Tag Archive: family adventure


We went to Scotland at the end of June in 2016. We enjoyed exploring the castles, caves, and stunning countryside. We stayed near Glasgow with our friends. After a few days we went to a cottage on the Isle of Raasay, near the Isle of Skye.  On the way, we stopped at the intruiging castle in the picture above.


After exploring the castle, we drove to the cottage we rented on the Isle of Raasay. My dad and I are sword fighting in the front yard. The people in the house across the valley were our nearest neighbors (besides the cows and sheep)!


Playing in the front yard with my Dad.

More photos of our neighbors! The sheep ran when our car came toward them.

This is a highland cow.  It has extra fur because it is so cold here, even in the summer.


One day, we went for a boat ride. It was a chilly, rainy day.


The Misty Isle Boat trip to Loch Coruisk!

We saw seals on our boat trip. They were chillin’ on the rocks and swimming. I don’t think they mind the cold water and rainy weather.


The boat landed on a small island and we went hiking and exploring. The island had hills and rocks to climb. The boat captain told us that this island was where Bonnie Prince Charlie hid after the Battle of Culloden.

A couple days later we visited Castle Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye. There’s a museum inside and we watched an interesting movie about the castle’s history.


Dunvegan Castle is the home of the Macleod Clan and it is 800 years old. One of the items in the castle is the Fairy Flag; legend says that it was given to the Mcleods by the fairies! The Fairy Flag was said to have magic powers that helped the MacLeods win battles. The castle also has lovely gardens to walk in. We had a picnic lunch there with our friends. It was fun except when we got bothered by the bees.


After that, we explored the countryside. The Old Man of Storr is a fascinating rock formation and famous landmark on the Isle of Skye. Lots of people like to hike up to the rock.


They call this Kilt Rock because….it looks like a kilt!


Next we stopped at the Fairy Pools.  Scotland has lots of folklore about fairies, so it’s easy to imagine them in these little waterfalls.


This next photo is of us hiking like hobbits in Middle Earth…


At the end of our trip we went to visit the Battlefield of Culloden. The Battle of Culloden was fought in 1746 by the Scottish Jacobites against the British.  The Jacobites were lead by Bonnie Prince Charlie and they wanted to restore the House of Stuart to the British throne instead of the German Hanoverians. It was the last battle fought on British soil.  1200 people died in one hour! The museum was fascinating because it was interactive. They gave us a listening guide and there was a man dressed up as a soldier, who showed us the weapons they used in the battle.


Culloden was a significant battle because the Scottish Jacobites (mostly Highlanders) were defeated.  The British executed thousands of Highlanders after the battle and confiscated their lands. The wearing of kilts and speaking of Gaelic were forbidden. Hundreds of Jacobite prisoners were transported to the American colonies.

On our last evening we went for a drive at the end of the day. This was taken on the Isle of Raasay, looking at the Isle of Skye.


I enjoyed our trip to Scotland very much. My favorite memory was visiting Culloden because I love history. You should go visit the amazing castles and countryside of Scotland, you’ll love it!

Can you believe this was taken on November 1st??!!

Can you believe this was taken on November 1st??!!

We have been to Olympos twice, and it’s one of our favorite getaway places! Our first trip to Olympos was last fall. We discovered that we had a very long weekend, thanks to the national holiday, Republic Day (October 29),which marks the creation of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Friday and Monday were declared school holidays due to the elections on November 1st.  So, we headed for the otogar (bus station) and got into a dolmuş (public transport mini bus) and headed for Olympos. The dolmuşes leave from the far end of the bus station about every 10 minutes, so it is easy to get there via public transport.

An hour and a half later, we were dropped at this cafe, where we had some tea while waiting for another dolmuş to take us down the canyon to Olympos. Not a bad place to wait, eh?

Tea and snacks available while you wait. Lots of vans pull up to drop passengers heading to Olympos.

