FROM OUR TRIP TO EUROPE AND NORTH AFRICS
Our first trip spanned from June 28 through
November 7, 2003 and took us to 13 countries. We traveled over 19,000 miles,
walked an additional 545 miles, stayed in 27 different cities and took 2,400
pictures. At the end of this first adventure, we independently recorded our
individual impressions and memories, and then developed a family consensus
regarding the most memorable parts of our adventure. We hope that this will
help us always remember the experiences that are so clear in our minds today.
HERE ARE THE THINGS THAT WE
FOUND TO BE THE MOST...
- Our hikes in Chamonix, France and Grindelwald, Switzerland
- The Tuscan countryside
- Provence's Luberon Valley
- Walking through the medinas of Morocco
- Seeing Tuscany's wine harvest in process, and learning about how wine is
made and tasted
- Seeing the ruins in Italy's Ostia Antica, and learning about Roman life
- Learning about Greek history in Delphi, especially the Oracle of Delphi
- Seeing the amazing Pont du Gard, and learning about how the Romans built
- All the creative means that people in Russia use
for making money
- Marrakech's Djemaa el-Fna Square, and its story tellers, performers, food
stalls and snake charmers
- Trying to read Russian street signs, and getting
lost in St. Petersburg's subway
- Unintentionally driving at night into the old city of Siena and its narrow
alleys, and having no idea of how to get out
- David and Katie's frustration whenever we needed to negotiate the price
of anything, and Steve's frustration when they would destroy his negotiating
position by telling the shopkeeper how much they wanted the items we were
- Climbing the hill at Delphi in 110 degree heat
- Our long day of travel to Seville, including a 5-hour drive to Casablanca
and two flights
- The unbelievably steep cable cars in Chamonix
- Being stuck in the middle of a packed subway car in Rome
- Failing to see a European football (soccer) match,
despite our determined efforts in several cities
- The instant that the lights started blinking on the
Eiffel Tower while we were standing on top of the Arc de Triomphe
- The start of the "Bull Race" in Arles, and our reaction when we
saw the bull charging at the competitors and slamming into the walls of the
- Seeing the concentration camps at Dachau and Terezin
- Seeing the action at Wimbledon, and being so close
to the players
- Playing with the kitten (Zeus) that we adopted during our two weeks in Provence
- The water park at our hotel in Bad Tolz
- Arriving on our first day at London's Heathrow Airport
- Arriving at our farmhouse in Tuscany
- Our first day in each new city that we visited
- The statue graveyard in Moscow, containing relics
from the Communist era including several busts of Lenin and Stalin
- The knight show that we attended laughing along with
several children in Cesky Krumlov even though we couldn't understand the jokes
- Watching the drunk men in Munich's beer gardens
- Our experience ordering lunch in Zuheros, Spain, and the roasted pig that
was in the bar
THESE WERE OUR FAVORITE...
- Neuschwanstein Castle in Fussen
- Hohensalzburg in Salzburg
- The Alhambra in Granada
- The Berber market in Asni, Morocco
- Venice's fish market
- Paris' Notre Dame
- The Mezquita in Cordoba
- The Blue Mosque in Istanbul
- The Cathedral of Seville
- Our 11-mile hike from First to Bachalpsee and down
- Our hike to San Gimignano in Tuscany
- Il Pozzo in Monteriggioni
- "Wanted" in Rome
- The Swan Lake and Don Quixote ballets in St. Petersburg's
- Monet's gardens in Givenry
- The gardens at the Alcazar in Seville
- Paris' Luxembourg Gardens
- The Pont du Gard in Provence
- Ostia Antica, near Rome
- The Acropolis
- Arc de Triomphe
- Musee d'Orsay in Paris
- The Ufizzi Museum in Florence
- The Sistine Chapel
THESE ARE OUR FONDEST MEMORIES
FROM EACH COUNTRY...
- Seeing the production of Richard II at the Shakespeare
- Getting close to the guards at Windsor Castle
- Wimbledon - watching everyone turn their heads in unison according to the
movement of the ball
waiting in line
eating strawberries and cream
to everyone scream out the names of the player they were cheering for
- Seeing the debating in the House of Commons
- Going on the London Eye overlooking the city and revealing a spectacular
view of Westminster Abby - it was designed like a British Airways flight
- Watching the double-decker buses and seeing the red telephone booths
- Riding tons of subways and "minding the gap"
- Mike's croquet lesson
- The amazing Stonehenge
- Seeing the British version of the Harry Potter books
- Getting used to the five-hour time change in London
- Riding the London Eye and getting a great view of city
- Watching the members of the House of Commons debating and laughing out loud
- Getting so close to the tennis players at Wimbledon that you could hear
them breathing, and queuing for five hours in the rain
- Seeing the marvelous Roman baths in Bath filled with warm green water from
an underground spring
- Staying in an inn in Monkton and getting teased by the owner, Mike, about
how Americans switch hands when eating. I didn't like eating the yokes of
my fried eggs, and he wouldn't take my plate away until they were gone. I
also enjoyed our "grand" croquet lesson.
- Finally seeing Stonehenge with my own two eyes, and marveling at its huge
stones and mysteries.
- Tolerating the 5 hours of rain and lines to have
courtside seats at Wimbledon and sharing strawberries and cream with Katie.
Watching the crowd's eyes follow the ball back and forth, hearing the ooohs
- Laughing at the parliamentary debates in the House of Commons and watching
how the representatives lounged in their benches on the two sides of the speaker's
- Learning how to have a proper English breakfast and game of croquet in Monkton,
- Breathing in the fresh smell of the green, lush English countryside
- Gazing in wonder at the mysterious stones at Stonehenge
- Chuckling at David's performance of Winston Churchill and the realization
that he was learning something new every day
- Making our first friends overseas - spending the entire day with the Mizlers
and our two lunches with the Finkel family - little Lydia talking nonstop
and plopping on my lap
- Warming up and relaxing over a cup of tea in our hotel room after a long
- "Minding the Gap"
- Loving a traditional performance of Richard II in the Shakespeare Globe
- The excitement and anticipation of getting off the
plane in London and beginning our adventure
- The sight of David and Katie asleep in their clothes on their beds at the
end of our first day in London
- A great lunch with the Finkels on our first day in London, and becoming
completely overwhelmed hearing about all the things we should see in England
- Waiting in line at Wimbledon for over 5 hours in the rain, but then being
rewarded with seeing great matches and being so very close to the players
- The wonder of seeing Stonehenge, and trying to imagine how it was built
over 5,000 years ago
- Thoroughly enjoying the production of Richard II at the Shakespeare Globe
- Receiving very serious croquet lessons from Mike, our host (in Monkton,
just outside of Bath) and very proper Englishman.
- The excitement of seeing the live debate in action at the House of Commons
- The wonderful day that we spent with the Mizler family, and their great
- Visiting the Cabinet War Room Museums, and seeing the headquarters that
Churchill used during the German bombing raids of World War II.
