Friday, December 3, 2010


Well we are back home, in our own home, our own bed! Yes we are happy about that!  We will miss Europe, and the life we had there, but its good to be back among family and friends here at home!

Hmm ... let's see what is left to say really... I think we were still in Austria at my last post, we were heading out the next day for Vienna and back to Amsterdam.

We didn't spend too much time in Vienna, the wind had picked up, and it was bitterly cold, for the lack of winter clothing we were wearing.  We checked out one of the Christmas street markets they had set up, but didn't see anything worth purchasing really, other then a nice silver ring for Aaron.  He wanted this, but it was out of my budget!

We left Vienna at around 7am, which meant a 4am wake up call, so we headed back to the hotel early, had some dinner and crashed into a semi comfortable bed.

The Thursday we got back into Amsterdam was Thanksgiving Day here in the States, so I went out and bought some nice steaks, potatoes and veggies, and that is what we had for dinner.  :) A not-so typical Thanksgiving dinner! :)

We didn't do much on our last weekend in Amsterdam, it was cold and threatening to snow, so we finished the packing and cleaned up the apartment, putting things back to rights.

We left Amsterdam Monday morning, and it was a loooong flight back home.  But isn't that they way?  When you are looking forward to something with anticipation, it takes forever to come!

One last shot of the Netherlands as we leave ...

 Some shots of the clouds as we were flying home ...

The balance of the pictures can be found here.

If you want to keep up with our regular life, you can check out our other blog,, but we don't update that one too often.


Friday, November 26, 2010


Last week my laptop was at the Mac shop getting diagnosed ... it is sick, but we're still not sure how badly, we're waiting to see a specialist in the States ... ;)  I didn't go out and do too much, as the weather is turning colder, and we didn't really bring winter type clothing along!

I do have some more canal pictures from Friday, when I was picking up my laptop.

Turns out I was near the Westerkerk as well ...

And the Anne Frank house, but I was running short on time, so I couldn't go see it.

Sunday morning we left bright and early ... well dark and early I guess, the taxi picked us up at 5am, since the trains weren't running yet, and took us down to Schiphol for our flight to Austria! :)

Once we landed in Vienna and got our rental car we headed to the town of Graz to meet up with a friend of Aaron's.  Him and his girlfriend treated us to a homemade lunch of wiener schnitzel and apple strudel.  Oh so yummy! :)  We sat around and talked, letting the guys catch up abit and then we headed into the old city center and explored.  It was beautiful there.  The Christmas decorations are all up, and a series of booths selling homemade items were set up as well, selling everything from candles, to candy, to knitted scarves, all the way down to knick knacks and wines.

They also had lights reflecting onto the buildings in different patterns, it was very cool.  Both figuratively and literally! :)  The temperature was dropping, close to about 4C (38F).

This bakery has been there since 1569!

Monday I walked into downtown Linz to check out the Christmas Market they were having.  It wasn't as good as Graz, which was sad since I couldn't buy anything the night before.  I decided to take the train up to Postlingberg, which is the "ritzy" area of Linz.  There really wasn't anything there, but it did give me some nice views of the city and surrounding hills.

Danube River

that's Postlingberg at the top of the hill

WWI & WWII Memorial

Downtown Linz
Well, that's it folks ... we are down to our last few days here in Amsterdam.  I've pretty much got the place packed up again, and ready to go.  We leave here on Monday at 10:30 am and get into Portland at 12:00 noon ... gonna be a looooong day!

Here's the complete album from the last couple of weeks.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Two more weeks ...

Well we are back from Italy (as I'm sure you all have realized by now) and counting down the days till we head back to our home in the States.

Before we leave though, we are heading to Austria for four days. We are flying out early Sunday the 21st and returning early Thursday the 24th. While we are in Austria we are going to visit Hungary and Slovakia. Which will bring our total country count to 10! :)

I haven't gone out much in the last week since we've been back from Italy, its been really windy and rainy, which doesn't lend itself to taking pictures really! This week is supposed to be chilly, but sunny/cloudy mostly, so I'm hoping to get out and do somethings yet. Not sure if there will be pictures taken or not, but I'll be hitting the street market one last time for a few gifts, as well as the floating flower market downtown. Also I have to fit in packing up this week and cleaning the apartment too. Hopefully my knees will allow that all to happen, they have been quite sore lately, and I'm not sure why.

I'm sure I'll post while we are in Austria, or when we get back to Amsterdam before we head out for the US on the 29th!

See most of you in two weeks!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Italy #2

Friday we did set off for Siena.  Even though we took the highway there, it was still beautiful.

It was foggy in the morning, but it burned off by about 10:30.  It was so beautiful to see.

We didn't spend too much time in Siena though, since it is a larger city and we just weren't really in the mood for that.  Aaron had researched restaurants and we went to one that has been in the same family for 4 generations.  Right now the Mother cooks the food with the help of an sister, and the Father and daughter do the serving and clearing.  It was a fun place, with really great food.

If you are ever in Siena, look up Osteria Nonna Gina.

We asked the waitress (daughter) about wine tastings and places she likes to go around there for that, and she sent us to the little town of Asciano.  The town wasn't that great itself, but the drive there was absolutely wonderful!

Saturday we headed back into Cortona in the daylight, since the other time we had been there it was evening and dark.  We got into town just about noon, when the street market was closing up.  I was able to pick up an Italian leather purse and some scarves before they shut down completely though.

We then headed into a little wine bar (recommended by our B&B host) and tasted some very yummy wines with meats and cheeses.  We ended by having an even more yummy dessert wine with an oh so good chocolate fudge/cake. MMMMM

Once again trying to get a picture of the castle on the hill above our B&B

Sunday we had to head back to Amsterdam. We miss Italy.  We really enjoyed our week there, and wish that we could stay for longer.  We will be back.

The whole group of pictures from the week is located here in the folder, Under The Tuscan Sun.


Friday, November 5, 2010


Well we are here...  Internet connection is a bit slow, since it is over a satellite connection, but we shall see how uploading of photo's goes tonight, otherwise, I'll do them in the morning, it seems to be faster then!

We arrived here on Monday afternoon, after a mostly bumpy, cramped flight from Amsterdam to Florence. Florence Airport arrivals is about the size of a dime.  We got off the plane on the tarmac and took a bus to the arrivals area, since it was pouring rain.  We then went and got our car, which is the tiniest thing I've ever ridden in!  A Fiat 500.

We then headed off into the crazy driving world of Italy, and took off towards our destination town of Castiglion Fiorentino.  We met up with our B&B hostess at the train station, since she lives in the middle of the country, on unnamed roads that GPs wouldn't locate.

The view from our front door.

The little town we are just outside of:

The castle up the hill from our B&B: (very dark picture ... sorry!)

Tuesday we went to:
Lago Trasimeno (a town and lake):


Wednesday we went to:
we walked from the right hand side of this photo, to the left and back... uphills in some cases both ways!  

Thursday we went to Pisa and the coast of the Ligurian Sea (which is the northern part of the Mediterranean Sea.

Today (Friday) we aren't sure where we are going just yet.  Siena is on our list yet, so possibly there.

Enjoy the pictures! :)