I’m back!

Hi there. Welcome to my blog after my summer hiatus. My summer was filled with travel, camps, family, friends, and great books.   I learned a few magic tricks as well.  Now back to school.  I’m excited about my new class and teacher.  Looking forward to a fantastic year!

This year on the blog I will continue to chronicle my travels and blog about interesting places as well as current events.  If you have suggestions for topics, please let me know.

What have you done this summer?


The Museums

My next post will be about the museums, the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay.

Did you know that The Louvre is the largest museum in the world?  It is so large that it would take you 100 days to see all the paintings, and even then you would get only 30 seconds at each piece. That means there are 380,000 paintings in the Louvre, though not all are on display. The Louvre was not originally a museum. It was a fortress built in 1190. Under Napoleon’s reign, the 652,300 square foot museum was renamed to Musée Napoleon. He extended the Louvre’s collection of art by 5,000 pieces before he was defeated. The Mona Lisa, arguably the most famous painting in the world, is housed at the Louvre. It even has bodyguards! The Mona Lisa is not as big as most people think; it’s just 77 centimeters by 53 centimeters. (30×21 in)

♦Tip: Make sure you visit the Mona Lisa during the evening hours (Wednesdays).  My mom visited during the evening hours and didn’t have to wait in line to see the painting.


Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa

Musee du Louvre

Musee du Louvre

Now for the Musée d’Orsay. The Orsay averaged 3,331,403.6 visitors from 2010-2014. There are 10 escalators and 12 elevators. There are 35,000 square metres of glass and 13.2277 tons of metallic structures. Some of the most famous Impressionist artist’s paintings, such as Van Gogh’s self-portrait are displayed there. Some other paintings at the d’ Orsay are Charing Cross Bridge by André Derain, Starry Night Over the Rhone by Vincent van Gogh, and The Snake Charmer by Henri Rousseau.


Self-Portrait by Van Gogh

Starry Night Over The Rhone by Van Gogh

Starry Night Over The Rhone by Van Gogh

Who’s your favorite artist? Have you been to any of the Parisian museums?

Arc De Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe is a very famous landmark of Paris. It was unveiled in 1836, 30 years after Napoleon I requested it. The Arc was purposed as a monument to honor the heroes of war. It could have been a giant elephant. Charles Ribart proposed a three-level, elephant-shaped building that would be entered by climbing up a spiral staircase that lead into the elephants stomach. 12 streets go into the intersection under the Arc, causing (on average) one crash every 20 minutes. One of the most famous streets in the world goes through the Arc:  Avenue des Champs-Élysées(middle picture). At the base of the Arc de Triomphe there is a torch.  Every evening at 6:30 P.M. it is rekindled, and veterans lay wreaths colored with red, white and blue near its flame.   It burns in the darkness sacrifice of an unknown French soldier who lost his life during World War I. On November 12, 1919, it was determined that the Unknown Soldier would be laid to rest at the Pantheon.  The legislation authorizing the memorial stated:

ARTICLE 1:  The honors of the Pantheon will be rendered to the remains of one of the unknown soldiers who fell on the field of honor during the 1914-1918 war. The transfer of the remains will be solemnly made on 11 November 1920.

ARTICLE 2 (On the same day):  The remains of the Unknown Soldier will be buried under the Arc de Triomphe. 

What is your favorite design on the Arc de Triomphe?


The Arc de Triomphe


Avenue des Champs-Élysées


The inside of the Arc

Charles Godefroy flies through the Arc↑

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower was built by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris. It was going to be demolished in 1909, but was repurposed as a radio antenna. During World War II, when Adolf Hitler visited Paris, the French cut the lift cables on the Eiffel Tower so that he would have to climb the 1,665 steps if he wanted to get to the top. Smart. The Tower was originally meant for Barcelona, Spain, but the project was rejected. Today, it’s the most visited paid site in the world, attracting nearly 7 million people in 2011. There are 30 replicas of the Eiffel Tower around the world, including one in Las Vegas. Just the paint on the Eiffel Tower weighs more than 10 elephants!  There are 20,000 lightbulbs on the Eiffel Tower.. The 20,000 lightbulbs on the Eiffel Tower light up every night, just like the Empire State Building (http://ethancaba14.edublogs.org/2015/10/12/empire-state-building/). As I mentioned in my earlier post, Paris is known as the “City of Light”. The Eiffel Tower can be seen from almost any point in the city.