FRANCE (PARIS, LOIRE VALLEY, CHAMONIX)
- Watching all of the motorcycles zoom by in Paris
- Walking on the amazing, wide Champs d'Elysees
- Going on top of the Arc de Triomphe at night, and seeing the amazing views
and the Eiffel Tower light show
- Climbing the enormous Eiffel Tower. Also, sitting underneath the tower and
looking up at the light show
seeing the men selling the toy flying birds
under the tower
- Going to the huge Louvre museum and seeing the beautiful Mona Lisa
- All the wonderful art at the Musee d'Orsay
- Sailing the toy boats at the Luxembourg Gardens and trying to hit the ducks
- The Bastille Day Parade, and the planes that flew overhead with the red,
white and blue streaks
- Seeing the women dancing together on the Rue de la Mouffetard
- The fondue restaurant in Paris, and being served drinks in large baby-bottles
- The thousands of shops with all their fashions and neat glass windows
- Picking out scarves with mom at the market on the Left Bank of Paris
- Eating lots of lemon sorbet to help beat the heat
- Our wonderful trip to Givenry, and seeing Monet's garden where he painted
- All the outdoor cafes in Paris
- Looking out at the French Alps from our window in Chamonix
- The dramatic temperature change we felt when arriving in Chamonix
- Looking down into the Chamonix valley from our hikes
- Seeing ice falling off of the glaciers
- Feeling like we were on the edge of the world while we were hiking
- Living through the Louvre!!!
- Climbing the Arc de Triomphe and watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night.
- Being scared half to death riding a wobbly, small, and noisy elevator to
the top of the Eiffel Tower. It was way too high for me!
- Walking along the Champs d'Elysees and seeing all the preparations for Bastille
- Watching the military parade on Bastille Day and riding on Dad's shoulders
to see the mammoth tanks rolling by.
- Taking hikes through the Chamonix Mountains.
- Riding on the scariest cable car in the world that at one point went almost
- Having snowball fights in the middle of July (up in the mountains)!
- Hiking to huge glaciers carving through the mountains and watching blocks
of ice fall down, creating mini-avalanches.
- Walking through the ice caves and seeing a gigantic St. Bernard posing for
pictures and drooling all over the place.
- Surprise when the Eiffel Tower lit up at night while
we were on top of the Arc de Triomphe
- The magnificence of Norte Dame and the Museum d'Orsay
- Laughing through our first formal French dinner and realizing how "crazy
we were" for taking this trip
- A perfect day in Givenry - Monet's garden and house just as I had imagined
and a wonderful French picnic of fresh bread and cheese
- Beating the heat with a daily citron sorbet
- The French Alps and the feeling of never having been so high - walking on
the ridges high above the rest of the world
- Hearing the rumble of an avalanche and warming in the sun next to a small
freezing mountain stream
- Enjoying the color and activity of Rue de la Mouffetard
in Paris' Latin Quarter
- Admiring the unbelievable collection of Impressionist art in the Musee d'Orsay
- Seeing the actual lily ponds that Monet used for his paintings in Givenry,
and imagining how it all looked during Monet's years
- Our first sight of the Eiffel Tower's blinking lights turn on while we were
standing on top of the Arc de Triomphe
- Our crazy drive in a rental car trying to get out of the city of Paris
- The spectacular view during our first hike along the Mont Blanc ridge in
- The cold and strange dizziness we felt while on top of the Aiguille du Midi
- The awe of seeing actual avalanches happen on the Argentiere Glacier
- Standing on our hotel patio and looking out at a
farm with many cows, and hearing these cows with their bells in the mornings
- The beautiful mountains with their farms and fields creating a patchwork
- All the wonderful hiking, and hearing the cow bells
- Looking out toward the dramatic cliffs
- Seeing the mountain goats while we were hiking
- The great snacks that we brought on our hikes, especially the chocolate
and the bread
- Retuning to the same small town that Mom and Dad
stopped on their honeymoon (Grindelwald).
- Hiking through the lush mountains and to "First."
- Seeing cows grazing in the mountains with huge bells around their necks
that could be heard from miles away.
- Sitting in a small four-person cable car that lasted for half an hour -
it was the longest in Europe
- Playing chess in the rain with Katie on a big chess board painted on the
ground and playing on the playground nearby
- Buying a roasted chicken near the cable cars and picnicking up in the mountains.
When we reached our destination ready to eat, we discovered that the only
picnic tables up there were only for a small café. There was a sign
in front of the outdoor area saying "no picnicking!" We smuggled
our chicken to a picnic table totally ignoring the sign. We bought the most
disgusting pizza of our lives there and pretended to eat that. We stacked
our backpacks in front of the chicken and feasted!
- Eating at an outstanding Swiss pizzeria. I was very hungry and wanted to
order a medium pizza, while the rest ordered smalls. My dad let me, but he
didn't think there was any way I would eat it all. To his surprise, but not
mine, I finished it quite easily.
- Riding trot-bikes down the mountains
- Hairpin turns and riding in our car on a train through
a mountain tunnel
- Returning to Grindelwald and finding the mountains just like I remembered
them from 20 years ago - green with fertile pastures, wildflowers and the
ringing of cow bells all around
- "Trot-Biking" straight down the mountain - going so fast that
you could hardly take in all the beautiful scenery
- Swiss chalets and the small farm across from our chalet where the rooster
and cow bells greeted us at sunrise
- Eating lots of Swiss pizza
- Walking all the way down to Grindelwald from First
- The special feeling of returning to such a beautiful
place after 20 years
- Admiring the wonderful green color of the hills and mountain sides
- The spectacular beauty on our 11-mile hike from First to Lake Bachalpsee
and back down to the town of Grindelwald
- Driving our car onto the Lotschberg Tunnel mountain train, only to realize
just in time that we had parked directly between two train cars (Could we
have really split our rental car in two?)
- Always looking for "still water" (water
with no gas)
- The barracks at the Dachau concentration camp, and how sad they made me
- The quiet, clean and peaceful city of Munich, and everyone gathered to see
the Glockenspiel there
- The lack of diversity in Munich
- The men drinking huge mugs of beer at the beer gardens in Munich
- Seeing the beautiful Neuschwanstein Castle - it looked like Cinderella's
castle - and taking pictures of the castle while standing on the bridge
- The pretty pastel colored shops in Bad Tolz selling traditional clothes
- Mom talking with the people at the laundry mat
- Going to the water park at our hotel
- Seeing the house where Grandpa lived and digging for worms to feed the fish
- very peaceful
- The cute outdoor cafes
- Visiting tons of small towns near Marktoberdorf
- Seeing all the huge winds farms in the countryside
- Visiting so many castles that I can't remember them all!
- Seeing the house in Bad Tolz where my grandfather lived as a boy
- Walking through the small town of Bad Tolz
- Experiencing the beer gardens in Munich and creating Katie's Komments and
- Going to the water park connected to our hotel twice a day (six times in
total) to soak in its warm sulfur pools, race down the water slides, and go
body boarding in the wave pool.
