Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Day 6 - Oberau to Munich

We checked out of our hotel and spend the late morning and afternoon hanging around Berchtesgaden.  We checked out some local toy stores and then had a wonderful lunch at a brightly-lit cafe with a view of the mountains.

After lunch we headed for the hills to find the perfect sledding spot.


The drive to Munich through the mountains was beautiful.
We got to our hotel in time to order room service (all the close restaurants were fully booked!) and then enjoy the spectacular fireworks display out our window.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Day 5 - Oberau/Berchtesgaden/Königssee

We slept in a little, grabbed breakfast at the hotel, then headed for Königssee to ride the boat.  Traffic was really heavy so it took a while:

The weather was beautiful (again!), though it was quite cold so we had to really bundle the kids.  We stopped along the way to take a few pictures:

When we finally got to Schönau (at the head of the lake) we were pretty hungry so we got some bratwurst and warm kinder punch.

The ride on the lake was spectacular.  It's a secluded lake, aparently the cleanest in all of Germany.  The kids had a great time looking at the mountains.

It was dark when we got back to Schönau and most of the shops were closed.  One, however, was still open and it was selling sleds.  We bought a few and then tested them on a little hill.

For dinner we decided to head back to Berchtesgarden.  We found a really nice restaurant and had a wonderful meal.

Back at our hotel we had a fun movie night.  I also had a chance to take some long exposure shots of the breath-taking stars.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Day 4 - Garmisch-Partenkirken to Oberau

We made it to breakfast at 10 and then packed the car. We headed for the Zugspitzebahn to ride a train and cable car to the top of Germany's tallest mountain but at the last minute we decided the elevation would be a bit much for a pregnant lady. The visibility was a little hazy too so we decided to head to Neuschwanstein Castle.

It took about an hour to get there and by that time we were pretty hungry so we grabbed a quick lunch of bratwurst and chips. We didn't make it in time to get tickets to see the inside (guess we'll have to go back!) but we did manage to catch the last bus up to the castle.

The view from the bridge was amazing; both kids really liked seeing the 'Disney castle'. The walk back to the car, however, was long and cold. By the time we reached the car we had two little popsicles.

The drive to Oberau was uneventful (apart from our windshield wiper fluid freezing) and we arrived safely at our hotel around 10pm. We still hadn't had dinner so we drove back down the twisty road to Berchtesgaden and found a little Italian place that was still open. The food was fantastic and we returned to our hotel with full bellies. The view from our balcony was breathtaking. I don't think I've ever seen stars quite as bright.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Day 3 - Garmisch-Partenkirken

We woke up this morning just in time for breakfast at 10am. After we ate we hopped in the car and headed for the ski jumps. It was such a great surprise to find out that we could actually walk right up on the jumps. It was particularly special for me because my grandfather had stood on the same spot when he was stationed here in WWII.



After sledding on our bums down the ski jump we drove about 10 miles to Oberammergau, which is known for it's wood carving. We visited quite a few shops before heading back to Garmisch-Partenkirken.



We had an amazing German dinner (including 1L of Hefeweizen!) and then returned to our hotel for a quick swim before bed. What a great birthday!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Day 2 - Ghent, Belgium to Garmisch-Partenkirken

We woke up around 9:30 and had left-over cinnamon rolls for breakfast (yum!). After we were all dressed we carried our luggage to the car (parked in the basement level -2) and headed outside to explore Ghent. The city center is spectacular -- exactly what you'd expect from a northern European city. It was really cold though so both kids had runny noses. We finally checked out of the Marriott around 1 and then had lunch in a cafe (Picardie) just across the river. After lunch we collected our car and headed out of town.

We spent the next 11 or so hours driving through the rest of Belgium, the southern tip of the Netherlands and then 500 miles of German Autobahn.

We finally arrived at our hotel around 1am but it took about an hour to make up beds for the kids, unload the car, and find a place to park.







Friday, December 26, 2008

Day 1 - London to Ghent, Belgium

We left the house around 2pm BST and headed straight to Dover. We arrived at the ferry terminal 1.5 hours early (I know, us, early, amazing!). We had some snacks in the car before boarding at 18:00.

The ferry ride was really exciting but we didn't anticipate how seasick we would get (especially the pregnant one of us).

We arrived at our hotel around 11:00pm CET and the front desk dude ordered a large cheese pizza for us. I ran outside to take some pictures.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Movember


UPDATE:  There's still time to donate!


During Movember (the month formerly known as November) I'm growing a Mo. That's right, I'm willing to look foolish (more so than usual) because I want to help in the fight against prostate cancer -- something that has deeply affected all of us with the loss of Frank.

If you are so inclined, you can help fund my public embarrassment by donating either:

   1. By visiting https://www.movember.com/uk/donate/donate-details.php?rego=1357076&country=uk, or
   2. Writing a cheque (though you'll need a UK account) payable to 'The Prostate Cancer Charity Re: Movember', referencing my Registration Number 1357076 and mailing it to:

                                               The Prostate Cancer Charity
                                               First Floor Cambridge House
                                               100 Cambridge Grove 
                                               Hammersmith
                                               London W6 OLE

The money raised by Movember is donated to The Prostate Cancer Charity which will help fight prostate cancer on every front - through research, support, information and campaigning.

Last Movember the Google UK Movember team managed to raise £6669 (~ $13,602).

Thanks for your mockery, jeers, jokes, ridicule and most importantly your love and support.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Ten Years

Ten years ago this week we went out on our first date - and then almost every night after that (unless we were living in different countries).  I was really excited to go out - but back then I guess it was a crush, and a feeling like it wouldn't end, which it didn't.  But now I have found out that I don't just have a fun guy that I have a crush on, but he is the best husband and father I could ever imagine.  I still get excited to go on a date with him, and I still love to see new places with him, he still makes me laugh, and feel best when I am with him - but now I also love to watch him with our kids, see them run to him with he gets home, and see him excited about work, politics, BBQs, days out, and everything else.  I couldn't have imagined then all the happiness and adventures we would share together.  Thanks for the last 10 years!  I love you!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sunday Afternoon at Coram's Fields

We spent Sunday afternoon with Damion, Caroline, Holly, and Anya at Coram's Field in London. It was really fun being outside in the chilly Autumn weather.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Old Kinderhook

Last month we flew to Missouri for a reunion with some friends from Andy's high shchool (and earlier) years.  We had such a great week.  We had been planning this trip for a couple years (before we knew we would be in the UK, and Edison in school) and it was a welcome, relaxing trip with wonderful company.   The house (thanks so much to Evan's parents!) was beautiful and sat right on the edge of a gorgeous golf course in the hills near the Lake of the Ozarks.  The guys and girls took turns on child duty.  So the girls got to go shopping at the outlests (child free was something I hadn't done in a LONG time), out to lunch, and even a day at the spa.  The guys spent a couple days golfing.  The kids got along great, and it was really nice to catch up with all of our friends - what a great bunch of people!  We couldn't have asked for more - fantastic company, beautiful scenery and perfect weather!


All of us out on the golf course


Does this need a caption?


The guys out golfing



Better soak in the rays now - before going back to England!


Big brother, little sister...


Edison and Sophie had so much fun with all the kids!


Playground