The carousel next to the Eiffel Tower

Under the Eiffel Tower

Under the Eiffel Tower

Notre Dame Cathedral

The Notre Dame Cathedral was built in the 13th century. It was made to replace the old cathedral, St. Stephens, which was built in the 5th century. The Notre Dame was in construction from 1163 until the 14th century.

According to my research book (from the cathedral), “the visitor cannot fail to admire the masterpieces of Jean de Chellesand and Pierre de Montreuil, the designers of two great circular stained-glass windows that light up the transept.” Guess what those stained-glass windows are called? The Rose Windows! The north and south one both measure 13 meters (42.6509 feet) in diameter and are placed on clearways that are 7 meters (22.9659 feet)tall. The south rose window, a gift from King St. Louis, comprises 84 compartments, all dedicated to the New Testament. Built around 1250, the north rose window has the most original stained glass. 80 medallions set out in three circles represent people from the Old Testament who are surrounding the Virgin and the Infant Jesus. At the middle of the cathedral’s façade is the west rose window. The west rose window is the oldest out of all three windows. It is made out of three circles around a central medallion and is only 10 meters in diameter (32.8084). It has undergone many restorations.



The Notre Dame Cathedral is 41 meters wide (134.514 feet) and 63 meters high (206.693 feet). The North Tower was finished in 1240 and the South in 1250. The South Tower contains the 13-ton bell, named Emmanuel. Emmanuel, according to musicologists, bell ringers, and musicians, is one of the most remarkable sound vessels in Europe. It makes the sky vibrate during religious feasts and also during national events. There are also many organs at the Notre Dame. The Great Organ, built in 1330, is a 6-foot montre with a single keyboard with 4 to 6 pipes per note. Then, in 1401, a new organ was built in the stone organ loft above the large west portal.



What is your favorite part about the Notre dame?



Bonjour! Mon prochain post sera sur Paris. Paris is the capital of France. It is a very famous city, with a population of  2,241,346(2014). It is the “City of Light.” The most famous landmarks there are the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Notre Dame Cathedral. It is situated on the Seine River in northern France.  Paris is known for its delicious food, including croissants, crepes, artisanal cheeses, and fine wine. Paris is home to beautiful buildings with interesting architecture. I will be doing posts about some of the following topics: the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, PSG, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the museums, the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay. Post on the Padlet below.

Leicester Crowned Champions!

I have to interrupt this series to bring some important news from Europe, or to be precise, England. Leicester City has won the Premier League title! Claudio Ranieri, the Italian manager who led Leicester to the title, has been nicknamed “non ci soon titoli”, meaning “No Titles”. Now, here he is winning The Greatest Show on Earth. Leicester started the season with 5000-1 odds to win. For some perspective, the Cleveland Browns have 200-1 odds to win the 2017 Super Bowl. Leicester’s squad was created for £57m, much less than any team in the top half.  Leicester is owned by Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who already spoke of his readiness to spend £180m to secure the Foxes a top-five finish in the Premier League. Amazingly, this year they actually won the title. Their most promising players this season have been Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, N’Golo Kante, and Kasper Schmeichel. Kasper is the son of a legendary goalkeeper named Peter Schmeichel, who won IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper in 1992 and 1993. Jamie Vardy used to be in the lower leagues with a number of different clubs and now he is a known as one of the best 23 players from England. Who do you predict will win the title next season?

Der Fußball von München

My next post will be about the football, or Fußball, of Munich. It has two teams, one of them the leading Bundesliga winners and the other in the relegation zone of the Bundesliga 2. One, FC Bayern München, is arguably the best team in the world, and the other, TSV 1860 München, isn’t even one of the top 30 teams in Germany. FC Bayern has players such as Robert Lewandowski, David Alaba, Mario Götze, and Franck Ribery. 1860 München has Rubin Okotie, Sascha Mölders, and Daniel Adlung.

Bayern have reached the UEFA Champions League semifinal 10 times, and won five times. Bayern have one the league 25 times. They have won the Deutscher Pokal (German Cup) 17 times. Their biggest win was against Borrusia Dortmund. The final score was 11-0! Their most famous managers were Franz Beckenbauer, Louis van Gaal, and Pep Guardiola.

Turn- und Sportverein München von 1860 was not actually made in 1860. It was made in 1848. They were almost relegated to the Bayernliga last season, which is the third division. They are currently in 14th place, facing another relegation playoff. They were one of the founding fathers of the Bundesliga. They won one title in 1965-66, but no others. Meanwhile, their neighbors are racking up their 26th Bundesliga title.


