11.27.2011

Basil in Basel

Basil has nothing to do with Basel or this post. It just worked and I'm not feeling very creative. Go with it!

It's Sunday evening and I'm gearing up for the week back to school. Thanksgiving was a treat. We were with Bryan's fam. 12 people in one house - that's a lot of family love. It was actually Thanksmas for us. We celebrated both because we won't be together for Christmas.

The hubs is in Africa for two weeks. I like being by myself and getting Cold Stone ice cream whenever I want, but goodness I'm missing him. He definitely makes life fun. I'm exited to hear how God is going to use him and his team to serve the people of Nairobi. 


While he's gone, I'm going to remodel my basement. Okay, not really but this is going to be done soon. I am going to finish Europe blogs though...


After Venice we set off for Basel, Switzerland. Basel is located in the North part of Switzerland right by the Rhine River and minutes from Germany and France. We stayed with Fred and Christina who are the parents of a woman we go to church with. I am so thankful we were able to connect with people over in Europe. It definitely made those places so much sweeter and it was great to make new friends!


Fred and Christina have a separate, awesome guest quarter in their house and we stayed there.
The corner room is the guest quarter.


That first morning, I woke up and went on a run through the Swiss countryside. It was one of the best runs I've ever had. The scenery was breathtaking and it was a perfectly sunny day. Christina made a great lunch for us which we enjoyed with her, Fred, and their son Andreas and included: egg noodles and meatballs, salad, fresh bread, and cranberry sauce. 
Taken with my iPhone on my running path. Mountains in the distance.
The view from Fred and Christina's home.

Their home was gorgeous and they had a saweet IKEA kitchen.


The rest of the day was spent touring Basel. Fred and Christina took us to Dreiländereck. This means Three Countries' Corner and is literally where Switzerland, France, and Germany all meet. We walked in a circle and went through three countries...kind of like Four Corners. From there, we went down to the Rhine River and we took a ferry across to see some extremely old, historic buildings. Many dated back to 1200 and 1300. America is still such a baby nation compared to other parts of the world.

Fred and Christina took us to Les Trois Rois which is the Three Kings Hotel, for coffee. It's a five-star hotel. I think Bryan and I felt like the Beverly Hillbilly's it was so fancy. We had such a wonderful time getting to to know Fred and Christina. They are so passionate about their faith and their ministry and it was refreshing to hear how God is moving in Basel.

The ferry...really cool because it's completely powered by the current.
Our Ferryman. Really cool because he's completely powered by his colors. Taste the Rainbow.
Postcard.

Basel City Hall. In old times, if someone broke a law they stood here and passerbyers made snarky comments to them. I think we should start this again with children. Yes? Anybody?
Lovely



From the hotel, we walked through downtown Basel a little more. Fred is/was a professional tennis player. Like, he's kind of a big deal. He showed us where he grew up playing tennis at TC Old Boys which is where he won his first national championship and went professional and also where Roger Federer grew up playing. Fred knows Roger. For reals. 




On our last day in Basel, Bryan woke up early to play tennis with Fred. He came back very sweaty so I think Fred worked him pretty hard, haha. I went on a rainy, yet gorgeous run and Bryan and I headed downtown to do some shopping. Mostly, everything was woah expensive, but we did go to H&M and and I got a dress. We also bought some swiss chocolate and cheese, of course.


When we got back to the house, Fred and Christina were gone so we went on a walk and came upon a fun park with a zip-line and a farm with cows. moo. 



Apparently zip-lines make him feel barbaric. Please appreciate his mullet tuft blowing in the wind.

Our walk was so nice and when we got back, Christina made us pumpkin soup. It was so indescribably delicious my mouth is watering just thinking of it. Then we said our goodbyes and Fred took us to the train station. He prayed over Bryan and I and we felt so incredibly blessed to have gotten the chance to know Fred and Christina. Basel was perfect and we are dying to go back.

Our new friends and hosts. Thank you so much!



11.23.2011

Picnics in Venice

Hello World! Let's hear it for Thanksgiving break and no school. I'm thankful that I'm more than halfway done blogging Europe. Don't get me wrong, I will love to look back on these when they are all posted, but it will be nice to move on to a new subject.

From Rome, we were off to Venice for a night and short day. Because we had such awesome weather in Rome, we expected Venice to be similar. Alas, this was not the case. We got off the train to heavy rain and cold! 
The view of Venice right outside the train station
We didn't actually stay in Venice because that place is ridonkulously (it's my blog, I can make up words if I want too) expensive. Their economy relies entirely on tourism.  Instead, we stayed inland in a town called Mogliano Veneto. Our hotel there was supa nice.  

Since it was already mid afternoon and cold and wet outside, we decided to enjoy our room and stay in for the rest of the day. We went to a small grocery store and bought some food and had a picnic on our bed. 
Thank goodness Italians created Nutella. We may have eaten the jar in 3 days.

At one point in our evening, we went and walked through Mogliano Veneto. 
Okay, so interruption for some background information. Right before we left Paris for Italy, Amanda Knox was released. I wouldn't say we were worried but we were being more cautious. So as we are walking through town, we pass by a store with a scary scene. A man was on the ground bent over something. We realized it was an American Flag and he was writing profanities all over it. Now perhaps this had absolutely nothing to do with the Amanda Knox thing, but that's immediately what came to my mind. Bryan and I both looked at each other, stopped talking, and kept walking.
It was frightening and it kind of upset me that other countries hate America so much. 


