Thursday, April 24, 2014


Sea breezes and sunshine, but Malta was so much more.  After landing in Malta, we had an hour bus ride in which Hannah vomited all over me, the bus driver was doing us no favors and as we bounced along I took in our surroundings and prayed that Hannah was OK because what I saw outside the window had me worried. My brother joined us for this trip and I can only imagine what he was thinking we were getting him in too (besides traveling with a toddler!).  Really it was not so bad, but alarmed mother mode was not helping my perception or smell.  
Spinola Bay
There was plenty of beauty to be found on Malta; in the vistas, architecture, people and culture.  Island atmosphere, sunshine and warm temperatures tend to melt away worries.  The food was delicious with a heavy Sicilian influence - pasta, seafood and pizza - can't go wrong with those dishes.  In fact, my dearest two year old proved some unusual taste buds as she refused chicken nuggets and opted for calamari rings.
There is so much history there - "Malta holds the record for the heaviest, sustained bombing attack: some 154 days and nights and 6,700 tons of bombs."  For such a small land mass this is astounding.  In fact, the whole island - around Valletta and The Grand Harbor - appears to be more of a fortification.  So there was plenty to see and explore.

Fort Manoel, Manoel Island, Malta
After wandering around on our own the first day or two we decided to do something that we've never done.  A sightseeing bus tour - two actually and a harbor cruise.  We'd purchased a public bus ticket for one week for 6 euros, but it turns out it takes forever to get to a destination.  So the bus tours suited our tight time frame.  I would recommend this option to anyone visiting Malta with a short period of time and disinterest in driving on the "opposite" side of the road. Since Malta was under British rule until 1964 they drive on the left side of the road.  Driving there seemed to contradict relaxing :) 

Bighi Complex (aka Bighi Hospital)
The two bus tours and harbor cruise took three days.  In hindsight, on the Blue/North Tour I wish we would have stopped wandered walked around the cities of Mdina and Rabat although the Aviation Museum was interesting.  The final day we took the South/Red Tour which was by far our favorite with highlights being the fishing village Marsaxlokk and the Blue Grotto. 

Marsaxlokk Village

Marsaxlokk fishing boats

Fresh Paint and Evil Eyes
Near Blue Grotto


That was fun....Yes, I am standing behind this camera wet, very wet from the knee down, but worth it.

Enjoying waves and sunshine
Heaps of beach glass - Balluta Bay
We were really surprised by how cheap things were - food, drinks, dining out and entertainment was all very reasonable.  As we walked through the grocery store I kept thinking to myself that this is an island and we naturally thought food would be more expensive considering the journey it takes to get there.  We weren't complaining though.  We really enjoyed the rental apartment we found through too.
Veranda view
Maltese Windows - everywhere
Outside Valletta
 A great place to be - we really enjoyed Malta - grateful to have made it there.  Enjoy!

Next up...Provence :)

Happy Travels!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sweet Salzburg

I completely forgot to write about our short trip to Salzburg, Austria.  First of all, we loved the city, the food, the people, the sights and the snow which rarely falls on Frankfurt.  Sounds blasphemous to speak of cold snowy weather as I look out on this gorgeous Spring day with temperatures near 70 degrees.  Seems even more wrong to brag about our glorious weather here when my poor family and friends back in Michigan are still under the chilly grip of old man winter.  I digress.....

Salzburg was our destination between Christmas and New Years Eve.  We wanted to be in our own place on Christmas, stay in our pajamas all day, eat comfort food and watch Hannah unwrap her gifts.  Starting our own traditions is so much fun.  We also didn't want to miss the New Years Eve fireworks in Frankfurt from our upper terrace - always a spectacular view like being in a snow globe of fireworks.
View of the Alps from the Hohensalzburg Fortress
We had an awesome room in Salzburg - one that gave us extra space and allowed for us to sit up after Hannah's bedtime instead of huddling in the dark and whispering.  The incredible view of the fortress had us second guessing how much we actually paid. We arrived on the last evening of the Weihnachtsmarkt, which was quaint and similar to the German markets.

Christmas Decorations in the Hohensalzburg Fortress 

Chapel in the Fortress

Yes, I kissed my love in the "Love Grotto" :)

Just into the Alps - in search of snow......
To take this little one sledding.....she hated it!

Stunning view after our sledding attempt - made the hour drive worthwhile
Oldest Restaurant in Europe - St. Peter's Stiftskeller 

View from the fortress towards the Alps

The fortress from across the Salzach River
Salzburg means Salt Castle

Salzach River
Bike Parking at the Augustiner Brewery
Gotta love it!
There was so much to see in Salzburg.  We only touched the tip of iceberg so to speak - as we didn't get to venture out of the city much, but when we did we were constantly saying to each other, "Oh, this would be great in the Spring." or "I want to come back!" maybe hopefully that is possible.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Home Sweet Home

I have been living in Frankfurt for two and half years now and still struggle to call it home.  After finally leaving my home town that I could not wait to flee as a teenager, I know that I want to go back.  Funny how life works.  For now I am enjoying life in Germany.  If I am really honest though- many times I find myself day dreaming about what I will do when we move back (SO many ideas), but then I pull myself back to the present, to the moment.

I was very lucky to go home for a visit this winter (YAY!).  I needed to see my family and friends and SNOW!  Yes, Michiganders I know you are sick of hearing about snow, seeing it, shoveling it, cursing it, driving in it - not mention the polar vortex.  But I was happy to see it.  Hannah was mesmerized.  And I have to teach my girl that she really is a Michigan girl at heart - sledding, snowball fights, snow angels, snowmen, all of it.  However, she was reluctant to be in it, but happy to watch it from the window; watch Papa plow, watch Mom shovel and see Nanny's car get covered with fluffy flakes.

Thank you for having us Michigan :)

Thank you Old Man Winter for allowing safe travels and on time flights.