After traveling around Rome together, our family friends came to see where we live in Greece! We live in a beautiful port town where there are a few hidden treasures. When showing our friends the town, we stopped by what we call "the point." It is a rocky area that jets out into the sea. A surprise was waiting there for us - wildflowers! Naturally, my friends and I had to pick some, so we had the best time gathering flowers.
After out time at the point, we drove to the port to look at the pretty sailboats and have a sweet coffee drink. The blue water always mades me happy!
The next day we introduced our friends to Athens. The day started off at the Panathenaic Stadium where the first modern olympics were held. We thought we might as well be sporty, so we did cartwheels in front of the stadium.
Next, we walked to the piano steps. My friends know how special piano is to me, and they had seen my pictures from the steps, so they wanted to take a look for themselves! The piano steps were as pretty as ever!
To end our day on a high point (get it?!) we made the trek up to the Acropolis. It was so windy! That made for lots of laughs and funny pictures. It was so fun to show off Athens to my best friend!
We journeyed to Corinth the following day and drank the best orange juice I've ever had at our lunch overlooking the ancient site. Reading Scripture at a place where Paul had been and wrote to the people with my great friends was very special.
At the Canal we found some American drinks, so we were all very happy:)
The next few days we enjoyed exploring the beach town we live in and Athens. We even climbed the mountain across the street from campus! A great view was awaiting us at the top, so we had to take lots of pictures.
What a blessing it was to travel around Europe with our family friends. I am so thankful to have had this wonderful experience. I treasure it daily.
My best friend since birth, her younger sister (who is also one of my best friends), and their parents came and visited my family in Greece a short time ago. To say we had the time of our lives is an understatement. I am so thankful they got to come over to Europe and see where I live! We have gone all over Arkansas and parts of the south together, and we finally got to travel to Rome and Greece together! Before coming we made a joke about how we were rednecks (we Arkansans tend to be a little crazy) and how we were going to leave our mark on Rome.
We started off our adventure in Rome and saw all that we could see in just a short amount of time. I did not even feel sorry for their jet-lag because we were in Rome and were all so excited to be there together. Well, I might have felt a little sorry for them when they woke up at three in the morning on a couple of occasions... The weather was almost perfect (it rained one day, but we were in the Vatican museum for most of the time it was raining), and the company was even better. Everywhere in Rome is beautiful, so we made sure to get pictures everywhere!
We had gelato a few times, which is obviously a must. We ate pizza and pasta galore! We went to the Trevi fountain twice - once to see its brilliance at night, and the second to see it and take pictures without the big crowds. We saw lots of beautiful, yet different, churches and loved every minute of it.
Outside of one of the churches we visited, at the Piazza del Popolo, a guy was blowing bubbles and we had such a fun time trying to pop them and taking pictures.
I haven't climbed St. Peter's basilica's dome in a few years, and it seemed to be a good time for a daddy-daughter climb, and boy it was! The walls lean into you, so that supplied a bunch of laughter for us daughters. In reality, everything supplied laughter for us girls. We had a good time!
I had so many pictures to share, so I couldn't fit it all in one blog post, so keep your eye out for our adventures in Greece soon! Ciao for now!
Before we moved to Greece, never in my dreams would I have imagined having the opportunity to go dog sledding, especially in Norway. Even then I knew it was a long shot. It sure is crazy to say that I have trusted dogs to pull me across a frozen lake. In Arkansas the lakes rarely freeze over about a centimeter or less; at least that's my experience while duck hunting with my dad. Two and a half feet of ice (80 centimeters) covered in snow (another rarity) seemed unreal to me before visiting the beautiful country of Norway.
The dogs were excited to start our journey and howled and barked in anticipation. I was also over-the-moon excited, of course! My dad drove the sled first while I sat comfortably in a reindeer blanket. Then it was my turn to drive. I was very nervous because I did not know if I could stop all six dogs, even though the expert told me I could, but it was not as hard as I imagined. I kept yelling, "Dad - I am dog sledding -- in NORWAY!" Our forty-five minute sledding excursion went by quickly in my mind.
When we got back to the camp we drank currant cider while sitting around the fire. It was tasty! After finishing my yummy drink, I got to help take the dogs out of their harnesses. Their blue eyes are gorgeous, and my baby voice came out while talking to the sweet dogs. Tod the dog, Harris the dog, and I sure did have a fun time getting to know each other and taking pictures!
Our neighbors came and visited us in Greece, and we took them to Italy for a couple of days. I love Italy so much, and Florence is one of my favorite places I have ever visited. We only spent a day and a half there, but we definitely made the most of our time! Our first site was the Piggy Market, which is composed of vendors selling leather goods, stationery, scarves, and wallets among many other items. It is called the Piggy Market because of the statue of a hog outside of the market. Legend says that if you rub the hog's nose you will come back to Florence, so I do it every time!
