Thursday, July 31, 2008

Austrian Swan Defending his Turf

Anna (Val's sister) took this gorgeous picture of a swan, elegantly swimming around Plansee, Austria. We were enjoying the evening on the lake shore, when Vinson and I had a close encounter with this very swan. He had this part of the lake to himself and apparently felt a little threatened by our wading in "his" lake.

When the middle picture (from the sequence of three) was taken, the swan was making a growling sound like a dog does to defend his food. I had no idea that swans had a tendency to be aggressive towards humans or that they could make growling noises like that. I still can't speak for swans generally, but this particular swan on this particular evening gave a cool show.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Daddy's are so much funner than Mommies.

At least once a day I am told by Vinson to "Go away" because it's time for just him and daddy or Vinson comes to Dan and and invites him to play with the train set. Dan is a great Daddy so I am not offended. Just a note of explaination: Vince put the grocery bag on his head then gave Dan the bigger one and said "Daddy bag . . . Vinson bag." It was very spontaneous and fun to watch.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Road Trip Part 2

Saturday evening, we were a little sad that we didn't have more time to see Berchtesgaden's old town, but Vinson is an awesome alarm clock and helped us get up bright and early on Sunday, in time to see more of the town. It was a beautiful morning and it was like walking in a post card because the town was so cute with the Alps towering over it.
I was suprised that people actually dressed up in their folk outfits but we saw so many people dressed up. Maybe it was because they were going to church? Either way it was fun to see. We planned to be in Salzburg Sunday so we could go to church. Afterwards we wandered around the town. Vinson was really good for the first hour we were there because he was asleep. He didn't wake up very happy, so we didn't stay very long. He was very excited to go for another ride in the "blue car" though.
We stayed in a camp site right by a lake that night. It was absolutely beautiful. For me it was like staying by Silver lake up American Fork canyon only the mountains were much higher. Vinson loved playing in the water.
Our last day in Germany we went to see Schloss Hohenschwangau and Schloss Neuschwanstein (aka the Disneyland Castle). Neuschwanstein is only half completed because Von Ludwig II, who was building it, died. It definitely is a fairytale castle. On the way home we stopped in Munich and had an hour or so to explore. We especially liked the Rathouse.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Road Trip Part 1

My sister Anna came to visit! Yeah!!! So we planned a road trip. We rented a "blue car" - Vinson now knows very well what the color blue is and points out all cars that happen to be blue - and headed to Český Krumlov which is in the southern part of the Czech Republic. Here Anna and I are at the castle. Dan and I went there for our anniversary last year and we loved it. They were having their "Rose Festival" where you get to see people dressed up and they have different programs. We heard the folk singer and saw a parade of "royalty" - people dressed up in fancy clothes.It might not be what you would think a castle would look like, but that's one thing I've learned here: castles come in all shapes and sizes. It was half price if you took the tour in Czech, so Dan let us know the more interesting parts. I suprised myself and actually understood quite a bit. Our tour guide was dressed up :) Vinson's favorite part of the city was the fact that we let him take his motorcycle. He insisted on riding it or carrying it most of the day even on crazy huge cobblestones. We also got some yummy Turkish Honey. When we ate it we thought it was called "Turkish Delight." Mmmm Good!But I would have to say our biggest "adventure" was camping. Since the rose festival was going on all of the hotels/hostels/pensions, you name it, were booked months in advance - at least all of the ones I was willing to pay for - but I was able to find a camp site. Czech's like to do river trips where they camp along the river and come ashore to see castles or cool cities. The grey and yellow tent is the one we borrowed from friends. The good thing was that there was enough noise, mostly in Czech, that it all blended together and we were able to go to sleep - albeit several hours later than normal for Vinson.

DAY 2: We drove to Berchtesgaden the slightly slower but more scenic route along a bunch of really pretty lakes.
Here I am with Vinson and the "blue car." Vinson has really started to jabber. Since he never talks when we're on the phone with grandparents here's a video to prove it :)
We stopped at one of the first bed and breakfasts we saw and although her house was full but she had a friend that had a place. Since she couldn't get a hold of her friend she drove Dan to her friends house and we stayed in the cutest house with the cutest old German lady. We had our own rooms (me and Dan) (Anna and Vinson) and breakfast for 17 euros each. We figured anything less than 30 eruos was awesome. Our first stop after finding a place to stay was the Eagle's Nest. It was a huge house given to Hitler for a birthday present. Dan and I were stoked! We got to see the Alps without clouds. It was amazing! Though it made me a little homesick for American Fork Canyon.

After the Eagle's Nest we went to Königsee which was a beautiful lake where we could ride out on a boat and see a monastery that was built on the other side of the river. The boat "tour guides" were apparently very funny in German. Dan understood quite a bit and passed the information on. The coolest part was when one of them tooted a trumpet and waited and then what he played was repeated back in an echo. Vince made a cute friend. He combed her hair and tickled her and she was very patient and seemed to like it.