Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised….

A day to sleep in…oh how sweet it is!  The goal of the morning was to get fresh rolls from the bakery and coffee creamer.    For Gina, the later most important!  Our lovely hostess gave us several hiking choices and we were armed for the challenge.   This  is the second day called for rain and everyone ended up getting sun.  Tim’s new name is beet.  As you will see with the video or not, because the pictures really don’t compare,  we had a fabulous day hiking and enjoyed the views of the Austrian Alps greatly.  The trails were challenging enough at times and easy here and there, so we could make the extra 2000 feet above sea level.

Our second stop at Krauter Alm was necessary as the last bit was pretty steep and snowy.  We enjoyed our hour there and had an easier go heading back to Telfes.  Going down isn’t always easier and can cause more pain than going up, but we were jolly with our fill of Lattes and cake!

Our nights are filled with reading, watching the BBC news (the world is a mess by the way) and working on this blog.   Thankfully we cannot connect to Netflix, and we are through the withdrawel!

Tomorrow another path, another view, another place to have coffee and cake…

The Hills are alive….

Big Yawn!   Early this morning (5:47am), we got on two buses and then two trains to make the 4 hour jaunt to Innsbruck, Austria.   We had a nice break in my favorite train station in Munich.   Every time we pull in, my mind goes back to so many memories.  I remember stepping off there all by my 19 year old self sooo long ago.   Munich is a great town,  but we had already been there, so we just raided Starbucks and Pommes stand!

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Innsbruck is a big town surrounded by the alps…not much to do but shop and go up on one of the cable cars to the peaks, where they ski.  The sites are pretty boring, so we were excited to get up into the alps, and then we were told that all the cable cars were down for maintenance.   We were bummed, because it is a wonderful experience.  So, we toured Innsbruck’s old city by foot and sought out the best gelato place we could find.

Insbruck Video

So Austria is a replacement for Switzerland, which we would have returned to, but chances of snow were to high.  And NONE of us wanted to see snow, except way up on the tip top.   Somehow I stumbled up this little village call Telfes in the Stubaier alps.   These 3 days were the longest and last for me to book….kind of a funny story that wasn’t funny at first.  Anyway, I felt God kept directing me back to this farmhouse rental and after one of the most beautiful 40 min. train rides climbing and winding up to Telfes…I know why.   I was trying to redo this incredible swiss village we stayed in and I did and then some!   No where I have ever read to just make this train ride, and it should!   So, my husband is surrounded by mountains, Christianna got to walk to the market and buy and avocado, Gina gets a comfy bed and Alissa got to eat regular noodles tonight.  Life is good with the Deweys…tomorrow a hiking we will go!

Bumbling about Bamberg

After our last breakfast at the Maritim…something we thoroughly enjoyed, we got a board our first German train in 3 1/2 years.  We all just love the feeling and enjoy the experience of letting someone else drive!   One good part of our experience is traveling in first class.  Lots of times the 2nd class fills up with students; no need to elaborate.  We also get free treats and today we got chocolate mint packages, which was an overall hit.

Bamberg is one of the rare towns that had been left in tact during WW2, so there are a lot of wonderful buildings with unique architechture and color.    There is also a Dom and palace residence, above two rivers that criss-cross the city with bridges.    We stayed in an apartment  in a suburb just outside the old city, so we got our review on taking busses and lesson on taking the wrong bus!   The girls so wanted to return to a city called Rothenburg ob der Tauber, but that is not possible with my travel logic.   This city replaced it nicely and we enjoyed everything about it including the pepper pommes (fries) and ice cream.

Alissa was pretty beat with little momentum, so it was nice to have a simple day.    Both girls were asleep by 8 and slept through, so I guess that they needed it, especially since we boarded another bus at 6am!

Just a note on lodging.  In Germany they literally charge per person in most establishments, so it gets pricey quickly.  We have stayed in many vacation rentals in the US and a couple in Germany, so that was my goal this time and I was able to keep to a nice budget by pre-booking them.  Last time we traveled here, we didn’t want to keep a tight schedule,  but it cost us in lodging.   Apartments are also great because we can cook and don’t need restaurants…however coffee and ice-cream are a must while out and about!

Heading south to Austria.  Bamberg was a good half way point; now 4 hours to Innsbruck…

Video Below with Pictures from Dusseldorf and Bamberg.

