You only turn 38 once!

Started out the sunny summer day in our new happy place, a watering hole on the Zieg, a Rhein tributary!
Started out the sunny summer day in our new happy place, a watering hole on the Sieg, a Rhein tributary!
After swimming, a Wundertüte (literally "wonderful bag") was in order!
After swimming, the much-anticipated Wundertüte (literally “wonderful bag”) at our local gelateria was in order.
Present time and he liked the shirt I got him, phew, yay!
Present time and he liked the shirt I got him, phew, yay!
Rushed the lattice on my strawberry pie but it turned out great and I can't wait to try it again!
Rushed the lattice on my strawberry pie but it turned out great and I can’t wait to try it again!
Lovely guy on the walk back from our fish dinner at a Spanish-Portugese restaurant on the river...
My lovely guy pauses for a photo op on the walk back from our fish dinner at a Spanish-Portugese restaurant on the river…
...and ended the day with a lil' garden party. Happy birthday Jake!!  'Enjoy the little things in life because one day you`ll look back and realize they were the big things.' -Vonnegut
…and we ended the day with pie in the garden with our sweet neighbors.

‘Enjoy the little things in life because one day you`ll look back and realize they were the big things.’ -Vonnegut

Happy birthday Jake!!

 

Baltic/East Prussian Honeymoon III: Home Sweet Home

Hi everybody! We got home almost a week ago and had a lot to do in terms of getting back on track here in Bonn so it took me a minute to finish my honeymoon posts but here are a few pictures from Lithuania, Latvia and our journey back to Germany by Stena ferry.

It was a great trip and I’m super glad we did it – I reached my fortieth country (Latvia, which was a new one for Jaco too) and have some beautiful new memories to cherish. As is often the case, it did feel good to get home to our *other* clothes and our own bed.

Thank you for following along on the last (big) journey before our little girl arrives in September! It was a special trip for us and it means a lot to have your love and support here on our East Prussian/Baltic Honey-/Babymoon 2.0…and beyond!

See ya soon,

Jame

Of course I am smiling on the ferry to Klaipeda; he gave me the raincoat and the coffee!
Of course I am smiling on the ferry to Klaipeda; he gave me his raincoat and got me coffee! (“Wow, your wife is so prepared!”)
This guy loves his Lithuanian dumplings!
This guy loves his Lithuanian dumplings! Klaipeda, Lithuania.
The one picture I took in Riga - my guy and a huge Soviet building.
The one picture I took in Riga – the guy and a Soviet building. Fun fact: I got stung by a bee I startled when I crouched down to get the whole building in the frame!
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Took this along the harbor near “Horkplatz” where I got into the tornado warning position to be sick in Ventspils…I was in an altered state when I took it but I’d like to see this as a painting!
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After 1 am, still not dark, we decided to get up and go find the music we could hear from our little pension. It wasn’t hard to find, the band was good and there was a bonfire, and many wreathed people. Happy solstice Ventspils, Latvia, and world!
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Boarding our 20-hour ferry back to Travemunde/Lubeck, where we’d catch the train to Bonn via Hamburg. Fun to walk past all the cars on the way in…not so fun when they all got to peel out before us after we’d docked.
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“Meet ya on the heli-pad for a dance:” hands-down my favorite moment.
30 wks en route from Ventspils to Travemunde
Couldn’t resist posting 30-week bumpdate from the ship…let’s do this! #stoked #maternitystockings #babyonboard

Baltic/East Prussian Honeymoon II: Curonian Overland

Spent our first full morning on the Spit walking through honeysuckle-smelling pine forests which reminded me of the grasshoppers bounding around my great-grandmother’s farm in Princeton, Wisconsin.

Lunched on canned curry and rice left over from our dinner the night before and, after a quick snooze at the end of which a baby came and sat down by us, borrowed bicycles and rode the same paths we had walked earlier to a place to watch the sea that made me realize why the Curonian Spit is a sought-after destination.