- Seeing Mom talking to a group of Germans trying to figure out where we could
wash our clothes. We thought she was crazy, but she figured it out and we
got clean clothes. Fine job Mom!
- The Munich beer garden and watching Katie and Steve
over-engineering the plan for our journal entries
- Dancing with Katie to the "Umpapa" band
- Our two Servas visits with Ida & Heidi in Marktoberdorf (along with
their guinea pigs and homemade desserts) and with our Marieluise in Bad Tolz
- Fireworks right in our hotel after a wedding
- Arriving at Dachau hungry, thirsty and hot and then being quickly saddened
while learning about the experiences faced by the people who suffered there
- Neuchwanstein Castle and the view from the foot bridge
- Painting by the lake in Fussen
- Visiting Bad Tolz and finding the home Dad lived in again, this time with
David and Katie
- Soaking in the hot springs in Bad Tolz with the cool rain drops and hot
steam all around (I'll try to forget the cold tubs but probably won't be able
- Feeling that I could live in Bavaria or at least stay there for awhile
- Negotiating to have our laundry done with my little bit of German and surprising
- Admiring the pretty women's traditional dresses, and how Katie and I wished
we could wear them
- The beauty of the Bavarian countryside - onion-shaped church domes and may-poles
in every town square
- Hanging out with the locals for an afternoon at Lake
Forggensee in Fussen
- The incredibly moving impact of the memorials at the Dachau concentration
- Never being able to find bottled water with "no gas"
- The Bavarian churches that exist in every village and are always visible
from the road
- Laughing at the drunk men who were singing and partying in Munich's beer
- Going to the square with the opera on the big screen
in Salzburg - seeing the Mozart statue and the big fountain lit up at night
- David singing "I am sixteen, going on seventeen
" while on
the Sound of Music tour
- Seeing lots of musicians and street performers
- Men challenging each other to chess games in the square
- Looking at the castle and houses built right into the mountains
- Going to the chamber music concert
- The huge number of things you could buy in Salzburg that were related to
Mozart (chocolate, perfumes, etc.)
- Seeing the huge St. Stephens Cathedral in Vienna, beautiful but blackened
because of the pollution
- The international food stalls at the Rathaus in Vienna, and seeing what
people consider to be "American" food
- The huge pedestrian walkways in Vienna with their decorated horse statues
- Meeting our new friends Julia and Michael
- Watching operas on the large outdoor public screen
- Eating big delicious pretzels on our walking tour of Salzburg
- Seeing Mozart's birthplace and home
- Staying in the largest hotel room of our entire trip (Vienna)! There was
lots of space for everyone.
- Going to two music concerts, one in Salzburg and one in Vienna
- Doing the Sound of Music tour
- Chamber music in the Salzburg fortress and a beautiful
- Watching the performers and opera in the main square
- Custard with our apple strudel
- The black color of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna
- Dinner with our new friends Michael and Julia in a "new wine"
restaurant overlooking Vienna
- Our Bratislava song and fact that I never saw a crocodile (inside joke)
- A great lunch in Bratislava for only a few dollars
- Our first glimpse of Communist building projects in Slovakia
- Having silly fun on the Sound of Music Tour, and
especially seeing David singing "I am sixteen, going on seventeen
while skipping around the actual gazebo that was used in the movie
- The beauty of the Hohensalzburg castle in Salzburg at night
- The fun of browsing the international food stalls at the "Rat"
(the Rathaus Plaza) in Vienna
- Our meal and conversation in the outdoor restaurant in the Vienna Woods
with our new friends Michael and Julia
- Our hotel in Cesky Krumlov that looked right out
to the beautiful belltower
- Lots of puppet shops with marionettes, and going to The Magic Flute marionette
- Mom ordering way too much food on our first day (two complete lunches)
- Struggling to understand the Czech language
- Going to the knight show with the little kids and laughing while pretending
that we understood what was happening
- Watching people go on their tubes down the rapids
- Buying the Czech crystal bracelet from the nice man
- Feeding bread to the fish and ducks in the small pond near the castle in
- All the old buildings In Prague with modern advertisements on them
- Seeing the Old Town Square and its beautiful buildings on the first day,
and walking into the concert that was happening there
- Walking across the Charles Bridge several times
- Our 5-hour guided tour, and how it was much longer than expected
- Learning how the Nazi's fooled the Red Cross at Terezin
- Our first grocery shopping experience, and how we bought cream cheese instead
- Getting to Cesky Krumlov on an old train. When we
got off the train, we had to pay money to ride a bus to our hotel. We had
no Czech Korunas (currency) and there were no banks machines nearby. Luckily
a Canadian realized our problem and gave us some coins. We didn't know where
we were when we got off the bus so we wandered around the city until we eventually
found our hotel.
- Walking up to the magnificent Cesky Krumlov castle
- Watching people in kayaks and canoes go down the man made-rapids in the
river. We enjoyed watching because every other boat capsized and flew down
the river while the owners hurtled after it.
- Sleeping through hot and muggy nights in a hotel with no air conditioning
- Watching a medieval knight show up in the castle just for the fun of it.
We couldn't understand a single word they said, but supposedly they were very
funny. The knights would argue back and forth in Czech while all the kids
around us nearly wet their pants they were laughing so hard. We just laughed
along pretending to know Czech.
- Walking into the Old Town Square in Prague for the first time. It was so
different from anything we had seen before (little did we know what we were
in for in Morocco and Russia). There were old buildings all around the square,
and there was even a band playing. We were amazed at its size and liveliness.
- Living through a five-hour walking tour of the city
- Walking over the Charles Bridge and seeing all the artisans, musicians and
- Getting a small so called "apartment" for a week in Prague. It
was exactly like a hotel room but with a tiny kitchen. I wouldn't even call
it a kitchen.
- Going grocery shopping and discovering that there were five different kinds
of popcorn. We were eventually informed by someone in the supermarket what
the flavors were which included sweet and bacon!
- Getting my hair cut for the first time outside the States
- Going to Terezin (concentration camp) and learning about how it fooled the
- Arriving in Prague Square and marveling at the architecture
and activity - not yet sure what we were seeing but being impressed just the
- Crowds and the views from the Charles Bridge
- Difficulty shopping for groceries - trying to tell the difference between
salt and sugar and accidentally purchasing cream cheese instead of butter
- Cooking in a very small kitchen
- Doing laundry at night with the kids playing James Bond in the halls
- Learning about life under Communism from our guide who lived through this
- Terezin and seeing the name "Koppel" on the engraved list of children
who had been there
- Taking a very old train to Cesky Krumlov and hearing the whistle blow at
each of the small street crossings
- Arriving in Cesky Krumlov without Czech money and having to borrow money
for a bus from a Canadian couple
- Viewing Cesky Komlov from high on the castle, and seeing the river make
the "S" shape through the town
- Feeding the ducks near the castle in Cesky Krumlov
- Sleeping on the floor of our hotel room with Katie so that we could feel
some of the cooler air and being able to see the beautiful medieval bell tower.
