30 November 2008

Barcelona - Random Raisin Post

The kids often fell asleep in the stroller as we walked and walked annnnnnnd waaaalked. Elora passed out in mid-raisin munching and left a trail of raisins before we figured out what was happening. So we hurried back and snapped a picture of our trail of raisins. If you click on the picture you can sorta see Elora's head flopped over. She'd completely passed out.


We uploaded a ton more photos of our Barcelona trip here. The city is amazing with tons to see so check it out. http://www.365daysinzion.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=63351

Barcelona - The birds! The birds!

We found this great park at the end (beginning?) of La Ramblas, a large street with lots of: tourists, shops, street performers, and BIRDS! Elora and Oliver liked all the birds, but it was definitely Elora who had the most fun chasing them.
Watch this video of Elora chasing the birds accompanied by a song from a CD we bought off some street performers. There are lots of muscians playing music on nearly every popular street corner and sometimes on the metro too.

video


Here is an interesting statue covered in lots of birds and bird "stuff". I think it's strange that so many people go to Placa de Catalunya when there are so many birds flying over their heads. The bushes are white, and it's not frost or snow.


Since we didn't rent a car and spent the entire time walking or taking the train (mostly walking) we ended up holding the kids a lot rather than leaving them stuck in the stroller. Actually we would have preferred to leave them in the stroller if not for the awful noises they made after 4-5 hours sitting in it... As you can see Ollie much preferred this method of transportation. Karen was guilted into carrying him this way with his cute smile everytime you hold him and sad wimper whenever you started to buckle him in the stroller.

Barcelona - Europe's largest aquarium

More Barcelona stories... We decided to go to the aquarium because there was a sign that said something like "you haven't experienced Barcelona until you have seen L'Aquarium!" With advertising like that we had to go. They had a little kiddie area with lots of water/fish related activities. Here is a slide that was encased in a water vortex that Elora loved. Teddy also enjoyed it.
Oliver was very very excited by all the fish. He tried to eat them.
There was a long moving walkway that took you around underneath the main water tank with lots of sharks, and other big fishies. Elora went on it several times. She was very excited to point out all the different types of fish.

She was also excited to touch the ceiling. Here it looks like Elora is being sucked into either: A.) a parallel universe B.) back in time or into the future or C.) being translated and taken straight up to heaven.
Fortunately Chris was there to keep her firmly grounded in Barcelona.


The aquarium, which was billed as Europe's largest was actually quite small. But the moving walk way part was larger than you normally see at most aquariums so it balanced out. Interesting fact - a 1 day pass at the aquarium was almost as much as a year long pass for the Zoo in Vienna (the oldest zoo in the world in fact).

Check out our picture gallery for more pictures of our European adventures as well as hiking trips in Utah and family photos.

26 November 2008

Barcelona - La Sagrada Familia - KFC

The Sagrada Famlia is a Cathadrale that was under construction when Gaudi (famous architect) died. There is a lot of symbolism in the construction. Everything Gaudi did had a very unique design that is just so different you can't take your eyes off it. The design has a very "organic" feel to it that feels almost like it blends with nature -- no straight lines. Karen said we should say more so thats what I said and now she is complaining and saying I sound like Wikipedia, which I don't I'm just giving my commentary on the unique aspect of the construction. She wants to give more family fun content, but I figure this is more interesting than something so boring as where we ate that night... Elora had a long day and passed out in Chris' arms. Karen typing now... I merely meant that anyone can go look for pics and descriptions of the cathedral. The point of a blog is to make it about us... and I did not choose to post all the pics of food, that is Chris' specialty...

(I always thought the point of blogs was to educate and enlighten but I guess that's just me.)

I think they could use another Crane. Somewhere in the middle maybe? It will be done in like 30 years and Elora told us "I come back and see it when its all done."
She woke up! (and was hungry). Here we are in Barcelona Spain and Chris insisted we eat at KFC. (Stef and Dawson these pics are for you!) After eating a whole bucket of chicken and some patates we took Elora to a park across the street from the Cathedrale to play. Elora was carrying around her patates and sharing them with the other kids.


Check out our picture gallery for more pictures of our European adventures as well as hiking trips in Utah and family photos.

23 November 2008

Barcelonetta Beach

Even though it was November and the weather was 55-60 degrees with a bit of wind it felt great to us. Elora for some reason thought she should hike her shirt up and feel the breeze from the Ocean (errr Sea) air.
First her pants got wet, and then we didn't want her shirt to get wet so Elora and Chris went and splashed in the Mediterranean Sea together while Karen attempted to keep Ollie from eating sand.

Ollie was having fun too!


We came back to the beach on our last day. We tried to get pictures of the kids. You can see how well they look at the camera. Oliver is a little ham actually, but Elora purposely looks away.

Karen blames Chris for letting Oliver eat sand. But Chris was just trying to "capture the moment." Which is photographer speak for "not helping". Lots of more fun pictures of this if you follow the link below.
Here's just a cute one of Elora's whispy hair blowing in the wind.
Of course about 5 minutes before we were going to leave Elora got too close to the waves and was knocked over. She looked a little concerned but since we were telling her to be careful the whole time and she didn't listen to us and got splashed she had to put a good face on it and smile. She talks about the beach and says, "I went to the beach, I ran to the water and I swam away!"

