Monday, 20 March 2006

skiing just a month ago

An overdue post, just a month ago Kate and I met up with my parents and my younger sister to go skiing in the Czech republic.
On a friday night flew to Hamburg to meet with my sister. The next morning we got up early (5:30am == 4:30 London time :( ) to get on the road. It was a beautiful morning with blue skies and the sun rising on the horizon in beautiful red. We were meant to meet with my parents in Leipzig but that somehow did not work out, so we kept going torwards the border Oberwiesental/Bozi Dar. Unfortunately the weather got a bit snowy and one could hardly make out the street signs, so we went a bit past the border and had to turn around and stand in a rather longish queue to cross the border. We were joking that it would be funny if my parents had caught up with us and that we would see them coming around the corner and meeting us at the juction were we had missed our turn.
Well, so it happened :)

Just half an hour later we got to our destination, a little guest house in Hřebečná close to Abertamy. We got a couple of nice rooms with lots of wood and nice views of the valley.

Our first day of skiing was a beautiful day, sunshine, 9.C and fresh snow from the night before. A perfect day for Kate to try cross country for the first time.
I was a bit out of luck because my skis were waxed with the wrong wax for the temperatures so I had to return to the guest house to get them rewaxed, which worked wonders.

My dad came with me and the ladies took off themselves to meet up with us a bit later. Well, we did not arive at the meeting point at the same time so my dad and I explored some trails going into the woods which of course were not the correct ones and just led us back to where we started at. I discovered that falling is not that bad and gives some nice views into the sky.

We all met up finally and went a bit further and enjoyed the beautiful day.

The following day was just as beautiful. My skis were still a bit annoying but the trails were good and we all had another great day.

On our trips we always took some tea, mulled wine, some sandwiches and sweets and not to forget some special czech herb liquor.
We usually stopped every so often to "get back some energy" we had lost from all the "hard" exercise. :)

Kate, even though she was completely exhausted, really enjoyed skiing and we decided to get our own skis and got a special deal in Oberwiedental. So, with brand new skis, we went on to explore more trails for the rest of our stay.

The last day we did not have too much time. And on top of that the weather was not too great ... at first.

It was windy and it was snowing and the visibility was, well, not that great.

But, magically it all cleared up. It was great, as it was our last day. We had a beautiful tour through the woods, up and down little hills.

It was still quite cold and windy and the trees were frosted.

And that was almost it for our winter trip.
That same day we went to meet a friend in Dresden and had a nice walk around the town at night and a great dinner in some medieval-themed restaurant.

The next day we drove back to Hamburg and had a nice morning in Ahrensburg with my sister and then flew back to London.

All in all we had a great vacation and we are looking forward to our next ski trip...

Monday, 6 March 2006

it is getting worse ...

.. but I expected that much. I have not been updating the blog on a regular basis as I had planned to.
No, the all so busy life is not to blame, I am just plain lazy.
Life though, has been bussy and most weekends we have been going places, visiting friends and relatives and finally went on a little vacation.

Well, since the last post there was Christmas and we decided to spend it in London inviting Kate's parents to join us.
We got a nice christmas tree in mid december and decorated it with real candles and little ornaments.
It was very nice and despite the fact that it did not look much like it outside it did start to feel like christmas is coming.

On christmas eve. Kate's parents, Kate and I all went to the Albert Hall for a "Christmas carols By Candle Light" concert where everyone got musicsheets and a christmas hat and sang along. It was a great show and we all went back and had some "Feuerzangenbowle" (mulled wine, flambed) and Dresdener Stollen (Chrismas bread/cake).

The next morning was quite busy with most of us in the kitchen preparing the big feast. Once everything was cooking we got to finally open up the presents. I must admit though there is something nice about the german tradition of opening the presents on christmas eve.
It just feels more cosy when it is dark outside and Santa comes in, opens his sack and gives out the little boxes. But I cannot complain at all, it was a great moring.

After hours of cooking the turkey was almost done, Kate had prepared some delicious starters and we where pretty much ready to eat.

It was way to much food for just one meal so the turkey lasted for a couple more lovely dishes with one of them being the greates pie we have ever made.

For desert we had traditional christmas pudding which Kate's mom made.
We flambed it with Cognac and served it with brandy butter... delicious.