The 40th

With a little bit of delay I celebrated my 40th birthday on the 20th of August. We started out in the afternoon with a cake and dessert buffet which I had prepared. The buffet was adorned by a timeline with pictures of my friends dating back 25 years (including the few ones who couldn’t make it). After the cake we moved on to the entertainment. It was produced by some utterly brilliant people and I cannot remember the last time I laughed so hard and for so long. Finally, we sat down for an exquisite dinner, which I cannot take credit for as it was prepared by a professional and very skillful chef, Morten Vagner. Thank you to my amazing friends for making this event a bigger success than I had ever dreamed of.

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The Museum of Natural History, Vienna

The Museum of Natural History in Vienna is home to some unique and world-famous objects. For instance, the largest meteorite collection in the world and a very extensive precious stones and mineral collection. The collection of artifacts begun over 250 years ago and with over 30 million objects you will need quite a bit of time to see everything. We got started a bit late in the afternoon and decided to focus on the extensive and fascinating rock and crystal collection which itself took about an hour to get through. After a few dinosaur bones we headed out for a quick exploration of downtown Vienna.

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The Schönbrunn Palace and Garden

Right next to the Zoo was the Schönbrunn palace and garden which we visited next. The palace is a former imperial summer residence that holds 1,441 rooms. The palace is surrounded by a beautiful sculpted garden called the Great Parterre. In addition to this there is a number of other attractions, such as the Neptune Fountain, the Gloriette above the fountain, and an enormous Palm house.

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Tiergarten Schönbrunn / Vienna Zoo

Another city, another Zoo! Vienna boasts Europe’s oldest Zoo founded in 1752. There were a number of preserved buildings from the baroque era, which gave the place a nice and unique atmosphere. We saw many of the classic Zoo animals, and got a good close up look at a cheetah, and a funky type of chicken that we had never seen before. The Zoo also had pandas, but they were all sleeping when we were there. We were excited to see that one of the Koalas was up and moving about. Considering that they sleep more than 20 hours a day, it is rare that you get to see them awake. After having covered most of the Zoo’s grounds, we took a break from the heat and had lunch in the shade at a zoo restaurant. Before leaving the Zoo we passed some funny monkeys that we couldn’t really see, but that we could definitely hear. They were yelling in a very funny way.

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The Mežica Lead and Zinc Mine

On our way from Slovenia to Austria, we stopped at an old zinc mine turned into a tourist attraction. We put on mining equipment and took a ride on a genuine mining train right to the heart of the mine, the Moring district. Driving through the 3.5 km long tunnel lasted about 15 minutes and could be described as a quite uncomfortable and somewhat terrifying experience. The train ride was a bit much for Elliot, but once we made it to our destination, the fear quickly subsided. We stepped out at the station in the heart of the mountain, 600 m below the surface. Accompanied by a guide we headed down a tourist trail to find out more about the history of mining. In the mine, different types of mining equipment and tools that were used by miners in different historical periods were presented, from the early beginnings over 350 years ago until the last days of mining in 1995. We had a really interesting trip through the mine, and Elliot appreciated that it was okay to touch many of the exhibited objects.

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After the zoo we headed to the old town of Ljubljana.  We had lunch at a restaurant beside the river and afterwards walked around the local outdoor marketplace.  We visited the castle on the hill and climbed really high, 131 steps from the bottom of the tower to the top to get some spectacular views.  Then on the way back to the car we came across a love-lock bridge where the kids became fascinated with all the locks attached to the bridge.

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Vintgar Gorge

After swimming in Lake Bled, we visited Vintgar Gorge – a very picturesque area with waterfalls, tidal pools, and white rapids.  A path composed of wooden observation walkways and bridges allowed us to walk along the gorge and see some really great scenery.  After traversing the gorge path, we had dinner at a local restaurant where they served fish caught right out of the river.

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Lake Bled and Bled Castle

Next up we drove out to the glacial Lake Bled in the Julian Alps (north western Slovenia).  We visited the old castle above the lake and were greeted by spectacular views of the lake and surrounding area.  From our high vantage point the kids spotted a swimming area down on the lakeshore which we visited next.  It was a great day to cool down and just enjoy the surroundings.

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After quite a bit of exploring in the hot sun it was time for a visit to a resort with a big pool. On our way to the resort we stopped in the old town of Pula. Here we had lunch and ice, and then we took a closer look at the Pula Arena, which is the 6th largest surviving Roman amphiteatre in the world. After roasting in the sun some more we quickly headed to the resort and straight into the swimming pool.

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On the 2nd of July 2016 the family ventured off to explore new parts of Eastern Europe. We began our journey by flying to Croatia. Although we arrived late in Zagreb, we still managed to get off to an early start the next day. In Zagreb we explored the streets of the old town and walked through the Dolac Market, a traditional farmer’s market.  We also spent some time admiring the Zagreb Cathedral with its prominent spires that are visible from most parts of the city. From the highest vantage point in the city we enjoyed the view and played some Eye Spy before we had lunch and set off for the coast.

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Happy 10th Birthday to Sienna

It was one very happy 10-year old who got out of bed this morning. She started out the day with some nice new clothes including some cool neon items, which she will need for the neon-themed birthday party we are throwing for her class at the end of May. She also got some rolling shoes from her cousins in Canada and she got a weekend trip to Barcelona from us. After opening the presents there was time for some cinnamon waffles with ice cream and sprinkles. After that she was off to school. To commemorate the day, she brought homemade party puppies to her teachers and all of her class mates. Before lunch I picked her up from school again, and as tradition goes we headed to Tivoli to celebrate the big day with Mormor.

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Happy New Year

Like last year, we had a fun and relaxing New Year’s Eve with some friends at their summerhouse in the northern part of Zealand. I didn’t bother taking any pictures, so instead I am wishing everyone a happy New Year with a picture of this really cool guy, whom I am so proud of. What I am not so proud of, is the fact that 2015 was the worst year ever when it comes to updating the blog. I usually never care to look at the statistics, but today I just got an annual report saying that the blog had been visited more than 3600 times in 2015. That’s a lot of visits, which have more or less all been in vain, seeing that I made a total of four posts during the year (which were all promises to catch up soon). In light of this disappointing performance, I decided to pull myself together for real, and so today I managed to post all the pictures from our visit to Canada in February last year (click here and scroll to the bottom) as well as a bunch of pictures from April (click here). I hope I will be able to do better in 2016.