Friday, November 23, 2007

Neuschwanstein - The King's Castles

On a cold Sunday afternoon, we headed for the hills - the alps to be exact. We teamed up with one of Troy's co-workers and their two kids (Sophia seen here with Jackson) to show the kids the inspiration to the Sleeping Beauty castle. Of course, anything to do with princesses and castles, Sophia loves. I'm surprised she didn't ask to wear her Cinderella costume there. We went into the smaller of the two castles, but Sophia was more interested in chasing Jackson around than seeing the building or its surroundings. We took the 45 minute walk up to Neuschwanstein castle, which took about 2 hours with two three year olds (lots of distractions along the way - like sticks and moving water). Next time we'll take the horse carriage and get to the top.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Drive Time: Impressions from the drive from Vicenza to Munich

Sophia & Ida

We have been telling Sophia that she is going to be a big sister, a concept she knows a little about because her 2 best friends in Paris both had new little brothers during the winter/spring last year. So when we spent the weekend with Dom & Ana, and their darling 11 month old, Ida, Sophia decided she was the big sister to Ida.

All day long today Sophia has been talking about what a great time she had being Ida's big sister over the weekend. I wonder if it will confuse her when we have the new baby, and it doesn't go away?

Gondola Ride

The gondolier tried telling Troy & I that we had to kiss the whole time under the Rialto Bridge - I don't think he ever tried doing that while holding onto a 3 year old.


Troy & I have been talking about where we would go if we had a weekend in Europe (extended weekend preferably) with no children, and Venice was always at the top of the list. Not necessarily because of the romance connotations, although it is very romantic, but because we couldn't imagine a city less welcoming for children. All the water, with no barriers, and steps to get over every bridge - it just doesn't sound very fun.
But I love Venice. It is eye candy for adults & visually amazing. So when we found ourselves 45 min away, and with a Sunday in Italy to spend somewhere (where every store would be closed in every other city) we decided to make the trip to the water, even with Sophia.
Overall, we did have a very good time. Sophia loves being in boats, and she no longer requires the use of a stroller all day long so in theory it worked out fine. But really Venice should be a romantic place, overpriced wine on balconies watching the sunset, wandering for hours in glass shops, taking a boat to the Islands and eating 3 hour lunches.
So we'll still long for an extended weekend, with no children, over the next couple of years. Any babysitters?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Scenes of Verona

Juliette's Balcony

Verona is the setting of the story of Romeo & Juliet. Although the earliest version of the story is set in Siena, not Verona, a balcony falsely claiming historical connection to the fictional lovers has become a tourist attraction. A bronze statue of Juliet stands under the balcony, one breast polished by those touching it for luck. We were trying to entertain a 3 year old & keep a 1 year old warm, so we didn't make it that far into the passageway...
What parent gives their 14 year old daughter a balcony off their bedroom that opens onto a secret courtyard?

The passageway leading to the balcony is covered with slips of paper and the signatures of people dedicating their love for all eternity... I loved this sonnet to the bus driver...