Showing posts with label outdoors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label outdoors. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Visit to Hungary, at Heart and Home

Hello everyone!
How's it going?
I'm glad you're here,
I truly appreciate your visit.

I've been taking it slow
 in case you haven't noticed.

BUT, anyway...
I'm back and
here it is:  part two of my travelogue:



We left Austria and headed east,
over the border into Hungary.

After jam-packed days spent
exploring the bustling city of Vienna, (see it here)
the peaceful Hungarian countryside was quite a change!

Expansive, green, and serene,
we drove through it for a few hours until we arrived
 in the natural hot-springs area of Sarvar. 

Everywhere I looked was something historic and
interesting to see!
I think it is beautiful, and a bit like stepping back in time.

Churches and ancient structures dot the landscape.
There are even former forts with former moats.
So much has changed here in the last 20 years.
Some of the roads we traveled on were very new,
and there was no record of them
on a map, or the GPS.

But, my husband's keen sense of direction got us to
where we needed to be.
I love being married to an Eagle Scout!

The road less traveled seems to be
in Hungary, on the way to Sarvar.

This was what most of the highways looked like.
No traffic, for miles on end.
The green fields stretched to the horizon in every direction.

We passed through many picturesque and charming small towns,
each with it's own beautiful church tower.

The architecture was very traditional, yet colorful.

 This was just over the border, in the town of Sopron.
It's the home of Soproni beer,
and bakeries with my favorite poppy seed cake.

 It was definitely worth the travel, the jet lag,
the driving and the cold weather,
to have a big piece of this apfel/mohnkuchen.

I was a very happy girl.
While my husband worked long hours
an hour away at the factory,
I worked long hours getting massages, pedicures, facials,
and relaxing in the hot springs pools
at the Spirit Hotel in Sarvar.
Don't I look refreshed and revitalized?

Next time, I hope to see Budapest, on the other side of Sarvar.
But, in my opinion, this was the perfect first visit to Hungary!

Thanks for dropping by today.
I hope you enjoyed the sights of the Hungarian countryside!
Leave me a comment and let me know you were here!

Until next time,

I'm linking to Outdoor Wednesday, at A Southern Daydreamer
and Good Life Wednesday, at A Beach Cottage.
Thanks Susan and Sarah!

Wednesday Gratitude is on an indefinite hiatus.
Thanks for being patient!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vienna, at Heart and Home

Hello my blogging friends!
Thank you for your patience while I've been away,
I'm here to say a quick hello.

I hope you all are well, and that you had the happiest of holidays,
and that the new year has started out for you in the best way possible!

For me, 2011 has been momentous so far!
My husband and I recently returned
from a quick trip to Austria and Hungary.
He travels there regularly for business.
This time I tagged along, for not exactly a 2nd honeymoon,
but instead a much needed escape from reality!

We left San Francisco early for the 14 hour flight.

Three plane changes later...

...we arrived ready for adventure,
first in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

Day and night, we explored the sights.

The snow from the storms a week earlier
 was melted by the time we arrived.
We bundled up and walked for miles and miles in the cold winter air.

For me, it was love at first sight!

There is no shortage of excitement in this glorious place!

Urban, refined, sophisticated, and very romantic,
exploring Vienna was exhilarating

And any city that puts such a high value on a daily sweet treat
 is my kind of place!

The "cafe'" break is a Viennese tradition!
There is a pastry shop on almost every corner.
There is always time in the afternoon
 to have a * nice pastry, with lots of whipped cream,
and a hot cup of strong Viennese coffee.
...or a beer.

Afterwards, -  time for more sightseeing:

St. Stephan's Cathedral in Stephansplatz, is undergoing renovations.

The front of the building is beneath photo-screen covered scaffolding.

Walking around Stephansplatz,
everywhere I looked
I found more and more things to love
about Vienna:

Beautiful sculptures:

Ancient Roman Ruins beneath the street:

*chocolate truffles, oh my:

Street corner flower stands:

   *Wienerschnitzel und kartoffelsalat:
(YUM!, and no, I didn't eat all that by myself  - we shared!!)

gilded altars, art, and statuary in huge cathedrals:

palaces open for exploring:

arboretum and gardens to wander through at Schonbrunn, the summer palace:

the folly at Schonbrunn:

churches and river boats on the Danube:

If you love art (abundant statues and fountains
 can be seen throughout the city)
museums (too many to visit in a few short days),
 history (Vienna is historically significant and a former Roman stronghold),
music (home of Mozart, Liszt and Strauss)
dancing (400+ balls are held annually in the city),
walking and exploring,(the center of the city is nearly car-free,
 and the underground subway is fast, cheap and easy to use),
eating and drinking (see * above, Austrian food is delicious!)
you will love Vienna!

Vienna has a vitality and energy that is stimulating.
Everyone was friendly and helpful.

It brought me so much joy to stroll the streets,
watch the people,
 and to simply be, there in the midst of everything.
I had a lovely visit,
and I'd happily return, anytime!

Up next:  Hungary

Until next time,

(linking to Outdoor Wednesday, at A Southern Daydreamer.
Thanks, Susan!)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

San Francisco and Wednesday Gratitude #35 at Heart and Home

Hello again friends.
How's everything?
I'm thinking about you!

It's Gratitude Wednesday.
If you'd like you can link your Gratitude post below.

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder

I'm always inspired when I see the Golden Gate Bridge.

I'm grateful for the wonder and excitement of a day spent in my favorite city.
 I love the spectacular view from up here,
on the edge of Lincoln Park overlooking the Pacific ocean.

