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Last chapter: Call me, Missus Hazebrouck…Europe 2017 volume 8

 (Elisa Sherman)Sigh, this is the final blog of #WEeurovacay

All good things must come to an end.

Upon our return from Venice, and before we headed back to Paris, Wade and I took a day trip via 2 trains – to the “family”(named) town: Hazebrouck…a little town in the north of France. Hazebrouck became Hasbrouck, perhaps as the family emigrated across the Atlantic. The town is…very French. This was the last new location we visited, before heading back to Paris.

En route, we missed our connecting train in Lille, France. Wade had to dust off his french, and vice versa the ticket agent his english…turned out, missing one train was not that big a deal. We eventually made it to Hazebrouck, however, it was a bit of a holiday, so much in the main square was not open. But, we found lunch in one of the little french restaurants before setting off on jaunt around town.

Pro tip, sausages in France seem to equal hotdogs, oscar meyer style. Interesting. And they like cheese, a lot of cheese. The lunch I ordered was a piece of bread and ham buried in a bowl of yellow cheese, with a hotdog and egg on top. It seemed like a croque madame gone wrong… I think I’ll stick with croissants when it comes to french fare…
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Food aside, I say au revoir #WEeurovacay…Hazebrouck, out.

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Venezia ~ Ciao Bella! Europe 2017 volume 7

 (ELISA SHERMAN)Venice, Venezia in Italian…The Floating City. To drive in Venice is to skipper a boat. Actually, a collection of islands and canals, you walk over water in every direction. This was my second time visiting, and I saw many of the same sights as I had previously. And they are just as spectacular, the gelato just as sweet. Much like Hawaii, where every direction is loved by the camera, Venice is candy for the eyes and the lens. Pasta & pizza to savor. From the golden tiled mosaics to the blown glass, from the lace to rainbow neighborhoods, from gondeliered canals to bridges of sighs…there is nowhere quite like Venice, the city that seems to be sinking inch by inch, but rises above: bellisima!

We attempted to be economical upon arrival awaiting, seemingly forever, a water bus. Splurging on a water taxi would have been well worth it. Alas, we made our way from airport to San Marco eventually. We had a lovely apartment reserved via Airbnb near Piazza San Marco, and it was awesome. It was associated with a hotel, so we had access to their services, wifi, and ability to make reservations for taxi when we had to leave in the wee hours.

Our Venice stop on #WEeurovacay consisted of roaming Piazza San Marco, a day trip to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello, and of course, a gondola ride. Mix in some pizza, pappardelle and a canoli or two…well, la dolce vita is realized. Photos abound.

First views in all direction of Piazza San Marco…
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A pigeon or two…
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San Marco itself…we could not shoot inside, but around, and from atop…
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Endless waterways…
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Grand Canal…
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…and Gondolas…
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…islands full of…glass, lace, rainbows, and ponderous statuary…
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…There really is just endless visions…
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…sigh, Ciao for now sweet Venezia, until I see you again…


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Ghent ~ Castles and moats and chainmail, oh my! Europe 2017 volume 6

 (ELISA SHERMAN) On our way back to Brussels from Brugge, we stopped in Ghent, specically Gravensteen Castle, before heading into the town for dinner. Gravensteen is a castle from the middle ages, full of armour, and various…torture contraptions, and whatnot. Views abound. It is like stepping through time, as you climb through and around the castle grounds. Dark and dreary, yet also dreamy. You can almost see ghosts of knights past lurking through the dark dank stone halls. It’s hard to imagine a time when this was a lived in, working dwelling. What with tourists roaming about, through the halls, and down below and around it, feeding the ducks, and sitting on the grass aside the moat. Castles seem so “fairytale”, yet here we see, they are but history, as dark as it may have been…

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En Brugge , Europe 2017 volume 5

 (ELISA SHERMAN)Brugge, Bruges…Venice of the north… One of the coolest north Belgium towns. If you don’t mind dark comedies, the film En Brugge, will take you there…on  (ELISA SHERMAN)point scenery. If you are but a tourist, like, se moi, there is Photo Tour Brugge brought to you by Bruges’ best photographer, Andy McSweeney @andymcphoto. Andy was so great working with each of us at varying levels of skill and equipment, taking us to sights off the beaten path, and pointing out how to make unique compositions, etc. And he let me swap lenses with him as we were both shooting Fuji mirrorless this fine evening:)

We had headed up to Brugge from Brussels on the Saturday after returning from Berlin…walked around the main Place(plass) ourselves (Wade, his aunt, cousin and myself), and then met up with Andy for an evening private tour(scheduled in advance). From rapt statues, canals, reflections, architecture, odd signs, and windmills we got a taste of everything through sunset. What a great way to see Brugge! The next morning we walked around as the city awoke, and took our final clicks and then headed off to the next stop on #WEeurovacay…for now, let’s look back, En Brugge.

