Thursday, June 7, 2018

European Vacation- Part 3 - Austria

Lofer, Austria

You saw our first day in Austria - Austria Day 1.
It definitely got better from there - thank goodness. :)

Day two in Austria- December 22nd

We spent the morning trying to figure out how in the world we were going to get around this very small town/village.  It was a bit of an adjustment as I had not planned for this at all as we were supposed to have a car. So, I was feeling a bit bad and ill prepared- but we did our best.  We walked to (what came to be our favorite) restaurant, behind our apartment complex around 11 am hoping to get a late breakfast, early lunch. Luckily however Tom did do that venture the night before and the kids had cereal that morning- thank goodness.  So, dont worry- we were not back to starving them again. Ha ha
Once we got the restaurant we realized that it is only open for dinner. ok...what now? We then asked a few people and another hotel reception (as the "welcoming lady" at our apartment is only open from 7:30 am until 10 am) - so we missed our lady but luckily the other lady was helpful.  She said there would be a restaurant open in the next town- yes, its only like a mile away. So, we walked. And obvioulsy people do not walk in this small town, because for the first time- we saw no one else walking and everyone driving.  This was a already a big change from our trip. We found a nice restaurant located at another hotel/resort and ate there for lunch. It was nice, there was a small playground outside the hotel and the kids had a ball "trying" to slide down the sled and throw snowballs at eachother (in the snow). We had to ask a few people, but we found out there was a ski bus to town so we could check in for a few days of skiing- so we waited. 
We got on the bus (which we found out is free for all skiiers- nice!) and went to our ski school to check-in.  That was kind of fun, seeing the kids trying on ski boots, getting fit for helmets, etc. 
We finished there and then headed back on the bus to our apartment- there is a stop right behind our apartment complex. Woo hoo!! We got home, rested a little and then walked back over to the restaurant behind our complex and had a very nice dinner.  There was also a play area downstairs from the restaurant where the kids could play unattended and again, Tom and I had an unitnerupted chat .. for the second time the whole trip. Ha (and a few glasses of wine). :)


Day 3 - December 23rd

We got up early, got all our snow gear on and headed to the bus stop at 8:40 am to get ready for our first day of ski and snowboarding lessons. SO EXCITED...and I was a bit nervous too. I have not done this in well over 10 years.  We got to the skischule (as they call it), got our equipment from our lockers (boots, skiis, snowboards and helmets) and then bought our ski lift passes. We then started our first cable car (enclosed- thank goodness for me).  If you have never been on a ski left, well then you must know they have special holders outside the cable car to hold your equimpent, skiis and snowboards. Its great.  On our first time, we were not sure exactly how to put the ski equipment in correctly, so we did and then the guy helping had to fix it a little.  Anyway, we took off ...then, we heard a loud noise.  Oh yes, one of the skis had just falled off the cable car.  I mean, are you kidding?? We didnt know what in the world to do, we saw it there, in the middle of the snow, near the area where you take off- but...what next? And of course it was worry wort Chase's little ski. Just one ski, but a ski none the less.  Little did we know, you have to take two ski lifts (cable cars) up to the area for lessons.  We got off at the first stop and tried to explain to the attendent what had happened, but as you can imagine- he didnt speak English. I am sure you can imagine Tom at this point. Ha He is frustrated, we dont know what to do and then we are afraid we are all going to miss our first lessons- that started in 10 minutes.  The attendent was nice and asked each family that got off the cable car if they spoke English and finally after about 4- we found some. They then explained the situation to the attendent and he called down and hopefully, the ski would then be coming up on another cable car.  We waited about 15 minutes- and finally the lone ski finally came up.  :)
We then walked over to the second cable car and his freakish fashion- did not want any of us to put our skis or snowboards on the outside in fear it would also fall. Ha
We showed up to our lessons a little late, but all was well.  Tom and I had a lesson from 10-12 pm and the kids did too, then we would all have lunch together. 
We picked up the kids at 12 pm and went to have lunch. But as I am sure you can imagine, the restaurant where the ski school was, was packed FULL. And the kids only had one hour until they needed to return, Tom and I were done for the day.  We saw a lady sitting at a large 8 person booth and I asked her if I woudl be able to order something from her table. she did not speak English well, but told us to join her family. So we sat there, along with ANOTHER family waiting to eat lunch, talking to none of the people- again, none spoke English and ate a quick lunch.
We dropped the kids back at ski school and Tom and I decided to attempt the larger slope, but was also supposed to be an intermediate/beginner slope. We took the      up the mountain (OPEN) and of course I was freaking out a wee bit.  But we made it to the top, tried to figure out which way to go down as we did NOT want to pick the wrong slope and then attempted our way down back to the ski school area.  Probably not the best idea after only a two hour snowboard lesson, but we did it anyway. It took us a while, we got stuck, we fell, but we made it.  We made it straight into this cute restaurant and had a beer.  We saw how steep the slope was back down to ski school, it wasnt far, but it was steep. So after our beer we WALKED down to the "school" area and watied for the kids. Kind of felt silly, but that was fine. It was fun.
We picked up the kids, took the two cable cars back down the mountain and then took the bus back to our apartment. And as I am sure you can imagine, the kids passed out immediately on the bus. They were pooped! It was Sunday, the day before Christmas eve. We went back to the restaurant to grab dinner. We found out that everything would be closed from 12 pm onward on Christmas Eve, so were going to have to skip skiing for that day and make sure we got some food for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (as everything would be closed then as well). 