Found fish dinners (I had perch, Jake had squid) and desserts (me – black currant sorbet and creme brulee ice cream; Jake cold borscht with sour cream) that matched.

Took this un-selfie-like selfie after fixing his bike on the Spit near Leneskoy.
Took this un-selfie-like selfie after fixing his bike on the Spit near Lesnoy.
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Third trimester-ing outside the fish restaurant in Lesnoy on the Curonian Spit.

Twenty-five minutes by bus up the Spit, a kind of paradise awaited us in Rybachy: we found a beautifully restored German guesthouse (read: at least twelve foot high ceilings) in quiet, serene surroundings full of irises, peonies and daisies – a welcome change indeed after the first place which had a few issues with overcrowding and plumbing.

Peonies pretty much the same in Rybachy as anywhere; worth mentioning.
Peonies pretty much the same in Rybachy as anywhere; worth mentioning.

After a picnic lunch (sardines and bread) on the “quiet” side of the Spit (the ocean and bay sides are only about two miles apart for the Spit’s whole ninety miles) we went out for dinner, called both our moms, and organized the next two days: sea, Lithuania.

Digs in Rybachy
Digs in Rybachy.
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Timer photo after a sardine-and-bread lunch on the chill side of the Spit.

On our full day in Rybachy we read for about an hour and a half after having breakfast outside and then went to the beach and lounged in the dunes.

Believe it or not before lounging we ate sardines and bread again! I love this lunch and hold it dear partly because when I first met this husband of mine and we were traveling by bus through Mali which would stop for 10 – 15 minutes, I would run off to find a bathroom and return to find him just out of the exhaust fumes of the bus but close enough we’d be able to catch it if it tried to leave us, with this snack.

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Dune loungin’ (aka ‘sunnin’ the bump’) in Rybachy, R.F.

We are so far north that the sun rises before four (which is what time I have been waking up), but I was still sleeping at six when he woke me up to go stand on the side of the road and wait for someone driving to Lithuania (buses only cross that border in the evening).

No sooner had I arranged a nice seat on the side of the road when, in succession appeared Jake with a piece of cardboard he’d fished out of the dumpster on which he’d penned “LT” (Lithuania) and – in a black 2012 Audi with double sunroofs – Damjan, who “likes to do nice things for people if he can” (or so he told us after waiting for us to get questioned at the border again on the way out).

Lithuania is quite a bit different feeling than Russia – in Nida, we are back on the euro, for one thing, so everything is more expensive, there are a lot more tourists, and everything is much easier, but we also aren’t looked upon with the same general bemusement the way we were in Russia.

Jake did help me see that one can appreciate visiting/holidaying/living in an EU country in a different way after spending some time in Russia: besides maybe China, it (Russia) is the one place outside the US’ sphere of influence; it makes one recognize how one should answer for oneself should there be no ‘state’ protection (to be fair, how much is there anyway?).

Happy Learningmoon from Pervalka, Lithuania!

 

 

Baltic/East Prussian Honeymoon I: Bonn –> Kaliningrad, Russian Federation

I know, ‘how lame to update your blog while on your honeymoon,’ but I’d like to remind you that I am already pregnant (28 weeks today, as a matter of fact), and the end of a travel day plus Jake not needing/wanting his laptop equals the time is right for my first post!

We left Bonn about 8 am for Berlin where we caught the train to Gdańsk, Poland. I only slept from about 1 am to 5 am the night before but Jake didn’t sleep at all so this is what the majority of our 11-hour train journey looked like to the casual observer:

On the train from Berlin to Gdańsk
On the train from Berlin to Gdańsk

We were able to find our place just fine, went out for some mushroom and cabbage pierogies (me; Jake went with ‘Gdańsk guinea fowl’ which was actually chicken) and after checking out the town square and getting some stuff for breakfast (and pistachio ice cream) climbed into a bathtub surrounded by candles.

