Monday, July 30, 2012

slovenia

Way back in May, we took a trip to Croatia and Slovenia.  I realized that this happened months ago, but late is better than never.  This is actually the third attempt to take this trip and we finally made it happen.  The first attempt was last year.  Simon's uncle was a mission president for our church in the region.  We had plans to head down while we were already visiting Austria.  Our sweet little Auburn because ill, and was in the hospital, so we didn't make it.  Last fall, we had the trip completely planned out with reservations and then the tickets prices to Indonesia (that we had been watching for over a year) dropped.  So we canceled the trip, without any charges - how awesome is that?  This year we finally managed to get this trip to work out and everyone was healthy. We were sad that we missed Uncle Dave and Aunt Dana, but we will have meet up in the states.  
This is an area that we really had no plans to see when we moved here, but all of our German friends vacation here, and now we see why.  It is a part of Europe with lots of outdoor beauty.  We also had the awesome bonus of Sasha, Scott and Brandon joining up with us for part of the trip.



Our first stop was Hochosterwitz castle in Austria.  We saw it on our way to Slovenia.
                                      

Ljubljana 

The dragon is the symbol of the city.

downtown Ljubljana

There was a soccer game in Ljubljana while we were there.  Okay, it wasn't a coincident, it was planned of course.  We showed up at the ticket office, and for some reason tickets were free that evening!  It is a brand new stadium and a great game.


The next day we headed to Lake Bled and did some hiking around the lake.  

I just can't get enough of their cuteness.




This little hiker right here hiked all the way up this hill.  We really couldn't believe that she did it.  It was a long way and every time I asked if she needed me to carry her, she said no.  I was tired by the time we got there.  We were rewarded with a breathtaking view of the lake and couldn't of had better weather.


One thing that our kids loved to do throughout this trip was to put their feet in every body of water that we came across.  This was the very first.  The water was freezing, but they were so excited about putting their toes in the water they really didn't care.  

Predjama Castle 

Our kids logged lots of hours in the car.  For them riding in the car is still only for trips, but after the first few days the novelty wore off.  I realized that there are a ton of pictures of my kids, but they were just so adorable I couldn't help it.  They, like always, were amazing on this trip.  We drove a lot, and only had one day with complaining.  They really are buddies and enjoy hanging out with each other, I think that made it easier for them.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

little ballerina

Auburn started a ballet class a few weeks ago.  She is so excited about it.  Thanks to Grandma for sending the sweet leotard/tutu and shoes.  Auburn puts on her ballet outfit multiple times a day and dances around the house.  The class is out for a two month summer break, but we will start again in September.  The class is actually in German, but the teacher is British so she can help Auburn with some English.  Auburn follows really well and comes home from class using some German from the class!


practicing her courtesy 




lots and lots of twirling


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Residenz and Schliersee

A few weekends ago we played tourist in our own city.  There was a holiday celebrating some Catholic holiday here in Bavaria and Simon had a Thursday off.  We headed to the Munich Residenz.  The Residenz is the former palace of the Bavaria rulers up until 1918.  A lot of the palace was destroyed due to WWII, but it was reconstructed.

Simon and I at the Hall of Antiquities

Conley 

The jewels at the Residenz's treasury.  This was Auburn's favorite tiara.






Cuvillies Theatre


The next morning Simon had to go back to work.  When I checked my email first thing in the morning I found a little from Simon.  He had booked a room for us at Schliersee for the weekend.  It is the same apartments that we got to for Christmas.  He put in a request at work 8 months ago and never told me.  It was a wonderful surprise.  I packed quickly and we took a train out that afternoon.

Here we are on the row boat on Lake Schliersee.

We took a bus to Spitzingsee and hiked around the lake.   

We found some cows with awesome bells around their necks.

The weekend was kind of overcast, but the sun came out right as we were finishing our hike.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Guangzhou and Hong Kong

From Guilin we boarded our last overnight train to Guangzhou.  We only spent one night there before heading to Hong Kong.  Guangzhou isn't a huge tourist destination, but it broke up the trip and there was a soccer game that evening.  

Guangxiao Temple


Temple of the Six Banyan Trees



We watched Guang Evergrande play a team from Japan.  We were rewarded with four goals.


This picture has nothing to do with either of these cities.  It was actually taken in Beijing, but I just realized I didn't post any food pictures.  We essentially ate rice and noodles.  Lucky for us, our kids really like rice and noodles.  Despite the look on Conley's face was really excited to dig in.  



After Guangzhou we headed to Hong Kong.  It was only a two hour train ride.  Simon's sickness returned.  We spent the first afternoon at some museums taking it really slow.  I brought dinner back and the kids were happy that Sesame Street in English was on TV.  The next day Simon was feeling better and we headed downtown.


Wong Tai Sin Temple




Chi Lin Nunnery
This beautiful temple complex was so peaceful among this very busy city.  The gardens were meticulously kept and we spent a fair amount of time walking through and enjoying them.




10,000 Buddhas Monastery 

The wall is covered in tiny Buddhas.  We actually got stuck here because it was raining so hard.  Luckily they had a little restaurant so we filled up before continuing on.

That evening we took the Peak Tram up to Victoria Peak for a look over the city.  We had a few clouds, but as the evening wore on they floated away.  It was quite a spectacular view.



The next day before our flight we headed to an art museum and a few other sites.  The weather finally caught up with us (it had been wonderful the whole three weeks).  We decided to head to the airport early since it was like a monsoon outside.  


We are really lucky that our kids love to fly.  Even really long flights.  They were angels through both legs and the eight hour layover we had in Abu Dhabi.  The kids still pretend to go to China and talk about it.  It was an adventure that we will never forgot!