Tea and snacks available while you wait. Lots of vans pull up to drop passengers heading to Olympos.

Olympos is well known for its rustic charm, with dozens of tree house and cabin pensions. We stayed in Saban’s, recommended by a friend. We loved it!  Half-board was included, and the food was delicious. We had a little one room cabin, surrounded by fruit and pine trees, nestled by the hills. We left our gear and headed out to explore the ruins that everyone comes here to see.

The sound of silence was fabulous to this city-dweller's ears:).

The sound of silence was fabulous to this city-dweller’s ears:).


Saban’s has fruit trees all around; these are pomegranate trees.


This was breakfast! Dinner was a buffet meal of delicious home-cooked Turkish food, including mezes and salad.

Andy first visited Olympos with a friend.  Here’s the tree house he stayed in!

Turkmen's Tree Houses

Turkmen’s Tree Houses


Be sure to try some fresh-squeezed juice!




Kadir’s Tree Houses is said to be the original tree house/bungalow pension.  It has a very artistic, hippie-like feel to their cabins, and it’s still very popular with the younger, backpacking crowd.

From Saban’s it is a ten minute walk to the entry of the ruins.  If you live in Turkey, be sure to get an annual museum pass; you won’t have to pay the 20 TL fee, which also allows you access to the beach. Those  of you don’t live in Turkey can get a pass for 10 entries for 7.5 TL. You need to pass through the ruins to get to the beach.


The ruins to the right of the creek bed are “untamed” but are worth the hike. It’s the “Indiana Jones hike”.

Olympos  was founded during the Hellenistic Period, and became a prominent city of the Lycian League by the second century BC.


The city was built inside the river valley, behind the mountains, to conceal its wealth from pirates.


However, this strategy didn’t work: Olympos was later used as a base by  a powerful group of pirates. There was an infamous pirate called Zeniketos who operated from Olympos.


After the ruins you arrive at the sea!

A Roman commander of Julius Ceasar conquered the city in the first century BC to neutralize the threat from the pirates.


People continued to live in Olympos until its decline in the 1400’s.


This was a lovely October day. Notice my twin on the right.

We returned for a quick weekend trip in May. This time we stayed at Olympos Orange Bungalows, which also was a good place to stay: nice food, clean rooms, and a lovely garden area.


Orange Bungalows garden area

One of the “must-do” things to do near Olympos is something we haven’t done yet: visit the eternal fires of Chimera which are natural gas-fueled flames that are never extinguished. It’s a popular place to hike up to at sunset or after dark.  North American visitors are known to bring marshmallows and other ingredients to make smores:)  We are told it’s easier to get there if you have your own transport, but you still have about a 3 kilometer hike up (then back down) the mountainside (in the dark), so be sure to wear good hiking shoes and bring a flashlight.  So we are told!  Nate has been three times; twice while camping with his class, and once while he was at summer camp.


Instead, we roasted marshmallows by the fire at Orange Bungalows; we substituted graham crackers with tea biscuits (cookies) and it was GOOD!!

Since most of the pensions in Olympos provide half-board (breakfast and dinner) in their rate, it’s fun to try the little restaurants for lunch.  Here’s one of our favorites, not far from the entrance to the ruins:


You said you wanted a close up on our plates? Ok!

So, what are you waiting for? Come and see for yourself why Olympos is a great getaway place!



During this season of travel we had a wonderful opportunity to visit friends who recently moved to Dubai.  While looking for flights from Prague to India, we noted that many went through Dubai…in fact it was only $200 from Prague to Dubai! So we took the opportunity to visit our friends Mike and Catherine and their boys for a weekend. They live outside of the city, not far from the beach.

That's the Persian Gulf!

That’s the Persian Gulf!

I never thought I’d watch our son play with friends in the waters of the Persian Gulf!!

Also known as the Arabian Gulf in the UAE.

Also known as the Arabian Gulf in the UAE.

The next day our friends took us to see a camel race track!



