Saturday, December 07, 2019

Goodbye Croatia

Pixlr (7)Can't believe it is already our last night in Europe again. Why do vacations fly by sooo fast? Our flight leaves out of Pixlr_20191207165200276Split airport at 7.30am (ugh - too early) We do have a 3 hour layover in Munich so we at least should have some time to sit and grab something to eat and drink while there. We get into NY/JFK at 3.40pm. And then Monday morning it's back to work and reality. Well going to hold on to the vacation feeling for tonight and our travel day tomorrow before facing reality just yet. :)

Croatia has been a blast and we have mostly lucked out with the weather too. Zagreb was a bit of a washout but the rain did stop at one point so we were able to enjoy the Christmas markets and night time atmosphere without getting further drenched. 

The drive to Zadar was fine and we had a nice time there. Beautiful sunny day by the coast. Had enough time to walk around, snap pictures and have a delicious lunch and some drinks. The hotel (Bastion) was really nice even though we did have some trouble finding it at first. Due to some construction and road closures it could only be accessed via an one-way road. We did manage eventually and all was fine. 

Then on Wednesday we were off to Dubvronik and the weather was great for the 2 days we were there. Couldn't have asked for more. On Wednesday when we got there after checking into our hotel (Lero) we walked into the old town and walked around the old city walls. Quite a bit of a climb at times but definitely worth it. Great views of the ocean, coastline as well as the city and rooftops. Super pretty. After our walk we wandered around the old walled town and checked out some more sights. Had dinner at a delicious seafood restaurant and some wine at a neat wine bar afterwards. Then took a cab back to the hotel as we decided we were tired of walking. :)

Thursday we took a trip into Bosnia to a little town called Trebinje which was only about 35-40 min. away. Had lunch there and walked around for a bit. Definitely a little adventure as it wasn't really a town American tourists would be expected. But we managed to have a delicious lunch and enjoyed ourselves before heading back to Dubvrovnik. More seafood for dinner in the old town. 

Yesterday, Friday, we drove back up to Split. The weather has been a bit iffy but not too bad. Our hotel (Marul) is really close to the center which also proved a bit interesting with driving and parking but again all worked out ok in the end. Walked around and took in the sights of the old town and also had a yummy lunch at a pizzeria and some delicious wine at a wine bar. And today, Saturday, we drove to Trogir, about 35 min. away. Another neat small walled town near the sea. And another place that gets really busy in the summer but as it was off season it was pretty quiet. Still enjoyed ourselves and had more delicious seafood and wine for lunch. Managed to luck out with the downpour of rain mostly too as it rained the most while we were having lunch. Also made a new friend - a cute kitten. :) Been enjoying all the cute cats -- always a sign you are in a warmer climate/Mediterranean country when you start to see a lot of cats around. :) 

So just repacked my luggage for tomorrow since our flight is an early one. Then we will head out for our last night here in Croatia. :) Not ready to leave but I guess all goods things do need to come to an end. 

Letter/Mail Update: I received a letter from/owe a reply to: Lotte/Denmark, Celia/MA and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 10:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 02, 2019

Hello from Europe - Austria Recap

Pixlr_20191202200104890Yes it is Monday but I can't really complain about that considering we're currently in Europe AND are missing an Pixlr (6)ice/snow storm at home in CT. So really a win-win. 

So let's recap our trip so far before I get too far behind. :) We left on Thursday - Thanksgiving. So happy belated to all of my US friends. I hope you all had a nice day. We had a non-stop flight to Austria from NY so that was good. Then went from Vienna to my parent's town in Lower Austria (about 1 hr drive) Had a yummy lunch with them and also did some shopping at a local grocery store. Walked around town for a bit and then up with my parents again for a light dinner/snacks and some drinks at a local restaurant in town. Very long day but fun. 

