27 September 2009


Oktoberfest! We drove into Munich, but parked near an Ubahn (subway) stop far away from the festival to avoid traffic and crowds. We never had to wonder which way to go on the train to get to the festival because we just followed the people wearing lederhosen and dirndls.

Notice Elora in her cute lederhosen, which are supposed to be worn by men. Girls wear dirndl dresses (think sound of music). Everyone that walked by Elora thought she was pretty cute though. We agree. We looked for a dirndl for Karen and Elora before we left, but they were too expensive.

Another ride! Oliver cried when we left this one. He also cried when we left the bumper cars (no pictues of that ride because we were too busy holding on to the kids!).

Oktoberfest started as a wedding celebration in 1810 between Ludwig I and Maria Theresa (parents of crazy king Ludwig, of Neuschwanstein fame). They had such a great time they do it every year in the same spot. It's a huge mix of carnivals rides, beer and food tents. The beer "tents" are really more like gigantic warehouses.

The view from the top of the ferris wheel. You can see the rides off to the right and the huge beer tents on the left. The most popular tents require a reservation, and they fill up 6 months in advance!

We dressed warm in the morning and didn't bring a stroller beccause we knew it would be crowded. So when the weather warmed up, we didn't have anywhere to put Ollie's coat. So we just wrapped it around his belt and he waddled around the rest of the day with his awesome little bustle.

The different beer companies had these fancy horse teams that pulled wagons with kegs of beer. Those horses really are huge (Chris is 6'3"). Ollie was excited to see them!

Since we were there earlier in the day, it was not so crowded. But as you can see it's still pretty crowded! By the end of the day, thousands more people were pouring into the festival as we were leaving.

Elora was excited to go on a pony ride, but she always acts reserved once the camera comes out. Then she talked the rest of the day about the pony and how Ollie would get to ride a pony once he was bigger.

Instead of a beer tent, we opted for one of the dessert tents. The kids listened to live music, clapped their hands, stomped their feet and ate some yummy treats!

$25 worth of dessert later...we had Kaiserschamrren with plum sauce, chocolate, and cream, a huge glazed donut with tons of vanilla cream in the middle (Vanille Krapfen), and a chocolate mousse cake (not pictured).

The dessert tent we ate at was pretty fancy, so naturally Elora really liked it. It was called the Kaiserschmarren.

Here is a video of the kids partying to some live music inside the Kaiserschmarren tent. The beer tents are much roudier than this one!

Nice old lady playing an old fashion music box thing.

Sweet Oktoberfest hats! Unfortunately we didn't buy them.

Our little girl in her lederhosen eating a chocolate ice cream cone we bribed her with to stop crying after Ollie knocked her over.

If you didn't know better you'd swear that looked like a beer, but it could also be an "Apfel Getsprizt" (half apple juice, half carbonated water). If you were a suspicious person you'd notice we didn't say what it was.

But you can see what Chris is really excited about is the chicken. 500,000 chickens get eaten at Octoberfest every year. One million gallons of beer is consumed as well.

For any one from Huntington Beach, you'll notice the HB logo of the Munich Hofbrauhaus looks very familiar. I wonder which was first?

Finally on the way out we stopped to take a picture in front of the Oktoberfest sign and this crazy lederhosen guy apparently wanted to make sure we remembered him as well. This picture pretty much captures the essence of Oktoberfest - crazy guys in lederhosen.

The kids were very happy on the drive back to the apartment! Of course, Ollie's always happy when he takes off his shoes.

Not only are we cruising along on the autobahn, but we're racing a Ferrari too! 220kmph!! Rarrr!! (actually we were stuck in traffic outside of Munich)

Salzburg - Day 1

Last week Chris said, Hey! We have to go to Oktoberfest! So we looked around and found an apartment to rent the day before we wanted to leave, rented a car, and off we went! We were actually staying near Salzburg, so the first day we went to the Mirabell Gardens (famously seen in The Sound of Music).

The kids absolutely loved the gardens. There were beautiful flowers (Elora says, "I didn't pick any flowers, I just got some off the ground!") and fountains, which Oliver loved to point at (and try to swim in).

Ah, a lovely photo of our daughter. She was quite silly while playing in the garden, and had trouble keeping a straight face in any photos.