The next day after checking out a pretty cool ship we found a really beautiful restaurant where I ordered trout and Jake was just in general really excited.

A happy husband awaiting his herring in Gdańsk
Happy husband awaiting his herring in Gdańsk

Our next destination after Gdańsk was Kaliningrad which was just about 120 km away, but we’d heard it might take a bit longer at the Polish-Russian border which turned out to be true in our case.

Our driver was gruff but patient and we were able to get a walk to the old part of the city in before it got dark, after which time we lit all the tea lights again and watched the Tetris documentary The Ecstasy of Order we’d been saving for Russia.

View from our digs in Kaliningrad.
View from our digs in Kaliningrad.

After breakfast we walked to an aquarium/submarine museum which was pretty fun, then an art cafe Jake had read about, and then an art/history of Kaliningrad museum.

After all of that walking my city dogs were barking and we got Sushi Love for the second night in a row, watched Silicon Valley and ‘chillaxed’ (even though I hate that word and all made up words).

Now we find ourselves in the Curonian Spit, just an hour away from Kaliningrad but right on the Baltic Sea!  Let’s see what happens…

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Being seven months pregnant should not prohibit one from crawling around Soviet submarines on her honeymoon. -Jame
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I’m so happy to have found this cherry picker.

Wedding – II

Tomorrow will be a week since our beautiful courthouse wedding and reception at Dad’s. We are still processing everything that’s happened, but we do realize how lucky we are for all of the help from our families and friends that day and leading up to it.  Here are some of my favorite shots of our reception!

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Wedding cake by Barb McClain. Program by Ted. Lilacs picked at Dad’s. Mason jars donated by Chuck Hanson and decorated by Sara, Mom, and me. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
Heels for moccasins, suit for linen. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
In true Wisconsin style, brats and beer underway immediately upon arrival. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
In true Wisconsin style, brats and beer underway immediately upon arrival. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
Seed packets by Mom and Kay, sign pained by Nina. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
Seed packets by Mom and Kay, sign painted by Nina. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
Chris and Marina man the grill while Sara supervises. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
Moving toward cake and coffee time. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
Moving toward cake and coffee time. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
Understandably nervous to cut into this work of art. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
And the band begins, right on time. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
And the band begins, right on time. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
I can't believe it's over and I got him. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
I can’t believe it’s over and I got him. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
My beautiful niece Stevie Jean, named after our Grandma Jean who was (is) always there in spirit. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
My beautiful niece Stevie Jean, after Grandma Jean. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
Meeting of families. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
Meeting of families. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
Thanks for saving your dress for me, Mom. Photo credit Ty F. Webster. Photobomb Scott Delfosse.
And the band played... Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
And the band played… Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
…And played. It could not have been a better day. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.

Wedding – I

Tomorrow will be a week since our beautiful courthouse wedding and reception at Dad’s. We are still processing everything that’s happened, but we do realize how lucky we are for all of the help from our families and friends that day and leading up to it.  Here are some of my favorite shots of our decor and the courthouse.

Burnin’ outta Karfiguela Falls, Burkina Faso, at Dad’s, courtesy of my brother Ted. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
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And then Ted surprised me with another montage we hung on the milk house. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
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Our delicious three-tiered lemon wedding cake with french vanilla frosting was made by Barb McClain. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
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Another of Ted’s banners, this one of Jaco and me in a cheeky embrace in front of the Istanbul Gezi Park riot police, let our guests know (for sure) they were in the right place. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
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Jaco and Dad pose for a quick snap before Dad drives the gents to the courthouse in the 1955 Buick. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
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Almost 50 friends and family came from seven US states and one Canadian province to the Winnebago County Courthouse to watch us tie the knot. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
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Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
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Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
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Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
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Birdseed in the ear! Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
Courthouse crew
Courthouse crew. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.
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Telling my ring bearer/flower girl Lily what a perfect job she did while Julian and Jaco look on. Photo credit Ty F. Webster.