Sunday June 27, 2010
Wow, doesn’t feel like a Sunday at all! This trip has felt a bit odd… a timeless kind of feeling. It’s hard to tell how long we have actually been here and how much longer we actually have, unless I think about it.
This morning we got to sleep in. I got 8 hours of sleep for the first time in a week. Only woke up two times. Up to now have been getting about 5 or 6 a night and then can’t sleep.
Last night I started getting a sore throat. Today was full blown frog-croaking and intensely sore throat. All day could hardly talk. Didn’t even hardly drink any water because my throat hurt so much.
We had breakfast and then headed on out to drive to Vienna. I forgot to mention one thing cool about this hotel has an automatic ramp that will carry your luggage up and down the stairs for you!
As we drove, I snapped pictures from the bus. So they might look a bit hazy or have reflections in the window, but this is because they were taken from my seat while we whizzed by.
I finally got a picture of the big ugly TV tower that sticks up above the Prague city scape. It looks like something from outer space.
Microsoft… ubiquitous everywhere. (My friend at Apple will not be happy to see this picture.)
The country sights are so amazing. There are huge flower fields.
The towns we pass by are all so quaint-looking and beautiful.
Midway there was a rest stop with a mall. Looked just like your typical mall in America.
Had a bit of a financial fiasco which I will blog about later… more absentmindedness set in and couldn’t find my money. Fortunately Jimmy Yo rescued us by letting us borrow money. Thanks, Jimmy!
It is so interesting how there is American food everywhere. The food court was mainly KFC, McDonald’s and Burger King. Plus a sit-down restaurant, which we didn’t have time for.
Back onto the bus and another 2 hours. (4 hours driving time total.) This time Chris had a little competition for us, like when did the Celts start mining salt (500 BC), what were the names of the halls we played in, what are the names of the rivers, etc. I joined a team that got 3rd place. (Though they did most of the work!)
We passed lots of beautiful countryside. I didn’t talk a whole lot because my throat was killing me. So I felt a bit anti-social, though it wasn’t because I didn’t want to talk. So I took lots of pictures. These pictures really do not do the landscape justice. In real life they are far more beautiful and the far distances are clearer. Not sure why it keeps turning out hazy with my camera. Plus we were whizzing by… so I guess it’s pretty amazing they turned out at all!
A medieval town…
Rolling hills and mountains…
Towns nestled among hills…
Who knew just green could be so beautiful? (You can also see windmills in the far distance.)
I was so amazed to get this picture from the bus as we were zooming down the highway! Didn’t even need to crop or straighten it. Once in a while I get lucky, because this is not the norm. (As can be evidenced from all the crooked pictures in this blog — the program I use won’t let me straighten pictures!)
The rest of the time was dozing and then waking up and hearing bits and pieces of interesting conversations, like…
How Japan has more elderly people than kids
How China only has the one child policy which means now there aren’t that many girls for people to marry
How people at Walmart save $2500 a year shopping there (and a whole lot more… this person is obviously passionate about Walmart)
The impact of the atomic bomb
Whether the Japanese really had subs off the coast of Santa Barbara during WWII
How someone has chubby cheeks
It was quite hilarious, really, as the kids jumped from conversation to conversation. Usually I sit on the bottom of the bus, which has mostly adults. This time I was upstairs. It is quite an intelligent group of kids and there was quite a lot of debate going on about different topics.
Finally we made it to Vienna!
We passed the Danube River.
And saw a really funky building.
Getting into our hotel was quite a feat. There was an opening that the bus barely fit into. Right where I was sitting the bus came within 3 inches of the corner. I thought for sure we would be scraped. We barely cleared the top. Everyone cheered and clapped for the bus driver after he made it.
The hotel room is huge compared to all the other rooms we were in! This is the nicest one yet. Big table, lots of storage. Big heavy comforter in summer. (So odd! Every hotel has a heavy comforter instead of light blankets!)
The lobby is bright and airy.
While we waited for everyone to get there for dinner, kids were playing an amazingly quick game that looked kind of like patty-cake. Their hands were a blur.
The restaurant we went to is part of the hotel. It was a nice setting.
We had tomato soup.
The vegetarians had a little salad because the soup had meat in it. I learned it is called “caprese” and has tomatoes, mozzarella and basil and is the colors of the Italian flag.
Dinner was steak with fried onions on top (there’s that fried food again) and potatoes.
Dessert was cake with what looked like jello with raspberries in it on top. By this time it was getting darker inside so this photo doesn’t look so good.
After that, a large group of people went out to town for the evening to an amusement park type place. I really wanted to go but am feeling under the weather so I stayed home to rest. No photos tonight… Off to bed for me!