Just Another Day in the Salt Mine, 12th Century Style

It turns out, the Salt Industry was pretty huge in this area- so we decided to take the touristy-plunge and take the Salt Mine Tour in Berchtesgaden, Germany.  Being overcast and deary, it seemed like the best thing to do was do dive deep under the surface of the earth into a salt mine.

This blog is timely, in that we drove back to Berchtesgaden, Germany (the site of the previous blog) to take the tour of this particular Salt Mine.  This mine dates back to the 12th Century, as many do in this area.

They give you these crazy suits to protect your clothing, it is a hoot!

They give you these crazy suits to protect your clothing, it is a hoot!

It was Eliot’s paradise, in that we get all dressed up like miners, get on a little train to take us into the mountain, then there are these huge slides you get to take to get deeper into the mine, and a boat along the salt brine induced lake and a (cheesey, but fun) light show during the boat ride.  No pics allowed within the mine so you pretty much get this pic of us in costume.

We were early arriving so we hike this little trail above the mine. It has an amazing tunnel that was originally part of the mine.

We were early arriving so we hiked this little trail above the mine. It has an amazing tunnel that was originally part of the mine. (I guess those are miner-sculptures, just for effect).

Eliot was ECSTATIC about the tunnel.

Eliot was ECSTATIC about the tunnel.

I have to say, it was really cool.  Don’t fret, Eliot’s mouth does eventually close…he doesn’t spend the whole day like this.

It would have been incredible scenery, if the sun had been out, here Berchesgaden in the distance as we hike down back to the mine.

It would have been incredible scenery, if the sun had been out, here Berchtesgaden in the distance as we hike down back to the mine.

At any rate, this blog is delayed, in that we did this last week on a dreary Sunday.  This weekend, is Easter, and it isn’t just dreary, it is snowing like crazy!?!? So, it dashed our Easter Celebration plans a bit.  However, Monday is a huge holiday here, so perhaps a holiday blog will be in order by tomorrow.

I hope everyone has a fabulous Easter!

Love, Kim & Reed & E-man

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Beautiful Berchtesgaden

After returning from frigid England on a Saturday, we were thrilled to have the sun appear in Salzburg.  On Sunday, we made the most of our weekend by taking a leisurely stroll in Berchtesgaden, Germany. Sometimes considered the German Bavarian Alps, it is only 30 km South of Salzburg.  I was completely enamored by the beauty of the town.

Most notable for The Watzman, third-highest mountain in Germany

Most notable for The Watzman, third-highest mountain in Germany

Having done NO homework before arriving, we find a place to park and start our stroll.  Within minutes, we run into a Brewery!

What luck.

The Hofbrauhaus

The Hofbrauhaus

These biergardens are everywhere here, darn it all for winter!?!?

Everyone seems to have a biergarten attached to the restaurants and breweries. Darn it all for winter!?!?

But, alas, as I approached, I heard the sounds of an accordion and “Prost!” (German for Cheers)…they didn’t speak a LICK of English but welcomed us in anyhow.

Inside, there was a serious party happening. Some kind of band/comedian, much laughter.

Inside, there was a serious party happening. Some kind of band/comedian, much laughter. Most of the men  in traditional garb, check out the guy on the right.

Of course, we couldn’t understand a thing, we just clapped along with everyone else.  Outside, Eliot found a treasure.

Perhaps the coolest mailbox, EVER.

Perhaps the coolest mailbox, EVER.

So, with fresh beer in our bellies, we continued on in the beautiful sunshine.   All stores are closed on Sunday, but we still found quite a few people out and about, as well as an Italian cafe…

Quiet lil street on a Sunday

Quiet lil street on a Sunday

Reed and E strolling...

Reed and E strolling…

We could see streets and paths ahead so we knew there were trails to be had.

We did end up near that little building that housed the crucifix...so our goal was in sight.

We did end up near that shrine up there  that housed the crucifix…so our goal was in sight.

Up, up, up.

Eliot stopped dead in his tracks...about HERE.

Eliot stopped dead in his tracks…about HERE.

Made it to the...well, what DO you call these things? This one is gigantic.

Made it to the…well, what DO you call these things? This one is gigantic.

Reed snapped a quick shot of the full monty.

Reed snapped a quick shot of the full monty.

Actually, I think they may have been full stations of the cross, Eliot stops to inspect.

Festive for the time of year?

Festive for the time of year?

