Sunday, September 1, 2013

Two Kittens becomes One

What do they say? Life is not fair. God giveth, he taketh away. Nothing is ever perfect...... We felt so lucky and happy to find our two kittens Stella and Luna. We were excited to make a home for the two sisters. We felt lucky to have the chance to raise both sisters, together. Then we noticed Luna had a cough that wouldn't go away. That she didn't play as much as Stella. And the cough was getting worse each day, the playing less. Something was seriously wrong with Luna. 

The second part of our vacation was in the Austrian alps in Kärten. We decided that as soon as we got to Austria we would look for a veterinarian on the internet and call Sunday to see if someone could see Luna. We found a vet who kindly came to her office Sunday to look at Luna, and she gave Luna antibiotics and intravenous fluid since she hadn't eaten the past day. The vet told us to come again next morning to look at Luna more carefully. We were worried. The next morning came and Luna was not doing better, she just lay still with her head lifted on a towel gasping for air. The vet said we needed to put Luna to sleep, that there was nothing she could do to help Luna, except to ease her pain. We did it, and we cried.

We buried Luna in the forest on Turracher Höhe. Although we only had her but a couple of days, it was hard to believe she was so quickly gone. What can you say? 

Luna with Ani.

Luna's grave.

The Adriatic from Croatia and two Kittens

After Plitvice park we drove to the coast and the island of Rab. A ferry brought us and the car over to the island. Here it is no longer green. The part of the island where the ferry docks is like a moon scape. Hardly a speck of vegetation. Beautiful for the eye, but brutally hot and dry. We stayed on the other side of the island facing the Adriatic sea, and there are pine trees and more green. Nonetheless it is still mostly rock.

One day we took a hike around a section of the island, staying on the rocky beaches. It was fun and amazing to see all the geology exposed on the cliffs along the way. I wish I understood more about what all I was looking at.

Rab is pretty much a beach resort town so we went swimming and spent time in the sun. A couple of times we visited the old town, and every night we had excellent seafood for dinner.

From the church tower of Rab.

Nightfall looking over the Adriatic.

The surprise of this vacation was two kittens, Stella and Luna. Anika discovered them in the hotel parking lot, living in a makeshift cat house someone had built. Ani and Pascal played with the kittens over several days. One day Ani brought Tessa down to see the kittens. She was impressed with them too and told us how although she thought Ani had found some mangy forlorn cats, the cats were actually playful and adorable kittens. Sabine and I thought about taking the two sisters Stella and Luna home with us, and on our second to last day we took the kittens with us to our apartment. They quickly learned to use a litter tray and were so sweet and adorable we all were in kitty love within hours. Below are pictures from those first days.

Parking lot abduction.

A very happy Ani with kittens successfully caught.

Kittens were soooo good. Tessa feeding them milk with a baby bottle.

That's Stella (the gray/white one) very active in our apartment.

Here is Luna.

Croatia: Plitvice Park and the Adriatic

The first part of our August vacation was to visit Plitvice Park in Croatia. This is quite the tourist attraction but well worth the visit. It is a large canyon with a river flowing through and down the canyon, but by means of a series of waterfalls and pools, with each pool cascading into the next waterfall, down the entire course of the canyon. Secondly, everything is intensely green, grass and trees are growing in the face of the waterfall, and water streams through groves of trees. Apparently the geology of the place is a consequence of all those plants and the limestone rock the canyon is made of: the plants take the CO2 from the water, making Calcium in the water more prone to precipitate, which when it does forms the dam like wall which both forms a pool upstream, and becomes the next waterfall downstream. The Calcium in turn is there because water dissolves it from the Limestone.

Anyways it is a fairy tale land of crystal clear water, trees and grass and waterfalls. The trail through the canyon was well maintained (due to the number of tourists) and for much of the hike consisted of a raised wooden boardwalk, often with water running directly below our feet.

No fishing is not allowed, nor would it really be fair.

Water everywhere.

Waterfall and cute girl :)

Hike up the Rax

We hiked the Rax mountain just outside of Vienna, and it was steep!!! The whole hike was like climbing stairs. We basically covered the same route the gondola takes, which is straight up almost 1000 meters. But we made it in around 4 hours. Tessa and Ani took the lead and left Sabine and me with Pascal, who wasn't having so much fun. First, it's a pretty ambitious hike for an 8 year old, and second he got pretty nice heal blisters on both feet about 1/2 way up (poor guy). To his credit he did try to humor his way through it, unfortunately with profanity but still with humor.

It was nice to make it to the top finally and take the gondola down the mountain again. I don't know if we would so quickly choose to do this particular hike again, but then it's nice to know what you can accomplish (1000 vertical meters) in several hours.

A short rest half way up, everyone is still in good spirits.

We will make it to the top!

The view across from about 3/4 up the Rax.