 To me, it's thrilling knowing powerful ocean waves are crashing
 just beyond the rolling hills of the golf course.

I'm thankful for a day spent browsing
at the beautiful Legion of Honor museum in Lincoln Park.
(check out the link for more info.)

The lion guarding the entrance is freshly power-washed.
Which is the only way to wash a lion, I'm sure.

After a busy day in the bustling city,
I'm thankful for a return to my quiet part of the world,
and my home among the redwood trees.

I'm grateful for the soft rustle of the wind in the treetops...

...and for the beauty of a full moon on a peaceful night.

Goodnight, my friends!
Until next time,
linking to Outdoor Wednesday, thanks Susan!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wednesday Gratitude #33: the County Fair at Heart and Home

Has it been a week already?
That means it's time for Wednesday Gratitude.
Thank you for stopping by Heart and Home,
I appreciate your visit.
 Link in below if you have a gratitude post to share.
The more the merrier!

“Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.” -G.B. Stern

The simple things in life take on more meaning when life becomes more difficult.
I'm very grateful for my daily routine,
the kindness and support of my friends and family-in-law,
and the sweet memories of a day spent at the county fair.

Every year around this time we head to our county fair.
It's one of our favorite destinations,
and annual event we eagerly anticipate.

We look forward to the Fair's arrival in the week just before Fall officially begins.
We head out to the fair grounds,
I'm thankful for the long afternoon we spend enjoying the sights.

Our first stop is always the Harvest Building.
These pumpkins are huge!
They weigh hundreds of pounds a piece.
Think of the gigantic pie that could be made from one of them.
If you could get the pumpkin into the kitchen.

It takes cranes and tractors and fork-lifts
 to move them from garden to fairgrounds.

Wandering into the Fowl Pavilion,
 we're surrounded by a chorus of clucking, quacking and cock-a-doodle-doing.

This handsome fellow didn't look too happy to be stuck in his cage.
Possibly he was thinking about November,
or maybe he was just shy.
Either way, it took some convincing to get him to pose for his portrait.

This one, on the other hand, was another story.
I'm not a turkey expert,
but to me it looked like he was strutting around and showing off.

Well, there were a lot of good-looking lady turkeys in the cages all around him.
Can't hardly blame him for wanting to show his stuff
 with such a captive audience around.

The hens didn't seem to notice him though.
They were probably used to his swaggering.
Or, maybe this he is a SHE?
I'm not sure.

Speaking of swaggering and strutting -
it's hard not to notice
the cowboys in their Wranglers!

The horse show draws a crowd.
Not a very big one at this fair, but still.
This is the place for those of us who enjoy
watching a cowboy or two,
running barrels and roping calves.
Showing us their rodeo-ing skills.
Wearing cowboy hats and boots.

I may have a small thing for cowboys, I'm not telling...
(I'm thankful I get my "cowboy fix" at the fair every year!)

 I will admit to my love affair with nannies, billies and kids.

Have I told you I'm partial to goats?
Well, I am. All kinds, I'm not particular.
As long as they are goats, I love 'em.
Someday I might even get me one.

Look at that face!
And those big brown eyes.
He's a cutie!
Of course, goats at the fair always look their best.
All cleaned up, shampooed, brushed, and polished.
A well groomed goat is a happy goat.

For now, I am very thankful that I can take my time,
enjoying and petting these sweet creatures.
No goats at my house.

The Swine Pavilion around the corner
is another favorite place to linger.
We can't get enough of the piggies.
We especially enjoy making oinking sounds.
Yes, we are very talented in the "pig-noises" department.

They don't seem all that thrilled to see us.
Underwhelmed at the very least.
Guess we're not as good at pig-talk as we think.

Now here's a booth that speaks every one's language.
Those are some extra huge pretzels.
As you can see, they come in nearly every flavor imaginable.

But we walked right on by.
What amazing restraint!
We had our hearts set on cinnamon rolls.
We get some every year.
It's a tradition we won't give up willingly.
Hot, fresh, gooey cinnamon rolls are the last thing we buy,
 right before we head home.
The aroma in the car is so strong you can taste the cinnamon.
 I'm so thankful for the deliciousness of
cinnamon rolls at the fair.

We stop at the rose garden,
and then the flower display where we inhale the scent of hundreds of locally grown roses.
These are roses at their finest, grown by local farmers in green houses nearby.
I'm grateful they are not shipped in from across the world,
grown on land cleared of rain-forest.
Earth-friendly roses, you might say.
Their colors are so brilliant.
I matched the color of my kitchen to one of my favorite varieties.

I am so thankful for the beauty these flowers add to my life.

After the flowers we check out the photographs and art, and the quilts and collections.
Next, it's time to see the commercial tents,
and then, finally, we get to eat fair food.
It's not a completely satisfying visit to the fair
if we don't partake in some deep-fried artichokes, and chicken on a skewer.
We are enthusiastic fair-food-eaters.

And, we are probably the only ones who don't head over to the carnival.
It's really not our thing.
We're not thrill-seeking, scary-ride riding girls.

But, we do enjoy the milder attractions,
and the traditions,
and the memories we take home with us.

We get the most out of our visit, every year.
I am so thankful
 for the opportunity to spend the day with my girls at the county fair.

The end!

What simple pleasures in your life are you most grateful for?

Until next time
Linking to Outdoor Wednesday, at  A Southern Daydreamer. Thank you Susan!