Thursday, July 7, 2016

4th of July weekend - Mallorca Spain -- An almost perfect trip

Well, Brian requested off for the 4th of July about 2 months ago, and we switched plans dozens of times for what we wanted to do on the 4th.  We considered going back to Switzerland and seeing that area again, but wanted to do something a little crazier..So we found tickets 2 days before Brian's vacation started to an island owned by Spain! Believe it or not, even though we bought the tickets 2 days before, we were more prepared this trip than any other trip we have taken in the last 5 months being here.  We had a place to stay, a rental car, and actual plans for the days we were there.  Ha!

Our first night, we landed and headed straight to our BnB. It was a little sketch, but all we needed was a bed to sleep on, and a shower.  Oh the shower...lets just talk about that now.. Brian and I couldn't figure out the hot water in the house, so we ended up taking freezing showers every single night.  It was painful..physically painful.  I couldn't breathe when the water would go higher than my waste.

Anyway..So we dropped our stuff off and ran to the nearest Kebab stand!
Kebabs and Patata Fritas
The next morning, we woke up and headed out for Serra de Tramuntana mountains on the Northwestern side of the island.  It was about an hour drive from Palma, where we were staying. We went to Port de Polenca, then went up to the Northern-most point called the Cap de Formentor.  The reviews I read online were saying this is a really scary drive, but worth it. I almost said to Brian that we shouldn't do it, but we decided to brave the roads and check out the scenery.
First stopping point was this beautiful view of Port de Polenca

Mirador des Colomer

The scary road to the Cap de Formentor

At the Lighthouse at the Cap de Formentor

After hitting up the Cap de Formentor, we decided we needed to hop in the ocean! On the way to the beach, we realized that Siesta was fast approaching, and we needed to eat before everything was closed for a few hours.   We stopped at an awesome restaurant right next to the beach.

Delicious cold drink at the restaurant

Cutting the Hamon. It was so good 

Tapas and Pizza!
The water was so close, so after lunch, we took off for the sand. We didn't stay long as the beach wasn't huge. We thought we would find a bigger beach area.

The water was so warm! Baby bump ahead..

Awesome sand castle! If you sat next to it in the chair pictured on the left, you'd have to pay to get your pic taken.  We are cheap and just snapped a picture of the sand castle!
We then stumbled upon a town that both Brian and I read about online saying it was a very picturesque town called Alcudia. We had to stop and check it out!!!

This picture took too long to take. I think he attempted this like 5 times

Siesta hour = Vacant streets

Brian always ends up on some sort of wall, doesn't he?

Deserted and beautiful

Me taking a pic of Brian, and him taking one of me!
Alright, onto the beach.  We went to a beach just south of Polenca.  The water was so warm as we were in La Gola, or part of the peninsula waters.  Oh it was so nice! and hardly any waves, which I later found out Brian dislikes.

He found a teeny shell and said he would be putting dis in his pocket for later.  He is cute
We then ran home, showered up (in our freezing shower) and headed to Palma for Dinner and site seeing

The beautiful Cathedral de Palma

Inside the Cathedral.  We accidentally went to mass....
Dinner was great! We went and got Paellas which is a dish we had in Menorca when we visited one of Mark's converts a few years ago.  They cooked it for us and I had to get my hands on more of it! Its delicious!!! Except the Octopus.  Gross

The tasty Paella!!

Octopus...It was crunchy. Brian said I ate the beak...
The next day was Sunday! We woke up and went to church.  It was so cool to go to the spanish branch.  There were actually 3 branches that we could go to.  Brian and I were able to talk to a sister that just got back from her mission to Oregon and she explained why they had 3 branches and didn't have a ward.  She said that Mallorca is growing so much that they would have to split the wards in a few years, so they keep them as branches so they can continue to grow into wards.  Kinda cool!!

Trying to be good on the sabbath, we ended up just going to the beach, relaxing and reading books the rest of the day. It was fun.