Monday December 24th (Christmas Eve)

So, the next morning- that is exactly what we did. We walked to the Supermarket to get some food for the next few days. It was kind of long for the kids, but we thought they would have been used to it by now. Unforutnately- not the case. Even on a sidewalk, even in the sun, and even with this amazing view.
I also managed to go to our apartment reception and finally get some laundry coins to do laundry. It was 3 Euros a load each (wash or dry), and the washers were only big enough for a half load. And oh yeah, from 1950.  However this was a better price than we had to pay in Munich, that was 6 Euros a load.  But we got the coins, I was able to start some laundry- we needed it desperately, and we relaxed.
We didnt have much, no cookies to make- which was sad, but I did however manage to make a delicious dinner of spaghetti. Ha We enjoyed some wine, the kids played and we talked to family on google video- which was great. We then did the Santa tracker and tried to figure out where he was and had been so we could hurry and go to sleep as well. 


Tuesday December 25th - Christmas Day

Merry Christmas!! We woke up to a few presents from Santa in our living room, opened them quickly, ate breakfast and then got ready for ski school and caught the bus at 8:40 am.  We made it there and were excited about the day.  It was another fun one except right when my lesson was about to end, I had a horrible fall straight on my back, bounced twice and hit my head. But luckily I had my helmet on. This was 5 minutes before class ended. I was ok, had to sit there a while as I lost my breath, but finally got up and was fine. My back was in some serious pain, but we had some lunch, I had a beer- yes, another one and just rested. Tom went out for some more runs up the mountain and I waited it out a bit. After about an hour, I decided to get back out there and praftice some more- just on the practice slopes. I already felt better by the time we went home. 
However, that delayed crick in my neck where I was unable to turn my head to the left side was not fun.  I got this when we arrived in Prague. I am assuming from the fall. Yuck! It lasted a few days, but finally went away. Again, the beer helped. ha!

