Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Small Recap on Resting Day

So sorry for my absence! It has been a fun, but exhausting past 13 days. Never in my life have I gotten so little sleep. Never in my life have I been so hot for so long. Never in my life have I walked so much. Never in my life have I drank so much beer (well, maybe not). Never in my life have I wanted to cry because I am so tired.

Today, I have a long list I things that need to get done around the house, so I don't have time to post what all has been going on. I can give just a few sneak peaks though. I am sure my sister and mom are dying to know the details, but this is all I can offer so far. Patience grasshopper :)

Becca and Eric's Visit, July 18-27
one of the funniest moments in my life... Eric was super tourist taking pics of the guards from about two feet away
Passion Fruit cider.... oh.so,yummy!
dinner before our Rock of Ages show
crossing Abbey Road... like the Beatles
a prince was born! 
Visiting the Lindo Wing where the Royal Baby was born
Paris France with Family, July 27-29
Visiting the Opera
Paris in the Winter and Paris in the Summer is very different!
River Boat Dinner cruise
Eiffel Tower at night is one of the most magical things ever
La Defense (new downtown) at the Grand Arch which lines up with the Arc de Triomphe
Poor Luke had to go back to work today, while I got to sleep in... yes, I slept in this morning which rarely happens. I don't know my exact numbers, but I probably logged 65-75 miles of walking the past 13 days (5-6 miles a day) which is super brutal on the knees and calves (walking is much worse than jogging). I deserve a day off!

I hope you all have a terrific Tuesday! (is that what day it is today? I don't even know!?!!)


Monday, July 22, 2013

Welcome Seester & Brudda!

My sister (Becca) and brother-in-law (Eric) arrived last Thursday, and it has been super fun so far! They are still here and will be staying until Saturday. Currently, they are still sleeping (8am)... I may have worn them out already OR they Eric, could have already gone a little bit overboard with the ale tasting. I hope they are enjoying themselves so far :-)

Thursday Highlights:
Drinks at Blackfriars before walking to see London Eye, Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Scotland Yard.

It was windy and sunny!

Friday Highlights:
Tower Bridge
Raclette and other food tasting at Borough Market
Tower of London (castle)
Drinks at Sushi Samba at Heron Tower (38th floor)
First ride on top level of a double decker bus... Freaking out!
Dinner at The Breakfast Club Spitalfields before heading to...
The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town for drinks (underground speakeasy at The Breakfast Club)
Becca ordered a drink that came with a shot on fire that had rum soaking the second hottest pepper in the world. The tiniest sip required milk to wash it down. We all tried the rum :)
Tower Bridge at night - got to see the bridge open up.

More to come later about our weekend in Bath, UK and out visit to Stonehenge. 

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Pops!

Happy Birthday, Dad!!!
This time last year, we were celebrating your birthday just a few days before my departure to the United Kingdom. It seems like soooo long ago! But not as long as you are.... young :)

It all started with this guy right here... Grandpa Buzz.
Becca, Grandpa, me
And then many many many years later, we ran across a problem where we were all stuck behind a Christmas tree.
me, Dad, Becca
And then, we all moved to Houston and started taking these family pictures at church every year.
Dad, Mom, Becca in blue, me in pink - awesome hair and awesome clothes!
And then many years later, we took a family picture at Christmas which we don't do very often.
Dad, Mom, Becca, Me
And then it was party time in Mexico!!! And we swam in the really cold cenotes. 
And then a few months later you became a grandpa. And a few years later, that grandson of yours helped you blow out your 60th birthday candles.
And then last October, you tried to sneak your way into the Members Only Club at St. Andrews.
And a few days later, you had a wee dram at the Glenfiddich Distillery... which you choked down.
Overall, I'd say you have had some great times in your life! Or at least the ones I can recall :)
Outside of Edinburgh Castle - Dad, Mom, me, Luke
T Minus Less-Than-One-Month until you come to the land of Ales!!!!
See you then :)


Thursday, July 18, 2013

#TBT: Graduation

In honor of my sister and brother-in-law arriving in London today...
(It's not really about them, but I couldn't find any pics that were "blog appropriate" of them and me. Is that sad?)

