Ireland

 

An added benefit to having my mom come was having a babysitter, so you know what that means. We got to enjoy a long weekend away.  Our destination: Dublin, Ireland.

 

 Blue skies, don’t let them fool you, it may rain at any moment…Beautiful Ireland

 

You know who this is right? Not the guy on the right, the one on the left?? I had no clue. But J sure did.  James Joyce is his name, a famous author, mostly known for his book Ulysses.  I think the highlight of J’s trip to Dublin was the James Joyce tour.  I didn’t have high hopes for this, but it actually turned out to be a very entertaining tour.

We’ve been told a visit to Dublin is not complete without a tour of the Guinness factory. So off we went.  It was a pretty informative tour in a beautiful old factory.

On the way out of the Guinness factory my ride was awaiting me 🙂

One day we rode the train out to Howth, a quaint little town on the peninsula.  A cute old man sat with us on the train and gave a thorough history of Ireland, even down to the signifaciance behind all the pubs.  Then on our way out of town, a local man followed us down the mountain telling us the history of Howth, which he said was heaven on earth.  We found the people of Ireland so friendly.

These nachos must be talked about.  Nachos don’t exist, in my mind, in Switzerland.  You decide.  In Switzerland we have had “Nachos” with tomato sauce, “Nachos” with no salsa?? and Nachos that arrived in a basket with no cheese? Seriously people.

So on that note and back to my glutton comment.  We needed to indulge into some Nachos. Maybe it has been too long?  Maybe we forgot what a big plate of cheese covered chips can do to you? Needless to say, after devouring such a plate of Nachos we felt disgusting, but we did get our Mexican food fix.

 

Remember those blue skies of Dublin, give it a few hours and in roll the clouds…..
Which results in a picnic getting rained on 🙂 We had a fabulous trip away, alone, a rarity these days.Thanks for holding down the fort Mom!

London

We took the older boys on a trip to London.  I could spend months in London shopping but since this trip was mainly for the boys our focus changed to entertaining them.
*And because we were having such a blast, we were horrible at taking pictures, so here you go, a bunch of iPhone pictures……

The Hard Rock Cafe vault, holding famous musicians guitars.

 

My girlfriend and I had a great time entertaining each other and scheming our next venture ideas.  I think after Julie’s first few days in Switzerland she was happy to go to London and speak English 🙂

 

 We were lucky enough to get some blue skies in London.
 The man in white photo bombed our pictures a few times, thank you sir.

Having some fun,  just like old times.

Weihnachtsmarkt

Wow, somehow time has escaped me. Don’t ask me where, I wouldn’t be able to say. But now it’s   time for low-quality-blog-catch-up.  Mainly for the sake of my family, it may only prove to be entertaining to the grandparents. So all others be warned or stop reading now.

Back in December before the cold insanely freezing weather hit, we made our way up to Freiburg Germany for a Christmas market.  Christmastime is magical in Europe. I love the markets.  They all seem to sell the same junk but sometimes great finds are found. (pictured above- don’t you want a family set?)

Now onto the food.  Not pictured was the 1 foot sausages downed by the boys. For dessert he settled for a chocolate covered apple.

He was a little more adventurous eating a dough fried surprise.  Nothing a little sugar and applesauce can’t make delicious.

Hmm, I think we will have to order another one of those dough surprises, yum!  And now for a few random shots.  This is where the low-quality blogging comes in. I could narrate them all but not today…..

 

 

Fröhliche Weihnachten!

Verona & Lake Garda

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“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?

 

Enjoying dark, creamy, Italian coco.
This little girl is so in love with her big brothers

 

The boys absolutely loved having their Aunt here. She was so great at showering then with attention.
The little Navigator – And where should we go next?
Playing following the leader…..
Ahhh, gotcha!
Lake Garda

 

This one is for you mom and dad. You would be proud to know I have a little girl just like me 🙂 When you call her name, she turns and runs…..

 

Just another castle on a Lake
The wisteria behind us was gorgeous. Wish I had a vine like that growing up my house.

 

So many flavors. Gelato is a daily snack, 1,2……..5 times…..yummy!

I have beautiful sisters.

JMT & Mt Whitney

About to embark on the JMT

The trek is underwayHiking the John Muir Trail has been high on the list for years. So when the opportunity arose, the planning began.  This trek is the result of months and months of planning.  Menus were made, exercise regimes executed, equipment accounted for, dymoxin taken, permits secured and tickets bookedThe guys have 211 miles (340 km) to hike from Yosemite Valley to Mt. Whitney, hiking around 10,000 feet in altitude the whole wayWOW, that’s exhausting just thinking about it. I am so proud of Jay for executing his dreams. 

1st Ascent -hiking Mt Whitney

Before there was the JMT there was Mt Whitney. With the completion of the JMT, this will be Jays’s 3rd time summiting Mt. Whitney, which in itself isn’t an easy task. Hiking MT Whitney is so popular there is a lottery to get a permit.

2nd Ascent- J & I hiking Mt. Whitney (no making fun of the outfit, it was FREEZING)

The 2nd time around I got to join in with the guys on the hike.  For me, hiking Whitney was the most strenuous task I’ve ever completed. I’ve run marathons and still think the 22 mile hike, with an elevation gain of 6400 feet, has a marathon beat. I think our hike was especially hard because wanted to summit before the sunrise (which we did) but this meant we had to start hiking at midnight. That was crazy in itself!

I still can’t believe that when they complete over 200 miles hiking they will have to finish climbing Mt. Whitney at 14,497 ft  (highest point in the lower 48). But what a better way to finish such a feat, with a view like no other.  I am beyond excited to hear about their experience when they are finished. Good luck guys!