Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Day on the Slopes

Challenging myself for one last day, Phil and I ventured out to the bigger, longer, harder slopes near his home town, in a region known as Gstaad (it sounds like a bear growling!) and a town called "Chateaux D'Ex". Since I'm tired, I'll post some picts. I will, however, say that at the end of the longer path, the less-than-friendly blue slope LINKED UP WITH A RED ONE, so it was insanely hard. I am proud to report, however, that by using the pattented "Snow plow" technique I totally OWNED (or "pwned" if you are of the internets) them slopes.

This is me styling on the slopes...don't I look pleased with myself?

me at la braye

**Note: these vids aren't all from the same place, but I wanted to put them up, and the last day is probably a good dumping ground for vids from my ski-ventures**

and while we're on the subject of George W. style hubris....

Ok, so karmically I was sort of asking to break a leg or something, but I totally didn't (take THAT, universal justice!), and I learned quite a lot with the help of my beau.

After such an intellectually taxing excersize, we more than earned a trip to the spa at Saillons, (click for the link). It was actually freezing outside, so when we were in the hot outside baths, the steam was rising in billows, and people appeared as shapes in the mist, which was amazing. It was relaxing and etherial and fun and great. Of course there were people there not just to relax but to have fun, which is the origin of this great piece of dialogue:
-Go into the other outdoor pool [the one that is kept at a cooler temperature than the other two]
-I don't even go into that in the summer!
-Little bit!
People are people!
Anyway, it was fabulously wonderful to splash around there for several hours, and before we knew it, it was almost closing time, and we were insanely hungry, so we went to a very small local place and had.....

The Swiss couple next to us, sociable from the close quarters and white wine chatted us up, even instructing me on how to turn my little pitchfork-thing so that I don't waste my dipping cheese. It was a very intimate setting, very rustic and sweet, and I had a great day.

The Rest of my Time in Switzer-place

The plan for the next two days was pretty simple and seemingly easy to carry out: we were going to have a nice, easy, baby-slope day the day after Christmas (followed by a visit to the Noel Marche in Montreux), and then, two days after Papa Noel's visit, we were going to haul off to GSTAAD (fun to say as it is to ski!) for a long day of skiing and spaaing.

This started going haywire pretty much by the time we reached the "baby slope" was closed. Oddly enough, there were people there, and we were able to ascertain that it would be closed for the entire day, so we decided to go back to my first slope ever all those years ago, Les Mosses.

This was where I had my first day of disasters, and oh was it disasterous. On that day in 2006 I tumbled down slope after slope, but this time I was feeling much more optimistic, starting off first on the bebeh slope, and then moving on to the blue slope--a k a "The Piccachu Slope"...D'OH! That little japan-imation b-stard followed me the whole time, but let me just say that it was bigger, and I did good at the mountain. After having a cup of tea and seeing A COPTIC PRIEST ON THE BABY SLOPE:

<-- Photos don't lie...that's a man in a skirt

Anyway...that sentence got cut off mid-way through. Ok, so after our cup of tea we went onto a more difficult and long slope, which I was all for; I can't improve if I don't keep challenging myself (plus the Pikachu slope was getting a bit boring, AND I hadn't fallen once that day). As Phil and I were going down, he got to thinking and let out this little gem as I pointed out one red slope that I was glad not to be on:
"I think you were on that one...yes, you were on that red slope. That's the first slope I took you to two years ago, you know, just after you got done on the beginner's slope...I guess I underestimated its difficulty."


...and this is as challenging as I got on this day, something that looks easy but is actually kinda hard a little. I'd call it a "dark blue" slope, and I did fall, twice in fact, on the way down. Long story short, we earned our trip to Montreux, a cute little Christmas market that was just big enough to be big but not obnoxious, unlike some (Berlin, I'm looking at you).

The Santa Clause was from Sweden, so I guess my people were kind of represented

Not his people, even though quite a few people confuse the two
(Switzerland does not = Sweden)

<-- I think that this was the biggest Hannukah bush on the Continent this year

Can't have Christmas without ye olde nightmare fuel!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas in der Schweiz

Christmas day arrived, and it seemed fitting that we get our little European selves to church, if for no other reason than to pray that I not break my lovely little neck on the slopes, so off to Cathedral de Lausanne it was. It's the town's central place of worship, which would imply an onus on them to put on a good show but for the fact that they are Calvinists. What we were greeted with instead was a rather empty church, sparsely decorated, and the most "huh, it is Christmas...we should probably do something" service ever. It was truly only saved by its brevity and the prettiness of the gutted cathedral. all through the sermon (a reading of a roman letter requesting the census mentioned in the Christmas story) i couldn't help but think that that pastor needed a little Lutheran-ing up, a little back-and-forth with the audience (we didn't even do the and also with you bit, just sat there). It was nice to be there with Philippe though, and his voice is a really great bass that can read the harmonies, so doff of the cap to him as well!

