Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Flat Max - European Christmas Adventure

It took us a while to get the photos sorted, written up, and sent to Max, but finally...Flat Max's European adventure with his friends Tom, Kris, David and Lisa.  

Hello Max!

OK, it has taken me a crazy-long time to get this letter written, but here it is!  Your friend and travel guy, Flat Max Stanley has been a very busy little fellow.  He has been on adventures while with us in Texas and on a long trip we took at Christmas time.

I sent your mom some of the pictures we took at Christmas, but I'm not sure if she showed them to you, she may have wanted them to be a surprise. But either way, even if you've seen some of these, I hope it is as much fun for you to see them again as it has been for me!

Before we get to Christmas, here's a pretty famous place that is only about 20 minutes from our house in Frisco. It's where they shot a TV show in the 1970s-80s, AND they are shooting a new version of the show now!  (I don't really think it's a TV show that you would like, but maybe your mom will show you the beginning of it sometime just for fun).



We really didn't get a chance to take Flat Max Stanley anywhere else in Texas, because we needed to get him bundled up and off to your friend, James in Scotland!

Speaking of London...

That is the city we flew into for our European Christmas vacation.  Unfortunately, Flat Max Stanley had not gotten to us in time to join us on the plane ñ but we were NOT going to visit all these fun places without him, so... We had our friend Crystal Email us a picture of him as soon as he arrived at our house. Then, we printed out the picture and cut him out and VOILA... we had our own Flat Max Stanley!  The only bummer was, he was printed out in black and white and not in "living color".  We had a feeling we could find some markers and fix him up, but a few of our first pictures with him, he's still B/W.  We'll just pretend that we're making sort of an "artsy-fartsy" picture album of those, ok?

Anyway - back to London - one of the coolest things about London is their taxi cabs. They are really big and round and you can fit tons of people and luggage into them. Here is Flat Max Stanley on his first London-Cab ride:

Did you know that I went to London with your mom a few years ago for her birthday???  We had a really good time – AND we stayed at the same hotel we stayed at this time – The Kensington House -- so here’s Flat Max Stanley in front of the hotel entrance:

Next, we were off to the big Christmas Market in Hyde Park, called the ‘Winter Wonderland’ – and
it was! Lots of fun rides and food and stuff for sale….


And then, of course, we visit what may be the most famous site in London:
Big Ben, the clock!

This is a little café called ‘Paul,’ which is another place I went with your Mom. They have the most
yummy sandwiches and desserts there. This time though, we were having breakfast – eggs and French baguettes and croissants.

It’s making me hungry just thinking about it!

Well our visit to London was now complete – and our next big stop is a city called Salzburg, in Austria. But, to get there, we first took the train to Paris. It’s a special train called the Eurostar that goes back and
forth between London and Paris in only 3 hours, because it takes you UNDER the ocean – isn’t that amazing???

Here’s our buddy, Flat Max Stanley all settled into his seat on the train:

You may have noticed that now Flat Max Stanley has added a little color to his wardrobe!  We found markers for sale at the train station and were able to get him all gussied up on the train.

Now we are in Austria and the beautiful city of Salzburg. The name of the city means "Salt Mountain" in English and it is called that because hundreds of years ago they discovered salt inside the mountains here!  Salt was a very important thing in those days, not only for giving food more flavor, but preserving it for the cold winters. Salt was so valuable in fact, that they used it like money.  Did you know the word "salary", (which means to be paid for your work) comes from the word salt?  Another word that may surprise you even more is the word "soldier" - because they were there to protect things of value, like salt!

Here is Flat Max Stanley in front of the mountain that has the city castle up on top. This was the best place for the people to keep watch all around them and stay safe from any enemies.

We thought it would be a good idea to hike on up there and see what kind of view you get from the top. Here is Flat Max Stanley during our trek - you can see we're almost to the top...and there's even a little snow:

and once at the top, we're rewarded with a great view of the city below:

Just like London, Salzburg has a big, Christmas market.

If there is one thing that Salzburg is known for – at least by Americans – it is for the movie ‘The Sound of Music’ -- which is one of my favorites! I wonder if you’ve seen it? If not, you MUST because you would love all of the beautiful singing by the Von Trapp Children and Maria. One of our favorite things to do in
Salzburg is take the Sound of Music tour, which shows you all the places where they filmed scenes from the movie. Here is Lisa, getting ready to take Flat Max Stanley on the tour bus – and also to sit on a COW statue that has been painted with scenes from the movie:


So, I told you all about the history of salt and salt mining, and now we are going on a tour of one of the mines! They made us put on these coveralls so our clothes wouldn't get dirty and then we got on a little train that took us deep into the mountain:

At one point, we crossed the border between Austria (Osterreich) and Germany (Deutschland). Here is Flat Max Stanley with one arm, leg and wheel in each country:

We even crossed a little lake inside the mountain on this ferry boat, it was very dark:

But the absolute best part of the tour was when we got to take the slides from one level down to the next – just like the real salt-miners did back in the day. Sorry the picture is blurry but Lisa, David and Flat Max Stanley are sliding REALLY fast:


Here they are at the bottom.

Then they had us pull up our hoodies and they took our picture - don't we look silly???

We had a great time in Salzburg but our last stop is my favorite city of all –

When your Mom and I were here, we stayed at this Hotel, Le Grand Leveque and we ate delicious
crepes at the Café Ulysee – both are on the lovely little street called, Rue Cler.

One of the best ways to see a city is to get way up high - and in Paris, the way to do that is to ride the Ferris Wheel on the Place de la Concorde. The Famous Louvre Art Museum is right outside our window:

Here is the Louvre up close:

 Once we got off the Ferris wheel we walked up the world famous street, the Champs Elysee. It’s always fun to walk to the middle of the street (when the light is green,of course!) and take a picture with the Arc du Triomphe (George looks kinda’ cold, doesn’t he?):

Of course Flat Max Stanley had an even better view of the Arc from our hotel window:


This statue sits in the garden of a museum, which used to be the home of the sculptor – August Rodin.  
This guy is called ‘Le Penseur’ or ‘The Thinker’ in English.  I wonder what he’s thinking about???

And just a few blocks from Rodin’s house is the most famous Paris site of them all – La Tour Eiffel!

Well Max, our time is coming to a close. I hope you enjoyed this little adventure with Flat Max Stanley in TX and in Europe! We sure had fun taking him along with us and telling people his story.

I thought it would be perfect to end our journey with a beautiful nighttime view of one of the prettiest churches in all the world, Notre Dame de Paris.
She is never lovelier than at night and especially at Christmas time with her tree all lit up and fancy!

Please send our greetings to your Mom, Dad, Abbey, Olive and of course, George!

Hugs to you from Texas and California!

1 comment:

Lauren said...

Flat Max was walking distance from the house I grew up in in Texas!