Saturday, September 22, 2018

Liechtenstein

When grandpa Larry and Nona come to town it's time to have fun, and hit the road! We started off a family vacation into a country we had never visited-Liechtenstein.  Liechtenstein is a landlocked country, in the middle of the mountain slopes of the Rhine Valley, bordered by Switzerland, Austria and Italy.  It's one of the smallest countries in the world, with not too much time needed to explore its beauty so we came, saw and conquered.
The geographical landscape in Liechtenstein is mostly alpine and mountainous; a great place to cozy up in a nice alpine hotel and look at the beautiful mountains.  We stayed at Vogeli Aplenhotel Malbun above Valduz, and woke up to a beautiful view!
Bode even got a good nights sleep (I kept waking up to check on him) and when he woke up he was ready to go!
Dad-da and Bode went on an early walk 
Got to see all the sheep
Looking at the sheep and moo-moos
The family who owns and runs the hotel are avid skiers and have had multiple family members participate in the Olympics, note to self: if Bode wants to be an Olympian get Citizenship in Liechtenstein. 
They had a lovely spread for breakfast with some great local cheeses. We've grown very fond of the breakfasts we get at these traditional Bed and Breakfasts.

Come on guys lets get going!!
Bode and grandpa had fun in the car together down the hill to Valduz
CoOkIe MoNsTeR
The streets up the mountains are windy, and coming down we were stopped by an almatreib of cows coming down from the high alpine pastures for the winter.  Typically, if all the cows stay safe during the summer months they decorate the cows with flower crowns to celebrate a good season, but if something happens to one in the herd, they come down untouched.  Looks like the herd wasn't too lucky one way or another.  
We made it down to Valduz, the capital of Liechtenstein. A little history lesson here...The Holy Roman Empire ruled over this little valley for several centuries.  In 1806 Liechtenstein became part of the Confederation of the Rhine, gaining independence in 1866.  For many centuries most of the country remained a quiet and rural area that was unaffected by any conflict among its European neighbors, and it remained a neutral country during both World Wars. After World War II the country officials became a member of the UN, experienced rapid growth and development due mostly to its banking sector, and is thriving.  We took a walk in the downtown main street, and enjoyed all the art. 
That's pretty much Liechtenstein (minus the castle)!  We are off to continue our trip to one of the neighboring countries, can you guess which?!?



Monday, September 3, 2018

St. Wolfgang, Austria

St. Wolfgang is a place so nice we've been there twice!  It has been our little secret getaway location, but it is too good not to share, and we are moving within the next year, so we need to get the word out-St. Wolfgang is a must, so hurry and GO!
We love where we stayed, it was a great surprise to find, and so wonderful.  When we got to Hotel Garni Buchin we were asked if we wanted an upgrade to a lake view... Once we saw the view we were sold.  Do I need to do any convincing here?!?
I love all the flowers on the balcony, and the view speaks for itself really.
Bode really enjoyed the balcony too; look at that smile, he is ready to get out and play!
One of the best features about the hotel is is their wooden rowboat that you can take out onto the lake.  The first time we went Jordan took me on a nice ride, showing off his soon-to-be #dadbod.
Our first experience was so great that we came back again with Bode.  We met lots of hotel guests and found out that they too had been coming back year after year.  The hotel has been in the family for generations, and everyone who visits becomes a friend to the family!  The weather our second time around was wonderful, we all got some well needed sun, and relaxation!
I even went paddle boarding and didn't fall in!
Bode loved playing with the hotel owners children.  They had lots of toys to keep him occupied and had a great time playing.
We took our bikes in to town for lunch and found a great spot-so great we ate there twice!
Will you look at this BBQ smoked pulled pork burger from BBQ King.  It was SO good, the garlic  aioli, fresh quality greens, and delicious meat.  I really liked it with the spicy siracha they had, all for under 5 euro too! 
Bode was happy to explore the town
The afternoons we spent cooling off in the lake.  One of the nice things about the lake (along with the clear water) is that the lake has fresh water, so no salty residue on our body to wash off. 
Bode got a swim lesson from daa-daa
And we really enjoyed our ride on the wooden boat
Love this cheesey boy
In the evenings it was time to bike back into town again.  Bode loves his bike seat-and the windshield protection keeps all the bugs from flying into his face.  People thought he was so cute on the front of the bike, and he loved playing with the bell.
We ate dinner at Mirabella, which is a genius of a restaurant because of how family friendly it is.  We asked to be seated in the family room, which had a play room off to the side, so kids could play while waiting for food and parents could enjoyed themselves.  I can't tell you how many times Jordan and I have had to take turns at restaurants eating while the other is holding Bode/taking him on a walk.  This made our night, letting him play to his hearts content.  P.S. the garlic bread was great!
We enjoyed biking along the river after dinner!
I think we wore this little guy out!
We had a great time in St. Wolfgang, sad to leave such a beautiful area, but if we ever come back this way, we will be back to our little gem. For your viewing pleasure, Bode enjoyed drivng home.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Kinsale, Ireland

We visited one of the happiest little harbor towns in the southwestern county of Cork!  It's a nice seaside village, a colorful place with cobblestone streets, bright colored doors, good food, and a lot of history.  Read along and learn more about what there is to do in Kinsale!
We followed Rick Steve's recommendation on touring visiting Kinsale.  We went on a historic stroll of the town led by Barry Moloney.  I first saw him in the parking lot as we were parking, and I felt a little start struck-yelling in excitement "JORDAN thats HIM! That's the guy in Rick Steve's book!"

We learned several stories about the town and learned the port's history.  A major battle took place here in 1601 that pitted the English against the Irish/Spanish forces for mastery of the seas and control of all trade; the English won the battle (sadly?!?) but we all know the Irish eventually won the war for independence. Interesting tidbit, the Irish who came to help the Spanish were all from the northern Clans. As punishment for their involvement, the English stripped the northern clans of their land and encouraged English and Scottish settlers to move and take their place. This is what led to the creation of Northern Ireland when Ireland ultimately gained their independance.
Barry explaining what it was like to live in Kinsale and its layout in the early years of settlers and trade.
I would say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree here.  Bode seems like he is just as much a history buff as his dad!
For us there is nothing better than to wander around town.  Loving all the bright contrasting colors, walking cobblestone lanes, and admiring all sorts of local arts and crafts.
I love this pink shop!
 I spy window ships
Street signs get cold too!
 This little goober had so much fun, and was all smiles 
He isn't shy with making friends.
Bode really enjoyed being carried on his dad's shoulders.
We had heard that there was a tribute to those who died on the Lusitania (a ship torpedoed by a German submarine in 1915 just off the coast of Kinsale killing 1,200 people, sparking America's entry into the war) in the cemetery, so we went to take a look.  We couldn't find it but we did take some cute photos!
Before leaving town we got some local catch of the day at Dino's, along with a battered sausage and some french fries.  They were delicious and greasy and the best fish and chips either of us have ever had.  The prices were very reasonable too.   
Kinsale was a great way to spend half a day, the rest of our journey today took us to the Muckross house.  Read along in our next post for highlights!










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