Saturday, July 28, 2012

Last Days in Denmark

Our last week in Denmark we just took it easy and hung out with the people we love

We checked out the Copenhagen zoo where the animals can get REALLY close

We also saw the aquarium which was MUCH smaller than Karsten remembered it as a child

We naturally had to indulge Axel's train obsession at Hedeland

But we will definitely miss Farmor the most

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bakken with Anton and Matilde

Copenhagen has two big amusement parks: Tivoli, for the high class people, and Bakken, for the everyday working man.  We fit in fine at Bakken.

Anton and Mathilde showed Axel how to play the horse/ball throwing game.  
Despite Anton's skilled teaching, Matilde still won - nice job Matilde!

The only ride Axel wanted to go on was the tea cup ride.  

No one else wanted to join us since it makes you so sick from spinning.  
He didn't seem to mind though.  (I survived too.)

Afterwards Anton took Axel on the REALLY scary ride . . . 

Anton seemed a little bored but Axel loved it because he was sitting next to such a cool dude

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Leaning Tower of Pisa

From Florence we took a day trip to Pisa to see the leaning tower. 

It's pretty wild to see - it really does tilt sideways!  

I didn't realize that the tower was only one small part of a huge palace, grounds, and cathedral

The entire place was beautiful . . .

. . . . but we didn't linger long because it was about 98 degrees (37 C) - way too hot for us!

Marisol and the Lovers' Lockets

On the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence, there is a tradition where lovers secure a padlock to the bridge and then throw away the key into the river below, symbolizing their eternal bond.

These were great toys for Marisol and Axel, who are best friends, basically two-year-old lovers :)

every locket must be examined

It was awesome being there with our Italian friends Elena and Jason. 
(We didn't even notice the teenagers making out, haha!)

All Marisol and Axel wanted to do was run around and chase each other - they had a blast together

463 Steps to the Duomo

In Florence, this is where we are breakfast in the mornings, 
note the perfect view of the Duomo from our rooftop terrace

The Duomo also served as a the backdrop for a free outdoor concert - with opera singers and a full orchestra, talk about a romantic atmosphere!!

Later we decided to climb to the top of the Duomo tower. 
You could see the entire city but Axel was more into pretending the binoculars were a friendly robot. 

The inside of the dome had the most surreal devil/Christian art: there were all these horned figures devouring babies and winged angels hovering above

I carried Axel up (and down) 463 narrow and treacherous steps . . .

I guess he'll thank me later when he returns as an adult. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Family Vacation in Florence

We took a family vacation to Italy last week.  
Axel brought his favorite toy trains with him EVERYWHERE.

We ate lots and lots of pasta, as well as gelato at least twice a day

even Axel got in on the gelato tasting

In Florence, Axel was only mildly impressed with Michaelangelo's David.  I was awestruck. 

He was much more impressed with riding on top of our shoulders

In fact, he did most of his sightseeing on top of our shoulders.  
Here he is at the Palazzio Vecchio, the city's ancient palace. 

While Axel was playing with his trains in the palace, 
I was inspecting the old medieval toilets . . . fascinating!

Amongst all the Florentine art, we discovered a John Singer Sargent exhibit (arguably one of history's best portrait painters) and afterward Axel and Raina were inspired to create a little artwork of their own

Italy was competing in the Eurocup final, so we watched the game outside with the locals, super exciting and authentico - too bad they lost! 

After much suspicion and several refusals, 
Axel finally agreed to ride the carousel in the Piazza della Repubblica

In Bologna, we enjoyed a beer in the university square (while Axel enjoyed his trains), later we ate one of the most delicious and romantic meals of our lives thanks to the electronic babysitter (iPad) and to the amazing chef/owner at Cafe Rossi 

The trip was one of our first real family vacations, overall a fun adventure and surprisingly sweet bonding experience.  :)