Thursday, July 26, 2007

Switzerland, Italy and France

We have been to Zurich, Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Nice, Grasse and Marseille.
In Zurich we stayed with Gordon's friend "the doc" from when he went to university in Konstanz. He is now married and has a child and just bought his first house in Zurich. We went swimming in the Zurich See River, walked about the city, and dined with the Cornet Family for two nights. They were great hosts and it was fun to listen to Olivie and Gordon reminisce about the good old university days. From Zurich we took a direct train to Florence and spent 3 days there. We walked across the famous Ponte Vecchio (pictured above), went to the top of the duomo (catholic church dome), bought two fantabulous leather bound and covered journals, and went to a museum.
We then traveled to Pisa and saw the leaning tower and took some goofy pictures, like all the other tourists.
We went to the Cinque Terre National Park for 4 days and went hiking, swimming, and jumping off of cliffs into the beautiful Ligurian Sea.
The view from above the town Monterosso during one of our first days in Cinque Terre. This picture was taken after about a 3 hour hike south from Levanto, the town where we set up base camp at "Camping Acqua Dolce".
Above is Gordon and I trying to stay cool and not get sunburnt while hiking down to Moterosso, the first of the five small towns of the Cinque Terre region. A staricase that we were fortunate enough to hike DOWN.
A view of the backside of the town of Corneglia.
A view of my backside while admiring the ocean.
The town of Manerola, our favorite town of the Cinque Terre region. There was swimming and diving/ jumping from cliffs, and a new sport we call "wave holding" where a person swims to a rock in the middle of the bay and tries to hold on for their dear life on the back side of it while huge waves come from the ocean and crash over you and try to force you off of the rock backwards. Gordon was very succesfful with the sport and even had some of the locals admiring his techniques... until one of his hand holds broke off and he scraped himself up- it wouldnt be an extreme sport if there werent any blood involved, right?
A picture taken at sunset with Manerola in the backdrop.
A beautiful sunset during a hike between the towns of Manerola and Corneglia.
We ate a delicious expensive dinner, our biggest splurge of the whole trip, in Monterosso. Needless to say our diet mostly consisted of ham and cheese sandwiches with fruit for desert for the rest of the trip. Gordon ate snails, EWWW! The appetizers included about eleventeen dishes of assorted seasfoods perfectly prepared and we had a wonderful prawn tortellini as our main course.

Above is a picture of us overlooking the beach in Nice, France and it is beautiful. It is where Tina Turner has one of her houses, but she must not have been in town because we didnt see her ;)

Nice, France.

A picture of me under a palm tree at the top of a castle overlooking Nice. Gordon bought me a beautiful glass handmade necklace that I love... he is so wonderful and romantic.

The Port of Nice. I think we saw Paris Hilton & friends on her extravagant yacht.

Me playing on a bungy gymnasium that the people of the Mediterranean love, they were on almost every popular beach that we saw.

A war memorium in Grosse, France. I was rubbing his worn metal pointing finger for good luck.

Grosse is where fragrance became very popular and a main economic focus because of the favorable growing conditions of herbs, flowers, etc. We went to a museum and bought some lovely fragrances.

We stopped in Marseille for a few hours while waiting for a connecting train in the direction of Barcelona and found a "Tango Street". This was a large courtyard between two old theatre buildings where the public and professionals were invited to dance on waxed cobblestone to a live DJ.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Italy, Switzerland, Germany

We have been to Venice, Padua, Milan, Berne, Interlaken, Konstanz, Metzingen, Schaffhausen. We plan on leaving to go to Florence on July 17th and then on to Cinque Terre, Marceille, Nice, Barcelona, Madrid, and Lisbon, etc... the Mediterranean and then on to the Atlantic coastal regions.
Mark dooped me into learning how to do SUDOKU on our train ride to Bern, Switzerland... and it turned into the major past time of the entire 2 month European Tour for both of us!
Mark, me, and Gordon in Venice, Italy on one of the many canal bridges.
Me swinging on a zip line in Padua. Our inner children came out to play for the afternoon!
Yes, we like wearing green, listening to our iPods, and wearing sunglasses while riding trains...
We left Sofia on July 3rd with our friend Mark and flew to Venice. We stayed with two students from Padua University who were renting a room that we found on One of them worked at a gelateria (ice cream shop) and needless to say it was our staple everyday during our stay.
We took a train from Padua to Berne and made a quick stop in Milan to eat lunch and look at all the high end fashion designer shops. Gordon and I in front of the Berne, Switzerland Temple, which is actually about 20 minutes outside of Bern in a cute little town called Zollikoffen.
These are the people that came to our ceremony. The young ladies on our left and right are Janae and Kristi. They are the missionaries we met in Ecuador and whom taught us the gospel for several months. Janae´s younger brother is on the right and her parents are on the left.Me, Gordon, Mark, and Kristi taking a moment for a photo shoot while hiking up Harder Kulm.
Kristi and I overlooking Lake Thun near Interlaken after hiking up to the Harder Kulm, a nice hike up through a wild strawberry & raspberry filled forest.

We all went canyon jumping through an 85 meter (280 feet) deep canyon- imagine a huge swing set which you drop into with a 4 second free fall and your heart almost stopping because of the adrenaline rush! We have video footage of it all!

Mark on his way down- he was the first to go in our group!

We rented bicycles in Interlaken and rode half way around Lake Thun, about 26 km and then took the train back to Interlaken. We rode leisurely, stopping to see this castle on the lake along the way and stopping many other times to take pictures and enjoy the scenery. We also had to stop for about 30 minutes at a cafe because of a rain storm! It was a nice opportunity to endulge oursleves with some snacks- including fine Swiss chocolate!

Gordon, Mark, and I went paragliding before leaving Interlaken and took some great panoramic pics of the region.

A view of Lake Konstanz from standing on one of the many bridges above the Rhein River, it flows from Switzerland to the North Sea.

Swimming in the cool and refreshing Lake Konstanz on a hot sunny day.