After that we ran back to the house and threw on our ski clothes for a short day of skiing at a place called Les Pleiades (check out their webcam!) reachable by train from Lausanne.

The view from Les Pleiades...innit great?

I am going to say right now that it was not my most impressive day of skiing. The snow was icier than the previous day, and I was in no place to go particularly fast or do anything impressive, but I did only fall three times, and two of those I atrribute to the ski lift, which was just a metal seat attached to a wire that pulled you along. Of course, at my most spazz-tastic moment, when I was having my initial freakout about the size of the hill, after my first and only fall on the slope of the day, we look over, and who do we see out for a pleasant little stroll on the snow? Phil's parents! I am kind of insisting he show them the vids of me skiing that day to prove to them that I'm not a complete spazz. The slope was relatively empty, just a big Italian family kind of falling all over the place, and a few baby snowboarders and their instructors that we had to steer away from.

Me taking a break with Phil on the slope
(the sun makes it so warm that you don't
really need your jacket all the time...I'm
sitting on mine in this picture)

Philippe taking a tea break
(tea is apparently one of the better things you can drink on the slopes because it is warm and water based...and awesome)

My skills were developing, no question. The focus of the day was speed control and turning, things that are actually pretty darned hard when you purposefully have no traction and are just kind of keeping your fingers crossed that you don't mess up too badly. The day ended, however, with me wanting to ski even more!

That night, as a way of marking Christmas Day, which is usually not a big deal on the Continent (the big hurrah is saved for Christmas Eve), we made gingerbread cookies, decorated them, had a home cooked meal from Chef Philippe and watched some Christmas movies. On that note, I hereby declaire the 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street to be THE ONLY version. There was NO remake, and we shall never speak of that technicolor fiasco ever again.

Can't touch this, Dylan McDermott!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve, Y'all!

So here is a little bit of information you might not know about renting kind of sucks.

Well, I will put it another way, you can't be too shy when getting fitted for skis, largely because they are asking height, weight, and then tugging and pulling and straining to attach your ski boots (they are supposed to be tight, but if they just asked your weight and you are a lady not unlike myself...well...), but we did just this early in the morning on Christmas Eve, managing to get the place's last pair of skis in my size. There was a small problem, though, they did not have ski poles (wrhuh?) so we went on to the town where we'd be skiing, Les Pacouttes (I think that is the right spelling...French, like us, is a phonemic langage), and there a VERY nice guy lent us poles for a day for free ("I trust you!"). Turns out that is not out of the normal because this resort was a small, local number, not especially crowded or anything and out of the way. Very Swiss and nice!

I am happy to report that the first day was significantly more victorious than days past, even though there WAS a bit of this (and wouldn't you know Phil had to have the camera for just this moment):

two falls, neither of them particularly epic.

But there was also a good ammount of this:

Kate Winning

That was actually quite wonderful, and by the end of a day of training I began to figure out what people see in a sport in which you have to go against every natural instinct (ie: not to slip, to lean forward when falling, to weight your left foot when turning left) in order to do well.

Then, after a goodly nap, we went to a very nice dinner at Philippe's parents. They are good folks, and his mom went to the next level with her decorating, even folding the table napkins if you can believe. They also had a tree! My gifts were a reasonable success, so I am going to go ahead and declaire Christmas Eve a victory all around!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Setting, Same Rush

Can't say I have been doing much lately, but I did manage to get my behind to Switzerland on time, a small miracle if you ask me. I am now typing on Philippe's computer. What? Don't believe me? Want proof? Here are some keys that I don't have on mine:


see? Would I lie to you folks?

I had to get up at 4:30 to get my ICE train to Bern, but once I was on it, I didn't have to change trains again, and I was able to relax a bit in the seat Phil had reserved for me (yay!). This was all going well until the most disgusting human being ever sat across from me and began to eat a series of jelly donuts VERY loudly and sloppily, which I found irksome.
keep it to yourself, buddy!

