Wednesday, August 2, 2017

thank you Jesus

So I need to give credit where credit is due. There is no way this trip goes as well as it does without the prayers of my friends and Jesus' hand carrying us and protecting us. All plane, train, and automobile trips went as good as possible. Alicia and I got along, we did not get sick, I did not have sick days or any migraines. We did not get mugged or have any of the many scam tricks pulled on us. No terror attacks. It was a beautiful time with my daughter. And we learned so much about ourselves and our world.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Day 22 Zurich

I like Zurich. Think I would love Switzerland if I had time to explore her. Just not a lot of time to do what most peple do when they come here, hike, take long train rides up mountains, boat. This country seems like a place to come relax. Except the prices here are high. Realy high. It's the only place I've really noticed a difference. Today we shopped the main shopping street- Bahnhofstrasse. Walked that all the way down to Lake Zurich where we boarded a boat for an hour and a half round trip ride. Such beauty.
The mountains need to have a good rain though because although we could see some mountains with snow caps far off they were pretty hazy.
Walked back from the lake through old town Zurich along the river Limmat. I enjoyed This shopping more then any other country because there is not the hectic pace the other places have. Lots of streets for just pedestrians. Lots of stores. **** This is when we picked up our chocolates from 3 different chocolate stores. We will snack on some before bed and bring some home to Ben and Ethan. Would love to bring everyone some home but we are starting to feel like pack mules.
Lesson learned: when reading up on this trip I knew Paris was one of the fashion capitols of the world. But seriously the Swiss are the best dressed put together people. I would love to come here and be able to actually shop and bring things home. Today Alicia and I were limited to what we could fit in our already stuffed baggage. **************** Tomorrow we fly home. Won't feel relaxed until I'm on that second flight flying home from JFK. I now wish I had booked longer time between flights as once we get off our plane we go through passport control, baggage claims, customs, recheck baggage, back through inspection for our connecting flight all in 4 hours. Praying flights are on time, luggage is quickly out, and lines are short everywhere. But we are excited to be heading home soon.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Day 21 Beauty from the trains

(All pictutes are in order. So you can see the scenery change. ) ●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●● This was just a travel day. But this travel day was one of the reasons we traveled to Switzerland. Besides being cheaper to fly through Zurich I really wanted to take the train from Rome to Zurich for the views. And they did not disappoint! Stated our morning early leaving Rome at 7 arriving in Milan. Then Milan to Zurich. Train travel is fairly easy. The first train was empty so we had plenty of room. SUNFLOWER FIELDS EVERYWHERE MILAN TRAIN STATION
Then we had to wait a little over a hour for our next train. The second train we sat by a family from Tigard, Oregon! They had just come from Croatia and Como, Italy. funniest nicest family. Had both Alicia and I laughing. They made that trip even better. But the views are amazing. I liked the look of Como lake area for vacationing and really once we entered Switzerland all the towns looked like places to go visit.
***************************** Took us a few hours to get out of Zurich's main train station, buying tickets, getting cash, eating linner, grabbing a couple snacks. But most of the time we were just looking for a machine to validate our 24 hour pass! No one speaks English here! Very different to where we've been. Now we are in for the evening. Zurich is closed on Sundays. So tomorrow we will start fresh. But today was exactly what I was hoping for. Beauty everywhere. ************************** Lesson learned:this hurts the brain too much. Done learning. 😆

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Day 20

This is the door to our little suite. This hotel used to be a 16th century cloister so the rooms all surround a courtyard with orange trees. It's really relaxing here. You forget you are in the heart of a large city while inside the gates.
This morning I woke with the desire to just be home. Looked online at plane tickets but that is not an affordable option so 4 more days it is. I had wanted to get out before the sun got hot but my daughter had other plans. ******** We went to lunch and sat right next to a couple of college students that were from Holland. We really enjoyed getting to talk with them. One girl knew 5 languages the other 7, though two off those are Greek and Latin. Alicia and I were majorly wishing our schools taught languages at a young age like in Holland. After we left that lunch I felt a lot less homesick. I think people just need interaction. Might be why the days we did tours with small groups were our favorites. Nice to interact with others while seeing and trying new things. ********************** Lesson learned: we've had this happen a couple of times now, Alicia and I decide to order the same thing but somehow it's lost in translation and we get just one to share. We have decided in Rome we need to order different things now.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Day 19

