EXPATS AGAIN! Experiencing other cultures while enriching our global view.



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Munich, Germany
I am married to the love of my life and am finally able to shower him with all of the attention he deserves. I am now retired and living the life here in Europe. I am an American, he is an Australian, and this is our second overseas address. The first was Shanghai, China and now Munich, Germany. Come along and live the life with us as we continue our adventure of discovering all Europe has to offer.

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Saturday, July 31, 2010


Eli spotted this auto a mile away.  The kids got good taste, eh?  It was parked on the Champs Elysee, in Paris.

While browsing the shops on the Champs Elysee we spotted a Renault store.  Eli had a ball looking at the prototypes, learning about gas emissions, and playing a driving game (just let me say that I'm glad he's not on the road now, :-)

We both loved the round seats!

So cool!

I liked the blue headlights.

AND, it's electric!!

Another kind of "GREEN!"

Check out this cool station "Quick Drop" where your used battery is removed from your car (the yellow one) and a new, fully charged battery is inserted to replace your used one.  Ingenious!  No more relying on gas companies.  BRING IT ON, I SAY!

I can only tell you that this is a motor. If you have any knowledge about this to add, please leave a comment.  I would love to know more about it.

Did I tell you how strong Eli is?

Thank goodness 11 year-olds are not driving.  We didn't survive the first minute.  I love you sweetie, but you have a lot of practicing to do, :-)

Eli was impressed that this car had an X Box player--whatever for, I don't have a clue.

Even I (who knows nothing about cars) can appreciate this Peugeot.

I can tell that Eli was very impressed with the Peugeot ~~better start saving your nickles and dimes.

More information about lowering the CO2

Toyota's answer.

An excited and enlightened Eli, but also an exhausted one after auto shopping with his Mimi.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


One of the reasons we went to Paris is that Eli said he wanted to see the Eiffel Tower.  I was hesitant to take him there because I wasn't sure of the expectations he had about Paris, but I needn't have worried.  He was thrilled with every aspect of his trip.  We noticed that the crowd under the Eiffel tower was unbelievable and the lines were even more unbelievable.  I was game to go to the top, but Eli wouldn't have any part of it.  I never knew he was afraid of heights, but he did the same thing when I mentioned the Ferris Wheel.

The Tour de France had just ended and that explained the unusually long crowds.  Also, it is summer and normally Europe sees large numbers of tourists in July and August.  Hence, the presence of the military.  The Eiffel Tower is a national treasure and one of Paris' icons.  Protecting it would be necessary during these times.  Here is what it looked like when we arrived.

 Notice how the crowd is thickest under the tower.  Here is what we saw when we went by later:

 We have no idea why it was cleared, but we saw soldiers holding back the crowds.  With terrorism rampant throughout the world, I'm sure that they take extra precautions to protect the large crowds of tourists that visit each year.

From the Eiffel Tower we traveled on to the Louvre.  It was my intention to take Eli into the museum to see the paintings and in particular, the Mona Lisa.  We took the Double-Decker hop on/hop off bus to see the city and by the time it arrived at the Louvre, it was closed.  The following day, Tuesday, it was closed.  So, we spent our time touring the grounds and we went inside the Louvre through the pyramid and looked at the exhibit halls and saw the museum shop.  Then, we were kindly escorted out of the museum.

From the Louvre we visited Notre Dame Cathedral.  I asked Eli if he wanted to hop off the bus and see the inside of the cathedral.  This did not seem to  capture his imagination.  What should I expect from an 11 year-old?  The highlight of our trip so far, for Eli, was the amount of graffiti (he filled his camera with photos of graffiti to impress his friends), Nutella (about which he proclaimed, "Where has this been all of my life?"), and the homeless individuals (especially the one without arms).   Kids...
 Eli on a bridge over the Seine. 

 Sweet, sweet, Eli. 

Fountains at the Place de le Concorde (Place of Harmony) at the north end of the Champs Elysee.

The Arc de Triomphe which the day before was the scene of the Tour de France.

The Place de Concorde was where the government erected the guillotine and executed King Louis XVI, on January 21, 1793.  Other important figures guillotined on the site, often in front of cheering crowds were Queen Marie Antoinette, Princess Elisabeth of France, Charlotte Corday, Madame du Barry, Georges Danton, Camille Desmoulins, Antoine Lavosier, Maximilien Robespierre, Louis de Saint-Just and Olympe de Gouge.  It was most active during the "Reign of Terror," in the summer of 1794, when in a single month more than 1,300 people were executed.  Of course, I didn't tell Eli that!!

Monday, July 26, 2010


I don't have much faith in omens, but if I did, this would be one I would like to believe in.  Today, my 11 year-old grandson and I flew from Detroit to Paris.  We thought it would be an adventure to take the Metro from Charles de Gaulle airport to our hotel.  What we didn't know was that it was a grueling journey that had us switching subways three times while hauling our luggage behind us, up platforms, into trains, up escalators and steps, and finally across the long stretches of vast wasteland that make up the Paris Metro.  After two hours of vigorous "exercise" trying to reach our hotel, we finally landed at our final train stop, "Grand Boulevard."

Once we emerged from the underground, we went to the corner and saw this restaurant near our hotel.  The "omen" is because it is named Christeve (Chris being my name and Steve being my husband's, Eli's grandfather.)  My grandson greatly appreciated the significance of this coincidence.

At the end of the street, looking out of our hotel window, is the famous Folies Bergere.  The Folies, established in 1869, began as a music hall and eventually became a popular venue for risque entertainment.  It gained popularity between the 1890's through the 1920's.  (Edouard Manet's 1882 famous painting , A Bar at the Folies-Berger, shows a bar-girl standing before a mirror.)  In 1926, Josephine Baker, an African-American expat singer, dancer and entertainer was an instant star after her suggestive "Banana Dance" in which she wore a skirt made of bananas and little else.  Among some of the popular performers at the Folies Bergere were Elton John, Frank Sinatra, Charlie Chaplin, Edith Piaf, and W.C. Fields, among many others.