On our way to lunch we passed by a statue of David. Michelangelo sculpted the most famous one, but in the square there is a replica so the original can be protected from the elements. It is in the Acedemia Museum, which we also visited. We ate lunch at a trattoria we saw on a side road, and boy it was good! I had tomato soup and my mom had the veggie plate of the day.
We went to the Ponte Vecchio, which is the prettiest bridge I have ever seen, and stopped for gelato, of course! The Medici family was very prominent in Italy (a couple were popes), and this bridge was built for their protection. They would walk inside to avoid dangerous situations.
After gelato we saw a palace some of the Medicis lived in and then went to Piazza le Michelangelo. I think the best view of Florence is from up there! You can see everything. This place is definitely a must when going to Florence.
Every time I go to Italy I love it more. I am so thankful for budget-friendly airlines and the opportunity I have been given to see Europe.
We were less than fifteen minutes away when we saw a thick tree obstructing the middle of the road. The only way to get to our hotel was to go all around the lake on which Hallstatt is located. We all laughed and laughed about our crazy trip and the hiccups that happened along the way. From this trip specifically, I learned that crazy and wacko experiences make the best memories and stories.
In the spirit of Christmas, I wanted to share a recent travel excursion that has a wintery twist. Hallstatt was the perfect subject because snow fell on us, making the town a true winter wonderland.
We rolled into the quaint village and strolled the streets while taking a million pictures of the beautiful lake at the foot of the surrounding mountains. It was the transition time of fall going into winter, so the scenery was gorgeous for this Arkansas girl who just adores this perfect time of year.
Hallstatt is known for its salt mines as well as the views. We went up to the salt mines and were surprised when a little bit of snow flakes fell down. The mine tour consisted of a funny miner outfit, sliding on slides to get deeper into the mountain, and learning about how salt forms and is harvested. I didn't realize how big of an impact the salt mine had in the daily lives of people a short time ago. When we exited the mine, snow was falling at a good pace, so after a quick meal we descended the mountain on our feet and in the cable car, taking in the scenery from up high one last time.
I've wanted to go to Hallstatt ever since our HUG students started going there during their independent travel, and now I will be sure to recommend this beautiful place to anyone finding themselves in or near Austria. They will follow my advice only if ideal, fairytale settings sound attractive!
Sailing is a very Greek activity. I wrote a blog post about it last year when I got to do it with my mom's class, and I got to sail again this semester! The water is so blue. Even though I live near a beach and a port, the clear blue water always has me in awe. This time the winds were good for sailing, but not too harsh so we could enjoy the adventure without being scared. We sailed in October, and the water was still warm enough for people to jump in! The Greek weather is so nice in that way. Time seems to slow down on the water, giving me another chance to see the difference between my culture and the Greek culture about time. We are so on-the-go and time oriented, and the Greek people are the opposite; they seem more relaxed about that kind of thing, I'm thankful I get to compare and reflect on the different ways of living.
The skipper let me help with a rope! It was kind of hard to turn the pulley, so I guess that means I need to get in the weight room...
^^^ waving at our friends on another sailboat!
I said I would never climb this mountain ever again, but, for some crazy reason that I don't know, I changed my mind this summer when dad asked me (jokingly) if I wanted to climb. The hike was rough...again. But it was fun to get to know these students better and to accomplish that feat for the second time. My climbing adventures last time are linked here. My dad and I changed it up a little bit by riding mules up to the refuge with a few students. Such a crazy thing! There were lots of laughs and a few not-so-fun downhill parts, but all in all, I loved this mule riding experience. It also helped me have fresher legs to peak, so that was a win-win! Once we made it to the peak, it started to snow/hail! The sky around us was so foggy, and it was very difficult to look at the view. A true mountain effect for sure!
Photo credits for the above pictures to Mrs. Carla
As you can see, the peak was foggy! Being in the clouds feels so weird and seeing how quickly they move is crazy. I've heard that the clouds bounce off the sides of the mountain, and I got to see it up close and personal!
When planning this trip, my dad wanted to go to Helsinki, Finland, and I wanted to go to Copenhagen and Stockholm. Mom thought, "Why not do all three?" So we did, and I'm so glad we did it! Stockholm and Helsinki were so clean and pretty. Copenhagen was more of a city than the other places we went, but it was beautiful, none the less.
When we got to Stockholm, the first thing on our agenda was to walk through the old town and look at the cobblestone streets, palace, and unique houses.
My favorite places in Stockholm were the ABBA Museum and the Ice Bar. The ABBA Museum was AWESOME. They had ABBA songs playing throughout the museum and displayed some of the crazy costumes the group wore while preforming! We got to sing and dance there, too!