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Wolfsburg: Das Auto! Europe 2017 volume 4

 (ELISA SHERMAN)So our trek to Germany was born of desire to go see the birthplace of Wade’s 1967 Beetle…So we planned it as a day trip from our stay in Berlin on our #WEeurovacay. We planned poorly and didn’t get reservations to visit the factory, but after a brief stroll through the Autostadt. we realized the real place to see was the museum where all the old Volkswagens were… So we hopped in a taxi and went to this little building in town. Undertated from the outside, but all the goodies were inside. So we got to see all the new tech at Autostadt, and all the old cuteness at the museum – win win :) I have to admit, I prefer the classics, they have very expressive faces if you will. I am not as much a fan of the boxier styles of the 80’s etc… But it was fun to see everything over the years.

So I give you Wolfsburg, Volkswagen – ad infinitum…
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next up, En Brugge…

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Ich bin ein Berliner! Europe 2017 volume 3

 (ELISA SHERMAN)Jelly doughnuts not included…lol, j/k, that’s not what that means. So Berlin…the third city we landed in. So much history. I am a child of the cold war, and almost nowhere is more symbolic than Berlin, where remnants of the Wall still stand. We actually stayed in what would have been East Berlin. Walking just down the street to what was Checkpoint Charlie, or taking an Uber further east to the Wall Museum, with the tour through the museum narrated by Mikhail Gorbachev, the history permeates the air. Berlin was actually my favorite city to visit…it was full of history, the people were so nice, the food good, and the price was right. Easily the best deal on #WEeurovacay, the beer and brats were much more afordable than the Parisian croque madames :)
Our favorite pub , Augustiner, was the one down the street by Gendarmenmarkt.

Cheers Berlin!
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Brandenburg Gate greets you…
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The cathedrals at Gendermenmarkt candy to the eyes…
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…and the Wall, so dark in it’s history, now stands in part as monument, in part as art making us think about the future and past…
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And never fear, Starbucks is here…and smarter coffee too…pick your kaffee :)
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And so much more interest to the eyes, as you stroll and wander through the city…I would love to go back and see more than our brief stay allowed for…


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Sprout to be… Bruxelles! Europe 2017 volume 2

 (Elisa Sherman)Brussels, or as the French say – Bruxelles (it basically sounds the same but with an accent)…was our home base for our #WEeurovacay adventure – much love to Cathy for allowing us to visit. We whisked our way there Monday evening from Paris via high speed train – and apparently First class – I highly recommend. Brussels…is a brilliant city, a Grand Place(pronounced plass) with a Starbucks & a Hard Rock…did I mention, we’re American?! Anyways, we actually left the next day for Berlin, but technically it was our second stop, so volume 2 it is! When we did return from Germany, we got to hang out a bit, and again when we returned later from Venice. We rode the subway here, as we did in Paris…to navigate in from the Train station, and back to Grand Place. Drank beer(as I did in Berlin as well – Volume 3 or 4?! lol) thanks to some Monks come brewers…La Trappe ~ Trappist

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…and well, ate chocolate…because, Belgium…
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…missed Brussels Pride (we went to Brugge that weekend…it’s early there I guess?)…it would have been fun…but great to see an international city getting ready…
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And, of course…Grand Place…
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…and did I mention Starbucks?! yes…there was Cafe Americano…
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…and chocolate sculptures and chocolate elephants…
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…and well, it’s Europe…so really cool architecture, courtyards, fountains & churches…
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Brussels was really cool, even if we only got to visit a small part…the people were all wonderful, and everything was so fun, just to walk down the street…until we see you again…to Bruxelles with love, xoxo…


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Paris, a room with a view…Europe 2017 volume 1

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Ah, Paris! City of Love…served as bookends for our 2017 European adventure: #WEeurovacay.

We flew roundtrip to Paris, hitting the classics the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Latin Quarter, and Arc de Triomphe.

We partook all – croissants & a cafe au lait, to croque madame (or monsieur if you prefer). Not to mention eight Euro Coca Cola’s – yes, Paris may be the city of love – at a premium price. Well, noone will ever mistake it for a bargain city, that is for sure. Nonetheless, it is spectacular. I will have to make it back sometime, and expand beyond the classics.

Anywho, we started at the Le Derby Alma Hotel where we had this lovely room with a view of Le Tour Eiffel (aka The Eiffel Tower). After our long flight we walked around the neighborhood before we could check in…later followed by a nice nap.

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After our nap it was time to take a ride…to the top, Le Tour! We had 5pm reservations – and it was a gorgeous day. Views were far and wide. From the modern city skyline, to the pander for future Olympiad, to the River Siene.

