Monday, January 08, 2007

How were my Holidays you ask??

For those of you who received my email about my holidays, well then here it is again with some more details!

After a nice long two week Christmas holiday I am back to reality, with lots of great memories and new experiences to share. Before I begin with all of that though, I want to wish you all a very happy New Year, I realize I'm a week behind but I have yet to write 2007. So here it goes, I'm hoping that 2007 is a memorable one for everyone. Plan on making the best of it and take every opportunity to try and make yourself and the people around happy.

Now onto more exciting news! As some of you know, I took a much deserved break (from my point of view) and headed for Christmas holidays which saw me traveling through three different countries in two weeks. This year Alex and I decided that since we weren't home to be with our immediate families, we would visit the close family we have living here in Europe. Our trip started by heading to Bosnia to visit my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and many cousins. After four days, we probably gained 10 pounds as there was no point in time when we weren't eating or had food in front of us while being urged to continue eating. We had a great time through it all, eating, drinking slivovica (homemade plum brandy) and visiting with all of my family. I got to play the role of translator for Alex and he impressed all the Croatians through his willingness to experience a true Croatian Christmas. One of the big highlights was getting to roast a pig or four I should say on Christmas eve, as this is the traditional meal on Christmas day.

We then headed to Zagreb, Croatia to visit some more family. As with any major city in Europe, we saw yet another Christmas market and more boiled wine was had. This time only white wine was available which was different from other markets I have been to. I do have to say that the nostalgia of Christmas markets has worn off.

The next day it was off to London where we were met by Alex's brother and his wife. For future reference, anyone traveling to Luton Airport, don't take the bus into London, apparently there is a direct train service. This would have been useful information before we got stuck in rush hour traffic in central London. We spent a couple nights just outside of London at Alex's country aunts house which by the way was so big that many of us wish we had a map when we first got there. While exploring London, I went to many of the famous sights like Big Ben, the Parliment Buildings, Westminster Abbey and even stopped in for some tea with the Queen at Buckingham Palace ;) In true England weather, the rain started coming down, which was welcome by us at the time because it meant a chance to duck away into a cozy English pub and an escape for the ridiculous crowds outside. Apparently though, you would be hard pressed to find a true independant English pub in many cities, especially London, as they are all linked to some brewery or chain. The BIG splurge while in London didn't happen at the boutiques or Harrods as would be expected of me, rather at Jamie Oliver's restaurant called Fifteen. Here I had the most expensive meal of my life and while my expectations weren't entirely met, it was still something interesting I can now check off my list! Since the restaurant is called Fifteen, it appears that a lot of time was spent on ensuring the address was 15 whatever street, that there was 15 tables in the restaurant and other little insignificant 15 things. And no Jamie Oliver was not there.

Alex and I began New Year's eve with an early start to the London Eye which is a must do while in London if for nothing else than to say you've been on it. Unfortunately it was still raining a little outside but the view still provided great photo opps. We spent New Years Eve outside of London with Alex's family enjoying a fantastic dinner provided by Rupert (Alex's brother), playing games, and watched the fireworks by the London Eye on TV. It was some of the most impressive fireworks I have ever seen and a great way to ring in 2007.
Our final leg of the trip, was spent in Wimborne at Alex's grandparents in southern England. There we got to relax, eat some good cooking provided by his grandma, and listen to some great stories from two very interesting people who can say they have had "Princess Elizabeth" over for dinner. I particularly enjoyed heading to the coast in a nearby city, Pool, where I collected some sea shells along the beach (Alex had to stop me cuz I could have done that for hours). We also headed to Corfe Castle in Dorset, which was totally different than many other castles I have seen thus far and very impressive at over 1000 years old. Oh and I have to mention that England has the greenest grass I have ever seen, and this is in winter. Mind you "winter" is an ambiguous term these days with mild temperatures and no sign of snow even in Slovakia.

After writing this, I'm beginning to realize that the overall theme appears to be food but I guess thats what the holidays are for. I could fib by saying that new resolutions see me making to a gym sometime in the next year but that's highly unlikely. What is more likely is that I will continue to explore Europe and make it up many more steps, and cobblestone walks I'm sure!


At 5:38 PM, Blogger eldon said...

Happy New Year Blanka!

At 5:38 PM, Blogger eldon said...

Happy New Years Blanka !!!

At 5:39 PM, Blogger eldon said...

Happy New Year Blanka !!!


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