Friday, August 24, 2012


The month of August in Europe tends to be a big month for holidays(vacations).  Many people take off a large portion if not the WHOLE month!  This includes a lot of shops and small restaurants.  Since so many people are off, I was able to convince Brent to take a few days off of work head south with me.  We took a late flight out last Wednesday night and flew to Lisbon, Portugal.  We were both pretty excited for some days in the sun and a little beach time.  We stayed in a nice hotel a little north(5 minute walk) of the main center of the city.  The entire time we were there we never saw a cloud in the sky!
The walk into the city was so pretty.  The path in the center of the road was lined with trees.  It helped keep the hot sun off of us too! 

 Statues everywhere

The city has these trams going through all of the tiny streets.  

Rossio Square 

Aaw, I think he likes me :)  

Brent and I were amazed at the patterns in the sidewalks all over the city.  Every single one had a different design and looked like it was a lot of work!

 Small street...lots of people

 The Santa Justa Lift.  Was built to connect the lower part of the city with the higher part.  Now serves as tourist attraction.

More sidewalk designs on our way to the water 

 My handsome hubby striking a pose

Enjoying the view

By the water.  As you can tell the person taking the picture struggled to get the water in the background, we had this problem we many of the pictures we had taken of us on this trip!

Those silly excavators taking away from the scenery :)  This one is for you dad!

Loved the gorgeous mosaic tiles on the side of the buildings

Handmade plates and bowls on the side of the street

Senior picture pose

While we were touring the castle of St. Jorge we saw peacocks walking around all over

Cannon at the castle

This post is getting really long so I will write about the rest of the trip tomorrow!

Have a great weekend


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Neighborhood Tour

I showed you the inside of our apartment here.  So I thought I would give you all a little tour of our neighborhood.  Brent and I live in the Wilhelmina park area of Utrecht, which is in Utrecht Oost or east Utrecht.  Let get started with the picture tour!

Brent and I outside of our Holland home

Our backyard garden/patio

Right outside of our kitchen.  All I see when I look out the windows is Hydrangeas.

Our street name right outside our place

I think I have mentioned that we live right across from a rosarium.  It has been beautiful the past few weeks.  We have a great view of it from our living room

Fountain in the Rosarium 

Instagram of the roses 

Rosarium from the other side

This is a huge tree right across from the Rosarium.  You can't see it in the picture but it has a purple hue  to it.  

Around the corner from our house is Wilhelmina Park.  Brent and I have enjoyed many walks through the park and just sitting on a bench relaxing.
Picnic in the park (not a great pic of the park!)

In June and July the exterior of the park was covered in these beautiful hydrangeas

I have been meaning to post these pictures for a couple months now and just haven't gotten to it!  Our surroundings may be changing soon as Brent and I are looking for a new apartment in Utrecht.  I will keep you posted on what we find!

Friday, August 10, 2012


On Friday I watched Amanda compete in the triple jump on my computer at the hotel.  I was sporting my team Smock shirt and cheering her on!  Way to go Amanda!

The rest of the day I spent walking along the River Thames.  There were many cute shops and cafes all along the river.  Near Tower Bridge in a park, they had an Olympic viewing area set up with a huge screen and lots of vendors.  I enjoyed a cider beer and watched a little Track and Field. 

Covent Garden Market 

 Aah Target.  So there is no Target in the UK but they were advertising and handing out gift bags near the River.  Made me miss home :) 

One of the many bridges 

Olympic rings in the River 

Shakespeare's Globe 

The Swiss viewing area 

Tower Bridge 

Cleopatras Oracle 

Buckingham Palace at night  

  I am so happy that I went to London!  I was a little nervous going by myself at first but I am really happy that I did it.  Although it was nice to get away, I was very excited to get back to Brent! 

Have a good weekend

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

London Calling

Since we moved here the BBC has been playing commercials for "London's Calling."  Well after almost 5 months of hearing the commercials I answered the call and took a trip to London.  Brent had to stay behind and work, so this was going to be a solo trip for me.  I was both nervous and excited to be traveling by myself.  The timing of my trip ended up being perfect.  A family friend who I have known since I was a little girl, Amanda Smock, was competing in the triple jump in the Olympics the Friday that I would be in London!  So I made plans to meet up with Beth and Josh(her brother) while I was there.   
I decided to take the train instead of flying, it was a little bit more time but saved a lot of money!  I know what you are thinking, the UK is surrounded by water, how on earth did you take a train there?  Well its called the chunnel.  The Channel Tunnel "chunnel" is an underseas tunnel that goes the 31 miles between Great Britain and northern France.  It takes roughly 21 minutes to get from one side to the other.  My ears popped quite a few times and the 20 minutes under water went by pretty quick.

5:45 wake up call requires a big coffee for my 7:00 am train ride

Right out of the train station greeted with many Olympic signs.  The atmosphere in the city was amazing.  Volunteers were EVERYWHERE!  Handing out free water and free directions to anyone who needed it. 

Once I was settled in my hotel it was time for my first pint(and lunch of course!)

The Serpentine in Hyde Park near my hotel.  This is where the swimming portion of the Triathlon took place. 

Walking down Knightsbridge street(lots of high end shops)

 Harrods of London

Wellington Arch
While I was walking to Buckingham Palace I started a conversation with some other Americans who were walking the same path as I was.  They all turned out to be in the Synchronized Swimming community in the USA.  Two of them were on the Gold winning team in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.  Since I am a former Synchro Swimmer I thought this was pretty cool and they were pretty excited to meet someone who shared an appreciation for their sport(their words).  They even offered me tickets to watch the competition on Sunday! Unfortunately, that was the day that I was headed back to Holland.  They were very nice and posed for a picture with me in front of the palace.

Karen and Sarah Olympic Gold medalists

Queen Victoria statue right outside the palace

The walkway from Buckingham Palace to James Park(side note can you believe it has been 15 years since Princess Diana died?) 

 Left over from the Queen's Jubilee celebration in early June

The London Eye from the park 

 Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

 Side shot of Westminster Abbey.  That place is HUGE!!

Ballerina sculpture outside the Abbey 

Another view of Westminster, I couldn't get a single shot with the whole church 

House of Guards

 The countdown clock outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square

I loved that the horse even had a crown

Meeting up with Beth and Josh
It was so great to see some Melrose faces!  I had a great time catching up with these two, Thanks for meeting up with me!

Representing "Team Smock!" 

Day one was amazing! I stayed up late that night trying to get tickets for Amanda's jump the next day.  But of course with it being the first day of the Athletics there were not any tickets released!

I will recap the rest of the trip later on in the week

Hope everyone had a good weekend!