We uploaded a ton more photos of our Barcelona trip here. The city is amazing with tons to see so check it out. http://www.365daysinzion.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=63351

Barcelona Arc De Triomf + Parc de la Cuitadella

This is a great big elephant in the Parc de la Cuitadella. Neither of us has any clue how to say that word... Queeee-It-e--yyy-a? Eh? Que?
Elora crawled underneath some hedges and was having a blast hiding in places where we couldn't find her. This is a rare photo of the elusive beast. This would be a wonderful photo, with the palm tree, rainbow, fountains, and the magnificent...whatever that is behind the scaffolding. I bet it looks pretty cool. It's huge after all. Our experiences with scaffolding is that it is everywhere we are. I think it's following us. ps - we're not actually bitter, no really, it's just a joke between us that every time we go somewhere famous it's under construction.
Here is the Arc De Triomf. It was just around the alleyway from our apartment. It seems every old city in Europe has a tribute to their military conquests. This one is pretty cool because it's red brick instead of white plaster. Elora liked to run around saying "I'm running under the biiiig arch!"


L'Arc De Triomf a la Luna! (Chris wrote this post, for the most part, tee hee)


We uploaded a ton more photos of our Barcelona trip here. The city is amazing with tons to see so check it out. http://www.365daysinzion.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=63351

Barcelona Dinners & Desserts: it's all about the pastries

No blog post of a trip would be complete with out food. The restaurants were good and the desserts were better! There was an awesome pastry shop near the apartment. And we tried every other shop we saw too.

The chocolate in Barcelona is great. We stopped at a little cafe to try some hot chocolate and churros. The hot chocolate is very thick, dark and rich. Your heart would stop beating if you tried to drink a whole cup I think... And the churros are waaaaay better than the ones at Disneyland, which are a poor excuse for a Churro now that we know better.

So we found some good desserts in one shop and bought 4 of them (not including the chocolate croissants we picked up to have for the next morning). Elora was only interested in the Chocolate ones she actually turned down the creamy fruity one!



Ok, so this pizza is in memory of the bad experience we had. The restaurant was highly recommended, and the staff was nice, but the food not so much. Who ever heard of a canneloni with crunchy vegetables and no meat or cheese? (it wasn't even listed as a Veggie one.... says Chris). So after our expensive dinner we bought an expensive pizza which as you can see turned out... quite...umm ya.



Oliver really likes to eat. He's excited at one of the restaurants here as we fed him some Paella.




Here's Karen trying to interpret the menu since we only know how to say, "Hola, Si, Non, Gracias," and "Buena vista". Karen should know more coming from Mexifornia. Elora got especially good at saying "I don't speak Sppppaaaaaanish. Do you speak Spaaaannish Mama?"



Here's another pastry shop we had to stop at because we were STARVING and everything was closed for Siesta. They shut down pretty much everything from 3 to 8pm (or 9pm) so you can't go eat dinner at 7pm like you'd normally want to. This took some getting used to, and meant we were always loading up on pastries.
This was yummy. I should have ordered 2.
Unfortunately I didn't have a fork or plate so it got messy. It was kind of funny because all the little shops would delicately wrap up our pastries assuming we weren't pigs bent on devouring everything in minutes...
We uploaded a ton more photos of our Barcelona trip here. The city is amazing with tons to see so check it out. http://www.365daysinzion.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=63351

Barcelona - Diocese / Gaudi Museum

This is the lock to the apartment we rented in Barcelona. It's always more fun to rent an apartment with kitchen, rooms, etc than stay in a hotel. The downside is you can sometimes be in a skeezy area of town. But we were in a cool place. The apartment was close to a lot of stuff, but where a lot of locals were too. The lock is pretty intense. Luckily no one tried to break in...

This is the Diocese Museum that was also featuring the works of a prominent Spanish architect named Gaudi. We only chose to go in because the outside was all medieval looking.
Ollie was so tired of being carted around all the time in the stroller that he was actually happy laying down in Chris' arms for once.


Elora sat here inside the museum for quite awhile. She was sitting here pointing at the arches and bricks and the courtyard below saying, "they built this a long time ago" (actually it was more like "they built d'is a yyyyyyong yyyyyyyong time 'goooo")


We weren't supposed to take pictures inside. And some museum lady kept appearing around the corner just after everytime the extremely loud shutter of our camera clicked. Everytime you take a picture you pray no one heard it! (Chris always claims he must have missed the large sign with a camera and an X through it)




We uploaded a ton more photos of our Barcelona trip here. The city is amazing with tons to see so check it out. http://www.365daysinzion.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=63351

12 November 2008

Barcelona!

We are in Barcelona, Spain this week! We are very excited, especially because it is warmer here and it finally started to feel like Winter in Vienna this week. We left just in time! It was a little rainy today, but is supposed to be nice the rest of the week. We already love the beautiful buildings we have seen here! And are very excited to get to spend a week here exploring. Elora says she wants to go to the beach and to the museum to see paintings. We will add pics of our adventures a little later!

