Tuesday, September 10, 2019

#19 on 8.19.19

That's a lot of #19's and I'm not sure that there is some cool name for it, other than it being a REALLY special day for Jonathan and I as we celebrated our wedding anniversary. 

We are so thankful for another year of growing in our love and appreciation of each other. We have come to experience on a whole new level this past year the team effort in parenting teens and how taking care of ourselves and our marriage relationship is so crucial. We are learning and are a work in process, but what a joy to walk hand in hand with each other. Loving each other more than the day we said "I do." God is amazingly gracious and His faithfulness endures forever!

Thanks to Jonathan's parents who once again made a summer visit to be with us for a couple of weeks in August we were able to get away for a night. This was the first overnight trip we have ever done together in Italy. That seems insane but it speaks volumes of the reality of our isolation on the field and the lack of people able or willing to provide the simplest of services like watching our kids for a night. In order for me to attend annual leader's meetings with Jonathan, we have had my mom fly in to care for the kids. A getaway, yes, but not so much when it is work related.

What a precious, precious gift this was for us and a HUGE shout out to Munga and Gramma for volunteering to watch the kids and suggesting we get away for a night.

We have done our fair share of driving this summer so we deliberately chose something close to home and yet a place we had never been. Enter the Valle d'Aosta in the Italian Alps just one hour away from our home. We stayed in the most enchanting and peaceful apartment in a little burrow above Saint Vincent. The cluster of mountain homes built out of slate and stone have been restored and the mix of visitors and residents melded beautifully. One breath of mountain air, a long gorgeous view down into the valley, and summer rain all restored our souls and brought refreshment. It was the absolute perfect location!

Our view
Our apartment on the ground floor
No longer able to dine out becasue of food allergies, we have learned to embrace the dining in experience and that we can save money for really awesome rentals!
Our window boxes
Stone. Wood. Geraniums.
A classic Alpine display of beauty
The old barn entrance now converted house entrance.
A taste of the before
And after

Mountain spring water

: Quiet :  
Sunset view
The next morning after check out we headed a little further in the valley to the city of Aosta. It was raining but not a problem and very much welcomed for us having had a pretty hot summer down in the Piedmont valley. We had no agenda and it was nice just to stroll the city known as "the Rome of the North". There is much to see and discover in this beautiful Alpine city but we just scratched the surface with our brief visit. We will be back! So, so thankful for this time away together...God knew we needed this for the following weeks that were to come.

City streets
Roman city wall
We still have to remind ourselves not to take for granted where we live. "Just taking a stroll along a wall that was built before Jesus was born. No big deal."

Cathedral facade that was sculpted around the entrance. Looks like a painting in this pic.
Bell tower of the Aosta Cathedral
Roman road
Praetorian Gate - 25 B.C.
The main gate into the Roman city Augusto Preatoria. It had three openings: the central one for carriages and the side openings for pedestrians. The area inside the openings was used as a troop parade court.
Porta Praetoria
Arch of Augustus constructed in 25 B.C. to celebrate the Roman victory over the Salassi
Bell tower of Sant'Orso.
Beauty of a summer rain in the Italian Alps

Friday, August 16, 2019

Croatia :: Part 3

I meant for the previous post to be the final one from our vacation, but then I totally went bonkers with pictures. I'm just elated that I actually posted a part two and now three because I realize that I never even posted the promised part two from our Scotland vacation from two years ago. Oh well.

Without further ado, on our final full day of vacation, we spent it walking around Old Town Split. Split is a beautiful city and is the second-largest city in Croatia. It was very hot but we did get a sea breeze at night, which made us question why we chose to walk around in the heat of the day instead of in the evening. Oh, that's right, we promised Luca another round of go-karting and dinner at the mall.

With the heat zapping our energy levels by the minute we mainly strolled along the Riva Promenade, walked through the open market, sat at a cafè for some drinks and gelato and saw the Diocletian Palace that is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's like a theme of this vacation hitting all these marvellous UNESCO sites. The palace was built by Emperor Diocletian, who voluntarily gave up the throne of the Roman Empire in the turn of the 4th century. After his retirement in 305AD, he settled here on the beach in the Illyrian province of Rome (Croatia).

Old Town Split

Riva Promenade
Cruise boats, subs, boat tours to the islands...it's all here
Harbor and view of Marjan Hill

Your choice of cafes all along the promenade
View of the bell tower from the port
Diocletian Palace bell tower
The Sphinx guards the doorway to the Cathedral of Saint Domnius at Diocletian's Palace
Diocletian Palace courtyard facing north
Courtyard view facing south
Couldn't convince Luca to get a picture with the gladiators
Open domed roof with amazing acoustics in the Vestibule of the Emporer's quarters
. . . Listen to the Dalmatian Singers . . .

Vestibule archway

A weary traveller.
But check out the limestone, brick, stone variation and textures!
Chilling in the shade and people watching
Today it's all about togetherness
Walking toward the Split Green Market and the Silver Gate
The Silver Gate
More gelato
Let's Split
One last round of go-karting was a perfect way to end the day with smiles. Luca was pumped that he beat his dad in laps completed because he didn't have any crashes and he had the fastest lap. Look out Nascar! We also had some time to kill while waiting for their drive time so we had fun goofing off in the mall, eating dinner and visiting the pet shop.

optical illusion photo booth fun

Round #2

It definitely was a fun and memorable week! Thanks, Luca, for putting up with your parents. We so enjoyed our one on one time with you and will always hold this vacation and memories in a special place in our hearts! You are our favorite youngest son!!