Then on Friday I had an appointment at my hairdresser. After that we headed to lunch at a Heuriger (vineyard restaurant) with my parents and some family friends. And from there we drove back to Vienna and returned the car at the airport. Then took the CAT train into downtown Vienna and checked into our hotel (the Hilton right by the Wien Mitte-Landstrasse stop) Then went straight back out to go to Schoenbrunn Castle to meet up with my friend Barbara at the Christmas market there. Always so pretty. Tons of people of course on a Saturday night but it was still a lot of fun. 

Sunday we checked out the Time Travel Vienna museum/exhibit which was cheesy but still kind of neat. Then had lunch at 1516 Brewing Company and later met up with Lydia at Crossfield's. Made one more stop at another brewpub and then headed to the Christmas market in front of the Belvedere. From there went back to the center to take some pictures of St. Stephen's Cathedral and the decorations around there at night. Ended up at an Italian restaurant/bar/bistro for a bit (Il Tempo) which was pretty neat. 

And this brings us to today, Monday. Headed back to the airport this morning by train. Ended up there early enough to have time to sit down and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. And were then off on our flight to Zagreb. Rented a car at the airport and then headed to our hotel (Hotel International) It's located just outside the old town so can't complain about the location. The weather was pretty miserable though. Pouring rain and cold. But we powered through and walked into the old town anyway. Had a leisurely lunch at a cafe and dried up a little. Then checked out a quirky museum called "The Museum of Broken Relationships" After that the rain finally died down and we were able to enjoy the various Christmas markets a little more without getting drenched. 

Now we are back at the hotel bar relaxing for a bit. Tomorrow it's on to Zadar. 

Letter/Mail Update: I received a letter from/owe a reply to: Lotte/Denmark, Celia/MA and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 02:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 25, 2019

Almost Thanksgiving

IMG_20191125_074041_972Yup you guessed it, it's Monday again. Not feeling the idea of facing a Monday. But I guess the good thing is that it's only a three day week. Thursday is Thanksgiving and with my corporate job I get Friday off too. At my old job at Marcus this was not the case and I often worked Friday and Saturday over the Thanksgiving weekend. This time around I really can't complain as we will be on a plane on Thanksgiving Day. Off to Austria. We will be there for 3 days and then Croatia for 7 days. So we'll be gone for the Thanksgiving weekend plus the following week. Definitely looking forward to a bit of a break. 

This past weekend was quiet. Saturday I had a doctor's appointment in the morning. Then later we headed down to Westport for lunch and in the evening I put up the tree at home and finished my Christmas cards. I know it's not Thanksgiving yet and I usually don't put up the tree beforehand but with us being away I figured it would make sense to put up the tree so it's up when we get back on December 8th. And of course my cards needed to be done too. I still have a few more to write and I also have to still put together the gift packages for the domestic folks after we get back. For the international ones I will order via Amazon again. Just seems to be a lot easier these days.

On Sunday we went to the movies and saw "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood", the Mr. Rogers movie starring Tom Hanks. I liked the movie even though I didn't grow up watching Mr. Rogers and don't really have a lot of the cultural references a lot of Americans do. But it was a good movie nonetheless. Afterwards we headed to 121 in Oxford for lunch and then later caught up on some more TV at home and also watched the American Music Awards. 

And well here we are. And it's Monday. At least it's not as miserable as yesterday. Yesterday it poured all day and was just really dreary all day. Oh and I still don't have my replacement phone. Supposed to get a new phone from Samsung through warranty but of course nothing is ever as simple as you would hope. It would be nice to receive it before we leave for Europe but I guess we'll see what happens. 