Here are the race camels...

Here are the race camels…

And here's our gang:)

And here’s our gang:)

Catherine told us they once were invited to see a race.  She had expected to watch the race from the stands; however, she was surprised to discover that the race was watched while in a car speeding alongside the camels, yelling encouragement to your favored camel (go, Orange!!)…amongst other speeding cars full of people cheering for their camels!  Wish we could have experienced that!!

Apparently the camels are ridden by robot jockeys during the race...no, I'm not making it up!

Apparently the camels are ridden by robot jockeys during the race…no, I’m not making it up!



Next, they took us to the desert.  I mean, the real desert, with enormous sand dunes.  We got there by four wheel driving…slipping, sliding, and bumping our way over the dunes to “their dune”.  It felt just like driving across snow. There were no tracks, no parking lot, just follow the old race track and then veer off until we found this place…


The kids had a blast jumping off the dunes, running, climbing, and digging in the sand.  It was so soft, like baby powder!!





The adults enjoyed chillin' while the kids played...

The adults enjoyed chillin’ while the kids played…

Quite an amazing view!

Quite an amazing view!

We watched the sun get lower in the sky, but had to head home while it was still light.

We watched the sun get lower in the sky, but had to head home while it was still light.

Good-bye, desert!

Good-bye, desert!

Then there was a great sunset to top off a really great day as we headed home…


A big thank you to our friends for a wonderful couple of days!




Enjoying a sunny February day in the old city of Kaleici in Antalya, Turkey

Enjoying a sunny February day in the old city of Kaleici in Antalya, Turkey

We recently spent six lovely days in Antalya, Turkey. It’s located on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Kaleiçi is the historic area of the town.  It started as a Roman town around 150 BC, and was named after it’s founder: Attalos II, King of Pergamon.  It later changed hands to the Byzantines, then the Seljuk Turks, and finally passed to the Ottoman Turks.

What view? Our oblivious 9-year-old:)

What view? Our oblivious 9-year-old:)

King Attalos III bequeathed his kingdom to Rome upon his death in 133 BC, and Antalya became part of the Roman Republic.

The port

The Roman Harbor

Antalya was visited by the Apostle Paul, as recorded in the book of Acts: “From Perga, Paul and Barnabas went down to Attalia and sailed from there to Antioch after preaching in Pisidia and Pamphylia” (Acts 14:25-26).

This harbor is where he sailed from!

Rows of pirate boats

Rows of  boats, capitalizing on the theme of Pirates of the Caribbean:)

Antalya was a major city in the Byzantine Empire. It was conquered by the Seljuk Turks in the 13th century. It was conquered by the Ottomans in the 14th century.

Lots of souvenir shops, of course!

Lots of shops

Carpet, anyone?

Carpet, anyone?

Kaleiçi is a lovely place to just wander through the winding streets.



The Broken Mınaret Mosque Kesik Minare has changed hands on multiple occasions through the centuries.  It was originally built as a Roman temple in the 2nd century AD.  The Roman Temple was later converted into a Christian church during the Byzantine era in the 7th century. It was converted into a mosque in the 13th century, and the minaret was added. Not long after, it was converted back into a church when Antalya was taken by the crusader king of Cyprus. It was reconverted yet again to a mosque, and has remained a mosque since!


Outside the mosque.


The Broken Minaret


Interesting courtyard…


Hookah, anyone?


What’s in there?


The equivalent of Prague’s John Lennon Wall?


Taken for his sister Sam and Star Wars fans around the globe:)


Taking it easy….

The modern city of Antalya started growing after World War II. It is located in a lovely location, surrounded by mountains, facing the beautiful Mediterranean Sea with its beautiful beaches.

Now, that's a view!

Now, that’s a view!

I was surprised to find out that Antalya, as the gateway to the Turkish Riviera, is in the top ten of most visited cities of the world!!! It has surpassed Istanbul as a tourist destination. It draws both history buffs and sun-seekers. Most tourists stay in the beach resorts in Konyaalti or Lara.

