Tis Almost the Season

IMG_3848Reini has a very deep love of squirrels. I remember him visiting Elon and being in awe of all the squirrels running around, up and down the big oak trees. Whenever he visited me in Marietta my daddy would place some peanuts around the yard to coax the squirrels into view. ūüôā Sadly, there don’t seem to be as many squirrels in Austria. Whenever we’ve gone on our hikes or nature walks, I’ve never seen a squirrel. So¬†when Reini’s friend Hannes told him of a special park where squirrels will eat nuts out of your hand just outside of Innsbruck, we had to go. We went with Hannes and his girlfriend Bianca to find the little friends. IMG_3847Sure enough, we offered the squirrel some hazelnuts that Bianca¬†brought and they came running to us. These squirrels are not like¬†Georgia or North Carolina squirrels. They are way cuter. I guess alpine squirrels need extra fur because they are so fluffy! They even have long ear fluff! Reini was in heaven for sure!

IMG_3856That evening we went with Hannes, Bianca and some of her friends to the opening day of Innsbruck’s Christmas markets! Some musicians played their horns from the famous golden roof and there were some light up angel ladies walking through the market. We got to enjoy our first gl√ľhweins of the season. Yum! I was just excited to see all the pretty Christmas ornaments and other handcrafted things for sale. Reini wrote his Christmas wish to the Christkind (he asked for a squirrel) and put it in his mailbox (like American kids write to Santa). One of the giant trees was sponsored by none other than Swarovski. It sparkled like crazy over one of the gl√ľhwein stands. Just a magical start to the season!

Explorations

Reinhard and I have had a busy past couple of weeks. Halloween, my birthday, and the beginning of the Christmas market in Innsbruck have all been celebrated.

IMG_3804Let’s start with Halloween! Austrians don’t really ‘do’ Halloween but they know about it. We invited over Reini’s lovely sister and cousin and a couple of his friends for a little Halloween party. I made some special snacks including a really fun carved green pepper with guacamole brains and pretzel spiderwebs! I bought some Halloween candy in hopes that there would be some kids trick-or-treating. Sadly, no kids came but the big kids enjoyed the candy instead.

IMG_3819¬†The next weekend we celebrated my birthday with a trip to the Aqua Dome! It’s like a waterpark for children and adults! Reini splurged for the extra special package that included a fancy breakfast (champagne included) and use of their new “Spa 3000” facilities. We felt like celebrities marching around in our special robes and lounging in the saunas. There must have been a dozen different saunas to choose from. One of our favorite spots was a series of outside lounging hot tub bed things that overlooked the snow-topped mountains. It was definitely some posh relaxation! We also loved their thermal pool area. There were a series of pools, a few indoor and a few outdoor. The coolest parts were the floating bowl-like pools. You take a lazy river from the inside big pool area to a heated pyramid, then you run up the stairs and out to the floating pool of your choice! So cool!