Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Very Merry Christmas Californian Style!

I Hope Everyone Had a Merry Christmas!!! 

Happy New Year's Eve for Today!!!

American's and their Christmas lights! 
I visited this house (Norton's Winter Wonderland: and marveled at this masterpiece as a child when visiting my great grandmother's house! 12 years...later they are still decorating! In fact, the Nortons have been decorating since 1970 and now do so with their a children and grandchildren! A family tradition!

There were many more beautifully decorated houses all over LA! I only wish I could have seen them all! 

First comes Christmas Eve dinner...

Then comes stocking retreval on Christmas morning....
(my Mother made that stocking!)

Then comes the family tradition I haven't experienced since leaving the USA, before Christmas, in 1995! Opening presents with my cousins on Christmas Day! We all had out petite pile of presents under the tree. 

While this fabulous recreation of a living tree lacked it's pine scent and the gifts no longer went as far as my eye could see, nor were they as tall as I was, the cameras still flashed, my Auntie still screamed with joy and Christmas was indeed still merry and bright. It should have been bright!! There were 6 or 7 strands of old fashioned (I love those) Christmas lights on that tree! My grandpa insisted my grandmother liked her tree with lots of lights... and he aims to please!

The gals with gifts! Let there be manicures and pedicures all round! 'Tis the season to be preened and pampered!

Celebrating Christmas the electronic way via the internet! Cara says hi to Australia via webcam (this photo is practically an ad for mac...but it's not...because I still have not made up my mind which piece of diabolic malfunctioning technology I prefer...but 'don't bite the hand that feeds you', right)!

Everyone is in on the action! Our first video Christmas, clustered around the computer! 

PS. Wintery Christmas Eve in LA was 25C (77F) and it stayed fine and pretty pleasant for the duration of the holiday season. Mainly blue skies and cloudless days, sometimes chilly, but really lovely compared to...actual winter! Hooray for having relatives living in the desert! If you don't currently have any...ebay?

Looks to the stars....Grifith Observatory.

Today I visited the Griffith Observatory with my grandparents. It was packed after being recently remodeled and reopened. It was a wonderful experience and view overlooking all of LA was great! Prime real estate.

Welcome to LA! Yes, this is my family...



Note the bags under Cara's eyes due to lack of sleep after being in transit for...hurm...oh something like 26 hours! I flew from Vienna to Frankfurt, changed planes, flew from Frankfurt to NY, curled up in a corner and cuddled my bags for 8 hours and then flew from NY to Burbank, CA!

PS. That fabulous orange and white striped jumper that I am sporting is a birthday present from my Mother. Thank you Mummy dearest! 

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Welcome to Austria: I don't know why this draft never got posted...

My time in Austria has come to an end.

A summary of my time in Austria!

Dinner in Graz with the students.

Cara the snow bunny! Oh my!

Oh so beautiful Green Lake!

The joys of the Christmas Market and Couch Surfing!

Goodbye Austria

My time in Austria has come to an end.

A summary of my time in Austria!

Dinner in Graz with the students.

Cara the snow bunny! Oh my!

Oh so beautiful Green Lake!

The joys of the Christmas Market and Couch Surfing!

Friday, December 14, 2007

The France Experience!

So first it was Paris!

And the it was Lyon and birthday celebrations!

Birthday dinner at Claire's....

followed by Birthday cake at Claire's! Here is Cara blowing out her 23 candles! Funnily enough, my 21st birthday in Lyon was celebrated in a similar fashion with tea light candles! A tradition I suppose!

And then it was off to see Lyon in all it's glory for LA FETE DES LUMIERES!

The many changing faces of St Nizier. It was my favourite spectacle/illumination again this year!

It was so beautiful! I could have watched it for hours.

Lyon as seen from Croix Rousse.

Roman Ampitheatre, Croix Rousse

Place de Terreaux


Oh cheeeese, wonderful French cheese, how I love thee!

Cara, Claire and Ben in Claire's apartment on the last night of their reunion.
Claire was my much prized French friend who took me to visit her parents in Provence and showed me the countryside. Ben, a fellow Aussie, was my house mate when I lived in Lyon in 2005 and was coincidentally visiting Lyon this year...for my birthday of!

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Happy Birthday in Lyon!!!

Hello family and friends!

Just a quick note as I am in a internet cafe in lyon (FRANCE) but I had a great birthday here and celebrated La Fete des Lumieres by trampeling around the streets with the masses, the festival was on a weekend this year so there were way oh so too many people! Ivan, Claire, Ben, Alice and I all hit the town both Friday and Saturday nights to see all the spectacles...I lack a better word in English but the spectacles were spectacular!!! As in 2005; my favourite spectacle was the Church of St Neizier with beautiful images being projected upon it to the sounds of music.

I will write a proper post upon return to Austria with lots of PHOTOS when I am in the company of a more normal keyboard...this one is sooo french and all the letters are in the wrong spots I tell you!!!

I am sorry for the technical difficulities for family who tried to seems technology and globalisation isnt what it is cracked up to be!



Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fairwell NY, Goodbye DC.....Guten Tag AUSTRIA!!!