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…Later in the evening, we continued to enjoy the view from the ground… (Elisa Sherman)

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The next evening, we took the high speed train to Brussels. Before that, we squeezed in Notre Dame, and a stroll through the Latin Quarter…

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…Fast forward through the rest of #WEeurovacay, and we are back in Paris, this time just off the Champs-Élysées by the Arc de Triomphe…so much we have soaked in thus far (in blogs to come)…but Paris, is the perfect end to a perfect trip…innovation, fashion, culture, croissants…and really big traffic circles…

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Au revoir Paris…le sigh…


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2017 – Delete your account

Wow, that title sounds a little dramatic, no? Well it was that kind of year. If you’ve been following me on instagram, most of this is no surprise – though, the social world, as you can see, likes the fun stuff most – unsuprisingly :) And, I mean, sure, there was some awesome stuff like a 2+ week euro tour, with images that are still pending backlog editing. and well a new house(and new car) – yay! But, there was also crazy things like: thyroid cancer, broken ankle and the surgeries that came with each…Not to mention awesome treatments of radioactive iodine that had an accompanying diet of well, unexciting food, along with a get out of jail free paper to carry around with me lest I get flagged for radiation at a government checkpoint. Oh and an abscessed cyst in an unmentionable location. So health wise, yes, it was a crappy year. That said, hey, I’m still here, and I have photos of everything, the pretty, the ugly, and the pretty ugly, or the ugly pretty?! not sure.

Anyhow, am I glad to see 2017 in the rear view? You betcha! My goals for 2018 – to be healthier – which has gotten off to a rough start – but I am hopeful! And to finish processing images in the backlog from the euro tour before we hit the year anniversary – I am guessing I will blog each location separately – so much to look forward to! As well, an upcoming Alaska cruise where I will be revisiting these awesome sights and more :)

So 4months gone, here is my final adieu to 2017: don’t let the calendar hit you on the way to the recycle plant – lol – and, oh, never lose your humor!

Starting with the good, parts of what made the ugle pretty if you will…one of the most interesting parts of our euro tour was our Berlin visit, and specifically the Berlin Wall, or rather what remains of it. The most interesting part was, to me, near the Bridge of Spies: the portion of the wall that was re-appropriated as art installations. To keep the concrete there, so we never forget the sin, yet use it now to make statements worth future consideration. So smart, and beautiful, from something so ugly.

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And while we are talking ugly – how about a post surgical selfie? Because, why not…The story about how this came to be, is interesting. I was told that I had some small nodules on my thyroid found as ancillary findings on a CT scan of my neck from late 2016(was scanned for unrelated issue). And, that I should have a follow up ultrasound to baseline them, no rush, as they were very small. I eventually got around to it in March ’17, just before the order was to expire, and oh lucky me, at least one looked larger than thought from the CT, and suspicious, so needed a needle biopsy. At that point, the surgeon doing the biopsy, luckily head of the department for such things, knew pretty much as he was doing the biopsy, that this was a bad nodule. So it was no surprise when I got a call the following day, confirming the results. I mentioned we had a trip planned to europe in less than 2months…and doctor said, well, just had a cancellation for the following week – and I’m like sign me up! This gave me just enough time to have a full 6 week healing period, before our trip…see, upside. Other than it being a major pain in the neck. And moral of the story, follow up on doc recommendations, even the random ones.

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Given the sore neck, I used this as an excuse to buy a new fangled mirrorless camera – ha ha! I chose Fuji, because it was cutest (j/k)… The camera and I got to know each other up in Skagit Valley this spring, ahead of our euro tour…
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Rewind a bit, to the beinning of the year, I did get to get my fashion on, at the Yves Saint Laurent exhibilition at the SAM – so gorgeous. And the iphone did well, as the camera I had with me at the time!
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Fast forward, back to summer, I so awesomely scheduled a group baseball game on day one of my low iodine diet (required for aforementioned radioactive iodine treatment).

Hey, who says, beer, rice cakes, and apple slices don’t go perfect together. Oh well, friends are the best!
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The summer ended well, I mean, we did buy a HOUSE! It’s perfect for us: it is a one story ranch, around the corner from where we were living in Duvall, Washington…And we closed on our anniversary, because, we are: those people…lol :)
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Thankfully, the house was one story, since that is when the other big downer happened, about 2wks post move in – I broke my ankle – awesome. See my now franken ankle…and hey the pretty decorations on my new scooter, because you gotta make this shit fun!(the latter, my husband decorated :) )
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With that, I bid goodbbye to 2017…and a final goodbye to our two adopted kitties: Thelma & Louise…xoxo miss you always.
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Signing off with a random 2017 collection of photos…


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Air Cooled…Vintage V-dub 2017

Bugs and buses abound…out of order these images are, Europe photos continue to marinate, Volkswagens are ready to come out into the light!


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~Slideshow full screen – link~