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My freshman year of high school (and my first year of German), our German teacher had us research different cities in Germany and create postcards about what we learned.  Mine featured, in big bold words, “Willkommen nach Deutschland!”  And now, seven years later, I can truly wish all of you a giant welcome to this wonderful country.

I am currently staying with Rick and Mary Beth Holladay, who run a Christian ministry called the Art Factory.  They offer their renovated clay-roof-tile factory as a haven for new and experienced artists.  The Art Factory is a fun place to stay, and the Holladays are a delight to get to know.  Don’t worry, I’ll be writing about the Art Factory in upcoming blog posts with much more detail.

Those are fish!

The Art Factory is full of quirky and unexpected elements.

My first day in Europe, Mary Beth generously came to pick me up from the airport.  As we drove, she gave me a tour of the different towns we drove through.  We were halfway across a bridge when she announced, “This is the Rhein,” and I barely had time to freak out over the awesomeness.

Within 48 hours, I had written a few blog posts, nearly completed an acrylic painting, eaten the infamous Berliner, and hiked the Black Forest.  Pictures below!

Lots of logging in these here parts

On a Black Forest hill above Kandern

More wood!

Translates to: "Property of the Black Forest Association"

and more logs

I love the shapes here

Took a while to get this shot

Kandern is historically well-known for its pottery.

I've always wanted to take dramatic angles of trees

They don't call it the Black Forest for nothing!