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  1. Munich and Octoberfest

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    Welcome back friends and vicarious livers!

     

     

    We departed from our hotel in Riquewihr, Alsace and headed for Munich. We made one stop on the way, but it was a memorable one, Monkey Mountain. There lives 280 or so Barbary Macaques that roam freely within the park, and the visitors just stroll through and try to keep a safe distance. We definitely enjoyed the experience watching the varied behaviors and feeding them popcorn. A worthwhile stop for sure. We then made a b-line for Bavaria. Traffic was off and on, but mostly on, as we and thousands of other tourists headed for the largest beer festival in the world. We arrived late once again to our hotel in Sank Wolfgang, a small town about 40 minutes outside of Munich. The town looked strangely deserted, as we have found a few small towns to be throughout our trip. We visited a few closed restaurants in search of food to finally find the only open place in town. To our delight it was a delicious traditional German place where we dined with the locals and enjoyed some local fare. We then retired back to our accommodations to prepare for our journey to the Fest the next morning.

    We woke early and boarded the train with large groups of other festive partygoers. Doug and Claire dressed in traditional lederhosen and dirndl that felt pretty awkward at the hotel, but felt right at home upon arrival in Munich. After a short walk, we arrived at the bandstand where we would cheer on the Oktoberfest’s Traditional Costume Parade. The weather was cool and rainy, but that didn’t stop the thousands of onlookers from attending the fantastic event. For hours, droves of costumed Bavarians marched accompanied by horse-drawn keg wagons, marching bands and various other curiosities. After two hours, we had had enough. We walked over to the festival grounds and took in all of the sights. Rides, attractions and massive beer halls were among the highlights of the day. We enjoyed some delicious food and copious amounts of beer. Seriously, it was kind of ridiculous. Mormor and Grandad headed back to the hotel with Meier, while Doug and Claire stayed out for some late night festivities. It was as you might imagine, a total wasted drunkfest. Costumed locals and tourists alike dancing on tables, making out, disrobing, falling down, and singing along to the bands that seemed to play the same 10 songs on repeat while drinking shit-loads of beer, liters at a time. Good times were had.

    The next day, the party goers slept in while the rest of the group awoke bright eyed and bushy tailed. We all reunited mid morning and planned for the remainder of the day. We decided on Munich’s English Gardens, so we loaded up in the family truckster and headed out. The English Gardens are a fantastic, central-parkesque series of natural areas, cafes, lagoons and garden areas in the heart of Munich. We parked and strolled through the natural areas, ending our hike at the Seehaus, a delicious gourmet restaurant on a lake. The food was delicious, and the meal nearly rivaled the amazing dinner we shared in France. We dined on Filet of Sole, Seabass, hangar steak and pork shank with crispy skin. Even Meier’s meatballs with mashed potatoes and gravy were fantastic. We loosened our belts for the hike back to the van where we boarded and headed back home. The aging partygoers were unable to head to the fest for a second consecutive night of debauchery, so they tucked their tails for an early night in hopes of another attempt the next day.

    On the third day, we regrouped and headed back down to the Fest. It was more of the same fun, games and merriment. Fortunately, it was family day, so the games and rides were all half price! Meier enjoyed throwing darts at balloons, balls at cans, and riding the Ferris wheel and the spinning swings (which were a little out of his league). We took the opportunity to get a few souvenirs and send them back with the early group, as Doug and Claire made another attempt at keeping up with the youngsters. This attempt was short lived as we had a couple liters and faded quickly. It’s worth a mention that Claire was fighting a cold the entire length of the fest and came down with the 24 hour flu on the final night. We still managed to have a great time and fight the good fight, but we were happy to move on to some calmer times.

    On our final morning together, the group of five warily boarded the van and headed to the Munich airport. We said our sad goodbyes and said bon voyage to Mormor and Grandad before they boarded their plane headed back to Colorful Colorado. We had a fantastic ten days together across Germany and France and it was a time that we will never forget. The remaining three had a melancholy trip on the autobahn back to return the van in Frankfurt. There we ditched the wheels and went back to riding the rails. Our next destination…Belgium!