Letter/Mail Update:  Received a letter from/owe a reply to: Lotte/Denmark, Celia/MA and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 07:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 18, 2019

Low key weekend and phone troubles continued

FordVFerrari_ATM_845x321-minAnother weekend gone by and it's Monday again. High of 40F (4C) and rain today so it's going to be chilly & wet. The weekend wasn't much better. Saturday it was sunny but windy and really chilly. Yesterday was overcast and a little warmer but still felt chilly. It's too early for these temps. Really not feeling it but what can you do? I guess we are in for a long winter this year (and it's not even officially winter yet) 

Still dealing with my phone issues. We went to the mall last Monday and were relatively confident that it was the battery that was the problem. Well went back to the mall on Tuesday and nope turns out the whole phone is fried, motherboard and all. I am guessing it must have been defective from the start because I only got it back in March or April (the S10 was only released in March I think) Anyway Mike spent 2 1/2 hours on the phone with Sprint support and eventually got someone to agree that we can swap out the phone through Samsung warranty. They said the new phone would come in 3-5 days so hopefully some time this week. Would be nice to have my new phone before we leave for Europe next week. I do have a phone now but it's Mike's old phone and quite a few generations old now. The camera is definitely better on my S10 and the battery life too (well, when it's working properly anyway) 

Let's see what else? Friday I went out with some friends from work. Went to the Irish club for karaoke. No, I did not sing. Definitely not my thing. But it's entertaining enough watching other people do it. Didn't get home till after 1am. Definitely not my usual stuff but it was a fun night out. Saturday we slept in and then had lunch in Woodbury at the Marketplace. And yesterday, Sunday, we went to the movies to see "Ford vs. Ferrari". I had been looking forward to the movie even though I am not a big car or racing fan generally speaking. The cast is great and of course there's Caitrona (Claire from Outlander) and she did a great job as well.

So now it's Monday again. Let's see what this week brings. Wednesday I have my eye doctor appointment. Fall/winter always seems to be full of appointments for me. Had my physical last week and some other appointments coming up as well. Don't know why but it just seems to work out that way. 

Letter/Mail Update:  Received a letter from/owe a reply to: Lotte/Denmark, Celia/MA and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 07:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Phone Troubles

AndroidPIT-elephone-p9000-1164-w782Ok it's Tuesday and yeah I missed updating yesterday. Reason behind that is that I have been dealing with a broken phone. Had a good weekend and Sunday night we caught up on TV as usual. While watching TV my phone was just sitting on the coffee table. When we started watching it was at 40% for the battery. At one point later in the night I picked it up and it was at 1% and eventually died. I wasn't too worried about it at the time as I didn't really need it while we were watching TV. The battery life has been somewhat annoying on it as of late but not too awful either. It's not a super old phone either (Samsung S10) Anyway, when we were going to bed I plugged the phone in, figuring it would start charging and I could charge it overnight and all would be fine. But yeah, no such luck. 

Mike and I tried a few things, hard resets and whatnot but no luck. Monday morning I had a dr apt for my annual physical and then went into work after. It was very weird not having a working phone on me throughout the day. It's weird how we get so used to these things. Anyway after work we went to the mall to a place called Mobile Rescue. Originally I had figured we would go to a Sprint store but apparently all the stores in our town only do sales and no repair. The closest Sprint store for repairs is in Newburgh, NY which is about 40+ miles away. Anyway, the store in the mall assumes it is the battery but they didn't have a battery in stock. So they are ordering a new one and hopefully that fixes the problem. It could be some other issue but I am guessing it's the battery as well. They did say it could also be the charging port but I tried wireless charging and no results there either. It's just dead. 

So yeah, anyway, now it's Tuesday, another work day ahead. I am tired, didn't sleep that well yesterday again. Ugh. We will need to go back to the mall tonight and wait for 20-30 min. while they switch out the battery. Kind of annoying but it is what it is of course. The weekend was nice at least. Pretty low key. Saturday we went to the movies and saw "Jojo Rabbit". From the trailers I was not sure what to make of it but it was really well done and a great movie. I would definitely recommend it. And Sunday we just went for brunch at J. Lawrence and then caught up on recorded TV. 

