September 28, 2015

In the Footsteps of Paul at Mars Hill (Athens)

"So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I have observed that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.' Therefore what you worship in ignorance this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world....does not dwell in temples made by hands."

Bucket list item achieved: sitting on the Areopagus and contemplating Scripture where it actually happened. While there, we were greeted by a Greek-American from Detroit who was filming a small piece on what transpired there in Paul's time, and it was great to know that other believers were also there enjoying the spot and reflecting on the Bible.

We spent nearly an hour just looking out over Athens and glancing back over our shoulders at the Acropolis. As it was later in the day, the temperature was pleasant, and it wasn't crowded. There was an abundance of discarded cigarette butts and other trash, and I would recommend bringing a towel or other article of clothing to sit on while there. The rocks are worn smooth from weather and the feet of visitors; don't be like the tourists we saw trying to climb up in heels or flip-flops!

Panorama from the Areopagus with the Acropolis towards the right.

The beautiful mess that is Athens.

I'd be lying if I said we didn't match intentionally that day. :)

Have you visited the Areopagus? Do you have any interest in visiting sites mentioned in the Bible?

Linking up for #TravelTuesday!

September 23, 2015

How To Miss a Flight in 3 Easy Steps (Rebooking Fees Guaranteed!)

Step One: Leave six hours before your flight even though it's just a two and a half hour drive to the airport.

Step Two: Hit dead-stop traffic on the top of a mountain with no exit ramp for miles (or kilometers, in this case).

Step Three: After two and a half hours of inching forward on the autobahn, admit defeat and call the airline to re-book for a later flight.

Bonus: Extra points if you're pregnant, need to use the bathroom, haven't eaten in four hours, and/or are driving a manual transmission. If you qualify in each category (as I did), it's the recipe for the most misery possible!


Our whirlwind trip to London and Germany last week brought another first to our travel experiences! But unfortunately it was a first that I'd hoped never to experience.

Yes, we did indeed miss a flight.

Yes, there were more than a few tears shed, some stunned silence as the reality of the situation sank in, and a few muttered exclamations when we discovered the cost of re-booking. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

Not even highway views of the Marienberg Fortress could alleviate the pain in
our wallet. Or the pain in our bladders.
As my easy to follow steps above have revealed, we left our hometown in Germany, the medieval, fully-walled small town of Dinkelsbühl in the Franken region of Bavaria, with plenty of time to spare.  Dinkelsbühl is approximately 227 kilometers or a two to two-and-a-half hour drive from the Frankfurt airport on any given day. Being the type who always arrives ridiculously early for a flight, we scheduled ourselves to leave Oma's house at noon in order to make our 6pm flight in Frankfurt. Plenty of time, right? I mean, under ordinary circumstances, that would put us in the terminal by 2:30 or 2:45p at the latest.

On our way to Oma's from the airport at the beginning of the week, we had noticed that there was construction on the autobahn, which we figured would extend our drive by an hour or 90 minutes, tops. Still plenty of time to get there, right?


We hit dead-stop traffic just outside Würzburg on the A3 at 1:30p. In the following three hours, we moved approximately 15 kilometers (9 miles). That's a whopping max speed of 3 miles per hour, folks. By about 4pm, we realized that there was no way we'd make it to Frankfurt by the 5:20pm checked baggage deadline and had to call Lufthansa to reschedule for a later flight. Cue the weeping and wailing...

Ain't nobody happy. Well,
I'm sure the airline was happy.
After forking over an ungodly amount of money to repurchase a flight that takes roughly 70 minutes, we hit the highway once more and finally made it to Frankfurt. The ultimate kick in the pants? We got through checked baggage, security, passport control, and made it to the furthermost gate in Frankfurt just in time to see our original plane push off from the gate.

The moral of the story is that apparently six hours is not enough time to drive 227 kilometers (141 miles) in Germany and still make your flight on time. Although I don't possibly see how we could have avoided this situation, it does reinforce why we budget so much extra time to reach the airport. And with a potential visit to Germany in March while on maternity leave, we'll be sure to reroute or arrive at the airport the night before just to make sure this doesn't happen again!