Monday, we were rested and ready to hit the island again.  Oh man, was it fun! We took off to the East coast, which was about an hour drive.  Our first stop was to the Coves de Arta! Amazing Caves with Stalagtites/mites and columns that were formed over thousands of years.  They even played a light show within the caves! Soo cool.  It was hard for the guy giving the tour. He gave the tour in 3 languages -- Spanish, German, and English. Brian got to hear his explanation twice, and the people in our group were sick of him talking by the time he got to English, so it was a little hard for me to hear everything.  It was completely worth going though.  Very well lit cave!!

First, I must brag on this bakery we stumbled upon that morning.. The pastries were amazing!!!
Ok, now to the Cave pics

The light show!

So fun to watch

This is coming out of the caves. The stairs went down another 20 steps

Amazing view
After the caves, we stopped for a bite to eat right off of a beautiful beach we found!

This was the most amazing italian. Delish

Right outside the Lunch spot, and right next to the next beach
 So, short story, Did you know when you're pregnant, you're not supposed to lay on your back? This makes it a little difficult going to the beach when all you want to do is lay out.  We bought chairs to lounge in the day previously, and I didn't want to invest in another chair --Cuz then you have to get your money's worth out of it, and stay forever. There was more we needed to do!!! So, I dug a hole and made myself a sand chair!!
That wave might look itty bitty, but it was a monster. So fun

My makeshift chair
Seriously though, the water had amazing waves. It was actually a dangerous time of day to be swimming because of currents.  There were lifeguards telling us where we could swim and whatnot.  We got in the water, and loved every second..until a wave hit me right in the belly...Brian had to come save me cuz I was getting pummeled by waves. We were recommended by Mark to hit up a quaint little village called Arta.  So after the beach, we went and saw the beautiful church at the top of the hill, and strolled the street markets.  We also stopped for a little snack -- Also recommended by my brother, Mark.  The snack we got was a tortilla de patata tapa topped with tomato. Say that 5x fast. We found humor in that for longer than you need to know...

There were so many stray cats in Arta!!

The church at the top of the hill

tortilla de patata tapa topped with tomato
So for our last night, we decided to not go straight home, but take in Palma city once more for the sunset.  Then we ran home and grabbed a pizza outside our BnB.

What a beautiful Cathedral. It was seriously so so pretty. Pictures don't do it justice.

We got fries too. That pizza was so good though!
Now, those of you reading may, do bad things ever happen when one goes on vacation? Brian and I were convinced this was the smoothest trip we have ever been on! No hiccups whatsoever!! We turned in our rental car the next day and hopped on our flight. We slept the 2 hour flight home. We walked out the door of the airport, and the shuttle we needed was right there.  It was just great! Until....

I thought for a second about Brian's wallet.  I hadn't seen it in over 24 hours. The last place he put it was under neath the seat in our rental car.  Surely, he grabbed it.  So I asked him.."Brian, um...where is your wallet?"  His eyes got huge. We discussed the wallet the night before when we went to fill up the rental car with gas.  He explained that he didn't have it (we just had cash in a zipper that was easier to hold) and that it was at our BnB.  We didn't think of the wallet again until we were in Germany driving home.  Brian said "...Its not in the rental car, is it?"  The rest is history. Tuesday was a day of frustration trying to get through 2 language barriers (Spanish and German) to figure out where his wallet was. It is safely with the Hertz people at the Airport in Palma Mallorca...We have to get someone to go pick it up because of the sensitive information within the wallet. We are still working with the UPS people in Spain to go get it and mail it to us.  Its a headache, but trips are never perfect!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Anniversary weekend - Switzerland!

Brian and I celebrated our 6th anniversary by going to Switzerland for the weekend of the 11th! We had a great time, mainly because my cousin and his wife had us stay with them! We loved being with Oliver, Amber and their family for the short time we were able to go down.  The morning we woke up to start our adventures, Amber had a yummy breakfast for us- then, we headed out for the Cheese factory in Gruyeres.  Gruyeres was a perfect and picturesque town. I loved every second being there.