- Arriving in Cesky Krumlov on a tiny train with no
idea of how to get into town, and no local currency for a bus or taxi
- Being in awe as we walked into the Old Town Square in Prague for the first
- The sadness we felt as we walked through the Terezin Ghetto Museum and read
the notes from the Jewish children who were housed at the Terezin deportation
- Our frustration at being singled out and fined $40 when we arrived in Prague
and innocently purchased the wrong types of tickets for our first subway ride
- Seeing the church where Reihnard Heydrich's assassins held out before being
detected and trapped
- Getting lost on the first day, and having so much
trouble reading the signs
- All the serious faces on the subways, and how deep the subway escalators
- Spending my birthday with Sasha
- Going in rundown cars that we used as taxis
- Seeing the Hermitage and its huge column for the first time after going
under the archway
- Everything piled high and fresh in the market. The man who asked us if we
were German - when we said that we were American, he said: "Oh, George
- Getting my amber necklace from a woman longing to go to the U.S. - Sasha
called her a "sad mermaid"
- Seeing the beautiful "Swan Lake" after Sasha negotiated with the
babushka who he put his arm around like an old friend. I was thinking, "just
get the tickets already!" We got box seats from where we could see the
- Sasha's love for Russian culture, and his enthusiasm and pride when talking
about history. He was always able to tell the other side of the story.
- Sasha's stories about the ways Russians get extra money
- The collector's market that we went to, and all of the old pins there
- When Sasha picked up a boy who wasn't paid much (Sasha felt bad and was
curious). This boy (Vladimir) went with us to Peterhof and Sasha paid him
for spending the day and talking with us.
- Sasha showing us an old church that had been changed into an Antarctic museum
during the Communist era - there was a polar bear in the altar.
- Watching the trick fountain at Peterhof
- Sasha wanting to bring us to Moscow. The way that Sasha put his hand on
the window of our train as we rode away on the cramped night train leaving
our new Russian friend behind.
- Going with Anna and seeing the Russian soldiers with their big steps during
the changing of the guards at the Kremlin
- Seeing Communist statues, especially the one of Stalin with his victims
- Seeing the parts of Red Square where the Communist tanks rolled by in parades
- Watching people throw coins over their heads at the most central spot in
Moscow, and seeing the babushkas collecting the coins
- Spending Katie's whole birthday with Sasha, then
deciding to spend all five days with him!
- Watching Sasha give us the "move in" wave
- Seeing Sasha carry along huge bags filled with picture albums every day
- Knowing that whenever Sasha would tell us that he would be at the hotel
at a specific time that he would be at least half an hour late. It's just
part of his character!
- Witnessing all the different ways people make money on the side and realizing
how much corruption there is in Russia.
- Going to the Marinsky theatre twice to see Don Quixote and Swan Lake
- Seeing Sasha bargaining with the babushkas for tickets to Marinsky.
- Going to Peterhof and Pushkin with Sasha
- Picking up Vladimir on our way to Peterhof. Sasha forced us to sit together
on the bus and have a conversation, much to my dismay.
- Taking a boat ride along the river with Sasha and wrapping up in wool blankets.
- Going to the pawn shops with Sasha and getting tons of war badges, Soviet
winter hats, and old Soviet coins.
- Riding for two minutes down the escalator leading to the deep subways and
staring at all the serious Russian faces.
- Visiting many Russian Orthodox Churches including the Church of Spilled
- Seeing an old church that was made into an Antarctic museum during the Soviet
- Taking pictures with babushkas outside the markets
- Seeing our taxis for the day outside our hotel that Sasha arranged - they
were usually old and dirty.
- Riding in our night train to Moscow. The cabin was tiny and the beds rock
hard, but Katie supposedly slept better that night than any other night on
the whole trip!
- Visiting the Kremlin and seeing the largest cannon and bell in the world.
- Meeting with Anna and taking a day trip to a small town outside Moscow
- Seeing the Russian guards at the Kremlin take huge steps and watching them
being inspected by the general
- The long escalators in Russia and sad, stern looks
of the Russians in the subways
- Getting very lost on our first evening in St. Petersburg because we couldn't
read the subway signs
- The weathered older women, the "babushkas" of Russia - their smiles
showing a lack of dental care, their stooped posture showing years of wear
and tear - selling small handmade products or vegetables from their gardens
on the streets for just a few rubles
- The contrast of the new and old Russians
- Lavish Peterhof Palace and its fountains on the Baltic Sea
- Becoming absorbed in Russian history with our kindhearted guide, Sasha
- Catching rides in St. Petersburg from people looking to make a few extra
- Going to the ballet twice and shouting "Bravo"
- The Hermitage and the angel in the square
- Saying goodbye to Sasha at the train station, listening to the St. Petersburg
anthem as the train pulled away and having Sasha place his hand on our window
- this was really special to me - we have a friend in Russia!
- Sleeping on the train from St. Petersburg to Moscow
- Seeing Red Square for the first time
- Making another friend in Russia - Anna from Moscow - and sharing ideas
- The modernization and westernization of Moscow
- Small shops right on the highway selling watermelon, and seeing people searching
- Visiting the tiny Russian Orthodox Church in a small town outside of Moscow
- The magic of seeing two ballets (Swan Lake and Don
Quixote) in St. Petersburg's Marinsky Theater
- The stony looks on people's faces everywhere
- All the creative ways that people find for making money, and all the evidence
of corruption that we saw
- Our guide Sasha's wonderful smile, sense of humor, and passion for Russian
culture and history
- The fun of buying old Russian medals and coins in a crowded Saturday morning
collector's market in St. Petersburg
- Sasha's unique way of negotiating anything and everything on our behalf,
and the little gesture he used to tell us when we should proceed (usually
to the front of a line)
- The "babushkas" (grandmothers) selling herbs, flowers and vegetables
on the streets
- The initial shock that we felt when opening the door to our cabin for the
night train from St. Petersburg to Moscow, and wondering how we'd ever fit
ourselves and our luggage in the tiny compartment
- Meeting our new friend Anna, and spending a day with her traveling to a
Russian village that's not visited by any tourists
- The frustration of becoming helplessly lost in St. Petersburg's subways
on our first night there, and ending up in a totally unexpected part of the
city and having to eat a terrible buffet dinner at a large hotel
- The vulnerable feeling of not being able to read or sound out any of the
signs, and trying to decipher street signs character by character
- The sadness we felt when finally saying goodbye to Sasha as we boarded our
midnight train to Moscow
- Seeing the garden with the Blue Mosque and the Aya
Sofya on our first day in Istanbul
- Seeing women with traditional Muslim dress for the first time
- Eating dinner on the roof of our hotel and hearing the call for prayers
for the first time. This was unforgettable - it came from all directions,
and we could see the mosques in the distance.
