North America, Europe ·
16 Days ·
59 Moments ·
26 June 2018
I've noticed that in big outside apartment rows in Europe, they'll make the doors different bright colors. I think this is so you don't confuse your apartment with someone else
25 June 2018
Blarney castle was our next stop!! We waited in a LONG line to get in to the castle, then went up a very precarious stone spiral staircase to get up to the famous Blarney Stone! Apparently, Winston Churchill kissed the Blarney Stone. Jenna kissed it, and Aunt Di kissed it. Uncle Jimmy kissed his hand and put it on the stone, but that doesn't count. I didn't even attempt, as I am a huge germaphobe and couldn't fathom something so gross as a stone people have been slobbering on for centuries. Also, in order to kiss it, you had to hold on to two poles and lower yourself down into this hole thing. Before the safety of the metal bars below the stone, one would have someone hold their ankles while they bent over backwards and hung off the side of a castle. After that... experience, we ate lunch (and I spilled Sprite all over myself). Also, the last picture in there is of something called Murder Hole, where boiling oil was poured on unsuspecting people in the lobby. Fun!
24 June 2018
On our way to Cork, we stopped in Limerick for some ice cream and to see the Shannon river. I took a picture of Mom in front of the Shannon river and I took a picture of Dad taking a picture of Phil's book store. There was a castle right by the park we were sitting in, but we sadly couldn't tour it because it was closed. While we were in the park in Limerick, Grammy thought it would be best to write a family Limerick. And here's the result:
On the river of Shannon, a castle
We couldn't get in, what a hassle!
We sat in the park
Until it got dark
And then we went home to detassle.
We drove out in our big blue VW to the Cliffs of Moher (pronounced "more")!! The visitors center had a cool museum from which we sent a digital postcard of ourselves on a green screen. We did a pretty long hike up to the top of the Cliffs, and the scenery was absolutely amazing. For the very last part of the hike where there wasn't a protective wall between us and the edge of the cliff, Zan and Jenna stayed behind with Dad watching them. There was a cute horse in the area to keep them company. After the hike, we all went down to the touristy shops built into the side of a hill by the visitors center. Zan, Jenna, Becca, Grammy and me all got handmade wife necklaces bent into the shape of our names in cursive. It took the guy 3 minutes to make a necklace from scratch, which is why we were able to get Zan's name. Overall, the view was amazing and so was lunch because they had gluten free sandwiches. Apparently, Ireland has a very large amount of people with Celiac.
23 June 2018
An afternoon of shopping with Aunt Shaun and Mom around Galway ended in me getting a little leather wallet. We all had to split up to eat dinner, and Zan went with Di, Jimmy and Jenna. So it was just Mom, Dad and I that went to this little bistro down the street. They told us we couldn't have a table until 9, and we waited at a cute outdoor seating area in the back of a hotel. We went back at 9 and we were told to wait 10 more minutes, so we went to a sweater shop and Mom bought a pashmina and I got a really soft scarf. Then, after a short sit at the bar, we finally got seated at the restaurant. Mom and I split a large order of mussels, which was in reality a large order of mussels for someone who regularly participates in mussel-eating competitions. I had had some coffee earlier that day (and iced vanilla late), and it had made me super hyper for no reason. So, it proved to be an interesting night.
Turns out the island was off limits, but we all enjoyed the walk on the bridge. It was beautiful. Zan, Jenna, Becca, Ethan and I climbed on the rocks and collected seashells, and Zan found some barnacles.
We walked through Galway, doing some shopping and such. Then, Becca suggested we walk to a lighthouse she saw on a little island just off the coast. We frolicked through a field to get there!!
Mom next to the Shannon airport sign, after which dad drove us all in a big blue van to our air b&b in Galway. I have a picture of the view outside our little balcony.
22 June 2018
Our little day trip to London included walking through St. James' Park, walking by Parliament Square and walking up to Buckingham Palace. We even got ice cream!
We took a train to London at 10:30 AM.
21 June 2018
After Versailles, Mom and I went to Le Bon Marche to find me a nice Parisian dress. We saw a dog suit. It turned out to be the 21 of June, the summer solstice, and apparently people party pretty hard on the solstice in Paris. The streets were filled with live music and partying people! We found a spot at a cafe across the street from our apartment and I discovered my new favorite drink- San Pellegrino and ginger beer with some grenadine. Delicious.
