A trip to the Alpenzoo

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August seemed like the right place to organize a day trip to Innsbruck all’Alpenzoo, a stage that last year there was very sorry not to be able to cover.

The occasion was also successful because it allowed us to spend the afternoon even this year ‘s time strolling through the charming streets of the center of Innsbruck, Austria typically picturesque town surrounded by beautiful mountains and glaciers.

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The Alpenzoo is the highest zoo in Europe (750 m above sea level) and has more than 150 species of alpine animals from ‘moose to’ brown bear, the lynx snakes, otters to the ‘golden eagle, but also farm animals such as goats, cows and pigs.

The zoo is located at the foot of the Nordkette the alpine zone of the city. L ‘Alpenzoo can be reached easily by leaving the car in the parking lot of the Convention Center, located in the city center and taking the beautiful and futuristic Hungerburgbahn cable car that, in just a few minutes and a few stops, connects Innsbruck to’ Hungerburg, the splendid panoramic terrace.

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From here, if you wish, you can still continue using the funicular railway, passing through the stop Seegrube, up over the top at the location Hafelekar to 2256 m high.

The whole architectural complex
well worth at least one visit. In particular, the magnificent structure of ‘Hungerburgbahn is certainly a masterpiece of’ modern architecture (by the famous architect Zaha Hadid), which blends beautifully with the surrounding landscape and neighboring examples of traditional architecture Austrian who have succeeded in the various ages.

What strikes of ‘Alpine Zoo is that it is completely designed and built to be enjoyed by families and especially by children. Large windows, stalking landscaped to provide a better view from ‘high, large networks of fence that come nearly to the ground and, where not possible, steps, increases wooden fences, everything is built favoring the view of the child, of any height it is.

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Furthermore everywhere benches, rest areas under shady trees and paths strictly usable by children in strollers or disabled in a wheelchair.

The ‘intelligent design of spaces can fully in’ intent to co-exist and the need for relatively large space to allow a dignified life as possible to the animals and appropriate to each species housed.

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It is easy to use and varied paths, always different and attractive, often divided into zones, real small clusters themed, which stand at will without disrupting the flow of many visitors to a festive day as was the of August.

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This type of intelligent design also allows to shift the entire complex following the natural conformation of the mountain and, what’s more, managing to optimize the deployment of ‘whole area in a space all things considered rather small, when compared, for example, with the mammoth biopark of Rome, a structure which we know well.

This allows the children, even the smaller and less unaccustomed to long walks, not too tired and enjoy a visit to the bottom on its own.

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Furthermore, there are, according to the typical Austrian sensitivity, the areas most directly engaged in free play and also a special secret passage suitable for children, where to be able to find a special and privileged view of the den of ‘brown bear.

Anyone who knows a little ‘s Austria and its people, will not be surprised to know that the most common material used both in structures and in play areas, which in almost all parts of containment and transition, both the wood.
And, where possible, materials that have been used very much in line by type, assonance and colors with the natural surroundings.

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So, there’s almost not even want to add, that everything is a ‘feeling of cleanliness and order, and each path is dotted continually discrete bins of’ garbage, which, presumably, are emptied periodically.

The Alpine Zoo Innsbruck, another vivid example of Austrian civilization, really enjoyed both us adults and our children. I therefore strongly recommend it, if you spend here.

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Walking with the children

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Walking in the mountains with children can be a real ‘challenging experience if you do not align their expectations of the special needs of adult children.

At the same time, however, children can surprise us, showing us how much perseverance, stamina and vitality can be capable of if only storing enough confidence in them.

For some years now we face long walks in the mountains with our children and, consistent with age, the difficulty of the course and familiarity with walking, so far we have always been able to enjoy walking several kilometers, never repent of our choice.

Certainly the whims never fail, especially when fatigue begins to be felt.

But do not get discouraged: the children have on their side the great ability to easily recharge your energy, both physical and psychological.

