One of the best parts of vacationing with Grandparents is being able to have occasional date nights knowing you are being taken care of by family. During our European vacation, Daddy and I went on two dates. The first was an evening in Prague and the second was *into the Alps of Austria.
*When I say into, I literally mean into.
Date #1: We shared a romantic evening in Prague. We walked hand in hand (I know- we're cheese balls) back up the cobblestone streets towards the castle grounds. We stopped along the way for a glass of the house red at a vineyard located near the top of the hill. Good company, good wine, and a great view of the city below at night.
Surprisingly, we discovered that the castle grounds were open until midnight. We were able to walk around and check it out while it was lit up at night and had very few people. We wanted to capture this moment so we decided to play with our camera's timer.
That's our silhouette in front of the Castle Church.
Date #2: We shared an adventurous afternoon exploring the Alps of Austria. We saw castles, beautiful views of the mountains, and toured the world's largest ice cave. To date, this is the coolest thing your Dad and I have ever done. Our tour guide was one of the best we have ever had and we met a fun group of Australians who kept us entertained.
We stopped to enjoy the view (and take pictures) about half way up our second hike.
Our view just outside the entrance to the ice cave. Daddy and I kept saying our friend Alana and Vinny Miller would be so proud of us. They are our most adventurous friends who go on the wildest vacations.
Once opened, that itty bitty door had a massive rush of cold wind that would come through. Sometimes, up to 90 mph, depending on the time of the year. The entrance to the cave was referred to as the gateway to hell, which is why it wasn't thoroughly explored until 1880.
Since the cave was pitch black, every couple of people were given an open flame carbide lamp to light our path. They had to be relit once we were inside the cave due to the initial massive gust of wind. The main source of light came from our guide who had a long magnesium flare. The flare looked like the world's largest sparkler stick.
The average temperature inside the ice caves was around the freezing point. Since this wasn't a planned event, selecting our outfits for the day was very interesting. We compiled the warmest clothes everyone in our group had and were able to complete our get up with Grandpa Den's coat and Uncle Matt's sweatshirt. Layering was key because we were sweating during our hike up the mountain (huffing and puffing due to the high altitude and thinness of the air) and freezing inside the cave- watching our breath as we climbed the 1400 stairs.
You weren't allowed to take pictures during the tour due to time constraints. People are only allowed inside the ice caves for a set amount of time due to the extreme temperature. Oops- Daddy isn't a rule follower in these types of situations. I spy an elephant made out of ice...
The coolest part of the tour was going under one of the ice formations through an ice tunnel.
I'm not sure which was more breathtaking- the views during the hike up and down the mountain or inside the ice cave.
If you're interested to see more of our adventure, this is the best YouTube clip I was able to find. It did a good job showing the cable car and hike up as well as clips of the actually hike inside the ice cave. Enjoy the cheesy advertisement and feast for your brain!
Thanks again, Dennis and Maureen for an adventurous anniversary gift we will always remember. I'm not sure it will ever be able to be topped.