Saturday, August 6, 2011

Castles and Palaces - Denmark

There are numerous castles and palaces in Denmark - and they look quite different from ones I've seen before in the UK. We saw several in Denmark, and visited inside two of them.

First, at the end of our train from Copenhagen to where we were staying, we first decided to go one stop further to Helsingor (or Elsinore in Shakespeare's Hamlet).
We were so very tired by then we could hardly keep going - at this point we had been traveling for about 20 hours straight. But, when we rounded the corner out of the train station, there before us lay the beautiful sight of Helsingor Castle. Wish we had possessed the strength to tour it - next time!

This is Hamlet's Castle

The next day we took the train back into Copenhagen and visited Rosenborg Slot. Slot is Danish for Castle or Palace I guess. We wanted to visit this one because is is where the Danish Crown Jewels are housed. Well, we couldn't take pictures of the crown jewels - but they were very nice. There was an especially beautiful little set of a tiara, necklace, brooch and earrings made of emeralds and diamonds that Mathilda especially liked. She has good taste!

Kronborg Slot - Copenhagen

This Palace is pretty small compared to some others - but it was very beautiful and built as a residence, not a fortification. There are still Palace Guards - but they carry automatic weapons these days!

Palace Guard

Later that day we took a short train ride to the northwest of Copenhagen to Hillerod where Fredericksborg Slot is. This castle is in a lovely setting, on a small lake, and there are beautiful gardens. Unfortunately, we didn't have time before they closed to visit the gardens - just the castle. It is also now the Danish History Museum.

Fredericksborg Slot - Hillerod, Denmark

View of Fredericksborg from the far side of the lake.

The Neptune Fountain in the inner court yard.

Exterior architecture - very pretty.

A view of the Royal Chapel - the royal weddings in Denmark are still often held in this Chapel. As you can see, it is extremely ornate!

This is the Great Hall, where the king would hold audiences and entertain his courtiers. It was quite magnificent, and had some beautiful tapestries.

Kronborg Castle Great Hall

One of many beautiful stained glass windows in the the palace - this one is the emblem for King Christian IX.

On a boat tour of Copenhagen we could see the back of the current Royal residence - Amalienborg Palace. The Danish flag is flying, indicating that Queen Margaret was in residence.

Just across the water - at anchor and awaiting its next trip was the Royal Yacht which the Royal Family still uses. Another reason why it is good to be the Queen or King!

So, that's it for Denmark.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oh the Food!!!

Hi ya'll - I guess you probably thought I would never write another post, but here it is. Of course, Spring brought the baseball season and things have been really busy when the team is in town. Before I took the job with The Drillers, I had already scheduled a trip to Northern Europe for early June with granddaughter Mathilda (Tilda). This post will just focus on some of the cuisine we enjoyed while on our trip.

First of all, Denmark is VERY EXPENSIVE. Expect to pay nearly $30 to feed two people at McDonalds! However, you can get a Danish Dog, with everything for much less at one of the many carts in Copenhagen.

We had bought some beautiful cheese (called Sara) and sausages on our first day when we took the train all the way to Helsingor (this is where Hamlet lived - OMG!!) We usually had that for our typical Danish breakfast, along with orange juice and coffee (for me).

We did enjoy a nice meal in the town of Hillerod, where one of the fabulous palaces/castles is located. We'll talk castles another time - lol!!

This is what nachos look like in Denmark - but they tasted good according to Tilda!

I order a grilled chicken sandwich - and I got a beautiful feast!

Tilda enjoying a cool beverage (actually iced tea) at the Hillerod cafe where we enjoyed the best meal we had in Denmark.

This is the beautiful house overlooking the sea where we stayed in a small town just outside Copenhagen called Snekkersten. More about it on another post - there was some amazing connection to WWII here.

We spent 4 days in Denmark before embarking on Saturday, June 4 for a 9-day cruise of Baltic Capitals. It was truly a trip of a lifetime. We had absolutely gorgeous weather the whole time.

The first port of call was Rostock, Germany. I didn't know until we arrived, but this area was formerly part of East Germany in the "bad-old" days before the Berlin wall came down. We took a full-day tour with someone I found through Cruise Critic. It's called "Friends of Dave" and he only takes small groups, so it is more like having a personal guide. We chose the "Magical Mecklenburg" option, so we were off early in the morning to Schwerin, which was the former capital of the Mecklenburg Duchy - and remained an independent state until the early 20th century.

