Saturday, September 26, 2015


Grandma Theresa visited Triberg, Germany, which is located in the Black Forest in 1961.  Triberg is home to the Triberg waterfalls, which are located on the Gutach River and are among the highest in Germany.  Triberg is also known for having the largest cuckoo clock.

Fifty four years later, I was very excited about the opportunity to visit the Black Forest.  After all, it is the home of cuckoo clocks, cherry schnapps, Black Forest gateau and of course, Black Forest ham.  It was also the locale for many fairy tales -- Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel, just to name a few.

Our visit to the Black Forest, took us to the town of Hollsteig, which is about 45 minutes southwest of Triberg.  It turns out from my research, I discovered that Triberg is in the heart of the Black Forest.  We watched several demonstrations during our short stay in Hollsteing -- glass blowing, creation of Black Forest gateau (above photo is the finished product) and yes, cuckoo clock creation.  What did I learn from my visit -- that the most important ingredient in the Black Forest Gateau is cream, cream and yes, more cream!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


In 1961, Grandma Theresa visited Nice, France but she was sick so she went to bed and skipped dinner.  After eating breakfast in bed the next day, Grandpa Charlie and her visited Monte Carlo.  While Grandma's travel diary ends there, according to photos from their trip, they also visited Paris.  So, I will never know if they also stopped at other French towns along the way.

On my Grand European Adventure, I did not visit Paris (it is still on my bucket list) but I did visit two French towns - both located in the Alsace region -- Colmar and Strasbourg.  While both of these towns are currently in France, their histories do include being ruled by Germany at specific times.  So it is not surprising to see that they display both French and German influences.

While in Colmar, I saw a nest with 2 storks in it.  I had never seen anything like that.  They consider it a very good thing, which is very understandable.

In Strasbourg, we visited the area known as "Little France", a covered bridge (which isn't covered any more) and the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Strasbourg (I will confess that I love old churches and Europe has a ton of great old churches and cathedrals).  The Cathedral of Notre Dame was the highest medieval building in Europe.  It is has a famous astronomical clock which is fascinating to watch.  The clock depicts the beginning of life until the man's death.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


When Grandma Theresa (Sherlock) visited Luzern (Switzerland) in 1961, she wrote about visiting the "Dance of Death" bridge in her travel diary.

I started researching activities to do while in Luzern and saw photos of a beautiful covered bridge and made plans to visit this bridge while I was there.   Approaching the bridge, I thought "the bridge is so beautiful, I hope the pictures of death don't ruin it for me".  Well, I guess I should have done more research.  There are actually 2 bridges in Luzern -- Kapellbrucke (Chapel Bridge) and Spreuerbrucke (Mill Bridge).

I visited Kapellbrucke and as you can tell from my photo above, it is very beautiful.  Kapellbrucke is located near the junction of Reuss River and Lake Lucerne.  There are lots of triangular paintings on this bridge, but thankfully not of death.  The paintings chronicle the history of the city of Luzern.  There is also a water tower next to the bridge.

On the other hand, Grandma Theresa must have visited Spreuerbrucke, which is down river from Kapellbrucke.  Spreuerbrucke has paintings about the plague, titled "Dance of Death".  It also has a small chapel.

After visiting the bridge, Grandma Theresa went on a bus tour to Mt. Rigi, which is almost entirely surrounded by water -- Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug and Lake Lauerz.   Since we took the tour to Jungfrauoch, we didn't have time to visit Mt. Rigi, but it is definitely on my "to do" list for my next trip to Switzerland.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


 "Switzerland is so beautiful -- so far I don't know which country I like best".  That was an excerpt from my Grandma Theresa's travel diary in 1961 after visiting Switzerland and Austria.  I will have to say that I wholeheartedly agree with her.  Even though I am a Southern California gal, there is something about the Alps (whether they are in Italy, Austria or Germany) that I find so completely irresistible. They are just so majestic!

On our 2nd day in Switzerland, we went on a tour that took us to Jungfrauoch -- the highest railway station in Europe and an amazing place to visit.  It was August but there was snow everywhere!  I walked through the Ice Palace (ice on all the top, bottom and sides of us), basked in the sun on the huge glacier and enjoyed the awesome views from the Observation desk.  It was all very magical!

Sunday, September 13, 2015


Can I possibly include my passion for genealogy on my dream trip to Europe while also trying to re-trace my Grandparents (Charlie and Theresa Sherlock's) steps from their European trip of 1961?  I knew what I wanted but how hard would it be to achieve it.

So, ten months ago I started planning for this "bucket list" trip with the following goals:

1. It must include a trip down the Rhine River.  I wanted to see the Black Forest and all those amazing castles in the Middle Rhine.

2. I wanted to visit the places my Grandparents visited in Germany, France, Switzerland and Ireland.  I had my Grandmother's travel diary to use as a guide.

3.  I would love to visit my ancestral towns both in Germany and in Ireland.

4.  I wanted to share the experience of Ireland with 2 of my adult children. (The remaining son just got an amazing new job and wouldn't be able to join us.)  I would love for them to see our ancestral town of Islandeady in County May and possibly others in County Meath.

Instead of doing a lot of genealogical research for the past 6 months, I focused on the planning of this trip to make this trip as productive as possible.   Well, on August 15th, my dream became a reality as I began my "Grand European Adventure" ....