18 July 2012

A Trip Home, to Prague

Sunflower fields in northern Austria.

If you ask my littlest ones where they are from, they will most likely tell you Prague, Czech Republic.  They crack me up!  It's a difficult concept for them to grasp that they are American, born in Prague and lived only in America for 16 months.

A common billboard in Czech Republic.  An advertisement for their very popular sparking water.

We had the idea to take a quick trip to Prague before our 6 month return to the US.  We thought the kids would enjoy seeing the place where they hold so many memories.

Our first stop was to meet up with our long time Ukrainian friends.  We met within the first weeks of arriving to Prague, in 2001.  We've been through a lot together.  Love this family!

Wouldn't you know, we forgot our big camera.  Please excuse the fuzzy IPhone photos.

Our kids had such a great time together!  It doesn't matter if kids can't speak each other's language.  They still know how to play.  It's a universal activity!!  Hee hee!

Prague, on a summer night, is something you can't miss!!  It is gorgeous!

We only had one full day in Prague.  So much of the city is compact and walkable that you really can see a lot in a short time.

We were surprised by the braveness of the peacocks at the Valdštejnská zahrada (Wallenstein Gardens).  

I remember calling this the fairy tale wall.  I couldn't find any history on it, but it is a fascinating wall with hidden creatures in the stone.  You can see one of them below.

There are 3-4 owls living in the little house structure in the top right picture.

The view from Karluv Most, the famous Charles Bridge.

I never tire of these views!

 The band performing in the picture above, right, is a jazz band.  Jazz was popular when it was  Czechoslovakia in the 1920s and became even more popular after World War II.
The area below the Prague Castle, and where the waterwheel (below) is located, is my most favorite area of Prague, Mala Stranska, or Lesser Town.  I just love this area!

Staromestska or Old Town Square.

I love the narrow cobblestone streets in this city!

And the statue (above right) is by a controversial Czech artist.  It is a statue of Wenceslas (you know, "Good King Wenceslas looked out.  On the feast of Stephen.....").  Short story is that it is making fun of politics of the country. 

Since we were in the area we decided to eat at Prague's Hard Rock Cafe.

They really cater to kids with their own menu and if you are a part of the kid's club, the kids get a free sundae!!  Hard Rock has only been in Prague a few years.  Before that, this building was a crystal factory.  I remember shopping in this very building.

And the morning before we left we met up with one of Karis' first playmates, Katka.

We met some other friends, but we were so busy talking that I forgot to get the camera out!

It was a quick trip, but it was a fun time!!

It might be a bit before I get back to the blog as we head to Greece for an annual meeting this week.
So looking forward to our time there!

16 July 2012

Summer Days

On a recent Saturday the kiddos were invited to a birthday party.  Our American mentality is drop the kids off and pick them up after a couple of hours.  This was a, drop the kids off and pick them up 8 hours later!! Ha!

We were close by the beautiful church of Franz von Assisi Church.

I'd seen this church before from a nearby u-bahn station and was always intrigued by it.

In reading up on this church I learned it is a fairly young church, having been built from 1898 to 1913 for the 50th jubilee of Francis Joseph I.

Even though it's a fairly "new" church, it really is an impressive structure that stands tall on the city skyline.  I was glad we got a chance to go check it out. 

We took a quick stroll by the river.  It was too hot to stay long.

The Donau (in English it's the Danube) is a strong presence in Vienna.  The river life is quite vibrant in many areas around town.  Lots of walking and bike trails, many swimming holes and fishing spots.

And the kids had a great time with their friends!

06 July 2012

Wiener Prater

The Wiener Prater is like a mini Six Flags.  The difference being that you do not have to pay to enter the grounds.  You pay for each ride or attraction.  There are advantages to that as it is cheaper.  However, if your kids find a ride they like they can't just ride it over and over again.

First up, the bumper cars!  Jeremy & Eli joined us.

Karis saying, "Don't run into me!!!" Ha!  She did a great job of driving.

Brennan about to ram Reegan and I! 

Jeremy, Kristi & Eli on the Dizzy Mouse! 

We took Reegan & Brennan on the Dizzy Mouse as well.  They did well on it.  I learned that I don't like roller coasters like I once did!  Oh, I'm getting old!!

Jerry took Karis on a bigger roller coaster.  I wasn't able to get a good shot.  She was a bit anxious starting out, but she had fun!

Taking a break!

Oh, how I love this photo of my little family!!

The slide!

Jerry's goal for the day.  To ride the swing. 

I understand the view is incredible!
This isn't any usual swing.  Look how high into the sky it goes!!

Jer & Jer on the swings.

I love this photo of Eli driving his cute little car!

We found an area of bounce houses. You pay one flat rate per kid and they can bounce all day!
They had a blast!

After we got the dads and kids settled, Kristi & I went to ride the Riesenrad.

Really neat replicas as you enter the ferris wheel.

Such a beautiful structure!

And oh, the view!

Sweet friend!

The park below.

Love this next shot!

Number 12 was set for a private dinner.  That would be so fun!

We finished off our time at Prater with a meal at the famous Schweizerhaus.

It was packed!  So you know it must be good!!  We found a play area in the back and found a table close by and enjoyed some yummy schnitzel!!

The kids are already asking to go back!


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