    Stay tuned for the next adventurous leg of Braams on the go!

  2. Frankfurt, Freiburg and Alsace

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    Hello from Germany (and France again)!

     

     

    After leaving our farm stay in France, we departed to Germany. In Frankfurt, we were received by our friend Samir, a Kurdish doctor whom we met when he stayed with us at our home in Denver last year. Samir is completing a fellowship at a local hospital in Frankfurt and when we contacted him, he was happy to host us. Samir showed us around on a pleasant walking tour of the city which ended at his favorite local kebab restaurant. The food was delicious and the conversation was lively. We then headed back to the hotel where Claire and Meier headed in while Doug and Samir headed out for a wild night (just kidding!). They went to the local hookah bar to have a drink and a smoke and continue to ponder the human condition. After another late night, we all turned in to prepare for a day of travel. The next morning we said goodbye to Samir and headed to the airport to meet the newest additions to our party of vagabonds…Claire’s parents Dick and Sigrid! The greetings were joyous but brief as we grabbed a rental car and took off to our next destination…Freiburg!

    We got on the Autobahn and off we went! Our host Florian and his 3 kids met us at the front desk of the hotel. Florian was a foreign exchange student that lived with Claire’s family in the 90’s and now lives in Freiburg with his lovely wife Juliana and three beautiful children Johan, Noah and Clara. They were kind enough to put up the Braams during our stay, and Dick and Sigrid stayed at the hotel just across the street. During our stay, Florian showed us around the town and gave us great advice on what to do. The weather wasn’t perfect, but we persevered. The highlights of our time there were seeing the lovely town and beautiful cathedral, and a fantastic hike through the Black Forest which ended at a St. Ottilien. This place was a great little spot in the hills with a church, a couple of residences, a playground (of course) and fantastic old restaurant. There we enjoyed delicious local cuisine including Flammkuchen, also known at Tarte Flambe, which is a pizza like tart minus the red sauce with a pastry like crust. This was the first of many we would enjoy over the next few days. Another thing worth mentioning was the opportunity for Meier to have some kid time. During our stay, the kids played together quite a bit. There was a playground at the apartment, and toys aplenty that the other kids were gracious enough to share with their new American companion. We were all sad to leave, but we were excited about our next destination…Alsace!

    Our destination in Alsace was the quaint little town of Riquewihr. On our way we visited the Mure’ winery for a tasting, then stopped off just outside Colmar for a nice lunch at a café. We then moved along to Riquewihr where we would stay for the next two nights. This was a lovely little town dating back to the 16th century with city walls and buildings mostly still intact. It was a snap shot of a time long past, surrounded by vineyards. This is truly a place with a charm achieved by few locales. That evening, we ventured out for a walk and stumbled upon La Table du Gourmet http://www.jlbrendel.com/uk/index.php. This would certainly do for our dining option for the night. We were treated to a wonderful 7 course tasting menu that featured premium ingredients like blue lobster and many items from the chef’s nearby garden. We tasted for hours with local wines and finished off with a variety of petifores and some vintage cognac. It was a real treat and by far the best meal on the trip. Thanks Dick and Sig! The next day we would head to Colmar for more food and sightseeing. That day we had a delicious meal at a small local restaurant filled with local specialties and wines, strolled the canals of “Little Venice” and went to observe the Isenheim Altarpiece at the local museum https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isenheim_Altarpiece. After the busy day, we returned to the hotel to enjoy a simple dinner of baguette, cheese and pate we bought at the market that day. The next day we got up early for our long journey to the next destination…Munich and Oktoberfest!

    Thanks for tuning in party people! We’ll check back in soon!

  3. France

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    Bon jour and Salut from France!

