Thursday, 31 December 2015

Riding into the New Year

For New Years, we usually don't do anything really big, but this year we went over to Josh's cousins house. We had some dinner and it was nice to sit around and chat. Josh's cousin Hannah is really into riding horses, so she let me ride one of hers for a little while. It had been a while since I had been on a horse, but still, no matter how I tried, I could not make it move! So I wasn't on the horse for long! Then we went to the Bowling Alley with all of Josh's brother and sister - we were super tired but I love bowling so it was a great time!

A little Light Show in Bradenton

We flew down to Florida after visiting Mary and George, and flew down into Sarasota airport. It was so nice to fly into the close by airport and be so close to home! It was also nice to drive by the place where we got married! We really didn't do too much in Florida, but we did do some shopping, and saw some of Josh's family and his grandma had a party. I ended up
getting a new camera really last minute, I saw it in the store and I looked it up and it was really easy to order in White. So, 2 days later, we went to Best Buy and picked it up. We had a great time with some sparklers, trying to make light trails. In the end, we were able to make our names, and spell out 2016! It was super fun to try!

Saturday, 26 December 2015

In Ann Arbor

Because we really wanted to stay in Michigan so we got to see Mary and George, Rachel and Ryan, the day after Shelby's birthday, we travelled down to Ann Arbor to see Mary and George. We only got to spend one day with them, but it was still super fun. They had made Shelby this cute little cake, and we went out to a nice Japanese restaurant.
The next day we went to Starbucks - it was super nice to be all together at one of my favourite places. And then we went to Somerset Mall - I didn't end up buying anything in the end, but I still love being in the mall with Rachel and Mary. The mall was super nicely decorated for Christmas and these are the cute photos that we took!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Home for Christmas

We headed home after Traverse City, and Shelby and Mummy arrived right before Christmas. It was really chaotic around Christmas, becuase I didn't feel ready with all my presents, and I didnt actually get any time to wrap presents! But Christmas went nicely, and we had a lovely Christmas morning, but I still, cannot get up late on Christmas morning, it is just inside me to get up early and want to unwrap presents!
This wasn't Josh's first Christmas with us, but it still feels really super special and exciting to know he is there for Christmas. Mummy bought us new stockings too! I was super excited, because on the day after Christmas, we went out to do some sale shopping, which was really fun. I even found some great new Pottery Barn stockings for Josh and I for next year!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Traverse City Brewery Tour

Traverse City has become known for its local beers and some really cool brewing places that have started to pop up all over the city, so one afternoon, Linda decided Josh and I should do a little brewery tour, so she took us to some cute places around the city. Josh liked the beer at all of them, but I was most excited by these oatmeal and
pumpkin ice cream sandwhiches. Pumpkin anything is my favourite, and so I was just desperate to try some! We had a really nice time with them downtown, going to the Pie company for lunch and going into all the little shops in town. My favourite was the one that had free "Grandma's apple cider" cute is that! It was so nice to visit them and travel a little while we were home in Michigan!

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Christmas with the Dornbush's

Linda's house is really great for the holidays, we wore Christmas jumpers and listed to the Micheal Buble Christmas soundtrack and we maded cookies - lots and lots of cookies. It was so nice that Krista and Jed came over and we were able to sit and decorate cookies one afternoon. It just felt so Christmassy, and I really needed a day like that! After we made the cookies, we went over to Brandon and Char's house, because he had made pheasant for us for dinner!

Walking Hemmingway in the Snow

We finally flew home for Christmas, right when a new snow storm came in. So Grammie and Papa picked us up at the airport, and I rode 3 hours in the car with my giant suitcase on my lap! We arrived a few days earlier than my family, so we headed up north to Traverse City to stay with the Dornbushes. Kara and Dan have a cute little dog, Hemmingway. She is adorable, and since we got some snow, and I had yet to play with her, I was first to volunteer to take her out for a walk!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Star Wars returns!

The very last day before Christmas break, Star Wars came out. And to avoid the spoilers, we went on opening night. It's not often we get movies the same time as America, and it was such a big deal to Josh that noone spoiled it for him. I love the movies mainly for the popcorn but it was really good! As we were leaving, the cinema had brought out Stormtroopers!!! I was so excited and we had to have our photo with them! It was too cool!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Cassio visits for Christmas!

