Sunday, November 3, 2019

October 2019 - Travels in Europe

Mr. Chubby (aka Liam or Lum Lum) turned 2! Mark joined us for the festivities. We woke Liam up from his nap—at 6pm, I might add—for a birthday dinner and cake and he wanted none of it. He was mad and pouty, but the rest of us enjoyed the food and fun. We got him a new bug board book, dinosaur gummies, and went to the Butterfly Biosphere as a family to celebrate.

Liam says "Mama!" in different tones to express all of his emotions, similar to Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy.  "Maaaaama!" for happy, "MAMA!" when he's mad, etc.  It's quite comical.  He still doesn't talk a lot but uses the word Mama to communicate what he wants.  He LOVES to read books and do puzzles, wrestle with Kyle, and he is obsessed with food. 

Kyle and I ran off to Europe for 2 weeks and it was amazing!! A huge, huge thank you to my parents for flying out to watch our kids so that we could go on this adventure. They are the absolute best!!

We hit New York, Italy (Rome, Florence, Pompeii, Venice), Greece, and Montenegro. We started with a layover in New York and walked through Central Park. The leaves were changing and you didn’t feel like you were in the city at all, it has always been my favorite spot in New York. We saw St Patrick’s Cathedral, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, walked down 34th Street and 5th Avenue, past the Zoo, the Balto statue, and ate NY pizza.  Oh, and we flew right over the Statue of Liberty on our way in.

We stopped in Munich long enough to watch the sun rise and then continued on to Rome, where we hit the ground running straight from the airport. Day 1 included the Colosseum, Arch of Constantine, and the most wonderful food tour walking through the different neighborhoods of Rome. We started at a family butcher shop with different types of cured meat and Italian cheese, followed by pizza and arancini, 3 types of delicious homemade pasta, and ended with gelato; all while learning about the history of the city.

Day 2 in Rome consisted of St Peter’s, the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, Castel del San Angelo, the Pantheon, Fountain at Trevi, and more homemade pasta, pizza, and gelato.

We took a train to Florence and climbed to the top of the beautiful Duomo.  We saw the David and learned lots about Michelangelo.  It really was amazing to see the way he worked and the beauty he brought out of stone.  Absolutely incredible. 

The next day was followed by a trip to Pompeii.  What a unique city, covered up and preserved for so long.  You can see the spot where Vesuvius blew, the two peaks in this photo were once connected to form a much bigger volcano. 

Then we boarded our cruise in Bari, Italy.  Here’s the view of the sun set from the balcony in our room, and our favorite waiter who made us delicious Indian food on the last night.  We went on this trip with great friends, Brittany and Levi Pardon, and Casey and Jessica Skankey.

Our first port was near Olympia, where we saw the first Olympic flame, large Olympic track, and ancient Temple of Zeus that once housed the ancient-wonder-of-the-world 40-ft tall statue as shown in Disney’s Hercules (with complete accuracy ;).  We saw ancient wonders these past couple of weeks and walked streets that were thousands of years old.  We did a quick comparison for fun--

Rome – 753 BC
Olympia – games started in 776 BC
Pompeii – 600 BC
Athens – current Acropolis 500 BC
Several years ago we visited Jerusalem (western wall 20 BC) and Cairo (pyramids 2500 BC), so the pyramids take the cake.

Stop #2 was Santorini, where we climbed to the top of a volcano, rode donkeys up a cliff, and ate my favorite meal in Greece with the most breathtaking view.  Santorini was such a cool city, I really enjoyed it.

Stop #3 was near Athens, where we climbed the Acropolis to see the Parthenon and other ancient wonders.  We then explored more of Athens via foot and bus.

Stop #4 was Corfu, Greece.  We enjoyed walking around the city until we hit the “beach.”  It was more of a dock, but we heard the beaches on the west side of the island have white sand and clear water, and are mostly very quiet.  If only we had more time.  Either way, our swimming spot had the most beautiful water and Kyle jumped in while I sat on the dock reading a book and sipping on a tropical smoothie.

Stop #5 was Montenegro.  We toured the Lady of the Rock island church, old submarine hiding spots for Yugoslavia during WWII, and swam in the amazing Blue Caves. 

Stop #6 was Venice.  Ahh, Venice.  I loved it.  We did the mandatory gondola ride, visit to St Mark’s Square, went inside the Basilica, and hopped on a boat to Murano to see the master glass artists at work.  We watched a man make this glass horse in all of 2 minutes by dipping his rod into crushed glass to get the colors he wanted, heating it, and then pulling out the legs, mane, and shape of the horse with pliers.  It was absolutely incredible, and the glass shops were fascinating. 

After all of the adventures it was so wonderful to come home and hug our cute kids.  We missed them a lot!

We got home just in time for Halloween to celebrate with Cleopatra, Spiderman, Shadow, and Sonic.

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