Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Fairy House Project

It all goes back to a day in early March, when I read a post of my fabulous friend and superb blogger Michelle and shared it with my sister. In that particular posting she told how the (substitute) bus driver of her daughter Alexis told her that the fairies would go away when she would grow up. For Alexis it was a horrible idea to lose her sense for magic and it really scared her. Michelle was extremely angry. How could a person dare to ruin this for her daughter?
But thank god Alexis' belief in magic is too strong for one stupid bus driver and a tiny little snow man that the fairy had built just that day in front of the super beautiful fairy house proved her right pratically the same minute.

My sister and I LOVED that blog post, because there is nothing better than seeing a world of magic with the eyes of a child. Nobody ever should rob that from a kid and we adults should for our own soul's sake save as much magic as we can, because  ... it is real. It changes its form and appearance when you grow up, but if you allow it to stay it does.

Michelle knew how much we liked the post and also all the other ones about her absolutely amazing fairy houses and when I spent the last night of my Pittsburgh trip earlier this year at her place she gave me a very special gift:  A little wodden "soon to be" fairy house!!!  

I carried it from Pittsburgh to New York to London to Munich and finally to Münster to my sister's place, because a fairy house belongs to a place where a kid lives.
When my sister heard about the house she was super excited and we started to prepare our fairy house project with ordering tiny, tiny things for the garden, the house and the fairy. There is so much cool stuff out there. Next we need to order Halloween and Christmas decoration!

In Münster my sister and I sat down with Emina, my 2 years and 11 months old niece, and told her that if we would paint the house and make it really beautiful and set it in a little garden in a pot maybe a fairy would pick the house as her home and move in. Emina's eyes grew bigger and bigger and bigger and then she grabbed the bag with the house to take it with her to the DIY market to buy everything we would need to create a perfect house for a beautiful fairy

The painting process with acrylic paint was pretty difficult - especially with a 2-year-old sitting in my lap who wanted to paint as well. I managed with the help of lots of tape, two aprons (a big one for me and a small one for Emina) and lots of patience to paint the house. Emina was SO proud that she managed to paint parts of the roof and the bottom. 

Then the house was ready and with the next step we built the garden and set it up. We even have a bridge and a well!

The next morning we put it out into the backyard of the house together with Emina and told her to wait if maybe the next night a fairy would find the house and make it her home.
That evening when she went to bed Emina told my sister half asleep that right now the fairy was busy moving in and she gave a detailed description of the magical creature:
Long dark hair, big fairy ears, a straight nose, big green eyes, a brown apron and shoes and also a brown dress but with applications and glittery fairy wings.

We have absolutely no clue where this description comes from. No fairy from any of her children books looks similar to that. There is only one explanation and yes ... it is MAGIC!

The next morning Emina checked on the fairy house and look - the fairy moved in:

There were tiny, tiny little rubber boots in front of the door the fairy put there after she finished her work in the garden. She had added more little stones to the garden path out of the basket and spread them out with a tiny rake.

And see ... the fairy even added a house number to the front stone. Now Emina lives in housenumber 33 and the fairy lives in 33a. 

We had only one question: Where is the fairy now? Is she in the house sleeping or is she flying around in the treetops enjoying the summer sun? We don't know. 

The following days - usually over night - several things changed around the house. Tiny little garden gnomes appeared and some flowers are now decorating the space below the front window.
Several kids in the neighborhood spotted the house and started to check on it daily. They try to figure out if the fairy is at home or not, too.

And then came the first Kindergarten day for Emina. Before her new adventure started she as usual checked on the house in the morning and indeed something had happened:

The fairy had placed three of Emina's favorite treats - Kiki bonbons from Croatia - in her tiny basket along with a message "Have fun in the Kindergarten, Emina!"

Of course she loved it and was so excited about the fairy gift. She even left one of the precious and rare Croatian bonbons in the basket for the fairy to eat.
When she checked the next morning and the Kiki was still there, she was for a moment almost disapointed but after thinking it through Emina came to the conclusion that that the Kiki was obviously too big for the fairy. I mean look at it .... how big it is in relation to the house or the flowers. For a fairy that was not a bonbon, but a rock. 

And there is one more thing Emina told us:
Her fairy is THE BEST because she not only brought her bonbons, but KIKIS.  And Kikis are not available in Münster, but only in Croatia, where the sea is. And that means that the fairy over night flew with her tiny fairy wings to far away Croatia only to bring her Kikis. Amazing!

And you know what:  She is right!  The most beautiful and nicest fairy ever just moved into our house and we are so so so happy to have her. 

Magic rules the world and let never ever somebody tell you differently!

Monday, August 27, 2012

50 shades of blue - A perfect Dalmatian vacation

Why time is always so SLOW when you want something to be over and RUNS when you want to stay exactly where you are? One of the unsolved mysteries of life, I guess.

I'm just back from my vacation in Dalmatia that seemed to be over within the wink of an eye. My friends and I spent a wonderful week with sleeping, eating, drinking, reading, swimming and staring on the at least 50 different shades of blue that the cloudless sky and crystal clear Adriatic sea presented us day by day. Simply ... perfect. 

Being in Zavalatica, a tiny village on the island of Korčula, was super easy, getting there - not so much. My two lovely friends Anita and Jadranka were already in Istra for a week, when I climbed into my "favorite" vehicle of long distance transportation:  The bus from Munich to the Adriatic coast.