Have you ever missed a flight? How did you handle it and could you have done anything differently to avoid it?


P.S. Sorry for the silence around the blog, folks! We returned late last Sunday, but due to added responsibilities at work, I've been too tired to do much writing when I get home in the evening. I have a few posts ready to hit the blogosphere in the coming weeks just as soon as I add pictures. Stay tuned and thanks for your understanding!

Linking up for the #WeekendWanderlust!

September 04, 2015

The Best of London

So I'm leaving on a jet plane - tonight! I'll arrive in London town tomorrow morning and spend a few days there before Danny and I take off to Germany to visit family. Be sure to follow along on Instagram and Twitter to get a sneak peek into our adventures!

To keep you occupied in the ten days I'm gone, here are my favorite posts about London:

What is your favorite thing about London?

September 01, 2015

Mapping My Month: September 2015

So this post will be nearly as much about life in general/baby stuff as travel! While my Mapping My Month posts have always tended to run more on the personal side, they may continue evolving into more and more of a life recap. #sorrynotsorry

We began our month fishing, swimming, and sunning in Kilmarnock, VA. Oh, that every month could start this way! I considered it an early birthday getaway as my actual birthday weekend was spent cleaning, organizing, and in all other respects starting the nesting process of having a little Baby Gypsy arriving in a few months. And speaking of Baby Gypsy, it's a she! Over the last few weeks, we passed the pregnancy halfway mark, threw a "Dirndl or Lederhosen?" themed reveal party (if you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen some of the decorations!), and started the long four-and-a-half month process of responding to inquiries about names with a "we're keeping that a secret 'til birth" smile. We had a really full house for the reveal as both Danny and I have a lot of people just in our immediate families - and two siblings weren't even able to attend! We had such a great time, though, that I wish we could do it again!

Shout out to Rule of Crumb in Goochland, VA, for these amazing dirndl and lederhosen cookies! Check her out if you're near Richmond and need custom-shaped cookies at a great price!

Shortly after the pink streamers came down, Danny's cousin from Frankfurt came for a ten day visit. When she visited in 2012, we took her on a tour through Washington D.C. with one brief (and chilly!) stop in Kilmarnock. This time the sun and warm weather shone down on us for an extended weekend of relaxation with her, Danny, and his sister among the beautiful Northern Neck setting. Seriously, this is one of my favorite places on earth - and it's right in our backyard!

The hubby's side of the family. Photo by Brittany J. of Bev's Photography.
September will be just as exciting and jam-packed as August and if you follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, you already know that we're embarking on our second-most-last-second-trip-ever this week as we are heading back to Europe! The "Travel Make-Believe" post from July will give you an inkling as to our general itinerary: Danny is being sent back to London on a business trip, and my awesome boss has approved time-off for me to tag along. I'm going back to my favorite city in the whole wide world, y'all!!! I can't even contain my excitement!

Once Danny is finished in London, we'll be taking advantage of cheap airfare to pop in to Germany for a few days to see family, marking the first time either of us have returned so quickly since a previous visit. We are blessed beyond measure for this opportunity. I'm already drooling over the thought of fish 'n' chips and brats 'n' beer! 

After we return to the states, we'll settle back into more quiet living as autumn begins to creep into Virginia, bringing bonfire invitations, apple picking outings, and maybe a winery visit or two. As yet, there are no other plans for September, but with such a last minute trip to Europe already on the books, we probably need an R&R month!

What does your September look like?

2015 Goal Updates:
1. My shoes gained a lot of miles walking up and down the Kilmarnock beaches and around the house as I cleaned for the reveal party and the arrival of Danny's cousin. As the weather cools, I'll become more motivated to take my regular lunch-time walks at work, too.
2. Over 14,500 points on the credit card! Only 185,500 more to go before my goal of free tickets to Europe...
3. Accomplished.
4. I'm going to just cross off the social media goal as being semi-accomplished. We did make the decision this month that we are going to be overly cautious about what we share online about Baby Gypsy.
5. We made zero progress on the #252by2022 challenge this month. Again! (Do I sound like a broken record?) Maybe the tail-end of September will bring some opportunities.