Thursday, October 17, 2013

Louisville Zoo Halloween Party

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The Louisville Zoo hosts a Halloween Party for 15 nights in October and we decided to check it out this year.  Our school was on fall break last week and we stayed home instead of visiting family since my husband was working but we still wanted to do something fun with the girls.  So they dressed in the old standby princess dresses and pulled out their trick or treat bags and we went to the zoo!

The zoo and all the sponsors really do a great job and we were pleasantly surprised as we started to walk through.  They had characters for you to take photos with, a lot of fun backdrops for photos and kids under 11 were able to trick or treat along the way.  The lines to meet the characters were short and everything was perfectly spaced out. 

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Many of the animals were not out for the night but we were able to see a few, especially Aubrey’s favorite, the polar bear.  The 2 previous times she has been to the Louisville Zoo the polar bears were not out as they are rotated with the grizzly bears throughout the day.  She was thrilled to see the polar bear and it may have trumped the trick or treating part.

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I did get a pretty great shot of the lions from a distance and the lighting was perfect.  We even heard the lions roaring, both the male and female.  We were so happy to see that as usually the lions are napping when we visit.  This is also a time when I was glad to have a good camera with a decent zoom lens.   

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It was a great night and we had the best time!  I hope this becomes an event we go to every year.  I linked the zoo’s website at the top if you want to check it out to get more info or current admission prices.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Budapest Part 2

Welcome back!  I am actually posting Budapest Part 2 just a few days after Part 1.  Are you shocked?  I am going to try and stay on top of things here and see how that works out for me.  I miss blogging but don’t have too much to say these days. 

Back to the tour of Budapest.  We went up to Castle Hill and visited the Matyas Church.  It was under renovation but we were able to tour inside.  I love the tiled roofs on churches and this reminded me of St. Stephens in Vienna.  We went up here first thing in the morning and the clouds hadn’t lifted yet, however, by the time we went inside the sun was breaking through and the stained glass windows were stunning.

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Afterwards we walked over to the Royal Palace and wandered around the grounds and grabbed a quick snack in a cute café.

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If you look closely in the above photo you can see my family sticking their head through the gaps in the railings.  After we left the Royal Palace we crossed back over the river.

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The photo below is the view of the Royal Palace from across the river.  It really dominates the hill.

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We walked over to St. Stephen’s Basilica and wandered around inside.  I think it is awesome that most churches allow you to walk around for free or a small donation.

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The last 3 photos are from different places around the city. 

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The grand statues above are from Hero’s Square.  This was a pretty awesome place to check out and was once where Communist demonstrations took place.

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As we walked around some side streets we came upon this statue of Ronald Reagan.  This was to honor President Reagan for his part in ending communism and is located near the US Embassy.

We loved Budapest and enjoyed our time there.  I miss the old world feel of European cities and the way old and new have merged together.  To visit places that are filled with so much history is very exciting and interesting.  I am thankful for the opportunities we had to visit these gems while we lived in Germany.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Budapest Part 1

I finally sat down and began to tackle the overwhelming number of photos from our last 4 months in Germany.  We moved back to the USA 15 months ago and I just kept putting the task off. 

I remember being a little hesitant to travel to Budapest, mostly because we were going to take the train and 8 hours on a train with little girls sounded painful.  And it was.  Thankfully, you can reserve a cluster of seats with a table so we were able to eat and keep the girls fairly entertained. 

Our first morning there we visited Central Market Hall, Budapest’s largest market. It is always so much fun to visit markets as you really get a great feel of things the locals eat and drink but sometimes too much kitsch as there is usually a large selection of trinkets for travelers to purchase.    Every time I walked past these adorable smiling veggies I couldn’t help but giggle.  It was my favorite part of the market. 

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We then headed to the Danube River and took a boat cruise to Margaret Island.  The company we used allowed us to get off on the island and explore a bit on our own.  We rented this a fun bicycle where the girls sat upfront and James and I peddled.  It was the fastest and most fun way to explore the island.

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We explored some 14th century Franciscan church ruins and enjoyed the beautiful spring day.  There were plenty of paths to peddle on and with two people peddling we quickly toured the island.

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We jumped back on the boat and was rewarded with beautiful views of the Hungarian Parliament building. 

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We still had plenty of daylight time so we walked up to get a view of Budapest from above.  One thing I love about traveling is when you come across people from the USA that are from the same general area as you are.  I met a gentleman who was familiar with Western NY and had a brief conversation with him about it and what brought him to Budapest.

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We ended our day with dinner at a delicious Greek restaurant.  The restaurant was right on the river, the staff were polite and the food was  I know, I know someone is wondering why we didn’t eat Hungarian food and I promise we did. 

I was only going to write one post about Budapest but since this is photo heavy I’ll add the second part later this week.