Baden-Baden, Germany

The next stop on our tour of Christmas markets last year was Baden-Baden, Germany.  This was a really special market place.

Just beyond the market was a unique display of artwork that was gorgeous.

Once again, the food got our attention, but not only the food, the restaurant itself.  It was an enclosed porch of a beautiful hotel, but cold enough that they provided blankets at each chair.  So nice and cozy with warm cider!

Really yummy!

The breakfast buffet was fantastic too.

 

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Colmar, France

Our second stop in search of Christmas markets last year was at Colmar, France.  This was in a beautiful part of the city called “La Petite Venise,” and you can see why with all the canals.

There were plenty of holiday decorations all around.

There was even a carnival with a fun roller coaster with “seats” in the shape of horses (and yes, they rocked back and forth as they went around the track).

Once again, the food was outstanding.

The markets had thousands of fun items to see.

There were many nativities all around too.

These faces carved into the entryway of the old cathedral were fascinating to me.

We will never forget beautiful Colmar!

 

Strasbourg, France

Here are more photos from Strasbourg last year during the after-Christmas markets.  Everything was decorated so beautifully.

Of course, the food is always good in France.

I called this “the sink that wasn’t a sink.”  

A Quilt and a Shark

I recently made a new quilt for Sarah–a lap quilt for her couch.  My plan was to match her gray couch with its lime green pillows.  It turned out very nice.

She opened the birthday gift here, then took it home to Houston.  It wasn’t long before I received a Snapchat from her that was similar to this photo:

One of the things we both liked most about the quilt was the elephant fabric I’d found to use for the backing, which can be seen below:

I also did some sewing for Chris’ birthday.  I was looking for something related to sharks (since he’s been fascinated with them since he was a child).  Lo and behold, I found a pattern for a shark pencil pouch, and I decided to give it a try.  It turned out great!  Here is the link for the free pattern.

I think he was pretty happy with it, but he especially enjoyed lunch out with Mom and the dessert provided by the restaurant.

 

 

 

 

Crystal Awards

Today I’m sharing “sign” pics from the Crystal ship Symphony that we enjoyed so much.  First, a safety sign:

Next, the first sign I saw every morning before going out on the deck for a morning walk:

I discovered an interesting room in the ship that displays all the wonderful gifts they have received from each port they have visited around the world.  It’s impressive!

There was also a huge display and blessing provided by the craftsmen of the shipyard in Finland, where Symphony was built in 1995:

Finally, I’ll share a couple more menus from our week at sea:

 

 

 

 

Final Shout-Out

This is the final shout-out to the ship and crew of Crystal Cruises.  We had the best time in the Caribbean and would certainly go again if we get the chance.  Some of the passengers would remain onboard for another week, as they toured the Panama Canal, Colombia and other stops, but we couldn’t go the extra week (and had already been through the Panama Canal previously).  So it was a sad farewell but the memories linger!

I had toured the ship’s kitchen one of the days at sea, and it’s incredible to see how they prepare all the great meals we enjoyed.

Again–wonderful staff members giving it their all.  We ate in the Italian restaurant on our last night and the food and presentation here was also delicious and impressive.

 

 

Zip Line

The next place we stopped in Costa Rica was the zip line.  I had ridden one in Costa Rica and Thailand before, and was excited to experience the thrill of flying through the trees again!

To our surprise, we ran into some of the staff from the ship that were also going on the zip line.  It was great that we ended up in the same group so we could get better acquainted.  Later I was able to share photos with them, since they didn’t have cameras.

The girls had been tricked into thinking they were going to the beach, and they were dressed accordingly, which we thought was hilarious.

Their names and countries are Aleksandar (Serbia), Stanko (Serbia), Diana (Montenegro) and Lori (Croatia).

What a delight to spend this time with them, laughing, squealing, and being goofy (rather than the normal stance they would take serving on the ship)!

And — to top it off — guess who waited on us at breakfast the next morning?  This is always the best part of traveling — the food AND the people we meet!