However, modern Antalya,with its tall buildings and large tourist developments along the coast, didn’t draw me like Kaleiçi did. There are lots of great day trips if you are based in Kaleiçi.  Check out these recommendations from Tripadvisor:


Just before sunset...

Just before sunset…

Avoid all those crowds…visit Antalya between September and May.  April, May, September and October are the best months to find nice weather without so many tourists.  We were there in February and enjoyed weather in the upper 60’s and it even hit 70 for a day.  Sunshine is amazing, especially after a cold winter in Europe!

Beaches, ancient ruins, the Mediterranean, snow capped mountains, sunshine…what’s not to like? Best of all are the friendly Turks and their wonderful cuisine. We’ll definitely be back!











Château de Chenonceau

It looks like Andy is standing in front of a painted set!

We went to this lovely castle when we were staying in the Loire Valley when our daughter, Samantha, joined us in France in the summer of 2012. The Loire Valley is dotted with beautiful castles, but this was my favorite!

The source of my wanderlust

Andy and Nicole in Salzburg, October 2013

Andy and Nicole in Salzburg, October 2013

This blog is about our adventures as expats living in the Czech Republic in the beautiful city of Prague.  In 2011, my husband Andy and I sold our home in the US, along with most of our belongings, and left for a new life and job in Prague with our son, who is now nine years old. Our twenty year-old daughter is in her third year of university in the US.

Andy and our daughter, Samantha, at Versailles, Summer 2012

Andy and our daughter, Samantha, at Versailles, Summer 2012

We travel frequently during our school breaks around Europe.  We’ve also recently been to Israel and Turkey, and we are planning a trip to India in the spring.  I am addicted to travel!  I feel more alive when I’m living or traveling in another culture. There are two possible reasons for this: my unconventional childhood and my unconventional grandparents, who passed their wanderlust and love of adventure to me.

Andy and Nate on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, summer 2013

Andy and Nate on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, August 2013

1.  My unconventional childhood.

I was born in the US, but lived in India for four wonderful years of my childhood (ages seven to eleven).  My mother was born and raised in India; she was born with Indian citizenship although her mother was Russian and her father was German.  My dad was an American businessman who met her in India; they fell in love, got married in India, and came back to live in the US.

However, my parents separated when I was seven years old.  So, my mom took me to live in Bangalore, India….”home” to my grandparents and aunt, uncle and cousin.  It was a wonderful place to grow up! We returned to the US when my parents reconciled after four years.  I experienced major culture shock going “home” to the US, whereas I had no culture shock when moving to India four years earlier.

Seville, April 2013

Seville, Spain, April 2013

I’m what’s known as a TCK: third culture kid.

David Pollack developed the following description for third culture kids:

 “A third culture kid is an individual who, having spent a significant part of their developmental years in a culture other than their parents’ home culture, develops a sense of relationship to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Elements from each culture are incorporated into the life experience, but the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar experience.”

In other words, it means that I feel more at home with others who have grown up in situations like mine….growing up as a foreigner in a foreign country. I love being an expat, developing relationships with other expats and Czech friends.

Parc Guell, Barcelona, October 2011, just after we first moved to Prague.

Parc Guell, Barcelona, October 2011, just after we first moved to Prague. A TCK raising a new TCK:)

2.  My unconventional grandparents, who passed on their wanderlust to me.

Growing up in another culture greatly influenced my development, values and personality. My Russian grandmother and German grandfather were eccentric, quirky, wonderful people who had a huge influence on my life.

Speaking of quirky, my grandfather was known as the “Popcorn King” of India, because he was the first person to introduce popcorn to the subcontinent of India.  Our house had a popcorn factory in it!!

You ask….how did a Russian and a German meet and decide to marry and raise a family in India, of all places?!!