Versailles was beautiful. We didn't even see all of it. You could even rent a golf cart to drive around the park, it was so big. Mind = blown.
This is the Grand Trianon. It was absolutely huge. I would like to remind everyone that it was completely separate from the palace- it was a RETREAT HOME FOR LIGHT MEALS. It has its own park. We took a small tour of the inside. That's casual to Louis the fourteenth.
This was the Petite Trianon. The SMALL one.
We came upon a waterfall with another stone gazebo. It was really pretty. How in the WORLD was all of this thing somebody's house?!
We visited the little midlevel village within Versailles, home to the master gardener and also the farmers who supplied the royal meat. There are two pictures of carp in there, because there was SO MUCH CARP in the lake. Dad called pigeons sky carp once, and now I understand.
Marie Antionette's house was HUGE. And it was inside Versailles, about a 15 minute walk from the main palace. She had a stone gazebo and some amazing gardens outside her house. We even got to look at the kitchen in the basement, which was all stone.
There was a giant canal, where you can rent a boat and paddle, and we ate lunch at a little cafe by the water. Then, we started to walk through the gardens.
The palace of Versailles was absolutely the biggest thing I have ever seen and also the most beautiful and gigantic feat of landscaping known to man. We walked around the gardens for a whole day and didn't get to see all of it. So, Versailles was a little royal retreat, of sorts, before Louis the fourteenth, or the Sun King, came into power. He loved it there so much that he made the whole court move out there (but it was mostly a power play to ensure there wouldn't be a civil war), and he built the rest of Versailles. The palace was amazing, and we toured that first. It had a hall of mirrors, which was amazing, and a LOT of gold and ceiling paintings.
20 June 2018
After the Eiffel was Notre Dame. We didn't spend a whole lot of time in there, due to what will henceforth be referred to as the Great Zan Bathroom Emergency of 2018. But Notre Dame was beautiful. It was founded in the 11th century, which is something my brain had a little trouble comprehending, and lining the walls were little cutouts where people were buried. They kind of reminded me of dioramas, with statues and paintings depicting that person in life. I also saw a statue of Joan of Ark. She had a lot of little candles around her, which means something because it costs €2 for a candle to put somewhere. However, Jesus' shrine had the most candles. It was really pretty just to look at all of them, because they kept the cathedral dark.
The top of the tower was pretty stinky, not gonna lie. It was all metal, obviously, except for the portion that was encased in plastic windows. That part was an oven. But the view was GREAT. After we waited in the long line for the elevator to the top, we waited in a long line for the elevator to the bottom, after which I felt sick and really needed to sit down. We ended up walking to the famous restaurant that's inside the tower, and actually getting seats!! The yogurt I had was DELICIOUS. Like, the BEST YOGURT EVER. I'm not even kidding. That was some GOOD yogurt.
We waited in a HUGE line for tickets and rode the elevator up to the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower. There are three stops, or floors, one can visit- 1, 2, and the very top.
We walked from the Eiffel Tower metro stop, on the other side of the river, to the Eiffel Tower. We passed a palace called the Grand Palace (and a smaller palace just across the street) that had been converted into a museum. It was then that I realized Paris has a LOT of palaces, because almost EVERY SINGLE MONARCH AND THEIR SPOUSE built a whole other palace just for themselves. We walked across this really old, really long bridge across the river that was white with gold decorations all over it. Like, actual gold. It was wild. The part that I thought was the most wild, however, is that it's impossible to see the Eiffel Tower when you're in Paris until you get close enough to it. I thought you could see it from everywhere in the city, but I was wrong. The only time I saw it was that day.
19 June 2018
That night, I took a lovely picture of Mom on the balcony and ate a snail at the restaurant we had dinner in. It was slimy. I also had this zucchini cheese thing in addition to my fish, which was REALLY good. Zan ordered the only vegetarian thing they were serving that night, mushroom risotto, which she hated and dad took her home early. I had a great dinner, though!