Check out our picture gallery for more pictures of our European adventures as well as hiking trips in Utah and family photos.

05 November 2008

Halloween Night Dinner (Flashback)

Elora loves her white Teddy so much we have actually bought 3 of them. One of them is in the US, in a cryogenic chamber to be preserved in case anything happens to the 2 here. The other two are with us in Wien. One is dirtier than the other and she actually likes the dirty one better. Earlier in the day Elora said that clean Teddy wanted to give dirty Teddy a bath and she went into the shower and started giving him a bath. She was very excited as she sat there giggling with her Teddys.
Now you're probably thinking Halloween is over, but Karen forgot to tell you about Dinner. We went back to the cafe Karen likes called Cafe Oberlaa Kur Konditorei. Everyone was flirting with lil' Ollie in his monkey suit. They said he was sehr Lustig. Which means he's just a cute little ball of happiness -- literally. All you have to do is grin at him and he breaks out in a huge smile and starts kicking his feet like crazy, meaning, "pick me up! pick me up! I'll smile more!" If you walk by him several times in a row without picking him up after the repeated smiling/happy kicking game he gets grumpy and makes sad noises. :(


I ordered the Goose! the Goose! It smells so good Mother! Goose is apparently a very traditional fall dinner item. Very pricey, but I couldn't resist as I sipped nonchalantly from my slender glass of room temperature Leitungs Wasser. It was very good (the Goose, not the tap water). But the weird red cabbage that was flavored with nutmeg was just too strange and the potato dumpling takes the words "bland and pasty" to a new level. But that's how they like it here, so maybe my tastes just aren't refined.

We ordered 2 desserts and Elora was very excited about the Schoko Mousse Torte - Chocolate mousse cake. She had a lot of fun eating every last drop of Schlagobers, which doesn't sound yummy, but is Austrian Whipped Cream -- no sugar, just whipped cream. It's not exciting to eat unless you have some with a bite of rich decedent cake. Notice the pirate tattoos on both hands.

- Fin -

Check out our picture gallery for more pictures of our European adventures as well as hiking trips in Utah and family photos.

03 November 2008

Prater

We went out to the Prater a few weeks ago (and stopped at the park too!) Here is Elora so excited to be on the swing!
And of course, her favorite, the teeter-totter. We have now made up a little song that she sings whenever she goes on one. I love the teeter totters here, they are easy for her to get on and off of all by herself, and don't go as high as the one in Glendale (sad for me, but nice because I am not scared she will fly off!)


So the Prater is a permanent carnival where there are rides and stuff. It was set aside as an area of free public enjoyment by the emporer in 1766, and has developed over the years into what it is today. Elora found a small carousel she wanted to ride, which was really cute. She was so excited!Okay, but here is one of the characters on the carousel... kind of scary! What kid would choose to ride with that guy instead of one of the cute horses?!?
At the Prater is a giant ferris wheel... here is some info that I thought was super interesting courtesy of wikipedia!

"The Wiener Riesenrad (German for "Vienna giant wheel"), or Riesenrad is a Ferris wheel at the entrance of the Prater amusement park in Leopoldstadt, the 2nd district of Austria's capital Vienna. It was one of the earliest Ferris wheels, erected in 1897 to celebrate Emperor Franz Josef I's golden Jubilee. The Riesenrad is now one of Vienna's most popular tourist attractions, and symbolises the district as well as the city for many people.

The wheel originally had 30 gondolas, but was severely damaged in the Second World War, and when it was rebuilt, only 15 gondolas were replaced. The spokes are steel cables, in tension, and the wheel is driven by a circumferential cable which leaves the wheel and passes through the drive mechanism under the base."


Here is a panorama Chris took of the city while we were riding. So beautiful!

More pics of the Reisenrad and the view...





This is a view of the Prater from above. You can see there is another "Ferris ride" (that is what Elora calls Ferris Wheels) and a bunch of other rides. Elora wanted to go on all the rides (many of which are roller coasters and things for older kids), so we had to tell her that some of those rides are too scary for her. Maybe not the best choice of words. Now she talks about the ferris ride and says, "The other rides were too scary. Lots of scary rides. I don't like scary rides. Do you like scary rides?"



Here we are in our huge gondola. It is actually not that exciting of a ride, you can barely tell you are moving. But the view is nice. Some of the gondolas are set up with fancy dining rooms in them, so we were wondering how do you reserve those ones?





There is a room with neat displays that show the entire history of the area where the Prater is, starting back when the Romans were here. I don't remember all that it said, but it showed models of the area at different points in history. Very fascinating stuff. It said that after the Reisenrad was damaged in World War II that the Prater was one of the first areas that the Viennese people wanted to repair, because it represented the spirit of the people of Vienna. I have seen many beautiful places that were destroyed during the war and rebuilt or repaired... it has made me admire the people who live here.




I am excited to go back and visit the Prater again during the Spring or Summer when it is a little more lively. You don't have to pay to get in, just to go on rides, so you can come any time and just walk around. It's a neat place.


Check out our picture gallery for more pictures of our European adventures as well as hiking trips in Utah and family photos.