Letter/Mail Update:  Received a letter from/owe a reply to: Lotte/Denmark, Celia/MA and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 06:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 04, 2019

Daylight Savings Weekend

FB_IMG_1553553319733And it's Monday again. The US switched to Daylight Savings Time this weekend so we got our extra hour of sleep. Was definitely needed after coming back from California. It felt like a very long week. Especially last Monday when we headed straight to work from the airport (and only less than 2 hours of sleep on the plane) But even though I appreciate the extra hour of sleep with Daylight Savings the whole thing still aggravates me every time. It messes with your inner clock and schedule. I do like that (at least briefly) it's a little lighter again in the morning but of course tonight by the time I leave work it will be pitch black dark. It's always such an abrupt change. Ugh. 

So yeah, managed to get through the week even though the jetlag (or maybe just the fact of not sleeping much Sunday into Monday) affected me quite a bit this time around. But oh well, a new week ahead. We have a new person starting at work who I will be mentoring. I think that's the 5th person I am mentoring. Well I am coming up on 3 years at my current job (Nov 7) Crazy how time flies. So it will be a busy week ahead. 

The weekend was nice and relaxed. It was pretty cool/cold but sunny all weekend. This morning it was only 28F (-2C) when I woke up. The high is going to be 53F (11C) The 10 day forecast shows snow showers and frigid temps. Ugh. I guess we have officially entered that season now with crossing into November. Not really looking forward to another long winter. Really not my favorite time of the year but what can you do? 

So yeah, the weekend was quiet. Saturday we went to the movies and saw the new Maleficent movie and then had lunch in Oxford at 121. On Sunday we just slept in and then had lunch in Westport. And afterwards met up with our friends John and Jana for a bit before heading home to catch up on more recorded TV. 

Letter/Mail Update:  Received a letter from/owe a reply to: Lotte/Denmark, Celia/MA and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 07:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Santa Barbara -- hello & goodbye

Pixlr_20191027110508622I totally meant to update much sooner while here in California but I have no idea where our 5 day/4 night stay went. Pixlr (5) It's already time for us to go home tonight and I am so not feeling that at all. It's been a great time. 

So let's see and recap a bit. We left home on Wednesday morning. Our flight out of Newark was at 9am. We were off to LAX and had a decent layover there so we were able to grab lunch at a bar and relax for a bit. Then had a super short connection to Santa Barbara. I always love Santa Barbara airport. It's so convenient. Picking up the rental car was super easy and we were at our hotel (The La Quinta on State Street - near where EF is) in no time. The hotel is undergoing massive construction but the hotel staff has been really nice. They gave us a room facing the street, away from the construction in the back of the building. And they also agreed to let us pay the self park rate rather than the valet rate they are charging now. And the location of the hotel is convenient so really no complaints. 

Wednesday we walked up and down State Street, checking out the different restaurants and stores. I always play the game of "what used to be here" which is getting a little harder as time goes by, sometimes I can pick out two or three different things that used to be in any given location. Can't believe it's been 20 years since I lived here. So crazy. Anyway, Wednesday night we had dinner at a Mexican restaurant close to the hotel, Carlitos. It's a place that has been there for a long time but the first time we went. Good food and it was great being able to sit outside on the patio. 

Thursday was my birthday (40 .... ughhhhh) and we took advantage of the free breakfast downstairs and then headed over into the Santa Ynez Valley for wine tasting. The weather has been really hot and that day it reached into the mid 90ies in the Valley. We went to Brander Vineyard first and did a tasting there, then enjoyed a glass outside in the shade. Next stop was Beckmen which was really nice as well. After a tasting we enjoyed a bottle outside on their covered patio in the shade. From there we headed into Los Olivos and had a delicious lunch at the Wine Merchant's Cafe. And then stopped into one more tasting room in Los Olivos before heading back to Santa Barbara. For dinner we met up with my host mom Linda at Pascucci's. One of my all time favorite places in Santa Barbara. So good. Linda was driving up from San Diego and ended up getting stuck in some traffic which delayed her a bit but I was really glad that she was able to make it. 