Bamberg and Dusseldorf

World’s Irish Dance Competition

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Monday came with a bit of tiredness, so we tried to keep the pep up for Alissa’s start time of 11:45.  In other words, caffeine.  World’s wouldn’t be World’s without upping the bar a bit and Alissa’s category was not different.   Her Under 17 group was combined with the Under 18, so as the analyzer I quickly realized she was up against both 1st, 2nd, & 3rd placed winners of Europeans.  They also danced their hornpipes and reels back to back with no break, which was also different.  Alissa was near the end and so I got to thoroughly examine her competition and I have to say, all the girls were pretty low and tired, so I gave Alissa our sign of “Give it all you got!”  Her hornpipe was pretty flawless, worthy of recall.  Her reel was almost perfect but she didn’t get to move much the last step due to crowding on stage…not sure what the 5 judges would think of that.  So, we were pretty happy with the rounds.   She had to dance a traditional set dance, which was literally the last dance she learned and was trimming it up in England.  I personally was concerned about it.  The problem with this part of the competition is that all the dancers dance pretty much the exact same steps with very little personal enahancement.  This is difficult because if you make one mistake the judge will know.    Though Alissa rehearsed on the side lines, something happened in her set part…and the glossy look appeared.  Her teacher caught it right away and tried to illegally coach her but it was too late.     Alissa endeavored to keep going, but the damage was down and we all knew it.  Two other dancers that took top 5 in Europeans literally stopped and walked back as well.   The competition demands perfection and all 3 dances are weighted equally. She didn’t receive a recall.  She was pretty floored and saddened. This was a new experience for her and I have to say a good one for her education. Within an hour, she was in bed and asleep if that tells you anything.

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We were very pleased that her school had one girls as a World Champion in the Under 23 category, which was Olivia Kennedy, whom we stayed with.  She has begun her teacher’s exams and was planning on this being her last year.  She had been putting in extra practices and so it was so well deserved.    She was Simba in the Show Dance.  They also got World Champion in their figure, which was another type of choreographed dance with 16 girls.  Many recalled and placed as well.

So our experience overall was really one in utter amazement.  The talent was mind boggling and inspiring.  The atmosphere was positive and very unlike commission competition that we used to partake in.  This is the last year the competitions will be in Germany; they are talking England or Ireland for the next 3 years.

Alissa is good and she saw very talented girls experience the same thing.   It is really like a triathlon and if the Lord should have her return, she will be overly prepared next time and I can honestly say she wasn’t.  However, her teammates were amazed at her ability to learn the steps that she did in that amount of time and then beat them!!  They were super girls.   We were so impressed by their character and kindness to us Americans.  It is time to leave our lovely hotel with our lovely breakfast, don our backpacks and board a train….so long to so many new friends.

First Place in Dance Show Contest

This is to be a fun dance to kick off the World’s Irish Dance Competition.   Last year, I guess 5 schools entered and this year there were 10.   There are few rules: it must have Irish dancing, be instrumental only, max of 5 minutes, and no one can leave the stage.  It was very kind of them to throw Alissa in there.   It was to Lion King and was awesomely choreographed.  Her role was minimal but it kept her in the group and bonding.   A lot of the dances were good, some very icky, and we really had no idea who the 10 judges would pick.  Hope you can get a sense of it.

Announcement of Winners Video

Announcement

The Winning Performance

After they won, they were asked to perform it again.  It was awesome!  There were 10 teams from 7 Countries and they came in First.  The crowd was awesome and the excitement was through the roof!  The video doesn’t do it justice.  It was a wonderful performance.

Lion King

To tan or not to tan…that is the question!

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A new friend

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Where is Mary Poppins?

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The Avon in Stratford

The Avon in Stratford

Our ride!

Our ride!

IMG_3126IMG_3172While in the land of Shakespeare, the quotes just come to mind so easily!  Today we had the day off until 4, so we hit the Royal Shakespeare Theater.   We got  to see costumes, props and renew our memories of plays we studied.   Since it began as a nice day we took a book on the Avon River, but by the end the sun left and we were shivering!  Our next mission was to have a pot of tea in England, so we wandered about until we found the tea room with the coolest desserts andphoto 1 had our tea.  It was super yummy and beat missing lunch!

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It might not be the Globe but it has the name Shakespeare on it!

Though you might not remember this quote in Hamlet, it has been on Alissa’s mind for months and we just happened to be in the land of Shakespeare.  Most the dancers get their legs spray tanned before the big competitions and Alissa was told she was to join in the fun.  The little stubborn spikes arose upon her head each time it was brought up but she was shot down time and time again…not something she was accustomed to.  Last night, I told her she had to stand down and join in the fun and that she did.  Most English girls are pretty fair and the stage brightness is overwhelming, so the legs are hard to see…not anymore!   Alissa had one more go around with each of the 8 dances tonight, while the Ceili teams practiced and then the older gals practiced an amazing figure dance.   God has provided a sweet gal named Bella who is not in everything either and she pushed Alissa to keep going over her steps, which are similar to hers.  Very sweet and good for Alissa.