- Going to the Grand Bizarre where we negotiated prices of my silver necklace
- the negotiation process was very frustrating
- Meeting Talya and Serra. Going to Aya Sofya and learning the story about
how it was once a church and seeing the old Christian mosaics.
- Eating a great lunch with Ali where we ended up eating three separate times
during our stay
- Going to the store that sold Turkish carpets and being served orange tea
- then being pressured to buy a carpet as the men spun the carpets in the
- Going on a boat with Talya and Serra to the island, and going on a horse
ride with the great views and beautiful water
- Watching David wolf down entire bowls of olives every breakfast, and feeding
the seagulls during breakfast
- The busy, crazy traffic in Istanbul, and riding in cramped taxis
- Seeing the first mosque of my life and hearing the
call for prayers while eating at the restaurant on top of our hotel.
- Feeding the fat seagulls that sat on the edges of the windows during breakfast
- Eating Turkish kebabs with Ali and having a spectacular lunch. We ended
up eating at that restaurant two more times!
- Spending many days with Talya and Serra and exploring Istanbul with them
- Going to the Grand Bazaar and bargaining for the first time
- Visiting the amazing spice markets
- Visiting a Turkish island with Talya and Serra. No cars were permitted on
the island so we took horse and carriage to the top of a hill to get a great
view of the sea
- Taking a boat ride along the Bosphorus Strait that splits Istanbul in two
- Stepping in Asia for the first time in my life!
- Getting a lesson on Turkish carpets while sipping orange tea. They were
disappointed we didn't buy a rug
- The calls to prayers from mosques across the city
- Visiting my first mosque and taking in its beauty and serenity
- Absolutely loving a traditional Turkish lunch with our guide, Ali and going
back to this same restaurant two more times!
- Our new fun friends Talya and Serra, and learning their views of Turkey
- Taking a carriage around Buyukada Island and seeing people swim in the Bosphorus
Strait despite the oil
- Huge boats and oil tankers in the port of Istanbul
- Experiencing the Asian side of Istanbul
- Finding out that I didn't feel uncomfortable being in a Muslim environment
and actually loved experiencing such a different culture
- Admiring Istanbul's architecture, especially standing
between the Blue Mosque and the Aya Sofya during the late afternoon sun
- Hearing the calls to prayer for the first time, and how it made us realize
that we were in the middle of a very different culture
- The hassle of being constantly sought out by people wanting to sell us carpets
- The frustration of getting through Istanbul's terrible traffic
- Indulging in the surprisingly wonderful food, and especially the mixed plate
of Turkish meats, pizzas, vegetables and breads that we enjoyed multiple times
- The kindness of our new friend Talya, who made an 8-hour bus trip from her
home in Izmir to spend three days with us in Istanbul
- Our chance meeting with the new CEO of Lonely Planet at the Istanbul airport
- Learning Greek history and seeing the Acropolis
- Being burning hot while visiting the Parthenon
- All the days with over 100-degree heat
- Seeing random scraps of ancient marble scattered on the grounds at the Acropolis,
and feeling like archeologists
- Looking outside every day and seeing the same blue sky and smoggy air
- Struggling to find something on the menus other than lamb!
- Getting a rash on my hand and being freaked out at the thought of going
to a Greek hospital
- Going to Delphi and seeing and learning about the ruins. Looking out at
- Watching the changing of the guards before going to Delphi. They had funny
uniforms with pom-poms on their big shoes.
- Looking in a mirror at how red my face was from the heat
- Seeing our first olive tree, and learning about them from Paul
- Seeing the Olympic Stadium on the way to the airport, and seeing all the
Olympic cartoons and products for sale at the airport
- Seeing the marvelous Acropolis
- Bearing the HEAT! It was over 100 every day!!!
- Visiting tons of ruins, so many I can't even remember them all
- Seeing the silly looking Greek guards with pom-poms on their shoes and hats.
- Making a day trip to Delphi and seeing where the Oracle was. I especially
liked playing with a kitten near the site!
- Spending the day with our guide Paul and seeing an olive tree for the first
time. I was amazed (little did I know that I would be seeing them continuously
for the next nine weeks!)
- Feeling admiration for the Greeks and the Acropolis
still standing after over 2,000 years
- Wandering through the Agora with my fresh knowledge of Greek history and
understanding better than ever its importance and significance
- Viewing artifacts used 2,000 years ago, especially the pieces of clay with
names of citizens ostracized by the community
- Feeling the sanctity of Delphi high in the mountains
- Learning about growing olives from our guide Paul and seeing our first olive
- Surviving 100+ degree heat everyday
- I hadn't liked Athens much 20 years ago, all I recall was the heat and dirt
- this time I loved it and left with great memories
- Dealing with unbelievable heat, every single day
- The amazing artifacts housed at the museum at the Agora in Athens, including
the actual inscribed pieces of pottery used to vote for people to be ostracized
- Admiring the beauty and mystery of Delphi, its oracle, and the Temple of
- The wonderful taste of the local souvlaki
- The view of the Acropolis from our hotel window at night
- Ordering fresh fish by the kilo, and selecting the fish from the refrigerator
at the seaside restaurant in Nafplio
- Arriving in Rome on the first night and having a
great meal at "Wanted." It was spaghetti pomodoro, pizza and bruschetta!
We also tasted great wine. I thought we ordered too much, but little did I
know that every meal was three courses. We tried to ask how they made the
sauce. We discovered that even the smallest places had outstanding food.
- Getting lost in the windy streets and little passageways in Rome, with motorcycles
buzzing in every corner.
- Going to the Roman Coliseum and the Roman Forum with ruins everywhere! Seeing
the place where Mark Antony and Brutus spoke after Caesar's death.
- Running around in the Circus Maximus in Rome
- Seeing the strange street performer in Rome who used dancing fingers to
- Being amazed in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel
- Trying to find the place in Rome with 100 flavors of gelati - it was creamy
delicious! Also tasting the cinnamon ginger gelati.
- Seeing Trevi Fountain, and all the people there partying late at night
- The amazing ruins of Ostia Antica, and walking through ancient restaurants
and two-story buildings. Seeing the mosaics there that advertised certain
- The excitement of driving to our apartment in Tuscany. Seeing the scenery
with vineyards and thousands of olive trees.
- Having many caprese salads - big balls of delicious mozzarella cheese with
- Getting in our ice-cold pool and chasing the lizards in the grass. Hearing
Mom scream when she got in the pool
- Taking evening "power walks" with my partner, Dad, to earn our
- Waiting outside for two hours for the tractors to arrive with the grape
harvest. It was well worth it!
- Dad scaring us at night by making sounds of wild boars
- Getting the cooking lesson from Francesco
- Going to Monteriggioni and admiring its walls. Eating great meals at "Il
- Stepping in the wet clay on the hike along the "Clay Way"
- Hiking with Roberta, and seeing the old medieval ruins overlooking the countryside.
