Thursday, July 28, 2016

The End (Part II)

Hello, time for some catch up (again) and the end (again)! I am sitting in the Seattle airport on my way home right now! My last few days in Switzerland were wonderful. Monday was filled with another long hike that took us to the Rhine Gorge- a huge platform presented us with an incredible view of this gorge way down below us in a valley. Breathtaking. We then went to Lake Cresta and had a nice little picnic. That night we made amazing risotto for the family. Quite the treat.
The next day we left Mel's via bicycle- we went to a city about an hour away and had some lunch by a lake. Very pleasant. We then hopped a train to Zurich where Carolyn and I spent the rest of the day. Some ice cream, a long exploratory walk, and a refreshing swim in Lake Zurich was just what the doctor ordered. It's an amazing city that I plan on spending more time in next visit! Upon arrived back in Basel she and I enjoyed some delicious Turkish food...then bed. We were exhausted.
My last full day in Switzerland was spent shopping- I got sunglasses and a great new dress and Carolyn and Kurt both got new work clothes! We then spent some time doing laundry and drinking beer on the balcony with friends. That night was Basel Tattoo, a drum core performance that Basel is famous for- very fun and cute. Then I packed and slept and have been traveling all day! I'm thankful I got to come back and spend such quality time with my sister. What a lucky girl I am! Thank you for reading!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A little catch up....

Hello! (Finally). I got a little behind the last few days- it's been so busy and of course I have loved every moment. So, a little catch up! Since floating the river (that's where you last caught me), I have been to my sister's amazing garden where she grows almost everything- flowers you can eat, corn, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, plums, grapes, raspberries, blackberries, and so much more. Did I mention it's in France? Just over the border. After that, we took a train to Colmar, a little French city where we walked around, saw the sights, ate delicious flaamkuchen, had some white wine, and got a little rained on. So fantastic! It had little canals in some areas that people like to call Little Venice. That night we saw the Hula Hawaiians play live! This is apparently a big deal- this group of men have been playing since the 60's and were professionally trained in Hawaii and have played all around the world! They were very good. Some much needed rest came after that.
The next day, my sister and I explored Basel after I enjoyed a light breakfast in the Marketplace. We also went to a local museum and saw the most amazing displays- Fischeil and Weiss, both who put together large movements (like a domino affect...this tire hits this candle that lights a fire that sets this rope into motion, etc.). The other artist on display, Calder, was equally incredible, showing his metal wires that had been formed into humans that looked ready to leap right at you! Later in the day we headed to Mel's, Switzerland to be with my sister's husband's family.
We are here now and the house is wonderful- it used to be a cheese house! (Built in the 1800's.) Today we went for an amazing hike in the Alps then for a swim at a local pool (it had a slide that I definitely went down a few times). Amazing experiences with wonderful people. Til next time!

Thursday, July 21, 2016


Hello! Today was another adventurous and beautiful day with my sister. After waking up (a little startled due to not knowing where I was), I enjoyed some muesli and fruit. My sister and I then decided on a spontaneous trip to Tune, a town that's about a 1.5 hour train ride from Basel. Once there, our plan was to canoe from there to Bern, the capital of Switzerland! So, after a very enjoyable and scenic train ride, we grabbed our canoe, life jackets (safety first!), and paddles, and headed off. The water was the perfect temperature for such a hot day and the most beautiful florescent blue you can imagine! Along the way we stopped for a picnic on a beach we paddled to. Our picnic consisted of bread, apples, and cheese (the theme of my food eating continues!). Aside from one large rapid that almost caused me to be a woman overboard as my sister gave a loud, "Paddle, Janna!," the experience was amazing. And if I'm being honest, that part was incredible, too- laughter abounded. Once in Bern, we walked through Old Town and enjoyed many musicians and statues (one of those was called the baby eater... Picture below). We then found an outside cafe, enjoyed some pizza, beans, and beer, and headed back to the train for a pleasant hour ride back to Basel. We are now home and have somewhat loosely planned my week here- I am so excited for all that's happened and all to come. Until next time!

The baby eater

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Second Beginning

Hello all! It has been quite a long time! (3 years, to be exact). How amazing it feels to be here, writing in Europe again. This trip is much shorter- 7 days (minus travel time) so I will be living it up to the best of my ability! Today did not fall short of that, naturally. I endured (and enjoyed...mostly due to the people watching) 20 hours of travel across the globe. Some fun food was involved (pasta, bread, cheese, bread, meat, cheese, fruit...are you catching the theme again?!) and a lot of airport carpets were viewed. Upon arriving in Basel, my sister and I were reunited with a great embrace, hopped a bus, and immediately went to a park (my FAVORITE part about Europe, if you will remember) to have a picnic with friends and family. It included homemade quiche, cucumber salad, and some pudding, made with ingredients from my sisters's garden. Yum! Then... The adventure began- rain started drizzling down. Yes drizzling at first. I sat in it, thoroughly enjoying myself. But suddenly it was pouring. I mean it- buckets of rain were falling. Then the hail started!! My beer was suddenly iced. (Thanks, mother nature!) We ran for cover under some trees and managed for a while until it looked like we had all just walked out of the shower. We then braved a break in the storm and walked back home where a towel and shower were very welcome sights. I am already loving my time here and can't wait to share what happens next. Off to bed to work off some of this jet lag. Love to all, until next time!

