Monday, July 26, 2010

Newsflash: Janay and the kids on SNEWS6

After waiting in line from 7-10am, Janay and the kids purchased some of the last tickets available to Edinburgh's world famous Military Tattoo (I was there from 7-9:30 and then left to try and purchase tickets on line).

Just before buying tickets, the Marshall clan was caught on film by Scotland's 6 o'clock news crew looking for an American tourist and some cute kids to round out their story.

Friday, July 23, 2010

July 2010 now and 10 years ago...

We found a new babysitter...
She really needs to avoid magnets
fun book finds...

crazy hat day with mommy

Aricin the Doctor
Aricin the Chef
Aricin the police officer
Aricin riding the mechanical surf board
Daddy taking on the Mechanical surf board
10am on our way to church- we saw happy people partying out their window
Fashion in Edinburgh
Rainy day at the Botanical Gardens

loving mommies boots
happy girl

story and song time with the book bug

Fun times at the National Museum
This is in the museum... Scots exude pride and will forever see themselves as separate from England.
I love walking through the Princes Street Gardens and reading the park benches like this- to me they are all individual love stories- so beautiful!

July has flown by and I can't believe we only have a few weeks left. July has been pretty wet and so me and the kids have started exploring more museums, the library, and shops.
I'm really looking forward to these next few weeks as we will be busy with festivals in town as possible visitors. The kids are doing great- Tally has started clapping and crawling. While Aricin loves playing with his friends at our toddler group on Thursdays and Fridays. He still loves the park and one of his favorite places in town is the bridge in the park where you can watch the trains below come and go from Waverly station.

10 Years Ago...
It's crazy to think that it's been 10 years since i went on Semester at Sea. 10 years! Gees. I thought it only fair to do a quick reflection on each of the spots I got to visit.

GREECE- this was where we ported our ship. Unfortunately i really didn't get to see a ton of Greece aside from Athens and sailing around the Islands. Aaron spent a month in Greece when he was in College and got to see a lot more of the islands- I'd love to return with him someday and exchange notes.

SPAIN- this was one of my favorite ports. We docked in Cadiz a southern beach town on the Mediterranean with gorgeous beaches covered in thatched Palapas. From Cadiz we took trips through the sunflower filled countryside to Sevilla and Granada. In Granada we saw the Alhambra Palace and gardens which were amazing! We also happened to be there during a festival and had a ton of fun attending the fairia with little girls running around in their polka doted flamenco dresses and little boys in their handsome bull fighting suits. Sangria was my drink of choice- I'll never forget those long warm summer nights and relaxing afternoon siestas. I'd love to return here and see some of Madrid and Barcelona, we've talked about maybe hitting it next summer.

NORWAY- Oslo reminded me of Seattle. Cruising into the Fjord we were surrounded by lush green trees and long white nights. Aside from spending way too much on food and drink. Oslo was great.We went to a Pearl Jam concert here, got to see Viking ships as well as go down into Silver mines. I loved seeing Edvard Munch's painting Scream which coincidentally was stolen a few years after we were there. My favorite spot in all of Norway was Viegland Park which was filled with amazing sculpting and lush gardens.

RUSSIA- we ported in St. Petersburg and visited the Hermitage- Catherine the Great's winter palace and home to her private art collection- this was the most amazing art museum i've ever been to. We also saw St. Basil's onion domed cathedral- which really looked surreal. We went to a circus with boxing kangaroos and even got to see the Ballet Swan Lake... sigh... We took an overnight train to Moscow and saw the Kremlin at Red Square. We bought way too many babooshka dolls and even saw a family walking their pet bear. Russia was magical and it was great to see it- I'm just not sure if we'll ever get back there.

BELGIUM- we ported in Antwerp and visited the National Zoo- yes i like Zoos. I indulged myself in way too many Belgium waffles which are sold on the streets. I also had a lot of french fries with mayo. As if that's not fatty enough we did a chocolate factory tour as well as a tour of the Hoeharden brewery. I fell in love with Brugges- a medieval town with a canal running through it. We saw the Ghent castle and enjoyed a festival at Ghent. I even ran into a friend from high school who was in Belgium visiting family- small world. And yes, i even bought a pair of wooden clogs before we left.

PORTUGAL- We ported is Lisbon which is very similar to San Francisco in that it is super hilly and has a golden gate bridge. Lisbon has a huge Christ the Redeemer statue similar to the one in Rio. Lisbon also has people movers like the ones Disneyland used to have that take people along the board walk. I took a trip to Tomar to the Knights Templar's monastery and also got to go to Fatima where there have been numerous reports of apparitions of the Virgin Mary. If we ever go back I'd love to hit up the south of Portugal and spend some time on the beaches of Lagos.

ITALY- We ported in Civitevechia and spent about 20 minutes in Pisa before spending the majority of our time in Florence and Rome. Rome was great, the Coliseum, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Forum, Vatican, Sistine Chapel- there was just soo much to see in Rome. I loved Florence- the canals running through Florence, the museums, and the bridges. We were there during a great festival with awesome concerts and venues- we made our donation and had a great time- the next day we told our tour guide where we had gone and found out the festival was actually a fundraiser for the communist party. Oops! Cheers to Mussolini i suppose. When we go back to Italy i want to go to the Island of Capri and would also like to make it to Venice.

EGYPT- We ported in Alexandria and were hit pretty head on with culture shock- We spent most of our time near the pyramids in Cairo and were even able to watch the sun come up over the pyramids and ride camels. I was with a group that flew from Cairo to Luxor to see the Valley of the Kings. All and all Egypt was amazing to see first hand. Among other silly momentos i picked up a parasite and was pretty sick for the few days following my stay.

