Mom and Dad visit Music City!

Hooray! After a month of getting used to this new place, I was ready to show off Nashville to my parents! They drove down 9 hours from Michigan on the first Friday in May. The weekend was packed with eating, and exploring. Here are the highlights!

Saturday May 3rd

The next morning we head out for a busy day of exploring the city. At Yeast Nashville my biscuit breakfast sandwich was tasty and large.

Then, we went to check out the downtown Farm Market. It was right next to the Bicentennial Mall; at one end is the capital and it’s made to mimic the National Mall in DC. There were towers with bells at the other end, quite the carillon!

After we were done learning about Tennessee’s history (16th state in the Union!) and headed down to see Warner Park, where I’ll be holding camp this summer!

Mom and I, enjoying the Little Harpeth River.

We had a lovely little wander, then headed to Harding Academy to meet Jessie & Ron’s friend Barrett at the art show. Barrett spends a LOT of time outdoors, waiting for wildlife to photograph. He captures some really stunning photos and even won a National Geographic contest for this photo of a Grizzly, charging after salmon in a stream.

Dad was feeling nappish after that, so Mom & I dropped him off at home and went to split a salad at Calypso Cafe and take a brisk walk in Shelby Bottoms Park, my favorite spot to run with the Indigo Buntings.

Hours later, we roust Dad and head to 5 Points Pizza to grab a few slices to go. Dad gets pepperoni and we get prosciutto and basil. YUM!!! We eat it on a bus stop bench and head off to explore downtown Nashville.

We park on the north side of the river and take the pedestrian bridge across because it has the best views. This is Dad’s cool abstract-reflection-of-the-bridge photo.

Reflection Bridge

There were about 9 different groups of red-carpet-ready teens getting their prom photos on the bridge. Here’s the prom pix of Mom and Me!

mom and A on bridge

Dad found a rooftop wedding to photograph.

Rooftop Wedding

I spotted a horse-drawn carriage!

Finally, across the Cumberland River and into town! We stop to admire the fountains.

And explore Broadway- with all the Honky Tonk bars. But of course, we’re only there for ice cream.


After grabbing ice cream, staring at all the gaggles of ladies in cowboy hats and walking past the buskers – we got sleepy and hiked back over the bridge.


Sunday, May 4th

In stereotypical ‘Adrienne’ style, we spent Saturday running all over town and Sunday we were tuckered out!  So, we were going to try to take it a bit easier…

So, we went to church at the cute little Episcopal church in my neighborhood, then met up with Laura and Won at the Gerst Haus for lunch. Oops, no photos. Then, we went to meet the cousins, Rachelle and Steve Sipkovsky at Radnor Lake!

Cousin Sips

We hiked around the lake, spotting big turtles with Brayden, Bryce, Brenden and Ellie.  We were careful to follow ALL the POSTED RULES… no running on the trails, no dogs, do not sit on the scopes.  Lots of rules.

Silly Rules

It was a lovely little gem of a lake – nothing remarkable by Michigan standards, but since there aren’t any natural lakes around here, it’s pretty unique. In fact, this lake was created to supply steam engines with water as they passed through Nashville, an overland transportation hub.


We hiked until 5pm, then Mom and I were hungry, so we headed to Calypso Cafe! Mom and I got salads (again! SO good!) and dad? Well, he got a warm mint brownie with whipped cream. He loved it.

We were tuckered out and headed home, where we spent 45 minutes watching YouTube videos like this one about the “Flippy, floppy spider of the Sea” (aka. Octopus). Do yourself a favor and watch it.

Monday, May 5th

Mom and Dad head out early, and stop by Louisville to see Father Roger and Andrew. They got home pretty late, but it was worth it! They’re making plans to come back for another visit this summer when we go to Mammoth Caves! BYE MOM! BYE DAD! I LOVE YOU!!!

Mom in the Van


Berlin: A bear pit, St. Peter’s Basilica & Parliament Dome.