Monday, August 5, 2013

The End

Sadly enough, today was my last day in Basel and in Europe- I am headed home on a plane tomorrow morning. On the bright side, I had a wonderful day to end this amazing trip. Kurt, Carolyn, and I woke up early to grab breakfast at a near by cafe. I had hot chocolate with a croissant. Yum! Carolyn and I then walked to her work (today was her first day back) and I helped her and her co-teacher begin setting up their classroom by label-making, sharpening pencils, moving furniture, etc. I had a really enjoyable time and I was so pleased to be able to see where Carolyn works! I was given lunch there which was super and right afterward, I walked home to begin packing, checking into my flight, and getting all ready to go. As soon as Carolyn and Kurt got home, we headed off for a swim in the Rhine! It was amazing! The current is strong enough to carry you down while you just float or tread water. I had so much fun. Getting out was a bit scary though... Afterward, we headed off to the best pizza in town. It's owned by Italians and boy was it delicious! We sat there for quite a long time and then headed to the river for a bit more fun where we met up with Carolyn and Kurt's friends afterward. Then we headed home and here I am! It was a lovely day.
I can't begin to explain how wonderful this trip has been- taking the long journey over here is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I feel I have grown in many ways and am so excited to see where life continues to take me. I am so looking forward to coming home- 48 days away is a very long time and I am ready for some down time in my wonderful home town. A big thanks to each of you who have read my ramblings this entire time- I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them; I would love to see each of you back home at some point in time. That's all I have for this adventure. Perhaps we will meet again during the next one. Take care!

(photo credit: Leah Kelley)
(photo credit: Leah Kelley)
I am fortunate enough to have made some incredible friends on this trip.

(photo credit: Leah Kelley)

These memories will last a lifetime.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Gift of Music

Today was another wonderful Sunday in Basel. During breakfast, Carolyn, Kurt, and I watched a summer rainstorm as it crashed down around us, complete with loud crashing thunder and huge bolts of lightening. It was incredible. We then took a walk to the park around the corner that used to be a cemetery- it was beautiful. Carolyn and I then headed across town to the botanical garden- this was incredible. It has everything you can imagine and more, including a house that basically holds a jungle (it was really hot in there!) We then walked down by the Rhine and ordered burgers and fries, enjoying the beautiful day. Afterward, we headed to a museum in town that is centered around an artist named Jean Tinguely, a man who took lots and lots of "junk" and turned it into beautiful moving machines. We spent about two hours here thoroughly enjoying ourselves. We then headed home where Carolyn gave me a bunch of her music- I am really excited to listen to it and share it with my friends. Music is one of the best gifts in the world. We then had dinner with Kurt and then biked out to the garden where I busied myself picking blackberries and raspberries. It was quite a busy day. I have loved the time I've spent here and am so glad to be sharing this incredible adventure with my sister. Until next time. Love to all.
The troll in the park! (Another boyfriend to add to the collection, obviously.)

A pretty sunflower tree in the botanical garden

Tiny little frogs outside a house in the garden!

I saved him. :)

Basel is beautiful.

One of Tinguely's works- this was moving, you just can't see that in the picture.

Another artist was also being featured in this museum- his show was called "Slow Motion." When you walked in this room, all this magnetic tape was on the ceiling. It was a strange thing to look at.

My favorite of Tinguely's pieces

Mmmm want some?!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Two Days in the Alps

Hello again! I have safely returned to Basel after two days of an amazing adventure. Carolyn, Kurt, and I traveled through Switzerland, went swimming in a lake, climbed into the Alps, (complete with a steep ride up a mountain in a bus that honked loudly around every corner, your average sketchy bridge suspended above a glacier, a rope to help climb an especially steep part, and waterfalls to occasionally fall into) and we stayed in two separate huts. It was absolutely amazing to say the least; there is no way I can explain to all of you what it was like to be where I was- I am so thankful Carolyn and Kurt planned this out so well in order for us to enjoy such an amazing time together. Both huts were quite the experience, each containing other families (one much more filled than the other) and one even supplied breakfast, dinner, and really delicious tea. I can now say that I have hiked 8 and a 1/2 hours in the Alps and I came away sweaty, hot, exhausted, and so excited. It was absolutely incredible. I have included a few pictures but Carolyn and Kurt captured a lot more special moments on their camera that I will share with some of you at a later date. Until next time. Love to all.
In the city of Lucerne, we swam in their lake.

The "Post" bus that took us to the starting point of our hike

Taken from the bus

The first waterfall encounter on our hike...amazing

Our entire hike was like this- simply beautiful

A picture of my bunk in the second cabin