Hello Everyone! We are back from our three week trip to Europe and on a scale from 1-10, it was a 10+++++! It was truly the trip of a lifetime. Everything went smoother than expected. Our flights were on time, the cars were large enough for six passengers plus our luggage, our accommodations were first class, the scenery was spectacular, the historical landmarks were inspiring, the food was soooo delicious and the people we met (both old and new acquaintances) were unforgettable. They all definitely left a handprint on our hearts. Our family will be changed forever because of what we saw and felt.
Let me tell you upfront the only BUMMER of the trip. (Brace yourself–it’s a huge one.) My camera card with the first two weeks of our trip (Italy, Switzerland and Germany) went faulty and although we’ve tried countless different ways to recover the 1,000 plus photos, there’s been no success. Needless to say, I’m absolutely broken hearted and am currently waiting for yet another source to let me know if they can retrieve anything. I’m also trying to gather up photos from iPhones and people we stayed with. I haven’t given up hope and am trying to keep a smile on my face. But–I’m pretty shaken up by it. I may have to be like the Amish where I keep the memory in my heart, not in my scrapbook. I will keep you posted on the progress.
So, that’s why I’m starting with week three: London. These photos were on a different card and have been downloaded to a flash drive.
Before telling you about England, I have to say our favorite part of the three weeks was the chance to stay in four different countries with three fantastic families. This gave us the chance to be more than just tourists. We were able to really see how other cultures live and we loved the experience. And–we were treated like royalty. Thanks to the Fontana, von Drachenfels and McMullen families for this experience!
Now about England. We got to London on July 30 and stayed until August 6th. It was the chance of a lifetime to be there during the Olympics. Our friends got us to strike this pose:
I’ve known the friends we stayed with for over 28 years. Our children are all really close and it’s been a great blessing to have them come to America on many occasions and stay in our home.
This is the McMullen family (two of their children are not pictured):
We stayed for three days in their home in the country (t reminds me of something out of Pride and Prejudice and Sage spent most of her time jumping over the hedges):
And four days in their “flat” in the heart of London (it overlooks the Thames River):
Living in London during the Olympics was simply magical. The entire city is filled with cool signs and flags like these:
The volunteers were so nice and the city looked sparkly and clean amid all the excitement.
When we got to England, we were excited to attend a volleyball game. Unfortunately, after further looking at the tickets, the event occurred two days before we got there! We were bummed and Steve tried with no avail to get us tickets to any other event. We decided to remain optimistic and spent time looking at Olympic Park:
Last Friday we purchased tickets for an open-air bus tour. While trying to get there, we got stuck in a downpour and had to run for shelter for a time, then got messed up with directions in the train station. I tell you these things because what happened next simply still has me speechless. We finally got on the correct train to take us to our bus tour and Sage and I got separated from the rest of the family in a different car. I heard two American men talking next to me and decided to strike up a conversation and asked where they were from. We then began chatting about the Olympics and I told them we hadn’t had any luck purchasing tickets. One of the men suddenly said, “Do you want to go to the final Archery event? I have extra tickets I’ll give you but you’ll have to go now–it starts in five minutes.” What??? Tickets to an Olympic event???? And free???? When does that ever happen? Our family still marvels at the huge blessing of being in the right place at the right time.
We spent a delightful 2 1/2 hours at Lord’s Cricket Ground watching the final rounds for the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners. We were all mesmerized the entire time and loved watching the crowning of the medals. (Collin unfortunately wasn’t with us on this day–he was hanging out with English friends.)
Brecken had a ticket on the other side of the arena. Can you spot her in the crowd?
Oh, there she is in the striped sweater in the center:
I never knew I liked archery so much. It was fascinating.
South Korea’s Jinhyek Oh took the gold:
Here are the Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winners:
I’ll tell you more about our week in England in my next entry. Hopefully by then I’ll have my photos back from the other two weeks.
Thanks for your support. It was one amazing trip!