31 days

31 Days-Day 4-Learn

A water taxi in Venice.

A water taxi in Venice.

When I learned we would be going to Venice, Italy on our tour with Globus Tours, I really didn’t know what to look forward to.  I’d heard of the carnivals and gondola rides before.  Upon entering this wonderful place, the lessons began immediately. 

I learned of a new way to travel.  We entered the city by private water taxi.  It was a wooden boat that looked like a coveted antique.  How we could have entered in any more style is completely unknown to me.

Gondola ride in Venice, Italy

Gondola ride in Venice, Italy

I learned that we can (almost) walk on water; okay, not really!  The city is built on water and is an island off the coast of Italy.  There are small drains throughout the walkways in the city, thus water can seep in during high tide.  One evening while we were there the sea level rose so much that everyone who returned to our hotel was soaked from the knees down.  Flooding like this was very unexpected for this time of year.

Venice, Italy 2014

Venice, Italy 2014

I learned that Venice is rich in history.  It was established between 400-500 A.D. and the canals that run throughout the city developed over many years.

Making Carnival masks.

Making Carnival masks.

I learned how to make a carnival mask.  One of the best things we did while we were there (other than eating the wonderful food) was to make carnival masks.  The young lady told us of the rich history of carnival masks and how they would use this as a means of courting, or for just plain being mischievous. 

St. Mark's Clocktower, Venice, Italy

St. Mark’s Clocktower, Venice, Italy

Going to the top of the clock tower provided for some amazing photos around Venice. 

A view of Venice from St. Mark's Clocktower.

A view of Venice from St. Mark’s Clocktower.

31 Days-Day 3-New

Note:  Soon after I committed to 31 Days, I accepted a long-term sub position.  Wow…I guess I thought I’d have time to write, but that didn’t happen.  The sub position as now ended and I’m back on my 31 Days journey.  I will eventually finish this!

A New Day on Crystal Beach, Texas

A New Day on Crystal Beach, Texas

There’s something about a new day dawning.  I originally said I was going to write about “been there, done that” in my travels for this 31 days and the above photo was taken at Crystal Beach, Texas, the beach I’ve visited since childhood.  I have to make a slight adjustment for today’s five-minute Friday word:  New.  What each new day brings is simply wonderful.  The freshness of a sunrise.  Fresh dew on the ground.  A crispness of the morning—even in Southeast (muggy) Texas, it can take your breath away. 

New beginnings are one of my favorite things.  A new day, a new week, a new month or year.  A chance to start anew is always a welcome experience.  A new project, or simply starting over.  A blank piece of paper can speak volumes to one who loves to create.  A blank, new canvas can enwrap an artist like nothing else.  I love traveling so much because I love to learn of new places.

A newborn babe.

A newborn babe.

Speaking of things new…we are also told to come to the Father as a child, a newborn babe in Christ.  Once we are saved by God’s grace, we are to begin again.  The old has passed away, the new has begun.  Praise God for new beginnings!  We can hold confidence in the fact that God allows do-overs because He is able to make all things new.

31 Days – Day 2 – View

View of the mountains as we travelled through Switzerland 2014

View of the mountains as we travelled through Switzerland 2014

 

What is your view of your vacation destinations?  When I think of Switzerland, I see images like those in “The Sound of Music”.  I think of a majestic mountain views and cows with bells around their necks.  This summer I saw just that and more while traveling through the Swiss Alps with our Globus Tour.

The information from our tour guide gave me a view of the Swiss in which I wasn’t familiar.  They appear to be seen as a very protected country—protective of their land, their people and their security.  I think I’ll run to Switzerland if the security of the US should every be in question.  Every Swiss male is required to serve time in the military after high school and also are required to serve two weeks a year in what is much like our Reserves.  There is a gun for national protection in every household. They are a very loyal people when it comes to security and protection and it is for this reason that they are among the only ones to be guards of the Vatican.

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The day we were traveling through Switzerland, the temperatures began in the 60s and quickly fell to the 50s as we arrived in Zermatt and again fell to the 30s as we neared the top of Gornergrat by cog railway.  It was a foggy day so we didn’t get a good view of the Matterhorn, but it was all beautiful none-the-less.  We enjoyed hot chocolate and shopped for some Swiss made gear—who doesn’t like a Swiss knife? 

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Upon my arrival in Switzerland, I imagined souvenirs like dolls in plaid dresses and chocolate, and I came away from there with a view of a protected fortress and some of the best craftsmen in the world.  This is a place I hope to return to one day.

31 Days of Been There, Done That

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Today starts a challenge by 5-Minute Friday and The Nester to write a blog post every day for 31 days in October.  The 5-Minute Friday page goes even further to encourage us to write each post in just five minutes.  I gladly accept the challenge and will be writing my posts entitled “31 Days of Been There, Done That”.  On each post I will have pictures from our travels, highlight a specific place each day, and each post will be written in precisely five minutes.  One reason writing for just five minutes attracts me is because I figure if you’re going to tell someone about a neat place you’ve visited, you’ll give them your best impression within the first five minutes.  So here goes…

Our most recent vacation was this past summer when we took our family on an 11-day family tour with Globus Travels to Europe.  This is a tour that is made up of 40 people on average and they are all families with children from ages 8-17.  On this tour we had families from Canada, Mexico, Australia and all over the United States.  Any time we travel to a foreign country we will probably travel with a touring group.  This was very fast paced and fully packed with information and history. This was a wonderful memory maker!

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The Eiffel Tower

One of our favorite places and the last city we toured was Paris, France.  Our group went up the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower.  With it being the tallest structure in Paris, we were able to see an amazing view of the city.

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The Flame of Liberty

Like many around the world, I was mesmerized by Princess Diana.  As we were driving by the gold-leafed Flame of Liberty memorial that was erected above the tunnel in which she died, our tour guide mentioned the location as almost an afterthought.  She had no idea how special that memorial was for me.  I was one of those who held vigil around the television when Princess Diana died and mourned with the world that such a beloved ambassador was lost too early.

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Parisians celebrate Bastille Day

While we were there, the Parisians celebrated Bastille Day, similar to an American’s Fourth of July Celebration.  We were enjoying a boat ride down the Seine River in the afternoon and were surprised to see a flyover.  The planes flew so low it was though they were right over the buildings!

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This was as close as we could get to the Mona Lisa

We also went to the Louvre Museum and enjoyed a private tour with an interpreter. As everyone else was casually viewing all of the artwork, our interpreter knew we had limited time and asked how fast we wanted to go.  We told her our vacations were sometimes fast and furious and that is exactly how we saw the Louvre today (my apologies to art museum enthusiasts).  She took us to the top exhibits to be sure we didn’t miss anything especially noteworthy and she was so wonderful that strangers continually tried to listen in—she was quick to let them know we were on a private tour!

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On our private tour of The Louvre.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France

Notre Dame Cathedral was breathtaking!  The history in this city was highlighted throughout our tour here.  Our interpreter told us nuggets of information that we simply could not have gotten by reading and touring on our own.  After our tour we enjoyed coffee and freshly made crepes with Nutella at a corner eatery.

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Haagen Dazs, a wonderful ending to our City of Lights visit

We finished off our visit to the City of Lights with a shopping trip down the Champs-Elysees.  Who could pass up a visit to a Haagen Dazs Ice Cream Restaurant?  The servings were true works of art that were quickly devoured.

As I continue 31 Days of Been There, Done That, you may click on the following links to read more:

31 Days – Day 2 – View

For more information about the Five-Minute Friday you can click on the following button:

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