Istanbul, where my grandmother had hoped to be sent after her escape from Soviet Russia.  Ironically, it is one of my favorite countries...I've been there six times!

Istanbul, where my grandmother had hoped to be sent after her escape from Soviet Russia. Ironically, it is one of my favorite countries…I’ve been there six times!

Tania (Tatiana), my grandmother, escaped from the Soviet Union in 1940.  She escaped with two Polish sailors that she had met while working as a nanny on a boat on the Caspian Sea. She had already been married three times; twice a widow and once divorced.  She had spent two years in a Siberian prison camp. She was determined to escape Soviet Russia.  She and her companions had a harrowing journey until they made it to Persia (modern day Iran).  She was asked if she’d like to go to Turkey or to the British; she said “Turkey” because it sounded more exotic to her.  Instead, they sent her to the British in India.

My grandfather was a German who went to work in Italy in the late 1930’s.  In 1938 he boarded a ship bound for Australia, to marry his sweet heart.  I still have the ticket!  The ship stopped in Bombay. My grandfather fell in love with India, and stayed. He never made it to Australia to marry his sweetheart! He got a job as a hotel manager (his profession).  He was later accused of being a spy because of a joke he had made, and the British put him in prison for two years.  Finally he was released to an internment camp in Satara, India, where he met my grandmother.

My grandfather loved to tell the story of the beautiful Russian woman who arrived at the camp without knowing a word of English…and he gallantly volunteered to teach her!  They fell in love, and after they both were released they decided to marry and raise their family in India.

Dresden: my grandfather's home city.  He left in the late 1930's.

Dresden, 2010: my grandfather’s home city. He left in the late 1930’s. Ironically, I lived just a two hour drive away!

So how does their story affect me today?  My grandmother’s favorite saying was “Carpe Diem”  which means “seize the day“. My grandfather spoke seven languages fluently. Their personalities were polar opposites, but they both loved to travel, and they had friends from around the globe.

I think that I inherited my love of travel, interest in other cultures and people from my grandparents. They passed it on to my mother, who also loved to travel. Growing up, we frequently had people visiting us from all over the world…we lived in California, and it is a popular destination!

My parents’ and grandparents’ legacy lives on in me. Andy and I have been practicing our “Carpe Diem” by living as expats in Prague, hosting people from all over the world in our home. In July 2014 we sold our belongings and we are now traveling, without a permanent home.  We are taking a mini sabbatical before moving to a new home, to be found, in early 2015.  Stay tuned to find out where that will be!

The Pegasus fountain, where Julie Andrews sang "Do Re Mi" with the Von Trapp children.

The Pegasus fountain, where Julie Andrews sang “Do-Re-Mi” with the Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music.

Yesterday we took the train to Salzburg from Munich.  It was a lovely, sunny day.  Salzburg is such a beautiful city!  We walked all over the city, as it is very compact. The views from the fortress on the hill are stunning! It was a great day trip from Munich, but left us wanting to go back to explore it some more…sometime in the future. One day definitely wasn’t enough!

Enchanting Venice



This past summer we spent a week in Italy as part of a three week road trip in Europe.  We used Verona as a base to see Lake Garda, Vicenza, and Venice. We had been to Venice in April 2012; but once in Venice is not enough! So we went back for a day trip.


Did you know that Venice was founded by people fleeing the invasion by Attila the Hun?  Apparently the Huns hated going near the water.  Lucky for us:)

Venice looks like a magical floating city. Venice is an archipelago of over 100 islands in the middle of a shallow lagoon, at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea.  It was built by setting wood pilings on the 118 submerged islands.  We constantly felt like we were walking around a movie set!


Typical Venetian architecture

The best way to explore Venice is to get lost in the winding streets, crossing over picturesque bridges, and watching the gondolas go by.



The alleys are narrow because the real streets of Venice are the canals The main entrances of palaces and normal houses are on the canal-side.  Like other cities, Venice also has a parking problem of its own… there are too many boats and too few docking spaces.

