Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Monday, May 30, 2016

Seeing what life is like for Jason and Emily and their family began this morning. They got the kids off to school.....we didn't get up early enough to walk with them, 😴 but there will be lots of others days to do that. Jason showed us around the town while Emily was at her language class. It is a charming town. Narrow, stone streets wind up and down the old section of town where they live. It is fun to explore and we don't even get lost because it isn't a very big town plus they live right along the river, so when all else fails, we walk to the river and then we can find their apartment easily that way.

When Emily got home, they showed us the grocery store which was very nice.....well stocked with plenty of familiar foods, but also a lot of local items, fresh fish, cheese, honeys, jams, pastries, CHOCOLATES, fruit, etc., that made us want to buy a little bit of everything. On our walk home we walked by a fresh fish market where we are sure to make regular purchases.

The lunch meal is the main meal of the day here so Emily has been making some amazing meals, beautifully presented, always accompanied with the most delicious bread. The kids come home for lunch, so we all enjoyed the meal together. At 2:30 everyday, the kids return to school until 4:30 p.m. Today, they had swim lessons right after school so we watched them swim and then they played on the playground with friends for several hours. Parents gather to visit while watching their children play.

Britt took me for a walk along the river to the beach where they swim in the hot weather. It was a nice walk, just the two of us. She knows her way around town very well. Dinner was around 7:30 p.m. and was a lighter meal. So we are eating traditional Basque meals Basque style! Actually, I have found that I prefer eating the larger meal at midday.......I wonder if I will be able to keep that up in Morton??

Monday, May 30, 2016

Sunday, May 29, 2016

-Today began at 2:30 a.m.  We really didn't have to get up until 3:00 a.m. but since we really weren't sleeping (since we were afraid we would oversleep) we just got up and packed up to leave. We needed to walk a few blocks to catch a bus at 4:00 a.m. which was taking us to the airport. Our flight left London at 6:50 a.m. so we needed to arrive at the airport by 4:50 a.m. The only good thing about early flights is that there is no traffic and you get through security quickly, but then you sit and wait. Such is the nature of travel! You bite the bullet and go with it! So, we had a relaxing breakfast at Heathrow airport. 🍲
-the first flight we took was from Heathrow to Brussels. It was a very nice light.....I even slept a little....imagine that!! So when we arrived in Brussels we went through a lot of security again, but since we had a 2 1/2 hours layover, we decided to try to sleep....so when in an airport, do as the travelers do, lay down and sleep! So that is exactly what I did. I found two empty seats, laid my head on my bag, covered myself with a coat, and fell fast asleep! 😴 Before boarding our next flight to Brussels, Belgium, we grabbed a bite of lunch. We almost missed our final flight to though, since they changed gates on us and we didn't know it. Thankfully, we found out with 10 minutes to spare so off we went in a full sprint to the appropriate gate and as I got close I was yelling to the gate attendant that we needed to be on that flight to Bilbao. I (Alice) arrived at the gate ahead of Darrel. 👍 (Are you surprised?) We had to be sure they would hold the flight for us!! No cliff hangar here....we made it in time!! 😜
-our final flight was very nice. I didn't sleep this time.....too excited about who was waiting for us at the other end! We were surprised and excited to see Jason, Cooper, Itsaso and her mom and dad waiting to greet us! It was a tearful reunion!! Can't believe we were finally here!
-we made arrangements to spend Saturday with Itsaso's family, dropped Itsaso off back at her school and then went to Orio, where the rest of Jason's family and their group of friends were having an afternoon get together. It was a wonderful way for us to meet all their friends and their kids' friends as well. I guess you could call this their quadrilla, the Basque word for lifelong close group of friends. We ate with them..... I even tried out a few of the Basque words that I know (they laughed 😊, but I thought I was doing pretty good!!)  Give me 2 more weeks and I should be fluent!! 🤓
-we left the gathering at about 8 p.m. to get the kids ready for school the next day. It was a very long but extremely good day! Not only have we arrived safely and finally gathered together with our loved ones, but how many times do you get to eat your 3 meals in three different countries all in ONE day?!  👍  Now that is a first!!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Day 4 - Saturday, May 28, 2016

After making arrangements for our return trip to the airport for our departure flight on Sunday morning, we went to visit Her Majesty The Queen at Windsor Castle. Those royalty really live it up, "royally"! It was a full day since it required a bus ride, underground, and rail train changes, but we navigated our way to the castle without a hitch. It was an amazing place and we enjoyed our visit. The day was beautiful, so it was delightful to tour the grounds and the castle on such a lovely day, while imagining ourselves as Queen Alice and Darrel Duke of Morton.
-since it was our last night in London we decided to eat at a nice restaurant called Caffe Concerto and enjoyed a lovely, delicious meal......and even topped it off with dessert! 🍰
-enjoyed one last stroll around the city before packing up and preparing to leave the next morning.
-it has been a wonderful experience of a lifetime