- Getting wine tasting lessons from Roberta, and admiring the way that she
smells the wine.
- Exploring the beautiful city of San Gimignano and peeking into many of its
- The beautiful fortress and sunset at Montalcino, and exploring the city
- Taking the walking tours with Freya in Florence.
- Roaming through the streets with cute shutters and watching older women
poke their heads out (Mom loved this)
- Visiting the Uffizi Museum and seeing Botticelli's "Birth of Venus"
- Going to the Bargello Museum and seeing the sculptures that were used in
the competition for the doors on the Bapistry
- Learning about how frescoes are made
- Having the sausage sandwiches twice at the little "Hole in the Wall"
lunch place (we ate sitting down on the curb)
- Ordering too much food at the La Giostra restaurant in Florence
- Going on the gondola ride, and how Venice looked mysterious going through
the little canals.
- Getting lost in all of Venice's little passageways, and hitting several
- Seeing all the mask shops in Venice
- Taking the boat taxi along the Grand Canal and seeing the beautiful houses
along the water
- Going to the fish market in Venice and seeing octopus, live crabs, and all
the types of fish. Laughing at the man who was yelling and trying to sell
- Eating our first Italian meal at "Wanted."
The tomato sauce and thin pizza was to die for. It tasted better than I ever
- Going to the Coliseum for the first time and imagining what it was like
to be here 2,000 years ago.
- Staying at the worst hotel that we had stayed at on our trip and eating
next to nothing for breakfast because of the few choices.
- Spending the day at the Vatican and seeing the marvelous Sistine Chapel.
- Eating delicious gelato and scoping out the gelato shops with over 100 different
flavors every night!
- Marveling at the Tuscan landscape with vineyards, olive groves, dense forests,
rolling hills, and multicolored fields.
- Falling in love with Chianti Classico
- Going from town to town searching for wine tasting shops.
- Starting school
- Fixing caprese salads and pasta in our comfortable apartment
- Having numerous olive fights with my dad
- Being able to walk ten feet out our front door and pick delicious grapes
- Swimming in our small cold pool on hot days
- Catching small lizards in our backyard
- Avoiding patches of dug up grass made by the wild boars that roamed the
- Going to multiple walled towns
- Eating at my favorite restaurant in Monterrigioni called "Il Pozzo."
The fresh pici (type of pasta) with pesto and steak with thyme sauce was unbelievable!
- Making many trips to Siena and roaming its small meandering streets
- Trying to get football tickets to a Siena match without success.
- Driving into the heart of Siena unintentionally in the middle of the night
- Walking ten miles with Roberta and getting wine lessons from her
- Tasting wine with Roberta and learning all the different steps of wine tasting
- Taking many hikes through the Tuscan landscape and vineyards
- Getting a cooking lesson from Francesco and eating the wonderful meal he
prepared for us
- Seeing where the grapes are pressed and stored near our apartment
- Going to Isole e Olena and tasting the Vin Santo, Chianti Classico, and
Cepparello. I also enjoyed playing with the kittens there
- Hearing the song "Zucchini Flowers" while having lunch at the
restaurant near Castle Brolio
- Playing ping pong for the first time in months
- Visiting Florence three times and getting private tours from Freya
- Seeing David under construction
- Going to Boboli Gardens and seeing the statue of the fat man on a turtle
- Seeing the Duomo made of green, white and pink marble in Florence
- Taking our Gondola ride in Venice
- Walking over 50 bridges in one day in Venice!
- Feeding the pigeons in St. Marks Square in Venice
- Riding on the water taxis
- Getting lost multiple times in Venice and walking down dead ends that stopped
at the edge of the water
- All our faces when we tasted our first pomodoro sauce,
pizza and caprese salads in Rome, and then never getting tried of having the
same meal every day!
- Dodging the motorcycles in Rome and almost being hit several times
- Inspiration in the Sistine Chapel
- The ancient town of Ostia Antica - mosaics and being able to climb up into
the ruins of ancient homes and buildings
- Fresh air and open, rolling landscape of Tuscany - vineyards, olive and
- The spectacular view from our kitchen window in Tuscany
- Four and five course meals and wonderful Chianti Classico wine
- A Tuscany cooking lesson
- Our Tuscan guide and friend, Roberta - ready to share her love of the countryside
and its wine
- Wind and sunset on top of the old city wall of Montalcino
- Delicious pesto at Il Pozzo
- The long walk with Roberta and exploring the ruins at Castel Vecchio
- Seeing the grape harvest
- Getting thrown in our very cool pool and having olive wars
- Walking and talking with my hiking partner (David)
- The difficult drive into Florence done three times
- David seeing David in Florence
- Learning about Florence, its art, history and architecture through Freya's
fun stories and catching her enthusiasm
- The striking landscape of Clay Way and a hike where shoes got lost in the
- Liking Venice much better the second time but still having trouble getting
used to the smell
- Pigeons and more pigeons in St. Mark's Square in Venice
- Getting lost in the streets of Venice and running into dead ends
- Our satisfaction in completing our successful mission
to experience every Rome gelataria that is mentioned in the Lonely Planet
- Savoring the wonderful taste of the tomato sauce in Rome
- The fun of getting lost in Venice's labyrinth
- Exploring the remarkably well-preserved ruins and unique Square of the Guilds
at Ostia Antica
- Watching in amazement at all the "traffic" on Venice's Grand Canal
- David and Katie's encounter with the pigeons in St. Mark's Square
- The fun of picking and eating the ripe grapes from the vines surrounding
our farmhouse in Tuscany
- Thoroughly enjoying our family walks on the gravel roads that cut through
Tuscany's wonderful countryside and its vineyards, olive groves and rolling
- Experiencing an actual grape harvest, and watching the grape picking, crushing
and fermentation process in action at the estate in Monaciano and also at
the Isole e Olena vineyard
- The splendor of all the magnificent art in Florence
- Falling in love with the taste of Vin Santo wine
- The beauty of the "Clay Way" road in Asciano
- The wonderful warmth of our new friend Roberta, and how much fun we had
learning about wine tasting from her
- Indulging two times in the fantastic Picci al Pesto at Il Pozzo, our favorite
restaurant in Tuscany
- The frustration of somehow unintentionally driving right into the heart
of Siena's hodgepodge of narrow alleys at night, and having absolutely no
idea of how to get out
- The bakery in Nice with the fresh-baked croissants
- The beaches in Nice full of big, smooth rocks. Having rock competitions
- Going to Cannes and seeing the huge yachts, ugly hotels (some of them shaped
like stair cases)
- Singing songs about Zeus and Big Mama. Zeus sleeping in our house, playing,
and meowing to the song "if you're hungry and you know it
- Meeting with Beatrice and Phiippe, and having dinner with them
- Seeing the Roman arena in Arles, and going to the bull-races where we screamed
and made everyone look at us.
- Watching the parade in Arles with everyone in their traditional dress.