Nik and me

We are on one of the 400 bridges to be found in Venice! Behind us is one of the 170 canals.

The Rialto Bridge was completed in 1591. Before it was built, people scoffed at the idea of building a bridge out of stone. Apparently, the following were common sayings prior to the bridges completion: “It will be constructed when I have 3 legs” or “I’ll set myself on fire if the construction is ever completed.”  The architect had a sense of humor because today you can see two people carved in the arches of the building beside the bridge: a man with 3 legs and a woman sitting on a flaming brazier!

Rialto Bridge

Rialto Bridge

Apparently Rialto Bridge was the finish line of a race that criminals were forced to run. The race was a form of punishment and started at San Marco Square.  The local people were allowed to hit the runners with sticks, whips, rotten fruit, or anything else they decided to throw.  There is a statue of a hunchback on the bridge, and the convicts kissed the statue because they were so glad to be done with the race, having earned their freedom after enduring the punishment along the way.

When in Italy one MUST eat pizza!

When in Italy one MUST eat pizza! We had a great lunch at this restaurant by a canal.

Gondolas have been used as transport around the narrow Venetian canals for more than 10 centuries. Gondolas are iconic symbols of  Venice, and a gondola ride is a must-do on every tourist’s list…although they are very expensive!

We didn't want to pay 80+ Euros so we rode the gondola across to the other side for about 2 euros.

We didn’t want to pay 80+ euros so we rode the gondola across to the other side for about 2 euros!  April 2012

Did you know that only 3 or 4 Gondolier licenses are issued each year? Gondoliers have to undergo intensive training and pass a rigorous exam. There are only 400 licensed Gondolas operating in Venice today.


You are safe with me!

The photo below was our view from a public water bus (vaporetto); one of two main forms of public transport.  The other main form is walking!  No bicycles are allowed in any part of Venice; in fact, anyone caught on a bicycle is given a hefty fine.

The Doges Palace and San Marco Square

The Doge’s Palace and San Marco Square

Speaking of breaking the rules…not long ago, actor George Clooney got in some hot water for driving a small water taxi without the required license.  A local lawyer made a complaint and asked that the city police take action against the star. Later, when Clooney was asked about his new space thriller “Gravity”, he quipped that navigating the canals of Venice was tougher than being lost in space!

The Grand Canal

The Grand Canal

More than 150 buildings line the Grand Canal.  Most of them date from the 13th to the 18th century. The Venetian nobility spared no expense to show off their riches by building their “palazzos.”


When two buildings are joined by an arch, it indicates that both buildings were owned by the same owner.

Venice was the greatest seaport of medieval Europe. It was Europe’s main trade and cultural tie to Asia.  Marco Polo was born here!

Other famous people who were born in Venice include the famous lover Giacomo Casanova, the composer Antonio Vivaldi, and painters Titian and Tintoretto.

I wonder about the lives of the people who have lived in this flat....

I wonder about the lives of the people who have lived in this flat….

Did you know that Venice has no sewer system? Waste flows into the canals and is washed out to sea with the tides. No wonder we never noticed anyone swimming!


Next to the Doge’s palace

St. Mark is the patron saint of Venice, whose symbol is a winged lion. The lion rests its paw on an open book; the Latin inscription can be translated as: “Peace be with you Mark, my Evangelist”.

The Clock Tower

The Clock Tower

Do you know how St. Mark became the patron saint of Venice? According to legend,  a few Venice merchants in Ninth century stole the remains of St.Mark from his tomb in Alexandria, Egypt and brought it to Venice, where it is said to remain to this day.

The story (as told by William Lithgow in 1619) goes that the merchants placed the corpse in a large basket covered with herbs and pork, which Muslims wouldn’t go near. The merchants cried “pork!” if anyone came to search their cargo, and thus safely brought the remains to their ship. Shortly after they got out to sea, the ship was buffeted by a great storm.  St. Mark appeared and warned the captain to strike his sails, preventing the ship from being wrecked on hidden rocks.

