Thursday, February 7, 2019

Update | January 2019


Sunrises and sunsets in the winter time are my favorite.

Mornings and evening skies are filled with flocks of sand hill cranes.

My family came mid January and we had so much fun with them.  Isaac and Alicia got to come over for a day and we really enjoyed our afternoon with them.  My brothers were super excited to get to spend the day with their cousin, Boaz.

Thankfully the sun was out most of the days my family was here.  We've been having a cold and cloudy winter so I was thankful they were able to see the sun while they were here!  Benaiah loves this Noah's Ark set my brother, Joshua got him for Christmas. 

Nephew & Auntie

They're so cute together!



Auntie luvins from Elainah...


Friday, January 18, 2019

Winter Wonderland ☃️❄️

Snow is rare for us here in southern Arizona!  Everyone who has lived here for most of their life says they never remember it snowing this much in the valley where we live.  We got four inches and it lasted for a good two days before starting to melt!

Benaiah was ready for the cold weather with his coon skin cap Uncle Mike made for him!


One of my in-laws heifer's first time in the snow.

 I've never seen snow on tumbleweeds before!


This was our view on the second morning... thick fog with the sun trying hard to peep through.

But by afternoon the skies were clear and the snow was beginning to melt.

Day 3: Now we are just left with patches here and there that are quickly disappearing.  
We enjoyed the winter wonderland while it lasted but I'm ready for warmer temperatures again!


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Hang Gliding in Switzerland | 09.2018

While we were in Switzerland, Justin went hang-gliding over the town of Interlaken.

The gliders are stored in long tubes to make transporting them to the top of the mountain easier. 

Here two of the instructors are setting them up in preparation for the flight.

Justin, suited up and ready to go!


Here is a little video I put together from the photos and footage the instructor gave us.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Europe 2018

It's been a minute since I posted last, so for those of you who are still interested in seeing pictures of our trip to Europe back in September, here they are!  My Dad and Mom gifted us with two tickets to anywhere in the world (curtesy of my dad's job) and we decided to visit Europe.
Our travels began at the Phoenix airport where we barely made our flight... which was mostly my fault.  I didn't even think about the fact that my passport still said Kaitlyn "Sanger" but I had booked the ticket with my married name.  (The names on your ID and your ticket HAVE to match otherwise you won't be allowed through security.)  Thankfully we had a wonderful ticket agent who changed my name on my ticket and we rushed through security.  Justin ran on ahead with Benaiah while I juggled our backpacks, I'm sure we looked so flustered as we hurried down the jet bridge only to hear the door slam shut behind us.  WE MADE IT!

Our layover was in Philadelphia so we passed Benaiah on to my parents before boarding our flight to Paris, France.

The screens on the back of the seats have a flight map so you can see where you are in the journey...

*      *     *

We arrived in Paris, got our rental car, and began the drive to Thonon-les-Bains, France where our Airbnb was located.

We did more of a road trip style vacation, driving through seven countries in eleven days.

We stayed at the cutest little cottage home our first night in Europe.
The next morning we walked down to Lake Geneva where you can easily see across to Switzerland on the opposite shore.


The houses in Thonon-les-Bains were so quaint and cute.

We drove through the Mount Blanc Tunnel in the alps to get from France to Italy.  
The tunnel took three years to build and is 7 miles long!


*     *     *

The scenery on our drive to Venice Italy was absolutely stunning.  Pictures don't even do justice to the beauty of these mountains.

We arrived at our apartment just outside Venice and were greeted in the courtyard by the biggest cat I've ever seen.  We referred to him as "Fat Louie" for the remainder of our stay!

We walked to a bus stop and took the city bus out to Venice because parking is atrociously priced on Venice.  Venice is made up of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges!  The longer boat you see on the left is called a Vaporetto, basically a city bus but in boat form.  The smaller wooden boat you see on the right is private taxi which is way more expensive then the vaporetto.


Riding through the "streets" of Venezia in the vaporetto.

One of the places I was most excited to visit on this trip was the island of Burano, Italy.  The island is  known for it's lace work and brightly colored homes.  Burano's traditional industry is fishing and used to be its biggest business.  As a result, there were lots of fishing boats sailing in and out of its harbor.  Legend has it that people began painting their homes bright colors so that the fishermen could see them even in thick fog and avoid crashing into the shore.   Another story I heard was that the houses were painted bright colors so the fishermen could easily tell which house was his when he came in at night from a long day at sea.

Not every one can paint their house the same color.  If you live on the island, and wish to paint your house, you must send a request to the government, which responds with a list of the colors permitted for your specific lot of houses.

Lots of the houses have window boxes over flowing with beautiful flowers.



I thought their clotheslines were neat too, most buildings have them right on the side of the house and you hang the laundry out your window.





Another Island I was super excited about visiting was Murano.  Because they are known for their glass-making, I knew what souvenir I wanted to buy before I even stepped off the boat.  A glass pen!  (Not the ones pictures, I got a fully glass pen with a glass tip)  There are so many little shops with lots of glassware and glass trinkets to choose from.

*     *     *

The next country we visited was Croatia.  The views were so gorgeous as we traveled along the Adriatic Sea!


We took a ferry to get to our Airbnb for the night.  The water was a beautiful jade color.

Driving to our apartment the scenery reminded me a lot of Israel.

These rock walls are all over the hills.

Sheep along the roadside.

We stayed in Novalja our first night and had a lovely view from our apartment by the sea.

The path down to the sea was lined with these little snail shells on the grass.


Sunset view from our apartment as well.  We ate a delicious meal of freshly caught fish and shrimp at a seaside restaurant that night.