This morning we were up early. Wanted to get on a train and beat the crowds to the beach. I had been nervous about today for a number of reasons. But it went great. The people at the train station were all so helpful. I was thankful later on when a man reminded us we needed to validate our ticket before getting on the train. On that train someone did come around checking everyone's tickets. That did not happen on the train back. I know the prayers said for me today worked! We got to the beach and rented a couple chairs and an umbrella. We pretty much read our books for near 3.5 hours there. Occasionally I'd run down and get my feet wet but we didn't go in like I had thought we might. I had bought water pouches for our phones but I had forgotten I would also have our passports and I did not want to leave those just lying around. Alicia needed a friend today. But it was nice seeing the ocean and laying in the sun listening to the ocean is the best way to read a book. Our view from our chairs. SNUCK A PICTURE OF ALICIA. Came back and had a late lunch of Fettuccine Bolognese at a place about 30 steps from the hotel. Yum. We cleaned up and rested for a bit then headed to the Vatican Museum for the special evening entry on Friday nights. The best thing ever. We were able to sit in the Sistine Chapel for the first 15 minutes with maybe only 50 others. By the time we left there were still only about 150 peple. Considering 25,000 people visit the Sistine Chapel every day it was a treat to see it the way we did. It's an incredible work of art. Incredible. I know his ceiling is the most famous but I thought his wall The Last Judgement was even better. You are not allowed to take pictures on that room. But I took pictures in the other museum rooms. I wish I could share pictures of Michelangelo's art. such detail. No empty space. ********** Lesson learned: One can get tired of gelato. We had some today but we just wish we could have a brownie or cookie or candy bar. I haven't seen those yet. We did get some strawberries and watermelon but some chocolate would be nice.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Day 18 Trastevere neighborhood

When mom and I planned this trip we had decided on London but then I thought we should add a couple days on to see The Sistine Chapel (that's on Friday). My mom had always wanted to see it. She is an artist and has a love for Michelangelo's works. So I added 4 nights in Rome. It's hard being here without her but as hard as it is for me I'm sure this is very hard for mom. So if you think of it pray for my mom. *********************************** We got to bed late last night and my teen needs like 10 hours of sleep. So I watched some shows on my kindle and rethought/reworked our plans for the day after I woke up, but she slept on. Finally we headed out and wandered the streets. We ate at one of the many tiny little restaurants on one of the many tiny streets. It was hard to decide but we chose pizza and figured tonight we would have pasta. Shopped some, grabbed gelato and headed back to our room. Already getting a bit too hot for me. **********After a rest we went back to the streets found a restaurant that later I realized I had seen had great reviews. It ended up being the best lasagna I have ever had. The best. Then wandered a few more streets, I then visited Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. Beautiful church. They were about to start a service so no real good pictures. But the ceiling was incredibly ornate. Ended with another gelato. This shop was the best one yet. ************ We've been told there is a black-out tomorrow in the area we are in from 8:30-4:30 so we are glad we didn't head to the beach this morning like first planned. We will go tomorrow when there is no power here. ************* Lesson learned: made sure you download everything you want and think you may want. Netflix overseas is different, hulu doesn't work and neither does OPB. Had hoped to watch those here. Thankfully I had downloaded a few seasons on Amazon but plane rides are long!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Day 17 hello Rome

This morning the alarm woke me at 3:30 am. By 4:30 we were on our way to Gatwick Airport in London. Flight was easy and we were at Romes airport at noon. My luggage was one of the first off and we waited and waited for Alicia's. I was nervous but Alicia was fine. Hers was one of the last off but it was there! Onto Rome. Our hotel is the cutest thing ever. I already want to cancel all plans and just hang out here and in the neighborhood. But that won't happen. We got our room and were of f to sleep. After a little nap I headed to the appetizer hour and then when Alicia was awake enough we headed off for our evening tour, "Moon over the Colosseum." This started at 10:10 pm so we took our time walking there. Had some gelato, took pictures, crossed some crazy Italian roads without being hit. It was nice to have a late tour so it had cooled down quite a bit by then. Also they only let so many people in so it was not crowded at all. Highly suggest it. Then it was back to the hotel and as I write this it is already 12:50 am! Where does the time go! Lesson learned: "That 3 weeks is a long time to be gone." This is from Alicia and I concur. We are having fun but we are very ready to be home. Also watching tv in England was great but now we are back in a foreign speaking country and there won't be as much tv in the evening before bed. I think when you hear foreign language all day long you get homesick a bit quicker.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Day 16 London Eye

Today we really didn't do much at all. Needed to do a couple loads of laundry before we hit the next week with no washing machine. There is no dryer so laundry takes awhile. We headed out in the afternoon for the London Eye. Summertime is crazy. Between the line to buy tickets and then the line to ride in the pod we were in line almost 1 hour and 45 minutes. Then it's a 30 minute ride around. We then grabbed dinner and headed back to finish up getting ready to be picked up at 4:30 am for our flight to Rome. Lesson learned: we don't have cable so while we did laundry, packed and cleaned we watched some "Say Yes to the Dress." We learned, well I knew but Alicia now knows too, that you do not bring the fiancé to the dress shopping. Yikes. 😆