It had been a while since we saw Abel and Sinead, so we arranged to meet up in Frankfurt this time. Sinead and Cassio arrived on Friday night, and Abel came Saturday morning. We spent a lot of time going to the Christmmas markets, and having bratwurst, gluwein and cheese Fondue. Cassio really liked our little Tanuki that we have in the hallway too. He's getting big so fast, he can walk around and all sorts now. I had to grab some photos of us all together while we all had on our cute Christmas jumpers! It was such a nice weekend having them here!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Frankfurt's Christmas Tree

The Frankfurt Christmas Markets started in late November, but I didn't really get a chance until now to go and explore them. They have the same stuff every year, lots of yummy snacks, and my favourite - the cheese fondue stall! This year, they had a much better Christmas tree - and it looked so festive in front of the beautiful Town Hall in the Romer platz!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Making Millions of Cookies

One of the best parts of visiting Kerstin is helping her mum to make cookies. Her mum goes all out on the cookies and makes thousands upon thousands of these little tiny cookies, but in like 20 different varieties too. She always saves some for us to help make, and she sent us home with a huge container of them!

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Visiting Kerstin

Not long after I got back from London, I got to go somewhere a little closer to Home, to visit Kerstin in Germany. She lives north of us, about three hours on the train. Last time we stayed with her parents, and this time we stayed with them. We ended up with a super late train because of a delay, but since our train was delayed, we visited the Christmas market near the train station, and I got my favourite things, poferjies.
I'm not sure how they are spelt, but they are amazing. They're little baked pancakes covered in butter and powdered sugar. They aren't very good at the Frankfurt market, but all the others I've had are great. We hung out in the Starbucks too - where Josh told the guy his name was Helmet - because Joshua was too hard to spell! On Saturday we had a great breakfast with them, and hung around their apartment playing board games.
I love hanging out with them, they are so much fun. We also visited the Christmas market in Braunschweig, which is super cute and lovely. We had nice hot chocolate with our favourite Liquor 43, which tastes a bit like Milky Bar! Josh was happy because he could get his favourite hot dog thing he likes. Seriously, Braunschweig is the only place that has these hot dogs apparently.
It's such a cute little town, and it was nice and sunny so it was great to hang out there, and wander around the Christmas markets. We went to another one too, where they make the most amazing candied nuts! Basically, it was a weekend for eating, because after, we went to Kerstin's parents house to have Raclette, which is kind of like a yaki niku grill on the top and little pots under a burner underneath. It's a super cute idea and super yummy!

Friday, 13 November 2015

Remembering the Fallen in London Town

On Sunday, Shelby made a surprise visit to London! I was really excited she came, and hadn't expected her at all. I had almost forgotten that I was going to be in London for Rememberance Sunday (Although I had my poppy on), but we decided to head to Le Pain Quotidient. It didn't seem like they were going to be turning of the music and standing for the two minutes silence, so we left our brunch and headed outside where we could see St. Pauls. They were holding a service, and a bunch of people observed the silence at 11am. It just feels so moving, to be there and be part of the silence. It's not often I am in a place to observe it - usually I am watching it on TV. But the whole world feels so quiet. And it's a powerful thing. After the silence, there was a band, and a march, and we ate brunch and went back to shopping, but it was a nice change to the day to remember the fallen.

London will always be in my heart!

I convinced Mummy to come meet me in London - I was so desperate to travel - and it seemed like a great idea to go do some Christmas shopping! On Friday, I flew into City airport ( easily the best airport), and took the DLR into the city. It was so nostalgic to be back, given that it had been over a year since I had been to my once home. London always feels a little special because I lived there. I guess it will always feel that way to me. I met Mummy, and we stayed up talking. In the morning, we got up early, and literally shopped all day - making it to Primark for when it opened at 8am, and then shopped all day! I got a new winter coat, and lots of ideas for Christmas presents. It was even warm, which was great too! It felt so Christmassy to be shopping on Oxford Street! I was so glad I still remembered my way around too! We had dinner in Covent Garden at Cantina Loredo - and it was just such a nice day!

A little family Fall fun

It was nice, because we didn't end up staying in Krakow very the morning we got up, and headed right home to Frankfurt. It was nice to have some time back home before going back to work. I convinced Josh that we needed some fall photos - so we got dressed up and headed to the park across the street to take some photos! Because of daylights savings time, we havent been able to have much light by the time we get home. And sadly, we didn't really get many proffesional looking photos for our Christmas cards, but we did get a few cute ones just for our collection. It was nice and sunny but so, so cold! So it probably was a great day to go, else it would be too cold and the leaves would have all changed!