The second day in Croatia we drove inland about two hours to Plitvice Lakes National Park.  
Along the way we stopped at this deserted dwelling.



Good-bye beautiful sea!

We arrived at our Airbnb apartment for the night and decided to go for a walk through the Croatian countryside.


*     *     *


The next day we hiked Plitvice Lakes National Park.

More than 1 million visitors tour this park each year.  It is one of the oldest and largest national parks in Croatia, founded in 1949.  Situated in the mountainous area of Central Croatia, it is close to the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


The park is famous for the 16 lakes that are separated by natural dams of moss and algae.


The lakes are separated into upper and lower sections by runoff from the mountains.  They descend over about 8 kilometers in a south to north direction.


The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colors, ranging from azure to green, grey, and blue.  The colors change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals in the water and the angle of the sunlight.



You walk the whole park on these trails suspended above the water, 
sometimes with waterfalls rushing beneath you!






If you ever get a chance to visit this park I would definitely do so!  One tip though; get there first thing in the morning because by noon the paths are so full of tourists you can hardly walk, and we were even there in the "off" season!

*     *     *


Our travels continued through the countryside of Slovenia.

You can tell you are approaching a town by the smell of these roadside smokers!  Most of the ones we saw had a whole pig in them but this one was a sheep.  We stopped at one of the restaurants to have lunch and it was delicious!


We drove past several of these racks in hay fields before we saw one that actually had hay drying.

Our Airbnb for the night was located in a tiny mountain town of Bovec.

Pictures don't do justice to the magnitude of these magnificent peaks.

Most of the road signs we saw had pictures to depict the meanings, no words.


We hiked down to the Soca River in the valley near our apartment.  In the spring when the snow is melting off the mountains this river is rushing and has a gorgeous light teal color to it.

*     *     *

We started the journey back to Paris stopping for a night in Lustenau, Austria.  When we arrived we went to the park by Lake Constance.

There were two swans close to the shore we enjoyed watching for a while.  There's just something calming about being by the water.  

We enjoyed the easy but enjoyable hike at Rappenlochschlucht.  
This tree's roots were working their way through the rock!

Another sign along the trail with no words.
I liked them though because no matter what language you spoke you could understand that the sign meant, "Beware, falling rock!"


The view was beautiful as we walked along the suspended bridges deep in a canyon carved out through time by water!


Our Airbnb hosts in Lustenau had bikes we used to get around town.  At one of our stops we saw this bike buggy, how cute for transporting your kids!

Our host had little succulent planters on the patio.

Every little town, (we saw them in France, Italy, and Switzerland as well) had these little electric mail buggy carts that the postmen rode up and down the streets!

*     *     *

We drove through the bottom of Germany on our way to Switzerland from Austria.

Along our route in Switzerland we drove through beautiful mountainous regions with quaint little dwellings dotted along the hillsides.

We took some back roads and came upon these cows being herded up the road for milking time.



Cutting hay...


Cranes are used for building a lot.  Or that's what we noticed at least!  
This is just a small home being built but there is a crane at the job site.

Driving down into the beautiful town of Interlaken, Switzerland.  
I wish my phone captured the intensity of the water color, it was such a calming dark teal!

Located in the mountainous Bernese Oberland region of central Switzerland, Interlaken is built on a narrow stretch of valley, between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz which are connected by the Aare River.

I was really hoping the weather would be clear enough for us to go up to Jungfraujoch, but as you can see from this picture in the square, the clouds were too low to even see the mountain.

So instead of riding the train up to Jungfrau I explored the little shops surrounding the square while Justin went hang gliding and had the experience of a lifetime!  Leave a comment if you would like to see the video his guide took and maybe I'll do a post with it.

Headed out of Switzerland and back into France...

I loved how almost all the houses had flower boxes!


*     *     *

The driving in Paris was absolutely CRAZY... I'm so shocked our rental car did not end up with a mirror swiped off or worse!  We were in Paris for the weekend before flying out on Monday.  Parking in Paris can be a nightmare but on the weekends it is free!  So we found a spot outside our apartment building and left our car there the entire time.  We were close enough to the Eiffel tower and other sites that we just walked everywhere, which made the experience more enjoyable, to me anyways.

Bikes and scooters parked everywhere...

We could see the top of the Eiffel tower from our little apartment window.

Our second day in Paris was spent walking to a few of the famous city sites.  First up, the Arch de Triumphe.  One of the most famous monuments in Paris, it stands in the center of a very busy junction.  To get across to the Arch there are underground tunnels you walk through.  Police guard the sidewalks because some people try to run across the busy 6 lane round about.

The Arch de Triumphe honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.  The names of all French victories and generals inscribed on the inner and outer surfaces.

We walked to Laduree from the Arch de Triumphe and bought some macaroons.  
They are the best macaroons and who can resist a sweet treat like that while in Paris?!

So many different flavors...



From Laudree we walked to the Eiffel Tower!

I never truly realized how enormous the tower is.


We had tickets to go up the tower which was an amazing experience, 
the views of the city were incredible.

Walking from the Eiffel tower back to our apartment.

We stopped at a little corner grocery store for some more candy to take back to the states.
Our favorite candy bar was the Milka brand Daim flavor... sooo good!

Most people buy their groceries daily, so everything comes in smaller quantities.  
How cute is this tiny carton of four eggs?!


*     *     *

More cranes in the city on our way back to the airport...

 One thing we noticed was all the trucks are flat nosed in Europe.


Our trip to Europe was an amazing experience and I'm so grateful we had the opportunity to go together.  If we ever go back I would love to see more of Italy and the southern part of Croatia!