Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Safe Harbor

I finally made it down to my friend, Heather's infamous
"Harbor House" was all and MUCH more than I had anticipated!
We sat and talked and relaxed and soaked up the sun and really enjoyed ourselves so much!
There were lots of kids, lots of fish, lots of snacks
and a whole lot of love!
Heather is probably the nicest person I have ever known...

We took about 10 of this shot...this was definitely the best one!

Snacks and snacks and snacks

Yep, that's my towel!

There were three or four fishing poles in the water all day...
they caught a couple of stingrays and...

several little sharks...

David (Heather's husband) really loved this little one.

Alex caught the only 'real' fish of the day!

Kelly kept the fish alive while Matt went to get a knife.
I don't think she quite understood what was coming next...
Anyone remember that Dr. Demento song,
"Fish heads fish heads, roly poly fish heads..."
Heather and David

My buddy Brian
Heather and Holly making dinner for a houseful!
Great big thanks to Heather and David and their beautiful family for
treating me to such a lovely and relaxing time at their home.

Garage Sale

I am having a garage sale this Saturday, September 1st from 7am to noon.
Please come by...
Free donuts for all my friends.
And LOTS of crap for sale.
Hope to see you!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Welcome to the United States of America

Land of...
strong water pressure
shower doors
toilet seats
strong blow dryers
free flowing Diet Coke
The Los Angeles Times

Jet Lag

By the time my dad picked Allison and me up at the airport last night, we had been traveling for 23 hours. We had breakfast in Prague, lunch in Frankfurt and a coke and a snack in Denver during our lay overs and plane transfers.
We had traveled across GOD ONLY KNOWS how many time zones and seen just as many airports! But, unlike the flight TO Europe where we slept (thanks to multiple Tylenol PMs) and felt great upon arrival, we desperately tried to keep ourselves AWAKE on the flight home, hoping to arrive exhausted, flop into bed, sleep 8 hours and avoid 'jet lag'.
No such luck...for me anyway. First of all, I arrived home and watched the last half of two FANTASTIC baseball games! I had been suffering from "baseball withdrawals" for eight days and found a well-deserved fix waiting for me! Once the Angels and Dodgers both pulled off the wins, I went to bed. And slept well.
Til 3:08am.
Understanding that it was noon in Eastern Europe where we had been for the last 8 days, I knew I was either going to lay and watch the clock for 3 more hours OR go make myself lunch!
I got up.
I did two loads of laundry, edited my vacation photos and talked to my friend in Ohio. I know I am going to CRASH at any point now (since it's NAP TIME in Prague) but I will once again try to keep myself awake til 10pm. The baseball games are on early this afternoon...I might not make it.
It's now 7:30am. I guess I'll go unpack the rest of my suitcase.
And make myself some dinner.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Czeching out Prague!

As my pictures were loading into my computer tonight, I went over and looked out the window...and there it was! The most beautiful FULL MOON hanging over Prague. It was as if it was giving me one last perfect view of a most magnificent city.We have had a wonderful time this last week...through Budapest, Vienna and Prague. We have enjoyed the sites and smells and foods throughout our amazing adventure.
One HUGE extra you get when you take a tour is new friendships...we have met such great people. Fellow travelers...others who love to see new places and try new things. People to eat with and talk with and walk with and make memories with!
We have really enjoyed spending time with these great new friends.

Tonight's farewell dinner was bittersweet. Allison and I are each ready to head home...yet saying goodbye to these people was a bit hard. Above Allison and her friend "Michigan" and Allison and I with our friend "John from Australia." Most invited us to come visit them...and we all exchanged emails so we could keep in touch and send pictures.
Allison is crashed out again. This time, we have a 5:30am wake up call. The driver will be here to take us to the Prague airport at 7am. We fly Prague to Frankfurt to Denver to John Wayne.
The most ironic part of traveling is all those comforting thoughts of home.
We enjoyed each and every minute of the last seven days...
but I am really excited to be back at home.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The (first) Prague Blog

We left Vienna this morning around 8 am, heading toward the Czech Republic. We were stopped at the Austria/Czech Republic border when a guard came on the bus to check each of our passports. That is the first time I had experience anything like that. He was satisfied and we were quickly on our way.
I could not resist the t-shirt.
I have been using this "pun" for a month now!
We took a quick side trip to Telc (rhymes with BELCH), a beautiful city about an hour outside of Prague. We walked around the little town, had lunch and took in the magnificent views.