The next morning we packed our things and headed into Venice. Our train for Switzerland was leaving at 5:00 that evening so we had the day to see it all. We intended to get lockers at the train station, but the line was SO long that we decided to carry them around instead of lose precious time. Good decision for the sake of time, bad for our backs. 


A boat ride took us to San Marco's Square and from there we enjoyed walking through the streets of Venice. I say "streets," but they're only as wide as a hallway. For a late lunch, we picked an open square that had a small restaurant. To be honest, the food was good, but not anything special. I think that since tourism is all Venice is, the locals don't really care about giving good service, because they know that there will always be more tourists. We were just two of many.


There were SO many people in the square. Including monks.

No gondola ride for us. 80 Euros, I think not. I would rather spend that money on more food. Food always wins :)

Bryan was a much better sport about carrying his bags around. I whined a lot. What's new?
Lunch.



After lunch, I HAD to get gelato one more time before we left Italy. Even though lunch was just okay, the gelato was the BEST I've had.





And that was Venice. We were pretty amazed that the city is literally on water. It was neat.


Okay, that really is all of Venice and I am walking out the door to go to KC for Thanksgiving. 
Gobble Gobble.



11.13.2011

Is it the braid?

Eighth graders are so many things. Moody, cheesy, awkward, self-centered, child-like, growing up too fast, and still at the age where their teachers could be cool, maybe.

Above all else, they are honest. Brutally honest.

I wore this outfit sometime this week:

I look angry, sorry about that.

Okay so the reason for this post is that I received numerous comments about this outfit.

4th hour: Mrs. Dunham, you look like a modern Sacagawea.
5th hour: Mrs. Dunham, you look like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz
6th hour: Mrs. Dunham, you look like Amelia Earhart. 

Really? Is it the braid? You can't get more pasty-white than me this time of year, so I'm thinking Sacagawea is out. The other two just blow my mind.
Not really tracking with you guys, but thanks...?

Anyways, I post this not to fish for compliments on my apparent wardrobe malfunction -- I kind of have my own style -- but to show a glimpse into how I never know what to expect when I go to work each day.

Perhaps I will wear this outfit to something else and I will channel my Native American, no-place-like-home, flying high awesomness while thinking of my honest, but well-meaning eighth graders.

11.12.2011

My Little Blonde Boy - Roma Part 2

Saturday mornings are my FAV. I love sleeping in so much I start looking forward to it around Tuesday Monday. I also try to get stuff done on Saturdays. Blogging is one among many on the list today. I haven't felt like blogging much but I have.to.finish Europe. 

Our second day in Rome was just as full as the first. And included more walking if that is possible. We grabbed breakfast at a bakery and set out for the COLOSSEUM. We are both history-nerds so our excitement level was topping the charts. It was a lovely walk through a park with my favorite trees :)



First Glimpse.
Handsome man. His hair was getting long. First think to do back in the states: haircut
There really aren't adequate adjectives (did you like that alliteration?) to describe the Colosseum. We wandered around for a long while just soaking it in and trying to imagine everything that once occurred there. 
If you ever to go Rome, pay for a tour of the Colosseum. We didn't :( and wish we would have because although we learned a lot on our own, we could hear snippets of tours around us and the guides knew everything about everything.  


The partial floor/platform is rebuilt but that's where the original platform was and stretched across the whole bottom
I just liked both of these pictures. Love my fabric-scrap scarf from my momma!
Afterwards, we enjoyed walking through the park so much that we decided to go back and just relax for a while. Like I said in a previous post, people watching in Europe is superb. We started to notice a lot of women with babies/toddlers. And none of the children looked like their "mothers." And some of the women were noticeably older. And then a light bulb went off: Nanny Park. 

We were in -- what we dubbed -- Nanny Park. It was confirmed when a mom showed up to get her kid. She looked fancy. And proceeded to let her nanny get her kid packed up in a stroller and also let her nanny push the kid while she walked along chatting on her phone. 

More Trees <3
Nannies. Please look closely. Or don't if you are eating. hah!
Oh Nanny Park, you did not disappoint in the people-watching department. 
At this point, we went to check into our 2nd room. We had to switch the second night because our lovely flat was already booked. So sad. But I liked this one too, and it had a balcony. Score. 


In the late-afternoon, we went to the Bone Church. A long time ago, monks decided to decorate with bones of fellow monks when they died. How thoughtful. When we got there, we were told no pictures (boo) by the lady at the door who called Bryan "a little blonde boy" somewhat seductively. Always the ladies man. 
Go here to see pictures. I would say fascinating, morbid, and really gross sum it up nicely.

The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering around Rome and taking pictures. Then it was then dinner time. And we wanted an Italian meal. Like pasta and bread. So we went back to the Pantheon Square and ate at Di Renzio. Bry got spaghetti and I got Ravioli. 
And get this, we also got toasted pita bread. I asked for some marinara for dipping. Our waiter (who reminded me of the wedding planner from Father of the Bride), brought us mayonnaise. A huge multi-tablespoon serving of mayonnaise. He told us it was very very good. And we were like ummm, pass. It was hilarious. Apparently marinara is an American thing...or something. 




Blurry, but our yumo mayo.
And then it was pretty much time to say goodbye to Roma and go catch some shut-eye. We did snap a few more fotos. 
I in no way attempt to be a photographer nor claim to take good pictures. Except for this one. Favorite pic of the whole trip. No editing. Just sweet lighting. 


Only three more stops to go!