Overcast in Auschwitz

Travelling in winter usually sucks because it is so cold and miserable. We headed to Poland one weekend - after several time travelling with Steph, we decided that we should head to see Auschwitz before we leave Germany. So we headed there nice and late after school on Friday.
It's nice to travel Friday nights. The airport in Krakow was really nice, and we got picked up and went to this cute little Air B and B. It was probably the nicest one we have stayed in so far! In the morning we got picked up, and headed over to Auschwitz. We were super unprepared, and not dressed warm enough at all. The tour of the camp wasn't very good, and actually, they didn't tell us too much more than we had seen at Yad Vashem in Israel, but it was interesting to see up close. It was so sad to think about what had happened there, and they hadn't made it touristy,
just left like it was so people can see it. Afterwards, we went to the Birkenau camp too. I was sad to say that we were way too cold to fully pay attention to the tour, but you can see how miserable it would have been for people in these camps. After we left the camp, the driver took us to this lovely place for dinner, where we had nice traditional food. After that, we had booked like a combi tour for the salt mines. Who knew the salt mine would be so interesting! It was much bigger than I anticipated, and we even got to lick the walls! They really told us we could, and we did! It was very interesting, but then, when we got back into Krakow, we walked around a little bit to get perogis. We had some great ones and then walked back to the flat. It seemed like it was such a pretty city, and very clean but it was impossible to see because it was so foggy!

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Our last view of Israel

Our last day we headed to Haifa, to see the hanging gardens, and then to Cesarea, just down the coast. I actually didn't take many photos at all! But after our very last drive home, we headed down to the beach near our house. We had seen the beach, but it was a shame that we hadn't made out way down onto the sand until our very last day. We walked along the beach, seeing all the people hanging out with their dogs and seeing our last sunset!

The Gardens of Gethsemane

Underneath the Mount of Olives, right at the base is the Gardens of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed the night before his crucifixion...I think. Anyway, it was a lovely little garden with a nice church next to it too! It was a good long drive back to the apartement, but we were pretty tired after another day in Jerusalem!

Oh, how I love Camels!

The best thing about visiting the Mount of Olives ( apart from the great voiceover they have and the AMAZING view) was the fact I came across another camel! One very smart man brought his camel up there for the tourists! And he didn't charge me for taking pictures of the camel either! I didn't really
need to ride it, just take pictures of it. And while Josh was asking him about some restaurant reccommendations, he let me hold the camel's reigns! And I was just SO excited, because I love Camels so so much! We had an interesting experience after taking in the view, and holding and petting it. The camel owner had directed us up a hill to a parking area,
to a restaurant, but when we got to the parking area, some Israeli policemen warned us that the people running it would steal our money. Well, we parked, and asked them or some restaurant reccomendations, and they told us to get out of there, and that none of it was a very clean was quite disheartening to see them so negative about the Arab community. Either way, we ended up leaving pretty sharpish, but I was pleased because I had seen not one, but two camels while in Israel!

From the Mount of Olives

After visiting Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum, we visited the Mount of Olives. Our trip to the Mount of Olives was a little haphazard, in that we had tried to go the last time we were in Jerusalem, but had been warned off by the concierge and also by the police. However, we did manage to find our way up there, through the Muslim Quarter of town, through two checkpoints and such. But we did make it, and it was so worth the view!

We found a hanging Tree!

Yes, in the middle of Jaffa is a hanging tree. Hanging off the sides of three buildings and held up with wires, is a hanging tree. After Googling it, I found it is a piece of art by Ran art goes I guess it is quite interesting to hang an orange tree off of three buildings!

Walking through Old Jaffa

In the morning, we decided to explore Old Jaffa. Jaffa is the old part of the city, I guess which was there before Tel Aviv really was, and so now it is part of Tel Aviv. Since we had only explored it at night, I really wanted to get to see the little streets during
the day. It did seem like we were there so much earlier than everyone else and we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves! In the 1990's, they really revived Jaffa, fixing up the churches and the mosques, and making it home to lots of little restaurants and tons and tons of little art galleries. Really, there are art galleries here, there, and everywhere! And stairs - lots of stairs leading everywhere, even to the port. And the port is quite cute,
as old ports go, with an art gallery and some snazzy seafood restaurants! Along with lots of old men fishing along the harbour, and as such, it was filled with stray cats. Israel seems to have just as many stray cats as Greece does! It is lovely just to wander around the little side streets and see where they lead. I found myself by the end of it being able to navigate around quite well! And while art galleries aren't really my thing, I did find them interesting to
look in and peek through the windows at. We were quite well placed in that our apartement was only a five minute walk from Jaffa, so the one night we had wandered to the old flea market to try some food there. It was lovely, and actually the only part of Tel Aviv that we really saw much of!

