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  1. Just returned from a three week trip to visit daughter and family who recently moved to Germany. We also drove into nearby Luxembourg, Belgium and France (Paris and Normandy Beaches). My first trip outside North America. Already talking about our next visit to see more of the EU. Right now my most favorite and recognizable German words are BURG (castle) and FLOHMARKT (flea market). Due to our schedule, we missed all the wonderful spring markets. The one second hand store we went into also sold complete kitchens. These RL European kitchens seem so perfect for the small spaces in a dollhouse. My daughter's rental house, in a small village, has a European kitchen with a very compact refrigerator and tiny freezer. She does have a larger refrigerator/freezer in another room. There is no grocery store in her village, only a wonderful bakery. My family made sure that we went to the Reutter Porzellan (Porcelain) factory outlet in Denkendorf where I bought some "souvenirs". The two workers (one spoke English) politely put up with my whole family in the store. They do not have factory tours, but my husband asked and was given permission to take pictures as one worker painted the rims of some porcelain pieces. They do make and sell beautiful porcelain and miniatures, but as usual, only a few half scale. We toured lots of castles (each one so unique) and castle ruins. Saw many half-timbered houses. My favorite village for timber houses is Bernkastel-Krues. Drove through so many beautiful villages with very narrow streets. Each village has at least one church. We even toured two caves -- one in a boat on the river through the cave. We also took in a very large Retro Classic car show: Loved the retro camping trailers. Almost all the museums we toured had dollhouse miniatures and toys (even the shoe museum). Even a small village bed and breakfast had a miniature of the room set up outside by the B&B sign. We are pretty sure my husband even met a distant relative. We brought along pictures of the house and church in the village of my husband's great-grandfather. Went to a tourist site in that village armed with family information and the worker (who speaks English) and his father recognized the house (which had been torn down for road improvement) and recognized the names as names in their family history. The family history goes back many generations in that village. Soon, I hope to post a few pictures in an album in the gallery and to catch up on postings on the forum. I spent most of February planning the trip and then the actual trip -- so it has been quite awhile since I have been active on the forum.
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