The goal of train travel is for us to make it to our destination while remaining relatively undisturbed by outside happenings...that includes the consumption of ung-dly quantities of pasteries, Monsieur! Luckily he didn't get on till far into the trip, and I was soon in Bern where I joined Phil on the trip back to Lausanne.

The city is really quite pretty around Christmas. In the countryside there is snow on the ground and the mountains are breathtaking as always. We have 4 days of skiing planned with the understanding that last time was not a rousing success (me falling down a mountain repeatedly to shouted cryptic instructions like "put your weight on your TWO ski" isn't however a total failure..I DID make it down in one piece), so we'll go MUCH SLOWER this time.

yeah, kinda like that!

I am hopeful though, and I have the cutest ski gear possibly of all time ever (pictures will be posted when they become available).

Today has been spent bumming around and gloating that we have already done our Christmas shopping, something I recommend you all should do while watching others running about madly--often with small children in tow--on a mission to BUY PEOPLE STUFF! I also got the chance to write people winter cards (December was nuts, so you are getting WINTER cards and not CHRISTMAS cards), a very chill day in a nice city (with a high of 42...suck on that icicle, Chicago!).

We also found out something very important about Phil:

He has rarely met a cheese he didn't like, but Dutchmen, you are officially on notice.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Enter tha Lawson

New hair color y'all!!!

and gloves and ski goggles.

This is a preparation for my trip tomorrow, well, not for the trip itself but for my time in Switzerland, during which I will be--you guessed it-- SKIING!

The hair color is really just back to my "normal" dark blonde, because I had what Jon called "three centimeters of brown under the blonde." So I fixed it! And now I look not just like a respectable girl but also a skiing NINJA (thus the goggles)!

Friday, December 19, 2008

"Hey, why the heck hasn't Kate posted anything lately?"
"Yeah, now all I have to look at are LOLcats and Gofugyourself!!"
"What could you be doing that's more important than logging onto the computer machine and typing away?"

Well folks, what I was doing was making Christmas happen at good ole MBO!

I exaggerate. But there were a billion things to do regarding kids' tests, Christmas parties (oh, the giddy non-secularism!), getting ready to get off to Switzerland (leaving Monday!), etc etc.

The first big party for which I planned was one in the 9th year, a ruthless bunch of munchkins who somehow got their collective acts together to do a potluck breakfast. Now look at what they trusted TEENAGERS with:
a hot griddle candles 2 waffle irons

it's nuts...I can't even believe it. I was having miniature heart attacks, but their teacher was as blase as you could imagine

My contribution was bagles (yummo) and rice crispy treats. Let me tell you, not a big hit

I think it's because it's too sweet, and because I used chocolate crispies, people were like "it looks like meat!" I was a bit annoyed. But there were eventually takers as boys in classes around the room made raids on our food. The one American teacher in the department also ate them. They puzzled the Germans to no end though!

In the staff room we were all going a bit nuts too...I mean, tensions tend to run high when everyone's under pressure, and for teachers this is their first short semester (lasting 2 weeks less than last year), so I have been snapped at by one (who then apologized to a fellow teacher and told her to tell me...wrhuh?) and witnessed a shouting match between a vice principal and a low level English teacher. The insanity sadly did NOT end when the principal emerged from his office to distribute flowers to us (SHOOT! I just remembered I left mine at the school!)

The next day, our last day (thank G-D!) it was basically straight class parties with some grade distribution woven in. I had asked how I could contribute to the festivities

(though with sweaters like this, what more could I possibly contribute?!

yes Virginia, there IS a Santa Clause...sweater)

The teacher in question seemed to think in the following way:

well, she IS American...they have some pretty wacky minorities in that place she DID go to university in Chicago, so... Kate, you're teaching the class how to play dreidle.

Mind you, the last time I played that game, a device called "JEWISH PIRATES" was utilized, but for the sake of my duties as diversity liaison I was willing to be a goodwill ambassador for Hanukkah. So I went out and found some dreidles (not easy, people!), got some chocolate pieces with which to play and set out to teach one of my favorite classes about the holiday and the game. The boys kind of ran with it from the beginning because I explained it to them "like Jewish poker...but with a top and chocolates instead of cards and money."

