Monday, September 30, 2013

Vacationing Overseas

BOSTON, MASS-- You know you had a really great vacation when you come home exhausted and can't stop thinking, "I am so glad we did that!" Isaac and I returned home yesterday from a week and a half vacation to Germany and Israel, and we can't stop thinking about how we are SO glad we made this trip happen. There were so many reasons why we might not have... too expensive, too much time off work, not comfortable traveling so far being pregnant, etc. But, ultimately we figured it was now or never. So, now it was! We had a wonderful time we will remember always. Incredible sites, wonderful to spend time with family (who were incredibly hospitable (THANK YOU a million times), and many touching experiences. Below are just a few of the hundreds of photos we took.

Germany first to see Isaac's brother:
Train ride up the Rhine River to Cologne after we landed in Frankfurt
In Bonn at the gardens behind the Augustusburg Palace
Augustusburg Palace in Bonn
Some neat little grove of trees in Bonn, near Augustusburg Palace
We loved touring all the "old cities" everywhere we went
Hanging out on the Rhine River
Cathedral in Cologne
Isaac, me, and Casey in front of the cathedral in Cologne
One of the trip's highlights: Having dinner with this family who are in Casey's ward. They made us a real-deal German dinner. It was incredible. 
In Aachen's "old city"
Also Aachen
We may have stopped to partake of delicious baked goods like these, every so often
Aachen "old city" with a bag of cookies in my hand
In front of some cathedral in Aachen
Got to watch part of Casey's rehearsal at a cute church in a city whose name I don't recall. The music was beautiful.

On to much warmer weather in Israel to see my brother and his family (and lots of sites):

Isaac in the BYU Jerusalem Center's backyard. What a view, eh?
Funny that it seemed perfectly normal to meet up in Jerusalem with a few of my favorite cousins. Loved seeing them!
At the Western Wall
Wanted to capture some of the fun headware these guys sport. It was so hot too... I can't imagine wearing a fur hat!
At the Dome of the Rock. We weren't supposed to be touching (religious rules there) but forgot. We were quickly reminded. Oops.
At the Garden of Gethsemane. Lots of Olive trees behind us.  
I think I took a million pictures of this sunset on the Mediterranean Sea near Rob's house. So beautiful. We tried to squeeze in beach time whenever we could.  
Another sunset picture. I could have stayed and stared at this forever (until it got dark, of course). Actually, I think that's what we did.
At the Garden Tomb. One of our favorite places in Israel. So powerful. It alone made the entire trip worth it.
Golgotha (now a bus station)
Inside the church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
The spot where Mary apparently laid Jesus after he was born
Favorite meal in Israel: Arabic food. Chicken, couscous, and an eggplant tomato sauce, along with freshly squeezed Pomegranate juice. SOOOOOO good! 
A view of part of Bethlehem. We had a blast driving around the narrow roads, getting lost.
Sea of Galilee from Capernaum
Ate lunch in Tiberius, right on the Sea of Galilee. Ate "St. Peter's fish" caught fresh from the Sea to honor the occasion.
Had the best hummus there too! 
In Caesarea at an old theater with my niece, Ella (isn't she so cute?! I love her)
Isaac and Michael made it to the top of the amphitheater!
In Caesarea, where they used to hold chariot races (and other gruesome sports) behind us

Exploring the ruins
Loved hanging out with Rob and his family! Michael and I played no less than 50 games of Uno while I was there. 
Isaac with a great view of part of Caesarea behind him.
Caesarea, right on the Mediterranean Sea (we got splashed by the tide coming in, hence the spots on his shirt... he's not sweating that bad. ha ha)
Jaffa, a really old port town, and my increasingly chubby, pregnant self. 
Met up with Rob for lunch on the Mediterranean Sea our last day in town. The view was spectacular. 
View of Jaffa from near where we had lunch
Everywhere we went, we could spot these beautiful, bright, vibrantly colored flowers. They were breathtaking! 

That was a lot of pictures. If you made it to the end, congratulations! And if you have the opportunity to go to Israel ever... good grief: GO!!!!  It will be well worth the long flight, rest assured. All the tourist sites aside, it was just really nice to spend some quality time with family who we don't get to see much. We are so grateful for their hospitality and kindness in entertaining (and feeding) us. We can't thank them enough for such a wonderful vacation! 


Joy Candrian said...

Love your photos, so glad you got to go on this early anniversary trip. What unique places you got to see...and you look darling pregnant. Isaac looks good too.

The Hargretts said...

First off, you look fabulous!! Second, what an amazing trip you two took. Kinda funny that you had to pack for two different weather conditions. Third, on my goodness those baked goods looked so yummy!

Adventures of CC in DC said...

What an incredible opportunity - good for you two for being so adventurous! And you look goregous as ever!

Aubree said...

You look beautiful Andrea! So happy you had a good trip.

Amy Lovell said...

Those pictures make me want to go to Israel really really bad!

ellen said...

Your pictures are amazing! What a great trip!!