     

     

    Once again, we arrived late to our next destination, Epinal, France. After departing Zermatt, we boarded and disembarked 6 different trains. Unfortunately, due to a late train, we missed a connection and the dominoes continued to fall. No big deal, the farm could wait a day, so we spent a night and most of a day in lovely Epinal. We retired shortly after arrival and awoke in the morning to beautiful views of the river and castle ruins on the hill. Our host would be unable to pick us up until later in the day, so we set out to explore. We approached the castle we could see from our hotel and found nice castle ruins with views of the town and surrounding area. After walking the grounds, we discovered an adjacent park with playgrounds, a small café and a quaint zoo. Meier ran around like a wildman exploring all the different park features, including…another zipline! We walked the zoo then headed back down the hill into town. On our way to the main square, we took in a wonderful old cathedral with amazing vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows. We found the square and a nice café only to discover they were only serving drinks, so drinks it was. We took what we could get as the server didn’t speak any English, but the beer was cool and delicious. Post beverages, we walked the town only to discover that NOT A SINGLE RESTAURANT SERVES FOOD FROM 2-630 PM.  Good to know. We tucked our tails and headed back to await our ride to Au Bon Vieux Temps, our home for the next week.

    We arrived at the farm to discover a delightful old stone farmhouse, and our warm hosts Sarah and Basile. This place was legit. The house was over 300 years old, made of all native rock with traditional finishes and a wood stove that serves as the house’s source of heat in the winter. The property was just what one would imagine a French Farm to be. The garden was beautiful and vibrant, goats and chickens roamed and apple trees dotted the property. We spent our time during the week digging potatoes, picking apples, making applesauce and helping with cooking and chores. The food was great and the company intriguing. We enjoyed deep discussions of life, adventure and politics with our hosts and some of their interesting guests. During our time we made a venture out with one of our hosts to Nancy, the capital of the Lorraine region. There we walked the streets, found another fantastic cathedral and enjoyed some treats from a local patisserie before we found our way to Place Stanislas. The square was very nice with beautiful stone and gold gilded statues. Our host then joined us as we sipped beverages and sampled local charcuterie at cafes on the square. Overall, we had a great experience during the week. We learned a few things about permaculture and many things about French culture. At the end of the week we left the farm with our host, Sarah, and headed to the big city…Strasburg.

    In Strasburg we stayed with Sarah’s lovely family. They were so warm and welcoming, we felt right at home. We went with them to the local fair then returned home for a late night of ballads and aperitifs. In the morning, we awoke to the sweet smell of crepes. Sarah’s mother treated us to the homemade French delicacies until we could eat no more. After stuffing our crepe holes, we made our way to the train station. Sarah drove us all the way and even came in to treat us to coffee as we waited for our train. As our train arrived, we bid her a fond farewell and boarded our train to Frankfurt.

    More reports on our exciting travels coming soon!

     

  4. Zermatt, Switzerland

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    Greetings Friends!

     

     

    Braam’s coming to you live and direct! We’ll pick up where we left off, I guess. Our apartment in Zermatt was spacious and lovely. Mom and Dad had their own room with a large comfortable bed, which was nice. We slept in the first day and then made our way to town. Some shopping and obtaining a little tourist info was on the agenda. The night before, we grabbed a quick dinner on the way to the condo, but the food was insanely expensive, so we decided to shop and stay in to eat for most of our meals. After returning from our outing in town, we headed out for an afternoon hike. We left right from our apartment, and headed up the mountain. We reached the tiny Village of Findalin in about an hour where we found… another playground! There’s a theme here, playgrounds for kids all over Europe! Why we can’t figure this out in the states is beyond me. Anyway, we took a rest and headed back down. We had a mellow night and turned in early as we had a big hike planned.

