Friday, May 20, 2011

May 18th Paris

Paris is a great city.  We saw some great sights and I got my pocket picked while riding on the Metro.  The cute little girl that picked my pocket had acquired some very good post graduate skills.  I thought that if a cute girl gets 30 euros from you you are supposed to get more of a thrill.   Paris evidently has some oil reserves because we found an oil derrick that was the biggest one I have ever seen.  The demographics of Paris, I think, has changed; most of the people I saw were orientals with cameras buying Louis Vuitton bags.  Nonette did some line dancing in front of The Hotel De Ville.  Actions pics below.  We went to the Louvre, The big oil derrick, and The University of Notre Dame at Paris.  See the pics below.  

This was our last day in Europe.

We are now at home in Canyon, where we had Mexican food today for lunch.  It tasted great and we could read the menu.

This was a great trip and I have 4,888 photographs in Iphoto.  If you have a week off sometime, come by and we will show you the slide show.

Oh yea, I forgot to tell you earlier that I drove on the autobahn in Germany.  I once got up to 100 miles per hour only to have a motor cycle pass me and disappear in about 5 seconds.  He and many of the big  BMW's, Mercedes, and Audis were doing at least 150 mph and the gas costs $8.57 a gallon.  Luckily the  three cars we rented on our trip got 40 to 50 miles per gallon.  I saw a liter of 5w40 motor oil that sold for 25 euros a liter.  That's over $130 for the oil for an oil change.  The prices in America aren't as high as you think.

This is the hillbillies on holiday signing off for this trip.  Stay tuned for new trips to new places.

the big oil derrick

Nonette with some chocolate - banana crepes.  Real good.

Nonette by the big church.

The Hotel De Ville
Nonette line dancing in front of The Hotel De Ville.
Believe it or not there is a line dancing club in Paris.  They were playing country music and dancing in front of The Hotel De Ville.  Get the guy in black on the left side of the picture.

Nonette in front of The Louvre.

The French are good at stealing things.  They stole this obelisk from the Egyptians.

That oil derrick is sure made of pretty parts.

A pretty little cafe close to Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Winged Victory at the Louvre

They stole this Egyptians casket.

It seems like reading the hand writing on the wall wasn't all that easy for the Egyptians

Venus De milo at The Louvre 

Now this ol girl was real popular at the Louvre.  She wasn't that good looking either.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

May 15th Bacharach and a Rhine Cruise

We are staying in a little wine town on the Rhine River called Bacharach.  The oldest house in the town was built in 1368 (picture below).  Vineyards fill the hills around the village as wine and the tourist that buy it are the big businesses here.  Nonette says it's one of the prettiest places we have been.  It has much of it's original city wall and 4 of the original 16 towers are still standing.  There is a castle above the town on a hill that is very pretty.  After we looked around Bacharach this morning we jumped on a Rhine Cruise ship and rode down the river looking at the Castles.  The cargo ships on the Rhine are huge and you can see pictures of them and the castles below.  The cruise on the Rhine was very relaxing and beautiful.  We rode down the river for about 2 hours and rode back up the river for 3 hours.  The ship we were on was very large and the ride was smooth as glass.

Tomorrow we look at Bacharach some more in the A.M. then take the train to Frankfurt.

The house built in 1368.  The whole thing is leaning in many directions.   Not bad,  though, for nearly 700 years old.

A vineyard about 50 yards from our bed and breakfast.

The two wooden projections on this side were the castle outhouses.

A Rhine Cruise Ship.

The freighters just carry their cars with them because they live on the ship

The ship we rode on.

A car ferry on the river

Nonette and I on the ship.

The same two good looking people.

Four ships wide on the Rhine.  The ship on the far side has brought the containers all the way from the North Sea.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May 13th May Family Reunion

Today we went to Rossbrunn, Germany to try and find the house where my great grandfather, Hank Smith, was born.   You people from Crosbyton know who I am talking about.  Hank Smith was the first settler in Crosby County Texas where we were raised.  He built the first house there in 1876.  He was born Heinrich Schmitt in 1836 in Rossbrunn, Germany but changed it to a more American Henry Smith, when he came to America around 1850.  Hubert Curry wrote the book The Sun Rises On The Plains, about Hank Smith.  I found the house in about 10 minutes.  I had a picture from the book that looks like it was taken in the first half of the 20th century.  I drove up a street, and there it was.  I took lots of pics and found out from a neighbor that a Schmitt still lives there, but was at work at the time.  I went to the cemetery and found the graves of some of the Schmitt family.  To my suprise, one of the departed was Agnes Schmitt.  My moms name was Agnes.  I don't know if it was a family name or just a coincidence.  Later Albert came home from work and we visited for a while.  I told him about the book, and he had one.  I don't know where he got it, maybe from my uncle who visited there about 30 years ago.  So, someone from the Schmitt family has lived in the house since 1680.  Alberts parents Willy and Martha are on the headstone in the picture below.  This was a great day.

The village of Rossbrunn
The picture of the house from Hubert Curry's book.
The house yesturday
The Schmitt headstone.

My cousin Albert.  He looks like the pictures of Hank Smith and Nonette thought he looked like my nephew Charlie Robinson.  The neighbor across the street thought I looked like Alberts brother Ludwig.

How Rossbrunn is spelled in German.  That funny looking B takes the place of 2 S's.

May 11th Sinsheim Museum

The greatest technical museum on earth is The Sinsheim Museum in Sinsheim, Germany.  It has 65 airplanes including 2 supersonic airliners, one Russian and one French.  It has every WWII German airplane, and some from WWI.  It has at least 80 German, American, and Russian tanks.  It has every wheeled and tracked vehicle used by the German and American armies in WWII.  It has every uniform worn by all branches of the German military during WWII.  It has a German cannon with a 12" bore.  It has 10 steam locomotives.  It has at least 20 Formula 1 race cars.  It has 60 farm tractors.  It has a great collection of 50's and 60's American cars.  It has the largest collection anywhere of European cars including a Bugatti Royale, of which there were 5 manufactured.  The last one I heard of selling was for 5 million dollars.  It has an Alfa Romeo race car from 1933 worth at least 4 million dollars.  It has every important English and European car ever made.   Sometime in the future I am  going to put more pictures from this museum on the internet. 

WWII German Heinkle Bomber

Some bigger than average cannon projectiles

He has 10 of these steam locomotives.  See how little Nonette looks.

A steam powered electric generator.

A room sized calliope

The Bugatti Royale

The Alfa race car.

A one wheel motor cycle.  How about this one George and La Quita

A WWII hog.

This is a 1907 Simplex that competed in the Peking, China to Paris, France race in 1997  yes  1997.  How would you like to drive this one 6000 miles in sun, rain, and snow?

Formula 1 Cars