Monday, January 21, 2013

Nobody Pinch Me

Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013

Nobody pinch me, because I don't want to wake up from this dream!
The name of our apartment

Speaking of waking up, I woke up early.  That never happens.  But I just couldn't get back to sleep knowing what was in store for me when I pulled up the shutters.  Our first look at St. Magdalena, Italy in the daylight. We are in the Alps and the specific mountain range we are nestled in is called the Dolomites.

From the living/dining room window, with a ski slope straight ahead

From our bedroom window, the girls' bedroom view is similar.
Went on the balcony and got a surprise!  Look over there!
Me & My Dude went for a walk.  We left a note for the girls in case they woke up (yeah right) and set out to explore a little.

That is it: Pension Sonia, our apartment rental.  

This is a big farming area.  We saw many old barns like this.

Seriously?  A stream and tiny waterfall?  The mountains weren't enough?  Wow!

Crystal clear water
I could never get sick of those peaks.  Ever.

What was going through my head all weekend: God is huge.  And good.
We came back and got the car to go to the bakery near last nights' restaurant in St. Peter, only 5 minutes away.  We also got a few things at the tiny grocery store.
Fresh Semmel (rolls), Brezeln (pretzels) and Krapfen donuts.  Plus a Laugencroissant which is a croissant with a pretzel outer shell.  Everything was delicious!
We waited for the girls to get up and ready for whatever today would bring.  The skiers started up and we watched them.  A lot.
Brad playing the guitar while watching the slopes
Kind of hard to see the skiers in the pic, but they were there!  Funny how tame it looks in the pic.  The right hand one looks straight down in person!
After Brad's cappuccino he got a macciato.  It was tiny and STRONG.  Konrad said we could just pay for these coffees on Sunday.  We had no idea how much they would be.  We were worried.  But a cappuccino and 2 macciatos were only 4.40 Euros.  LOL!  Are you listening, Starbucks?

Once the sun came out, the view from our bedroom showed another mountain.

That sun warmed everything up!

We asked Konrad for suggestions on what we should do.  Since we aren't skiers (not all of us, anyway) he suggested a little town about 20 minutes away called Brixen (German) or Bressanone (Italian).  So off we went!

Are you ready for this?  This town, Brixen, was founded in 901.  901.  My brain cannot comprehend this.  Anyway, get over it, Lori!  Europe is old!!

I know I've said this about every little town and village I've seen, but I swear this is the most beautiful city I have ever seen!  I must have said that 100 times today!  The buildings and architecture are of course beautiful.  We went to the Altstadt (Old city) which was super cool.  Many cities over here have an Altstadt. It is the old part of the city and very often it will be a pedestrian only zone.  (Just a guess here, but that could be because a car would never fit on these narrow streets!)

Narrow, charming little alley way with shops

And of course we are tucked away in the mountains on top of it all!!
I want to go in and up those stairs!

Up on the corner of a building

Aw <3

I was in awe.  All day.

I want to live in one of these upstairs apartments.

Lainie admiring the town, Daddy admiring Lea

The White Tower, from the 15th century.  Part of St. Michael's church.

The ceiling of a shop entrance
We went inside the white tower because the door was open.  Little did we know there was a group tour going on that we were apparently not welcome to join!  More on that in a minute.  It is a tiny museum as you walk up the stairs.  The first floor had this crazy giant ball that you could climb in.  Why?  I don't know, but for Lainie's whole life, if there is a thing to climb inside of, she will do it.

There was a long rope just begging to be pulled.  So they all pulled it and it made the tower bell ring!  How cool!

The staircase was very narrow and a bit steep.  I knew I would not make it far without getting freaked out (yes I am afraid of heights!) so I just went up one more level while the family went up the rest.
I'm fairly certain that blue plastic thing is not from the 15th century.  What a rip off.  (Ha ha, just kidding!)

Like I would EVER climb up in there!!
So we didn't realize there was a tour going on and apparently the tower is not just open to anyone at any time.  The tour was over and all the people had gone down, except those Stulls.  So they were making their way down and Lea was going very slowly because it was kind of scary.  Plus, HELLO tour guide, she has a disability!!!  He was yelling at her in German "Schnell!  Schnell!!!!" which means Fast! and he was very impatient.  Lea knew this even though she didn't know what he was saying.  By the time she reached me at the bottom, she was in tears.  The guide came down as she was hugging me and crying.  And I would like to say he changed his tune and was nice.  But no, he turned off the lights!  Then stood there looking at us, hand on the door.  Yeah, Dude, we got the hint.  Thanks for your compassion.  (I am always surprised when I find a rude German - or German-Italian - because I come across it so very rarely!)  Anyway, we hightailed it out of there.
Still recovering from the "Schnell Incident."


