Saturday, July 25, 2009

Austria, Florence and Rome adventures!

After Germany we took off to Austria first to meet Dirk's dad who was there on holiday. That was our first on many trains we took. It was a realllly long ride... But we finally made it there and it was beautiful!!

Our first train...

My first view of Austria...

I found this beautiful little purple (my favorite color) butterfly!

When we first got there Dirk's dad took us up a mountain to see a HUGE waterfall. That day was actually nice and sunny! The next day not so While we were up there I found a Nikon camera lens cover, and my dad kept it and put it with all his other random findings haha.

This is on the way up to see the waterfall.

YAY!!! We made it! And the waterfall is there but we block it haha

After this we went back down and we went to a restaurant where everyone knew Dirk's dad so we (they) even got free liquor of some sort. It was really delicious food too! When we walked out of the restaurant the view looked really pretty with the lighting of the sun setting i took a picture and Dirk's head came out in it too haha it looks like we cropped him in lol!


We only stayed one night so the next day Dirk's dad wanted to show us another mountain. He is really into hiking these huge Alp Mountains! He was really disappointed because it started raining, but he was really excited to show us so he geared us with umbrellas and sweaters and jackets and off we went! lol

There we are leaving to go on the mountain.

Here I am all bundled up...which didn't last long because I came back down before everyone else. lol

Later that day we went back to the cabin we were staying at and ate lunch/dinner really quick and we took off. We almost missed our train! And then one of our stupid trains was LATE 25 minutes! So we were freaking out because that meant that we would miss our sleeper train in Munich that would take us to Italy! So Dirk took off to find someone to help us He came back with two Korean girls and an answer! lol He said that those two girls were also going on that train that we were so Dirk called the people in Munich and told them to wait for us because we were a group of 8! IT was a lot more crazier and more hectic than this but its the short version haha. So then we were finally relaxing knowing that our train would wait and one of the girls asked if she could take a picture of us bc it was just such a funny story and we said yes, then she took out her camera and it was a Nikon so my dad gave Memo the lens cover and memo went and put it on her lens and it was a perfect fit! She was like HUH!? She said that her sister had lost her lens cover in London! It was such a funny coincidence! Soo we finally made it to Munich and we RAN to our sleeper train and settled in!

Here is the girl with the Nikon camera haha.

I love this picture! Our sardine sleeper! It was actually very comfortable!

Something kinda scary happened while we were on this train. The security lady had come in at night to let us know when she would come wake us up and told us to double lock our door! Not only use the chain but also another lock at the top, because if you put the chain you can still open the door like 5 inches. So according to my dad and memo (cause I was knocked out!) some guy opened our door like at 4 in the morning and was trying to undo the chain!! He was speaking a weird language that he had never heard and Memo woke up too and was watching everything from the window at the top from his bunk. He said it was two guys. My dad woke up because of the noise that was right by his head so he grabbed the dude's hand and yelled at him in Spanish haha. And they took off. Creeeepy!

So we made it to Florence! We got there at 6:30 am and we couldn't check into our apartment until 10am! So what did we do?? We sat near the office for 3 hours with ALL our luggage! LOL. When it was really early it was ok but by like 9am there were a lot of people on the streets and we just looked weird haha. And plus we were in like a rich street or something bc it had stores like Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and other brands that I don't care for just know that are EXPENSIVE! lol

Arriving to Florence finding a nice corner to

We finally got the keys to our apt. and we went to find that we were on the last floor of a building without an elevator! And my parents had HUGE suitcases! haha. It was soo cool tho! We had the whole top floor! It was an AWESOME apartment! We all loved it.

A view of the kitchen in our Florence apartment. And the table where we had many loooong conversations right Ale? hahaha

The awesome piles of gelatoooo!

One day in Florence we climbed some mountain thingy to get a view of the city from the top it was really cool! I took a lot of pictures haha. On our way up some guy started talking to us to I asked him if he could take a picture of us and he said yes, but he really had not idea how to take a picture lol. The first time only 2 of us came out and the second time a bunch of other people that weren't with us came out so I just cropped them out haha.

Our family going up the mountain (cropped) lol

Two views of Florence from the top, isn't it soo pretty?!?

Florence was my favorite! So the way to Rome was CRAZY! For some reason our train tickets departure said were leaving from a train station that is apparently not used very often called Campo di Marte instead of the main station so it was really hard to find it! And when we asked people i swear EVERY single person pointed a different direction! So we finally got on a bus asked the driver if he was going there and he said yes so we were like yes! finally!! Then some old lady over heard us talking abt Campo di Marte and was like...(in Italian)

"um we aren't going there"

So this lady starts telling us in Italian we are all going the wrong way and then another lady sitting next to my mom tells my mom that

"that lady is wrong, I'm going to campo di marti too"

and so my mom is on the "other lady's side". But Ale and I trusted the first old lady more. So these two old ladies are like yelling back and forth to each other about the location of this train station. And then this other lady in the back starts yelling telling the (crazy one sitting next to my mom) that shes wrong and that we are going to wrong way. And then the man sitting next to me starts saying that that station doesn't even exist or something like that! And then a younger lady comes and is like

"OK where are u trying to go?"

and we tell her and then by this time the whole freaking bus is discussing! It was HILARIOUS! So by this time I start not understanding because they are all talking so fast and loud and all 6 of us are just looking at each other laughing. (oh and all this is going on and us with all our crazy huge luggage in the bus) So finally the bus like stops like really hard and the bus driver says in Italian

"I'm NOT going to Campo di Marte, all of you OUT!"