Friday we drove to San Simeon to visit the Hearst Castle. We had been there before but this time we did the Upstairs Suites tour rather than the regular main suites tour. The next time we come back we will need to check out another tour. It's such a massive place and always fascinating to go there and hear all of the stories. After our tour we headed across the street to the beach where the Hearst Castle Winery has a tasting room in a big warehouse. They also had a food truck parked there so the perfect spot for lunch. Then continued on to Cambria and stopped at a few vineyards there as well. There is a whole wine trail in that area as well called the Pacific Coast Wine Trail. We went to Moonstone, Stolo and Twin Coyotes. All very neat. And on our way home we stopped at the Boathouse at Hendry's Beach for a lovely dinner on the beach. 

Yesterday, Saturday, we went for a 2 mile walk in Carpinteria by the beach at the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve. Was nice to be outside getting some exercise in and just to be near the ocean. I love the way the air smells near the ocean. After that we drove back into Santa Barbara and met Linda and her husband JD for lunch at the Shoreline Beach Cafe. Another great spot. The food was delicious and it was great to catch up. After lunch we headed over to the Funk Zone and then back to the hotel for a minute to clean up. And then a lovely dinner at the Santa Barbara Fishouse right down by the water. Another lovely spot I had wanted to try out and was not disappointed. SO good. 

And well now it's Sunday and we will already be leaving today. But at least before that we will get one more lunch at the beach. Heading to the Beachside Cafe in Goleta. Will be the perfect spot as we will need to be in that direction anyway for the airport so really a win-win. Not ready to leave but at least we will have a nice leisurely lunch/afternoon before actually heading to the airport. Then down to LAX and a redeye flight back to Newark. And then back to work. Ughhh. 

Letter/Mail Update:  Received a letter from/owe a reply to: Lotte/Denmark, Celia/MA and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 02:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 21, 2019

Hopkins Wine and Cheese Festival - perfect fall weather

IMG_20191019_141541_665Yup, it's Monday again. Why do weekends always fly by WAY too fast? I guess I really should not complain too much as I only have a 2 day work week this IMG_20191019_141737_786week. We are off to California on Wednesday morning and will be gone Wednesday through Sunday. We come back on a red-eye Sunday night into Monday morning. And then yeah you guessed it, straight to work from the airport. Definitely not looking forward to that but it is what it is and it's all about maximizing the vacation days given. :) 

Anyway, this past week was fine. We tried out Pulcinella's in Brookfield on Monday, in search for a new Italian place after Rizzuto's in Bethel closed down. Our bartender from Rizzuto's made the switch over there and it was fun to see her again, although a little weird being behind a different bar. But the food was good and we'll definitely have to go back. They have a great happy hour menu as well and happy hour is even until 7pm. 

The weekend was nice and Saturday truly was the perfect quintessential fall day. It was cool in the morning (we actually had a frost warning) but warmed up a bit and especially in the sun it was really nice. We headed to the Hopkins Wine and Cheese Festival at the Hopkins Vineyard. Took a nice walk around the area, near the lake, prior to the festival as well. Then walked around the festival where they had wine tasting from 5 vineyards, cheese, oils, breads and so on. We bought some cheese, some foccacia, some oils, all very yummy. Had some of it while catching up on our TV Saturday and Sunday night. 

Sunday was pretty low key. We went to the movies to see the new Zombieland movie. I am not usually a zombie type person but I really like the cast of these movies and they are definitely entertaining. After the movies we went for lunch in Oxford at 121 and eventually home to catch up on more TV. 

And well here we are, Monday morning. I do have a lot to get done in the next 2 days, both at work and just personal stuff. So will be a busy two days for sure. 

Letter/Mail Update:  Received a letter from/owe a reply to: Lotte/Denmark, Celia/MA and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 07:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Sara Bareilles - MSG

Pixlr (2)Hey! Somehow I missed my weekly post on Sunday/Monday. That seems to be the day when I most often update these days. I guess yesterday morning I was just a little out of it after having gotten back home and to bed quite late. Sunday night we saw Sara Bareilles at Madison Square Garden in NYC. It was a great show and had a lot of fun. But of course by the time we got home it was around 12.45 and by the time I actually fell asleep (even though I was dead tired but then of course couldn't fall asleep anyway) after 1am. So yeah Monday dragged. 

