Sunday, October 23, 2011

Horseback Riding

Last weekend we went to a nearby horse stable so Isaac and Caleb could each have a horseback riding lesson. We learned from another home-school family that this particular stable has an instructor that speaks great English and is good with kids. We were amazed at how affordable private lessons are and decided to give it a try. They loved it and have already asked when we can go back. The stable has an heated arena where you can take lessons in the winter, so this is something we can do year-round. We might try to do it once a month. Here's some pictures from their lessons....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Krakow Zoo

Last weekend we decided to check out the Krakow Zoo. We'd heard good things about it, and it was a beautiful fall day that seemed just right for a zoo outing. The zoo here is in the middle of Wolski Forest which is BEAUTIFUL. Hiking through the forest to get to the zoo was definitely my favorite part. We learned after we left the zoo that we didn't have to hike through the forest to get to the zoo. There is a bus stop down by the parking lot where you can catch a ride to the entrance. Luke and I were glad we hiked it though, because it was a beautiful trail and really good exercise. I would guess we hiked at least a mile, maybe two, and it was almost all uphill. Isaac and Caleb were not as excited about the hike and decided partway through they needed to take a rest.

Once we got to the top, there were a few outdoor restaurants and places to walk around.

Here are the boys waiting to get inside the zoo. They were skeptical that this zoo was going to be worth the hike they endured to get up there.
We had heard that European zoos were very different than zoos in America. American zoos build these huge, lush habitats for the animals. This is great for the animals, but sometimes makes it hard for the visitors to get close-up looks. In Europe (at least in Poland) this is different. The animals are in much smaller habitats (some are actually just in large cages) and you get very close to them. I could practically reach out and touch these pink flamingoes...
And if you look in the water, you'll see the backs of three hippos. All that was separating us from these hippos was a deep ditch and a single wired electrical fence.
This guy did not seem happy to be there.
One of our favorite animals was this condor. He was HUGE!
And then when he showed up his wingspan we were really impressed.
The camels were pretty neat to see.
Andrew checking out some animals.
Naomi enjoyed riding around in her stroller.

A fun time was had by all!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Our Trail

One of the great things about this city is there are an abundance of trails that are great for hiking. The weather has been beautiful here, so we have been trying to take advantage of the fall sunshine while we can. Here's some shots from our walk today....this path is one of my favorite places in the city.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Mound

Very close to our home in Krakow is Kościuszko Mound. I mentioned in my last post how the boys were begging to hike the mound our first week here, so Luke took the three boys that weekend. (It's not stroller friendly so Naomi and I stayed home.) They had a great time, and the views from the top are amazing.

The mound was completed in November 1823 and was erected by Cracovians in commemoration of the Polish national leader Tadeusz Kościuszko. (Interesting fact about Kosciuszko: he is a Polish national hero for his fighting against Russia, but he was also a colonel in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. We studied the Revolutionary War last year in school, so the boys thought that was pretty neat that the guy who the mound is named after probably knew George Washington. :)

The wall around the bottom was built by the Austrians in the 1850's for use as a lookout point. The wall was dismantled sometime during World War II. The Mound was not only a fun hike for Luke and the boys, but a great history lesson for us all! Here's some shots from their outing:

Standing outside the wall
Ascending the stairs that take you to the Mound entrance

And the views from the top....

And after all that hard work to get to the top, you need some ice cream!