Hence some small suggestions that, in our experience, help us to prevent and address the most of their understandable moments of boredom or discomfort during long trips:

  • empathize with children without being dramatic: make them understand that it is normal to feel tired and we great we are, but that fatigue can have a taste if positive view of the aim of achieving great places to unwind and have fun.
  • have a snack of fruit or a small sandwich, crackers or biscuits. And of course quantities of water.
  • sing songs or tell rhymes.
  • tell a story aloud
  • invent a quiz challenge like this: “Do you know animals?”
  • organize children between shifts leader of the pack
  • search for insects, traces of forest animals, flowers or leaves details and photograph them.

Through some of these small distractions, our children can enjoy the beauty of the surrounding nature, and most can enjoy the invigorating pleasure of having many more miles of ground many (lazy!) adults.

Good walks to all!

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My babycarrying Mei Tai

After the reading of this interesting Italian book on maternage and having heard so much around the web, I have been intrigued by the art of babycarrying, all those trans-cultural practices of carrying babies on our own body, with the help of several kind of supports.

Mostly with my second child, since he was 6 months old, I frequently used a baby carrier in specific situations. Indeed, recently I read about the pros about slings and baby-wraps (although they require some time to get used to) because of their flexibility, their less bulky aspect, their user-friendly and their help on adapting to the physiologic needs of both the carrier an the carried person.

In fact, I have discovered that baby-carrying is highly recommended from birth and it entails lots of benefits both for the child and the mother.
As wisely tells FrancescaBetween parent and child, grows a deep high contact -relationship. Detachment from the mom happens more smoothly because the baby feels safe and is absorbed since birth in parents’ world, in which he is plunged with all his senses.”

That’s why baby-carrying, as wisely tells Esther Weber, author of the italian book Portare i piccoli (Carrying babies):”It’s a respectful and particularly appropriate approach in parents-children relationship, mostly in western societies“.

According to lots of recent studies, recently expressed in Italy by Alessandra Bortolotti: carried babies, cry less, because their needs of closeness with their mothers are easily supported and their trust in the relationship grows faster, helping them to be sooner independent.

Baby-carrying, just for its inner close contact between mother and child, helps communication and builds mom-baby relationship faster, easing the continuum from inner to outer-gestation. So, it’s really helpful on overcoming birth shock, mostly in case of c-sections, premature birth, twins or difficult deliveries in general. Also, the sling offers containment and protection to the child as he felt while in uterus, also stimulating balance and body development.

Baby-carrying is comfortable, convenient, money-saving, eco-friendly and sustainable.

But also, as well is written here : “The aim of carrying isn’t in the purposes we long to obtain (less crying children or more comfortable moms, or stimulated children) , […] what really counts is closeness. From this closeness comes out all the benefits of baby carrying, that are the effects of love.”

And also Francesca underlines that: “Using the sling isn’t just fashion, but a choice, a sort of educational pattern: in our society we tend to teach our children to become emotionally independent from parents; with the sling indeed, parents are forced to adapt themselves to baby’s needs, being present and giving them safeness just when they are more vulnerable.

There are several supports you can choose. A friend brought me her baby-wrap I am longing to use, meanwhile, waiting for the baby to come, I sewed a Mei Tai, the Chinese baby carrier, that can be used in different assets from birth, too.

I sewed 2 versions: the quilted one, suitable for winter months (on the left of the picture above, the flower printed fabric) and the simple version (on the right of the picture).

I used this tutorial that is the Italian translation of this one, that I see is no longer available online, but you can easily download the original pattern in English from the Italian blog.

To understand what is a Mei Tai and how to use it, you can also refer here where there are lots of pictures on how wearing it.

Anyway, you can search on the web to easily find tons of info, reflections and tutorials on the use of different kind of baby-carriers, slings, baby-wraps and on the meaning of baby-carrying in general.

What do you think about the topic?
Please fell free to share your personal thoughts and experience in the comments below.