27 May 2009

TOURING LONDON; Day 4: The Final Chapter

The Austria Alps from Maria Alm

The Sound of Music Tour -- Where LG said, "Now I know it's the truth!"

Wildflowers in Maria Alm.

Our brown-eyed bubble blower!

The responsibilities of turning 4!

The lovely bouquet for MK.

LG's artwork on display at ŝkolka.

Sunny London.

Da Mario for pizza in London.

Our first meal in Maria Alm.

Nothing exceptional occurs on our last morning--the Hoppa is on-time, as is our flight. We leave from Terminal 3 and I have time to go once more to Boots for a supply of the Ibuprofen gel...

We arrive a bit early at O'Hare and CA is waiting as we walk through the double doors. I am SO GLAD to see him. Two weeks has been very long. Home is so inviting--I have been thinking a lot about my own bed and my comfortable chairs for reading. JL spends one last night before returning to her home in Michigan.

I reflect on what I have most enjoyed about this trip, in no particular order:

  • the Austrian Alps--snow-covered peaks and verdant hillsides; sunny, warm days and brisk nights. I will return...
  • being with my son and his family in this beautiful vacation world
  • enjoying the energy and beauty and intelligence of the two little girls
  • blowing bubbles over the balcony of our hotel in Maria Alm
  • playing Dora the Explorer dominoes with LG--she cheats but is too young to realize
  • watching KF learn to blow bubbles
  • shopping together for meals at the Billa in Maria Alm
  • picking wildflowers with LG
  • LG's gifts of wildflowers and kisses and hugs
  • KF's toothy smiles and bright brown eyes
  • driving for the first time in Europe
  • experiencing LG experiencing all the sights and songs from The Sound of Music in Salzburg
  • the blow-out 4th birthday party
  • the flirtatious KF--observing her intelligence, beauty, and agility
  • the bodacious LG--long arms and legs in constant motion; full of fun, sensitivity, intelligence, and beauty
  • the lovely home in Chorvatsky Grob--filled with such energy and love
  • the commitment of DM and MK to their ministry and family
  • an unexpected hug from the people-shy KF
  • seeing LG's school and artwork
  • walking through the neighborhood with Evka as the kids ride bikes and a scooter
  • the square in the Old City of Bratislava and coffee at Cafe Mayer with my family
  • buying MK a lovely bouquet at the same shop where she bought CA and I flowers on our first trip to Bratislava
  • Magnum ice cream bars and Corny (health!) bars--both covered in chocolate
  • the warmth and love of our Slovak family and friends
  • people watching in Pesinok and Vienna and London
  • the little blue Citroen
  • the flowers in Kensington Gardens
  • the architecture throughout London, Vienna, Salzburg
  • the Churchill War Rooms
  • the sunshine in London--even Londoners were impressed with the weather
  • the V&A Museum and William Morris Rooms Cafe
  • the Tube--not so flashy, but so, so efficient and convenienturg
  • Burger King on Gloucester Road--lots of ice in the Diet Coke
  • Boots--my favorite drug store in the world
  • Partridge's on Gloucester Road--I won't soon forget that warm croissant...
  • Noor Jahan on Bina Gardens--great Indian food
  • Seeing Dame Judith Dench perform
  • the crowds and energy in Leicester Square and Covent Gardens--too much, but electric
  • Windsor Palace
  • the countryside around Stone Henge and Bath--thatch cottages and grazing sheep; rolling fields divided by hedgerows
  • blooming roses everywhere around Bratislava and England--huge, fresh, and lovely
  • Euros: the exchange rate and universal use--even at Heathrow they accept Euros
  • wheely luggage--How did we survive in the past?
  • British newspapers; Hello magazine
  • free museums in London
  • the Food Halls of Harrods
  • Da Mario on Gloucester Road near Kensington Palace
  • Med Kitchen on Gloucester Road
  • the Nachsmarkt in Vienna and our favorite meals it inspires
  • Austrian pastries in Vienna, Bratislava, and Salzburg
  • Schnitzel in Maria Alm and the Nachsmarkt--MK's and her mom's are the best!
  • cheap but good wine everywhere

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