Friday, September 13th

While we were planning our final day in Berlin, I ran across a list called, “10 quirky things to see in Berlin”! Perfect! It said that bears have been considered the ‘mascot’ of Berlin since its founding and in 1939 the city built a bear pit to house the 2 bears they got as a gift from the city of Bern. (They had a bear mascot too.) After the bear pit got bombed in WWII, Bern gave them 2 new bears- they had 33 cubs together! Currently, two brown bears live in a little park behind the Märkisches museum in Elly’s neighborhood! Off we go!

This is Maxi, she was born Jan. 14, 1986 (or this is Schnute, Maxi’s mom, born Jan. 18, 1981). They live in this small habitat, called, ‘Bärenzwinger’ or ‘Bear Pit’. The pit is in the middle of a Köllnischen Park, directly across from a play structure! (öllnischer_Park)


Next, we headed towards the Turkish market. Along the way, we passed this lovely fountain. The church in the background is St. Michael’s, the dome & statue of the Archangel survived the war, but the church is missing its roof! Look closely, there is a round hole in the front of the building where a large stained glass window should sit.



Onwards- to the Turkish… Oh wait! Bike school! Kids in Berlin have to get a license to ride a bike on their own. We passed a cute pretend street where the police were instructing the kids on bike safety.

Finally, we made it to the market! I had never had a fresh fig before, so we bought a few. They were soft & sweet , with a little hint of celery flavor. We tried some nut/fruit bars, smelled some mint & passed by the Honigkranz. We listened to a busker playing ‘Paint it Black’ by the Rolling Stones on a twangy, Turkish crank guitar. It was a lively atmosphere, packed with people on a Friday morning.

Whew! Big morning! We headed back to Elly’s to check email and take a break. Berlin doesn’t have widespread Wi-Fi like Amsterdam. That morning, we had requested a visit to the glass dome on top of the parliament building & we were awaiting our official invitation to tour the dome in the evening. It arrived! Thanks Ihr Besucherdienst!

Now that we had secured a 7:30pm appointment at the Reichstag Building, we made our way towards Museum Island to check out St. Peter’s Basilica. On the way, we took a detour to see a cute park that Elly remembered from childhood visits to Berlin with her parents.



And there was this concrete amphitheater, covered with graffiti, that Elly declared was, “Very Berlin!”



We hopped the S-Bahn and ta-da! There it was, the Basilica! Check out those gorgeous domes!

We admired the sanctuary, then climbed up to the central dome and circled our way up to the walkway, high above Berlin.
Cartooned photos from the top of the dome.

The grassy sections used to be the promenade and gardens of the royalty. The circle on the left is a fountain, the circle on the right is a giant stone bowl that was intended to go into the building on its right…but it was too big! That building is the Pergamon Museum and in the 1940’s, the square would fill with people coming to hear Hitler speak from its front steps.

It was almost time for our official appointment at the parliament dome! On our walk there, we passed the Brandenburg gate at sunset!



We arrived 15 min. before the appointed time to go through security. They checked our invitation twice and matched our passports to the names on their list. After our bags were x-rayed and we got patted down, we were led in a group to the parliament doors by a guide.



As we waited to get through the air-lock, we could see into the immense, circular room where the parliament meets, under the dome. It was impressive and I could imagine a futuristic, intergalactic council meeting happening there. Then, we were cleared to enter the elevator and exited on the roof of the German Parliament, in front of the dome.

The dome was pretty amazing. The views were great, it was .00€ (aka. Free!) and the design was interesting and environmentally friendly! The funnel-shape in the center of the dome is covered with mirrors to direct sunlight into the circular meeting room, below (saving electricity!). The oval piece in between the mirrored cone & the spiral walkway is a shade and it rotates to diffuse the sunlight. Pretty neat!

The top of the dome is opened to the sky!

We left the dome and headed to an Ex-pat dinner held at the bookstore, ‘Another Country’. A yummy feast of Mexican food with some new friends and then we took our tired selves home. Tomorrow I take the train to Prague to meet up with Natasja! Hieperdepiep! Hoorah!