Elora with her beautiful flowers (that she found on the ground). She was so proud of them, and sweetly offered some for me to put in my hair as well.

Goober face. But the fountain is nice.

There is a long section of these archways with climbing plants. In the spring they have flowers, but the kids still thought it was pretty neat to "go into the dark tunnel!"

I love all the statues along the perimeter of the gardens! And there is Chris attempting to capture Elora's cute antics.

Oliver spent most of the time trying to climb over, under, or go around all the fences and chains designed to keep people out of the flower beds. He's quick! He got mad when he figured out he couldn't go over or through this particular fence.

After leaving the gardens we started heading toward St. Paul's cathedral, and stumbled across this cute notions shop. I love these stores, I have only seen them in Innsbruck and Salzburg. They only sell buttons, ribbon, and lace. Amazing stuff! And the sweetest ladies work there. Unfortunately I could not find a reason to shop there today, but Elora liked looking at all the "fancy things". Notice what it says on the window. This little store has been selling buttons in this location for 250 years!!!!

On the way to the cathedral we came across this little festival. So fun. There were a lot of little shops selling traditional Austrian goodies and toys and clothes, and a little carneval set up. Oliver and Elora were so excited to see all the rides! And we were mean parents who took them to the cathedral instead...

Elora making friends with the living statue. This one was super nice and gave little toys to all the children who came up to see him.

There was a little fighting demonstration set up, where some kids showed off their wrestling talents. Elora thought this was fascinating.

We had the best pastries in Salzburg! That was pretty much all we ate the whole day... mmmm....

Brezel! Also good. We got one with apple pie filling. (Or apple strudel filling I guess?)

Here is Chris inside St. Paul's taking pics. I tried to get one with Elora in it, but she just kept moving, and moving, and moving...

Here is one of Chris' pics. The ceilings along the sides of the cathedral have these carvings covering them. Absolutely incredible.

If you look closely you can see Oliver and me. This cathedral has beautiful dome shaped ceilings.

Me and the kids walking out, under the organ. Elora was excited to note that there are actually organ pipes in five different locations in the cathedral.

I had been to Salzburg once before, but never walked along the river or crossed any of the bridges before. It was so neat. There are paths that follow the river all the way through the city and many pedestrian bridges crossing the river. The views along the river are so beautiful, and Oliver loved looking down into the river and seeing the boats.

Oliver showing off his new talent - he likes to walk on these low walls that were everywhere along the riverbank.

Dinner time! It's all about the Grillteller (grill plate). A bunch of meat and french fries. All that meat and only broccoli on Chris' fork? Don't worry, he's just feeding it to Elora.

I got the Käsespätzle and pork chops in a mushroom sauce. Really good.

22 September 2009

Stop Smoking Party

Our friend Om is trying to stop smoking, so we had him and some friends over for dinner to help him start a fifteen step program to stop smoking.

Here is Chris in his new Austrian coat, cooking spaetzle. When Chris told a Viennese friend of ours that there were brown or green Austrian coats for sale at a store near our house, he said, "Don't get thebrown one! Never get the brown one!" Meanwhile Chris had already bought the brown one, so he asked why not? And found out that the brown coats are associated with the people who live in the countryside (Kaernten), and Viennese people don't like their politics (to put it nicely). Who knew coat color was so important in politics?

Anyway, here we are making signs for Om to post all over his house and work, reminding him to stop smoking.

One of the steps in the program is to use cinnamon mouthwash after every meal, and they don't sell cinnamon mouthwash here... so we decided to make our own (saw it on Mythbusters once).

One bottle of Vodka and a whole lot of cinnamon later, we have some nasty brown goo that supposedly will become mouthwash in a coupleweeks (it worked on the TV!)

21 September 2009

Cookie Time!

I started tutoring some students at the American International School,and Chris has been great about spending time with the kids so they don't always have to go with me.

One day he decided to make cookies, and documented the kids horking down the cookie dough. This is Oliver's first experience with licking the beaters, and he thought it was pretty neat.

Elora gave up on licking beaters, and let Oliver have her beater while she went straight for the bowl of dough...

When I got home, Oliver was eating chocolate chip cookies, wearing a white shirt and jumping on my bed (that has white sheets...) He left a fantastic trail of chocolate drool all over my bed. But at least he had a great time!