Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Munich Germany

We were being brave and decided to venture out of Italy after being here only 3 weeks. The ITT was offering a trip to Munich Germany to see and visit the center and then to visit a concentration camp.

It was a 7 hour bus ride with a departure time of 3:00AM! YIKES! Needless to say it was going to be our second to last trip on the bus! We are either going to be traveling by train or in our own car!

Since I couldn't sleep on the bus, once the sun came up I enjoyed looking at the scenery of the beautiful mountains of Germany. It was quite chilly up in the mountains, and not something we were prepared for, but once we made it into Munich it warmed up to a nice smokin hot temperature!

Once in Munich we strolled around the city center which is called the Marienplatz. Got to see their BIG market, their beautiful old buildings, and majestic churches.

Munich is a very rich city with very little crime! It is the 3rd largest city in Germany and its motto is "Muchen mag Dich" which means Munich Lkes You.

We ended our visit in Munich with lunch and a beer from Hofbrauhaus, the most famous beer hall worldwide.

Munich was the host of the 1972 summer olympics and is a candidate for the 2018 winter olympics. It is also the host of the famous Octoberfest for two weeks in October! It really is hard to describe the beauty of this place without seeing it for yourself.

After Munich we took the short half hour bus ride to Dachau Concentration Camp. Dachau was Nazi Germany's first concentration camp, and during its 12 years as a prison it housed some 200,000 prisoners. It was very cool to see all of the stuff used in this camp. Kaleb and Mason really enjoyed it and were asking question after question. What an experiance they will get to share when they return to the states and are learning about history and different parts of the world.

It was very sereal being in the Krematorium, knowing that tens of thousands of people were put to death there.

and then for the L-O-N-G bus ride home!!! :{

Thursday, August 12, 2010

La città di amore (City of Love)

Venice was our first big venture out, since it is only an hour drive or hour and a half by train. We decided we would do the train, since we were still trying to learn how to drive around here. We boarded an early morning train from Sacile, a little town next to ours (parking was cheaper!) We got an older train so no air conditioning, but it was okay since we were going in the morning before it was HOT!

I was a little overwelmed once we reached Venice and were off the train, it sure did warm up fast and there was wall to wall people occupying the streets of Venice. A little history lesson....Venice has also been known as "Queen of the Adriatic", "City of Water", "City of Masks", "City of Bridges", "The Floating City", "City of Canals"! Although there was romance in the air and you could see the beauty bringing out the love in certain couples, we were not feeling the LOVE! I was very much in "PARENTAL" mode, and was frantically keeping tabs on my kids! There really was so many people there I was just trying not to loose a child!

Venice was created on a series of mud banks in a lagoon, so there are no cars, just canals, boats and of course your feet to get you around! We walked from the train station to the other end of the island to see the Plaza of San Marco. Also where St. Mark's Church stands. What a magnificant, breathtaking building. The line to get into it must have been several hours long, as it wrapped around and up and down the building.

There really is a lot to see in this little city, that we just couldn't do it all in a few short hours. Since it is only a short drive away we will have to visit it again (and in the off season) just so we can see things we missed.

There were only two options for our return train ride home. Either catch the 1:00pm train or wait till 8:00pm. I am sure if you had three kids and one of them was under the age of 4 you would have picked the one we did too! LOL We opted to take a water taxi back to the train station verses walking back. Yeah we should have just walked back. It was wall to wall people and standing room only. Hot, sticky, sweaty, stinky, crabby people not a good choice. Taking a gondola back would have been fun, but we were not going to pay 120.00 Euro for a half hour gondola ride!

The boys ended their visit with a scoop of Gellato for the third time (that day) and Clark and I vowed to return to Venice to do some real shopping and to experiance the City of Love the right way! OOH LA LA!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bel Paese (Beautiful Country)

After a week of in processing the program organizes a tour of the surrounding areas, making several different stops to let us explore the area that will be our home for the next couple of years. The best part was that it ended with a stop at a winery for wine tasteing!! :) It is called the Benvenuti (welcome) tour, and even though il tempo aveva caldo (the weather was hot) we saw some beautiful places! Starting with our first stop at Le Sorgenti del Gorgazzo (The Springs of Gorgazzo). Hidden among trees this pond is radiant in color changing from turquoise to emerald green in the sun. The bottom has not yet been touched, but divers have reached a depth of 132 meters. Fossils have been discovered dating back to the early Cretaceous Period (from 100 to 65 million years!) This area is dangerous for those attempting to reach the bottom, and a statue of Jesus Christ has been placed at a depth of nine meters to remember those who lost their lives while exploring it.

Our second stop on the tour was a little market in Porcia! Loved the fact that their fruits and veggies were so BIG and FRESH! There was a little of everything being sold at the market. Everything from fresh fish, to undergarments!! LOL

The third stop was the city center of Pordenone....the little town that we were soon going to be calling home for the next couple of years! We walked down the main street, and saw many of their businesses, and tasted some fine chocolate! The building with the clock is their Town Hall, built between 1291 and 1395.

We also got to go into The Saint Mark Cathedral...which was in and of itself amazing! However we didn't ponder to long since we had three kids and there were people in their trying to pray and worship! :)

After visiting the city center of Pordenone we were taken to the train station so we could practice purchasing train tickets and riding the train! The boys thought this was so COOL!

AHHHH yes, the part I have been waiting for! The last stop of the day was a winery to do some wine tasting!! MMMMMMM we did not go home empty handed!!!

A glass of wine before bed.....the perfect way to end the day!!!