Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Grasse is a beautiful place...

Southern France is Beautiful

It's true... far more so than I expected. We're staying with the fabulous Johnsons in a gorgeous home overlooking Cannes and the Mediterranean Sea. I didn't know the sun could be so beautiful.


Sunday, April 26, 2009


I have felt like a tourist taking happy snaps for most of the trip. Yesterday I shot this in the Antwerp Central Station. I am happy.


Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry in Europe.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's a strange sort of feeling, sitting here with not a sibling in sight. I was left to study here in the hostel in Venice about an hour ago, and until now, that's what I've been doing. Idiotic, I know, studying. But there's just one more little bitty online credit to get while I'm here. Unfortunately, the pages of my textbook which I ripped out and carried across the Atlantic with me were misplaced in an internet cafe in Rome, and I'm doing all my studying the hard way--google searches.

Studying was halted a few minutes ago, with the presence of crazy next to me, who is currently staring at me, calling me names like "crack-pot," "paranoid," and "Americanos." Also, he is cackling, telling me "no more checking e-mails," and mumbling things in other languages which are probably ancient curses. It's not like any Italian I've ever heard. Frankly, I'm pretty creeped out.

Wow. Finally. He got the computer he was waiting for. Maybe he'll leave me alone now. I hope you weren't worried, Grandma. I've got some pretty mean self-defense moves and major adrenaline reserves.

We're heading to Holland tomorrow bright and early. We'll catch the ferry from the hostel here at 5:o5am, take a train or bus or something to the airport, and then fly to Amsterdam. We'll miss the gelato and pizza of Italy, but I for one am eager to see what other countries have to offer.

Better stop procrastinating... Later.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Kirsten Celestial Gillson?

Kennan Gabriel? Nope. Unfortunately not. But amongst the slight irritations--and humorous situations--that develop in a trip of this length, new names and identities emerge. I was recalling a few of them as we rode the shuttle boat from station to station through the grand canal of Venice this afternoon in the rain.

"A very slow ant"
The curious snail
The Master
The green monster

The cheetah
Speedy Gonzalez
Conan (the Barbarian)

The mother hen
Gelato monster
Kissten... Never mind. She wouldn't like it repeated.

Huff the magic dragon

As in all good reporting, I was impartial with the facts. Let me state however, that the name calling referring to moods wasn't necessarily fair or deserved.

Until next time...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Photos... finally!

Let me start by saying I currently hate blogger for it's inability to hold formatting from the "Compose" and "Edit Html" windows to the actual blog. I apologize that I simply don't have time right now to make this post actually look good... oh well! :-)

Kirsten, Kennan, and Micale at the lighthouse in Capri, Italy.

All the houses in Capri are white. This one just happened to have cool flowers in front!

Inside the Pantheon, the world's largest stone-domed structure, built in 126AD.

Every street corner in Rome seems to have a catholic image above it.

A woman begging on the streets of Rome.

A view of the Roman Forum with too many cool things to name...

A temple in the are of the Roman Forum.

Sunset over Saint Andrews, Scotland.

A Bible illuminated in John Knox's church in Saint Andrews, Scotland.

Riding the bus in Great Britain.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter in Rome

I'm really tired, crabby, and coming down with a cold right now, but what better time to write, huh?

Today was Easter. We were in Rome. I saw the Pope. I did not shake his hand. Yes, this morning we joined the tens of thousands of people who flocked to Saint Peter's Basilica and the square out front. It was pretty cool. I'd never been to the Vatican before, so the whole thing was filled with new sights and sounds. We listened to the Pope for a while, but we actually got bored really quickly because everything was in Italian and we were just standing on this really hard stone pavement. So yeah... we left. I felt like maybe I was missing something since there were still THOUSANDS of people coming in, but I figured, "What the hey... they speak Italian!"

So we went to the Colosseum instead. I know... out of the fire and into the frying pan, or something like that. Our theory was that everyone would be at the Vatican so no one would be at the Colosseum. We were wrong. Who knew that there were enough people in Rome to fill BOTH sites to obnoxious levels? I guess the moral of the story is, if you like people, Rome is the place to be for Easter.

