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Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

I’m back again to share about my second full day in Norway. A week has passed, and looking through the photos again really makes miss Sarah. I guess I just need to go back again some time!

Saturday started with another delicious breakfast to fuel for the first hike of the day: Prestgaardssetra.

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This hike, like the first, followed along a waterfall.

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It was the perfect hiking temperature. Cool enough that we didn’t get too sweaty, but warm enough that a few layers were enough.

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I was feeling a little sore from the previous day’s hike and needed to take a break about 1/4 of the way up. I don’t look tired at all… right?

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Sarah and I had extra company on this hike. Her dog, Koda, joined the ranks. He was one curious dog, smelling anything and everything.

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Isn’t he beautiful?

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He’s friendly, too.

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This trail was wetter and more covered with pine needles and leaves than the first.

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It was exciting once we were able to begin to look over the trees.

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From the top of the mountain, we could see Sarah and Aug’s tiny little town below.

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When Sarah and I were on our first hike together, she called Aug when we were about to turn around and mentioned that we weren’t going to make it “to the book.”

PA292222Being the novice that I am, I though “the book” was hikers’ talk for the top of the mountain.

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Low and behold, at the top of every hike in their area, there is a post box that literally contains a book.

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Everyone who makes it to the end of the hike signs their name into the book.

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As you can imagine, I was quite proud to sign my name.

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I made it to the top!!!

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A beautiful morning for an invigorating hike.

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I call this photo: Two friends on top of the world.

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Even Koda was excited to take in the view.

Ok, maybe he was more excited to be cuddled.

Once we made it back down to the car, we went back to Sarah’s to freshen up for lunch.

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Sarah took me to an adorable little cafe which is next to an equally cute shop.

We both had a pasta salad which came with arugula, kidney beans, red onions, mozzarella and croutons. The dressing had a very mind curry flavor which pulled the whole thing together. PA292254

This lunch was light, fresh and delicious!

I tried to recreate this at home, but my dressing wasn’t spot on.

After lunch, we headed back to Sarah and Aug’s home. We relaxed for about an hour then changed back into our hiking boots for the second trip of the day.

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The weather was a little dreary for our hike to Innerdalen, but the conversation was great.

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We had to walk through a tiny farming community to get into Innerdalen. PA292260

On the way through, we bumped into this farmer and his flock of sheep.

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This hike was a lot easier than the first two. There were still several big hills, but most of the way incline was pretty gradual.

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I was really surprised when Sarah pointed out the glacier between the mountains above.

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Apparently Aug has noticed a dramatic change in this glacier since he first arrived in Norway. It’s heating up up north!

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The walk to Innerdalen was really beautiful. PA292278

Lots of rushing waterfalls and Autumnal colors.

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Innerdalen is a beautiful valley between huge mountains.

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As beautiful as ever!

 

 

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The lake water was crystal clear and ice cold.

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Sarah said that this little cabin community is packed with tourists during the summer, but on the day we visited, we were absolutely alone.

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While it was beautiful and serene in autumn, I can imagine Innerdalen to be a fun center for hiking activity in the summer.

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Fishing boats just waiting for the summer sun. I was so amazed that these cabins were quite literally balancing on stones.

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So peaceful and calm.

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After walking around the deserted summer camping grounds, Sarah and I went back to her place for another delicious dinner.

Following three strenuous (by my terms) hikes in 24 hours, I was so grateful to soak my weary muscles in the hot tub. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing in front of the TV before I could no longer keep my eyes open.

Saturday was such a fun day. I felt so accomplished and proud of my body for taking me on two wonderful hikes. It was a great day spent talking with Sarah about life and futures.

Never would I have imagined that my own future would hold the blessings and opportunities that it has. Praise the Lord!

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Surprise! I know I’ve been absent from the blog a lot lately, but life has just been too great to sit in front of a computer.

Want an example of how lucky and blessed I am?

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I spent the last four days visiting my friend Sarah in Norway.

Sarah and I lived on the same floor freshman year of college, and then lived together the following summer. I have always admired her positive, encouraging, seize-the-day attitude and am so very grateful to know her.

Since I’ve lived in Germany, Sarah and her husband, Aug, have lived in Norway. We’ve been saying we need to visit each other for over three years. Recently, Sarah announced that she and her husband are expecting their first baby, so I figured I’d better get over there and see her before the baby arrives.