The merchants delivered the remains of St. Mark to the Doge, and the local religious and civic authorities elected St. Mark as Venice’s patron saint after hearing their story.  So that is how St. Mark’s symbol of the winged lion became the logo of Venice!

April 2012: Nikolas' favorite pastime...chasing pigeons:)

San Marco Square, April 2012: Nikolas’ favorite pastime…chasing pigeons:)

San Marco Basilica is. STUNNING. It’s in my top two favorite cathedrals…the other being the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

July 2013:  Nate still loves chasing pigeons...look behind me!

San Marco Square, July 2013: Nate still loves chasing pigeons…look behind me!

The Doge’s palace was built in the late 1100’s. It was the residence of the Doge of Venice, who was the supreme leader of the Venetian Republic. The architecture is incredible. The photo below is just a teaser.  I really need to do a post just on San Marco Basilica and the Doge’s palace!

Inside the courtyard of the Doge's Palace.

Inside the courtyard of the Doge’s Palace.

Apparently Carnival started as a celebration after a military victory in 1162.  It continued until it was outlawed in 1797 by the King of Austria.  The festival of Carnival was reinstated in 1979, and now approximately 3 million visitors come to Venice every year to join in the festivities.

Tourist shops are full of masks, from cheap masks made for tourists on a budget to really expensive, exquisitely handcrafted masks.


Trinkets and souveniers

Historically, masks were not worn only for Carnival. Venetians loved to wear masks for any possible occasion.  Apparently there were many laws which specified when, where and who was allowed to walk around masked, especially for security reasons.


If someone didn’t keep up their house in one’s neighborhood it would detract from the value.  In Venice, the fading paint and peeling plaster seem to add character and charm!

City planners with a sense of humor decided that Calle del Diavolo (Devil’s Street) should intersect with  with Calle dei Preti (Priests’ Street). Apparently Calle del Diavolo, was named this way because there is a bridge at the beginning of the street which was known for its very steep and slippery steps where people would slip and fall, letting loose with some colorful expletives!


My two men:)

We spent a wonderful afternoon exploring Venice, until dusk came and we decided to head back to Verona.  It was lovely to see Venice light up as we made our way back to the train station by vaporetto.


Good night, Venice!

You can see some photos  from our 2012 trip to Venice with an interesting twist from Nate’s point of view here:


Venice is one of our top three favorite cities.  There’s just no place like it!  Be sure to put it on your bucket list!

Utah Beach

Utah Beach, July 2013

The D-Day invasion of Normandy took place on June 6th, 1944. Utah Beach was the code name for the westernmost of the Allied landing beaches. If you continued walking down the beach, you would eventually  arrive at Omaha Beach, which saw the heaviest casualties of American soldiers (dramatized in the first scene of Saving Private Ryan). It was a sobering experience to walk on this beach, to imagine the hundreds of landing craft, and to remember the brave young soldiers who risked and gave their lives on the beaches of Normandy.


I have been blessed to call this spectacular city my "home" since July 2011!

I have been blessed to call this spectacular city my “home” since July 2011!

I still have to pinch myself to believe that I live in Prague!  Can you see St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle in the top right of the photograph?  I see that out of our bedroom windows every day, from the other direction! Ordinary errands, like going to the dentist yesterday, are surreal.  I picked Nate up from school, took a bus to the metro, went by metro to Staromestka in the Old Town, then hopped a tram which took us along the Vltava River with stunning views of the castle as we passed by Charles Bridge. We got off at our stop along the river, and walked five minutes to the dentist’s office, past a beautiful 400+ year old church in a neighborhood with incredible architecture. It was an evening appointment, so after the check up we took a tram home through the city as all the lights were coming on. Prague is truly lovely…you really must put it on your bucket list!