MUNICH, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 29: Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Muenchen celebrates scoring his teams fifth goal during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between FC Bayern Munchen and GNK Dinamo Zagreb at the Allianz Arena on September 29, 2015 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Allianz Arena

The Allianz Arena is where 1860 München and FC Bayern play. The 75,000 capacity stadium has witnessed 50 UEFA Champions League matches, 6 World Cup games, and who knows how many league games. It was built in 2005. Every year, the arena brings in 4 million visitors from all over the world. Those people have drunk 8 million liters of drinks and consumed more than 6 million grilled sausages. Phillip Lahm has had the most apperances there, with 205 times. Yet he still hasn’t scored the most goals there. The most prolific striker is Mario Gomez, with 68 goals put into the back of the net. The fastest goal scored there was 10 seconds in to a Champions League match by Roy Makaay.


The innovative stadium lights up for special occasions and for the team’s games. Phillips was the company that made the LED lights for the stadium. There were new lights installed in 2011-12. It can create 16 million colors. The new façade uses 60 percent less electricity than the one before 2011. My favorite combination was the yellow that the stadium was made when a Dortmund fan hacked in and made it yellow.



Oktoberfest is, as the name suggests, a festival held every fall in Munich. It is not a Bier(beer) festival, as most people think. It is actually a party celebrating the anniversary of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and his wife, Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. It is the world’s largest funfest. Below are some of the foods that there are at Oktoberfest:


Hendl (roast chicken), Schweinebraten (roast pork) , Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstl (sausages) along with Brezen (pretzels), Knödel (potato or bread dumplings),  and Sauerkraut (red cabbage).

The 6 million people that come there annually consume 1.5 million gallons of beer, 200,000 pairs of pork sausages, and 480,000 spit-roasted chickens during the 16-day party. I got the Schweinebraten recipe below from whats4eats.com:

6 to 8 servings


  • Pork butt or shoulder — 4 to 6 pounds
  • Caraway seeds — 2 tablespoons
  • Salt — 1 tablespoon
  • Pepper — 2 teaspoons
  • Oil — 2 tablespoons
  • Onions, roughly chopped — 3
  • Carrots, roughly chopped — 3
  • Water, stock, white wine or beer — 1 cup
  • Flour — 2 or 3 tablespoons
  • Butter — 2 or 3 tablespoons


  1. Rub the pork all over with the caraway, salt, pepper and oil and marinate for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Remove the meat from the refrigerator from 30 minutes to an hour before roasting to let it come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix together the onions and carrots and place in the bottom of a roasting pan just large enough to comfortably fit the roast. Pour the water, stock, white wine or beer into the pan.
  3. Place the roast, fat side down, in the roasting pan on top of the vegetables. Cover the pan with foil, place in the oven and roast for 1 hour.
  4. Remove the foil from the pan and turn the roast fat side up. Cut crosshatches in the fat in a diamond pattern, but try to avoid cutting into the meat itself. Place the roast, uncovered, back in the oven. Roast for another 1 1/2 hours to 3 hours, or until the roast is tender and well browned on the outside. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of the roast should read 165°F.
  5. Remove the roast to a cutting board, cover it lightly with foil and let it rest for about 20 minutes while you make the gravy.
  6. Knead the flour and butter together with your fingers to make a doughy paste and set aside in a small bowl. Strain the pan juices from the roasting pan into a sauce pan. Save the vegetables to serve with the roast if you like, or use instead of butter and flour to thicken the gravy (see variations). Add enough water, stock, wine or beer to the pan juices to make 2 cups. 
  7. Bring the pan juices to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk small pieces of the butter-flour paste into the pan juices until the gravy is thickened to your liking. Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  8. Slice the roast thinly and serve with the pan gravy on the side.


  • To thicken the gravy without using flour and butter, puree 2 cups of the pan juices with some of the roasting vegetables and strain.
  • Finish the gravy with a little butter, cream or sour cream if you like.
  • Other seasonings that can be rubbed into the pork before roasting include marjoram, minced garlic or your favorite mustard.

Oktoberfest has many tents. There are some orchestra tents, the Hippodrom tent, and many more. Have any of you heard of the costume and riflemen parade of Oktoberfest? It is in honor of the silver wedding anniversary of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese. It took place in 1885 for the first time. Maximilian Schmidt started another one in 1895 with 1,400 participants in 150 costume groups. Since 1950, this has grown to be one of the largest parades of its kind. On the first festival Sunday, 8000 participants march in the parade in their historical costumes seven kilometers to the grounds. For Oktoberfest, the traditional dress for women is the dirndl. The men wear something called a lederhosen.


Has anyone ever been to the Munich Oktoberfest, or any near you?