- Going to the Luberon Valley and visiting tiny villages with cute Provencal
houses and lamps.
- Mixing different colors in the quarries in Roussillon.
- Visiting all the hillside Provencal towns with their big central churches
- Buying pottery in St. Remy and exploring its cute streets
- Going to Renoir's and Cezanne's studios, and seeing their actual props.
- Seeing the flamingoes flying overhead in the Camargue
- Our long bike ride in the wind in the Camargue
- Driving through roads with trees that formed arches
- Visiting Van Gogh's asylum, and seeing some of his painting places
- Driving into Nice.
- Nice's rocky beaches
- Getting warm chocolate croissants for breakfast every morning in Nice
- Going to a public sandy beach in Cannes.
- Getting up each morning to see if the Sox won against the A's.
- Getting to our place in Arles and seeing the kitten Zeus pop out of the
bushes for the first time.
- Going to the Pont du Gard and learning about the amazing aqueduct that was
built by the Romans
- Getting up a 4:00 AM to watch the Sox ALCS game 7 on ESPN Gamecast. Zeus
got up with me and slept on my lap while we suffered.
- "Big Mama" (another cat) scratching on our door waiting for her
- Having good times playing with Scotch (the dog)
- Going to the Arles festival and watching the parades of children and adults
marching through the streets with traditional clothes on
- Going to small towns all over Provence and getting great views of the country
- Buying pottery in St. Remy for two hours. I nearly died of boredom.
- Going to the bullfight in Arles which was in the old Roman arena
- Giving Zeus scrambled eggs with lots of salt and a little cold milk on top
to cool it off. He felt much heavier after eating!
- The terraced farming we saw on the roads leading
- Rocky beaches on the Mediterranean in Nice
- Gazing into the tanks at the Monaco Aquarium
- Getting a glimpse into the lives of Matisse and Renoir by visiting their
- A traditional parade with customs and music on our first day in Arles
- Delicious tiny clams called tellines
- The walled towns and beautiful scenery of the Luberon Valley
- Watching Katie mix colors in the clay at Roussillon
- Painstakingly selecting each piece of Terre-Provence pottery
- Dinner with our new friends Phillip and Beatrice
- Wind, waves and pink flamingoes at the Camargue
- Riding bikes through a mistral toward the lighthouse in the Camargue
- Learning about Van Gogh and visiting St. Remy where he spent his last years
- The tree-lined roadways
- Fun with "Buckeye Joes" (the chestnuts that David and Katie had
- Zeus' meows and purrs
- Admiring the wonderful beauty of the Luberon Valley
and its multiple hillside towns
- The excitement of first seeing the flamingoes of the Camargue after a long
drive through the salt marshes
- Experiencing the winds of the mistral from the top of Le Beaux de Provence
- Our shock in the initial moments of the "Bull Race" in Arles as
we saw the bull charging at the men who leapt out of the ring at the final
- The family "debates" we had while buying pottery in St. Remy
- The great hospitality we were treated to by our hosts Philippe and Beatrice
- Admiring the beauty of Cours Mirabeau, the main boulevard in Aix-en-Provence
- The frustration of "watching", via the internet, the Red Sox lose
Game 7 of their series with the Yankees
- Seeing people praying in the Casablanca airport
- Seeing women in traditional dress everywhere
- Visiting the public bread baker
- Visiting palaces and admiring the colorful tiles, courtyards with beautiful
fountains and the unbelievable calligraphy in the plaster
- Walking through the Medina with Ahmed on the first day, and feeling like
it was a totally different world at that we were totally out of place
- Eating kebabs in a tiny cramped hole-in-the-wall in Marrakech, where we
sat on tiny stools and ate with our hands. It was delicious!
- Peeking into little workshops with men and boys working hard in dirty, tough
- Going to souqs with an overwhelming amount to choose from. There were sections
for leather, lanterns, slippers, etc.
- Sitting between the guide and car driver in the taxi, and hearing them speak
harsh Arabic, spitting into each other's faces.
- Going to a local market and seeing dead chickens on the counter. Hearing
the crows of live roosters looking at their dead friends. Very disturbing
. They crack the rooster's necks right in front of the customers - yuck!
- Exploring the Medina a second time with Mustapha. Going to another bakery
with a little girl getting bread and wrapping it in cloth for her family.
- Having lots of mint tea with sugar!
- Exploring the labyrinth streets that are like one big maze. They're very
narrow, like tunnels with light at the end of each. The houses have plain
doors and no windows, but inside they have beautiful courtyards.
- Going to the Djemaa el-Fna square and seeing the snake charmers waving their
hands in front of the cobras, trying to get them active. Going on the roof
of the café and looking down on the square. Seeing the sheep heads
and brains for sale and people feasting. Amazing atmosphere!
- Driving to the Berber village, and seeing the beautiful scenery, desert,
mountains and tiny red block houses in Berber villages.
- Riding the camel. Amazing experience!
- Stopping by a Berber village and learning how they survive without electricity
or running water. Seeing the smoke from the hammams (baths) in the village.
- Talking to the children in the Berber village. They immediately followed
us asking for dirhams. We gave them money (about $2) and they ran off happily.
They also showed off their prizes to their families and friends. We took a
picture of the children before they ran off.
- Seeing kids riding and controlling donkeys by themselves along the roads
- Seeing men plow fields with camels and donkeys.
- Going to the colorful Berber market, and seeing all the wonderful activity.
- Watching a man wash by the river
- Seeing women carrying huge stacks of hay on their heads through the olive
- Meeting with Judy and Richard and hearing their perspectives on Morocco.
It was very interesting to hear from people originally from the U.S.
- Seeing old mixed with new in the new part of Marrakech. We saw Mercedes
cars next to old donkeys
- Getting headaches from the smell of the exhaust
- Seeing the amazing scenery on the way to Essaouira
- Seeing people end their fast after the first day of Ramadan, and giving
us the "thumbs up" sign
- Feeling the breeze and seeing the chocolate brown color of the water in
- Going to the fishing port and seeing the "catch of the day" in
Essaouira - it was very colorful. We also saw many old ships being repaired.
- Exploring the colorful Medina of Essaouira with its white and blue buildings
- Walking through the Medina for the first time and
saying to myself "this is wicked cool!!"
- Exploring the narrow streets and feeling like I was on a movie set.
- Walking through the souqs
- Seeing the metal workshops and sparks flying all over the place
- Eating the best kabobs in the world in a tiny hole in the wall
- Walking into the square and being astonished by the snake charmers, storytellers,
and water men
- Stepping out of the shops when we were buying something so I wouldn't hear
- Visiting the Berber village and giving all the little boys coins.
