17 April 2006

happy easter everyone ... we took advantage of the long weekend and made the drive to Slovenia. Slovenia is an amazingly beautiful country ... no bigger than the state of Massachusetts, but so diverse ... within a 2 hour drive you could visit the Alps, the Adriatic coast, one of the world's most impressive cave systems and a cliff-hanging castle thrown in for good measure. we left on thursday morning and made it to Lake Bled in about 7 hours. Lake Bled is Slovenia's most popular mountain retreat. the lake sits in front of the Julian Alps and has a picture perfect little island with a little white church sitting on top. it was really quiet and relaxing there ... had a nice 3.5 mile walk around the lake with beautfiul views the whole way.

Lake Bled

The next morning we were off to the capital, Ljubljana. though the city has 300,000 residents, it felt much smaller. the weather was beautiful there ... hanging in the mid-60s ... the trees were really starting to bud ... wonderful willow trees hanging over the Ljubljanica River. it really was a city made for strolling ... great cafes line up along the river and a castle sits on a cliff over the town.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

we got up early the next day and made the drive to the coast ... little over an hour later we arrived in the old fishing village of Piran. the town sits on little sliver of a puninsula on the border with Croatia ... great little town with a nice strollable (word?) harbor ... great boats to look at ... the sea was flat and air was mild ... it was hard to leave, but we had to move on.


back in the car, it was about 30 mins to the Skokjan Caves ... one of the largest cave systems in Europe (maybe the largest?) and supposedly one of the most impressive in the world ... i wouldn't be one to judge that since this is my first time spelunking. what an amazing place! the tour starts in the 'silent' part of the caves with stalagtites & stalagmites and then moves into the 'finale' cavern where the trail winds along 150 feet above a raging river!

Skocjan Caves

our last stop of the day was another 30 mins back toward Ljubljana in the town of Predjama. there is a castle here that was literally built into the side of a mountain ... a most impressive sight ... we heard that the interior wasn't worth paying to see, so we skipped it. the outside was amazing though!

Predjama Castle

we left the next day and decided to break up the drive back by staying in Regensberg, Germany ... the town is in our '1000 places to see before you die' book, so we couldn't pass it up! great town with some amazing history ... beatiful gothic cathedral ... ancient stone bridge over the (very high) Danube River. the weather was chilly & sometimes rainy, but we were able to walk around the entire old town. back on the road this morning and amazingly didn't hit any traffic ... overall a great Easter weekend trip!

hope everyone had a nice Easter weekend ... later! t

02 April 2006

yesterday was the annual German-American Women's Club Flohmarkt (flea market) and bake sale. Harmony was in the kitchen for two days getting things ready. i was asked to help out -- and due to my years of experience -- was put in charge of clearing tables. it was a great time and for a great cause. last year, the group brought in 25,000 Euro at the event. hoping for that or better this year. hundreds of people came through, bought old clothing, books and other donated items. i have to say the food area was the most popular of them all. the women did a amazing job of making cakes, pies, cookies, etc...it was quite a spread! here is a pic of one of the cheesecakes Harm whipped up...it was hard to part with...


they also raised money through a big raffle --- dozens of prizes were donated by the club and local businesses. Harm and i took home bottles of schnapps and riesling ... a little something to numb the pain of running the kitchen for 8 hours! it was a great day ... felt good to be giving back to the area that we have enjoyed so much. I got a chance to practice my german and also got to meet a lot of the women that Harm knows through the club. we both look forward to helping out next year! hope everyone is well....later....t