Sunday, October 23, 2011

European Escapades: Venice, Italy

We flew to Venice late Sunday night....arriving at our hotel at 1am...after a taxi, then a water taxi. So TIRED!!!! We decided to sleep in Monday morning so we wouldn't kill ourselves. The hotel (Hotel Flora) was quaint and fun. We had several pictures of it, but I decided on show you HOW SMALL the elevator was! Truth? We could only ride one person with our suitcase/carryons when coming and leaving the hotel. With no luggage, the three of us could barely fit. Awesome!

We had so much fun in Venice...but since we got up late, it was already too crowded to tour St. Mark's and the Doge's Palace....but, we did get a few pictures outside.

The one thing Holly wanted to do in Venice was go to Burano. It's such a cool island with all the colorful houses! But, as we walked up to the water-bus area, we learned that they were on a 24 hours strike. Yes, the 24 hours we were there. Lovely! There was one place you could catch a water-bus, but it was on the other side of the island! Only a 25 minute walk!!! LOL Yeah, right...if you knew the way. Now, I'm a good map reader, but Venice is insane!!! Let's just say, we had a fabulous time getting lost in Venice on the way to the water-bus! it took us about an hour, but we had some fun photo ops!

Now, I must tell you the story of this picture. This lady, in the boat, with the dog...we saw her like 4 times on our journey through Venice!!! If only we'd knows she would eventually end up near the water-buses, we totally would have asked for a ride!!! 
So, we FINALLY got our tickets and onto the HOT water-bus ride to Burano...we ate lunch and roamed the streets. I just love this little island. I loved it when Heath and I went, and I loved it again this time!

When we returned to Venice, it was nearing sundown. And with the perfect light, Holly captured this amazing of our favorites of the entire trip.
We were actually on the way to the Rialto Bridge....where we got these pictures.

This last one...was right before I fell down a couple of steps on the bridge...I was quite embarrassed, and still am not sure exactly how I slipped on the marble and concrete steps! EMBARRASSING! (I was totally okay, didn't hurt at all, outside of my pride!)
We were SO tired at this point...but had to wonder through Venice to find St. Marco was just around the corner of every turn...right!?!? We walked so long, we had to find food before we got to St. Marco's! And eventually made it back to the hotel! 
Tuesday morning, we woke SUPER early so we could catch our private taxi to the train station! (we were taking the train to Florence to meet the ScrapMap group!!) This pic of me is riding through the canals of the airport!!!
Yes, you read that right...the taxi took us to the AIRPORT...we needed the train station!!! Luckily, we left SUPER early b/c of our bad luck in transportation so we had PLENTY of time to get to the station. Here we are happy when we got there!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

European Escapades: London, pt. 2

Did I mention how hot London was? When people ask how London was, my response is "hot"! Probably not a normal response, but it was my experience. 
On to Day2 in London....
We started the day by sleeping late, thank goodness!! We then took the tube to Westminster and went to the Abby for the 10am worship service. Molly wanted to hear the choir boys, so we did. I SO wish we could have taken pictures there, but sadly, we couldn't. It was much smaller than I realized. It looks lots bigger on tv. After the service, we did take some pictures around WA, like in the courtyard, etc. Here is one of my favorites:
 Then we hopped back on the tube, aka the Underground, back to Buckingham...because remember, we were trying to make the Changing of the Guard! (my #1!) I took this picture while waiting for the train. (the only one we waited for more than 1-2 minute!)
 Now, also remember how empty outside of Buckingham was on Saturday? Well, not so much on Sunday!

Holly and I couldn't get close to the fence to see anything or take pictures. There were some police on horseback telling the people walking in front of BP to "keep it moving"...there was a walking lane that we found. And, luckily, one of them told someone to move to the other end...there would be guards down there soon. So, of course, I told Holly we should go down there. AND....on the way, we discovered there were openings in the crowds, and we could see the guards!! The only problem? We had to "keep it moving" back and forth, and back and forth. We did it so many times, I'm pretty sure the police woman was laughing at us, I KNOW we were laughing at us. We would make an immediate U-turn as soon as we got to the other said of the gate. We took pictures with our super fast cameras and got several shots like this...

Truth is, I saw very little, but had a blast doing it! What I did see reminded me of a band performance during halftime at a football game! Love it! When we decided we had walked back and forth enough, we headed down to the left end of the palace. It was here we got lucky. The crowd was only 2 people deep, so we found a decent spot and within 1 minute, the people in front of us left and we were on the front row! And, within another 3-5 minutes, we saw this...

This was good enough for me...we had to get to the tour gates because we had 12:00 tix to see Kate's Dress!!! YAY!! It's so amazing that everything worked out like it did. Even though Saturday was a mess schedule-wise, we still had a good time tour London. Now, I'd love to show you an amazing picture of Kate's Dress...something like this:

But, we weren't supposed to take pictures of it. And, I, of course, didn't. But, Holly did...with a point and shoot, no flash, it was just amazingly...AWFUL!!! LOL

It looks like a ghost right!?!? But, we had a good time totally breaking the rules. And have laughed every single time we've looked at this picture. (you can also see how pretty the walls of the ballroom are!)

We also toured all the state rooms and some beautiful places in the palace.  After, we headed to Harrod's for some yummy lunch and because you HAVE to go to Harrod's! It was also fine, but I was super tired and couldn't truly appreciate it. Then we had to get back to the hotel, purchase our kids some London 2012 gear and head to the airport for our flight to Venice...what a crazy time...the taxi, the train station, the luggage, the school kids returning to school, the stinky boy sitting next to Molly. It was the worst part of the trip so far.

But, truly, when I think of London, I'll think of this...straight out of the camera...

Venice is next!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I had to share...

