Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween and Homecoming!

Yep...all in the same weekend!
I am interrupting my nearly complete documentation of our summer travels to give you some actual up-to-date blogging!
Pretty amazing huh?!

This weekend was busy and fun!
There were costumes, trick or treating, sleepovers and homecoming!

I don't do much decorating, but with a few pumpkins that grew in our garden this year, some flowers, and cheap decorations, we had a pretty cute setting for Halloween.

It was a busy night getting Hannah and her friends back and forth to a haunted house, taking Ivan and Jenelle trick or treating and stopping by Renee's for some delicious chili.

Pumpkin carving happened.
And costumes of course!
Hannah dressed up as a teenager and waited for her girlfriends to arrive for a sleepover...
 Ivan and Jenelle went with video game themed characters this year.
Jenelle is "Mario" and Ivan is "Link" from The Legend of Zelda.
It is a little sad that between Renee's and my family, we are down to only 2 out of 5 trick or treaters.
Sad but not surprising.
And actually, not really sad.
It makes me feel a bit melancholy, but I would be lying if I said that I wish trick or treating went on and on and on every year. 
I'm okay to be done when they are ready.

Hannah's friends spent the night and went home the next day to shower and clean up before coming back to prepare for their homecoming.
The girls went together and had a fantastic evening.
They are truly a wonderful group of young women!
 And the absolutely beautiful Hannah!

After pictures they went to Second Street Grill in downtown Yakima and then on to the Convention Center for the dance.
I picked them up at midnight and listened to interesting stories from the night...but mostly listening to each of them saying how much fun they had!
Great memories for ushering out October and ushering in November!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Europe 2014 - La Spezia and the Cinque Terre, Italy

This was such a wonderful part of our trip!
The beautiful Italian coast and water!
All of the landscape that we saw as we rode across the northern part of Italy was breathtaking, but this was perfect!
We stayed in a town called La Spezia.
We arrived by train and our hosts picked us up from the station.
Given the fact that they spoke about 5 words of English...and we spoke about 4 less than that of Italian, we did pretty good in communicating about our room and where we could find food and how we would get back to the train station in two days, etc.
Our room was at the top of a loooooong hill.
The market was at the bottom.
Once we bought some things for the night, I was able to cook pasta dinner in this cute little apartment.
It was extremely tiny and sweltering, but I'd go back!

They had an equally tiny balcony to hang out on.
It was small, but had great views.
We each spent our own time out on the patio.
I spent time reading and listening to a loud Italian family have a fight in a nearby apartment.
And apparently Hannah spent time watching a house burn down!

Our plan for this part of the trip was to spend the next day in an area called Cinque Terre.  It's a group of five villages on the coast of the Ligurian Sea.
We bought passes that allowed you to travel all over the area via train or trail.
We made the plan to take the train in the morning to the farthest village away which was called Monterosso.
We would start there and make our way back.
This particular village had the largest area for people who wanted to find a place to sit and hang out at the beach.
We got there in time to get what appeared to be the LAST two beach chairs!
Hot and sunny weather and chairs right by the water!
Hannah's toes!
Look at that coast line!
There's a beautiful vineyard carved into the side of the land!
View to the left...
and view to the right!

We just really hung out and relaxed here -watching the crowds gather and being thankful that we had made the choice to come early.
 photo by Hannah

After a while we decided to head toward the next village called Vernazza.
When we checked on the train, it said there was 40 minutes before the next train arrived.
So, I thought, "Hey, lets just walk the trail to the next town.  We'll probably get there faster than waiting for the train."
So, we left Monterosso...

...and took the hiking trail (in our flip flops!) to Vernazza.
It was a beautiful trail with gorgeous views.
We walked by tiny vineyards all over the place.
Beautiful plants living in the rocks.
photo by Hannah
And from several spots along the trail, we could see Vernazza.
But our little trail walk ended up taking us two hours (in our flip flops I said!!) up mostly trails that looked like this!
Just so you know, I'm not really complaining.
I realize that this was AMAZING!
At the moment...not so much...but I really could see the beauty while I was sweating and starving and slipping out of my FLIP FLOPS!!

So we finally did make it to Vernazza.
Afterwards Hannah told me that if I ever got a chance to enter the "Amazing Race"...take the train!
It's one of the more popular of the five villages and it was absolutely packed!
We were very hungry...hadn't eaten since the we looked for a place to eat.
I was out of Euros and no one took cards, so we found an ATM.
Not working.
The only ATM in the village.
Not working.

So after wandering around for a while, we took a train (yes...a train this time) back to Monterosso.
We found the ATM.
Not working.
What is going on??!!
I'm hungry!!

Apparently there was a storm coming in that was knocking out all the power to the ATM' all the villages.
Not sure how that happens, but we were feeling pretty discouraged.
Hannah had US dollars on her that we eventually took to a hotel where they exchanged them for Euros.
We head back into the center of Monterosso and found a pizza place we had seen before.
I'm telling you that food never tasted so good!
We got our own pizzas this time and I ate mine like it was my last meal!
Seriously though - that was the best pizza of all time!
Anchovies and all!!
Can't remember if I ate any of Hannah's pizza but I'm sure I wanted to!
After pizza it was time to head back to our room.
Hannah stopped for a gelato and we caught our train after a long and exhausting, but wonderful day.
We'd do it all over again just the same.

We caught a taxi the next morning to the train station in La Spezia from our little flat and started on our journey to France.
And they weren't lying about that storm.
As the rain came I thought how lucky we were to have had such a wonderful day on the Italian beaches.
Arrivederci Italy!

Prochain ArrĂȘt:  Lyon, France