    We woke early in the morning to discover the rain had moved in, but we decided to go for it anyway. We headed to the ski lift to start our hike, but this was not your typical ski lift. This was a train, and it was pulled on a cable up the mountain through a tunnel. Definitely a unique mountain experience. We arrived mid-mountain to variable conditions, and decided to push on regardless. We climbed through the glacial valley to the booms and crashes of ice fall, encountering few other hikers on this somewhat nasty day. Clouds enveloped us off and on as the rain ebbed and flowed. After a couple hours of hiking we made it to our destination for the day, the Fluhalp hut. We received a warm welcome to a mostly empty hut. The host showed us to a table where we sipped coffee with schnapps and hot chocolate. Before long our food arrived which was a delicious assortment of traditional Swiss dishes. We left warm and satisfied as we headed through the rain to the adjacent ridge for a glacier view. Even though the clouds obscured many of the peaks, our views were still spectacular. We soaked in the rarity of these fading ice behemoths, then descended to town to recover from the long day. It took us about 2.5 hours to make it back to the place. All three of us where exhausted and soaked. We were satisfied with our day and glad we pushed it. We had heard rumors of snow the next day, so we weren’t sure what activities would follow for the remainder of our stay in Zermatt.

    We were pleasantly surprised the next morning when there was no rain when we got up. After breakfast and packing a lunch, we headed to the Gorner Gorge. We paid a small fee to enter, but it was well worth it. The gorge was beautiful and deep. The trail followed a series of boardwalks bolted to the canyon walls. It led us through about a half mile of spectacular gorge before we climbed out and continue our hike. We crossed a long suspension bridge over the upper part of the gorge, had a quick lunch after playing in yet another mid-mountain playground, and headed up the glacier garden. This was a cool little area that showcased some of the rock features and other things the glacier had left behind after its hasty retreat. We then headed back down the mountain to clean up for dinner. That night, we went out for some more traditional tastes of Switzerland. The highlights were cheese and more cheese, fondue and raclette specifically. After stuffing our faces, we headed home to prepare for our long journey to France the next day.

    We are currently here in the French countryside, staying at a small farm and helping with the harvest in exchange for room and board. Updates on this and more coming soon!

  5. Swiss National Park and The Glacier Express

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    Greetings All!

     

    We made it to Switzerland! After a whirlwind trip through Italy, we’ve made it to the land of the Alps. We left Corvara early. A bus and 6 trains later, we arrived in Zernez, CH. There we spent a day exploring the Swiss National Park before traversing the country on the Glacier Express.

    We got in late as ususal, but fortunately the hotel was right across the street from the train station. The nice man helped us warm some leftovers and we hit the sack. These travel days are exhausting. The scenery so far has been beautiful and interesting but constantly switching trains is quite tireing. Anyway, we got up the next morning and headed to the park office which was just a few blocks away. We were quickly directed to a bus that was about to leave, and were whisked up to the gorgeous mountains in no time. The trail we chose was both scenic and interpretive, which was a bonus for the whole family. We learned about the flora, fauna and history of the park and got a nice hike with a good climb and some views. We saw a Red Deer, Chamois, and one of the park’s endangered Vultures. The views were stunning and the other visitors were sparse. We hiked down from the viewpoint to one of the parks hotels for a cold beer (and apple juice) and an obligatory play in the adjacent playground. Post refreshments, we headed back to town to prepare for our next day, a ride on the Glacier Express.

    The ride on the GEX (a train from St. Moritz to Zermatt, CH) was a unique and luxurious one https://www.glacierexpress.ch/en/. We took a couple local trains in the morning to St. Moritiz, then boarded the shiny and spotless train cars that we would occupy for the remainder of the day. With windows extending up on to the roof and white linen table clothes, we knew our money was well spent. There were headphones with audio telling about the areas and their history, and servers bringing drinks and delicious food all day. The sights were magnificent as we crossed bridges, went through tunnels and saw many of the peaks and valleys the country had to offer. The highlights included the Landwasser Viaduct, The Rhine Gorge, and Oberalp Pass (the train switched to cog rail to make the steep climb and decent). At the end of the trip, the train switched to cog once more to make the climb to Zermatt, our final destination. During the final ascent, we caught one of the few views we would have of the famous Matterhorn. We arrived satisfied and exhausted and retreated to our apartment a short (but steep) walk from the train station. We had a great view from the apartment of the Matterhorn, but the view would only remain until the following morning when the clouds moved in to obscure the majestic peak.

    We just left Zermatt yesterday, and updates on that magnificent leg of the journey are forthcoming.

    Until then…Auf weidersehen!

