Wednesday, August 21, 2019

A perfect summer day and cruising down the Danube (Part 2)

Well, hello there! And how are my blogging friends on this fine August morning? The month is flying by (as they all do at my age!) and September is right around the corner. I don't know about you, but I'm not ready for summer to end. It feels like we got just a bit cheated this year with our rainy, cool June and overly hot July, doesn't it? I'm hoping that September will offer us many more warm sunny days to help make up for those two months!

And to help prolong your summer just a bit, I have a very sweet finish to share with you today. I actually have very few summer pieces to put out so I'm trying to remedy that and, as soon as I saw this design, I knew I had to stitch it... I truly loved each stitch!

What do you get when you combine...

A blue-doored beach hut with a cute seagull perched nearby,

with a darling girl in a red and white polka-dot dress skipping along the sand,

with a little pup playing with his ball while a sandcastle is being constructed with a seashell door,

and a frisbie-throwing lad with a red and white lighthouse standing guard?

Mix in a banner in French that says "The sun,

the sand, the sea" and some breezy sailing boats on a blue, blue sea and you have a perfect summer beach scene!

"Beach Landscape" finish on 40 ct. Vintage Country Mocha Newcastle linen

What do you think? I mean what could possibly say summer more than a carefree day at the beach? This design is featured in The World of Cross Stitching magazine (July 2019 issue #282) and is the product of the imagination of designer Jenny Van De Wiele. Jenny also designed the beautiful "Berries In a Basket" piece that I stitched earlier this year. She is a very talented New Zealand designer who now lives in the United States and designs under the name "Homestitchness" which is a play on words combining her love of stitching and its ability to ease her homesickness for her beautiful New Zealand. You can find more of her lovely designs by clicking here or on her Etsy shop right here.

Why do you choose to stitch a certain design? Is it the colors, the subject, the designer? Or is it because it evokes memories of a special place, time, or experience? With "Beach Landscape," it is the latter reason for me... For almost 35 years, my in-laws rented a beach house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina for all of their children and grandchildren to gather for one week each summer. When we first went in 1984, my oldest son was just two years old... And this year, 2019, is the first time in 35 years that none of the family has gone down. Through the years, the houses we rented went from simple (almost rustic) abodes on nearly deserted beaches to upscale mansions big enough to hold 25+ people. And, oh, how my sons loved the weeks spent bonding with their cousins and creating those lifelong memories. The nine cousins, now ranging in age from mid-40s to early 30s, spent hours boogie-boarding, crab hunting, climbing up the sand dunes, building sand-castles, flying kites, throwing frisbies, star gazing, and eating lots of favorite foods (including the ever popular hush puppies).

Here are some old photos of those happy Outer Banks beach days circa 1995...

My sons and their cousins "digging to China!"

Oldest son at age 13 riding his boogie-board into shore after another successful ride.

My middle son could spend hours and hours just digging in the sand each week.

My youngest son was always discovering new "treasures"--here he holds a feather from a seabird.

And here are 8 of the 9 cousins, along with my husband,  just watching for the next great wave to come in. Look at my niece in the coral colored bathing suit--doesn't she remind you of the little girl in red skipping across the sand in my stitching?

Although I am not a big beach person (the mountains are my "happy place"), the smiles on my sons' faces when they reunited with their cousins each year were priceless! I hope that, if my husband and I are ever blessed with grandchildren, we can continue this tradition of gathering the entire family together for one solid week of bonding and memory-making each year.

I was given the most generous gift this week from dear Sandy at "I Majored In Home Economics" blog. Just look!! A sweet "Dick and Jane" card along with eight beautiful Erica Michaels charts in The Caroling Berries collection. I love Christmas carol themed stitching for an obvious reason--my name and the fact that my parents named me "Carol" because I was due at Christmas time (unfortunately for my poor mother--I arrived three weeks late!). So these are very special and I look forward to stitching them. Thank you so very much for your generous gift, Sandy--I truly love them! And I will be sure to keep the kindness going by passing them along when I am done stitching them.

Beautiful Christmas Carol charts from Sandy

Well, that's it for the stitching portion of this post--on to the next installment of my Danube River cruise. I'm so happy that you enjoyed the first portion on Prague and Terezín. Today, we will visit two new cities and actually embark on the river portion of the trip!

Regensburg, Germany

Regensburg is located in the south-east corner of Germany and it's medieval city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is so well-preserved because there were no industrial complexes or factories located in the medieval center so it wasn't the target of Allied bombings in WWII. I was excited to visit this city of nearly 150,000 inhabitants because my mom had told me how much she enjoyed it back in the late '60s when she and my dad visited. It didn't disappoint...

My first view of the medieval center of Regensburg as we crossed The Stone Bridge. Wouldn't it be lovely to sit under those shady trees and simply watch the world go by?

