Luge and Bike Riding

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Today was a free day and we wanted to start off with some kid focused activities. Before heading to the amusement park, we found a baker and grocer to buy the necessary items for a picnic lunch. The baker in Lautasch had hard pretzels that had a bit of a brown bread flavor, so we picked up a few along with rolls for everyone.

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After shopping we headed over to the Kids Play Park and purchased a family pass which included 4 chairlift/summer luge rides and some game tokens. Katie and Tristan each took two turns on the luge with Mom, Dad or Aunt Jess. After luging, we found some rides that were definitely not US standard rides including a boat that went down a track and jumped into water and swing/chair ride called the parachute. We also had some good old fashioned fun shooting each other with foam balls shot from air cannons.

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Next we headed up to a hiking trail and found a place to picnic. We ended up eating in the middle of a shooting range which was likely part of a biathlon course. After lunch we decided to split up. Katie, Tristan, Jen and I rented bike and went for a ride on a gravel path along a stream, while the elders went for a hike. The plan was to try and meet at the Hämmermoos Alm for coffee and cake, but the ride proved to be longer and steeper than we thought. We ended up riding 9 miles which is pretty good for the kids.

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For dinner, we stopped at the Wildmoos Alm. After hanging out with the cows in the meadow, we sat down to a traditional dinner that started with peach schnäps.

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Mittenwald & The Leutascher Geisterklamm

After moving into Seefeld, we had a lightly scheduled day that started with laundry. Weekdays you could have your laundry done, but on a Sunday there was only a small laundromat open. So we sent the elders on to see a some small towns in Germany. While the laundry was going at the Tip Top Laundromat, we walked the road and played a round of mini-golf. There are a surprising number of mini-golf courses in the area, though none seem to rival the novelty of those found in US vacation spots. After mini-golf we wandered down the road to find lunch. On the way we passed through a small flea market and checked out the Austrian antiques. Sadly, it was not much better than a typical one at home. For lunch, we found a small smoky bar with a waitress that Tristan found cute and friendly. I was told to leave her a big tip.

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After lunch and laundry we headed over to Mittenwald, Germany to meet the elders. Mittenwald is known for it’s violin makers, but is also a cute little town with many fresco painted building in the walking area. Most of the shops were closed on a rainy Sunday, but we decided it was worth coming back. We did manage to find a proper Konditorei for afternoon cake and coffee. With the rain clearing, we decided to make a late afternoon stop at the Leutascher Geisterklamm [http://www.leutascher-geisterklamm.at/] 

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The Geisterklamm or Spirit Gorge is a deep and narrow gorge with three man made trails. We first took the short trail into the waterfall, about 200 meters of metal and wooden trail suspended from the side of the rock wall. After a day of rain, the wood pathway was wet and water was running off the rock all around us. This clearly wasn’t a trail for those with a fear of heights. Most of the time we were 25-30 feet above a rapidly running stream (or maybe a small river.) The water here is a really nice teal color from the minerals that are carried down by the snow melt. We’re told that by the end of summer the water will be crystal clear. At the end of the trail is a small cave and bridge crossing the gorge in front of a very loud 75 foot waterfall. We didn’t hang out long because the spray was soaking us, but we did get a few good pictures. 

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After heading down from the waterfall trail, everyone was pumped to see more of the gorge and we headed up the 1.2 mile trail that would take us over a bridge above the waterfall. This hike started with a set of steep switchbacks. Every other corner had a sign with a section of the geological history of the gorge and the kids took turns reading them while the adults enjoyed the rest without admitting how welcome it was. Once up and over, the trail was back to man made walk ways hanging high (probably 75 feet) above the stream anchored into the rocky side of the gorge. The trail soon split and you could take a longer walk on the edge to the gorge or cross the bridge and head back down. It was getting late and we were not in for the long haul so we headed across the bridge. The photos don’t do it justice, that bridge is suspended way above the waterfall and the views impressive. 

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Geek in Training

The other night we were in Best Buy so I could express pickup some items for work. — Ok, I have to rant, what is express about their express pickup? Every time I use it, it takes longer to pickup than it would have taken for me to shop and pay. The only reason to use it is to make sure they have what you want. I just don’t understand why I can’t run in and pick my stuff up. — While I was waiting for them to find my stuff, Jen was chasing Tristan around the store. Twice when he ran by ran by a large photo of a MacBook Pro he stopped to “bang on the keyboard.” At least he knows good hardware when he sees it.

Mortified

As parents we always dread the day that our child asks us to drop them off around the corner from school. That day when they are embarrassed to be seen with their “dorky” mom and dad, but I never really thought about the day when I would be embarrassed to be seen with my kid, until it happened — last Sunday. Katie had a choir concert and when the kids were standing up front waiting to start Katie noticed me in the back with the video camera. Instead of just waving to me, she decided to share this knowledge with her friends and everyone in the audience. Now I am no shrinking violet, I frequently use self deprecating humor when presenting to large audiences, but I was quite embarrassed.
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Weekend Update

Saturday Tristan and I were home alone while the girls went out of town for the day. What did we do with our day as bachelors? I took him shopping for shoes and jeans of course. While we did have some luck in the shoe department, the jeans eluded me. I was taunted all day by numerous pairs of gorgeous size 33 Earnest Sewn Jakimo jeans in their luxurious Japanese denim. Try as I might I could not squeeze my (slightly larger than) size 34 butt into them and I am in no way willing to pay full price for them. Ah the joys of outlet shopping.

I am not generally a person who is plagued by neuroses, but having only recently developed a fashion sense (obsession) I am some what insecure in this area. Ever since I read the many posts where Dooce rants and raves about belts matching shoes I would worry every time I put on a brown belt with brown shoes. I didn’t want to be one of those belt matches shoes guys. This weekend as I was looking for a new eurotrash belt I had an epiphany. The guy on the other side of the rack opened his shoe box and began looking for the perfect match, with a subtle shiny brass buckle. It was then I realized what she meant, and I will never worry again. I don’t own a pair of boat shoes, I don’t have a single Polo brand polo shirt and nobody ever calls me Chaz.

Sunday brought more solo parenting and the realization that I would go nuts having to chase Tristan around for more than half an hour a day. With only 20 minutes of overlapping naps I barely had time to go to the bathroom. I have no idea how Jen does it. Sunday night Katie asked for burritos, so she and I spent some time in the kitchen cooking chicken and beans only to find after everything was ready that the tortillas were moldy. Having always heard how easy flour tortillas are to make and having had many TOD obsessions with baking I figure I would give it a shot. We didn’t have any shortening so i found a recipe that called for vegetable oil. — it is interesting how different cultures can take the same recipe and make very different things, this one could have easily been made into noodles if I cut it thin and boiled it. — Even though the tortillas came out tasting more like flat bread, Katie loved them. If you plan to try it yourself definitely use a recipe that calls for shortening and more than 5 minutes of resting.

Monday night Katie got to experience her first real (non documentary) movie as we watched Cars. I think we no longer have any hope of avoiding the black hole that is Disney.

One last funny story to reward you for reading my ramblings and punish Katie in front of her future fiance. Sunday morning she walked up to Jen holding a carabiner and asked what is that thing called that you put on your nipples.