At the Ice Bar, everything was made of ice - even the glasses! They threw a big blanket-type coat on us, and I'm so glad they did because it was cold even with it on! My favorite part was the ice throne. There was an animal skin to sit on to really get the Scandinavian effect. The temperatures are so low that customers last only about thirty minutes inside.
We also went to the Vasa Museum, which shows and tells the story of a huge ship from the 17th century that sunk only ten minutes after setting sail. I learned that it was too high and too narrow to turn correctly and not tip over. I loved seeing this model of what everybody would have been doing on ships of that time. Lots of work going on!
When we got to Helsinki, we walked to the Market Square, which had an indoor market as well as an outdoor one. There were shops selling salmon everywhere, so salmon was on the must-eat list. It was so good because garlic sauce on top made it even better than it would have been otherwise!
Strolling to the main square was next on the agenda for the evening. The trolleys were charming driving down the streets.
Rick Steves said to go to Estonia for a day if you're in Helsinki, so of course that's exactly what we did! We ferried over to Tallinn and enjoyed a walk through its Old Town.
When we saw the Segway shop, we couldn't resist renting one for a couple of hours. It was fun to go up and down the little side streets, making our exploration really easy.
We then went to Copenhagen. Copenhagen has been on my list of places to go ever since I first got Pinterest! It did not disappoint. We happened to be there while a jazz festival was going on, and that's one of my favorite styles of music, so we heard jazz throughout the city! We ate supper one night outside at a jazz concert, which I absolutely loved!
The colorful buildings reminded my mom of Rainbow Row in Charleston, SC, another place to add to my travel list!
There is this local food truck place that two people recommended, and they had tacos, and me being me, I got yummy Mexican food! It was a great stop to get out of the rain, take in a different atmosphere, and relax for a bit. Dad got fish and chips, so I got some of the local specialty, too.
Known as "gold of the North," amber is plentiful in Northern Europe. We found one of the oldest stores in Copenhagen that had a museum on the top two floors displaying the discovery of different types of amber found in the region. They even had a display of insects trapped inside the amber.
This trip has been one of my favorites so far. The weather, the food, and the pretty and interesting sites made this area of the world very special for me. I'm so thankful.
When we were in Paris, we day-tripped out to the Palace of Versailles. It was everything a palace should be.
The inside rooms of the palace are extravagant with gold and other royal-looking decorations. I can't imagine living in such a lavish place. The picture below was taken in the Hall of Mirrors. I loved being there, because in history class, I recently learned about the Treaty of Versailles, which formally ended The First World War, and I was in the place they signed it!
Of the whole palace, the backyard was my favorite! The flowers and shrubs are exactly what I've always visualized of what kings and queens got to see and stroll through everyday. They go on and on in every direction and from every window to make such a lovely place to wander.
It was such a sunny day! I just had to include this picture because it is so funny!
Paris is probably the prettiest big city I've ever been to. The rooftops, the windows, the balconies, and even the corners of the buildings are curved and romantic. The French language is also beautiful. I love it!
The first thing my family did was climb the Arc de Triomphe. It surely is high! However, the views of Paris are worth the sweat. From the top we looked down at the roundabout around the Arc and cringed at the traffic jam and wondered how in the world some cars would escape the inner circles! Patience is definitely required to drive in Paris.
After the Arc, we walked to the Eiffel Tower and had a late supper on a stand-still boat. My mom and I had salmon, and it was great! We took some pictures of the tower and watched the sparkly lights.
The next day, while my dad visited the beaches of Normandy, my mom and I went to the Musée d'Orsay. We were going crazy in excitement because it holds our favorite type of art. I loved seeing the bridge-over-the-water scenes by Monet, the self-portrait of Van Gogh, the Dance at Le moulin de la Galette by Renoir, and lots more!
Even though we didn't go in the Louvre, we took some pictures outside at the famous pyramid. We've been there before, so this time we preferred to spend our museum time at a lesser-known and less crowded museum.
After the Louvre, we walked to Notre Dame. On the way, I got a crepe! The chocolate was warm, smooth, and plentiful (read this in a dreamy voice).
Shakespeare and Company was our next stop. It looked so cute on Pinterest, and it surely didn't disappoint in person! I had to get a Shakespeare book of course, so I bought Romeo and Juliet. It is a great souvenir because it's small but also pretty!
To wrap up our time in Paris, we strolled up to the Trocadero, a great place to view the Eiffel Tower, and on our way we saw a cotton candy vendor! My mom and I are suckers for anything sweet, and cotton candy seemed like the perfect treat!
I'm a girl traveling the world with my parents and have had many wonderful experiences. I'm very thankful.