  6. Corvara, Italy and Meier’s 4th Birthday

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    This may have been our favorite spot so far, and what a great place for a birthday!

     

     

    This time we actually arrived at a decent hour for a change, and what a spectacular locale for Meier’s 4th Birthday. We were amazed with the dramatic dolomite walls and peaks surrounding the small town. Our shuttle arrived and we were whisked to our hotel located on Campolongo Pass. The accomodations were modest but clean. It came to our attention that the place had hot tubs and a sauna, and we took immeadiate advantage. We ate some pizza, took in some more views and called it a day.

    Then next morning we had a quick bite and headed quickly to the nearest ski lift for a launch to the high country. To Meier’s delight, there was a playground at the top with more amazing views. From there we took in the increadible Marmolada peak, which was flanked with 7 glaciers (that I could count). We could see this peak and many others through the jaw-dropping hike we were about to embark on. We began the climb through rock spires, and the trail was quite rough and difficult. The path eventually evened out a bit as we climbed higher and higher. Our goal, the Franz Kostner Refugio (hut). We arrived in the early afternoon and discovered droves of visitors enjoying delicious plates of regional cuisine and refreshing beverages of all type. We soaked in the views as we ate our simple but delicious packed lunch, but we couldn’t leave without a celebratory drink. After the refreshments we headed back down. We arrived just in time to catch the last lift down and retire to our humble abode. Meier went to bed early, but Mom and Dad stayed up late preparing for the next days festivities…the 4th birthday.

    We got up and had a nice relaxing morning. We opened presents, munched on chocolate croissants and watched cartoons. Catching the bus in front of the hotel, we headed to town and hiked over to our first stop of the day…the pool. This spot was previously a small lake that has been converted to a freshwater pool and is filtered through a natural wetland. Really cool little spot but as a consequence of the nature of the place, the water was pretty chilly. We hung for a while and swam a bit, but after the sun retreated behind the clouds, we moved on to the adjacent playground. We played for a while, then headed to an owl exhibit. This place had several different types of owls, including Meier’s favorite, the Snowy Owl. After walking around the place we were treated to a show where a few different owls and a hawk were brought out by the handlers. The raptors flew across the place to different landing posts, including one right in front of us. It was nothing short of spectacular and watching Meier’s face light up with awe really made the day. After the show we found a fancy café for some delicious gelato creations, and while there we were treated to a different type of show, a huge thunderstorm. We were happy to be inside and not on the mountain that day. The skies opened up with lightning and hail as all the pedestrians on the street ran for cover. The storm died down as Meier went ballistic with the gigantic sugar infusion, so we had to leave the premises and go walk it off. Post crash, we went to dinner at Fornella, a locals favorite, and enjoyed some regional cuisine including some hand made pasta and Tyrolean dumpling soup. The meal was capped off with a chocolate lava cake, topped with a number 4 candle and a lively rendition of “Happy Birthday”. We headed back up the pass in a taxi to prepare for our next day of travel and hit the hay.

    The next morning we travelled for 12 hours, one bus and 6 trains later we ended our day in Zernez, Switzerland at the foot of Swiss National Park. More exciting recaps of the SNP and The Glacier Express coming soon!

    Ciao!

  7. Riva Del Garda, Italy

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    Buongiorno!

     

     

    Once again, a day of travel had us arriving late at our new destination, Riva del Garda. Our property manager, Ivan, picked us up at the bus stop and kindly delivered us to our new perch up on the hill.  All of the stores were closed by the time we arrived, so thankfully we had some groceries in tow, and Ivan delivered us a couple cold bottles of white. We retired quickly as we were again exhausted from our days travel, but not before we took a quick dip in the SWIMMING POOL!

    We woke in the morning to discover our spectacular view of Riva del Garda, Lago Garda, and the surrounding mountains. Claire made a quick trip down to town, and returned with some supplies from the fantastic local market. We dined on our balcony and prepared for the days activities. The main event…the pool! We had spent some time in the sea earlier in the trip, but for Meier, nothing quite compares to the pool. His frolicking was endless, as Mom and Dad had to force breaks when his lips turned blue and his shivering became uncontrollable. After a few cycles of cold and warm, we hiked down to Riva. There we played by the lake then headed over to the square where we enjoyed some pizza, people watching and some local break dancers. After pirating some WiFi to push out the previous post, we scrambled to find a taxi to take us back up the hill.

