A place for family and friends to keep up with the Carlson's!

The Carlson Family

The Carlson Family

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween in Luxembourg

They don't celebrate Halloween in Luxembourg, however we are fortunate to have the American Women's Group here to organize Halloween activities for the children. The girls loved getting dressed up as Minnie Mouse and Sleeping Beauty. They were able to go trick or treating in a neighborhood in Luxembourg, and attend a Halloween party at Pizza Hut. The Halloween party had face painting, cookie decorating, and even a pinata for the kids. The girls had a good time at both events. It wasn't quite the same as back home, however we were thankful there were events for the kids. Now...we just need to get our pumpkins carved!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

We have voted from Luxembourg!

Just wanted to let you all know that Mark and I did cast our votes by absentee ballot for the upcoming election. I really didn't want to go through the whole process of requesting an absentee ballot (although it was really easy) and then getting them sent back in. But when Mark said that he was going to do it- well I COULD NOT let his vote count! So I decided to also vote. For those of you who don't know- Mark and I always offset each other's votes. I'm sure you all can figure out which way each of us votes. Thankfully, we are spared from the continuous election coverage that you get in the U.S. However, we are asked all the time who do we think is going to win the election from the Europeans we know. Time will tell!!!!!!! Mark's just glad he can say with certainty that it won't be Hillary!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Loire Valley of France- The vineyards

The Loire Valley is also known for it's vineyards. In addition to a castle each day, we also visited a small, local vineyard. We said driving through the area was like driving through the Minnesota countryside, but instead of corn all you could see were rows and rows of grapes. Unbelievable! Visiting the local vineyards was an experience for both Mark and I. None of the people spoke english, however Mark and I were able to get by with our limited french. One of the vineyards even gave us a tour of their caves where they store and let the grapes ferment. In addition, we saw how they bottle the wine, and of course we were able to buy the wine direct. As Mark has developed a bad habit of collecting wine now, we came home with 10 cases of wine!

The Loire Valley of France- The Castles

After our time in Paris we headed 2 hours south to the Loire Valley. This area is known for it's vineyards and castles. We saw a lot of both!!! This was the countryside of France and much more quiet than our time in Paris. However, the weather was beautiful and the girls loved being able to run around and just be outside. We visited a castle each of the days we were there (you are able to tour the inside). You could visit castles for days in this area- however we chose to just visit one each day. That was plenty and as Mark said
"I'm castled out!" by the end. Here are some pictures of the castles we visited : Chenonceau, Chambord, Villandry, and Cheverny.


On our way out of Paris we went 13 miles SW of Paris to Versailles. Here we went to the Chateau & Gardens of Versaille. Construction began in 1661 and took 50 years to complete. Louis the XIV set out to build a palace that would be the envy of all of Europe. The palace is huge, however I was very disappointed because the entire front of the palace was being renovated due to storm damage a few years ago. The whole building was covered with barracades. Oh well...I guess it just means another trip back there some other time!!! :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Paris- Part IV

The last pictures are just various photos taken throughout the city. The Eiffel Tower doesn't really need an explanation except as Ericka says "It's so beautiful!" That pretty much sums up our time in Paris as well!

Paris-Part III

One of the many fun things in Paris is walking through the many open markets that you just happen to stumble upon when walking down a random street. Here are some pictures of a market Mark found near our hotel while looking for a bakery for us for breakfast one morning.

The 2nd set of pictures are of the Paris Metro that we used for our transportation around Paris. We found it to be very easy and efficient to use. We were lucky that we had a metro station right across the street from our hotel. The girls loved taking the trains everyday. In the last photo- Lauren was completely worn out from a full day in Paris.

Paris-Part II

We saw too many beautiful things in France to put them all in one post. So I'm going to do multiple posts on this beautiful city. We were fortunate to get to some of the museums during our time in Paris. We went to the very famous Louvre museum where we saw the Mona Lisa and were completely overwhelmed with art and sculptures. The first picture is of the outside of the Louvre museum. We also went to Les Invalides which is a tribute to France's history/armies. The tomb of Napoleon is also here (the third picture). Finally, the last pictures are of the Arc de Triomphe which Napoleon had built to honor the victories in their wars. If you look closely in the pictures you can see that Mark was standing in the middle of the Champs Elysees taking these pictures. Don't worry- he didn't risk his life. There were places to stop in the middle of the road and take pictures without having to worry about being hit by a car.

Paris-Part I

Last week we were fortunate enough to spend 4 days in Paris. Mark and I both loved the city. It's a beautiful city with beautiful architecture and the people were all very nice as well. Mark and I tried practicing our french (for those of you who don't know....Mark is taking french lessons through work), however our french must be very bad because everyone would just talk back to us in english. Oh well- we tried.

The first pictures posted here of the churches/cathedrals we visited. The first picture is of Notre Dame, followed by St. Chapelle, and lastly Sacre-Coeur. The Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris is one of the most famous. St. Chapelle is a beautiful chapel with amazing stained glass. Finally, Sacre-Coeur because it sits up on a hill offers one of the prettiest views of Paris.