The Holy Land

Spring break in Israel. It was a long trek from Idaho to Israel. We arrived on a sunny morning in Tel Aviv. We headed straight to our seaside hotel and allowed for a shower and some sleep time, but with the caveat that the sleep could NOT continue past a certain hour. Then, we had to get active so that we could get on the local time zone as soon as possible. We toured Jaffa on the Mediterranean Sea. On day 2, we took the train to Jerusalem. The train ride was nice and scenic. We arrived at the final destination and no taxi would pick us up. The taxi stand was nothing more than a nice sign? Taxis were dropping people off at the local shopping center, but would not take us to town. We were getting hot, angry, and desperate. Finally, we got a taxi and he was a great trustworthy guy. We felt very grateful to get to our hotel. There is a real language barrier there. Luckily, English is an option, but understanding anything was a real issue. We arrived as they were preparing for Passover. As a person who spends a lot of hours in church per week, I had an understanding of Passover, but not really how it would look in Israel. I still don’t, but we know a bit about how it affected us. The hotel told us that everything had to be cleaned in the restaurant. That meant EVERY single surface!!! If we hadn’t been told that we wouldn’t have known or cared what was going on at other restaurants in town that were closed. Also, it meant that the quality and service of food in the hotel restaurant would be drastically reduced and NO bread. I understand the no leavened bread part, but the total lack of abundance of all other food?? It was unique. McDonald’s was closed for cleaning. We didn’t know if it would reopen. The next day, it did and the FOOD which was then Passover approved was inedible. We did enjoy some local grub that was really good and some that was really weird, but which we ate cause we were famished at the time. The weather was nice. It was not too hot, but even quite cold one morning after a storm. We had planned on going to the Dead Sea, but we decided we did NOT want to drive there so we chucked our car rental and stayed in the city on foot. We walked a lot. We were in close proximity to the Old City and we spent a lot of time there. We saw a lot of stuff, but we missed a lot too due to being on foot and opting to forego public transportation in the event that we didn’t understand where to go or how to return. There are a lot of souvenir shops and by a lot, I mean too many. The problem is that I didn’t see one high-quality place to buy something nice. I paid too much for a couple of t-shirts, but only bought them cause I really wanted to. Prices are negotiable and I don’t really want to deal with that so largely opted to keep my shekels. At the end of the week, our tired feet had barely added a dent to their old stone streets, but we had seen for the first time the center of the universe.

 

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The Western Wall

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Spices for sale

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Walled city. One day we walked around the tower as far as we could. It required a fee.

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Rare smile by the teen who would rather a “normal” spring break.

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Jerusalem

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Armenian Quarter in the Old City

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Tour groups

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View of the Dome of the Rock from a residential spot.

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Old City of Jaffa

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Jaffa

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Street of Jaffa 

 

 

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The last day of twenty 17.

It’s New Year’s Eve. I’m a big partier. I’ll be watching Stranger Things tonight. My teen begged and begged us to get Netflix. I don’t watch much on tv, but we’ve been catching up on it during the Christmas break. I’m kind of into it. We already had a big walk today and went to church. 2017 was an awesome year. We woke up in Utah for a snowy hike on the first day of the year. Hiking is something most everybody can do. I like to emphasize that it takes NO skill. Everybody seems to need to be the best at something and a mountain really doesn’t care how fast you go up it. The same with a walking trail. Every town on the planet has a place to walk. I’ve walked in some of the most urban places and some of the most remote. You can find enJOYment in walking. I also biked this year in Central Park for the first time. You can circle the whole park without breaking a sweat on a nice temperate May day.  I enjoy a leisurely bike ride whenever possible and renting a bike on a trip is extra fun. I’m not going to be racing anybody. I’m out for the fresh air and a bit of physical fitness. I will definitely be finding some new and old hiking destinations in 2018. I hope you will too. Happy New Year!!!!

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We had a white Christmas in Boise, Idaho. 

 

White Christmas 🎄 Hike

On Christmas Eve, we got snow. We got more fresh falling snow ❄️ on Christmas Day. After the gifts and the brunch, we got our snow gear on and went behind the house for some sledding. Then, it was time for a hike in the falling snow. I  ❤️ snow. It seems like it brings everyone out of their homes. In 8 years, we never much saw our neighbors in Oregon except when it snowed and it seems the same here in Idaho. Christmas snow ❄️ ❄️ ❄️ ❄️ ⛄️ ⛄️ ⛄️ ⛄️ is my favorite.

Disneyland at Halloween 🎃

 

We wanted to go to Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party, but it’s only on select days. AND our day was not the day! Having never been there during the Halloween season at all though, we loved the decor. The Haunted Mansion was particularly fun. I don’t wear a pedometer, but we walked a lot. We walked all the way to our hotel to crash at one a.m. Our weather was just perfect. We rode every ride we had to ride and some other fun ones too. At the end of the day, it was a success. What is your must ride Disney ride? I have to hit Pirates! every. single. time. ❤️

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

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