Our travels began on July 21, 2009 in Brazil when we visited Bruno, our foreign exchange student (FES). This photo was taken in Rio de Janiero. Behind us is the famous mountain, Sugar Loaf. Bruno took us to a Corinthian's soccer game in San Paulo, which besides seeing Rio was one of the highlights of the trip. There is nothing as intense as a Brazilian soccer game! Drums and cheering started long before the game began and continued through until well after it ended.
Rio de Janiero, Brazil-One of the 7 New Wonders of the World- Cristo de Redentor.
August 5, 2009 - Our welcome to the EU (European Union) was during our 10 hour layover in Frankfurt Germany. We met up with Ben's family. He was a FES from Germany and a friend of Bruno's. We enjoyed a wonderful tour of Frankfurt by Ben's parents, Markus and Mary Lou. We have improved our jumping form since this photo!
August 7, 2009 - Kiev Ukraine, our new homeland. Architecture like I've never seen before!
October 15, 2009 - Adam, served as a coach for the Kiev International School boys soccer team. In our school most sport teams travel for competitions and games. The soccer team traveled to Finland and Russia this year. Below is Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, Russia. Legend has it that the architect was blinded after he completed the Cathedral so he would not be allowed to create a better masterpiece elsewhere. Sad history for such a beautiful building!
October 25, 2009 - Oslo Norway. We spent a 1 night, 2 day trip to Oslo for only $16 roundtrip airfare. Unfortunately, once you are there it is too expensive to even breathe! Oslo is the city of nakedness. They have hundreds of nude statues throughout the city.
October 27, 2009 - Venice Italy, City of Romance. I loved the smells, sounds and looks of Venice; people whistling, singing, Italian voices that sounded much like something off the God Father, ringing bell towers throughout the city, creamy gelato, cheesy calzones.... oh and so much more! Truly an amazing city.
Verona, Italy-Verona is a great little city just outside of Venice. Some of the highlights included the balcony and courtyard where Shakespeare got his inspiration for Romeo and Juliet, a colosseum from 60AD, amazing food, wine and culture. It was a great city to grab a patio table, enjoy great Italian wine, people watch, and look out at the colosseum. As we relaxed we noticed a couple of guards taking photos with tourist. We convinced them to jump with us in our photo, but unfortunately their armor must have weighed them down. We just couldn't get all of us in the air. Well ..... maybe we'll try this again in Rome.
December 22, 2009 - Krakow, Poland. Once again we found great deals on flights for our Christmas vacation. We planned to meet my parents in Spain Christmas morning. However, we managed to find a $ 30 flight to Poland which allowed for three days in Krakow before flying to Spain. Poland was a great experience for history, culture, and of course as with anywhere in Europe, architecture! We also took this opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. It was a very sobering experience and very educational.
December 24, 2009 - Barcelona, Spain. Merry Christmas! Santa gave me my parents for Christmas morning! We met my mom and dad at the airport in Barcelona at 8am on the 25th! It was perfect! I had missed my family so much and it was great to be with them again .... and in warm weather! Barcelona has to be one of my favorite cities we have visited.
December 28, 2009 - Valencia, Spain.
December 31, 2009 - Happy New Year! We spent New Year's Eve in Madrid and in the main square for the countdown. It was almost like being at Times Square on New Years! A fun new tradition we picked up in Spain was eating 12 grapes in the last 12 seconds of the year. They say if you can eat and swallow all 12 grapes before midnight then you will have a prosperous year. I didn't make it, and nor did the person standing behind me! He had his mouthful of chewed grapes and couldn't breathe, so he spit them out all over my back! Sick! Then came all the Champagne bottles. We were soaked. It was still worth it.
January 2, 2010 - Paris, France! Happy Anniversary ...... to us! January 2nd marked our 6th wedding anniversary. This was an extra special day because we were in Paris, it was our anniversary, AND Kim and Brian (my sister and her husband) traveled to Paris to see us. It was a great time, and we created many special memories as a family on this trip.
January 5, 2010 - Brussels, Belgium.
February 21, 2010 - Sharm el Sheikh and Cairo, Egypt. I love all these teacher breaks! For February break we relaxed by the Red Sea, soaked in the sun, toured the great Pyramids, and even rode a camel! It was incredible to sit on the beach of the Red Sea and read our Bibles about the parting of the sea and how Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. Reading history where it really happened.
April 2, 2009 - Prague, Czech Republic. We kicked off our Spring Break with a 15 hour layover in Prague on our way to Israel. It was the perfect amount of time to see many of the amazing sights in this beautiful city. It is the city of a thousand spires.
April 3, 2010- Jerusalem, Israel. What better place to spend the Passover and Easter holiday than in the Holy Land? Although we were tired from our 15 hour trip to Prague and had a lack of sleep we arrived in Jerusalem on Easter Sunday just in time for an Easter service at the Garden Tomb. This site is declared by Christians to be the actual place where Jesus was burried and rose again. It was an increadible start to our vacation in the Promissed Land. Below is a photo of us at the Wailing Wall, or also known as the Western Wall.
April 6, 2010- Petra, Jordan. Being so close to the Jordan border we took a one day trip to Petra. There we had many interesting cultural experiences, for only being there such a short amount of time. Upon arrival we went to a gas station where there was a man laying outside in his robe-like clothing smoking hooka, while hummus and falafel were served inside. Then at 4:30am we were awakend by a prayer call. I think the speakers for the city were situated just below the window of our hotel. But, since it was peak season the only other available room was at a place called 'Valentine Hotel', for about $20 (ummmm I'll pass)! We spent that morning at Petra, another one of the 7 Wonders of the World.
Next on the list.... well for now, it is the USA. I'm okay with that. Although traveling has been an amazing experience and we have learned so much about countries, cultures, traditions, and the beautiful world God created, we are ready for a taste of home. We will be returning home for the summer in July 2010.