...this photo. I love this hat. I found one similar to it in Crested Butte, CO last summer...for $60 US!!! This one that I found at Portabello Road was only 10 pounds. I HAD to get it. Now that I think about it, I should wear it Friday. I'm not going to Thursday b/c I'll probably be sporting some Texas Rangers gear (Go Rangers!!!)

I'm just joking...It's hilarious though, right!?!? 

Here is the real hat that I bought.

I'll be back later to post about Day 2 in London...for now, I seriously need to go clean my office. Heath is hunting this weekend with his dad so I think I'll be scrapping! :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

European Escapades: London, pt. 1

It's been a week since I got back from my trip to Europe. I have a few friends who travel and like the next day, they have pictures posted and adventures blogged about! They are amazing people. I have barely recovered from my jet lag, and it hasn't helped that I have a sinus infection too! Anyway...I wanted to get going on my European Escapades!
The first weekend, Holly, Molly, and I spent in London. I had never been there before and talked them into taking me! I was so hoping it would be all rainy and cold, you know, like it supposedly is in London in October. But, NO!!! Of course, it was a 118 year heatwave in October. It was like 80-85 degrees F! That's hotter than at home. Oh well, outside of the sweating, I had a marvelous time!
We arrived at Heathrow around 3 hours late, but we were so excited...and tired!

 First thing after checking into the hotel, we visited the House of Parliament and Big Ben. Well, not really visited, but totally took the Underground to see it from the outside. It was right at sunset and just beautiful!
 After we grabbed a bit of a supper (we were STARVING), and adventuring to Picadilly Circus, Holly and Molly satisfied my NEED to visit Platform 9-3/4 from Harry Potter. It took us forever to find P9-3/4, which was actually at Platform 1--outside of Kings Cross Station!
We promptly returned to the hotel and went to sleep.

We woke up SUPER early the next morning to go to Portabello Road's Outdoor Antique Market. So fun and cool! I bought a couple of fun things: a hat, scarf, letters, etc. FUN times!

My fun is it!?!?

The #1 thing to see on my list for London was the changing of the guard. Holly researched this and learned they would only change on Saturday, not Sunday. We had to hook it over to Buckingham Palace--which was HUGE and gorgeous! Here is Molly saving our place while Holly and I were taking pictures of other stuff---like the cool taxi cabs. (please notice the LACK of any crowd.)
After we waited and waited, no guards were showing, etc., I decided I needed to investigate what was happening. Did we have the time wrong? It turns out, there was a  sign at the other end of the palace that said the guard changing was moved to Sunday! GREAT! We would somehow re-arrange our schedule to try to make it back...since it was my #1 and all.  It was then we decided to go ahead and take the tour at Buckingham b/c Holly's #1....seeing Kate's dress. (Why does she spell her name Catherine with a C, but we spell Kate with a K? Sorry, I know it's random, but it's seriously bothering me!) Guess what? We didn't get to go...the tickets were sold out for the day. So far, we aren't having a very good scheduled day! We totally had to shuffle everything we were doing on Sunday to Saturday so that we could HOPEFULLY get to see the changing of the guards and Kate's dress!
We went on to eat the WORST hamburger I've ever had in my Bag 'O Nails Pub. Worst people. WORST! Thank God for the Chips and Malt vinegar! The good news? After BON, I got to take a picture in one of the fabulous red telephone booths!
We then went on to the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge...very cool. Love this perspective of the bridge.
Oh! And I forgot this top was one of the first "copy-cat" photos. We really did this the rest of the trip with statues. We would pose in front of statues, mimicing whatever it was posed as. This is our "Underground" mimic. Awesome right?

Next was St. Paul's Cathedral (no pics were allowed--tho I do believe Holly ILLEGALLY took a picture there---no flash people. It's all good since there was no flash, seriously. right?!?!?) Did you know that inside St. Paul's there is a memorial for the US soldiers who died during WW2? Intriguing right? I'm going to research and read more about that now that I think about it again. The exciting thing that happened on the way to St. Paul's was we found a ticket broker for the Buckingham Palace tour and were able to buy tickets from there...means we didn't have to show up at BP BEFORE 8am the next day--thank God!!

We then had tea, went back to the hotel to drop off our purchases, etc. We even ate a super late dinner, and as we returned to the hotel on the tube, we got off at Baker Street to take pictures.
You see, Baker Street is where Sherlock Holmes' home is, if you will. When I was a little girl, we used to play this game 221B Baker Street. It was solving mysteries as if we were Sherlock Holmes. Every time we passed Baker Street I thought of it, and my mom...who is a sucker for a mystery! So, I had to get a picture of Sherlock's profile in honor of my mom! So fun!

Stay tuned....our final day in London will appear next!!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

I have a goal...

It's to actually blog!

First, I want to blog the trip I just got back from. I went with my mother-in-law, Molly, and sister-in-law, Holly to Italy. We went on a ScrapMap tour of Tuscany with the fabulous Ali Edwards. It was amazing. So....I have a goal of blogging some of my photos.

Second, I am SO ready for my bathroom remodel to be finished! We are so close I can taste it. I want to show you guys pictures of the remodel.  Here is the first photo to show you...We got a new door to our bathroom. If you look, there is an archway that leads to our bathroom. Since Heath works nights, he really needs to room darker so that he can sleep longer and better.
Anyway, I found this door on Pintrest MONTHS ago and knew it could be perfect for our archway issue!

Cool huh? So, we found a door-maker who would make the door to our dimensions (which are LARGE!). Today, the contractor hung our new barn door in our room. It's not the greatest picture, and as soon as the bedroom is redecorated and the bathroom totally finished, I'll post more pictures, but I'm so excited about this. I NEEDED to share this coolness with you!!