Dave's price included lunch at the oldest brewery in Schwerin and we were given several choices while we drove over there and he called in the order!! Such efficiency - lol! I wanted to eat local cuisine everywhere - try new things, etc. Dave told us it was "white asparagus season" in Germany, so one dish would have that as a side. The dish was the schnitzel - so what's not to like. I opted for that choice. Tilda opted for a pasta dish - you will begin to see a pattern there - ha!!

Schnitzel with White Asparagus - oh so good!!

A beautiful and good pasta dish for Tilda.

After Germany, we spent a day at sea on our way to Helsinki. This turned out to be one of favorite places for easy local transportation and the most wonderful market place where your could buy all kinds of food, handmade local crafts, souvenirs, flowers - whatever you might want. We bought some grilled salmon in the Food Hall but didn't get a picture of it - it was so good. And, we bought dried reindeer meat to bring home to my son - his only request. (I think it is still in the refrigerator).

A local hot dog and beer was the food of Helsinki (Coke for Tilda, of course).

I must always also try the pastry!!

I forgot to take pictures of our two meals in Russia. The first day we had a typical Russian meal starting with Borscht (beet soup). I like beets, but I may have been the only one in our tour group who ate it - ha!! We had stroganoff and blintzes for dessert. I enjoyed it all - not great, but edible. The second day we had a chicken soup (much better), Chicken Kiev, and other sides. It was in a very charming restaurant in the middle of Saint Petersburg. time I'll tell you about two amazing meals: Tallin, Estonia and Nynashamn, Sweden.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spring Means Baseball

Not much to write about during the winter!! I could have posted how bad the snow and below zero temperatures were - but nobody wants to hear another complaint about a bad winter!

Hopefully, we have turned the corner at last, here in T-Town. The Bradford pear trees are coming into full bloom and we have a blue-sky day - at last.

It is less than 3 weeks to our Big Rockies Exhibition game - March 30. Needless to say, things are starting to "wake up" at ONEOK Field. The field is looking so beautiful and green - today they are working on installing a new warning track.

Baseball fields covered with snow are a sad sight! This is from February - glad those days are gone - for now anyway.

This Saturday there will be auditions to sing the National Anthem at the ballpark. Tori got her foot in the door when she was up here for New Year's and has already been allotted a slot. She knows the words!! (No apologies to Christina A.)

If you haven't already, check out her singing a cover of some grunge band from Seattle on YouTube.

Both the younger grandsons are 10 this month. Michael's big day was March 6 and Wyatt will be 10 on March 28. Tilda will be spending Spring Break with us and for that we are totally grateful! She is such a sweet girl. And, I have some new clothes to show her that I bought her for our cruise in June.

On the cruise front - airfare paid - check; cruise paid - check; Germany excursion paid - check; now saving for the rest of the things like lodging in Denmark, tipping on the cruise, etc. And - the highlight of the trip is St. Petersburg, Russia. We are booked on a 2-day tour to try and squeeze in the main things one is supposed to do in St. Petersburg. I just want to see the Hermitage - the rest will be gravy for me.

May 31 - Fly from Dallas to Copenhagen (arrive June 1)
June 1-3 - Copenhagen and around there - Hamlet's castle for sure!
June 4-13 - Baltic Capitals Cruise
*Warnemunde, Germany - see old Hanseatic League towns
*Helsinki, Finland - just walk around and see the old town
*St. Petersburg, Russia - see as much as we can - lol!! Russian Ballet??
*Tallin, Estonia - enjoy beautiful old Medieval town and have lunch
at the Olde Hansa restaurant - costumes, candles, oh my!
*At sea - thank God
*Nynashavn, Sweden - not worth trying to see Stockholm - we'll just wander
around the port.
June 13 - Arrive back in Dallas - LATE! Spending the night there for sure!

I am sure to have much more interesting things to post during/after this trip!

Now, let's get ready for some baseball!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Long Time, No Post!

Happy New Year to all!

Now that I have "un-retired", I haven't had time to gather up pictures and do much on this old blog. But, working for a baseball team - well, let's just say that was a dream come true. As a dear old family friend told me - "Your daddy would be so proud". That's what it's all about!

