A Monchau Feeling

Well before we left Monchau I knew it would be my favorite stop in Germany. The architecture and the colors completely grabbed me. We visited the medieval town center dominated by narrow streets, the Rur river, and the half-timbered buildings (structural timber frame is visible on the outside of the structure with plaster, brick, or stone infilling). I love this type of construction because the structural elements are exposed rather than hidden away and are often used to great artistic effect. I’m hoping to see a lot more of these types of buildings on our British Isles trip that is coming up right around the corner!

Monchau is nestled into lush and green hills. I can’t imagine a more appropriate and charming setting for a medieval town. I was smitten. We were caught in a little rainstorm while hiking up a hillside of the town. Under normal circumstances we might be a little annoyed to be wet. However, it seemed so appropriate to rain here that it simply added to the ambiance and our enjoyment of the moment.

I’ve prepared a couple photos that capture a little of this Monchau feeling.

This photo captures some of that medieval timber construction, the Rur river passing between buildings in the midst of the town, and the green hills outside the town. It was taken handheld on May 12th 2017 in Monchau, Germany using the Fuji X-T10 and the Fuji 18–55mm lens at 18mm, 1/250s, f/7.1, and ISO 800. Editing was performed in Lightroom to square the architecture and slightly adjust the white balance.

This photo captures some of German shingle work that I noticed in many of the cities and towns is a favorite detail of mine. Just look at the patterns; the are fantastic! Throw in a little grunginess and I’m as happy as a clam.  It was taken handheld on May 12th 2017 in Monchau, Germany using the Fuji X-T10 and the Fuji 18–55mm lens at 37.4mm, 1/250s, f/8, and ISO 320. Editing was performed in Lightroom to square grunge the photo up a little.

This photo was taken as we were walking back down the hillside into Monchau!

This photo is a great little example of the small and narrow streets in Monchau.

This one is of Julie and the kids taking in the scenery.

Europe: Where We Walked and Walked and Walked

Rob and I love to walk on our vacations. Our kids don’t but they learned to do it anyway.

Rob tracked it and we walked a total of 85.6 miles over those 19 days (avg 4.5 miles per day). Not bad for little legs!

Walking is the best way to see and experience all the new sights. Plus, we had to work off all the dozens of pastries we devoured.

Other than a couple of cities, we really wanted this trip to highlight the natural landscapes of each country. Of course, those parts turned out to be some of our very favorite places. We just love the feeling of freedom and wholeness that comes from spending time in God’s incredible creation.

Caroline walked about half as much as everyone else. She really enjoyed the view from up top!

New York


France – It rained on us a lot here.


This area outside of Fontainebleau was such a nice respite after the craziness of NYC and Paris.


We climbed a TON of stairs in each country. We climbed 214 flights of stairs total but one day alone was 48 flights (hiking in luxembourg).

We all LOVED our hiking day in the Echternach area of Luxembourg!

We found ourselves among trolls.

And a troll bridge.

This area is called Wolf Cove. The story goes that when people settled here, there were many wolves in the area that would eat the farm animals. To solve the problem, the people lured the wolves into this canyon, trapped them, and then stood on top and threw boulders down at them, killing every last one of them.

Caroline found this story fascinating and had me tell it to her over and over again while we were walking…Strange girl.



I’m not sure why this is a go-to pose for this man. It always has been and I have a sneaky suspicion he’ll be 85 years old one day doing the same thing.

We were dumped on for a few minutes in Germany while walking the hills above a hamlet.




Our kids loved this beach. They could just dip their hands in the edge of the water and pick up handfuls and handfuls of shells.




Well, everyone…we did it! Not only did we get through Europe…but we got through posting about it. Ha!

Looking at these pictures is such motivation for me to keep writing and slowly, slowly saving up for  another trip someday.

Europe 2017: Art & Architecture

Our second-to-last installment of European blog posts features art and architecture in various forms. They just don’t make stuff like this here in ‘Merica.

‘Cept for this stuff, ’cause it’s in ‘Merica.

Such a cute family shot!

This pic was taken at Ellis Island. The girls are trying to fit in with the crowd.

Paris (in case you couldn’t tell from the French sign…)

The heigh of the tower is surprisingly imposing.


One of our (except for Cara’s) favorites? Walking up Miss Eiffel’s leg.

Skip the lines? Check. See the inside workings? Check. Skip the crowded elevator? Check. Enjoy a better view? Check. 

We wanted to visit museums, but weren’t interested in spending entire days in them or bank accounts on them just to see a ton of nads and nudes. Don’t worry, we saw plenty…just not so much that we were overwhelmed at every viewpoint. 
The Musee de la Musique was magnifique, even if we didn’t enjoy the longish Metro ride. The kids got really into their headsets. They punched in the instrument number and they could hear what it sounds like. This kept them busy for a very long time!

Musee de l’Orangerie was serene. Monet’s magical brushstrokes are showcased in multiple large format canvasses that wrap around the room. Incredible.

I know there’s a metaphor here about small, individual brushstrokes contributing to a stunning masterpiece, or how a masterpiece is made up of individual brushstrokes…

but I’m too tired to come up with something brilliant or spiritual so I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

A street corner in the town of Fountainbleau.

Here’s Troyes, a very cool little medieval town. The kids couldn’t believe people used to throw buckets of poop out the windows into the little gutters that we were walking in and thought looked so cute.


Don’t get me wrong, the tiny towns are cute and some were better than others…but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that a lot of them were just cute-sified malls. Think Park City Main Street. 

We still really enjoyed the structures and took plenty of pictures to prove it!

I LOOOOVE how Monschau looked after a good rain!

Other than the windmills at Kinderdijk, there wasn’t much, architecture-wise, that stood out in The Netherlands.


Antwerp had a nice city center square. The architecture is spectacular!

Ghent was really cool, especially all lit up at night. It has won the most “Beautiful City at Night” awards.

Bruges was so great. We could have walked amongst the buildings, shops, and houses forever.