But they did eventually give in to the inevitable ACTUAL poker

The girls were another story. They used some of the candies they'd gotten earlier in the day to make their game more interesting, and they really seemed to have fun. I was playing music (Sufjan Stephen's Christmas CDs...BUY THEM NOW!) and it was just hella cool.

Note: these are the students who gave permission for their pictures to be used. There are TONS of picts with other kiddos in them, but I didn't ask them to use theirs (pronouns are hard).

At the end of the holiday party I gave out some of the chocolate chip cookies I'd made, and one girl came up to me and said that she was Jewish, that her family celebrated Hanukkah (I was immediately afraid I'd explained the holiday wrong and she was going to go all Macabee on my hiney in honor of the holiday) and that she was very grateful for me explaining how to dreidle. Then, get a load of this, she FREAKIN HUGGED ME in that mutant German kind of one arm way!


After that the Kate Army of Champions were supposed to be let out of class, but only 4 people showed up for the entire class (I can't blame em). In my defence, of those 4, 2 were in the Army of Champions, so my students are still more awesome and dedicated and smart than the others. We all just sat around though, the four kids, their teacher, and me, eating the rest of my cookies (they're fans of my mad culinary skillz) and talking about politics, AP tests, and Canada (don't ask) for an hour before we realized we were talking complete doo-doo, and
"Do you guys just wanna go home?"


Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Visitor from the Norsks via Austria

So I got some horrible news last weekend...two pieces of it actually, and both of them truly just sad and...yeah, so I was in a place where I really wanted to be surrounded by people I loved and missed while being here. That's why I'm really grateful that Jon showed up, though show up in the midst of a sh*tshow he did.

He stayed from a Tuesday till Friday, so nicely placed between my weekend craziness and a big party Friday night...basically he landed in my social events wasteland, but I was still able to carve out time to spend with him. He was very patient with my working all the time, and here's a list in no particular order of some of the things we did:

-went to Tachlese (that place from Goodbye Lenin), which I mispronounced and which kind of seemed to blow Jon's mind in a really cute way.

-had an all-you-can-drink wine party with some "radikals" as they would be called in Norway and "comrades of mine" if you're me

-went to a really nifty little concert (brass section had some tuning/warmup issues, but that's a little AR of me) at Konzerthaus which looked amazing for Christmas (and let me tell you, the crowd provided no small source of entertainment)

-went to the Scandinavian embassies (took a while to find, but here's some picts, because I didn't bring my camera to anything else)

See, they put all of them together, and this is paraphrasing a quote from Jon that "separtely they are quite insignificant, but together they are something"...or something along that same order of magnitude. The American Bunker of Ambassadoriality it was not, but it was something, and the architecture was rather funny, leading us to speculate from the other side that it was either a manufacturing center for our robot overlords or a mental hospital.

just wandered around some corners of Berlin, went to some of my hangouts, just hung out like regular people, which was wild because I get so little time to hang out with any of my old friends anymore, and yeah...just really nice to be around one of them. Here's a partially cut off commentary from Jon on his favored moments:

Thanks for coming over, man, see you next in Oslo!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Wee Video

I like to make videos occasionally with the old camera machine, and they take up a buncha memory, but this one is small and is what we experienced while we were on top of San Marco...we heard these bells ringing, and we looked to the building right next to us where these statues were hitting a bell. Sadly they weren't moving enough for my camera to have picked it up, but this is what we got:

Quattro Dia

Philippe and I have been to the Continent's most cliched romantic places, and we tackle them by wandering without a particular target and cutely at that. This time we hit San Marco again, but this time we went in! Traditional too to the "Look! Stairs! Let's climb them!!!" ethic, Phil steered us up to the church's museum, and, to be honest, it was actually quite neat. We got to see the painted domes from higher up, in the former "choir loft," the old tile mosaics they had to remove, and then we got to go out onto the roof/overhang!

Sadly, I couldn't wear my boobie-showing half-tank top,
and Phil couldn't go in shirtless in his hot pants...awwwwww!

Statuesque? Oh heck yes!!! ---->

Philippe looking surprised on the roof

It was raining a bit but the overall effect was stunning. Good find, boyfriendo!!

We then went on the hunt, like a cat after a mouse, for pizza though. In the process we not only found the Rialto (haha) but also Venice's one cat.

<---- Said "chat"

They're actually pretty hard to find in Venice, as opposed to "snack sized" doggies, which seem to be EVERYWHERE. Phil has a theory that I find rather accurate, that cats dislike water.