This is the photo from our balcony overlooking the Rue Bergere in the 9th Arrondissement.
Another "omen" for our family is that our hotel was situated in a district that is home to many Jews.  Eli's father is a rabbi and we both commented on the significance of landing right in the middle of this Jewish neighborhood.   How appropriate!

We were fascinated with the Jewish delicacies and baked goods.

They were lovely, but we held our appetite for a true French dining experience.  

We planned our route this evening and we know in advance what subways will lead us to our destinations tomorrow.  Today, we avoided the area most tourists flock to in order to escape the gargantuan crowds in Paris today to witness the final leg of the  "Tour de France."  While many people would have wanted to view this historic event, I spent the afternoon training my young grandson to be a navigator of the Paris transportation system.  
Surprisingly, for never having been on a plane in his recent memory, nor having been in a mass-transit underground, he held his own very well.  He was able to tell me what stops were ours on the subway maps and when we needed to hop off the subway.  He is becoming familiar with Parisian maps, language, culture, and food.

We decided to do a "Meal in Reverse," and start with the desert.  He chose chocolate crepes and a glass of "iced cold real whole milk" that looked like it came straight from the cow--it was so thick with cream.  The chocolate on his crepes also looked true blue --not the Hershey's syrup variety he is familiar with living in America.  I chose Grand Marnier crepes that were served flambe style when  the waitress lit it on fire.  Eli was duly impressed!  Once we finished our crepes, we decided to call it a meal.

When I chose the hotel I thought about the Hilton, the Intercontinental, and the Crowne Plazza in Paris.  Instead, I chose a local French hotel; the Atel Royal Begere Hotel,  for Eli's first experience abroad.  Small, quaint, no air conditioning, narrow hallways and lifts, and a rather common European breakfast of croissants,  tartines of baguette bread, plain yogurt, and a slice of fromage.  I did well as he shared with me that he enjoyed the intimate nature of the small hotel and it's close proximity to the Grand Boulevard with all of the excitement of many shops and dining establishments.

As you can tell, he is enjoying his French adventure!

This window display actually frightened the both of us.  He begged to go in, but I was certain the "horror show" was in French and I had already had my limit of freak for the day after seeing this.... Instead, I gently guided him to a shopping passageway with bookstores, antique stores, toy stores, and candy stores.  (I have a lot of practice with being a Mimi of 10 grandchildren and if there is one thing I've conquered, it's the skill of diversion!)

Checking out  French Literature
Sampling the wares

Our corner Italian/Jewish Pizzeria

It was a fine beginning to what promises to be a three week adventure with our grandson.  Tomorrow, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Champs Elysee; if we are fortunate enough to accomplish all three attractions in one day. 

Eli is a wonderful travel companion and I'm delighted to show him that the world is truly a spectacular and amazing place. 

Meanwhile, he will return home to Waterford, Michigan an experienced traveler-- knowing how to negotiate airports, train stations, hotels, bike routes, trams, buses, and read maps of every variety.  It is my intention to have him sort the daily itinerary, lead, and feel confident that he is capable of knowing his way in a very foreign country.  So far, so good!

Friday, July 23, 2010


                          One of the most beautiful golf holes I've ever seen!  The site of the nuptials between Alyssa and Tony.  It was just amazing.  No wonder they chose this place to get married.

                   One of the most beautiful brides I have ever seen (photo courtesy of Diane). Her dress was exquisite.  The form, the detail, the material all fit her perfectly.  She looked like an angel.

          Probably the most attractive couple I have ever seen married.  (photo courtesy of Diane).
How could you find a cuter pair?  They look like they just stepped out of a magazine!

                                  And the friendliest! (photo courtesy of Diane).  They have personalities to match.  Both outgoing, competitive, and they share the same occupation!
Best wishes to you, Tony and Alyssa.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


     I know much of the world is steaming under double digit and triple digit temperatures. Here in Ohio it has been much the same. So, due to sweltering under the heat, the family decided to take the kids to the beach for a picnic and a swim. I guess we weren't the only ones with swimming in mind. The beach was absolutely the most popular destination on Sunday. The beach of Fairport Harbor, on Lake Erie was just the respite we desired.

The water temperature was a cool 75 degrees and offered a welcome relief from the stifling heat.  The lake was not only cool, but picturesque.
Our granddaughter didn't want to leave the water. Swimming with her brothers and grandfather offered her a great deal of entertainment; that is until Papa decided to be the shark searching out his prey.....



Nico and Eli enjoy mucking about in the lake.  Eli is 11 and Nico is 7, but Eli is very good with his younger brother.

Honestly, boaters know how to party.  This beach was party central! 

Eli is on the lookout for roaming sharks (Papa).  Keeping a keen eye open, he is able to avert danger.

Just in case, the lifeguard was on the job protecting all of our swimmers.  All was well.

Speaking of lifeguards--they were everywhere!

No shortage of water sports in this harbor.  Wind surfing, kayaking, power boats, Seadoos, Party pontoon boats, and canoes all vied for the right of way.

Here comes that pesky shark again.  "Look out kids, he looks hungry!"

Good thing sharks don't like beautiful mermaids.  She's safe.

Does she look afraid?

Now, little boys are a different matter.  Swim, Nico, swim!

A good time was had by all.  However, one of the members of our family was not interested in the beach, the water, or any of the sports.  At 15, he was happy to text his friends and listen to his ipod.  Some things never change!