Fountain without a crazy Canadian at it's feet

The edge of the Altstadt, by a pretty canal

I love those people!

A little empty now, eh?  Yeah, this is a fascinating European tradition of closing everything from 12:30 to 3.  Seriously.

Entrance to a courtyard between the 2 cathedrals

Brad in the courtyard

A war memorial to all soldiers lost from Brixen in WWI and WWII

Daddy and daughters, can you feel the love?

It said safe to drink, but I wouldn't do it!!

Dude on top of the fountain


Another cathedral

Next we came across some wooden dudes.

This is getting harder to do!
Another fountain

You will notice I didn't try it!
We were getting hungry and went in 2 different restaurants but they were SO expensive!  We left them both. We drove back home and ate some leftovers with the promise of a great dinner later.  This village was just spectacular and I am so thankful that Konrad suggested it!!!

We hung out at the apartment and watched the skiers, then Lainie and Brad walked to the hill to find the sledding.  I kept watching for them but they had to go to a different hill that I couldn't see.  Still, I was mesmerized watching the slopes.
Hard to see but this was a race!  The people at the bottom were family of the racers.  It was cool to watch and we could hear the announcer (although since it was in German, we couldn't understand him!) 
Did I mention yet that while we were in Italy, it's a German speaking part of Italy?  I never knew such a place existed.
Saw this on the slopes more than once: baby in a stroller.  Also several dogs, running around the kids in the kiddie ski area.  I am not a skier, but I don't think this would be common in Michigan!

That majestic peak outside of our door
Lainie and Brad finally found the sled rental place, but they got tubes instead of sleds and said it wasn't fast enough.  Still, they enjoyed it and it was a fun experience!!!

We left for dinner and went back to last nights' place, Viel Nois.  We could tell it was different than last night because of the 8 million cars parked all over the road.  Apparently Viel Nois is the only restaurant open right now (which we didn't realize quite yet) and they host the after party for that race we saw.  Yay racers!  Boo for us.  It was packed.  You couldn't even walk in the door.  So we punched "restaurant" into the GPS.  Well, that sucker was messed up.  Because it took us up the tiniest road I have ever seen, straight up hill.  To nowhere.  Keep in mind here, people, that I have lived in Germany now for about 5 weeks.  Narrow roads look pretty normal to me now.  This was like a very skinny driveway.  Up a mountain.  In the snow.  In the dark.  Oy.  So it says to keep going for this restaurant, so we keep going.  We end up in the most precarious position!!  If we go straight, we fall off the mountain.  If we turn left, where the road appears to go, we go straight down in front of a church with not an inch of room to turn around, which means backing up the steep hill.  In the snow.  In the dark.  As it stands, we are in front of someone's house.  We are wedged in the tightest spot!!!  I got out to guide Brad out.  Remember in driver's training when you learned a 3 point turn?  Well, this was similar, but it was called a 29 point turn.  One inch at a time.  Forward an inch, turn the wheels, backward an inch.  You get the picture.  By the way, it is snowing during this, too.  And did I mention it's dark?  We got out using our excellent teamwork skills.  We tried that stinking GPS again to no avail.  We went back to ask Konrad what to do!!  He called the restaurant and they said they could take us in a half hour.  So we went back.  There were still a gazillion people, noisy, kids running around like maniacs.  I am not exaggerating.  The place has a wood pizza oven that kids were literally climbing on top of.  But people were trickling out.  So we finally got some dinner!!!  Too bad I forgot to take pics.  Ha ha, as if!!!!
Snuggled together because that is the pizza oven behind them, and they were scared of children falling on them.

Brad's pasta with lots of garlic, ham and mushrooms

Lainie and I shared a huge salad.  Corn is common in salads here!  I like it.  This also had some type of kidney-ish bean and those 2 dumplings.  Green was spinach and white was cheesy.  They were Knoedels.  Delicious!

Lea had the same pizza as last night, so I took a picture of her sampling Brad's beer.
It was getting late so we watched some movies, read, went to bed.  Unfortunately Lainie's cough kicked in and she didn't get much sleep.  Neither did Lea and I.  Brad snored away peacefully.  Maybe I should try one of those giant beers....

So once again, an amazing, unbelievable day over here!  I seriously think this must be a dream.  How is it possible that we are having these fabulous experiences?  *sigh* We are all so happy :)


  1. why is it i always stop at the food pictures??? do you have a stove top espresso maker? if not buy one when you get back. You can make coffee almost as good as there... ;)

    1. Doubtful. These machines steam the milk, too. Frothy. And I love taking pics of our food! This way, we can remember it forever. When I get home, I want the name of the company that made your blog into a hard copy book. I have to do that!

  2. Love the pic with the snow + the palm tree leaves.