We actually never went into the Colosseum, but we have our passes ready for tomorrow. Instead we headed into the Forum and Palatine Hill. THAT WAS COOL! We stood amongst the ruins of more than 2500 years of history. It was at that point that I realized for the first time just how epic this trip is. Not that WE are epic, but it struck me how much history and heritage we are exploring in just five weeks. It's really almost sacrilegious. Over and over I find myself asking the same question, no matter where we go: "Who were these people?" "What inspired them to do..." I can't answer those questions, but today I stand in awe of the past and the heritage of my humanity. Still, I'm not a Humanist, for the glory of Man is simply a reflection of a greater Glory of God. The triumphs of Man, are simply temporary echoes of the Triumphs of Eternity.

Tomorrow: the Colosseum, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museum, more gelato, pizza, and coffee. Less cold.

Us with the Pope. Silly Kirsten... you're blocking the Pope!


McDonald's in Rome has amazing coffee! For €1 I got a latte macchiatto that was about 8oz. It was made in a completely automated machine that looks like the espresso makers at Starbucks not like the little stand alone, insert a coin ones. The people who work the coffee counter have different, nicer uniforms. The flavor is great, really smooth and not bitter. I put in one sugar and it is perfect. This was a great coffee experience!


Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, April 10, 2009

Look Out, Tiger Woods

Golf is huge in St. Andrews. And it ought to be. It is, of course, the birthplace of the deliciously rigorous sport. There are golf shops all over town, bearing the names of famous Scots (such as Tommy Morris and Bobby Jones) who dominated the fiercest of competition to retain their nation's honor and champion their sport. You cannot escape the athletic history. If you want, you can buy golf balls in the historic Holy Trinity Church of St. Andrews.

We golfed today at The Links. Not the Old Course. That costs 400 pounds (over $600). We opted instead for the 2 pound putt-putt course alongside the Old Course. Even so, I feel that it was an experience that should be put in the record. I am now far more cultured and accomplished than when I arose this morning. It could only have been better if I had worn a donegal tweed hat and beaten Kennan like Judson did.

"Live" in Scotland

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What I Did Today

Jumped massively far, over a rising tide
Had a traditional Scottish dessert
Threw a big rock at Kennan
Visited a gorgeous church ruin with cemetary
Nearly lost all my conditioner in a mini yet mighty expulsion-explosion
Saw the site of the first Scottish reformation martyr's death
Directed the re-enactment of a portion of Chariots of Fire (coming soon!)
Learned that this is the birthplace of golf
Found a drink at Starbucks that I like
Emailed my mom

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Rumors are True...

...we're not coming home.


P.S. The full moon rising over the North Sea is gorgeous.

Day 1

I'm riding on a bus from Dover to London right now on what is proving to be much of our own Amazing Race. We have most of our housing planned, but little of our transport as it was hard to find bus routes online. That's already easier though as we now know which brands to shop!

Dover was beautiful! The white cliffs were glowing in the afternoon sunlight when we arrived and the castle on the hill was fabulous! We found our guest house just around the corner from the bus stop, dropped our things, and quickly made our way to the castle. We were all exhausted after a long night of travel, but it was worth it anyway! God blessed us with spots on the last tunnel tour of the day.

Everything shuts down pretty early in Dover, so by the time we got out of the castle most shops were closed. We found a pub that was open and got dinner for 4 for less than £16! I was pleased :) internet was free at the pub, so much frustratingly sleepy time was spent trying to plan trans for the next day.


Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, April 6, 2009

So it begins

We are on our way!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sunday, April 5, 2009

For Aslan.

Sitting on the brink of our impending caper reminds me of a story. A tale that snatched four normal children, two boys, two girls, out of the life they knew--and thrust them into a country full of excitement and adventure. I feel a little like one of those children right now. Not exactly sure what I've gotten myself into, or how. But I feel the same surge of adrenaline. The same anticipation of something great to come. And the same curiousity to know why--to discover what part this adventure will play in the grand design. I don't know yet, but that won't stop me from proceeding. I am ready to go.

What say you,
Shall we not take the adventure Aslan hands us?


Saturday, April 4, 2009