Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Late Winter Apathy!

I don't know what it is about this time of year but I don't seem to be bothered much about doing anything, but at long last, after a few hints and nudges, I have finally managed to get myself into gear. Last month I had six days away with Maalie, and when I saw him earlier today he looked a bit mournful and asked why I hadn't blogged it yet. So hear goes.

On a cold and snowy evening we flew out of East Midlands airport (which I think was the only airport open in Britain) only four hours late. We had arrived at the airport five hours too early (Maalie rather likes to be on time and doesn't leave anything to chance). We had a delightful nine hours wait sipping tea, coffee, beer, wine and anything else we could get our hands on. Eventually we landed in Slovakia, dead of night and not a soul around! I won't dwell on the next few hours.

Perhaps February isn't the best time to visit Central Europe unless you are skiing, which we weren't, although we did have a morning on the Municipal ice rink. This was a wonderful affair. Two large ice rinks joined together by a network of small ice pathways. Maalie's not too bad at skating. He only fell once and spectacularly scattered half a dozen little children while doing so, much to the chagrin of their mothers. I'm a rubbish skater and luckily Maalie only caught me on camera in the upright position. I splatted on the ice too many times to count and ended up soaked through to the skin, with bruises all over my knees, bottom and back. My knees are still bruised three weeks later!

Posing on ice in front of the Rathaus.

Some of the frozen scenery was spectacular. Although it was wet and rainy in the towns, in the countryside there was a lot of snow.

The snowy countryside gave many opportunities for arty pictures.

The wind had blown the snow off branches, and then it froze. Amazing!

In Vienna, Maalie and I feasted on cake and coffee:

Hasn't he got nice hands!

I must say the blue Danube is grey, but it was beautiful, half frozen. Beavers live along the banks, and although we didn't see any, we saw plenty of evidence of their activity.

Birds taking off from the frozen Danube.

On one of our trips into the countryside, we visited the town of Melk. The monastry there was used in the film 'The Name of the Rose'. Mmmm .. Sean Connery.

The highlight of the week of a visit one evening to the Vienna State Opera where we saw Manon Lascaut by Pucini. This was the first time I have ever actually seen an opera in one of the grand opera houses. The word 'grand' just doesn't begin to describe it. I was so overcome by the beauty and the sadness of the final act, Maalie had to take me off to a bar for a couple of brandies to recover.

Vienna State Opera House.

And that was our week away. Maalie was the perfect host. It is so nice to travel with someone who knows what they are doing, doesn't bumble around with a confused look on their face and knows where to go for the best cake, coffee and wine! Thank you Maalie for my holiday.

On Thursday I am off to Japan for two and a half weeks, but I shall keep my eye on you all via Jack's computer. And so, to finish with, one of my heroes! Thank you Maalie for taking this photo for me. My camera had ran out of battery!


Kiwi Nomad said...

Yes...had noticed the lack of recent posting on your site! Spectacular ice photos. Have never seen it that cold anywhere myself. Lately as maalie posts a few spring photos, I have been aware our summer will pass- it has been a good one- but mostly at present it is hard to imagine it getting cold again!

Maalie said...

Oooh, some nice pictures there!

Just a couple of teensy points, the monastery is at Melk (not melt); and the picture you have is the Musikveirein (where they have the New Year's Day concert) rather than the opera house. An equally imposing building though.

Maalie said...

Oh, and the birds on the ice are coots.

lorenzothellama said...

Duly corrected Maalie. I will go into edit, and amend Melt, but their aint much I can do about the opera house!

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

You two crack me up with the sibling comments!!

It looks like you had a lovely holiday Lorenzo - it is good that Maalie was being a decent big brother and not pulling your pigtails as they are so want to do!

I will look forward to regular updates from Japan please so we will know how all of you are there. How fun - more baby pictures!!

Shammickite said...

The world weary wanderer returns, only to be off again in another direction in a few short days.
Good to see that you haven't forgotten how to blog.
Vienna... never been there but perhaps one day. Looks wonderful.
Enjoy the family in Japan. And remember to keep us who are stuck at home in front of our copmuter screens updated.

donsands said...

I wish I could holiday like that. Perhaps someday I shall. Though my greatest desire and longing is visit Ireland, no so much Europe, and England as well. But my blood line is almost 100% Irish, and so i would love to see some of my kinfolk.

Thanks for the marvelous post of such fine pictures.

Merisi said...

You poor souls were there in the midst of Ice and Darkness! *brrrrrr*

Slowly spring seems to sneak in here,
however, I am going south, just to be sure to catch a few sunrays.

Wishing you a wonderful time in Japan! :-)

Anonymous said...

Breathtaking! I actually had to ooooh and ahhh out loud!

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

How are you finding Japan Llama dear? Are all well?

Ted M. Gossard said...

These photos even look better the second time around. I thought I left a comment, but not.

Yes, we have a lovely Spring day, and just in time for St. Patrick's Day! Blessed day to you and yours!

Unknown said...

Looks like you had a fab holiday. And I thought it was cold here!

Love the ice/snow photos, and that cake looks scrummy - though cake always does to me.

btw, v-word = sneuttei

Ju's little sister said...

Brrr! I am not a fan of Winter at all, but you made it look very picturesque (sp?) and lots of fun. I do love ice skating though, my sibs and I used to skate on the frozen ponds on the farm when we were kids.

Sorry I've been so very very out of touch, but this summer has just been wonderful and I feel so guilty when I sit down at the computer that I mostly just check my emails (and play my turn on Lexulous) and not much else. So glad to see you're having a good time too Lorenzo, xx

Ju's little sister said...

Blog owner approval now? Are you getting too popular miss llama or have I been missing some drama? (you don't have to publish this one ;-) )

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

are you digging in the garden Llama dear? It seems that the sun is giving us hints of spring - although we woke to several inches of snow yesterday! hopefully the warmer weather will hold and we will have sunshine for the wedding day - I do so wish you could be here with me to meet these lovely young folks and old friends like the Craver family as well!! You would be much loved!

Tortoiseshell said...

I'm back!

Kiwi Nomad said...

By the way, I am glad to read maalie's comments, as it means he never ended up choking when he took that photo for you :-)

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

gosh, could you please put up a new post - even if it's on spiders!

Ju's little sister said...

Yar Lorenzo! Winter looks so cold! I like to ice-skate but I'm not so cool with the cool weather! Brrr. And winter is coming along here in NZ - daylight savings is over and there's a nip in the air.

Thanks for visiting my new post Lorenzo, it means a lot to me that you are the first to visit. Black Cat and Plumpy aren't related. I got him from a pom who was returning home and couldn't take his cat too. Back then Plumps went by another name (the mysterious R. which is his middle initial) and was actually a large but fairly sleek feline. My old flat mate (referred to as Auntie Casey) over fed him for about 18 months, but then I never stopped her so I'm as much to blame.

I was pretty sad when Mum told me about The Black Cat, she really was a special cat and she gave the most comfortable and loving hugs in the world. I've never met a cat like her since.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Happy Easter, Llama!

He is risen!

Shammickite said...

Did you and Martin run away together?

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

further harassment

simon said...

So when are you going for a new post??!!

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Llama - it's not winter anymore - time for you to post something!!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Hey, Lorenzo, It's no longer late winter. Hope you're having a nice Spring over there. Tis' lovely here. My favorite time of the year.

Glennis said...

Real mixture of photos, I liked the yummy cakes best.