Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lake Bled, Slovenia

We spent 4 days at Lake Bled this summer and it was absolutely beautiful here. The lake is at the foot of the Julian Alps and has lots of things for visitors to do including a castle to visit, a summer toboggan to ride, dozens of restaurants to eat in and an island to visit by pletna (a gondola-like boat).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Great Blizzard of 2010

It all started a week ago on Wednesday. We got a few inches of snow. Then on Friday afternoon Blizzard part 1 began. From Friday through Saturday we got 30 inches of snow.

We shoveled at least 5 times before the plow came through and then had to dig our way out of the end of the driveway on Monday. Work was closed on Monday too for the first time in years.
Tuesday I worked from home because more snow was predicted - blizzard part 2. By bedtime on Tuesday we had about 4 more inches which we shoveled before going to bed. In the morning, work was closed again and we had about another 4 inches. We shoveled after breakfast twice because it was falling so fast that by the time we reached the end of the drive, it needed doing again.
This time it was really like a blizzard. The gusting winds were blowing the snow so hard, you could barely see to the end of the cul-de-sac. The plows were taken off the roads because it was too dangerous. Today I heard that 39 cars (20 people, including children) were stranded in their cars on the road and were being rescued today. That must have been frightening.

Today when we woke up, the sun came out and we didn't have too much more to shovel. Mostly it was just snow that blew into the driveway overnight. Midday the plow finally arrived and we have just finished digging out. We took a brief walk around the neighborhood. Despite the plow, the roads alternate between slush and solid, slippery ice. It is kind of warm (45 degrees) and every house has dripping icicles. It will be interesting to see what tomorrow brings.


Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Christmas Trees of Washington

Post Office Pavilion tree
Yesterday we took a visiting friend into the city to see Washington DC for the first time. Despite the cold weather we hit the highlights and were pleasantly surprised to see so many beautifully decorated Christmas trees around town. I was aware of the "National Christmas tree", but there were others at The Capitol, Union Station and the Post Office Pavilion. Here is sampling.
National Christmas Tree on the Elipse

The state tree for Virginia on the Elipse
The Capitol Christmas tree
The tree at Union Station

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Better than the Washington Monument

Old Post Office Pavilion

Next time you are in Washington DC and want to get an aerial view, head to the Old Post Office Pavilion instead of the Washington Monument. It has many advantages over the monument.

View of the Capitol from the Old Post Office Pavilion

First you will avoid the long lines if you come in summer. I have never had to wait more than 5 minutes for the next elevator in the Post Office Pavilion and the line is indoors as well instead of out in the summer heat. Most of the time there is no line at all. It is open year round.

Second, the windows at the top are huge with fantastic views in all directions. The windows are open with wires (on 2 sides) to prevent jumpers and people dropping things out of the window, but you can easily photograph between the wires a the edges where the gaps are wider as I have done for these photos. Because the windows are big and open, there is no fighting to get up close to a window the size of a computer screen to see out like in the Monument. It is also cooler in the tower because the windows allow breezes in and because there are fewer people.
View of the Washington Monument from the Old Post Office Pavilion
Thirdly, from the tower you can get a photo of the Washington Monument! Not possible to do this when you are "in" the monument.

And finally, the monument is on the middle of the mall with no food or shopping or toilets close at hand. The Tower on the other hand is in the Pavilion which comes complete with a food hall, shopping, toilets and is only a short walk to both The White House and the Hard Rock Cafe.
Example of the windows with wires

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Free in DC

One of the great things about Washington DC is the number of attractions that you can visit for free. These photos are from the United States Botanic Gardens located next to the Capitol building in the heart of DC. There is lots to see, even for kids, and as a bonus, in the winter it is warm.

You can learn more about the gardens (opening hours, what plants they have, etc) here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Carriage Museum in Leesburg

I have visitors from Germany and this week we toured the Morven Park Estate in Leesburg, Virginia. The mansion has been under going renovation for several years, so this was the first time I was able to see the inside, but the renovation isn't yet completed. Included in the tour price was a visit to the Carriage Museum on the grounds. All of the carriages on display were collected by one woman, Viola Winmill who donated them for this museum. Above is one example.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

And they're off................!

Sunday we had a lovely time at the horse races in Charlestown, West Virginia. Just 45 minutes from Leesburg on a scenic road, it is a nice day trip when the weather is nice. There is also Slot Machine casino at the same location, but we just go for the horse racing.

We placed $2 bets on horses in 7 races and I won on 3 horses. I started with $20 and ended the evening with $14 so I had an entire afternoon of fun for a mere $6.

As you can see from the photo, the weather was wonderful.

Afterwards, my parents and my visiting Uncle Joe went inside the Casino to eat dinner at a buffet restaurant, but my husband, the vegetarian, didn't think he could get his money's worth from the buffet, so we left and ate on the way home.

For those who love slot machines, you can double your fun but playing the slots after the races.