    The next day we headed out for a hike. We jumped on the fantastic local trail system and headed off. Connecting one trail to the next, we climbed and climbed until we reached Santa Barbara, the chapel on the mountain side. The only way we could do this was from the help of the piggy back rider, an interesting new product we purchased before the trip. It is a backpack carrier type system where Meier stands instead of sits, and it allowed us to cover much more ground than his short legs ever would have. After reaching our destination, we had a delicious picnic of salami, speck, various cheeses, fruit and bread. We then began eyeing our next destination, the lake. While hiking down the hill we happened upon the castle that can be seen from town. There we had the most delicious Coca Colas we’ve ever tasted before completing the journey to the lake. The water was cold, but it didn’t bother us one bit. After we cooled our bodies back down, we walked into town to enjoy a hard earned spritz and some pasta. One more stop at the market before we hiked back up the hill for our last night in Riva.

    We got up early the next morning for our next leg of the journey in Italy, Corvara and the Dolomites.

     

     

  8. Venician nights…and a day.

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    Greetings all from Italy!

     

     

    We made it from Croatia all in once piece. We arrived quite late, so our first night in Venice was uneventful and we were exhausted from the day of travel.

    We awoke early the next morning and headed out for the days activities, which primarily involved walking the Grand Canal. After strolling the streets for a bit, we settled into some cappuccino’s and a strawberry milkshake for Meier in Campo S. Bartolomeo. There we sat people watching, which was copious as the streets were packed. We enjoyed the views, and some wonderful pastries too. We then made our way across the Rialto bridge and indulged in some shopping. Meandering the labyrinth, we visited various cathedrals, statues and cafes. It was hot, but the narrow streets remained cool as the sun rarely strikes the incised pathways. Eventually we made it to Accademia bridge, where we found a shady step to eat our packed lunch of speck, salami, cheese, tomatoes and a cold bottle of Pinot Grigio shortly after crossing. It was amazing, and our lunch menu has been pretty similar every day since reaching Italy. We then wandered our way down to San Marco square. Wow, just wow. I really had no words, just see the picture for reference. Just standing awestruck for a bit we finally tore ourselves away for an obligatory gondola ride through the canals, then made our way back to the hostel on Venice’s version of a bus, a large and motorized boat.

    We chilled for a bit at the hostel, which was a retired school campus in the heart of Venice. This place was really cool. Ancient and walled in on all sides, the space was shared with a convent. Nuns were walking around and other travelers were comingling in the large courtyard. We headed out for dinner and enjoyed a couple spritz (Campari, Prosecco and a slice of orange) on the walk there. Again we wandered the stone maze and found our way to a tiny restaurant tucked away in a small square. We sat on the patio and had a nice meal of bruschetta, pasta and beef carpaccio with a nice bottle of house rose. At this point we had pretty much given up on beer. It’s light, all tastes the same and doesn’t seem to do much, so wine it is. Turns out we had given up a bit too soon, because after some gelato and a walk back to the hostel, we discovered Il Santo www.ilsantobevitorepub.com. This was a small oasis of craft been in a desert of wine. Claire enjoyed a “American” style IPA while Doug had a Belgian Trippel and Meier had conversations with many other tourists. We then retired back to our interesting but uncomfortable accommodations for the night, and remembered that staying in a youth hostile when one is no longer a youth may not be the best idea.

    After another night of restless sleep on a flimsy mattresses, we made a quick trip out to more churches and an art gallery before departing to Lago Garda, the largest lake in Italy’s lake region. Two trains and a bus ride later and we were in Riva del Garda. It is beautiful and amazing, in a much different way then Venice. Details coming soon!

    Arrivederci!

