Sunday, November 16, 2008

Events of Autumn

Ok, so I'm new to blogging and I can't promise that I'll like it nor that I'll maintain it but I'll give it a go anyway. Just to summarize the last couple of's been somewhat of a head spin but a really good head spin.

At the end of September, I ran the Berlin Marathon. What a great day in Berlin! I had been to Berlin before so it was even more fun to go back a second time and run by all the places I have memories of.

I got back from Berlin and about 5 hours later we drove to Milan (3 hours away from home) and caught a flight to Athens. Adam had 3 weeks off from school for Fall Break so we had booked a cruise with a fantastic itinerary. I was so excited to be going on this cruise because we were planning on visiting some places that I had only dreamed of going.

We started in Athens, Greece. We had been there before but it was fantastic to go back.

Then we spent a couple of days in Istanbul, Turkey. What an amazing experience to see where East meets West. It’s the only city on two continents. Excellent!

After Istanbul we went up into the Black Sea. We made stops in Bulgaria, the Ukraine, and Romania.

Then we went out into the Mediterranean Sea and made our first stop in Israel. What a dream come true. We were all so excited to be there. In the time we were there we saw so many great things. Some of the highlights include: the Mount of Olives, the Dome of the Rock, the Garden of Gethsemane, Church of All Nations, David's City, and the Wailing Wall (yes, we were even able to go to the wall and put our prayers in the wall on little slips of paper. Cool!). It was also very exciting to cross over into Palestine and go into Bethlehem. In Bethlehem we saw the Church of the Nativity (the oldest church in the Christian world) and touched the birthplace of the Savior and saw where his manger lay. I was so glad that my children were able to experience this. Adam told me that the visit to Jerusalem, specifically at the Garden of Gethsemane, was probably the most spiritual experience he's ever had.

Next stop: Cyprus. This was a really lovely stop. Cyprus has the only capital in the world divided by two countries. We experienced great shopping and beautiful beaches!

Following Cyprus, we went to Cairo, Egypt. We had also been there before but this time we went on a private tour and we were in culture shock all over again just as we were the first time. The tour we went on was outstanding. We were so glad we were able to go there again and experience a couple of new things that we weren't able to before. We ended our cruise back in Athens.

We flew home and Bret went back to work. I, on the other hand, got to go an a little get-away to the Säntis with my kids. Did I mention that I won a vacation? I didn't have to pay a cent. Now is that cool or is that cool? The kids were able to spend the daytime hours at different themed kid camps. Adam was so stoked because he got to go to a freestyle camp where he got to rollerblade, skateboard, and got to ride rough-terrain downhill scooters. Ally spent her days on the farm with a bunch of little Swiss kids and while the kids were off at their camps, I got to spend some time alone at a wellness hotel. Aaahh. At night we had fun ordering pizza and talking with dad on the phone letting him know of all the stuff we were doing and all the spectacular things we were seeing. We were even able to stop in Lichtenstein so that Ally could add another country to her list of been there, done that. She wasn't excited about going nor was she thrilled about getting her picture taken there but hopefully someday she'll think it's not so bad. I was so glad to spend some great time with my children before Adam headed back to school. Fall break was so nice. We were able to utilize all 3 weeks doing fun stuff together. The only downside to our little get-away is that I forgot to take my camera along but I managed to get a couple of shots with my phone camera. Who forgets his or her camera when going to the Säntis? It's one of the most beautiful places in the world! Hello?

Adam headed back to school and 3 weeks after tackling the 5th grade, I headed to NYC to run the ING NYC Marathon. I had never been to NYC before and I loved my visit there. The highlight of the trip was the race, of course. I ran my PR, 3:17. From the finish line, I picked up my bag and made a bee-line for Dunkin' Donuts. Dunkin' Donuts are Adam's favorite and I wouldn't dream of going home without some donuts for him. After the donut stop, I got on the train going directly to the JFK airport. Get this...and no this is not for any weak-stomached, queasy readers... I rode 3 trains, flew on 2 different airplanes, took 1 bus, and even walked a kilometer and a half before getting home to take a shower. Ok, yes, I was able to change my clothes and freshen up in the bathroom but hello... I just ran a marathon. I probably needed more than a little freshening up. Poor pity the man sitting next to me while in transit over the Atlantic. I just couldn't figure out why he was being so nice and wanting to talk the whole time. It's still beyond me. Needless to say, once home I completely enjoyed a real bath.

Now we're once again working our way through the 5th grade. Ally is going to a playgroup that meets twice a week and we're looking forward to going to Utah for a couple of weeks at Christmastime.


Janelle said...

Hey Jo, I personally loved your blog and the photos too!

First of all your marathons are awesome!!! I am so proud of you and thrilled with your new personal record. Way to go!!! I knew the cruise had a bunch of great stops, but WOW...what a great trip! It sounds like you had some amazing experiences.

I wasn't aware of the trip to Santis but it sounds like it was a fun little get away. What did you do to win it??

Thanks for the update. I can't wait to see you at Christmastime. Love you!

Heidi said...

Jolyn, great blog material! Congrats again on the marathons. I am cracking up that you didn't get to shower! Love to read about your travels! I could get quite the education just researching all the things you actually get to go see!