I just tuned in the National Championship game - and there is Urban Meyer at the desk talking about the game - he looks good - sure hate to lose him as Florida "Head Ball Coach", but glad he's doing what is right. Oh...there's Nick Saban with him...well him I can do without - lol!!

Here's the family out at Tulsa's WinterFest - in front of the big tree - which my son, Jeffrey said didn't count' because it was fake!

Tori and Tilda were up for a few days between Christmas and New Year's Day. They are 16 and 14, respectively. They are starting to not be as "bestest" friends anymore because Tori is very trendy, social and outgoing whereas, Tilda is more bookish, quiet and introverted. Oh, the LOVE is still there, for sure, and the rest will work out as they get out of these WONDERFUL teenage girl years - ha!!

Tori, the blonde and Tilda, the sweetie!

We girls all just LOVE the musical WICKED! I swear, these two are the leading ladies - really. Tori is such a "Glinda" and Tilda is "Elphaba" - and both have their strengths, don't they? If you haven't seen that show - you should go see it soon. It is really, really great. The music is wonderful.

Here are Michael and Tilda just before we left to go see it on the Friday after Thanksgiving. That was part of their Christmas presents.

And, by the way, Tilda wore GREEN in Solidarity with Elphaba!!

I'm loving working at the Tulsa Drillers. Every day is something new and all the people are great to work with. I've even been called on to get back to putting together some SWEET PowerPoint presentations for sales meetings and training. I haven't lost my chops!

All in all - life is VERY, VERY good. The countdown is on for the BIG TRIP with Tilda in June. We fly out of Dallas-Ft. Worth on May 31 to Copenhagen, Denmark. Then on June 4 we take a 9-day cruise of the Baltic Sea - seeing many countries including Germany, Finland, Estonia, Sweden and RUSSIA!! Yes, indeed, we get to spend 2 days in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is going to be EPIC!!! Truly, this is a trip of a lifetime and we are both very excited. I will be sure to do many blogs telling you all about it!!

Until then - less than 90 days to first pitch! Go Drillers! Go Gators!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's Been Too Long

Happy Thanksgiving to All.

The title has a double meaning - it's been too long since I posted anything AND it had been WAY too long since I saw my BFF Marsha Jane Johnson Bryant and then my relatives in Virginia. So....I took off for a long visit in late September to North Carolina, Virginia and wee bit in South Carolina.

This is "my girl" Marsha and me standing by the James River on our way to walk around the Jamestown Historic Park.

I had not seen my cousin Jim since the late 80's - and he has had serious health issues in the past couple of years - so Marsha and I went and stayed with him, and his lovely and gracious wife Beverley, for a few nights. First of all - their house is absolutely gorgeous and they were the most gracious of hosts you could ask for.
Second, I just wanted to hang out with Jim - and catch up. We had many great times when we were growing up together. Here's proof.

The other fellow on the far right is a little boy named Sam, and he was a foster child who stayed with Jim and his family once upon a time. My daddy and mother wanted to adopt him - he was to be my brother!! But, alas, the State of Virginia would not allow him to be adopted in Florida. Here's hoping that little Sam had a good and secure life.

Here is Jim and me - at this time in our life - along with his wife Beverley and his mother - my Aunt Rosetta.

Back to Jamestown - in all my genealogy research I found that way up my Carter-Erambert-Sheffield branch my 9th great-granparents were John and Ann Johnson who just happen to be shown on the 1624 Jamestown Census!! Here are a couple of pictures from the unbelievable Jamestown historic site - where there are current archeology digs in progress.

We got to walk around with one of the archeologists for about an hour and learn alot about the historic significance of what they are finding - and also how life was really tough in the Jamestown colony.

That afternoon, we took a walk around Williamsburg. Luckily for me, my Cousin Jim actually lives in Williamsburg - so very convenient for tourist me! We didn't do any of the museums - not enough time - but just seeing the "living museum" that Old Williamsburg is was so worth it!! Especially for this DAR member!!

This is the Virginia Colony Governor's mansion - it was GOOD to be the governor.

Ok - so that's it for this time. Next post - I'll tell you about the Benton's North Carolina connections! Many generations lived around the Wilmington-Brunswick County area.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Good Old Florida Days

This will be a quick one, but I just have to post a couple of old pictures I came across today.

