Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Slovenia I

We spent a week with Oma & Opa and our children in the Slovenian alps. I thought I'd be tired of mountains seeing my share of beautiful mountain landscapes in Austria - but no! the mountains, lakes and rivers of Slovenia are excellent. Below are a handful of photos.

Sunset on the plateau near our house.

Boys on the river.

Boy with mom on river.

You can just see the sets of mountain ranges in the distance.

Mountain lake with boat.

Mountain lake with Sabine.

No fear !

A castle built into a cave, and with a WC!

A more Tuscan scenery.

Wine, wine, wine.

Silly children in exhibit # 11.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

One last view of our winter.

The winter was heavy! Here are some pictures of Kahlenberg from January. It was cold. There was snow. We were there and we even played in it, but now it's summer and all that snow, that deep, cold, white snow, make me think we were on another planet!

That smile will melt all the ice in the world! 

Talk to the animals

There is a park about an hour outside Wien where you can talk to the animals! O.k. so in the park they have a fenced in part where you can walk freely with wild deer and mountain goats. The goats are shy and run away, the deer are more curious. One particular deer was incredibly friendly. I pet him and talked to him and he seemed to listen. Especially cool was the antlers! I could even touch them and grab them gently. See the video below: I was talking to the deer about how when he walks into a store he always knocks things over with his antlers, or pokes people, and so he's always walking around saying "sorry, excuse me" and then knocking something else over.


No way am I gonna touch that snout!

A big stinky PIG!

They also have wolves in this park, separated from the deer of course.

Watch out!

The super friendly deer.

Little sprouting antlers.

Our friendly deer. 

In between: there was sun between the rain and snow.

Every year Vienna hosts a marathon, and it gets bigger every year. We like to watch, and the course goes right through our neighborhood so it's easy to get there. This year BMW was giving out some kind of blow-up stick/sword. Well, they were swords to us. Ani and Pascal demonstrate their sword fighting moves! (see the video below)

Watch out pedestrians!

Spring (and lots of rain)

We took a vacation to the Salzkammergut (planned during the winter) to enjoy overnighting on a farm and the fresh air and green of the mountains. Unfortunately it rained, steadily, the whole time!! But it wasn't so bad really. Ani enjoyed the animals at the farm, and woke up extra early to shovel hay and milk the cows. She really loves working with animals. The Ms. of the farm was impressed with Ani's enthusiasm and if Ani were older and so inclined, probably would have offered Ani a job helping out on the farm.

Despite the rain we did still get around. We visited the salt mine in Hallstadt. This place is very interesting, as it has been a place of salt mining since the dawn of human civilization. I felt the long history of our kind in the salt stones of that mine. It's a salt mine, so where did the salt come from? Now we go back even further in history: the salt comes from the time when this part of Austria was ocean, then it became a salt lake, then it dried up, then it was shaped into mountains! Now that's going back a little in time. So in the mine are layers of dried up salt embedded in the rock, and since the dawn of civilization humans have been digging into this mountain to obtain the salt. Here's the neat part: the salt rock is right there in the mine, and if you lick it (and I did!) it not surprisingly tastes like salt! Coooool.

Despite the rain we also had luck. There was a festival in a town where they make floats covered completely with narcissus flowers. We were wandering around the day before the fest, and came across a tent where some people were constructing a R2D2 out of narcissus flowers. First they asked me to help lift the heavy iron scaffold from a truck under the rain tent, and then we were invited to help stud the R2D2 scaffold with flowers - no wonder, it's a ton of work: three flowers per chicken wire hole! Ani and Pascal took to the task happily! The other kids were surprised- especially about Pascal - about their enthusiasm. Said the one kid to the other about Pascal: look at him he does that good! Is he really a boy? Ja, of course, look at him he's a boy. This was all said in a pretty thick accent which made it all the more amusing.

Ani feeding a cow near the narcissus field.

The narcissus field.

Bucket and buckets of narcissus! First they collect them in the fields, which is a bit of work in itself, then they cut them and transport them to where the floats are being made.


Three flowers in every hole!


March (Snow!?!)

Wow, crazy weather! After a little bit of spring, comes the winter again. It snowed properly. We went to Kahlenberg, the hill next to Vienna and took a hike. It was beautiful, the sun shone and the coolest thing was the snow melting from the trees. The snow was packed on every twig from the storms the last couple days, and now with the sun shine little packets of snow fell through the forest like rain. It even sounded a little like the pitter-patter of rain. We had fun seeing if a large packet of snow would indeed hit someone directly on the head. Every once in a while one did!

Me enjoying the sun beams.

Ani enjoying the sun rays and snow.

Pascal happy to be throwing things.

See the snow blown all over the left side of the tree trunks. Pretty heavy storm the days before.

Everything covered in white (in March!).