Monday, June 30, 2008

Lame, lame lame

Okay everyone,

I am lame, lame lame. I haven't updated my blog since...well, since Austria--and that was over a month ago! I told ALL of you how horrible I think this blogging thing is (translation, how horrible I knew I would be at this blogging thing). I just get busy dang it--for instance, I finished my class not this past Sunday but the Sunday before, my children are out of school which sucks up ANY free time I once had--the 2 hours during the day as well as the 2 hours I had at night because while it is still light, it is still daytime in their minds and they are just too old to fool any longer.

Let's see, what have we been doing lately? Well, I will have to backtrack to our illustrious trip across Europe--truly--we spent more time on a bus with our trusty tour guide Fritz and bus driver Tommy than I care to detail.

When we last left you, gagging in a smokey internet cafe in Vienna, I believe, unable to load pictures. Much happened after that but I will give you the highlights since, yet again, I am tired and thankfully my children are in bed.

Munich: Crazy museum with way too many marionettes and really fun mirrors. Drove to

Saltzburg and Mauthausen (it was amazing) from Munich and made our way to Vienna.

Vienna: YUMMY Zanoni and Zanoni ice cream--they make Nutella ice cream--need I say more, beautiful architecture, a hilarious Mozart concert (yes, I realize that sounds funny but I never laughed so hard during a Mozart concert so it is possible--okay, it's not like I frequent them all that much, but you know...), more ice cream--yes, all three nights we were there, passing about a million H & M stores and of course frequenting them, a very boring art museum--and I love art museums. But when I asked our tour guide, after seeing signs for the Albertina Museum's special exhibit of Impressionist painters, if it would be better to go there or the National Gallery he said, "oh, go to the National Gallery, NOT Albertina." Well, Fritz, you might know a lot about Crazy King Ludwig and the Hapsburg dynasty but not so much about art. I feel I can appreciate art, but after visiting many, many museums all around the globe, I can safely say that in my taste dark, dreary 14th-16th century religious art is really not uplifting.

Okay, so then we made our bus seat-printed bums to Prague. Now I had been told by several that Prague was beautiful. Well, the first night I begged to differ. Our hotel was situated in the heart of where it was happening--the underbelly of after dark life that is. Our hotel was around the corner from some rather interesting places of--interest--there were several "hotels" connected to gentleman's clubs and a museum dedicated to the act of, well, for the sake of my children who may read this, what happens between a man and a woman when they are married--but these people were clearly not married.

It also rained cats and dogs that first night and we decided to duck into a little pizzeria for dinner--as well as the "drinking team" from somewhere in the midwest. Apparently we chose the prime time to come to Prague where there is a competition solely based on how much alcohol one can consume before killing oneself. Great family fun. The food was awful and everyone was mad. The end of that day.

The next redeemed itself by a walking tour in much better weather and a trip through the Jewish Quarter, which was a highlight for me, although yet again, much like Munich, I realized too late I was within a short distance of a concentration camp and could not go. Mauthausen would have to do for this trip. Oh, it just kept coming--we crossed the English Channel on June 6th but I could not make it to Normandy--disappointments abounded for little miss World War II. That night we found a great Argentinian steak house that allowed us to finally enjoy a meal.

We flew to London and I felt I was back home. I spent 2 1/2 months there over 14 years ago so as soon as I got an Underground map, I was ready to roll. I convinced good ol' Susy and another girl, Lisa to come along to the Victoria and Albert Museum then the Tate Modern. Yeah for the V and A but BOO for the Tate. Sorry girls to drag you all over the city. At least the museums are free in London. That night we went to Les Mis, and it was fabulous. The next day the guys (and one girl) had their business meeting in the morning after we got there and I booked it to the Churchill War Rooms, as that is one place I did not make it to when I was here last. I hurried back and we roamed the streets (quite literally, I calculated a 13 hour walking day for me) of London and took a vote whether the Tower of London was worth the arm and a leg it cost and other than myself everyone else voted for the Tower Bridge exhibit--um, bad choice.

The next day (June 6th) we departed for Paris. Austin and I were all a flutter as we passed under the Channel and stopped in Lille (we both served there on our missions). We didn't get out--it was only a quick pass through. We get to Paris and as much as I love the French people, I do agree they are not the kindest to strangers--especially American ones and the city is the dirtiest city we went through, even worse than Prague. We kissed under the Eiffel Tower, we ate crepes upon crepes, we crawled through the Catacombs and saw one too many human skulls, tracked down the Moulin Rouge, we ate at a fantastic Steak and Fries place (that's all they serve) and drank Fanta (oh, it tastes soooo much better there) and Orangina. I finally got my Impressionism fix as we rushed through the Musee D'Orsay. It was fabulous.

Now we are home and finally I am getting this all written down. It is clearly not all the great stuff that happened, but that would take way too long and I have girls running a muck upstairs (yes, it is the next day--did you think I could finish all this in one sitting?)