Saturday, April 27, 2013

Algarve

The second stop on our itinerary was Portugal.  We really wanted to go to the Algarve region on the southern coast.  The pictures looked amazing and although March wasn't the warmest time of year to go, it was still much warmer than Germany.  It was also nice to get pictures without the millions of tourists that visit each summer.  This area is full of so much natural beauty.  It was great to just get lost in it all.  

We flew into Lisbon and spent a day showing the kids our favorite parts of the city and eating delicious pasteis de belem.  We then drove down the coast and spent the week on the beach.  We had a kitchen in our hotel room and it was nice to be able to cook just a little instead of eating out every meal. We also had a heated indoor pool which was nice to go for a little swim.  This area was great for kids.  They were able to do a lot of exploring and running around outside.

The kids in Lisbon.

Conley chilling at the hotel.

The view from our hotel.


Prainha Beach


The area is filled with arches and caves to explore.

Sometimes these guys would attack Simon when he climbed up to take pictures.



Ponte de Piedade

We gave the kids their own bags to fill up with shells and rocks at the beach.  It was a big hit.  Conley's got so big that he couldn't carry it anymore.


tired after a long day of driving
(I fixed their heads after we laughed and took a picture)


We did a lot of exploring on the beach itself and above as well.

a pirate ship

Our incredibly cute kids

The kids playing inside one of the caves.

Daddy and Conley looking for boats.


dancing on the beach

Marinha Beach


The kids threw rocks and shells into the water.  This seems to be one of their favorite hobbies when we travel around water.


The water was chilly, but we did manage to put our toes in.

after we dipped our toes in the water


Do Caminho

Monday, April 22, 2013

Petra

 Petra
Simon has been talking about Petra for a couple of years, but I just wasn't that excited about it.  We knew that it was one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.  Honestly, we thought it was just the Treasury building, and I didn't want to go that far to see one building carved out of stone.  Simon then started doing some research and found out just how extensive and amazing Petra is.  We found out that we could fly from London to Amman for cheap and then take a bus (about 3 1/2 hours) down to the Petra.  Simon kept telling me that we would of been kicking ourselves if we had left Europe, being so close to Petra, and not going to see it.  He was absolutely right.  Petra is probably the most impressive thing that I have ever seen.


Treasury
The treasury is the first thing you see when you enter the city.  You pass though a long and beautiful Siq to see this masterpiece.  It is protected from the elements because of where it is situated and is the most preserved building.  It is carved out of solid rock and the purpose of the building is a mystery.


 View from the Siq.  The Siq is a gorge that was created by water.  The Nabataens made a dam and channeled the water though the Siq on the sides so they could have drinking water.

Not sure what Conley is doing here, but we think this picture is hilarious.




Petra is full of caves to explore and our kids loved it.


 Behind Auburn are some of the homes.  Up until 30 years ago the Bedouins lived in these caves.  It wasn't until they were trying to preserve the site that they asked them to leave.  Bedouins still live in caves around the Petra area.


 We hiked up to the Monastery, one of the other famous buildings.  It was a good hike up and our little Auburn did the whole thing by herself.  It was exhausting for me, but well worth it.  Conley got a little help from Daddy's shoulders.


 This is the Monastery.  It is just a nickname, because they think that it was a temple to accommodate large numbers of people.

 


We spent two whole days in Petra exploring.  Simon spent an extra half day doing some hikes that were beyond our families level.  He hiked up to the  High Place of Sacrifice one day and got some amazing views.


Petra is an entire city that belonged to the Nabataeans.  Here you can see an overview of part of the city.

The Royal Tombs.




Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Jordan

The idea for this trip all started in Miami.  Simon had a bunch of days off he needed to use by the end of April.  He wasn't allowed to take any days off for quite a few months due to the Miami trip and other work assignments.  I don't like to travel far in my third trimester, so we decided on March.  We started make lists of the places that we wanted to go and then looked at airline tickets.  We realized that most places were going to cost a lot more than we were willing to pay.  Then Simon had a brilliant idea...  if we went to London then we could take the EasyJet to all sorts of places for cheap.  He then came up with this itinerary:  Munich to London, London to Jordan, Jordan to London, London to Portugal, Portugal to London, London to Morocco, Morocco to London, and then back to Munich again.  This itinerary was almost the same price as Munich to Jordan believe it or not.  It was three different destinations that we have been talking about visiting.  We decided to take an entire month and travel.  We got our kids super excited for eight different plane rides and all of the new things that they were going to see.  We spent two months planning the trip and then we were off.  This trip was kind of our farewell to living in Europe.

Our first real stop on the trip was Jordan.  I have to admit, I was a little nervous about going to Jordan.  Our main reason for traveling there was to see Petra.   This post is all the other stuff in Jordan.  Petra was so awesome, it gets it's own post.



Our first stop in Jordan was a city called Jerash.  The city is about 45 minutes away from Amman.  It is home to some amazing Roman ruins.  The ruins are extensive and it was fun to spend the day wandering through them.  Auburn can now tell you a few things about the Romans and their architecture. 


overlooking the Agora and the Forum



In the amphitheater these guys played a little song for us and let the kids hit their drum.  Of course only for a little tip afterwards. 
                                   


My handsome little man at the top of the amphitheater. 



Hadrian's Arch


We did a little sightseeing in Amman.  This city is built on hills and has the same architecture throughout.  It was fun to climb to the top of different hills to get different views of the city.


 Of course there had to be a soccer game.  There was a game in the Jordanian league against a team in the Qatar league.  We spent about 3 euros on tickets.  The kids loved it.

In traveling to new places we decided to let our kids get really excited about "new food".  In Jordan it was felafel and hummus.  We, well Lonely Planet, found this great restaurant across the street in our hotel.  We ate there everyday, it was that delicious.  This is one of my favorite pictures of Conley.  Both of the kids loved the food.


One day we hired a driver and headed outside of Amman to see a few sights.  One was the Dead Sea.  Apparently you cannot just stop by the side of the road and jump in.  In a lot of places it is disputed territory between Israel and Jordan and there are armed guards everywhere.  We decided not to spend the ridiculous amount of money for the tourist beach and just enjoy the views.


On that same trip we drove through part the King's Highway and Wadi Mujeb.  
The King's Highway is actually in the Bible. 

Wadi Mujeb is like the Grand Canyon of the Middle East. 

The coolest thing that we saw on our day out was a place called Wadi Numeira.  It is not a well known place at all.  Simon read about it and saw some pictures and was convinced that this would be an awesome hike.  He somehow navigated us there (the driver didn't even known where this place was).  I have to admit I was skeptical that we would find it, but I am so glad we did.  This place was incredible.  It was so beautiful and serene.





I think the kids favorite part was throwing rocks into the river.