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Saturday, July 30, 2011

it's been a long time since i felt this way.

i don't look good in any clothes that i try on!!! it happens when i am fat. aaaaarggggh. i not only feel fat. I AM FAT.

the last time i felt this way was more than 20 years ago..... *****bleah*****

Friday, July 29, 2011

Our 4th summer and the dutch weather.....

Time flies. This is our 4th summer and the weather the past week is a reminder why i didn't like the netherlands very much when we first arrived.

it's summer now. and what kind of weather do i get? rain, grey skies, strong winds and on some days, temperature in the low teens.

The weather the last 2 summers was so much better ..... needed one like the weather this past week to bring me back to reality (@_@)

Am i the only one who finds it strange that....

(1) kaira prefers celery to carrots??

she will voluntarily ask for raw celery as a snack. but cooked carrots (not even raw), she avoids it like a plague.

i find that strange cos i didn't like celery till i was quite old!! and carrots are sweet no?

(2) kaira eat fries with apple sauce as a dip ;p

ok, maybe that's not too strange as it's quite a dutch (?? maybe even german??) thing.... cos that's how they serve the kid's meals here sometimes.

she doesn't like ketchup or mayo at all.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

so much more i want to see.....

Someone once said to me that she has seen most of europe and that there's nothing much more that she desires to see.... (@_@) if she's a old lady who has lived here years and years, maybe i will receive this statement more kindly.

is this arrogance or ignorance i wonder .......

i knew when we moved here that we can only focus our travelling efforts to cover a few countries (or rather regions) more thoroughly...... and even though i know that, i sometimes still feel a tinge of "regret" that we are going to leave europe without exploring :
spain (other than barcelona)
portugal
croatia
poland
UK
switzerland
Norway
Turkey
etc etc

On top of that -- there's so much more in Germany, France and Netherlands that we've not had the chance to explore....

I know i am being "greedy". Am already very blessed to be living here for the past 3+years and have the opportunity to travel and explore europe. it's a dream come true honestly.

i remember about 10 years ago, we planned to visit europe. It would have been my FIRST trip to europe (although hubbie has backpacked in europe before) and our first trip to europe together. We have paid for our air tickets and booked the accomodation and if i remember correctly, one week (or maybe less) to our departure, my father-in-law had a massive heart attack. Of course, our travel plans had to be cancelled.

I wondered then when will i be able to see europe???

in fact, it was only in 2006 that i made my first trip to europe -- to Italy. i was 34.

Never did i imagine that i will have the chance to live and breathe Europe. Thankful that the Lord has given us this opportunity. i do not know what tomorrow holds, but i know He holds the future. And truly, there is a time for everything, for every purpose under heaven.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More photos of Kaira @ Summer Vacation














I think she had a great time. Not sure how much of it she will remember as she grows up. But i hope it will add to her beautiful memories of her childhood. With love to my sweet princess.

Day 13 : Worms, Germany

We needed a stop between prague and home as i estimated the drive, including pit stops to be around 9-10 hours. I think it'd be tiring for hubbie who's the driver and also the little gal to be cooped up in the car for so many hours.

So, i randomly selected a town that's kind of mid-way, simply by looking at the map. and decided on Worms. It sounded interesting ;p and when i did a search, it turned out that it's the OLDEST town in germany.

so Worms it shall be.

Next, i searched for accomodation and it turned out there are vineyard hotels in the region, and i thought why not? we've not stayed in a vineyard in europe yet and it would be a nice experience.





And so, we stayed at Weingut Sandwiese.

we arrived 5+pm as traffic conditions wasn't very good. was held up close to an hour on the highway for no apparent reason.

After a quick shower, we decided to have dinner in the restaurant of the vineyard instead of venturing to Worms. It was a good choice as the food was great and inexpensive and we had great wines and grape juice to accompany our meal. :)

After a good rest, the next morning, we were greeted with a large breakfast buffet spread -- quite rare with european B&Bs ;p love it. we bought bottles of grape juice and wines and wine jellies :) love the grape juice. not too sweet.

kaira was very excited to spot grapes growing on the vines. now, she knows where grapes come from!!
This B&B/hotel probably hardly have foreigners staying with them..... their clientele is predominantly local. but it was a good one night's rest :)

The next morning, we drove to the old town of Worms to check it out. it's a small town. i guess it suits those who are interested in its history ..... but we were in the last leg of our vacation..... guess we just wanna go home ;p so we visited the cathedrale only and gave the rest of the town a miss (don't think we missed much!)

and so, it was home sweet home on Day 14.

Our Accomodation in Prague - Icon Hotel

When i booked Icon Hotel for our prague stay -- my rationale was simple. it was centrally located on V jame just minutes from the heart of activitiy. And there's lots of restaurants around, so we don't need to venture too far when we are lazy. It was our last major stop, let's have a lil' pampering ! (haha.... not really lah, the hotel has no amenities like swimming pool etc.... it was all in the head.) (we still have 1 more stop, but that is only for 1 night on our way back).

