Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snowtubing in the Poconos

The weekends after Longwood Gardens were more quiet and relaxing, most of the intern felt like chilling out and staying in the warmth instead of going out. One Sunday, Svenja, Corinna, Gabriela and I went out to Philly, trying to find the Icerink there. But we couldn't find it and we ended up in a Cuban Restaurant with hot chocolate and a dessert....;-)

And looking back from now, these quiet weekends were only the silence before the storm....

This Saturday our schedule included more action: We made our way to the Blue Mountain, a ski resort in the Poconos which is about 1,5 hours from my place. Even though it was freezing cold and far below 0° C, we wanted to try snowtubing. I never did it before and was quite excited about it. There are several ways to chose from: They had big tubes for 4 or 5 people but also small single tubes.

You grab one tube, take lift up the hill and on the top there are staff members who give you the final push. Either they let turn or just push you very hard that you shot down the hill incredibly fast. I cannot describe the feeling! You slide down so fast that the wind brings tears to your eyes, your ears heart, and you have to hold your cap that it doesn't fly away.

Our group was about 15 people, so we switched several times. We did the 'family tubing for about 3 or 4 hours and then went inside to get a warm beverage. Most of the guys only bought a pass for the afternoon, so they had to leave anyway. In the meantime, it became dark outside, so we could go again and try it this in the dark. This was so different! As only our car was left, we decided to try out the single ones now and do some rides on our own. There was one guy at the top of the hill who spun me so fast that I just couldn't think and it was already over. CRAZY!!! But so much fun. Petra and me connected our tubes and went down together as double. But around7pm, we all just got so tired from being outside in the cold all day, so we decided to go home. At home, we all had a hot shower and then rest of the crew came around to end the day with moulded wine and hot apples in the oven. Another wonderful winter day!!!
If you have no idea about snowtubing, check out my pics here:

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Deer in winter

I think I have already mentioned that the area I live in is really "green". When someone asks me where I live, I always make a joke and say: 'I live in Wayne, in the woods....' Our area is really woody. When you look at backyard, you can always spot a bunch of squirrels, often also deer or also foxes. I am not surprised anymore when I open our front door in the morning and see the deer standing really next or behind my car or watching the squirrels climbing up the trees. When I sit in our dining room I see deer very often. This happened this weekend again but this time there quite a lot of them.

I pointed them out to my roomies which were having breaky in the kitchen and Julien grabbed his camera and took some really nice shoots of the deer. I uploaded the images on my digital photoalbum.
By the way: I also got the images from Julien which we took in the Valley Forge National Park during that weekend with the heavy snowstorm. They are in the album with the snow pictures.
Here is the address for my digital photoalbum:

Friday, January 08, 2010

Longwood Gardens

During Christmas time, many of the houses around here set up their christmas lights, some houses more decent than others but in general it created a very festive atmosphere. Originally, I had the plan to take pictures of certain houses with special holiday decoration for you guys in Europe but unfortunately I didn't find the time.
But then 3 of my co-workers and also one of the intersn told me about Longwood Garden which is a huge botanical garden attraction in our area and I learned that the set up holiday lights in the garden during the Christmas season. All of them really recommended to go there.
I saw it as the last chance to catch some impressions and so my roomie Lalo, Miri, Petra, Miguel and me went there on Friday night after work. It was the period when we had temperatures in the low 20°F, even lower during the night. This is -5°C and colder for you European readers. I know you had much lower temperatures in Europe but we had a pretty chilly wind going, so the wind made it feel much colder.
When we arrived, we walked around in the park and watched the water foundation show which was still tuned with Christmas songs which sounded weird in the beginning of January but it was so nice to watch it. We walked along the pathways and looked at all the lights set up on the trees. We had snow a few days before, therfeore it really looked like a winter wonderland. But after a while we were freezing so badly that we decided to enter the Conservatorium which hosts all the seasonal flowers and plants, so mostly Poinsettia. at this time. Inside this Conservatorium they also created a christmas walk which we explored.

After we recovered from the cold and saw everything inside, we walked out again. There was an iceskating show performed that might have been worth to be seen but we had to buy extra tickets for it. One of my co-workers told me before that there is no need to buy these tickets as there is a hill which you can climb and then you can see the whole show for free. Unfortunately, we didn't find it, as a few pathways around the iceskating area where closed, so maybe the park representatives got to know about it and denied access to these pathways that lead to the hill.

No problem for us, we just grabbed some hot chocolate and strolled down the part of the gardens that we haven't seen so far. Even though it was so unbelievable cold, it was a wonderful experience even after Christmas time. But I will definitely return to Longwood Gardens in spring time or in summer when all the flowers and plants are going to flourish.

You can enjoy all the wonderful pictures on my digital photoalbum: