Friday, 15 February 2013

The mountains (part 2)

Having gone to bed a lot earlier, and a lot less drunk than the night before, we awoke to a beautiful clear day on the saturday.  Had breakfast, and decided to head back into Gaitlinburg.

We had spotted a tram car the day before, that takes you to the top of the mountain, and wanted to give it a go.  It was the perfect day for it.  We bought our tickets, and were able to get in the car just about to leave.  It was packed. Seb freaked.  He pretty much cried all the way to the top of the mountain.  Nothing either of us could do would calm him down.  I really felt for the other 70+ people in the car with a screaming child....

Skiing at Ober Gaitlinburg
View from the tram car
Ober Gaitlinburg is amazing.  It is a proper ski resort with snow (partly artificial) and all the winter sports that go with it.  It was breathtaking.  We had a walk outside, watched some skiers, educated the boys on skiing with what little knowledge we have.  It was lovely and sunny, but very cold, temperatures below freezing, good skiing weather.  We could not believe how busy it was with skiers  at the top of the mountain.  We also did the wildlife encounter, which promised otters, bears, birds and other native creatures.  It was a bit of a concrete zoo, but very quiet.  The bears were hibernating, but the other animals we saw were ok.  We were lucky enough to see the otters being fed.  This was awesome, and totally justified the admission fee.  Seb loved this and was laughing away every time he saw the otters.  We decided to catch the next tram car down. Luckily there were only about 10 people in this car, and although Seb freaked, it was no way as bad as he did on the way up.  The views were out of this world, so amazing, it is hard to describe without sounding like I am repeating myself!!!
Otters being fed

We reached the bottom, the boys were wilting, so we decided to drive back to Pigeon Forge to grab some lunch.  The boys had seen so many attractions they wanted to do.  Seb fell asleep on the way, so we decided that I would try a few shops at the outlet mall while the boys occupied themselves with iPods, and Seb slept.  The boys woke Seb up just as we were parking, but I went ahead and shopped any way. Thanks mum for my birthday money, think I spent exactly what you sent me, and got tones of stuff!  The queues in all the shops were huge.  I did one, where I bought all that I wanted, then had a quick look in the Disney store.  Saw some things for the boys, then looked at the queue.  It was nearly out the door!!!!  So they got nothing (mean mummy).  We decided a fast food lunch was in order, so we headed to Burger King.

I have not done a restaurant blog on this, but they provided great service.  The guys behind the counter were awesome, Paul requested an angry whopper, and although it is not on their menu at the moment, because they had all the stuff, they made it for him anyway...

The boys decided they wanted to play mini golf, and had spotted an Old McDonalds Farm course near the mall, so off we headed.  They loved it.  We let just Oliver and Isaac play, and although they did not play by any rules, or hold the clubs at all properly, they really enjoyed it, and wanted to keep playing.  Seb enjoyed just the  freedom to run (with mummy following close behind...).  By now we were all very tired (again!!!)  and it was nearly the end of the day, so we headed back to the cabin, to enjoy a leisurely dinner of jam sandwiches (for the boys) and crisps for us, so healthy.....  After dinner, the boys all headed to the hot tub again. I sat this one out.  Nothing at all relaxing or enjoyable about being in a confined space with 3 wriggly, wriggly boys, especially a small one who just wants to swim, even though he can't....  The boys went to bed with no qualms again, and we had a quick dunk in the hot tub, before settling down to watch some films....

Three bears cabin
The boys decided that 6.15 was a good time to get up on the Sunday morning.  Don't know what it is about our boys, but they like to get up early on Sundays.  At least this gave us plenty of time to get packed up and ready to go.  We ended up leaving the cabin at about 10.45.  We did our usual typing home address into the sat nav, it gave us a route.  I spotted what looked like a quicker one.  Opps.  The boys were all asleep within 30 minutes of being in the car.  Good job too, as the roads we went on were hairy.  They started out ok, but went up and down the mountains with loads of switch backs. We also had to watch out for the wild turkeys.... Then when we were about 10 miles from the interstate, the tarmac stopped, and we were on a grave track.  Admittedly, the driving was awesome.  I am exceedingly grateful my husband has done advanced driver training through work.  He loved the roads, if a little scary at times, and soon we were back on tarmac.  Going the scenic route took us through beautiful moutain side, by gushing waterfalls at the edge of the road, to raging rivers.  The river housed the Walters hydro electric power plant.  Who says Americans aren't green???  Not far from here, we hit the interstate.
Thanks Sat-nav

We had already decide on the way up to stop in Hendersonville for some lunch.  Paul had been here before on one of his drives with work.  It looks like a lovely little city, not a high rise building in site.  The restaurant he took us to Mezzaluna, was lovely, somewhere we will definatly be back to.

From Hendersonville, it was only an hours drive home, through some more beautiful mountains, much nearer to home.  I look forward to exploring these in a few weeks time hopefully.

 Our little get away was awesome.  That part of Tennessee and the Smokey mountains is amazing.  We want to go back before we leave this beautiful country, hopefully sooner rather than later

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