Our first view of HafenCity (pix) was from one of the pedestrian bridges. This is the largest urban project in the world, incorporating portions of an old dock area into new uses and housing for 12,000 people. The Elbe Philharmonie Concert Hall being built on top of an old warehouse in this artist's view (pix). But soon enough we left Hamburg for home, arriving about 5 hours later.

Sept 20

We are on the edge of Autumn in Schwetzingen, and the leaves are almost ready to start turning. We are glad to be home and having survived the Autobahn. I have to admire the German driving skills. They are so casual about it all, darting in and out of traffic at incredible high speeds, and for the most part, we just stay out of the way.

Germany seems to be a country on the move. We are in awe of the HafenCity project. It is so ambitious, well thought out and a great inspiration to see. If we were younger, we might invest in buying a condo. As for today, it is a day of rest and errands, and to get caught up with e-mails. The flower (pix) and our (pix) is from the market.

Sept 21

Lazy day today. Kathy joined a new health club. The former health club wasn't interested in a 3-month contract. Dave bought a new camera since the old one was not opening and closing properly any more. Just a pleasant, relaxing day. Today's (pix) is another Kathy Art Shot, this time a door handle we found on an old building in town.

Sept 22

Off on a great bike ride today to a nearby town. Perfect weather for a ride. After biking around town, we took a coffee break before returning home. Kathy was inspired to bake a banana/nut cake and bought sugar (zucker), but the kind you use for jams and jellies. So it was flavored sugar that didn't quite work. Then off on a little drive to find the location for tomorrow's flea market. Today's (pix) is our mailman. Love the bike.

Sept 23

Off to the Schwetzingen Flea Market today, after Kathy returned from a workout at the Health Club. Dave thinks he found a few treasures with a small transistor radio and some LP records, while Kathy scored three very old Swiss cow bells, plus we bought another suitcase. We'll need it. Then on to downtown Schwetzingen (pix) for Verkaufsoffener Sonntag (Shopping on Sunday). This is special so lots of balloons and things for the children (video).

Sept 24

Happy Birthday granddaughter Avanni, and it's a big one - 5 years old! Kathy made up this greeting (pix) and we have a gift to send off, once we can figure out the postal system. Off to the Technik Museum in Speyer, where we spent a great deal of time, including the IMAX theatre show. The size and scope of this museum is nearly beyond description (entire airplanes "flying" through the air, like 747s) but we didn't finish our visit (rain), so we'll come back and post to the blog later.

Sept 25

Another day of rain. Dave spent time reading brother Robert's manuscript on "Retired, Gone Cruising." The big event of the day was a delightful dinner with Gabriele and Peter Altmann (pix) at their wonderful and amazing apartment right in the center of Heidelberg. Peter, an architect, redesigned their home in the most creative and delightful way. Gabriele works in management at SAP. Dinner was fabulous and thanks so much.

Sept 26

Good weather returned so off on a morning bike ride. Today's (pix) is the amazing Höffner store. It is without a doubt the largest single store we've ever been in. It's all home furnishings but includes complete kitchens (40 on display), bathrooms (30 on display), and everything from lighting to dishes to pillows and on and ON. My calculation of the 5 floors comes out to 15 acres of space. Now that's big. Good prices, too.

Sept 27

Often enough the sound of fast motorcycles permeate the morning air. Dave thinks it's close by and jumps on his bike to find the source but fails. A Google satellite map shows... the Hockenheim Ring, a world-class, professional motor racing track (pix) that's 7 miles away and has hosted over (30) Formula One German Grand Prix races. We went to a free practice session for Formula 3 (not 1) race cars (video), then explored Hockenheim, which has the Stadthalle for music and other events.

Sept 28

Adventure Day in Stuttgart, just 1-hour away. The destination was the World Marimba Competition at the Stuttgart Music School (pix). Click Here for a YouTube performance from a past competition. The school is in the center of Stuttgart and the pedestrian way, King Street, where we had lunch and enjoyed some street performers (bubble video) (jazz video). The music school is next to the New State Gallery Art Museum where a headless lady keeps watch (pix) (video). Dinner at Zum Becher, a restaurant featuring traditional Swabian dishes. The Bread Pudding was exceptional. In the evening, a concert featuring a traditional Gamalan ensemble "Anggur Jaya" (video).

Sept 29

Relaxing day, Kathy to the Health Club, Dave working on Internet projects. In the evening, a concert, which was part of the Schwetzingen Mozart Festival and Mozart visited Schwetzingen at one time. He was only 7 years old at the time, but still, he was here. Our concert was in the extraordinary Rocco Theater from the 1700s (pix) and featured works for two pianos given by Andreas Grau and Götz Schumacher (YouTube).

Sept 30

We are remembering Everett Lynn Childs today (1918 - 2011), gone from us just over 1 year ago (pix with neighbor's baby). One can argue that 92 years is a pretty good pass but he remains ever fixed in our memory and we sorely miss our traditional Saturday night movie and steak dinner at Frasier Meadows. We remember being summoned to his apartment early one Monday morning, where he informed us he was going to die now. Less than a week later... Moving to Colorado to be near Everett for what turned out to be his last year was a great gift to us both. And one could hardly pose a better passing that to be surrounded by love, having your hand held in limitless affection with the last heartbeat. We lift a glass to you today, Everett.