Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sun, Food, + more Kirchtag

Sorry for the delay on posts! Sometimes its hard to sit down in the evening/night and write a post when I'm falling asleep at the computer. Hopefully the next few posts will make up for it. I will have one for thursday and friday, another one for saturday, and then one for today. Hopefully I can finish all the posts in a reasonable time period.

Thursday August 2nd, 2012

Thursday started out pretty quiet and during breakfast there were careful negotiations on when computer and t.v. time was.

View from my window this morning
The kids played in the garden, went swimming, did 'dress up', ate ice cream, etc. When they were playing dress up I went upstairs at one point to check on them and they told me I couldn't look.

Me: "Can I look?"
Austrian sister: "NO! (my cousin) is a princess and I am her BEST friend!"
Me: "Okay, Okay..."

My austrian grandmother was there part of the day and made homemade dumplings and stuffed peppers. The peppers were basically filled with some rice and other type of breading. The flavor wasn't strong but a sort of tomato sauce accompanied it. The dumplings were also a type of breading mixture.

In the evening when my austrian sister and brother were watching a movie I made dinner. My austrian cousin didn't want to see the movie and instead watched Hannah Montana on my laptop (one episode in german, one in english; as always not happy about the english one).

After dinner the kids went off to do their own things but my austrian sister and cousin got on my laptop a bit and played with photobooth. Photobooth is simply an application that utilizes the laptop's camera to take photo and video. The application has its own backgrounds you can use as well as different types of effects (mirror, fish eye, etc.).

Some of the photos my austrian cousin and sister did with photobooth:






One of the videos the girls took playing around:

video




Friday August 3rd, 2012

On friday the kids began to pack to go to their own respective places (my austrian cousin was leaving, my austrian sister and brother were only going to be gone a few days). I made pancakes for breakfast and spent most of the morning swimming with the kids. The afternoon rolled around and I went from having three kids to none. IT WAS MY FREE TIME! Usually here or there I have some sort of relaxation time. Sometimes I'm reading at the lake in the sun while the kids are trying to bring up treasure from the bottom of the lake with their surfboards, other times I'm at loose ends when the kids want to do something on their own (so I read, cook, work on updating my blog post, loading/taking photos, etc.  :D). But if I want to travel somewhere or visit something of my choosing that is almost always reserved for my off time.

I decided to go to the mall Atrio in Villach so I could buy some shorts and lighter weight shirts. Most of my seattle clothing is on the heavy side (even my short sleeved shirts) for a summer here and I also wanted some more european colors (tend to be brighter colors). I drove and managed not to get lost using the gps function.

I ended up with white shorts, dark blue pants, white shirt, blue tanktop (notice a pattern here? More basic mediterranean colors...). I really wanted some red pants which are pretty popular here (red is on the austrian flag). However the red pants I found that were the *right* color red were a velveteen fabric and upwards of a 100 euros. I think I will wait on the red pants and look for them somewhere else.

I drove back home and shortly after my older austrian brother (from Salzburg) arrived. We decided to go to Kirchtag in Villach and so we got into his car (well technically his mother's car since his very small car doesn't have the tags to be on the autobahn) and headed into Villach to find some parking.

It always amazes me how austrians can fit their small cars into even smaller parking spaces. I really don't know how they do it and it amazes me every time when I get out of the car (because there won't be enough room to get out once in the parking space) and watch them inch between two other cars. This is not to say that parking spaces are typically small (I always have a easy time parking at the grocery store; the spots would be small by U.S. standards but the european cars fit into them just fine) it is just that sometimes it is busy and you have to navigate around cars in odd spaces.

We then walked from the parking lot to the festival (only about 5-10 mins). It was a rather warm evening and somewhat cloudy. We could see thunderclouds in the distance but it never rained while we were at the festival.

Heading into downtown Villach

Crossing the bridge over the Drau River

I've only been to a fair once before and typically when it comes to festivals I usually just do Folklife in Seattle so the fair rides area was a bit of a new experience for me. I tried one of the rides with my austrian brother which at first seemed okay but then sped up greatly as I hung on for dear life. It was like a jacked up version of the tea cup ride in disneyland. Luckily I didn't have to go upside down but I was dizzy for about two minutes after the ride. I also tried some of the fair games although the odds aren't really stacked in the player's favor and you have to shell out some cash. But since I don't do fair games at home, I might as well try them out in Europe!

The ferris wheel

I could try to explain this ride but I think you are better off just watching the video below.....



A small part of the ride/game area. It was late in the evening so all the lights were on.

Another upside down ride?

This is a game where you depending on how many euros you spend you are allowed to pick a certain amount of ducks. I think for five euros you could pick four. You pick out the ducks you want from the rotating belt of water they are floating on and on the bottom of them are points (different for each duck). Depending on how many points you accrue you can get a certain selection of prizes. Hence the more money you spend, the more chance of getting a higher number of points. Most of the fair games present at the festival operated on this type of point system for prizes.

My prize from the duck game. Actually somewhat decent.

This is the ride I took with my austrian brother. There is a wheel on each seat but don't mistake that for any directional control. It is simply so you can hang on when it rotates the seat in addition to the rotation of the arm the seat is attached to. It also switches rotational directions.....
 I also tried a fair game where there is a grid with a certain number of holes. Each hole is covered with paper and you take a 'hammer' to break the paper cover and release a ball underneath the paper (how many paper holes you can break depends on how much money you spend). The color of the ball denotes how many points you get per ball. You don't get a fresh grid at the start of every game. The grid is only replaced when all the paper holes are broken, so between players the odds change for the balls available for points (I'm sure there is some sort of math for this but I'm too lazy to figure it out right now).

I didn't do too well on this game and my prize was pretty sorry.....

I'm pretty sure this is the worst prize I got out of my entire Kirchtag experience. At least it was better than no prize?

More rides.....

My two euro cotton candy which I then proceeded to get all over my face and hands.

It was getting close to 10 pm and my older austrian brother and I were getting hungry. He asked me if I wanted to go to Alem Kebab; he explained it as a Turkish fast food chain. I had seen Kebabs around before in Villach but I had never gone to one. I know the menus can vary between Kebabs, but it seems that Alem Kebabs have a selection of mostly sandwiches. I was warned that the sandwiches can be quite spicy (from a special sauce they use) and that people either love it or hate it. Since I was missing some 'spice' in my life (spices are used in austrian food for flavor but not so much for heat).


As we walked into the restaurant I notice they had a huge roast of meat turning on a spit behind the counter. Apparently when someone orders a sandwich they just carve some meat of the rotating roast. They have a vegetarian option with cheese so I tried that.

My vegetarian sandwich.

It was actually quite good although I had to drink something to help wash down the spice (haven't done that for awhile). My austrian brother asked me if it was too hot for me and I assured him it was hot in a good way. The sandwich was a little heavier then I've grown use to having in the last few months but in some ways it reminded me of home (odd since I've never really eaten turkish food before).

Got into bed late with plans to go to the Kirchtag parade the next day.

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