We took an afternoon trip to Luxembourg Gardens. The palace in the middle of the gardens, once used for French royalty, is now used for the French parliament! The gardens were seriously HUGE. There were ponds, cafes, giant bushes and places to picnic. It was awesome.
We got ice cream after the tour and lunch at a little place close to the park where the tour ended. Then, we sat in the park and ate our ice cream. Mom, Zan and I then went to the Victor Hugo museum, located in Victor Hugo's old house. Victor wrote such classics as Les Miserables and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The pens he used to write Les Miserables were there, but we weren't allowed to see them because of some gallery reconstruction. Big bummer. But we did get to see his deathbed and the rest of his house recreated with as much authentic furniture as possible! Not all of it was actually Victor's, because lots of his stuff was auctioned off after his death. But his grandchildren did have his bed and a couple other items.
A walking tour of our neighborhood in Paris. We saw a bunch of mansions, called hotels, built by people close to kings as far back as the 12th century. We also saw some churches and learned a whole lot about how Paris was built and such.
18 June 2018
Our little apartment in Paris!
At the airport, we caught our train to Paris. The train was so nice!! There was a food car and chargers on the seats. The seats were really comfy and there were shades you could pull down in front of the windows.
We went to the Rijks Museum after we checked out of the hotel. They had some pretty famous paintings there!! It was cool to see paintings in person that I had seen pictures of in the states. After we left the museum, we walked/train-ed back to the hotel and mom had a conference call for about 10 minutes. Then we ran to catch our train to the airport, which we had a hard time finding because it was on an outside platform we hadn't seen before.
17 June 2018
On the walk home after dinner, we saw a statue with a bird on top of it, but the bird had just pooped on the statue's head. The next picture is the view outside of our hotel.
The Anne Frank House had been converted into a museum, with narrations and all. It was a very clear, controlled flow of traffic throughout a new modern structure built around the annex displaying objects and video interviews of people who knew the Franks. The bookshelf covering the annex had been partly encased in glass, securing enough space for people to walk through. The annex was essentially 2 levels with an attic. There was no furniture at all, because the Nazis took it, leaving only a few personal belongings behind. You could see pictures that Anne had glued onto the wallpaper to make the space more home-y, and even the marks on the wall Anne and Margo's mother had used to measure them while they were in hiding. All in all, the Anne Frank Museum was good to see in order to visualize what Anne was talking about in her book.
Without Mom (because she was sick with some kind of stomach virus), Aunt Shaun, Becca, Ethan and I went on a biking adventure while Dad, Zan, Grammy and Grandpa went to the NEMO science museum! I think we biked about 10-15 miles in a tour of the Dutch countryside (which is only about 10 minutes biking from the city)!! We passed cows, sheep (which Aunt Shaun later said were "unkempt"), old churches and small towns which were absolutely adorable. After the tour, we walked most of the way to the next place we were all going, the Anne Frank House, and had a drink. I had ginger ale, everybody else had alcohol. Gross. We walked around a bit more and went into some shops.
16 June 2018
For dinner, we are at a Chinese restaurant located ON the water (in a boat thing). It was absolutely delicious, although Mom felt a little under the weather and toward the end. On the walk back to the train station to go to the hotel, I took some pictures of the sunset and of the train station.
We walked around a lot for the rest of the day. I saw a strange multicolored building, and we visited a cheese store!!! There was a LOT of cheese in there. We all bought some cheese in there. We made our way to the Amsterdam town center, called Dam Square. Inside Dam Square there's an old royal palace, what I assume to be a Parlament building, a Madame Tussaud's, the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, a big statue in the middle, lots of other important stores, and an entire hierarchy of pigeons. The pigeons were ruthless.
We used a hop-on hop-off boat to explore Amsterdam through the many, many canals zigzagging within the city. Apparently, there is as much water in Amsterdam as there is in Venice! We sat right across from a couple from California and a German lady who knew a little English- enough to tell us that this was her first time in Amsterdam and that she was from a very small town right next to the Swiss border. We hopped off of the boat at an amazingly beautiful and busy park, in which we ate lunch and found a lot of red roses.