- Going to the Berber market with the donkey parking lot
- Riding camels on the side of the road
- Driving to Essaouira and seeing desert in every direction
- Sitting by the chocolate colored water in Essaouira
- Seeing everyone eating in the medina after the first fast of Ramadan and
celebrating by giving us thumbs up and chowing down
- Going to the port and seeing all of the fresh fish and old boats
- Driving five hours to Casablanca
- Experiencing a totally different culture and loving
- Exploring the souqs and workshops of Marrakech - all the new sights, sounds
- Seeing the neighborhood bakery
- The performers in the Djemaa el-Fna square - especially the aggressive snake
- The simplicity of the Berber villages and the very hard life of the people
- Watching people plow their fields with wood plows and donkeys
- Donkeys and mules piled high with all kinds of loads
- Camel rides for David and Katie
- Seeing men and women dressed in traditional clothing walking along the beach
- Children chasing us in the Berber village, excited to receive coins and
laughing when our coins were gone and David offered rocks
- Trying new foods: tejines, kebabs, couscous, yogurt with fig jam and sweet
- Sunset over the African Atlantic coast and the amazing color of the sky
- Blue boats in the Essaouira harbor
- How foreign we felt while walking through Marrakech's
medina, and experiencing totally new sights, sounds and smells
- The wonderfully colorful Berber market in Asni
- The amazing scene in Marrakech's Djemaa el-Fna Square, especially seeing
the locals being entertained by storytellers, comics and actors
- Sitting side-by-side with Moroccans at a tiny eatery in Marrakech, and enjoying
some of the best tasting shish kebab we've ever had
- The children who followed us through their tiny Berber village in the foothills
of the Atlas Mountains
- The sights and smells in the "grocery store" in Marrakech, and
its live poultry that gets weighed and butchered as customers wait
- Seeing all the different means of transportation, and the way that donkeys,
horses, men with carts, bikes, cars and trucks all share the roads equally
- Sympathizing with the craftsmen of the medina, and their difficult working
- Seeing the people in the streets of Essaouira breaking their fast at sunset
on the first day of Ramadan
- The tough smells in the city of Marrakech, and how they gave me headaches
- Walking down La Rambla and seeing human statues,
a puppeteer with a frog playing a piano, and a rooster-man who crowed
- Seeing the people doing the Catalan national dance in front of the Cathedral
- Seeing the Sagrada Familia and the overwhelming energy in the architecture
- Going to Parc Guell and seeing the benches made of ceramic fragments along
with wonderful views of Barcelona
- Eating great Paella
- Going to the large food market on La Rambla and seeing ostrich eggs, rabbits,
wonderful candy, etc.
- Seeing the Christopher Columbus statue and the maritime museum
- Going to the enormous cathedral in Seville and seeing its huge Gothic arches
and Christopher Columbus' beautiful tomb.
- Patting the noses of several beautiful horses with their carriages in Seville
- The long day of travel that was required to get to Seville
- Seeing the thousands of orange trees in Seville, and smelling samples of
the perfumes that they produce
- Going to the Flamenco dance
- Hearing the sounds of thousands of birds in the squares in Granada
- Having a wonderful and very large Spanish lunch at Las Tinajas in Granada
- Looking over at the snow-white houses of Granada from the Alhambra
- Going to Mirador St. Nicolas and seeing its great views of the enormous
Alhambra. Enjoying the music and dancing that was happening there.
- Having fondue in the El Agua restaurant in Granada
- Seeing the Spanish countryside on our drive to Cordoba. Seeing tons of olive
- Stopping by Zuheros, an adorable village on a hill with white, Spanish houses.
It has quiet streets with decorative terraces and lamps on the houses.
- Our funny lunch in Zuheros, and seeing Mom and David eat their pig feet.
- Seeing the Mezquita and its red and white arches
- The beautiful streets and squares in Cordoba
- The beautiful, but modern buildings and lovely squares in Mardid
- Seeing the Manet exhibition at the Prado museum in Madrid
- Walking along La Rambla in Barcelona and seeing all
the different street performers, human statues, and bird sellers.
- Seeing the huge Christopher Columbus statues in the middle of Barcelona.
- Going to the market along La Rambla
- Starbucks for breakfast every morning in Barcelona
- Going to the Alcazar palace in Seville
- Seeing the third largest cathedral in the world (in Seville) which was originally
a mosque. We saw roman marble blocks which were originally the bases of Roman
statues and then used for construction of the minaret.
- Going to the Flamenco show
- Visiting the Alhambra in Granada and seeing all the Muslim architecture
- The fun experience we had ordering lunch in Zuheros, and the surprise at
seeing the pig on the counter
- The beauty of the Mezquita
- Wandering the streets of Madrid and admiring its statues, buildings and
- Viewing Picasso's early works and seeing how his
style emerged at the Picasso Museum
- La Rambla Boulevard with its colorful performers, artists and bird sellers
- The Christopher Columbus Monument and surrounding harbor
- Engaging conversations with our new friends Abdy and Ginette
- The striking difference of the Spanish churches of Andalucia - ornate gold,
silver and realistic images of biblical figures and saints
- Roman temples turned into mosques and eventually becoming churches - a vivid
result of the conflicts in Spain
- The passion of Flamenco dancing - sadness, despair, anger and a bit of happiness
- The gypsy women with their rosemary and pleas for money
- Very late night dinners and tapas
- The kids' first attempts to communicate using their Spanish, especially
asking our taxi driver in Seville about football
- The snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains in Granada
- The grandeur of the Alhambra, especially its peaceful fountains and reflection
- The Mirador de St. Nicolas, with its festive atmosphere and beautiful views
- Enjoying fondue in the Albayzin quarter of Granada and our delicious seven-course
tapas meal in Granada
- The white-washed villages we saw on the road to Cordoba, especially Zuheros
with its town square that overlooked olive groves and limestone cliffs
- Our lunch in Zuheros - trying to communicate with the waiter who needed
a siesta, getting really fresh ham, and the waiter's friendly smile and handshake
when the meal was over
- Being in awe among the hundreds of double arches of Cordoba's Mezquita
- Exploring the Prado art museum in Madrid
- Admiring the boulevards and fountains on our last day in Madrid
- The unique street performers on Barcelona's La Rambla
- Our wonderful evening with our new friends Abdy and Ginette, and everything
we learned about Spain and its culture
- Savoring the wonderful Paella in Barcelona
- Gawking at the enormous Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
- The fantastic traditional Spanish meal we had at Las Tinajas when we arrived
- Admiring the spectacular setting and architecture of the Alhambra in Granada
- Being pleasantly surprised at the beautiful countryside along our drives
to Granada and Cordoba
- Our wonderful stop in the tiny village of Zuheros, and our very funny and
memorable lunch experience
- Seeing the Alhambra and its spectacular setting below the Sierra Nevada
- Walking through the quaint Muslim and Jewish quarters in Granada and Cordoba
PAULA'S GENERAL MEMORIES
- David's downloads (or Dumps) and Katie's Comments
- Counting the days traveled and the days left
- "Mee," "Where is my
.." and other songs and made
- Learning so much!
- Struggling to speak the language in each new place
- Saying thank you in the wrong language but not even thinking about the word