I can't help but provide the view inside

I can’t help but provide the view inside,for full effect.

Onto more scenery-type views:

One of the lovely overlooks on the way up.

One of the lovely overlooks on the way up.

Reed and Eliot- "The Hills Are Alive" version. not my idea.

Reed and Eliot- “The Hills Are Alive” version. Not my idea.

Berchesgaden from above- such a cool town!

Berchesgaden from above- such a cool town!

Such a GREAT day! We were so happy to have sunshine.

Such a GREAT day! We were so happy to have sunshine.  -Love to all, K & R & E

Museums and More Museums

funky sculpture outside of Fitz

Funky sculpture outside of Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

What is more difficult than trying to squeeze in museum sight seeing with a 2 1/2 yr old who still desperately requires a mid-day nap?  It turns into, SPEED-SIGHTSEEING…but at least all the museums here are FREE!  This is huge- because you can stop in and have a look around and not feel like you have to get your money’s worth.  This type-A-mother really tried to relax and go-with-the-flow and I have to say, we really had a great week, albeit a cold one.  Anyhow, we interrupted our blog with reports of “someone” getting older, so now we go back to the missing British details!

What follows are  pictures of the different places we were able to see in Cambridge and London.  I am thinking you really have to be a loyal blog follower to make it through all of these!  For those of you  up for the challenge…here you are….

more funky sculputures

More funky sculptures in the Fitz’s sculpture garden- can’t you just see one of these outside of 9 Carriage Way??

no photography allowed past this point, Eliot enjoying the staircase most of all...

no photography allowed past this point, Eliot enjoying the staircase most of all…

looking UP in the fitz

looking UP in the Fitz

But, as impressive as the Fitzwilliam was, it only gets better once we made it to London.

First, even the train station was impressive.  We took 45 min Express trains from Cambridge to London…

Eliot taking in the scene as we enter the train station

Eliot taking in the scene as we enter the train station

Inside of Kings Cross Station, kind of impressive in and of itself...this place KNOWs public transport!

Inside of Kings Cross Station, kind of impressive in and of itself…this place does public transport right!

This impressive structure is just some crazy hotel next to the station.  Imagine me and my camera, taking a shot of everything. TOURIST!!!!

This impressive structure is just some crazy hotel next to the station. Imagine me and my camera, taking a shot of everything. TOURIST!!!!

So, we find our way to The British Museum.

So, we find our way to The British Museum.

close up of Mum and kiddo...the place is packed.

close up of Mum and kiddo…the place is packed.

Although it is the “British” museum, I saw no signs of beans on toast…and it offered so much more than just British History.  I highly recommend making this a stop if you ever plan on a trip across the pond…

you can see the excitement in his face, no?

You can see the excitement in his face, no?

The Architecture inside is worth a the trip alone...

The Architecture inside is worth a the trip alone…

one more architecture shot...

one more architecture shot…

Here, Ramesses 1270 BC

Here, Ramesses 1270 BC

Aphrodite 1st or 2nd century AD.

Aphrodite 1st or 2nd century AD.

It is actually the Roman copy of the original (2nd century BC), the Romans called her Venus…So, my question is,  where is Serena?

Serious Mummies here people.

Serious Mummies here people.

struggling through a massive museum. Mummy's are only exciting for a limited time.

Struggling through a massive museum. Egyptian mummies are only exciting for a limited time.

This preserved guy curled up for his last nap about 3000 BC.

This preserved guy curled up for his last nap about 3000 BC.

The Greek Drinking Party

The Greek Drinking Party Vessel.

So, as it turns out, “Symposium” literally means ‘drinking together.’  This gives whole new meaning to Reed’s weekends away for work meetings.  Here, the vessel that held the wine for the Symposia.

I could go on, but let’s just say we made it to one more gallery  before we headed to Trafalgar Square, which is really impressive and hard to capture in one pic…

Trafalgar Square. as seen in a previous post.

Trafalgar Square. as seen in a previous post.

Trafalgar Square is bordered by the National Gallery on one end...which is gigantic.

Trafalgar Square is bordered by the National Gallery on one end…which is gigantic.

Some dude trying to make a buck outside the Gallery

Some dude trying to make a buck outside the Gallery

Trafalgar sqare: Massive sculptures and crazy large lions...

Trafalgar Square: Massive sculptures and crazy large lions…

Lions which are free to be climbed, apparently.