The first one above is some shindig or other the dear mothers or Archer, Florida put together when I was about 4. I think it was called a "Tom Thumb Wedding" and it was held in the Archer School Gym - which is still standing. I barely remember it at all, but I do remember being so afraid that I was crying, which made my mother laugh and say that "mothers are supposed to cry at weddings". I portayed the mother of the bride or groom - not sure which. The lovely bride is my very dear friend, Lura Williams and I think that is Frank Batey as the groom. I am the "lady in black" on the back left side.

Next - and this is for my cousins in Florida and their children - my cousin Larry Benton and his sister, little Miss Donna Benton. Honestly - I think this picture of Larry looks quite a bit like one of his gorgeous grandsons. These two adorable kids were my "living dolls" growing up. I was the "big" cousin - 5 years older than Larry and 6 years older than Donna.

Thank you, Donna, for all your patience in having your hair done a hundred different ways. And Larry, thank you for always loving me like a sister - even after all these years.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Faith of our Fathers (and Mothers)

The past few weeks have been a whirl of family secrets revealed and exciting discoveries of family history. You know - I am just the biggest history nut in the world and it is so much more interesting when it involves your own family.

In trying to track down where my great-great-grandmother, Margiana Cathren Erambert Carter (also known as Kate) might be buried, I was getting stumped. By the way, my Nana - Margie Anna Carter Camp Stokes was quite obviously named for her. Well, she was not buried anywhere near the grave of her husband, John Thomas Solomon Carter (whew - is that a mouthful or what?) This is a picture of his headstone at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Cass County, Texas.

It is so hard to read what people put on these old headstones, but here is transcript of what is written on his. "No pain, no grief, no anxious fear can reach the peaceful sleeper here". I think that is so touching. He died at the very young age of 26, after having traversed with his wife and young family to make the move from Terrell, Georgia to the far northeast Texas lands.

I also had found her mother Sarah Erambert's headstone very near J.T.S. Carter. And here it is.

Sarah was a widow and she had moved with her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren to look for opportunity in Texas. Her headstone has the following inscription:
"We saw not the angel who met her at the gate of the City. We could not see over the river, Over the river our mother stands - Waiting to welcome us". Obviously, my ancestors were people of deep faith.

There a many, many Carters (and Camps) buried in this cemetery. And, let me quickly tell you this is a very historic old pioneer church. The congregation has been disbanded for many years, but they still have a once-a-year service at the church, and all who ever attended or who have ancestors buried in the graveyard and welcomed. I am thinking I WILL be at the next one. It is a covered dish lunch following, and I can attest to what that means in East Texas from the family reunions I attended when I was growing up. Here is the Texas Historic Marker from Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

And here is a picture of the inside of this old church.

As usual, thanks to, I found someone else who had Kate Erambert in their tree. I contacted them, because their tree is "private" and got a quick response. Kate remarried, after her husband John (my great-great-grandfather) passed away. She married William Harrison Sedgass and she is buried in Trinity Cemetery. (The person who contacted me is the grandchild of Ruth Carter who was my great-grandfather Charley Carter's sister - so they are some sort of cousin of mine).

I had also been to Trinity cemetery on the same day as I visited Mt. Zion. My Charley T. Carter, son of said Kate, is buried there along with my great-grandmother Lily Ann Fason Carter.

Several other close family members are buried at Trinity, including my sweet uncle James Earl Camp, who died at the tender age of 12. He was the one who stayed behind when Nana brought my mother, Gladys and my Uncle Joe to Florida.

His little headstone just says "Gone Home".

And here is a picture of old Trinity Methodist Church.

So, I'll be heading back to Jefferson, Texas within the next month or so, and going to Trinity Cemetery to look for my great-great-grandmother's burial site. I am on the trail of membership in the Daughters of the Texas Republic, because Miss Margiana Cathren Erambert Carter Sedgass was the daughter of Charles Erambert who served in the Army of Texas during 1837. He had come all the way from Virginia to help the newly found Republic of Texas as they continued to struggle for independence from Mexico. Charles was granted two "bounty land grants" of 480 acres each for his service. He promptly sold them both after his discharge and headed back towards Virginia. On the way he stopped in Baton Rouge and there he met and married a young widow named Sarah Sheffield Edwards. Coincidentally, it is through Sarah's grandfather that I have my membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution. Their story is fascinating - and you will hear more about that one in the future. Stay tuned.