Eric, me, Becca - May 2006
Me and Becca (she is two years older than me)

After my graduation from the University of Houston (which happened to take place on the exact same floor that I graduated high school), we all headed to my parents' lake house in Livingston for a few nights of fun! Swimming, drinks, food, drinks, boating, drinks, sleeping, drinks, rowdiness on the deck, drinks, and so on and so forth. Fun times!!!

Me and Eric (this was a little awkward for a moment - "BROTHER!!!!!!!!")

How did you celebrate your graduation from University?


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Stockholm, Sweden

Actual date of this event: 12-14 July

To be honest, I don't even know where to begin in this blog post. Do I write about what we did? Do I write about what we saw? Do I write about the things we learned? No idea! So I will just write... bear with me please :)
I could say I love it and show you millions of pictures, but none of it will portray the awesomeness that is Stockholm. When I ask Luke if there is oil business in a certain city that we are visiting, you know it's a good one! Unfortunately, there is no chance in us moving to this beautiful place for oil :( But we did discuss how when we are older, we hope to have a summer vacation home in Stockholm... so amazing! (By the way: anybody got a thesaurus because I need to learn new words for amazing, awesome, super, great, etc)
Let's get on with it... Here are some things we learned:
1.) About the Swedes - Super friendly! Love to speak English... In fact, pretty much everyone spoke English very well. Even the street vendors spoke English!
2.) Water - The tap water is deeeelicious! No point in buying bottled water because this stuff was better. No joke.
3.) Views - I can't even begin to explain the views around the city. When in Gamla Stan (Old Town), looking down and through all of the streets, all you can see is water, cliffs, and colorful buildings in the distance. Just amazing!
4.) Secluded - For most people, this is a negative, but while in the city, you really feel like you are in another world. Yeah, it's similar to Europe in general, but so much better!
5.) Colorful - Buildings are so colorful! They are also very tall, like 4-7 levels high, so you don't know what else is around you when you are walking down a street. Then all of a sudden a very unique sight pops up out of nowhere!
6.) Hilly - Most of the city isn't too too hilly (or maybe I am just used to it) but some parts are like climbing a mountain. That's okay though because the views at the top of that mountain are beautiful!
7.) Islands - Stockholm is made up of tiny little islands everywhere (called an archipelago). Given the amount of time we had, we only made it onto a few of them. It's really cool because water surrounds you whether it is the canals, lakes, or the sea. 
8.) Canal Tour - We did the Under The Bridges canal tour which was pretty expensive but it was 2 hours long, and we got to enjoy the views from the water - we both agreed it was worth the cost. It really helped reassure us that we want to live there someday :)

above: People practice rocking climbing here. We passed by a couple practicing.
9.) Group trip - Luke and I really really wish we could have enjoyed this trip with other people. If you plan to visit, I highly highly recommend you gather some of your best buds to join you! How fun would it be to wander and get lost in these narrows alleys and be obnoxious Americans!?!?

10.) Outdoor Seating - Most of the cafes, restaurants, and bars have outdoor seating. When the weather is nice, sitting on a patio with a drink is the perfect thing to do!

11.) Sun bathing - Another strange one, but the weather was PERFECT for laying out and getting in the water. All of the locals were soaking up as much sun as possible by laying out their towels on the rocks along the water with their friends. If Luke and I had known the weather was going to be the way it was, our agenda and wardrobe would have been completely different! On the other hand, apparently the water freezes up in the winter and everyone walks out onto the ice. Fun!
Luke was the creep taking pictures of half-naked people on the rocks. Haha :-)
1.) 'SPANSIVE! This is to be expected as Stockholm is part of Scandinavia. Street food for dinner... $42. Street hot dogs, two of them... $11. One large pizza... $38. Uh huh 'SPANSIVE!
2.) Darkness - Part of our awesome visit included sun galore, temperatures in the high 70's, early sunrise (3:45am) and late sunset (10pm). You can bet though in the winter, it is even worse (8:45am sunrise and 2:45pm sunset). This is why we want a SUMMER home, not a winter home :)

Here are a few other things about the city of Stockholm that we enjoyed. Just a warning, some of the pictures were taken at different times of the day since we wandered by some of them quite a few times. 