The town of Gruyeres

Switzerland is seriously stunning

How cute are these old cars? I had to take a picture

Brian and cow. The cow wouldn't turn so I could get a good picture of his bell.  It was really cool to see them and any time they would walk, or bend their head at all, their bells would ring.  Awesome!
 The cheese factory was awesome! It was in French though, so we couldn't really understand the whole process of turning the milk into cheese.  The room that they made the cheese in was really cool. It was 2 cauldrons and a wood fire that you would move the cauldrons over filled with milk. After reaching the heat necessary to make the milk curd, they'd remove the milk from the heat, then take a piece of fabric stuff to pull out all the curds.  They even dip their arms into the warm milk/curds to get all the curds out. It was impressive! Now we know why their cheese is so good, and why the worker's arms are smoother than a baby's bottom. haha

Removing the curds from the Cauldron

Gathering the Curds

Hot milk in the cauldron anyone?
After the fascinating Cheese tour, we went on a drive to Lauterbrunen! Amber stopped at a convenience store and got some cheese and chocolate for our drive! She is so dang nice!!  The drive was gorgeous, and Lauterbrunnen did not disappoint!  


This was actually taken out of the window of a moving car. 

This also was taken out the window :)
When we got to Lauterbrunnen, we went to Trummelbach falls. Oh my, they did not disappoint!  The glacial water actually carved its way into the mountain! The pictures don't do it any justice, but I will post some none-the-less

On our way up Trummelbach falls

Part of the falls. It was really cold in there!

Part of the falls again!

Lauterbrunnen valley is filled with falls coming off the top like this.. Best ever!

Seriously, this place was gorgeous and we will be going back!
Our drive back was super fun as we talked with Amber about her life living away from the US. She has more stories than anyone I know! So so many experiences make her and Oliver and their family the people they are.  When we got home, Oliver took us on a small drive about 10 minutes from their house to a lake that borders France.  One of their sons who came with us decided to jump in the lake! It was fun to watch him do a few flips. 
This is actually Oliver trying to push said son into the water. :)
The next day, Oliver, Amber and most of their kids took us to the Chocolate factory back in Gueyers! Brian was seriously in hog heaven! One thing we learned at the factory was how to properly eat chocolate! you're supposed to use more senses than just taste! You can hear the difference in how much cocoa is in a piece of chocolate by how it breaks. Once you put the chocolate in your mouth, to enjoy the flavor more, you can breathe through your teeth, and the flavor kinda enhances a bit! Its interesting.  

Seriously, he ate a ton of chocolate samples
After the chocolate factory, we took a little walk where Oliver lost his hat over the edge into the water. I am pretty sure he was teasing one of his kids and in retaliation, they grabbed his hat and threw it over..but we will just say he lost it.  

Oliver searching for his hat

How gorgeous is this view though!

Brian trying to retrieve the hat. He said the water was freezing!
We then went to a little village called Thun! It was beautiful - and a little rainy!  We had a good time though walking through the town.  We saw a castle at the top of the hill, and had an amazing view of the town.

The view from outside the castle

I spy...Brian!

Brian was hoping around and kept doing things like this on the walls.  I guess I was walking too slow..
I am not positive what the next castle is called that we went to.. was it Oberhofen? Anyway, we hit up one more castle. It was a lot of fun! One thing different about castles in Switzerland than anywhere i have ever been, is they are very kid friendly! They always have a little spot for kids to play, try on hats, etc. It was interesting to experience a castle like that.

The Castle Gardens

This was the actual day of our anniversary! 
That night, we had an amazing meal! Like I dream about this meal sometimes.  It was called Raclette. It is basically melted cheese that you put on top of potatoes and meat. Oh man.. I am drooling. Why didn't I get a picture!!?  

The next morning, we went to church with Oliver and Amber, then ducked out to head home so Brian could be rested for work the next day.  We missed a turn and had to stop to see what we stumbled upon.

That is a castle with a church attached to it.  So cool and a crazy site to see from the freeway.