Now it's Tuesday morning and I am not really much more awake. lol. I guess I will catch up on some sleep eventually. It's cold this morning, only 39F (just under 4C) Yesterday was a really nice, sunny and pretty warm fall day, close to 70F (21C) but not going to get that today. Oh well, it is October after all. I do love fall but it always has that bittersweet feeling and foreboding that winter is just around the corner. And well we know how I feel about winter. Not really a fan. And I keep hearing how bad of a winter we are going to have. Oh well. I guess there really is no predicting with the weather. What will come will come. Right? 

Anyway, let's see, what else has been going on? Nothing too much last week really. Same old. Work's keeping me busy. Saturday we didn't do much. Slept in and then had lunch at 121 in Oxford. And later caught up with some recorded shows. I feel we are already behind because I was away for two weekends and the weekend after next we'll be in CA so yeah we're definitely behind on our TV stuff. So Sunday we headed down to NYC and hung out at Lillie's for a while before going to MSG to see the show. 

So yeah, that's all really. Nothing much going on for this week or upcoming weekend. I imagine we'll figure out something to do for the weekend. And then next week we just have a two day work week and are in CA Wed/Thur/Fr/Sat/Sun (23-27) Yay. Definitely looking forward to spending time in Santa Barbara. The last few times we have been there we have just spent a day or 1 night and haven't stayed for any extended periods in a while. So that should be fun. 

Letter/Mail Update:  Received a letter from/owe a reply to: Lotte/Denmark, Celia/MA and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 07:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 07, 2019

Back from Europe

IMG_20191003_120021_108And I am back. As usual my time in Europe just FLEW by. Had a good stay but it was a very busy week which is probably why it felt like it went by even faster than usual. 

Let's see. Last Monday we returned back from Salzburg. Had breakfast in the hotel and then picked up Chinese once we returned back to St. Poelten. I then had to work (I was working approx. 2 to 10pm to match EST hours) Tuesday I slept in just a little bit and didn't do all that much in the morning. Oh, yeah, Tuesday was the day the weather was absolutely beautiful, almost summer like. I helped my mom re-pot a plant so spent some time outside in the garden. And then we went for a walk to drop off some things at a friend's home a bit down the road. Made for a nice walk since the weather was so nice. Our friend wasn't home but no big deal. Still a great walk.

Wednesday morning I had a hairdresser appointment so spent most of the morning at the hairdresser before returning home and working for the rest of the day. Thursday I had taken 1/2 a day off for some errands and things to take care of. Also went into Vienna to see a friend which was nice. Spent some time with Lydia while also spending some time alone in a cafe just people watching. An enjoyable day. Then I returned back with the train and worked the rest of the day 6 to 10pm.

Friday my parents and I met up with my aunt for lunch so we left early to meet her in another town (about 20 min away). Had a delicious lunch and then returned back so I could work the rest of the day again. I am very grateful I was able to do this but the schedule definitely does get tiring for sure. 

Saturday we did some shopping and I picked up all the goodies I wanted to bring back. Some bottles of wine, chocolates and whatnot. They already have most of the advent and gingerbread stuff in stores too so I picked up a bunch of that in anticipation of the upcoming season. My luggage was definitely HEAVY. After shopping we had a leisurely lunch and when we returned home I made sure to get everything packed up and then had some wine with my dad before having to go to bed.

My ride to the airport was supposed to pick me up at 3am so I ended up getting up a little after 2am. The shuttle was late in the end but it wasn't a huge deal as my flight wasn't until 7.10 anyway. Still had enough time to grab breakfast at the airport (yay for Jamie Oliver's). Then on to Brussels where I didn't have much time for anything but walking briskly from one gate to the other. And on to JFK. And well here we are, it's Monday again. And back to work. I feel like I could sleep for a week. Haha.  

Letter/Mail Update:  Received a letter from/owe a reply to: Lotte/Denmark and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 07:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)