Old town Regensburg  and The Danube River as seen from the other side of the bridge

The Stone Bridge, built in the 12th century, connects old town Regensburg with Stadtamhof

The medieval buildings were varied and 

The pink building is a fine example of what is known as a "medieval patrician tower." The upper class built very tall buildings to showcase their wealth, but often only lived in the first few floors leaving the upper floors empty!

Porta Praetoria was built by Roman Emperor Marcus Auerelius in the 2nd century! It is believed to be Germany's most ancient stone building.

Of course, I had to pose in front of the Regensburg public library!

The mural on the Goliath Building, built in 1260, depicts the story of David and Goliath.

The imposing St. Peter's Cathedral is an important landmark in Regensburg.

The Gothic spires can be seen from almost anywhere in the medieval part of the city.

A few of the pretty buildings and doorways of Regensburg

Many of the windows had beautiful flowers cascading from window boxes

I thought this sculpture of a stag perched above a doorway was particularly interesting!

This is one of my favorite photos of our trip. Our guide said this is an example of an old salt barge that is now used to carry tourists on sightseeing cruises.

Cheers! Here we are in the Regensburg Sausage Kitchen which just may be the oldest continually operating restaurant in the world! It serves 6000 sausages a day and has been in operation since 1146 AD. And no, I am not a beer drinker--hence, the bottle of Coke!

After a busy and very hot day in Regensburg, we are finally bused to our ship: The Avalon Passion. Here are some of our shipmates embarking. (I will write a separate blog post on the ship and my opinions and thoughts on the river cruise in a later post).

After a quick change of clothes, we went to the ship's dining room, met up with a couple we got to know in Prague, and enjoyed our first of many scrumptious dinners which ended with this delightful Apfelstrudel for dessert!

As we were settling in for our first onboard dinner, we began cruising to a new location... Any guesses as to where we stopped next?

I smiled with delight when I opened the curtains of my cabin the following morning to find this gorgeous sight. I honestly would have been very happy to sit there all day with my stitching while admiring this pretty scene! We had arrived at our next destination--the charming baroque town of:

Passau, Germany

Passau, (also known as Dreiflüssestadt ("City of Three Rivers") is situated at the confluence of the Danube, Inn, and Ilz rivers. It is a smaller town of only 50,000 residents,  of whom 12,000 are students at the University of Passau. The original "Old City" portion was destroyed by fires several times in the 16th and 17th centuries and was rebuilt in the style that was in fashion then--Baroque. Pastels abound and it almost appears as if some of the architectural features are icing on a wedding cake. Come on--let's take a stroll through this delightful town...

Pale pastels highlight the market square in Passau

I particularly enjoyed my time in Passau because we arrived early in the morning before the crowds converged.

You need sturdy shoes to walk on these cobble-stoned streets

The spire of St. Stephen's Cathedral rises above the town

St. Stephen's Cathedral, built in the 17th century,  is a magnificent example of baroque architecture. During December a large Christmas market is held in the square right outside the church. I imagine it's quite a sight!

Shall we go inside the cathedral and explore?

Certainly, the prettiest cathedral I've ever seen!

Just look at the magnificent murals and carvings!

It truly was jaw-droppingly beautiful!

St. Stephen's has the largest organ in Europe and the second largest in the world.

I found these exterior sculptures on the outside of the cathedral to be particularly fascinating. Can anyone from Europe tell me what they represent?

I'm guessing that these may be memorial plaques of some kind?

An angel  sculpture on the outside wall of St. Stephen's commemorates the deaths of local WWI soldiers.

The Inn River

I thoroughly enjoyed my stroll along the banks of the Inn River even though the skies were grey and threatening rain.

A view of Innstadt with the Innstadt Brewery in the lower left and the Mariahilf Monastery at the top of the hill.

A final view of the Inn River under threatening skies

There were such lovely, intricately carved doors in Passau

... and  more pretty flower-filled window boxes.

The New Bishop's Palace, built in the 18th century, was stunning both inside and out.

It featured an elaborate rococo stairway

Doesn't this architectural detail resemble a perfect pink and white wedding cake?

Some gorgeous frescoes in the New Bishop's Palace

And this beauty is the library where many of Passau's religious history is on display. Do you think they're interested in hiring a retired librarian?!

After a delightful morning spent exploring the town of Passau, our ship set sail after lunch.

The sun had broken through the clouds and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon cruise to our next destination. I think my favorite moments of our trip were simply sitting in our cabin with the doors wide open watching the world go by as we cruised down the not-so-blue Danube!

Have you enjoyed the second leg of my Danube Cruise today? I loved both Regensburg and Passau, but think I preferred Passau as it was much less crowded and the colors were just so pastel and pretty! Where will I be taking you next time? Stay tuned...

Thank you all so much for visiting me today--and a special thanks to those of you who take the time to leave a comment. I appreciate each and every one as I know your lives are just as busy (or probably busier!) than mine... I want to welcome my new followers and invite any of you who don't follow me already on Instagram to join in on the fun; just click here to see my Instagram photos. I won't be back until sometime in September so I hope you enjoy the last little bit of August! Bye for now...