Friday, June 22, 2012

A Boy's love of Vegetables!

In a pensive mood with Brocco.

We had a nice weekend with friends, spent mostly swimming in a little pond amidst the farms lands along the Donau.

After swimming we spent some time at our friends' house, mostly in their back yard which has a bunch of fruit trees (apple, cherries mostly). Pascal for some reason became attached to a stuffed Broccoli figure (from IKEA) lying around the house. He wouldn't let go of it, and gave it a nickname: Brocco!

The 4 Seasons

Wow! It's summer and we've been having a heat wave. At over 80F the whole week rain is very welcome, unfortunately it hasn't really come. Today it's cooling off a little, and it rained very weakly, but we got a perfect rainbow (even a slight double rainbow!) right outside our apartment window. I also like, in the picture, the way the rainbow lands perfectly into our neighbor's balcony. 

I thought it would be interesting to contrast the perfect "Hawaiian" rainbow with the view out of our window during the winter. It's almost incomprehensible that both kinds of weather could exist in the same place, and that make both seasons all the more remarkable and special. Here's to the seasons!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Father's Day With Animals

Three other farm animals. 

Two days before Father's day I was reading the newspaper when I saw an ad about wolf pups in a zoo. I showed my mom and my parents decided that we should go there for Father's day. We had to drive with the car for 50 Minutes and while we drove I read a book to Pascal. 

Once at the zoo, we took the red path and on the way we saw the wolf pups. They were really cute and they came from America. Then we kept on going and saw the grown-up wolfs. We kept on going and we saw these signs where there were questions about wolfs.  I answered all of them right except for one.

When there were no signs any more we saw a cage with deer and people in it; at first we thought they were zookeepers but then we came closer and we saw that they were kids. So we kept on going and saw the entrance. I went in slowly (so I wouldn't scare the deer ) and then a deer came close to me. It was a girl and she was really tame, all of them were tame and they came down the hill to lie in the sun. A lot of them ate grass but some just sat down. We saw three boys and one was pretty young and barely had horns. The others had half grown antlers because they lost them in the winter. When I touched the deer's horns they were all soft and I noticed that I saw these deers in a different zoo with full-grown antlers. Those let themselves get petted too, except that we weren't allowed to go in the cage at that zoo. I watched the deer eat the grass and sometimes it was kind of interesting.

Papa is petting the deer like it was a dog. She likes it!

We kept on going until we got to the exit and had to go out. We followed the red path and came to a bull that had long hair on his head, and it was pretty funny because I think he could barely see you. When we came to the end of the trail there was a little restaurant where we could look at guinea pigs and rabbits. Then we ate grilled cheese sandwiches. ( They were really good. ) So we went back to the car and drove back home.

The longhaired beast.

Wild Poppies along the path.

Pascal is taking this picture with one eye closed (the one that looks through the view finder!) that's why Mama is trying not to burst out laughing!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Top of the Mountain

It was Tessa's last weekend with us, so we wanted to spend some special family time together. Our 2-hour car trip took us to Mariazell, a little town and well-known pilgrimage site in Styria. As it was the weekend of Pfingsten (Pentecost), we saw large groups of people on their spiritual journey. We did enjoy the peaceful atmosphere by the basilica amongst the pilgrims. You could sense their feeling of accomplishment, friendship and contentment.  

However, our main reason for us to come to Marizell was the mountains. The first day we cheated and took the gondola up the B├╝rgeralpe (1266 m) instead of walking. As this doesn’t fly for two consecutive days, we climbed to the top of the Gemeindealpe (1623 m) the next day. From both places the view was spectacular, it feels like you are flying up there! The landscape underneath keeps on changing depending on the shadows of the clouds. And you can see soooo far. Also the nature in the mountains is beautiful, everything so fresh and green. The kids discovered lots of little treasures along the way (snails, rocks, leaves etc.) and learned the names of different flowers and trees. The cool, crisp air feels great on your skin when you take the quite strenuous hike up the mountain. To our surprise, Pascal teamed up with Tessa and lead the charge up the mountain! He chose to take the steepest section (the pictures under the chair lift) and barely needed to stop to rest. 

Other highlights of our weekend-trip were the traditional Pirker Lebkuchen (gingerbread), in the summer also served in the form of ice cream, the fantastic flower meadows, and the scooter ride down the Gemeindealpe, which is almost as fast as going down the lift - if you dare. And of course the random stuff that you could never plan but which actually are always such fond memories of any vacation: playing on the bike racks with an adventurous toddler, finding a 'Bine' sign, and bringing home a bouquet of wild flowers.