I am so glad I did.

The trip was a bit last minute, but that actually added to the excitement.

I am so thankful I got to spend this time with my wonderful friend. I cannot wait to visit again to meet the lucky baby boy who is about to be born into this loving family.

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I’ll be back with more…

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Our trip to Budapest was simply stunning. I mentioned it briefly before, but Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities I have seen.

We stayed for 7 days and left feeling like there was still so much more to do and see.

Since these Budapest posts are going to be pretty photo heavy, I’ll try not to be too long-winded; I’ll just let the city speak for itself.

Parliament Building

An iconic building for Budapest that is most impressive when viewed from the Buda side of the city.

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City Park

A great place to relax in the shade and enjoy a picnic. There are flea markets and regularly scheduled activities throughout the year, so check to calendar of events.

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Hero’s Square

This monument is located at the far end of the city park.

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Castle Hill

The views of Pest from atop Castle Hill are remarkable. Beautiful by day and magical by night.

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Be sure to take in the view over a drink from one of the cafes along the Fisherman’s Bastion.

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I had so much fun walking around the Castle Hill with one of my students and his family. The little boy from my class was so excited to share what he knew about his hometown and his parents made excellent tour guides.

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On our last night in Budapest, Sebastian and I went back to the top of Castle Hill to watch the sun set and the Indian Moon rise over Pest. Wine and cake certainly made the evening even more sweet.

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The Citadel

Another fantastic view can be taken in from the Citadel, also on the Buda side of Budapest.

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On our last day in the city, Sebastian and I hiked up to the citadel. We were hot and sweaty by the time we reached the top, but the view was well worth the extra exertion.

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The pretty and ornate building at the end of the bridge is the market hall.

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Margaret Island

The island between Buda and Pest provides the perfect location for all sorts of activities. From swimming pools to football fields, fountains to flower gardens, there is a lot to do on this tiny little island.

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Market Hall

I’ll write a bit more about the market hall in my Budapest food post, but the beautiful architecture of this building is the perfect setting for the beautiful produce and textiles within.

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Budapest Activities

The sights were great, but the activities we took part in are the most memorable.

House of Terror

Although not a happy place, this museum was absolutely eye-opening to the painful Hungarian history. The museum is now housed in a building that was used as a prison, interrogation center and execution facility by both the fascist and communist regimes. P8170721

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The promise of the building is that it is now used to honor the men, women and children who were murdered by the two terrorizing regimes.

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Walking Tours

Budapest is the perfect city for a walking tour. There are many organizations that offer tours, but Sebastian organized his own Jewish walking tour using a guide he found online. We were channeling my good friend Kim by taking a lot of fun photos at each stop along the tour.

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Thermal Caves

One of the activities that was sadly left uncrossed from my wish list was a visit to the famous thermal spas in Budapest. Although we didn’t make it to the spas, we did see some of the wonderful caves below the city that were formed from the thermal springs. These photos were taken in the very dark caves with my phone, so please excuse the poor quality. If you ever visit Budapest, I would highly recommend visiting one of the 3 caves which are open to the public.

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Night Cruise on the Danube

Budapest is stunning, especially by night when the sights are reflected in the water of the Danube. There are some very luxurious (and pricy) night cruises available, but we went on the free ride that came with our bus ticket. Not the most comfortable boat, but it was all about the city anyways.

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Castle Hill from the Danube.

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The Parliament building.

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I still have so much more to share, but will leave you right here. It is really lovely to relive this fantastic vacation two weeks after returning to Bonn. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have!

Until next time!

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Beautiful Budapest

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Just a quick android post to share a few photos from the beautiful Hungarian capital, Budapest.

I am amazed that this city isn’t more famous.

In my opinion, it is more beautiful than Paris, Vienna and even one of my other favorite cities, Prague.

Sebastian and I have been busy learning as much as possible about Budapest. On Friday we met my Hungarian student and his family. They kindly played tour guide and showed us around the Castle District.

Last night we took a river cruise and were impressed by Buda and Pest’s lit up skylines.

Today we will visit several of the city parks and an island in the middle of the Danube. Tomorrow we’re off on a day trip to one of Hungary’s most famous lakes.

I can’t wait to share more about this impressive city, but for now, I’m off to explore and take it all in.

Have a great weekend!

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