Lions which are free to be climbed, apparently.

And a really cool view of the Houses of Parliment from the other direction.

And a really cool view of the Houses of Parliament from the other direction.

And that wraps up Day 1 in London.  Day 2 was summarized in the video as seen previously, so let me end with FOOD!  We packed in one last English breakfast as we lazily headed out of Cambridge.  Actually, Reed ordered the breakfast and I ordered ‘Sprats” because it sounded like something you can’t get in the US.

Full English breakfast, top; kid-friendly quesidilla bottom R; and SPRATS on the left.

Full English breakfast, top; kid-friendly quesadilla bottom R; and SPRATS on the left.

Yeah, I know, beer.  It was nearly noon, honest.

I had NO IDEA they would be little battered fish!?!?

I had NO IDEA they would be little battered fish!?!?

Once over the initial shock, they were quite tasty. Please don’t think less of me for devouring them.

We then headed to our hotel near the airport.  You have GOT to check this out- they have a “Wine Tower.”  The idea being, if you order a bottle above head-height, the “Angels” fly up and get it for you.  They also do intermittent shows throughout the evening, it isn’t Cirque De  Soleil or anything, but it had every man’s attention in the room, that is certain.

So, if you are dying for a view of the Angels, Reed was sure to take a video, email me for a copy :)

So, if you are dying for a view of the Angels, Reed was sure to take a video, email me for a copy 🙂

Can’t you just see this thing outside of the Red Bird Wine Bar? Step it up a notch, Florence Hotel.

Ok, people, thanks for making it this far.  This may have to do it for London, onto more Bavarian adventures!

yours in Sprats,

Kim

The Limit is 40.

On March 22, 2013, I awoke to an Austrian 40 km/hour speed limit sign in our driveway!  Happy 40th to me!  Reed did an incredible job at congregating nearly every soul we know in town to celebrate with cake and ice cream.  Although afternoon cake is a familiar tradition here, the ice cream (“Eis”) to go along with it is 100% American and everyone seemed to really enjoy it…

The original pic had me in my PJ's, here, I cleaned up a little.

The original pic had me in my PJ’s, here, I cleaned up a little.

As Reed has pointed out, it is in km, so really it’s only, like, 24.8!

He ordered a special traditional chocolate cake, we think it is called a Sachertorte. (apricot jam filling)

Reed was the party-planner, he made this whole spread!

He ordered a traditional Austrian chocolate cake, and our friend, Dörte made a traditional German birthday cake, on the right.

It is "Sachertorte", chocolate with apricot jam filling.

It is “Sachertorte”, chocolate with apricot jam filling. I think it says “Happy 24.8 yr Birthday Kimmer”

Eliot was ecstatic that there was a birthday party...and loved all the company

Eliot was ecstatic that there was a birthday party…and loved all the company

Dorte on the right, and her 2 lovely daughters on the left, Julia and Sarah

Dorte on the right, and her 2 lovely daughters on the left, Julia and Sarah

I must add, in case Joe is reading this… the girls get all of their beauty, inside and out from their Mom. 🙂

Dinner at the incredible M32.  In the Museum der Moderne overlooking the city

Dinner at the incredible M32. In the Museum der Moderne overlooking the city

A very funky restaurant above the city.

A very funky restaurant above the city.

Here, the river view at night, you can see the Museum top right

Here, Salzburg at night, you can see the Museum where we dined, top right

View FROM the museum!

View FROM the museum! Breathtaking, I mean, if you like medieval Fortressess and all that…

And just because we were so thrilled to get to see the city at night, I am adding one more, view from the museum, River Salzach

And just because we were so thrilled to get to see the city at night, I am adding one more, view from the museum, River Salzach

All in all, an INCREDIBLE birthday!  The only thing missing was all of you friends and family that we are so far away from,

xoxo,

Kim

Cambridge, We’ve Got Bridges….

Finally, a photo together on the Clare Bridge

Finally, a photo together on the Clare Bridge, oldest in Cambridge (1640)

We spent 2 1/2 days or so sightseeing in Cambridge.  The Clare Bridge is said to be the oldest and one of the most scenic.  There is a piece missing from one of the spheres…they propose that the artist did it to protest his poor pay.

New friend, Ann East, and Kim posing next to the artistic expression.

New friend, Ann East, and Kim posing next to the artistic expression.

