Monday, June 2, 2014

London, Days 3 & 4

K and I have spent the last couple days kind of just meandering around. Here are some of the things we've seen:

Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park

Kensington Palace (Former home of the young Victoria)

Victoria's tribute to Albert (or as Kate said, "Austin")

Buckingham Palace

Lion King in London at the Lyceum!

Chillin' at the Somerset House on the banks of the Thames

Killer Indian food at Kahn's. Another top notch recommendation from Haley. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

London, Days 1 & 2

Our first hostel in London

Climbing to the pinnacle of London in the "Eye" 

(With Big Ben and Parliament in the background)

In front of Westminster Abbey

 The Tower of London

 Apparently Ravens are kind of a thing at the Tower? Ask wikipedia..

Eating at Nando's (one of Haley's recommendations, and it was delicious!)

Searching for "hip" records at a London record shop for an unnamed missionary in Scotland

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Beginning of Something Beautiful

If my last blog post was like one of those stretches that comes after a long, deep sleep and retirement, then this post is like one of those stretches that comes after carrying a heavy burden up an endless incline. Arched backs, deep breaths, sighs of relief. Kate and I have finally reached our first checkpoint along this steep, and often strained TFA mountain and we are so ready to stretch our legs and do some recreational walking. And those legs are taking us to Europe.

Master Calendar (May - June)

Leave Baton Rouge
Arrive in London and 9:40 AM
London Eye after lunch
Big Ben

Westminster Abbey


House of Parliament

Tower of London

National Gallery


Portobello Square

Thames River Cruise  
Hyde Park/ Kensington Gardens
Bike Rental

Globe Theatre

Buckingham Palace

Leave For Paris 6:30 PM
Louvre and around
Notre Dame and Around
Versailles and Around

Maybe Dinner by the Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower and around

Leave For cologne  5:58 PM
Go to Bonn


Leave Early
Go to Frankfurt
Zeil (Downtown)

Leave early for Heidelberg
Spend the night with Brian & Jess

Leave for Munich in the night
Mittenwald Hiking


Leave for Salzburg
Sound of Music Tour
The Alps Hiking in Berchtesgarten

Leave for Vienna
Pick up boys choir tickets

Vienna Boys Choir
Mass 9:15

Get into Budapest
Opera  house
Bike Tour
Bath Houses

Castle Walking Tour

Margaret Island
Flight leaves at 9:30 a.m.

Our route is as follows:
1) Land in London and do as the British probably don't do. We'll spend the first couple of days downtown on the river, take a cruise on the river Thames, then grab some bikes and see some parks (Hyde, Kensington) and finish with the Globe Theatre.

2) Next it'll be on to Paris mingling with the Parisians. We are splitting our 4 days between 4 locales: Versailles, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, and Le Louvre.

3) "Ze German Peeples" are next. Germany was my job to plan and -- you guessed it -- I am leaving it open for all kinds of spontaneity (which Kate called 'unplanned' makes her deservedly nervous). Some of our plans include: Cologne, Bonn, Frankfurt, Heidelberg with friends, Munich, the Alps, Dachau Concentration Camp, and the castle at Neuschwanstein. The hostel we're staying at came with high recommendations; it is apparently a huge open tent with 100 beds.

4) All kinds of Austria. We'll take a train from Munich to Salzburg, which is on the edge of Austria, and will spend a day and a half there remarking how "alive the hills are with music". We'll head up to one of the more famous Alp cities (Berchtesgarten) and hike around and enjoy the Alpen ways. Then we'll head to Vienna for a few more days and catch Catholic Mass with the Vienna Boys Choir on our way out.

5) Our last stop is in Budapest, Hungary. Why, you ask? If a giant, tourist metropolis can ever be considered as "off the beaten path", we considered Budapest to be a little "off the beaten path" compared to our other destinations. We are taking a biking tour of the city and will take a dip with the locals in a bath house.

(it felt like our duty as teachers to organize all our information into a a booklet and to have that booklet spiral bound.)

As is usually the case for those who emerge from some life-altering, stretch-you-to-the-bone kind of experience, we can't help but see life as a gift. Since school ended, any time we have to spend on ourselves or see something we've never seen before comes across to us as a beautiful gift. And I can tell Thursday is going to be the beginning of something beautiful.