Tuesday, August 23, 2016


After Salzburg,  Michael had a work trip to Czech Republic and Slovakia.  It was a productive trip for him and a lot easier for me to be alone in Romania this trip than the last trip.  We have been so grateful for our opportunities to travel around Europe.  One downside to being here is that Michael has had to do his American job while still progressing on his assignment in Europe. Which basically means that on many days he has been working Romanian office hours and then staying late so that he can work some American time zone hours too.  It hasn't been too bad.  Just long.  So we decided to take a trip that was not work related and escaped to MALTA!  We had loved Isle of Capri off of Italy so much that we wanted another beautiful island escape.  While I thought Malta would look more like it's Italian and Greek neighbors, it surprised me by actually looking more like it Arabic, North African neighbors.  Put that incredible detailed architecture and beautiful blue sea together and you get the amazing country of Malta!

Laila loved getting off the airplane this way.

We took a taxi to the hotel and went up to the roof to enjoy our view! We are all so happy to see that beautiful sea again!

Then we walked down and enjoyed some beach time!

These two beach bums are my favorite!

The next morning, we got on a bus that took us to the boat that we road out to the Blue Lagoon. The kids loved playing around on the boat for a few hours and then we made it to the lagoon. Oh my blue! It was so stunning!

Nice hat, H-Man!

Family hugs!

Despite seeing jellyfish, we took turns playing in the water.

The water was so clear! It was unbelievable! We had a nice day trip.  On the boat ride there, we sat by a cute family that also had two little kids.  We started talking to them and found out he is in the air force stationed in Germany and she is German so they have been living there and stationed there but they will be moving to Tucson soon!  Small world!  Sweet family! We enjoyed getting to know them.  Then we got back on the boat to head back to the other side of the island.  We loved the ride and the views all the way back.

One of the stops on our way back! ^

Our favorite travel companions.

We were also able to celebrate Father's Day while in Malta.  This special moment at dinner one night really seemed like a great way to sum Michael up as a Dad.  He loves being and playing with our kids and as you can see by Laila's smile, they love him too.  I love seeing him grow as a dad and he loves being a dad.  We are glad we have him!
We have had lots of adventures in Europe, but the next morning in Malta was one of the craziest adventures we have ever had.  It looked like this....

That's Michael driving a stick shift on the other side of the road! Oh man! I'm glad it was hime driving and not me.  But there were a few times that I had to say- wrong side! Thankfully, we are safe and now can laugh at the crazy memories.  Our first stop for the day was called St. Peter's Pool.  We had wanted to have the hotel arrange a babysitter for us to go alone that day. But we had forgotten to call and confirm far enough in advance so we brought them along with us.  It was a bit off the beaten path but oh so, so worth it!  We parked in this little lot and then hiked down to the pool.  The kids were able to play under the ledges in the shade while we took turns jumping in.  Thankfully, we also had kind strangers watch the kids and take videos of us jumping in together.

It was a super fun start for our day!  We spent the rest of the day enjoying driving around and stopping at different beaches.  It's a beautiful country!

Even the wrong turns that we took had a pretty view.

We LOVED playing on the beaches! The next morning we were able to swim on the rooftop before we headed to the airport.  And, of course, we enjoyed a nice tradition of having a yummy (non-alcoholic) pina colada pool side.  Mmmm!

Because of the beauty of the water, the beaches, being together, and the nice relaxing time we had, Malta is definitely one of our family's favorite places! 

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Few of My Favorite Things: Neuschwanstein, the Alps, Salzburg and more!

Oh my goodness, this post is LONG overdue because it was truly a dream come true.  I have grown up in a "Sound of Music" loving home.  So when we were finally able to have a "Sound of Music" weekend, I could hardly contain my giddiness!  You can ask Michael, I squealed many times on this trip!

We flew into Munich, Germany and immediately drove to Neuschwanstein Castle.  It's pretty remarkable.  I love the location of this castle.  Not only is it incredibly striking on the mountainside but it also surrounded by beautiful fields and wonderful Bavarian homes and pastoral villages.

Of all our trips, we forgot our umbrellas this one time and Mother Nature wanted to make sure we would never forget again.  Haha! We got rained on a lot!  It was pretty sporadic too.  One of the major downpours happened while we were pushing the stroller up the hill to the castle.  It was pretty funny and luckily didn't last long.  And naturally, all that RIDING up the hill was exhausting...

The castle was beautiful and we enjoyed our tour.  We couldn't take pictures inside but anyone who lived there had to be in some good shape with the hill and all the stairs! Ha! Laila loved assigning all the towers to each princess that she could name. 

The next day, we went hiking up in the Austrian Alps.  We went to the beautiful resevoir that we had seen pictures of full with incredible water from snow and glacier run off.  However, when we got there it looked more like this....

...I guess it's better to go in August/September when it's more full! 

We decided to go on a hike and Michael read a map that this certain trail makes a loop.  However, upon closer inspection and a lot of climbing up, we realized it was no loop at all...
...luckily it gave us some great backdrops.

We fell in love with the Alps.  Harrison also made a new love that day too...
...kisses for everyone- Even the man in the mural. haha!

Then the next part of our trip happened! (Cue "The Sound of Music" soundtrack!) We only got to stay in Salzburg for one night. So we decided to stay at the incredibly iconic Schloss Leopolskron where the backyard was filmed for the movie.  They recently turned it into a hotel in 2014 and oh how I loved it!  

Here's a room tour:

Although the interior was shot on a set, I still couldn't resist channeling my inner Maria:

The building was incredible!  We loved exploring the grounds and the building!

This is where you eat breakfast! LOVED it!

The library and it's secret staircase!

Harrison likes to smell the flowers. And by smell, I mean blow on the flowers. 

The room that inspired the ball room from the film.  Laila and I enjoyed many curtsies in here.

The famous gazebo from the movie was left on the property after filming.  But, because so many were trespassing onto the property and even swimming across the lake to get to it, they moved it to a public park. haha! But the property does still have this iconic swing.  We had fun!

Oh that gate!

Our best Von Trapp impression. Haha!

After lunch that day, we ran through the rain to meet up with our Sound of Music tour!  I think we were supposed to be on a large bus, but because we had our two little kids, they put us in a private van with our own tour guide!  It ended up being even more awesome than I imagined!  Thanks to the smallness of our group, the weather, and the fact that we had already seen the horse gate, we were able to make our tour more personal and see some other things. 

Michael was with the sleeping kids in the van so I made our tour guide take this picture for me.  Can't tell you how much I wish stupid people didn't break their legs in this gazebo which made them lock it up now.  Come on people! It was still awesome to be at the actual gazebo!

This is the actual Von Trapp villa.  It's kind of tucked into some neighborhoods outside of town so film crews couldn't really get there which is why they switched locations.  The Villa is also a hotel now in case you want to stay at their actual home!

We loved seeing all the other sites from the movie and little behind the scenes tid bits!

Do- Re- Mi sites!

The cathedral where they filmed the wedding! LOVE!

And let's not forget our...
"...crisp apple strudels...

...and schnitzel with noodles!"

I really love this city! I cannot wait until the next time we visit!
These are a few of my favorite things!