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Day 3-May 27, 2016

We slept in a bit this morning.....our bodies are confused, that's for sure! However, we are feeling good once we are up and running. On our way to watching the changing of the guard we walked through the Royal Mews where they store the beautiful carriages inwhich royalty ride. They are all so ornate and magnificent. Since we are in London, we felt like we needed to experience the changing of the guard, so we decided to attend that ceremony....it was full of a lot of pomp, foot stomping, marching, saluting, back and forth flag waving, bands playing, etc. and lasted and hour! They do this every day!
-walked through the beautiful St. James Park
-toured the Tower of London and Tower Bridge
-Darrel wanted to try fish and chips in London, so we scouted out a place that served that for dinner tonight
-figured out the bus lines so we enjoyed riding them around when we needed a break from walking
-walked around an area of London called Piccadilly Circus which is full of activity, shows, restaurants, shops, etc., a sort of London version of New York's Time Square minus the tall buildings and replaced with beautiful architecture and ornate buildings and statues.
-rode the bus home

Our time is London is quickly coming to an end. It is a wonderful city and we have enjoyed every minute of it. Tomorrow we hope to venture out of the city and go to Windsor Castle where Her Majesty the Queen lives. I'm sure she will be expecting us for tea, so I best be going!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Day 2 - Thursday, May 26, 2016

-went on a 3 hour open air bus tour around the city. Very interesting and informational.  It was a beautiful day so it was a wonderful way to get a great overview of London.
-learned that in London sometimes you have to pay to use a public toilet! 😊
-toured Westminster Abbey where royalty are married and coronations take place! I imagined myself walking down that amazing aisle to get married to sir Darrel. 😘
-topped the day off with going to see Les Miserables-it was fantastic!!
-took the underground (tube) back to our apartment. Real city travelers! 😉

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Day 1 - Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Let me begin by saying traveling isn't for wimps. There is a lot involved in getting to a destination. But once we finally arrived, we gave a big sigh of relief and thankfulness. Here is what transpired:
-Slight bit of confusion getting tickets at Peoria airport on Tuesday afternoon. Reminder right out of the gate that God goes before us and is always with us. Things got cleared up after 10-15 minutes of uncertainty. 😅
-arrived in Chicago with enough time to get our connecting flight 🤗
-began the 8 hour flight to London - chuckled at 2 grumpy old men on board - one accused the stewardess of calling him fat, and the other wanted his seat reclined and the person behind him didn't want it reclined. Economy section rage!  😜
-I think we slept a bit on the flight . . . brains get to be foggy by this time. . . comfortable flight overall. . . Even kept my cookies all the way to London!
-pretty long line through customs but uneventful
-decided to be adventurous and try to figure out the underground-so we took our four suitcases on the train, which is a lot like the Chicago metro, and then walked the remainder of the blocks to our destination arriving right on time - 2pm on the dot, the time we agreed to meet our Airbnb host!
-walked to the grocery store for a few items
-explored the city by foot for the remainder of the day-we are within walking distance of everything!
-I think we wore out dad's knees already-tomorrow we are doing a bus tour! 😊
Day 1 - Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Monday, May 23, 2016

39 days - 8 new experiences and counting

Thirty-nine days of Alice in 60 land are now history and there are 8 notable new adventures/experiences logged so far on the way to a goal of 60. Tomorrow will be the next new adventure....flying over the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. That in itself could be very interesting. To be honest, I hope I sleep the entire way, but there is the potential of losing my cookies at 45,000 feet if things get a bit rocky. That too, would be a new experience. . . one I'm sure I would try to forget. To help with the long trip, however, Tiffany loaded my iPod with my most recent favorite songs about trusting God. She also told me about ear plug splitters (I never heard of such a thing...but what a great idea!!) so dad and I can both listen to my iPod at the same time. Can you picture that??I'm sure we will impress the other 60-something passengers with our high tech gadgets! 🤓
Today, I said goodbye to Tiffany as she boarded the church van to begin the first leg of her missions trip to Spain. Yes, I got a bit teary-eyed, after all, she is my baby!! However, all of these experiences are vivid reminders to me of my need to trust God everyday in every situation, when I must let go of the familiar and let God teach me again how He is "Sovereign Over Us".  "God Is" my "Wonderful, Merciful Savior" who has "Always Been Faithful to Me" "Through All of It". I will "Trust in You" and "Cast my Cares" on the God of "Angel Armies".  I am "Overwhelmed" that "Jesus Loves Me". "All I Have is Christ".  The messages in these songs will carry me to London. . . and I am so excited to visit that city where I'm sure many new experiences will bring me closer to that sixty mark!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The beginning of a new decade

As I approached a new decade, not just 30 or 40, or even the big 5-0, but 60 years old, I realized more than the other milestones, that life was slipping away and unless I was intentional about living life to the fullest, as God intended, I could soon be physically or mentally limited, so I set out on a new journey; a renewed outlook on the approaching empty nest (which for me is much later than most people my age) and the "happy golden years". What I didn't want to do was slip into cruise mode and coast the rest of my life. So, the idea came to me to set a goal of looking for 60 new adventures/experiences in my 60th year of life. This would hopefully keep my mind pressing on to learning new things and stepping out of my comfort zone. So for all my new readers, which are probably only (maybe) my family, and perhaps a few curious friends, I created this blogspot to log my activity and to hold me accountable.....a sort of diary. Plus, since this blogspot is a new experience for me, it counts as one of the 60 adventures. I welcome comments and suggestions, and most of all, through all of this, I am praying God will be honored and that my life would be a fragrant aroma to those I meet. I really don't want this to be all about me.....it's about waking up each day and seeing what God has on His agenda for me and that my mind would be fresh and open to new things.
Welcome to my blogspot and thanks for reading. I love you all very much!! Thanks for your support of this old dog trying to learn new tricks!!