Friday, 30 January 2015

Skiing on Big Bear Mountain

Oh, so you've been skiing before? I haven't. Can't be that hard, can it? I'll watch a few how-to youtube videos to get me started. 

I don't think I've ever been more upset than when a warning came from Jamie that I would die on the slopes without a ski lesson. A group of us planned to head for Big Bear Mountain for a few days of skiing and I don't know why I thought it would be so easy. Regardless, any excuse for a roadtrip! 

On the first day Lisa and I decided to go for a lesson but it was scheduled for the afternoon. We both decided to suit up in helmets to ease the early afternoon uncertainty and oh god, I was terrible. George, Hayley and Georgie were more than competent. A few of them ski-holiday regulars. I was so embarrassed to be holding them back from the halfpipes.
Some outdoor changing room attempts were going on.
Lisa was rocking the perfect 'Ski Mom' look
N.b Not taken on an industrial selfie stick contrary to popular belief 
We hopped on a standing shuttle to the slopes.
We got to the top of the beginners slope and I was nervous...
... I felt better after taking my ski fails on the chin (literally)
Pre-drinks at the Motel was the perfect way to start dinner festivities.
George threw some cowboy shapes.
We had a lovely civilised meal (aside from farting from a repeat offender)
Once dropping off our ski gear at the end of day two, our drive home was as beautiful as the one there.
George has since made us a movie trailer style montage to commemorate the trip and unfortunately it's not shareable here. We couldn't have planned the trip smoother for sure and I couldn't think of a better group of people to venture up the mountain with, listening to and belting out some Celine Dion. 

Will I ski again? Without another lesson, I'm not so sure.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Vienna Day 3: The Natural History Museum

On our final day in Vienna Jamie and I took an early morning stroll through the Stradtpark and down the river. We came across a spot with really eerie graffiti pointing into the sewer entrance. I've had a few dreams about what's down there since. 

On our return we met Mary and David for a walk to find breakfast at the famous food market, the Naschmarkt. I enjoyed a Mediterranean breakfast with eggs, onions, tomatoes, bread and hummus. It was the perfect light start to the day. Jamie and I wandered off again towards the Museum district to explore the Natural History Museum.
Mediterranean Breakfast
The Natural History Museum

Horsing around

I wanted to see a Dodo and I found one, albeit a reproduction. Deid as a Dodo.
Museum Cafe
It was time to head back to the hotel and catch a taxi back to the airport with Mary and David. I left Vienna feeling accomplished. I've learned how to travel around the city and finally have an understanding of where things are. Every time I've previously visited with work I've never had the time nor opportunity to do so. I now know how to make the most of my potential future visits and I'm really looking forward to them! 

Is there anywhere you would recommend to visit in Vienna? Drop me a message and let a girl know!

Vienna Day 2: The Sightseeing Tour

On the morning of day 2 we rose early despite sleeping through our alarm. We met in the beautiful hotel lobby for a croissant and a coffee before heading to the Spanish Riding School to watch the horses perform their morning exercises. The journey to the Riding School was a scenic one. I've never before experienced a city with such amazing architecture. With its classical vibe, Vienna's beauty is overwhelming and exploring the centre feels like being in your own little fairytale. 
Hotel Lobby
The Spanish Riding School
David making new friends

After the riding school we found the nearest stop to catch the tour bus. The basic tour bus ticket is not only inexpensive but takes you around the Ringstraße; where most attractions are. Jamie and I decided to hop off at the Sigmund Freud Museum first so waved bye to Mary and David for the time being.

Through the peephole of Sigmund Freud's clinic door
The Clinic Waiting Room
In the very place he hung it, you could even look into the mirror that Sigmund Freud would have gazed at his own appearance. 

Afterwards we went searching for a burger and met success finding an adequate burger joint. After filling up we figured out where we were on the map and began exploring again. We passed a The Votive Church and eventually found The House of Parliament which is one of the most magnificently Roman buildings I've ever seen. 
The Votive Church
The House of Parliament
Action Shot!

When we could stop ourselves from gawking at the Parliament building we took a stroll up the Kärntnerstraß looking for a bar. Kärntnerstraß is one of the famous shopping streets in Vienna and by god it's long. There were hundreds of shops; both independent and chain. Jamie fell apart a little when he spotted the Leica shop and ran over to daydream about all the cameras he wouldn't be buying that day. Still searching for a bar, we struggled to find anything that wasn't an Australian Pub or a Cafe Bar. I think we would have settled for a cheesy rock bar but there were none in sight so continued searching. Ten minutes later (and still uninspired by the nearby alcohol establishments) we fell upon St Stephen's Cathedral.

We eventually choose to relax our bar criteria and found a Cafe bar that sat off the busy shopping street for a quick drink and nibble. We chose a table beside the window and ordered some drinks and a Viennese Antipasti which was absolutely not what we expected. It came with calamari, aubergine, full mushrooms, red cabbage and pickled shallots amongst a few other ingredients. I suppose the uncertainty surrounding some of the antipasti left us some space for our dinner a few hours later.
Back at the hotel we freshened up and were ready to take Mary and David to my favourite place 1516 for some award-winning ribs. After the extravagant portions of BBQ ribs had partially digested we finally rolled onto the street and into our hotel rooms.