Spain or bust….

We had a busy summer, but we managed to get what we needed to be done: drivers ed, sports camps, swimming lessons, camping, and travel. In order to walk all over Spain, we needed a car. Travel by train in Europe is excellent, but it doesn’t take you off the beaten path. It is also not the most economical idea for a family. The biggest saving grace was that when we were hot and couldn’t take it anymore; the car kept us alive. Thank goodness for air conditioning. We visited a lot of good medieval destinations full of tourists and where we were alone to imagine the wondrous former glory of the place where we stood. Truly awesome. Deals abound in 2017 with new low-cost carriers and the regulars competing for your business so it’s a good time to go.

VIVA ESPAÑA

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Once upon a time

I came to Madrid, Spain. I visited my brother who was serving a Mormon mission. I stayed with some friends he made for me and hosted me for a few days. They were Polish and Catalan. I stayed with the Polish people for a few nights. They had teenagers like me and we had a lot of fun together. Then, it was time to go on to meet the next people. They were a beautiful and proud family from the Barcelona area. I also stayed there for a few days, but they wanted to adopt me and take me home to Barcelona on a vacation. I didn’t have time nor did I know of their plans beforehand so things got awkward. I had a Eurorail pass with exactly the number of days I needed to get home. I had to leave. It was a weird situation. Usually house guests start to get on people’s nerves, but I was the house guest who had to leave. Anyway, that was January of 1994. There were flurries of snow when I came then. For the first time since, I made it back and it was a beautiful sunny day.

camping

 

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IDAHO, USA

I just got back from camping. I could post a picture of what I looked like, but I won’t. It is a picture of me with my leg swung over a camping chair and napping. My friend sent it to me and I don’t know who took it, but it is funny. I’m not drooling. LUCKILY! Anyway, I will instead show you a picture of the incredibly beautiful place where I was camping. I had 2 minutes of internet for 4 days. Even when we travel internationally, I have not had 4 days of basically no internet in YEARS. Guess what? I really didn’t care much. It was outrageously hot though so that was tough. I took these pictures at six in the morning before my cooking shift started for 20 hungry campers. I left in flip flops and pajamas with a big stick. After I walked for about 15 minutes on a dirt road, I decided it was time to turn back cause I didn’t want to become breakfast. Flip flops aren’t the best getaway gear so I went back to camp and fried up some eggs and bacon. I took some young hikers on a short hike later in the day and they all did fine. There was one tween who was saying she wasn’t built for hiking. Do you have 2 legs? You can do this. AND SHE DID. Hiking is for practically anyone. There is no speed you need to get.

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Beautiful Idaho

 

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I rode in my first uber in May. I was in New York City hailing a cab. It is pretty much one of my least favorite things to do in NYC. I knew no cab would stop for me. I don’t know how to do it right and I stand helplessly feeling like a country bumpkin. Finally, an uber stopped and took us where we needed to go. I only got in cause I saw the uber sticker. Everywhere we go we seem to end up in some fake/sketchy cab. Fast forward, I am an unpaid uber driver. I truly have been spending my weeks driving my children everywhere. We don’t even do soccer anymore. (soccer mom-reference) It could be worse. They could be couch potatoes so it’s a small price to pay. We are doing a lot of swimming and being home is like a staycation. We have a lot of recreation right in our back yard. The hiking season for me is on hold unless it is after the sun goes down. It’s just too hot. Mornings are great too, but I’m usually not that ambitious. Summer is in full swing, but I can feel it slipping through my fingers so it’s time to make the most of it.

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The life vests weren’t necessary when they wouldn’t actually get in past their knees.

 

Hiker death.

Today on my Facebook feed, there was a hiker who died in my Southern Utah hometown. While there could be other issues surrounding this than hiking; I’m going to speak about the hiking aspect only. 1. Tell someone your destination 2. Take H20 3. Wear proper shoes/attire 4. Bring some snacks (Low blood sugar isn’t pleasant for even non-diabetics.) 5. Don’t do crazy stuff particularly if you are alone. I have done a lot of the things I’m warning against and sometimes I regretted it.  At any rate, it was quite literally out my back door where this person was found dead. It is also a gigantic untapped wildland. In the olden days, we just played all the time and hiking was in my backyard.  In 1940, I had an uncle who died hiking. He was just an 8-year-old boy. My mother was only 1 so she never knew him. He was hiking with his brothers and a cousin. I never knew my grandmother, but I’m sure she never got over it. Also, one of my friend’s father, who wrote an early Zion park guide also lost his bff/co-author to a hiking accident in Zion. They were together. The destination for your hike has a lot to do with what you need to prepare. A hiking disappearance in Oregon looks a lot different than a Southern Utah hiking disappearance. In Oregon, you could potentially be lost and never found due to all the trees. In Southern Utah, you will likely be scorched to death in the summer or freeze in the winter. Be aware of your surroundings. In general, hiking is a really safe activity and most anyone can enjoy it.

World Cup 2018

If you are like many people on this planet, then you love soccer. (AKA football) I’m American so I’ll refer to it as soccer. A football to me has a weird shape and is brown. We just got back from Russia. If you want to go there too, then you can get there a bit easier next year by buying a soccer ticket for the World Cup! www.fifa.com I am not a super big soccer fan, but I used to live in Russia so we bought soccer tickets. There was a special event this summer called Confederations Cup that we attended and got visa-free entry. It was a long-held desire to return to Russia and getting a visa can be a bit of a hassle. Visa-free entry for a soccer game cut some red tape so we took advantage of it. We attended the finale game in a brand new stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia. #chiger on Instagram if you want to see awesome pics. It was a gorgeous stadium. The event was extremely safe and well executed. Russia has modernized a ton since I had left in 1994, but I was happy to see some things had stayed the same. The soccer game itself was made fun by the crazy Chileans there to support their team. The Germans who won weren’t well represented, but then apparently they win all the time so they couldn’t be bothered. LOL At the end of the night, I’m still more about American football, but visiting Russia was fantastic. Touring and walking with kids takes a toll though and our feet were sore most of the time. Luckily, we managed to not need to buy new tennis/running shoes while we were there, but I would have definitely wished for an additional pair of running shoes. We always travel light for the amount of people we are, but this time we took Norwegian air and had to pay for the bags. As every item we brought had to be carefully considered, we only got one pair of tennis shoes each. It wasn’t good enough.  Luckily, we had high quality flip flops too, but you can’t tour in those. You do NOT want to scrape your feet and catch something even though we were traveling with fantastic travel health coverage. Anyway, Norwegian Air was great and you can get phenomenal deals if you keep an eye out. They do not fly to Russia, but you can now get from the USA to Europe these days cheaper than ever. DSC_0071.JPGDSC_0096.JPGDSC_0086.JPG

Bike jam

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My first time seeing traffic jams of cyclists. 

Copenhagen is a cool place. So cool that we were happy we had our sweatshirts at the end of June. Anyway, we just got to town so here are a few observations. It is beautful. If the walkway is somehow blocked off, do not take the bike path. Luckily, we walked on the (illegal?) walking path cause they have more bikers here than I’ve ever imagined. They also do not wish to slow down for dim witted, jet lagged tourists. We almost got in their way a time or two, but were quick enough to MOVE. Since my children have Danish ancestry I think we fit right in. They are either blonde or started their lives out that way and their dad is tall.