Cara in Time Square at night, with all the lights however it's like It's daytime!

Cara and her new found friend John in Times Square! Thanks for showing me a great time and being so kind John!

Cara and wonderful NY host Mr. Tanner Randall, credited for the model shots on my blog back in August (!

Fabulous Couch Surfers having dinner near Washington Square Park in NY! Aleks (Russian American), Meee (Australian American en route to Austria), John (Irish en route to Argentina for Latin dancing and filming) and Shanna (Belgian living in Germany).

Cara and Kate pictured in 'Hoya Blue' (patriotic to Georgetown University). Kate and I were on exchange together in Lyon and she was my fabulous DC host. It was great to see her again and I got to see a college basketball game!

Cara and Joel rendez vous in DC! Great to see him again! Joel was the best tour guide ever whilst I stayed with him in Bologna, Itay in Feb 2006.

Cara and the Capitol!


Bye Bye DC...Hello AUSTRIA!!!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Exploring NYC!

Cara visits Morningside Heights, a more intimate part of NYC, iin her solo style.

Tom's Restaurant! This is the interior of the restaurant that they show the outside of in Seinfeld! Doesn't Cara look euphoric about her Lima Bean was actually really good($2.45USD)!

This is the Cathedral of St John the Divine whose claim to fame is the largest place of worship in the USA and the largest Cathedral in the world! Horray for good ole' Saint John!

Looking south east over Morningside Park you can see the northern side of Central Park, its fall tinted foliage peeking out of the buildings. PS. The Cara is a little chilly as it is Autumn in NY! PPS. The Cara cannot seem to figure out that piling on summer clothes still leaves one wearing only summer clothes and not warm attire (as a general rule: 4 summer layers = 1 winter layer!)! The Cara is trying to adjust, compensate, retrain and roll with the times/weather! Note to self: must evolve!

Hello from Columbia University! 'A top academic and research institutions in the world' so they say....aren't they all! Founded in 1754...okay, that's pretty impressive then!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Au Revoir Montreal! Coucou Quebec!

Hello Everyone!!!

Back in French speaking territory again!

I made it to Quebec! The city is gorgeous! Vieux Quebec is a huge portion of the city and the only walled city in North America! Also, the oldest apparently. Oh, the proud Quebecois! It is not too cold yet, today was BEAUTIFUL! I am staying with Jeanna, my best friend from when I was 5 (we have only seen eachother once since we were 5)!! It is great to spend time with her!

Beautiful photos soon...getting camera fixed!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bye Bye Buffalo, Tally Ho Toronto!

The town of Buffalo (pictured rainy and damp but cheerful nonetheless). City Hall and the monument to President McKinley (small white obelisk) who was assassinated in Buffalo (oops! another thing the city is famous for) in 1901.

Cara running the show at Buffalo's City Hall.....scary huh!?! Beautiful room though!

Cara the keen architect at Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House Complex (under major restoration, a bit hard to find the actual house under all the construction) .

The Buffalo Wing Experience (wiht Tom a CouchSurfer)

The Cara and The Pollock (at the Albright Knox). Oooh Ahhh!


So I made it Buffalo which I quite like! It's a nice city (poorest in the country I believe) with great architecture! Yesterday, I wandered around the city admiring the buildings and took a tour of City Hall (beautiful architecture of course) which included seeing the city from above on the observation deck.

Today, I went to visit the Martin House, a Frank Lloyd Wright creation, ate Buffalo Wings (something one must do in Buffalo) at Anchor Bar and spent like 6 hours at the Albright Knox Art Gallery (Friday afternoon just happens to be their free time!). The Albright Knox had some great stuff- Miro, Chagall, David, Bonheur, Van Gough...loved it!

Tomorrow...Niagara Falls and then a rendez vous with Kathryn to be chauffeured to is GREAT!

Random Buffalo facts:
-The first place to have electricity in the USA...thank you renewable energy from Niagara Falls! -Halloween decorations are going up fast and furious around here! I keep buying small amounts of Halloween candy...I can't help it!
- Annually, Buffalo receives a 'lake-effect blizzard' which means a whole lot of snow! Apparently the Lake causes a 'severe blizzard' which means winds of 45 mph plus blowing snow and temps 10F or below! Sounds fun hey! Remind me not to come here in winter!
-Everyone is pretty friendly (as they were in Kentucky!). The supermarket employees seem to know most of their customers...they were hugging them!
-Buffalo has proudly produced a President of the USA somewhere along the line...that seems to be a thing to be proud of no matter where you go.
-You only have to wear a helmet while cycling if you’re under 16
-An unintentionally survey of the bum population states that I am pretty (I been told that multiple times on the street...always out!).
-Every wanted to know how buffalo wings came about?
Me neither but here we go: In 1964, Terressa Bellisimo made an impromptu snack for some patrons who were enjoying an evening at the Anchor Bar, her family's bar and restaurant. She took some chicken wings that were left over from the day, deep-fried them, added some hot sauce and served them crisp and hot. Her friends loved them and gradually other restaurants throughout the city - and eventually the world - began serving this new delicacy!