Venice = watery city
water = mad cats/cats run away
THEREFORE Venice = city of no cats

Good to know this is why people get PHDs. Just kidding, he's super smart. Then, as vacationers and people stuffed with cheese are want to do we kicked back a bit, and later we went out to find the theater where the opera to which we had tickets was taking place...then we got a beer.


Phil and I went to see The Return of Ulysses (who knew that Ulysses = Odysseus?! I didn't until 5 minutes before the end) at the opera house, and lemme tell you all, CLASSY! It was so classy that we showed up with MONACLES!


It was done with baroque instruments, old style singing, South African puppets and animation "Snowman" style on the background. It was just really cool. We were sitting in obstructed view, so we were doing all KINDS of yoga to see the action, but WORTH IT! Not all the crowd was happy though, with some of the white hairs complaining that it was not La Traviata, but I liked it quite a lot. Highly recommended, and for you all who don't speak Italian (we know who we are):

The play is the last part of The Odyssey with Odysseus dying and remembering coming home to Ithica, being picked up by a shepherd while his wife weaves away and 3 suitors vie for her attention. Odysseus shoots them and 2 songs later his wife recognizes him (this part I actually understood)

Afterwards it was out for drinks and then to sleep because we were leaving the next day.

Venice Day 3: Slightly Gray Friday

After a large meal, it would make sense that I slept late and woke up slowly. Not so. I had a train to Padova (Padua for those of you who have had to slog through a Shakespeare play or two in your life). Because I woke up in such a rush and so early though I forgot the fantastic itinerary Rachel had written out for me. 8 Euros later we were in a train headed out of the scenic Venice to the...err...less scenic parts of Northern Italy. It's a relief to know such places exist, I have to say. A place can be too pretty.

That having been said, not-pretty places are...not pretty. Add a low temperature, just above freezing, and rain with a dash of hardcore wind, and you have Padova. We got out at a busy train station and not knowing how ot get to the old city we were left to wander the streets aimlessly.

A WORD ON ITALIAN DRIVERS- As Catholics, they don't fear any death, theirs OR yours. Don't say I didn't tell you. InVenice downtown there aren't but a handful of cars; it's one of its notice when they're back.

Here's a list of things we hit despite the weather's best efforts:

The univeristy
Really pretty and old, wish I'd had the time to hang out there. I love the schoalrly, somewhat unruley feel of a good campus! The highlight at the uni this week appeared to be a fellini screening.

Cafe Pedrocci
I know I didn't spell it right. It's an airy marbled cafe that takes the word breakfast deadly serious.

A spiffy but drafty domed cathedral with mustard walls and red bricked exterior fitted to have facades mechanically attached.

The City Hall
in a full noel mode. Not unlike ours in Berlin...or Arlington, Texas' for that matter.

Thereafter we pulled what Germans would call a "Stadtrundfahrt" and trudged frozenly to the station where I figured out how to use the ticket machine and then participated in the first annual TRACK 2 TO TRACK 6 NOT SO FUN RUN with success. We even found seats in the train together.

That afternoon we just hung out, watched a little TV, read, just acted like a "normal family on vacation" even did a little shopping, till that evening, when I adjourned myself to pick up boyfriendo at the train station after which we all went to dinner at a local pizza place. None of us, of course, ordered pizza, and-- in fact-- ordered a list of pastas so diverse that the waiter was prompted to say "4 types of sauce? The chef will be happy" sarcastically. Gotta say hough, it was worth it! After a very yummy meal mom and dad went to bed, havingto wake up at the criminally early 3:30AM to get a butt-crack-of-dawn flight out. Did I ever share that saying goodbye sucks? Well, it does.

The hour was, however, pretty early, and Phil and I weren't particularly tired, so we went to a local-looking wine bar I'd passed the previous night in the Jewish quarter. It had 2 groups already cozily settled in, a boisterous crowd f 30-somethings celebrating something or other in Italian, and some Austrian men. At the Italian table was a guy who'dclearly had too much and clearly wasn't with that party. While he sat there being obnoxious, party guests kept going outside to smoke. This continued till we got up for another round of vino at which point about 800 lbs. of Italian POLIZIA came barelling in. I sat down RIGHT quick. Though the conversation was in Italian, here's what I understood:

