Friday, June 12, 2015

Trip to Colorado

Well, not surprisingly, we took a much longer than expected break from blogging. We recently moved to a new place across town, so that's one of the many things that kept us from blogging. There are still a few things to share from last year's adventures, though, so we'll try to get caught up before next year rolls around!

In mid-September of last year, I went on a trip with Ed's mom and grandmother to Colorado (Denver area) to visit his aunt. We mostly just relaxed, but we did do a few activities. Ed's aunt had a ballroom dance showcase, so we went and watched her dance. She did a great job--especially considering that she injured her knee the week before! There was a nice dinner and some more dancing afterward. I danced with various people, including instructors, so I got to practice most of the dances I learned when Ed and I took ballroom dance classes a few years ago in Illinois.

One day, we drove to Estes Park, stopping along the way for photos.

The view from his aunt's house wasn't too bad, either.

It was a nice, relaxing trip. Hopefully, Ed and I can get back out there and do some more exploring together some time.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial & Museum

At the end of my trip to Poland, I could have further explored Kraków for a day, but I chose to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau site, which is about an hour's drive east of Kraków in Oświęcim.

The Auschwitz site:
The notorious sign stating that work would make one free

The Birkenau site:
Approaching Birkenau
Where the boxcars would stop to unload and sort people

Living conditions

The end of the track that led to the gas chambers and crematoria

The gas chambers and crematoria were destroyed by the SS toward the end of World War II
International monument

The tour was somber, but I'm glad I got the opportunity to visit this site.

Well, that concludes the series on my 2014 trip to Poland.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Happy 2015!

Wow, it has been far too long since our last post. There are still a few things from last year that we never got around to posting on here, so we'll be catching up for the next several posts. As usual! We weren't very good about posting on here last year. I need to finish the final post about my trip to Poland. I also need to post some photos I took during trips to Washington, DC and Denver, CO.

December was pretty eventful for us. We joined a local church, where we have been getting involved in some ministries. We finally traded in the car I bought in college and drove for 13 years. We got a used VW Passat, and it's really nice. I think I got so used to the other car falling apart cosmetically that I wasn't prepared for a car so nice. It feels too nice for me. We also celebrated our tenth anniversary by going on a cruise to the Caribbean for a week, so we'll post some photos from that, too. And, of course, there were Christmas celebrations.

Speaking of Christmas, I knitted a toy monkey for our nephew's gift, to go with the ones we gave him for his birthday.

This month, we've been getting back into our usual routine. And now it's almost February!

P.S.--Did you notice the new Travel tab up at the top of the page? Check it out!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Kraków, Poland

After the conference in Wisła ended, all of the volunteers went to Kraków for about a day and a half of sightseeing before heading back home. We stayed at the Novotel Kraków City West hotel, which was pretty nice.
I liked the pops of color and that the shelves and lights were incorporated into the headboard

The bathroom was split into two separate, adjacent rooms, which seemed like a poor use of space,
considering the spatial economy of the rest of the hotel room

View from our room on the 5th floor

The afternoon we arrived, Mirek, one of Rita's co-workers who lives near Kraków, kindly picked us and a few of our friends up and took us to see some sights and have dinner. First, we went to Krakus Mound, which is the oldest structure in Kraków and the highest point. It is 52 feet high and has a base diameter of 197 feet. Its exact age is unknown, but it is thought that it could be about 2,500 years old.

Krakus Mound
View of Kraków from the top of Krakus Mound
From the top of the mound, you can also see Liban Quarry, which is a limestone quarry that was established in 1873 by two Jewish families. During World War II, it was converted into a Nazi forced labor camp. The site was also used as the concentration camp set in the movie Schindler's List (the Płaszów concentration camp site is nearby).

Liban Quarry

Some flowers on the side of the mound
From there, we went to the Niepołomice Royal Castle (also called the Castle of the Polish Kings) in Niepołomice. It was originally built in the mid-14th century. We ate dinner at the restaurant in the castle. Mirek recommended a traditional Polish meal that included a breaded pork cutlet, potatoes, and cabbage, so I got that, and it was very good and filling.

The next day, I went on a group tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp site and museum. I'll do a separate post about that.

Rita and I also walked around Kraków in the evening, taking in sights, getting gelato, and picking up a few souvenirs. I got an orange scarf to go with my navy trench coat from Wisła and some postcards to send to family (which were mailed at the end of May and arrived in mid-July!).

St. Mary's Basilica

Skałka Church
St. Florian's Church
Main Market Square (Cloth Hall)

The Barbican
Wawel Castle
Grunwald Monument

Town Hall Tower
I enjoyed everything we did, but there's just too much to do there in a day and a half. It would have been nice to spend some time in Kraków during the daytime and go to the market in the square and go inside the churches. If I go back, I'd like to do that.