Gibraltar

Gibraltar was about an hour away from our hotel in Marbella so we hopped on the bus and headed out there for the day.  Though it’s located at the very tip of Spain, it is actually British territory.

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The Rock of Gibraltar, a limestone ridge jutting straight out of the sea, is the main landmark of Gibraltar.  We were able to see Africa from the top.

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Much of the top of the rock is a nature preserve which is home to the apes Barbary macaques.  They were a little scary, but so fun to watch.  Now the kids know what I’m talking about when I lecture them about “monkeying around”!

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These two got a little closer to the ape than I would like to be and he just happened to leave a surprise for them!  Benny thought this was so hilarious!

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This big guy was barely INCHES from crashing into me!  He came leaping through a window right as I was walking past.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt me heart beat so quickly!!! Terrifying!

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We got to witness some of them getting into trouble.  The gift shop had left a box of merchandise unattended…it didn’t take long before the “monkey business” began.  The employees did not look happy.

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There must be something tasty in here!
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The aftermath

Of course we couldn’t leave the top of the rock without taking a monkey with us.

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The main streets were quite bustling and had great shopping.  It was so refreshing to speak english without feeling guilty!

Now THIS is what I call fish n’ chips!

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…and the freshest chicken nuggets I’ve ever seen!

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It was quite a delightful day and I would definitely like to go back some day to explore more of the city and nature preserves.

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Spain: Puerto Banus

Well…It’s been almost a year since we returned from Spain and I still have yet to finish the  posts! Oh well, I just about quit the blog altogether, but figured I’ll be happy someday if I keep it up.  So here is an abbreviated version of the last few stops.

We took the catamaran to the ritzy town of Puerto Banus just down the coast from Marbella.  It is full of fancy yachts and high-end shopping.

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They were a little uneasy about sitting on the net for a while, but quickly took a liking to it.

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We found a cool little bar right on the water shaped like a pirate boat.  The kids loved the kingsize furniture.

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And we loved the kingsize drinks.  This was amazing!!

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The freshest orange juice ever!

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We didn’t stay in the town very long as it was mostly high-end  shopping.  The sun finally decided to shine and the boat ride back was wonderful. The kids loved discovering that fish like to eat Pringles.

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There’s always time for a little roughhousing.

And relaxing…

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Benny is ready to be captain.

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Yikes! I had never realized that Clara’s dress had gotten so short on her.

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Down we go!

 

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Whew! Good recovery!

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Back on land, this is what happens when anyone has to potty.  Bathrooms are impossible to find unless you are a customer.

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Slovenia

We had a long weekend for Easter so we decided to check out Slovenia.  I can see why everybody raves about it.  It’s very clean, the people are friendly, and almost everybody speaks perfect English!

Ljubljana was our first stop — and this time  didn’t get lost or drive through a pedestrian zone!  Ljubljana is charismatic and picturesque.

The Franciscan Church was beautiful inside although we busted in on an Easter service.  Whoops! I would have enjoyed watching a little, but definitely not with the kids!

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Franciscan Church of the Annunciation

I’m always a sucker for accordion street performers. He looks delighted to be there! Haha!

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We stayed at the Union Hotel which was especially nice and with Preseren Square a few steps away, the location couldn’t have been better!

Benny and Clara loved the Dragons everywhere.

Next stop was the Ljubljana Castle.  We hiked to the top of the castle towering over the city. Why we were hiking when they provided a functioning funicular was beyond me.  I wasn’t prepared for it.   I was wearing flimsy ballet flats and carried Clara the entire time! It was pretty much straight up the mountain. Benny was a trooper.

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Reaching the top made for some fantastic shots of the city.

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We had fun wandering around the grounds and looking inside the castle.  The kids loved spying for bad guys.

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After the climb back down to town we were ready for an aperitivo!

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Next stop… Lake Bled! It was about a 45 minute drive from Ljubljana.

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When we arrived we took the boat ride out to the island. The kids love any boat ride and the views are breathtaking!

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We were greeted with this staircase upon our arrival to the island.

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After the trek up, we visited the Church of the Assumption (the only place to visit on the island).  The top brought gorgeous views of the mountains, a perfect place for an appetitive, and open grassy area perfect for rough housing!

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This looks a little daunting… but there is only one way down.

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And as always…there was a lot of crying and a lot of whining!

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So long Lake Bled. We’ll be back this summer!  There is so much more here than we had time for — including sampling the famous Bled cream cake.  I won’t rest until I’ve sampled it! We’re moving on to the ski town of Kranjska Gora.

Kranjska Gora was a charming little sleepy town in the Julian Alps.

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The kids and I loved these little Easter bunnies!

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The kids enjoyed digging in what was left of the snow.

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We stayed in a small, family-run motel called Hotel Kotnik.  I think only one man was in charge of the motel and the restaurant! He stayed busy!!  They had these little wooden benched carved outside of their door.

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And for some reason, the kids decided to put their shoes away (this is definitely a first)!

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We tried this awesome dessert.  I didn’t catch the name of it, but it was sort of like a warm cream puff served with ice cream.  One between the four of us did NOT cut it.

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We spent the next day skiing.  Benjamin had his first lesson.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t much snow at the resort, but the hill was perfect for Benny.

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He was so excited to learn, but things went downhill fast when Derek tried to be his instructor.  I was fairly certain it could sour him on skiing forever.  He seemed to do much better with the actually instructor.

This is what I did while everyone was skiing… I was possibly the only one enjoying myself.

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I think Derek managed to get a few good runs in despite the fact the snow was minimal and the hill wasn’t the most exciting.  As for Benjamin … only time will tell if he’ll ever recover from his traumatic first lesson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andreis: Christmas Trees and Carvings

We visited a tiny village in the Dolomites known for it’s Christmas tree displays called Andreis.  Unknowingly, we took a  backroad to get there and with Derek not feeling well, the twists and turns were very unkind. The one lane Alpine roads are no joke.  It took us over an hour to get there and it turned out to be about 10 minutes behind Maniago!

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A playground is always a highlight!

The streets were filled with wooden carvings.

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I loved these wooden candles in planters all over the village!

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More trees…

I thought this display was adorable!

We stopped for lunch at the only small restaurant in the village.  They had the most delicious ham and cheese strudel which I believe both Derek and I have been dreaming about ever since.  We must return soon!

Beautiful village with stunning views!

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Please don’t fall through!!!

I love the look of these trees for some reason.

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We’re Off!

November 9, 2015:  We’re all packed up and ready to go! We’ve had a great summer living with Gan, but it’s time to say goodbye 😔😢😭.

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As excited as I am for this new adventure, saying goodbye never gets easier.  I will miss everyone dearly and it’s sad to think the kids will miss these years with their cousins, aunts, and uncles.   I am praying daily for Dad’s recovery 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻.

Clara was happy to have her animals and made a bed for them.

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She looks like such an angel (wish I had been this comfy).

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Both kids were happy to look at the photo album of our summer that Aunt Erica made for us.

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We had an eight hour layover in Baltimore 😧.  When we finally made it through security, we ate dinner at the one and only restaurant.  The kids were dropping quickly.

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We were supposed to board the plane around 1 AM, but it turned out to be around 2:30.  It was rough on everyone. Clara buried her head in the chairs and Benny picked strings out of his blankies.

The flight was long and painful but quiet and I think we all managed to get some sleep.  We had a two hour layover in Germany where we had to get all of our luggage, go through security again, and then board the plane.

The kids really perked up when we finally landed and made it to our room.

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Time to be silly!