Reed’s friend Malcolm East and his wife Ann currently live north of Cambridge with their nearly 10 month old son.  They were able to meet us in Cambridge for a day and a half.  Kim and Ann became fast Facebook friends when Eliot was born, and Reed had not seen Malcolm for 23 years. Gotta love Facebook or this meeting might not have occurred!  Here, we approach THE icon of Cambridge, Kings College.

The stately college, built in 1441 is known for the elaborate Chapel.

The stunning college, built in 1441 is known for the elaborate Chapel.

It is so hard to capture the full beauty of this structure.

It is so hard to capture the full beauty of this structure.

'Old' friends with so much in common...

‘Old’ friends with so much in common…here inside of Kings College

Stepping inside of Kings College, truly impressive.

Stepping inside of Kings College, truly impressive.

Walking next to Kings College Chapel

Walking next to Kings College Chapel

A lovely walk is “The Backs” along the River Cam that takes you along the back of various colleges for some incredible views.  Most colleges are closed, or you may pay to enter, so it is nice to get some free views!

Kings College, as seen from The Backs.

Kings College, as seen from The Backs.

A nice walk along "The Backs" allows incredible views of the different colleges.

closer up, can’t get enough of Kings College Chapel

Cambridge is known for it’s quaint bridges and thank God for that since the only thing Eliot gets more excited about is tunnels.  So, I will share a short snippet of our bridge experience for his sake.

Quick view from the Clare Bridge, may be Garrett Hostel bridge?

Quick view from the Clare Bridge, may be Garrett Hostel bridge?

And for my engineering friends and family:

The Mathmatical Bridge in Queen's College is ....

The Mathematical Bridge in Queen’s College is a puzzle in that it is wooden and self-supporting.  It is made from straight boards, yet forms an arc from a series of tangents with radial members to tie them together.

Okay, I could go on, but let’s move on to the Colleges of Cambridge.  Much to our surprise, you will not find one campus named “The University of Cambridge.”  Even thought it is 2nd oldest university in the English speaking world and the 3rd oldest surviving university (approximately 1209).   Instead, the student population is approx 18,000 and the town is made up of approximately 31 different Colleges all with their own admissions criteria etc.   Here, some pics of popular tourist stops:

St John's College

St John’s College- Main Gate, (1516) decor is the Arms of the Foundress.

“The College Arms are flanked by curious creatures known as yales, mythical beasts with elephants’ tails, antelopes’ bodies, goats’ heads, and swivelling horns” (downloaded from wikipedia 2013).  Try explaining that one to a 2 1/2 yr old!

Yales. got it.

Yales. got it.

St Johns gate

St Johns gate, with the Chapel emerging behind

Inside of St Johns.  Kinda reminds me of Dead Poet's Society?

Inside of St Johns. Kinda reminds me of Dead Poet’s Society x 1000.

More of St Johns

More of St Johns

St Catherines College

St Catherines College

After hangin’ with these friends for the afternoon, we grabbed grub at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant.  Turns out he is more than a trendy new chef, he is very much looked up to here and his restaurant was awesome.  He believes in healthy kids menu food.

Inside Jamie Oliver's restaurant, Cambridge

Inside Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, Cambridge.  Reasonably priced and kid friendly!

Eliot's "kids meal.'

Eliot’s “kids meal.”

The temps may have made it a cold week, but you can't beat seeing a friend after 23 yrs!

The temps may have made it a cold week, but you can’t beat seeing a friend after 23 yrs! For context, Malcolm was 5th at Boston in 1981 in 2:11. Reed was another 21 minutes back and didn’t meet Malcolm till that next fall, then they trained together for 5 more years, until life took them separate ways.

The green grass may make it appear spring-like, but don’t be fooled.  I think we missed the warm weather by about a week.  Still, we are so glad we got to experience Cambridge and to meet up with friends!

Next up, museums, but now, off to sleep for these tired parents,

ciao,

Kim and Reed

Enter Cambridge: Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Full English Breakfast

Full English Breakfast

We should really start with food, dontcha think?  Poached eggs, ham, triangular hashbrowns (and triangular butter, as if more fat is necessary) roasted tomah-toes, roasted shrooms and of COURSE Beans.  Gotta love the Brits.

Kim just loved being able to communicate for an entire week.

We left Salzburg on a Saturday. We drove a car to the airport, a bus to the plane, boarded a plane (w/o assigned seating!?), then a train to Cambridge and lastly,  took a taxi to our apartment.  Eliot was in 7th heaven. (THANK GOD!)