Luke and I took the Arlanda Express from the airport which was 280SEK for two people one way (~$42). We also bought a 72 hour pass to allow us on the tunnelbana (metro) as much as we wanted. The T stations were very unique. Some of them were underground and some were not. They were kinda like caves with some having artwork. They were very spacious... if only London's tube stations were as spacious!

Parliament is located on its own little island. You can walk through a courtyard in the middle. Located in Gamla Stan, it is a good introduction to the Old Town and what to expect.

The Royal Palace is located right next to Parliament in Gamla Stan. I had difficult time seeing the different between the palace and parliament because they almost blend together. We saw the changing of the guards one day (see video below). And another day we witnessed a marching band followed by some guards that paraded around the streets to the Palace.

City Hall is located in Kungsholmen located across the water from Parliament. Because we visited on a Saturday, we saw quite a few brides who were either about to get married or had just gotten married. What a beautiful backdrop for a wedding! Cool fact: City Hall is where the Nobel Prize is presented every year.

Stortorget is the oldest public square in Stockholm. When you see a picture of Stockholm, it is usually of this square due to its colorful buildings. Surprisingly, the square wasn't super packed and there weren't any street performers or music or anything. It was kinda strange. The Nobel Museum is located in this square as well.

The Vasa Museum is Stockholm's top attraction on Trip Advisor. The museum is located in Ostermalm on Djugarden. The Vasa was Sweden's "most powerful" war ship. Why the quotations? Because it was built to be the most powerful ship but after 20 minutes of sailing, it sunk in the Baltic Sea before even reaching war with Poland. So why is it famous? It sunk in 1628 and was salvaged in 1961 after almost 340 years at the bottom of the sea. It was close to one piece when it was brought up from the water. The detail on the exterior was just amazing!

 below: This is what the ship looked like in the 1600's. So colorful!!
There are quite a few churches around Stockholm. We have been in so many churches throughout our travels that we don't have a huge desire to seek them out like we used to. Since we wander around most of the time, we stumble upon them by accident. In order from top to bottom: Riddarholmen - Located in Galma Stan, it is used only for burial and commemorative purposes these days. German Church - Located in Gamla Stan, this protestant church givens the 11am Sunday service in German. The Church of Saint Clare - Located is Normmalm, this Protestant church has the tallest steeple in all of Stockholm.

We had heard about the food vendor that sold "cheap" and good Swedish food. We thought we would check it out. Well, the cheap food came out to around $42 and did not fill us up. We both got a wrap filled with herring, salad, mashed potatoes and a few other tiny things. It was "interesting". Let's just say that after a few bites, I decided I did not like it but I kept eating it because it was spansive! Luke also got a toasty topped with herring and sauce. I didn't try any but later in the evening he told me that it was better than the wrap and didn't tell me because he didn't want me to eat it all. Thanks loving hubby!

I read about the Monteliusvägen Path on WikiTravel and it was one of my favorite things we did in Stockholm. It is a bit of a hike uphill, but it is soooooo worth it especially at sunset. Luke and I missed sunset by just a few minutes, but not a big deal. We had a few beers, sat on a bench and just enjoyed looking at the city from above. The first picture below is from 10:45pm, and the two pictures of us were from around 10:15pm. The path is about a half mile long, so we walked along it and back. A must-do when in Stockholm!!

I really hope we can go back again someday. I feel the city could definitely be done with a few young kiddos... or older kiddos. It is also the type of city that you don't really need to plan for. Obviously a map is helpful, but there are free maps located on the streets and you can get one with the canal tour brochures. I highly highly suggest making this a must-see city at some point in your life!

Luke and I learned on our canal tour that moms and dads get over a year of paid maternity/paternity leave. For seriously. Can you believe that????? Oh wait, that's why stuff is so expensive.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...