     

  9. Rodovljica and More of Lake Bled, Slovenia

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    Greetings and salutations! Here’s a little more from Slovenia.

     

     

    After our time in Zasip we visited the famous Lake Bled. We had quick visit to see the amazing views at Bled Castle and Meier LOVED the natural pools at the Lake Bled bath house. Then we sped off to the countryside for our first couch surf (home stay). A short drive away was a small village near the town of Radovljica. We were warmly greeted that evening by our host Katja, and got acquainted over Spritz and Schnappes. She immediately made us feel at home which quickly put us at ease. She shared the home with her parents and her brother and his family. All of whom were gone to the summer pasture that her parents manage each year.

    Then next day we got up and headed out for the day’s adventure. Walking from the house we climbed up the hill across the valley to Posti Grad, the ruins of an old castle. It was a nice walk up the hill through small farms, orchards and pastures. The ruins were small and not much was left standing, but it was still very interesting. We had a nice break on top before walking the grounds and wondering what life must have been like when the castle was fully intact.

    We met up with katja and she took us a short drive away to the aforementioned summer pasture.  We arrived to discover a large clearing in the forest with a small cabin at the edge. After being greeted by Katja’s parents and her twin nieces Tia and Pia, we sat down to relax with a cool drink. The twins ran out into the pasture and shortly came back with about 8 horses, and a couple of cows in tow. We fed them sugar cubes as the girls ran circles around the livestock. Katja’s mother then called us over to the table for an assortment of delicious baked goods, iced coffee, and of course, homemade schnappes. The food offerings were endless as we were then fed a variety of Slovenian specialties including  pork fat with bits of meat spread on homemade bread. Meier and the twins got to know each other and were soon were running around and chasing each other like a band of lunatics. As the sun began to dip, we returned to the farmhouse for a night of well deserved sleep.

    The next morning we packed up and headed back to Zagreb to return our car and prepare for our trip to Italy. Our next stop…Venice!

    Thanks for checking in on us, we will report back soon.

    Ciao!

     

  10. Croatia and Bled, Slovenia

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    Greetings all! We are here in Slovenia where tourist season going hard. We’re battling the crowds but it still doesn’t suck!

     

     

    We arrived in Zagreb, Croatia late on Saturday the 12th. Zagreb is a wonderful city that is clean, inexpensive and has a shockingly low crime rate. On Sunday, we spent time touring the city and enjoying street side cafes. The botanic gardens, Gric Tunnel (a WWII bomb shelter), and wonderful parks were some of the highlights of our day. On Sunday, we headed off to the countryside in our rental car. Heading north from Zagreb, our first stop was the Neanderthal Museum in Krapina. Unfortunately, the museum was closed but that didn’t stop us from touring the cave and hillside where remains of early humans and extinct animals were discovered in the late 1800’s. Pretty cool if you ask me. We then took a short drive to the Medieval castle of Valiki Tabor http://www.veliki-tabor.hr/en. There we toured the wonderfully restored castle and checked out the strange music festival that was happening that day. The music was kind of Jazzesque but even more random with what appeared to be homemade instruments. Weird but interesting. From there we crossed the border to our 3rd country of the trip, Slovenia.

    We were warmly greeted at our new apartment in Zasip, just a couple km from the famed Lake Bled. We settled in and went to the local restaurant just a short walk away. The food here is a tasty mix of Slavic, Italian and Bavarian and the highlight was the homemade gnocchi in gorgonzola sauce. We also enjoyed some dark beer, which has been scarce so far this trip. The next day, the 15th(our 8th wedding anniversary), we took a long hike in Triglavski National Park, went swimming in Lake Bohinjsko, and took another short hike to the waterfall Slap Savica. The scenery was nothing short of impressive in this gorgeous area on the eastern edge of the Alps. Certainly not to be missed. We ended our day of anniversary festivities with leftovers (including the tasty gnocchi) and a cold bottle of Slovenian Moscato. What a charmed life we are living!

    Today we will head to Bled Castle and a swim in the famous lake and continue on to our first couch surf, where we will stay with a local host family for 2 nights. Yay travel!