And i am so glad we did! With the rain, we spent quite a fair bit of time in our rooms ;p and it was spacious, modern and comfortable :) Breakfast was also very good (after 10 days of continental style breakfast, i gladly had english style breakfast the 3 days we were here!!yeah! finally baked beans, eggs sunny side up and fried bacon! yum yum!! hahaha)
And they serve breakfast all day long so we don't have to worry about waking up late! not that we did .... we are usually @ the breakfast area by 9am. but it's the thought that counts!






It was a good stay to mark the end of our summer vacation. And i think it was a fitting choice :)

Day 11 - 12 : Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, for all its beauty, lost its charms on me ;p

It rained 2 whole days out of the 2.5 we were there!! we went out as usual, but with the rain, it is difficult to appreciate the charm of the city. so we spent quite alot of time indoors -- shopping ;p

On my plans, originally, was also a visit to Kutna Hora and the Bone church. But since driving there is out of the question without a GPS, we planned to join a local tour.

And things didn't go our way at all. the brochure says to turn up 10 minutes before the tour starts to join in the tour. We were late, cos of the rain and after braving the rain to reach the starting point, we were told that the tour was full!!! Aaaarrrgh. Prague is really not looking very pretty to me. Haha!!

So the 2 days that we had in prague, i can say that we are well rested :)

Dancing House :







Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 10 : Drive to Czech Republic

What is life without some adventure?

And we were presented with one on the morning that we are preparing to leave for Prague.

I got into the car, switched on the GPS and since we are going to a new country, i have to select the Czech Republic as the country before i can key in the address.

Lo and behold, Czech wasn't on the list of countries available!!!

LOLOLOL -- since we arrived in the Netherlands and started using the GPS, we've always depended on it to bring us wherever we go that we had ASSUMED that we had access to ALL the european countries (ie. central, eastern etc)

but that is not the case apparently. we obviously didn't pay for GPS service outside of central europe!!! Now we know!

Anywayz, there wasn't anything that we can do. Good thing that near our Viennese B&B, we saw a road side for Prague and we simply followed it. i think we did a good job navigating our way out of vienna without GPS. At the gas station on the highway, hubbie quickly went to buy a map -- they only had the Prague map -- which was good enough for us i suppose. The highway signages are quite clear, so we hoped for the best and simply drove based on the directions on the highway.

When we reached Prague, the Map came in handy to help us navigate our way to the hotel.

I had initially planned o visit Brno (another city in Czech) before heading to prague. but the lack of GPS meant we could not do that and honestly, all i wanted for us is to quickly reach Prague and our hotel!!!

Felt so relieved when we reached our destination without getting lost!!

We still have to figure out how to navigate our way out of the city onto the highway when it's time to depart..... but that, we will have to worry about later ;p

and this is Kaira prancing happily at the clock tower as we waited for it to chime @ 5pm that day.

Our B&B In Vienna - Pension VITIS

We stayed with Karl @ Pension VITIS.

He was a very efficient and thoughtful host and one can tell from his rooms that he puts in alot of effort in upkeeping his property. the rooms were spacious, and well maintained. we had chocolates on our bed waiting for us when we arrived. the apartment had a kitchenette and he provided coffee maker, kettle etc so that we can have free tea and coffee. Internet access at the common corridor was available 24-hrs, FOC. We could use his washing machine and dryer for a small fee (and this was really useful considering that we were mid-way into our 2 week vacation when we reached vienna)

we could have breakfast either in our room or @ the terrace and since the weather was quite fine, we gladly chose the terrace :) it was a nice touch.

my 2 complaints about his place --
(1) it is situated in a residential part of vienna and is very quiet -- there isn't anything to see or do. On the first day we arrived, as we got there quite late, close to 7pm, we decided not to venture into vienna city and to eat around the B&B. there really isn't much choice although there is a mall located near the B&B .... we ended up in KFC.

(2) it's fair walk from the nearest metro station (about 10 minutes at least). When we start the day, it's fine, cos we are sill fresh and energetic! but when we are coming home after a long day out, the walk can seem very long! but of course, there's the bus stop which is nearer. but there's only one bus from the city centre so, it really depends on where we end up in the city, if we want to catch the bus. i much prefer the bus, cos it's less walking involved!

Will i stay @ Pension VITIS again? Likely. Although I may want to try to find something nearer/in the city. (only thing is the parking, can be expensive in the city!) And since we are now familiar with the public transport, i may very well choose to stay further out :)





Day 9 : Vienna City

Spent our 9th day just wondering around the city. Sightsee, rest. Walk, Eat. Yup, that about sums up our day in vienna ;p





Day 8 : Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna

Spent almost the entire Sunday here @ the palace. It is THAT big ;p
but also because it was a particularly sunny and hot sunday and we thought it's best to hide somewhere ;p

as usual, no pictures were allowed in the palace, so u get to see only the grounds.




We visited the children's museum too and had a fun time dressing time as royals
;p





however, felt that the entrance fee wasn't really worth it as other than the dressing up, the rest of the exhibits weren't that interesting. but at least it made kaira a very happy gal that day dressing up!