A lovely view of Tel Aviv

The next morning, we decided to check out Old Jaffa, again, but this time in the daylight. It was so nice, because this time we could actually see the lovely view and the sky scrapers along the beach! And the beach was so deserted too! Maybe we were just a little early for everyone to be out and about!

A Camel at the Petrol Station Forecourt

I so, so, so wanted to ride a camel in Israel. I even looked up directions to go to Camelland in the desert, but it just wasn't going to fit into our timetable. On the way to Masada, we had driven past a petrol station with what looked like two camels, but we were all of differing opinions weather the camels were real, or just statues. On the way back, we found out that they were real! I was so excited! I know that they were just there for the tourists, but we got some petrol, and then I had to go take their photo! It was quite possibly the weirdest place to find a camel, but I was so glad we found one just the same!

Floating at the Lowest Place on Earth

As you get closer and closer to the Dead Sea, you see these markings about how far below sea level. The Dead Sea is 430 meters below what is normal sea level, so it really is the lowest place on Earth. We happened to go back to the same place I had swum in the Dead Sea when I was a child! It was so hard to get into the water, because of all the sharp salt,
but once we were in the water, it was so much fun floating! I had a great time, and floated for ages! It was wonderful! Josh and Steph covered themselves in the Dead Sea mud, but I just couldn't do it! We had such a great time and my hair was hilarious because it was so full of salt! We felt gross, but we had to head home! It was great to be at the beach!

Our first up close view of the Dead Sea!

Aftere we left Masada, we drove back past Ein Gedi, where we were going to swim in the Dead Sea. On the way, we passed a checkpoint, and got out and took this photo when we got close enough! It was so exciting and so beautiful!

The View from Masada

What was most spectacular about Masada was the view you got from the top. It really was incredible how far you could see. You could see the Dead Sea and on the other side is Jordan - so I guess you could say we could see all the way to Jordan!
We climbed down some stairs so that we could see the ruins of one of King Herod's palace and there was such a good view from there!

The Fortress at Masada

I was pretty thankful that Josh told us a bit about Masada before we went, otherwise I would have absolutely no clue why there was a ruin of an old fortress on top of a mountain in the middle of an Israeli desert. The story goes that the Roman Army surrounded the fortress
and because of that, everyone in the fortress commited suicide. It is for sure a very weird story. When you arrive there, you take a cable car up to the top of the mountain. Really, from the bottom you can't see how large the site was. It was really, really big, and it makes sense it was home to 1,000 people.
And you can see the remains of the town hall buildings, the synagogue and the store rooms. It was really interesting, although it was really warm up on the mountain! On our way back down, we grabbed some falafel ( again!) at the food court and a seat in the sun.

Driving in the Desert

On Wednesday, we decided to go to Masada and the Dead Sea, which was probably the destination furthest away from where we stayed. For a while, we drove through just through the desert! We had to snap a photo of our tiny little car againt the amazing landscape. The Fiat 500 was just, so so terrible, but it did get us everywhere in one piece!

A snap with King David

The Armenians believe that the Last Supper happened in one church, but most people go to this other place, the Cenacle, which is where they believe the last supper happened, just outside the city walls. So, off we went. And it was much closer than we thought! While we were there, we also saw this statue of King David, so we had to snap a picture for my brother-in-law David! Our day in Jerusalem was long, but we did get enough time to wander through the outdoor mall on the way home!

The Via de la Rosa

The Via de la Rosa is a path of pilgrimage for many Christians that visit Jerusalem, because it is the path that Jesus took while he carried his cross. It starts near the Muslim Quarter, and it heads to the Church of the Sepluchure in the Christian Quarter. There are 13 such stations along the way. It was very important for us to walk that way, although it seemed quite touristy with shops on either side the whole way there. The shops are in these tiny little alley ways, much like they were sometimes in Asia, these little tiny market stalls.

Atop the Austrian Hospice

Neither Steph nor Josh believed me that there was a building called the Austrian Hospice, but there it was right on the map. I had read that there was a great view from the top of it. It was right on the edge of the Muslim Quarter, so I asked some policemen where it was. Turns out, you pushed this buzzer, and climbed some stairs, and there was this beautiful building, decked out like it was in Vienna. Sure enough, it used to be a place for pilgrims from Austria, but now it has a chapel, and a lovely cake shop, and this beautiful, beautiful view.