Friday, July 25, 2008

Vienna Orientation Plans Underway

Does this picture look posed? J.J., Judy and I have been organizing and preparing the Vienna orientation program for the new staff members who arrive on August 1. Even though we look hard at work, we've had a lot of fun planning and laughing together this summer.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sounds of Salzburg

This talented quintet entertained Salzburg residents and visitors alike along Linzergasse. Not only did they sport traditional Austrian clothes and play some funky instruments, but their music was high quality and lots of fun!

Salzburg in Summer

On my way back from Switzerland, I spent a couple days in Salzburg with another staff family from school. With our Salzburg Cards in hand, we saw as many museums and sights as we could. The city was full of tourists, EuroCup soccer fans, and amazing flower displays wherever we went. This is Mirabelle palace and gardens, with the Hohensalzburg fortress on the hill in the distance.

On one of our days in Salzburg, we toured Hellbrunn Palace, home of the famous gazebo used in The Sound of Music and the trick fountains. The man who built the palace hid water fountains throughout his garden to surprise and thrill his guests on hot summer days. His sense of playfulness with water brought joy and delight (and sometimes a soaking!) to those who visited the palace.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Switzerland Vacation

Following a busy end to the school year, I spent a week in Switzerland with my cousin, Susanne. The scenery was unbelievably gorgeous and Susanne and I took advantage of the warm, sunny weather to see as much as we could. One day we took a train and then cable car to Grindelwald and went hiking in the Swiss Alps. We enjoyed watching many para-gliders sailing over the mountain valleys as we hiked.

Another day, we went to Affolten to tour an Emmentaler (Swiss) Cheese factory. Here the curds are pressed to extract the whey. Then each cheese is marked with the date and an Emmentaler Cheese label (see the large, circular, red and white labels). After being pressed for 6-20 hours, the cheese will sit in a brine bath for 2-3 days to help the rind begin to form. Finally, the cheese will age in the cellar for 4-6 months before being sold.

One of the highlights of my vacation with Susanne was visiting the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Here I pose in the old city center of Biel/Bienne. It was invigorating to be able to read signs and understand the conversations I heard around me. I felt a real sense of accomplishment in being able to purchase fruit at a market and order dinner in a restaurant without having to revert back to using English.