Saturday, June 2, 2012

A week in Austria...

I worked for hours uploading these pictures back in April before we left for somewhere... now I can't even remember but saved it as a draft and now am finally getting back to it.  I am not sure what I was waiting for... At any rate here are some pictures of our really fun and beautiful week in Rauris, Austria skiing.  When we found out we were lucky enough to get stationed overseas the first thing Jim and I both said was "YES!  we are totally going skiing in the ALPS"  For some reason that has been a long lived dream of ours.  The snow was wonderful, the mountains were beautiful and the weather was great for a few days of it.  Looking forward to next years ski adventure and just trying to decide where we will go... Switzerland? France?  We loved it but everyone was in agreement.... we liked it enough but we were missing our favorite - Homewood at Lake Tahoe! 
Patrick in lower right corner

Coming back from the pool!

Emma just chillin' loking out the window.

family up on the balcony
Patrick enjoying the local fare of yummy pretzels

Jack needed a little help getting up the hill!

worth it for the view though...

my little skiers

Heading back to the apartment after another awesome day on the slopes

Jim and I

Following the leader

Jim with Jack who has a cheek FULL of skittles!

Jack with his ski school class

Jack getting his certificate with his new friend Cara who was also in his class.

Patrick on one of the cloudy days

Jack getting his 9th place medal. Good thing his favorite German word he learned during the week with 7 German speaking kids and 3 English speaking kids was.... "nein" (no)

the little village of Rauris
all the snowboarders went in for lunch! The British Army had a group of snowboarders there doing an "exercise" for 2 weeks. Lucky us. They took over the place. The best day skiing was Saturday when they had the day "off".



another of Emma

Emma watching Jack follow Jim down the hill.

the boys

The night we arrived we went out for pizza and this is the crew walking up the road to our apartment for the week. There was a pool and hot tub and just across the street were the ski lifts. It was a great location and super easy to get to the slopes each morning.

I tried to get a picture of us heading into the airport so early in the morning that it was still dark out but... this is what I got instead. Everyone had to wear their snow boots and jackets on the plane since they wouldn't fit in our bags! Patrick is blocking the huge ski bag Jim is also pulling alongside him. So happy we got that bag - we stuffed a lot of extra stuff in there besides his ski's!

Friday, March 30, 2012

A day in Canterbury

We left Dover after the sunset and drove to Canterbury. After a battle with the GPS we finally found the hotel we were staying at. It was on the grounds of the Cathedral and this is what we saw when we arrived. It really is beautiful and impressive.
This picture was taken from inside the room we stayed in.
The next morning was bright and sunny and they day turned out to be as nice as the one before at Dover castle. It was still cold but clear skies and sunny. Can't complain with that!

We had seen great reviews online about an audio tour in Canterbury so we reserved and paid online for the day we were spending there. After breakfast I marched off with the kids to find the place and get the audio sets while Jim went to re-park the car for the day. We found the spot where the audio tours were and were quite shocked to see a CLOSED sign and note saying they were closed for the season and would open again in the spring. Whaaaat??? We had paid for these things! At any rate we had to come up with a plan B so luckily there was a tourism shop and when I went to ask them the guide for a walking tour was standing there and said he was starting a tour in 20 minutes. We decided that was as good as anything and it turned out to be really fun and interesting. Here is a picture of him - not a great one - but the kids kept calling him Xenophilius Lovegood from the Harry Potter books. He was a great tour guide - quirky but fun and interesting.
The Cathedral is so impressive and you can see it from all over town.
Here Patrick was trying to do one of the "make me look like I am leaning against the building" shots.
Just a cute street we walked by.
No need for caption here.... this shop was built with this kid in mind.
Funny little crooked house.
Canterbury is of course famous for the Canterbury Tales. We didn't have enough time to check out the museum but we did find this building with the sign on it. Not even sure if this was the museum or not but here it is anyway....
The ceiling inside the cathedral
Jack in the cathedral. The pictures from inside didn't turn out very well so I can't share the one we took of the "snitch". While on our walking tour "Xenophilius Lovedgood" was telling us that JK Rowling got the idea for the snitch from something she saw inside the cathedral. He said where it was located and to go and see if we could find it. If not we should ask any one of the volunteers in yellow vests and they would be happy to point it out. Well, when the kids went in, they couldn't figure out where it was so they asked a volunteer who had NO IDEA what they were talking about. One asked another, who asked another and before we knew half a dozen volunteers where trying to figure out what this thing that looked like a snitch was and where. They seemed to be enjoying it as much as the kids and we finally found something that we think he was talking about. We all decided he was most likely pulling all of our legs but the volunteers said it was the most fun they had had in a while and were happy to be on the wild goose chase. It was a pretty entertaining thing to watch and they (the kids) probably learned more about the cathedral and looked around more than they would have otherwise!

It was pretty cold out and Jack needed a new hat so we found the perfect one at a stall on the street! He loved it and was so cute in it. Enjoy the picture as the adorable hat stuck around for a grand total of 4 days before it was left on the bus or at school and has never been seen again.... I guess someone else thought it was pretty cute too. boo hoo.

Jack tried on Patrick's hat and we couldn't resist some cute puppy face shots :)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dover Castle

Over President's Day (and Patrick's birthday weekend) we took off on Sunday and spent the day at Dover Castle and then spent the night in Canterbury which is just up the road a half hour or so. It was a truly beautiful day and we were so happy to be outside even though it was chilly. It was the end of the British half-term so the castle had activities going on and that day were acting out what it would have been like to have lived at Dover castle and trained as a Knight. They had the kids go thru "training" and then had to slay a dragon. It was pretty cute and the kids enjoyed it. I liked that they told them all about how life was like for kids training to be knights- especially about how they used to have to kneel and hold platters of food for the adults eating for hours on end. Kids these days.... have it so good. :)

Dover Castle at the end of the day. This castle has been in continuous military occupation for over 800 years and is one of the oldest around that is intact.

The kids all getting their training as knights

Being "knighted" by King Henry II

Now to slay the dragon... Patrick was in hot pursuit!

Emma (on right) and another girl offering up the dragon's head after they got him.

The kids walking around the walls of the castle.

The Roman lighthouse that was built in the first century AD.
Jack reading about how they used to use these rooms as look-outs during WWII and how to destinguish between "friend or foe" airplanes. This picture is for my mom who taught the kids to say "friend or foe?" when someone knocks on the door! :)
The tunnels in the White Cliffs that were built in the Middle Ages but have been used by the military for years. They have a really cool exhibit in there and you can tour them. They used some tunnels as a hospital and barracks during WWII. It was so interesting and fun to tour them.
After we wandered around the castle we walked down to the beach and hung out for a bit.
No matter that we said not to get wet.... they did, of course.
We drove over to another spot where you can get a better view of the white cliffs and this was looking back at the castle during the sunset. It was such an amazingly beautiful night.
The kids were tired and didn't want to get out of the car but after I walked around a bit I went back and insisted that they get out (or walk home!) and they finally did. I think they were happy they did. Here is Patrick checkin out the white cliffs

and since they were out of the car... may as well goof around for some pictures!