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Royal Shakespeare Theater

Alissa has asked that you agree with 1 Cor. 15:55-58 for her.  We thank God that He has given Alissa the victory (however it looks), that she is immovable, steadfast and always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that her labor is not in vain in the Lord.  Tomorrow we will leave England for Germany.  We couldn’t have asked for a better 4 days:  weather, accommodations, and fellowship.   God has been true to His Word.  He has gone before us and provided for our needs and will continue to do so because He is ALIVE!

Over the river and through another village

 

Mary and Meabh's town:  Bidford on Avon

Mary and Meabh’s town: Bidford on Avon

Shakespeare's elementary school

b Shakespeare’s elementary school

County Warwickshire is hilly, curvy very lush county and each village has it’s share of a look into the the past.    From thatched cottages to quaint old village centers.   Loads of character and middle ages air!

Warwickshire Country side!

Warwickshire Country side!

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A whole dealership full of them!

For our dancers out there, I thought I would explain what Alissa is preparing for.

On Saturday for Europeans, at 2:00 German time, she will dance round 1 & 2, which is her Treble Jig and Slip Jig.  Then she will dance her traditional set:  White Blanket.  If she is recalled (probably against 30 girls)she will dance a modern set to a Hornpipe.  She will be judged by 3 judges.   On Monday for World’s, there will be 5 judges and she starts at 11:00.  Her rounds: Hornpipe & reel and her traditional set is Garden of Daisies.  When she is recalled she will dance a modern set to a treble jig.   There will be a handful of English and American, but the rest are from all over the world.  Continue to pray that she remain in the Lord’s strength!  She is here for many reasons; we thank Him that she learn and accomplish what is His will.

Thatched roofs galore!

Thatched roofs galore!

 

Let the training begin…

Henley Street is the main shopping street in old town Stratford!

Henley Street is the main shopping street in old town Stratford!

Finally a normal night’s sleep, but it cut into our tour time.    We went to the old town of Stratford upon Avon, which is filled with Shakespeare!  Alissa and spent the time strolling and listening to the millions of french students and street musicians!

We went to the studio for 6 hours today!!  They watched Alissa’s hard shoe steps and redirected her somewhat.  She truly needed tIMG_3068o be here for some one on one.  It was a lot to learn without a live teacher and there was evidence of that today. Then there was a rehearsal for the show piece they will be doing on Sunday night.  It was really fun, because it is to The Lion King…and Alissa has a solo as big white bird!  I will get pictures of her bird costume when it is finished.  Irish is much the same here and then so different.  Meabh is an incredible teacher and her mum Mary has many ways of motivating!IMG_3066

The weather has been sunny and 60 ish…cool in the shade and at night, but very green everywhere.  This area is simply beautiful and in full bloom.

Our hostesses:Our hostesses June & Olivia KennedyJune & Olivia Kennedy

This whole district is as quaint as you can get.  The architecture, cleanliness, and landscape are so Old English!  We are still in a fog that we are here; it is very natural and easy which is further confirmation of God’s will for Alissa.   His provision for us surpasses our expectations every day…his favor surrounds us constantly like a shield…may our love for Him be apparent in all we say or do!

In England!

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Alissa and I had 3 very easy flights to England.    I feel quite caught up on movies now…Flying into Birmingham was amazing.  It was a clear day and you could see divided picturesque farms and estates for miles.  We were picked up by one of her teachers Mary and deposited in a wonderful apartment with a very lovely hostess to sleep for several hours.   We got picked up again for dinner and got a quick tour of Stratford upon Avon.   Beautiful, clean and right out of a Dicken’s book.    Almost every building is brick and the same height.  Tomorrow we will get some pictures up so you can see what I mean.   The Cotswold district overall is just enchanting, but this town has it all.   God is so good to us…how could we possibly not love HIM!

Alissa and Gina head out…

On  our way

On our way

Alissa and Gina are heading to England to train for Alissa’s upcoming competition in Dusseldorf, Germany.  Alissa has been apart of the Felton-MCarthy School of Irish Dance since last summer and has been taking classes via Skype and Video this past year.   We will be staying in Stratford upon Avon (Yes, you’re right Shakespeare’s birthplace) which is just miles away from the studio.  Tues-Thurs. will be heavy training days for Alissa and then off to Germany, where we will meet up with Tim and Christianna.   I will let you all know when we are there safely on Monday and hopefully have some pictures as well.