Wednesday December 26th

We ventured back out to our last ski school.  We were excited as the forecast said it would snow.  We had seen plenty on the ground but none falling at this point (more than a few minutes).  So we left that morning and there was snow falling, nor did it look like it would- so were kind of bummed. We got to the ski school and my paranoid self thought I might have left the stove on at the apartment and freaked out. I managed to get back on the bus from the school, go back to the apartment, check the stove - it was not on- Ergh!, wait for the bus again and make it back to our ski lessons only a few minutes late.  What a pain, but certainly glad I checked.
And lucky us...we arrived to the top of the full falling snow!! It was beautiful! It snowed for almost 5 hours and was by far the most snow I had ever been in- just amazing.  It did get a bit uncomfortable at one point, our jackets were sopping wet and we did not have any goggles to protect our eyes (they were another $50 for each person!), it was kind of hard to see- like having rain falling pretty hard in your face obviously. Luckily, we were not doing our snowboarding at mach speeds. Ha!
By 12 pm, when we picked up the kids and finished our last was still snowing hard but the kids seemed to have a ball.  They were ready to get inside for lunch though, so we took a nice long break.  We got the kids ready to hit the snow again (as there jackets were also drenched), but they did not care, and whether they knew it or now, this was there last time to ski for the trip.  Tom took off, wanted to do a few more runs down the bigger hills and that he did. Went up 3 different times and with much more confidence this time.  The snow was a bit too much, I was sick of falling- ha, and decided to just stay down by the school and take some videos of the kids. 
All in all our the ski and snowboarding part of our vacation was amazing. A first time for all of us and really fun. We are just worried the kids may ask for these adventures every Christmas. I suppose they will learn. Ha 

Thursday December 27th

This was a free day for us and we spent it- casually.  We packed up the remainder of our things, finishded up some laundry, watched a movie and ventured out to go play in the snow one last time.  We thought we might build a snowman, but Tom found a sled in the apartment, so we decided to do that instead. Well, Tom and the kids did. Ha I just took pictures -as usual. Hannah also wanted to bring her doll, Mirabella, and her new snowboarding outfit from Santa, so we also took her for a few test runs. HA HA  They sure looked cute though and if you know Hannah, she is very serious about her dolls.  It was too fun to watch her being so careful with her, making sure she did not fall.
We spent our last night at that restaurant and enjoyed a few too many glasses of wine. Ha Austria was beautiful and so much fun. A trip we definitely will take again...eventually. :)

Friday December 28th

We got picked up from a taxi around 9:30 am.  He drove us to the train station, where we then caught the train to Salzburg...and another to Munich Main Station and another to Munich airport. Quite the adventure. Finally, we made it to the airport, checked all 4 of our bags we had been carrying with us on all the trains and boarded our flight to our final destination - Prague. 
We have loads of pictures and videos. If you want to see the videos, you will have to wait until we are home next summer- sorry! But if you want more pics, click here:

Pictures from Austria

Thursday, May 25, 2017

World Tour Day 2015- Kenya and Zimbabwe

Just in case you don't read my other blog,

WORLD TOUR DAY 2015 - Kenya and Zimbabwe 

Before school ended this year I participated in our elementary school's World Tour Day.  It is somewhat similar to the UN Day we have at most International Schools, but a bit different. Since we are in the US, no outside food is allowed due to the many allergies that plague quite a few kids.  This is sad because it is the part I loved the most.  Trying all the food from different countries when we had UN Day overseas was my favorite part.  All who came and participated would dress up in their culturally themed clothes (this meant Old Navy 4th of July shirts for most Americans and a few Boston Red Sox jerseys- ha) and decorate our tables in the theme of our country.  For the US table, we had American flags hanging, apple pies were made, rice crispy treats and anything you could think of that screamed .. American!  It was time to celebrate culture, and we always had a blast, no matter what country we were in at the time.

You can check out my family blog here with Pictures from UN Day in Zimbabwe hereUnited Nations Day - Zimbabwe 

So, this past year when I heard they had a World Tour Day with a similar purpose, I could not have been more excited and happy to volunteer.  Participating in the World Tour Day, although inside instead of outside, and definitely different, brought back those cultural differences I loved learning about overseas.  I am so glad that our school participates in such events here in the USA. and hope other schools do something similar as well.

However, during our World Tour Day- I did not represent America, I was Africa; specifically, Kenya and Zimbabwe.  I set up my tables with African fabric, I brought in a big mask from Kenya, had a drum and wood xylophone for the kids to play on, and I even made a video with all of our personal pictures from our time while we lived in each of those countries.  The kids really enjoyed it and I loved making the video and remembering our wonderful family adventures together.  The video, although a bit generic and mostly focusing on popular sites and animals - does include quite a few of our family favorite pics.

I would love for anyone to share this with their children and show them the beauty of these two wonderful countries.

World Tour Day Video- Kenya and Zimbabwe