Sunday, February 1, 2009

Take This Waltz

The trip we took to Austria for winter break seems to have turned into somewhat of a tradition. Two days in Vienna, five days in Hochkar, two more days in Vienna. Take that psychedelic waltz, Leonard.

Here's a day-by-day tell-all (oh I love hyphens, I really really do):

Day 1: wake up at 4:30AM, out of the house by 5Am to make the 7AM flight to Vienna. Boys slept in their sweatpants and shirts so we just woke them up an loaded them into the already loaded car. (Note: realize, at 2AM, that I forgot to pack winter boots for the kids and scramble to make space for them, fail, get an extra bag just to pack those). Hence the grumpy attitude. Breezy flight where the kids refuse to eat anything and I am already on vacation mode and don't really care they can live on crackers for 10 days for all I care.

Arrive in Vienna, rent two cars (because we have to travel like a herd and there are 7 of us total), drive to Rothensteiner Appartements, meet the gorgeous, wonderful, incredible, charming and sweet Bahar and Sima, take a walk to a nearby hot dog stand where everyone but myself has lunch. I have to walk around and look for a deli where I can get a plain cheese sandwich because I am picky like that.

After placing our stuff in our usual room and resting for a few minutes, walk to Museum Quarter and Zoom Kindermuseum for the MegaGreek Exhibition. I made a reservation ahead of time for all of us and the kids loved, loved it!

With the aide of a perfectly outlined map and Bahar's directions, walk to a classical Viennese restaurant whose name I could not read or pronounce so I cannot blog about it here, where the kids played with wooden blocks, scales (yep, real scales) and had more hot dogs and schnitzel and beef broth soup (rinde zuppe. yea!) I had a salad and soup. Plus more cheesy stuff. Plus Apfelstrudel (another word added to my dictionary this year, next to Melange ohne schlagobert).
Day 2: After breakfast, drive to a park on the frozen Danube and ooh and aah at the views from that big tower. Make your best impression of the Karate Kid on logs (The photos will speak for themselves).
My stylish hat.
The Danube is too far... We'll just play in the park.
Drive to a nearby famous restaurant, totally booked, skip to Schonbrunn zoo for lunch, which is jam packed because Austrians like to go out when it's sunny I guess. Or they made a pact to drive us crazy for some reason. Bernt makes us a delicious dinnner at the hotel and we drink a bit too much wine. Just a bit. Meanwhile, Bahar and Sima drive to their mountain house to pick up Sima's skiing gear and clothes, about 150 kms away, but drive back without picking them up because the road up to the house is icy. I just love their enthusiasm and love for adventure (and driving).
Where's my hat?

Tunca & Sima
The traditional "take a photo on a rhino" moment where I try and make sure noone falls off.
Day 3: Leave Vienna for Hochkar around 9AM. Optimum driving conditions, less than 2 hours. Arrive at Sporthaus Hochkar where the check in area is actually a bar, move our luggage to the rooms and have lunch. To our delight, the three star hotel is extremely clean, comfortable and cozy and like 20 meters to the lifts. I don't know, I didn't really measure, but let me say that one day I skied down from that blue-red-mixed-where the heck am I slope, I arrived right next to the lifts with the bubble thing and without even stopping I could ski to the entrance of the hotel. So that close.
Living room where the kids played...
The view from the living room...
The view from the room...
Rent skis, poles, helmets and all from the ski shop downstairs where I successfully fall from a stupid fold-out chair before even attempting to ski and break my butt or something because I still for the love of god cannot sit on it properly.

Arrive at the ski school, JoSchi where we meet Arda and Ali's instructor Katrina (we call her Katrin) from last year and "Luki" Lukas, and arrange for lessons for the rest of the week. Tunca gets to start his lessons the next day, so I attempt to teach him a bit and to my surprise he is quite eager and much stronger than the year before.

Ski for about 3 hours, get to the room exhausted, dinner and bedtime by 9pm.

Day 4, 5, 6: Kids ski in the morning with instructors Katrin and Tamas, Sinan and Zeynep ski with various instructors, I ski a bit by myself yet stay at the base area more often translate for Tamas and Tunca and hitch a free ride with whoever's going up to ski an easy slope. Let's just say I became very very good friends with people at the JoSchi Bar and they make great lattes. Burak stays at the hotel with a good wi-fi connection and makes quick runs to bring forgotten mittens and take photos.
The gang sans Burak (photographer) and Sinan (on the slopes)
Sister in law Zeynep's frozen hair.
Tunca taking the "butt lift" by himself.
He skis!
And is as stylish as I am!
Burak's occasional break... and I am asleep?
Tunca & Tamas
Building a snow castle...
Ali, Arda, Katrin, Tunca & Tamas. The boys all got medals and candy for their great efforts. Thank you, both!!! We miss you!!
Tunca & Tamas
Katrin & Ali & Arda
Day 7: Ski in the morning and afternoon, drive to Vienna.
Tunca takes photos on the way to Vienna.
And Arda hates that...
so he takes photos of the scenery...
and does a great job!
Have dinner at Grunspun, then drink ourselves silly with Bernd and Bahar back at the Rothensteiners.
Sima checking out Arda's game...
The greatest lobby of the world...
Day 8: After breakfast the guys all go to visit the Natural History Museum while my sister in law, Zeynep and I go shopping and end up buying socks and pajamas for the kids. Dinner at the Burgermeister (I am so no kidding!) where they serve the greatest fries, ever.
The Natural History Museum where Tunca got bitten by a dinosaur...
became a I have no idea, Inuit?
while my brother got attacked by a lionand Arda ran down the stairs (that's just the plain History Museum)
Day 9: Leave early for the airport, return to the hotel because Arda cannot find his Nintendo DS, frantically run thru the room to no avail, return to the car where Arda is crying and Tunca is offering his own to him, make them both shut up because it is my fault, I should have looked better. Arrive at the airport, while returning the car hear Arda say, "oh, here it is" and have eternal joy. Because I did not forget packing it.

Arrive in İstanbul, late, hungry and tired but happy to be home...

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