LOL!! So we get dropped off God only know where... and we are just CRAcKING UP! Oh and to top it off that crazy lady that had said she was also going to Campo di Marte had gotten off like two stops before haha! So we are in the middle of the road laughing hysterically and we hear the bus screeeechh to a stop and someone yells to us and they just put out a suitcase my dad runs to get it cause he forgot his suitcase in there! HAHA Good thing that Dirk had been following the bus on his map, because he didnt really understand the Italian, so he kinda knew where we were at. So he got us to the right place but walking. That was the funniest part of our trip!

So we finally made it to Rome, we were not there too long, but long enough to celebrate my dad's birthday it was really fun!

The family at the Colosseum.

My dad on his birthday at the Foro Romano.

Feliz Cumpleaños Papa! (taken at the window of our Rome apt.)

We ended our Italy trip to a trip to the Vatican, that was very interesting. It was wayy to crowded but it was nice. I liked the Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano AKA St. Peter's Basilica.

The End!



Saturday, July 18, 2009

We're Baaack! -Germany-

Okay so it wasn't exactly a "small" vacation. We did A LOT! It is going to be really hard to try and wrtie "short" stories about everything, but i will try. It was so much fun! I loved having my family here in Germany showing them what is familiar to me. At the same time it was soo weird it was like two worlds were coliding, i would look and there was my whole family at Dirk's Oma's house! It was just weird haha but awesome!

So they all came in from different directions and we all met up at Berlin. We first passed by Leipzig and picked up Ale at the train station, then we picked up my parents at the Berlin airport (they flew in from McAllen) and then a couple of minutes later we got Memo who flew in from Houston.

**Reunited and it feels so gooood!***

So while in Berlin we went and did all the tourist-y stuff of course. The first day everone was so jet-lagged and tired that we just went to eat and hung out at the hotel room and laughed too much! Then the next day was my mom's bday!!

The family in BERLIN!!

Nice graffiti we found just for my mom!

My parents look REALLY happy to be on the metro. Notice the two women on either side don't look too excited haha.

So we went to the city and saw the Brandenburg Gate, Check Point Charlie, the Wall and many other things... They got to ride on a 6 person bike so my mom LOVED that! And then we saw the TV tower, and the world clock. Under the clock there was a big memorial set up for Michael Jackson who had died the day before.

*Sidenote - I was soo shocked! I could'nt beleive it!! I found out about it in German so it was even MORE surreal. The music world has lost a great icon...

Here is the memorial for Michael Jackson. I think that is when I was like oh crap it is REAL! =/

There you can see them riding the weird bike and my mom having the time of her life! hehe

Here they are back from their ride!

Oh yea we also decided we were going to start a band and this is what our album cover will look like:

Haha JK! But it is a cool picture! =)
We ended my mom's bday with dinner at an interesting vegetarian restaurant and a visit to a castle at night. There was a wedding going on at the castle and they were playing Spanish music so that was cool and then there were fireworks!! And that was the end of my mom's bday!

Packed up and ready to leave Berlin and face our new adventures to come! HAHA.

The next day we went to another castle with some of Dirk's relatives. It is in Potsdam and the caslte is called Sans Souci (without worries in French, don't ask my why it's in French... lol) It was HUGE! And very pretty.

A little peice of the caslte... with the darn construction! nice... lol

We walked around in the gardens of the castle for most of the day and when we got to the chapel part of the castle we found that there was a funeral going on. It was very sad, we found out it was a funeral for the man who was in charge of the restoration of the marble of the castle. He died in the AirFrance plane that went down in the atlantic. He would travel a lot to Brazil for his job. This made me sad...

A flower in a fountain set for the funeral...

Then we were off to our next destination: Leipzig!! Where Mom2 is from and where most of Dirk's relatives live.

We didn't do AS much tourist-y stuff here. It was more family time and it was soo MUCH fun! First stop was Oma's house. She is such a CUTE grandma!! She had the table all set up and tons of food for us when we got there.

At Oma's house!

We rented an apartment in Leipzig for my family and Dirk to stay at. That was interesting... and fun. The shower was crazy... but thats a whole story haha. So at Oma's we just at and "chatted" and translated haha. That is until someone brought out the WINE!

After this everyone seemed to understand eachother MUCH better haha.

Within those days we also went downtown Leipzig and Dirk's aunt was our "tour guide" she studied the hsitory to bee able to explain everything to us. It was really nice. We also visited another caslte, a HUGE monument, had a picnic, went on a horse carriage ride through the forest and had dinner at Dirk's relative's gardens. (My FAVORITE part!)

This is the huge monument we climbed to the top! Look how little my family looks at the enterance! haha. Völkerschlachtdenkmal OR ---> Monument of the Battle of the Nations

My dad caught on quickly with the typical drink of the German lol. He had no issue getting used to that part hehe. This is in downtown Leipzig.

I love the German gardens!! I can't wait to have my OWN! We had a BBQ one day at one of the gardens and everyone loved it! Dirk's uncle and aunt kept showing us all the different herbs they had, we tried them ALL! We picked and ate raspberries, currant berries, cherries, and carrots!! The potatoes, apples and other stuff weren't ready to eat yet... We also had mint tea with fresh picked leaves!

Onkel Frank teaching us about herbs as my dad clutches on to his beer haha.

The kiddos and I picking cherries!

Parents = Happy!! --------------------------------Me = Happy! haha Fresh carrots!

Okay so this is getting tooo long, so to make it short -- We also visited Dresden and then Meißen (where they discovered porcelain in Europe) Then to Chemnitz (Dirk's hometown), visited a couple more castles and went on an awesome ferry ride in a huge lake.

Hellooo Memo?? haha Us on the ferry ride.

Germany Chapter ends here - Next up: Austria and Italy adventures!



P.S. I'll try to make the next not AS long! =)