Allison was also able to read a bit more of Harry Potter 7
under the shade of a tree in the town square.
(She finished it when we got to the hotel!)
Tonight we attended a "Traditional Folklore Dinner"
We were entertained with the music and dances of the region.
And Allison was selected to go up and dance!
This is Derek, our Gate 1 Travel Tour Guide. He is fantastic...and hilarious.
He is also from the same area of London that Allison lived in!
This is Allison's new best friend, Catherine. Catherine is a junior high student (go figure) and she ALSO just finished Harry Potter so guess what they talked about!
The moms...traveling with
...the daughters.

Allison has crashed for the night and I'm heading that way. We have a 6:30 am wake up call for our early morning site-seeing tour of Prague tomorrow.
We can't wait to Czech it out!

I miss my cell phone...

Today I found myself actually reaching for my cell phone when I thought of a couple of things...
I wanted to call my dad and say, "What the heck? David Wells is a Dodger???"
and I wanted to text my Zachary and just say hello...
I guess it's the only technology I left behind...and I definitely miss it.

To Leesa on her 37th birthday!

Happy Birthday to one of my favorite sisters!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

One more fabulous day in Vienna

We began our day on a site-seeing tour of the city...
This is Belvedere Palace
Allison sang the theme song to "Mr. Belvedere" for us.
Spent quite a bit of time at the Hofburg Palace--magnificent and massive!

Just loved this shot of the mini-parade passing by...
Me and Allison with Mozart. The Wiener people LOVE Mozart!
Had a fantastic lunch at the Australian Pub. Apparently, when Ronald Regan was president, he made a speech and mistakenly said "Australia" when he was referring to "Austria."
The Australian people LOVE this. They have a pub on every street and signs everywhere that say, "There are no kangaroos in Austria!"
We've made our mark.
Yep...16...they can't even really "card you" right?
You wouldn't even have a driver's license!

After lunch we walked around and shopped a bit and then came back to the cool hotel room. Allison continued her quest to finish Harry Potter 7 and I took a little nap.
Tonight we decided to treat ourselves to that magnificent dinner in Vienna. We took the subway into the city and dined at the Imperial Hotel. It, too, is a former palace.
It is an incredibly gorgeous place!
Our table...
There must have been at least four waiters taking care of brought the menus, one brought the wine (Allison had a Coke of course!), one moved over a little table for me to put my purse on and one brought out our appetizer shown here. He said, "With compliments from the chef this is a peach soup with lobster puffed pastry." Delicious. The bread basket had four or five different kinds of bakery items in it AND yet another waiter came with a fancy plate offering us flower shaped butter. We ordered Lobster Bisque and it was brought out in a silver chaffer and ladled out for us. It was quite possibly the best soup I have ever tasted!

The bisque and bread was really all we could eat...but then they brought out this little tray of pastries with my coffee. (PS--the coffee ALL OVER Europe is so incredibly good. It is hot and strong and thick AND it is ALWAYS served with HOT milk!)
We asked the waiter if we could please take the little pastries home with us and he wrapped them up very nicely for us.
The entire dining experience was out of this world!

We came back to the hotel and found several members of our group sitting in the lobby talking. Allison and I offered them the pastries we had brought back...and they were thrilled! As they delighted in the mini-napoleon and fruit tart and chocolate truffles, we all shared tales of our travel adventures...which always seem to include memories of good food.
Earlier tonight, as we walked back to the subway station admiring the moon shining bright in the Vienna sky, I told Allison that I truly have never been happier in my life.
I have tears in my eyes as I write this...I am so very grateful for these experiences...
I soak it all in and it fills up my heart with joy.
This is exactly where I want to be.