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Monday, September 15, 2014

My Pens from Europe - 2

'The pen is mightier than the sword.' This is my second of two blogs (here's the first blog) about the souvenir pens I bought while in Europe last summer, and it was Al's idea to start this blog with that old familiar saying. Since I am a writer who dislikes fighting and believes we can truly heal the world through written words, the saying seems to fit, so I went with it.

After a wonderful time in Nice and Monaco last summer, we travelled to BarcelonaWe would have loved to stay there longer, but maybe we'll do that next time.

This pen has a great pull-out strip that has photos on both sides, featuring various sites of Barcelona and area.

Oh my gosh, Paris was next! We LOVED Paris. It was the best experience with so many beautiful sites and experiences. 
We bought this pen at the Vincent Van Gogh Museum. It is the most unique-looking pen we purchased.

  At the Eiffel Tower, I bought this pen...

 ... it lights up, just like the tower.

At the gift shop on the second level of the Eiffel Tower, I couldn't resist this pen that names some of the historic sites in Paris. 

Mont Saint Michel is a fascinating island in France, and we met another author while there.

The day we spent in the Normandy area of France was one of the most significant days of our travels. We walked on Juno Beach, and set a copy of Alan Buick's book The Little Coat - a true story of an Alberta soldier and a little Dutch girl - down on the sand at that historic spot.

We couldn't find a pen to purchase at any of the spots we visited in Normandy. Frankly, we didn't look too hard either. We were far more interested in the history, and too overwhelmed in absorbing the pain and the emotion of those places. What a feeling it was to view those sites in person, to see those many, many graves, and to honour those who have fallen for our freedom.

We travelled to Belgium next. Bruges is very pretty. We would have liked another day or two to explore that city.

But we had a couple of very important stops that we wanted to make in the Netherlands, so we had to keep going.

Our first stop was the National Liberation Museum in Groesbeek, Netherlands.

 A parachute sits on the outside of the museum building, and the parachute on the pen goes up and down as you move the pen.

We saw a special exhibition that featured Sue Elliott, the subject of our The Little Coat book.
Then we met the amazing and still feisty Sue Elliott. Incredible.

We went on to Amsterdam and enjoyed those days a lot as well.

Back into Germany, Berlin was next on our list. 

We were attracted to this dark, strong pen from Germany.

I fell in love with the Ampelmann (please forgive the written misspelling below), and had to buy a green and a red version of this popular figure displayed on pedestrian walk signals there.

We felt the war in Prague, Czech Republic, and we loved this historic city.

Back into Germany now, we visited the site of the Dachau Concentration Camp. Nothing but pain and sadness came from that site. We were glad to move on. 

To a happy, elaborate, over-the-top set of castles at Fussen

This pen from Switzerland was a challenge to find. But it was worth it. Look at this beauty...

Then we stayed in Colmar, France - just down the street from the Statue of Liberty.

The stork is a symbol of the region.

This was the hotel we stayed at in Frankfurt before flying back to Canada. 

So this is my collection of pens from Europe. I can't wait to use them all in my writing for years to come ... and to add to them the next time we travel to Europe.

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