I thought I'd never do that again, but the one way flights were simply unaffordable and so I got back to my good old bus travel routine and praticed how to sleep while sitting upright (the buses travel over night). It was not good but not sooo bad either and my friends waited for me in Rovinj / Istra where I changed from bus to car and we rushed down South the amazing new Croatian freeway. 

Home sweet home ... Usually when I see the Krka near Šibenik I'm almost there. From here it is only a short drive to Rogoznica.


But this time we kept driving heading for Korčula, an island in the South of Croatia. When we finally arrived in Orebić waiting for our ferry I had a very emotional moment. I was never before in Orebić, which is a beautiful coastal town on the Pelješac peninsula, but I heard a million stories about it because it is the place where my parents spent their honeymoon vacation. In moments like this I miss them both very much. Death is a cruel thing.

We were seriously exhausted when we arrived at our destination in Zavalatica, but it was worth the effort like we realized the next morning. When I said before the vacation "We booked an apartment where we can almost literally jump from the balcony into the water" I meant it!

The view from our balcony

And the view from our neighbor's balcony ...

... in the same house like our apartment

Little Zavalatica put us in a dreamy state of mind with its 50 shades of blue.

But we did not spend all the time in Zavalatica - sometimes we were in need for a bit more zivilisation since our village had for example no ATM and only one tiny market. One evening we spent in Vela Luka and we made a trip to Korčula City, but not without stopping for the great sights. 

View on Lastovo

is a beautiful and old little town, where so the legend tells Marco Polo was born. And although I love to vacation in quiet places like Zavalatica after a couple of days I really enjoyed the lively atmosphere in Korčula, eating ice cream on the street and do some shopping. 

Korčula is wine country. In Čara they produce the wonderful white wine called Pošip we enjoyed so much.

In the little village Smokvica the Vinarija Toreta offers high quality wines, liquors - and my favorite: white prošek - a rich, sweet dessert wine. 

In my daily life I cannot have pets - my lifestyle does not allow it. I am 14 hours a day out of the house and I travel too much. But when I am in Croatia I love to play with the pets of my landlords and neighbors. I am still missing "my" cat from Rogoznica. He used to sleep on my balcolny and rest in my lap. He died a while ago because somebody put out poison.
In Zavalatica we had another cat we for fun called Hase (bunny) and we loved our neighbor's dog Archie - a fantastic swimmer. 

When we had to say good bye OF COURSE Dalmatia made it extra sad and difficult with a dramatically beautiful sunrise we watched from the deck of the ferry.

All pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.
The full set of pictures (154 photos complete) can be seen here

PS: Just in case you were wondering when reading the headline: Yes, I read the famous "50 Shades of Grey" - the complete triology (did not take long anyway), but there will be no review on the blog. Although the story was not too bad and the sex stuff kind of entertaining, the writing was so incredibly BAD that I cannot seriously review it. I so so so wished I could just pack a bag of words and send it to E.L. James. She obviously has not enough of them. Very obviously. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Vacation Hiatus

I am out to spend one week with the coolest Kindergardener on planet earth aka my niece and another at the beach with my girls pretty close to the place where I made the pic above. It's okay that you are jealous :o) 

See you again end of August!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bavarian mini vacation

I usually start telling you that I'm somewhere really nice only after several hours of travel mostly by airplane. That is not really fair because I live in a great city with stunningly beautiful surroundings. One of my favorites places only a little less than an hour by train from Munich is the Tegernsee and last weekend I grabbed my mountain bike for a little trip around the lake ...

As you can see I was not exactly the only one with that idea. In fact the BOB train was packed with cyclists.

When I arrived at Tegernsee and hit the road down to the shore the weather was perfect - sunny but not too hot.

After a relatively intensive workout ride in the city on Saturday I had planned for Sunday the lazy tour on the flat trail around the lake, but when I got there, I realized that this would not work out. It was only allowed to cycle with walking speed and recommended at get off the bike if the trail was too busy with pedestrians - and it was very busy. So I turned around, got back to the road and took the upper tour with 850 feet in altitude (I know that is for kids, but I'm still on beginner level). I mean ... I go cycling almost every day so that was the much better training for me anyway. After climbing the first hill and enjoying the little downhill to Rottach-Egern I could not resist to stop for a short break at the beach and hang out in the sun.

The east shore of the lake is very flat and easy to cycle including some really nice trails where I stopped again for taking a couple of more pictures. 

After this very relaxing part of the trip the route went uphill again but only midly and it's fun to cycle. Next stop was Bad Wiessee for lunch.

The weather forecast for the evening included some storm warnings and looking at these clouds I knew it was time to get back to my bike for the last few miles to Gmund and finally Tegernsee

On the way from Bad Wiessee to Gmund are a couple of uphill sections. They would be nice to cycle if the cycling path would go along the road constantly, but it goes up and down changing the side of the road with a couple of steep ramps. Intervall training somebody? But the sights are nice.

At Gmund the Mangfall is one of the bigger tributaries of the lake. It was incredibly busy down there with tourists but really beautiful. 

The last part from Gmund to Tegernsee was realy nice to cycle and rolling out. I think next time I will get off the train already in Gmund and start from there. Then the route is more balanced and I think a bit more fun. Additionally I can avoid to go back to the train station in Tegernsee, because that - at the very end - was actually the worst uphill ramp of the whole tour - UFF!

The storm that was brewing on the hilltops when I was at lunch finally hit hard in the late afternoon when I was back in the train. The amount of rain, wind, thunder and lightning was impressing and I am grateful that I was off the road already when it started. 

Hopefully September has a few nice and sunny weekends - I would love to do the  tour one more time before the winter starts.