ISRAEL- We ported in Haifa and moved to Ashdod for security purposes. We got to see Bethleham, Jerusalem, soo many spots. The highlight for me was the Dead Sea- which is soo salty that even if you try to you can't sink down. This is what we did for my 21st. Israel was amazing however given the state that it's in right now i doubt i'll ever return.

It blows me away that it's been 10 years! I'm so thankful that i got to go and for the memories we made. I've kept in close touch with a handful of friends from the trip and actually get to see two of them (Abby and Brad) quite often since they both live in Denver. They are actually planning on coming to visit us next summer in Edinburgh. I hope our kids get the same travel bug their parents have.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

London in 3 days...

Kings Cross Train Station- London
This is our new Buggy- a double decker. We sold the last one here in London.
Fans on the lawn
Nadal on the jumbo screen
We watched most of the match from a screens on court 2

David Beckham was also at the match
Murray had soo many fans, but just couldn't beat Nadal

Greenwich beach walk- London
Big Ben and Parliament Building behind us

The London Eye- rides last 30 mins
Westminster Abbey

Buckingham Palace

I love their hats
This is where we got the song "Puttin on the Ritz" stuck in our heads
stopped for an ice cream in Kensington Park
Kensington Palace Gardens
Princess Diana Pirates Playground in Kensington Park

The four Fountains at Kensington Park

Peter Pan Statue at Kensington Park

Princess Diana Memorial Fountain- it was a hot day and everyone was enjoying it
Hyde Park
Picadilly Circus

Easter Island Statue- British Museum
Ceiling of the British Museum
Dinner time- second drink over is my Pimms (Popular British summer time drink)

The Underground- you either love it or hate it
The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Natural History Museum

Tower Bridge
The Tower

We tackled and conquered London in 3 days. It was busy, crazy, fun, and exhausting.
We got up at about 5am on Friday to catch the train into London. After about 5 hours we were one stop away from our destination when our train stopped and we were told we had about three minutes to switch trains. Aaron grabbed Tally and headed out as he also had to switch the stroller at the front of the train. I grabbed Aricin and found Aaron outside the new train- he pointed to a train car and said Tally was in there and that he was going to go get the stroller. I panicked and jumped in the train and went right asking people if they had seen a baby. People got worried and i started a bit of a scene "She's lost her baby." Oh gees" i thought and decided to go left and check the next train car where i found Tally sitting up and smiling cooing with two sweet British ladies. Soon after the train started going and again i thought "Great. Aaron didn't make it on." But to my happy surprise Aaron barely made it on and found us. Whew!

We soon got to London and then jumped on the Underground to the Overground to our hotel. Aaron found a deal on a great hotel- white robes and exfoliating scrub in the bathroom. Big points from me. We dropped off our stuff and started our trek to Wimbledon. Wimbledon was amazing! The grounds are so well kept and it's almost hard to believe each of the courts are actually grass. We watched the Nadal- Murray match mostly from screens on court 2 but also from the big lawn. The kids did great and stayed quiet when they needed to. I loved people watching- the gorgous dresses and great suits- people really get dressed up to watch Tennis. It was also fun to see people drinking Pimms and people eatting the classic strawberries and cream. All and all it was amazing to actually be there. That night we headed back to Greenwich, where our hotel was and found a great park for Aricin to play in before walking along the water front and grabbing some great take away that we brought back to the room.

Saturday we started our day at the London Eye. We opted out of riding it as prices are about 18 pounds a person! It was great to see the classic London city scape of Big Ben and the Parliament building before walking across the bridge and over to Westminster Abbey and Jewel Tower. Next we walked to Buckingham Palace where they were doing the change of guard. I love the guard's in their tall cute black hats, looking so professional as they march back and forth unphased by anything. We then walked through St. James Park and stopped for a great lunch as we people watched from a patio table. Next we hopped on a double decker bus and drove by Hyde Park to Kensington Park. We found Kensington Palace and Gardens and were excited to find that they were having a children's party- Aricin got a balloon and it was fun surprise. This brought us to the Princess Diana Pirate Ship Playground- this place was AMAZING! It had a private entrance and you couldn't get in unless you're with kids. It had sand, water features, a giant pirate ship, teepees, and all kinds of little play areas for kids. Next we walked further in the park past the four fountains, the Peter Pan statue, and onto the Princess Diana memorial fountain. Kensington Park was great and I'd highly recommend it for anyone with kids. We then walked by Paddington Station home of Paddington the bear. We also walked by the Ritz and through Harrods Department store at some point- can't remember when. Much of the transportation in the city was shut down because of the Gay pride parade. Which we consequently stumbled upon along with the street party- funny thing is Aaron and I were both wearing red- the same color as all of the Gay pride t-shirts. We fit right in. Next we walked through SoHo where all the Broadway shows are and onto Picadilly Circus which was a lot like time square with all of the big electronic screens. We returned to Greenwich for an awesome dinner at a great place on the park where i tried my first Pimm's- a yummy summer British drink with fresh fruit similar to a sangria.

Sunday we found that 5 of the underground lines were shut down- uggh! It took us over 2 hours to get to the Natural History museum- bummer! But once we got there Aricin was enamored with the dinosaurs. Oh yeah did i mention we first went to Victoria and Albert's museum- this is where we had lunch in their courtyard and realized we were not at the Natural History Muesum. After all that we went to the London Bridge and Tower Bridge and got to see the Tower of London. Then we jumped on a train to head back to Edi.

All and all it was a fun weekend away. I particularly enjoyed noticing the fashion in London- everyone dresses up and the dresses were so cute! I'd equate it to the way people dress in Santa Monica or New York in the summer time. Edinburgh is probably more Denver-ish, casual and comfortable taking priority over cutting edge fashion. The kids were troopers and proved to be great travelers. We loved London and look forward to returning again maybe next summer.