-What's going on?
-I was just...
-How much have you had?
-Maybe two
-Ok, let's go

at which point the four hustled him to the door with one of the dandies at the party filming from outdoors. Drunk guy wasn't going so easily though and grabbed the door, forcing a little old school negotiationg. The manager then appeared, speaking rapid Italian to the party, taking their empty wine bottle and ending one sentence with "PROSECO!" I guess they got a consolation prize. For me and Phil's part we got an apology in French that this had jamais happened before and we was very desolee. No need ot apologize though! We'd not been inconvenienced in the least!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monkfish...the Turkey of the Sea

You know you're lame when sleeping till 9:30 is embarrassingly late...yeah, I'm a teacher, and a tool. I admit it, I did sleep late,indulgently so! And I woke up to find that Mumbai was falling apart. We sat in my parent's room and watched the images, trying to figure out what was happening as it was happening. When we finally went through one image cycle (so you're seeing pictures you saw a few minutes ago, no new information) we hopped on a boat and went out on the town.

A good deal of this Turkey Day was spent wandering, taking in the town, where the following oddities were to be seen

a disturbing child's ornament depicting a fall into a canal...or something

three ways of being a very pricey doggie in Venice

These diagonal things compress the wall, keep it from falling apart.

This is a light fixture...with tentacles apparently

and then we hit San Marco, made even more mind boggling by the sun and un-veneitan blue skies.

Marble, of Italian tastes...I'll leave it at that.

This is me staring right into the sun at the Bridge of Sighs
(that's NOT the right spelling), a picture not UNLIKE this one:

Oh, how far we've come

After a few more hours we went back to the hotel

"Mignon" is French for "cute"...Mignon indeed!

and then to Thanksgiving dinner in the city's Jewish quarter, at a place that came highly recommended by a friend of dad's. We "trusted" the chef and were treated to a first course of raw fish and octopus with toast, followed by muscle gnocci, monkfish with ginger sauce, and ending up with a pineapple ravioli. The first Thanksgiving it was not, but I have a feeling that Miles Standish could stomach it...provided of course it wasn't dished up by the hands of papists. That would have been a sticking point I suspect.

Venice La Primera Dia...which is probably not actually how you say it in Italian

So I had to wake up at 5:30 and not even for the thrill of travel, which can give ones' lagging pre-dawn spirits a much-needed boost, but rather for school (shudders). I promised one of the teachers I would take her regular class for a unit on American high schools...never doing THAT again! These kids are DIM bulbs, in all honesty. And they have really bad attitudes, so I showed up to try to explain the finer points of English grammar to a class that was NOT feeling it. The one truly redeeming aspect was this project I had given the kinder, to design and explain a potential mascot for the school and explain it. I present to you the fruits of their labors

"old and a little bit dangerous...he also can be angry or afraid,
but you can't see that" YAY repressive whales!

I just think this one is pretty cute

This is a a land shark, a reference they didn't really get

This chick spent QUITE a lot of time on this frog

MARTIN BUBER!!! This mascot is unoriginal but
scares the crap out of me...or any potential rival team.

I like this explanation, maybe you can't read it.
"because the Cat is sporty and intelligent. Likes all MBO
students"...(as in, he is like) he clearly has a VERY good
impression of himself and the general student body.

This one is cute. I just like it.

But then I came back to the house, looked up my flight time, and realized I had about 30 minutes of down time before I had to get moving, so I tossed everything into my bags and ran out. AGAIN the metal detector got me, and every other woman going through the line as well, which is annoying (TEGEL, RECALIBRATE YOUR METAL DETECTORS!). The flight itself was without incident, though I found it a bit odd that on a flight to Italy, there were no announcements in Italian or anything (whatever). Then a quick run through the baggage claim, which was a little scary since they posted this sign that said "Your bags are probably late because we contract out that service...we no alamo, suckers!" and then mom and dad! Yay!

The hotel is nice, Ca' D'Oro, located in what you would call in German the "Innenstadt" or "inner city (but not like ghetto inner city)", and we went out to dinner at a practically empty but lovely little restaurant in which the owner's small son babbled in italian and drew, his wife hovered over his son, and his mother in law (or maybe mother) yelled in the style of Milhous from the Simpson's Tanta Sophia

Who would chase him around the hills of Italy, hitting him with an olive branch and screaming "IDIOTA!" The food was great though. I was so tired when it was all over though, not to mention because of the soporific effects of the wine and the shot of POWERFUL sangria I was offered, so I just "ausklicked" as they say. Yay Vacances!