Reed found a 3 bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Cambridge

Reed found a 3 bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Cambridge. Don’t be fooled by the blue.

It. Was. Freezing.  Cold as he__ __.  We just weren’t prepared for the arctic temps exacerbated by the wind. But, we had a kitchen, living room and a separate bedroom for the toddler.  This is crucial to avoid the parents-hangin-the-hotel-hallway scene.  Priceless.

The River Cam.  (get it, Cam-bridge?  They orginally settled by building a bridge over...)

The River Cam. (get it, Cam-bridge? They originally settled by building a bridge over…)

My original caption was, ‘freezing in UK.’ Because, that was my first emotion….if freezing is an emotion.

But, let’s move on!  The river is so quaint and endearing.  Really really lovely, despite the temps.

typical Cambridge bridge.punting boats lined up

The Bridges alone are a sight to be seen. Here, you see the ‘punting boats,’ a popular activity (when penguins aren’t following you)

So, after arriving on Saturday and finding the closest grocery store is a 3 min walk from the apartment…and it is essentially Walmart, life just got a LOT easier.   (no lie, the store, ASDA, is owned by Walmart!).   Let’s be clear- Europe is expensive…the exchange rate alone is a killer, but simple things like, baby wipes, are expensive, so to find Walmart withing walking distance was a God-send.  And the BEER!  The Brits enjoy a good pale ale and IPA just like us Americans, god-love-em.  We drank a lot of good beer on this trip.

On Sunday, we joined Kim’s high school alum who is a prof at the University at a local pub for an English breakfast and she showed us around town.  This is an understatement, Michelle Oyen was crucial to our trip, as she lent us much advice and many sight-seeing books that Kim read like the Bible.  (THANKS AGAIN Michelle!!!)

With her guidance, we were able to navigate the town on Monday and then London on Tuesday. Here are a just a couple of sights we captured on Sunday…

2nd Oldest building in Cambridge, The Round Church.

2nd Oldest building in Cambridge, The Round Church. built 1130 (although the circular roof was added later)

King's College.

King’s College. 1441.  That’s really old.

I think my College student Union (in Wisconsin) was built in…like…1978.  I was so cheated in architecture.Kings college

Here, the pub where brainstorming took place. (and still does?) Crick & Watson discussed DNA

Here, The Eagle Pub where brainstorming took place (and still does?) Crick & Watson used this pub as a place to discuss their DNA research, ‘whilst refreshing themself with an ale.’

I knew there was a reason I drank ale, only good things can come.

Ok, with that said, we have started our re-telling of our e-journey to the UK.  My ale has run out, and we are tired.  To be continued tomorrow!   Hope you have enjoyed our journey to Cambridge so far,

Kim

London in a Nutshell

We took the opportunity last week to fly from Salzburg to London via discount airline “Ryan Air” , because, Heck, we can! ( a lot easier than flying from Missoula, surely).

So, here it is- for those that just want the condensed version:

We flew into London Stanstedt on a Saturday, stayed in an awesome apartment in Cambridge for 6 nights, London 1 night.  Toured Cambridge 3 days, Trained it into London 2 days and for those of you doing the math… just tried to survive traveling with a toddler the rest of the time.   A wonderful High School Alumni of mine (I refuse to say ‘old’ friend, that makes us sound, well, OLD) teaches in Cambridge and was invaluable to our trip.  We also got to see an Old friend of Reed’s  🙂  and his wife who live north of Cambridge for a day and half.

King's College. An icon of Cambridge

King’s College. An icon of Cambridge

Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. R & E in front

Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. R & E in front

It must really be an epidemic here.

It must really be an epidemic here.

Trafalgar Square. Spectacular!

Trafalgar Square. Spectacular!

Lastly, I have included  a video of one of our 2 full days in London.  My nicer camera had a dead battery this particular day, so I had the Flip video camera as a back up.  I assembled most of the clips and hit ‘magic movie.’  This randomly snags seconds from each clip and Viola!  A short movie.

For those of you that would like a play-by-play account of our escapades, I LOVE YOU FOR THAT and am working on this, but until then- here is the ‘Magic.’

But, for those of you who revel in each play-by-play of our time, I will continue the diary of the ‘mature’ couple 🙂  toting their toddler around one of the most spectacular cities on Earth.  But, not today. Yawn.

Cheerio!

Kim