Friday, February 22, 2013

Ringing in a New Year in a New Country

I understand that it is now the end of February and I am just now getting around to blogging about New Years. Ugh bear with me....apparently when you have three kids and they all are in school you are NOT going to have as much free time as you once thought. All those relaxing days at the beach, shopping, and exploring new places on your own with out yeah not happening here.
Well this being our last "New Year" celebration in Italy we obviously decided to travel outside of Italy to see how other parts of Europe party it up. So with the kids packed up and ready to go we ventured on a 5 hour (that's with me driving) trek to Budapest Hungary.

The drive was beautiful and easy, the boys did great and we were super excited to be able to see yet another magnificent part of Europe. We did have to make several stops in order to find a place to buy a vignette once we crossed into Hungary. However in the past we have learned the hard way of the importance of having a vignette while driving in certain European countries so we were going to stop 100 times if that's what we had to do. We finally made it to Budapest and our hotel the Ramada Aqua World. The boys (my fish) were ooobber excited about the big water park, and if we saw nothing else but the inside of the water world they would have been fine.

Before we even left our house we made sure to have the directions to Hard Rock Café in hand, and so after checking in that was our first destination. Mind you it is New Year's Eve and so we wanted to get in and out for dinner before the city of 1.74 + million people began their celebrations. By the time we made it down to the city center there were thousands of people armed with whistles, blowers, fireworks, and alcohol and it's only 4:30pm.

Once we had our fill of some delicious American food and drinks we ventured outside where the crowd was quickly growing. So we had decided that we should just go back to our hotel room and have a Gilleo style New Year's Celebration. Plus it was quite cold out and well frankly my kids don't do well when it's cold. Two of them are born blooded Texans and two of them are Montanans that were spoiled by Texas.  
Well we did in fact ring in the new year Gilleo style.....I knew better so we toasted over vino and kid vino (grape juice) WAY before midnight, because I do believe I was the only one up past midnight. LOL

As we rang in the new year a little early I couldn't help but reflect on the last two and a half years we have had in Italy and traveling Europe. We as a family have been very fortunate to have been able to see all that we have while living overseas. With a move coming up this year it makes me sad to have to say arrivederci to Italy and all of our grand adventures. On the other hand I am super excited to see where the military is taking us next and what the Lord has in store for the next chapter of our lives.
DAY TWO: This day was promised to the kids so we were headed to aqua world for the whole day. My boys are fish and could live in the water. They were in heaven and we were nonstop for 8 hours with the exception of refueling for lunch and dinner.


It was a successful day at the water park. I had three boys who were officially worn out!

DAY THREE: Today was the day to go out and venture into Buda and Pest. Although it was rough going in the morning (I think the boys may have had too much water park the day before). We did make it down to the city center to take in some of Budapest's beauty, although it was another COLD day. Our first stop was across the Chain Bridge on the Buda side, where we found Clark Hotel on Clark Adam road.


The Hungarian National Parliament was a very beautiful building and located on the Pest side.
On the banks of the Danube River on the Pest side of the city we found this memorial. It honors the Jews who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during World War II. Apparently 60 Jews were ordered to remove their shoes on the banks of the river and then they were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies would fall into the water and be swept away. This memorial represents their shoes left behind.

Clark and I on the banks of the Danube River with the Buda side behind us.

Time to refuel and warm up before heading out to do some shopping.

After another delicious meal and heat we were ready to venture out to get some goodies to take back home. The boys were really wearing thin so we had to make it snappy.

Time to call it a day. The boys were not feeling well and Clark was battling the start of a sinus infection. We were supposed to have another day of sightseeing but with everyone in the conditions that they were in we decided to head back home a day early. So the next morning we checked out and packed up the car and were ready to venture back home. BUT not before a quick stop at Starbucks to meet up with a very special person in my life. My fourth grade teacher from Meadowlark Elementary school in Great Falls Montana. Such a small small world in which we live.
When I was in fourth grade my family moved half way through the school year from Evanston Wyoming to Great Falls Montana. Although not my first childhood move it was the first one that I really remember having such an affect on me. This beautiful woman made me feel so welcome in her class as the 'new kid' that I really never felt like I didn't belong. Of all of my years of school I had two teachers that I felt really loved their job as teachers and that they certainly were there for the kids. Their passion was reflected each and every day and their love for teaching was obvious. This wonderful woman will always have a special place in my heart. Thank you Mrs. Ballantyne I will cherish this memory.
On our way out of the city we were able to capture a few more pictures of things we missed.

Thanks for joining us on our Budapest adventure. There are plenty more pictures from this trip on my facebook page. :)
One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.
-Henry Miller