15 June 2018
Today, we traveled for 7 hours from Baumholder to AMSTERDAM!!!!! I even got to see Hamburg from the train. Lots of old, beautiful cathedrals. The hotel we're staying at is called the Meininger! It's a hostel-style place with a REALLY cool lobby. And it's really close to the train station, so we're all set for our 3 day stay!
14 June 2018
We all visited the house of the people Grammy stayed with right after Mom and Aunt Shaun were born. We met them, and they made us the biggest lunch I have ever had. Mom and Aunt Shaun lived there for the first 6 months of their lives while Grandpa Dick was stationed in Baumholder. It was really cool to put some faces to some names and watch mom and Shaun meet the people who took care of them when they were very small. Apparently, Grammy has been sending them pictures of all of us since she left, and they have a photo book. The place where they live is so beautiful, too.
Aunt Shaun, Mom, Zan, Ethan and I embarked on a morning walk to a lake our landlady, Gundi, told us about. We followed her (somewhat vague) directions to a beautiful park!
This morning Ethan, Aunt Shaun and I went breakfast- hunting!! We walked around for an hour trying to find a grocery store. Eventually, we got to small little bakery and bought a TON of bread stuff (which I couldn't eat) and chocolate milk for Zan (which I could drink and I was hungry, so I did). Finally, I looked up grocery stores on my phone and apparently we had JUST MISSED one about half an hour earlier. So, we walked on back and got cheese, Nutella, eggs, French fries in a bag, peaches, meats, and sliced bread. I saw a ton of stuff from my German class unit on food and markets in action!
13 June 2018
We took the train and a taxi to Baumholder after failing to find the air b&b we reserved in Friesen. Long story short, all of us are staying at a 3-bedroom apartment called "The Quilt Inn". Baumholder is a military town (where grandpa dick stayed while he was stationed in Germany). We ate at a place with good Schnitzel and are ready for bed.
The last place we went in Trier was a roman "guard tower" that existed on the city border to intimidate passers-by. A swirling staircase built in to the ruins let us climb from floor to floor.
On our way to the next Roman ruin, we passed through a park with a palace that belonged to German dignitaries in the Middle Ages.
We visited some roman ruins- a bathhouse right in the middle of Trier. After a bit we discovered there were TUNNELS underneath the whole thing!! Despite the school field trip children running wild, we were able to enjoy the dark, ancient tunnels. Apparently, Trier was the capital of an entire roman state.
12 June 2018
Our hotel in Trier
Here was dinner for Mom and I- some mashed potatoes with sour kraut mixed in, mustard on a lettuce leaf and a bratwurst. I am pretty sure the bratwurst wasn't gluten-free, but the couple of bites I had were very, very good. I expect to be paying for that sometime in the near future :(
After a long nap upon reaching the hotel, we headed out for some dinner (it felt like it should have been breakfast). We walked through a lovely place I believe was called the town center, where old buildings lines the streets and there were very little cars. The photography opportunities were amazing.
Because I threw up and did NOT want to take another moving vehicle to the hotel, Grammy and Grandpa took Zan on a taxi while Mom and Dad agreed to walk 1.3 miles with me. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!!) On the way, we walked through a really cool park as well as some graffitied tunnels below some busy streets.
Waiting for the bus to Trier Situation to get figured out- we lost our Eurail passes for a while, then the credit cards were denied. Long story short, we spent a LONG TIME on a bus and the second I got out I threw up. Not fun.
Plane ride took about 8 hours. We were served dinner and breakfast (the majority of which I could not eat because one was supposed to call ahead and ask for gluten-free meals). I watched 2 movies and then tried to fall asleep. I was unsuccessful. We landed in Frankfurt at 7:50 AM local time, or 1:50 AM Nebraska time.
Zan had a cookie, I had a CRAZY Shirley Temple.
Landed in Philly!
A moss wall in the hotel. It's alive!!!!
A... fork? 🍴
Zan found the bath robes!
10 June 2018
We've made it to Chicago! Our hotel is called Loews, and it's a 6-minute shuttle ride from the airport. Check-in line is LONG
Dad says it was the longest landing he's ever been on- 40 minutes above Chicago!
The first flight's pictures from the air! ☁️
At the Omaha Airport, taking a quick Sudoku break after some (greasy) mac & cheese.
Flight delayed from 7:09 to 7:50.