Monday, March 12, 2018

Belize? Yes, Please!!

We arrived at the Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge around 5:30 pm, after a very pleasant drive thru the towns of Balmopan, (capital of Belize) and Armenia.

We were scheduled for a night tour but decided to rest up and start fresh the next day.  The lodge had a great 360' view and Shelby and I woke up at 4:45 am to make the 30-minute hike up to this wooden deck.  It only took us about 14 minutes, we must be in good shape!  Hahaha.

It was worth the hike and getting out of bed.  The boys slept in.  😴

We even caught some fog rolling through the mountains which made the view even more spectacular.

I look forward to my morning coffee and planning my day, this view from the River House made it hard to plan anything except relax and breath...

Our first full day, I booked a kayaking tour on the Belize River.  Our guide, Abel also does birdwatching tours and was very knowledgeable regarding the wildlife in the area.  The best part was hearing the Howling Monkeys answer his call.  It sounded like something right out of Jurassic Park!!

 This is the front of our accommodations.  We were only able to book the first three nights here as National Geographic had a group coming in.  We took what we could get.  It was a great little house.  Full kitchen, living area, two bedrooms and two very large bathrooms.  Our room at a hot tub and a private patio area.

The kids' room had this great koi pond outside their entry which also led to the garden and peacock pen. (That's John and me outside of their room.)

On our second day, I booked the St. Herman's Cave Tubing.  It was a nice and tranquil experience.  For more information on this cave, you can click on the name.  It was absolutely beautiful and we could not have asked for nicer weather.  

On the third day, we traveled to the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave which Emilio and Shelby said worked out perfect as we saved the best for last.  A total of 5 miles trekking in and through the cave system took us about 3 hours.  Unfortunately, the previous tourists were removing artifacts and dropping their cameras on the skeletons so we no longer can take anything in.  Thus, no pictures of the caves or the serious rock climbing we had to do.  
Please click on the name of the cave to explore the Mayan ruins as we did, just from the comfort of your couch!

I'm not a great swimmer and entering the cave system was a bit tricky but luckily my family and the guide were a great help.  It was worth the fear of swimming in 12 feet of water without an oxygen tank strapped to my back.  Also, the hike took us maybe 30 minutes through a path cut through the jungle.  It was breathtaking.  We had to cross the same river about three times on our journey. Luckily there was a rope I could hang on to.  

I am a very fearful person but I'm also a very stubborn person.  I refuse to let fear get in the way of having fun and being adventurous with my family.  

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Our second room was the River View Room with a fabulous outdoor shower.  For the more modest guest, there is also an indoor shower.

We loved the outdoor shower!! We truly felt like we were in the jungle.

I hope you enjoyed peeking into my spring break.  More than anything I loved spending time with my family and it was made even more special being close to God's creatures and Earth's beauty.

Monday, January 15, 2018

New Year New Goals

Happy New Year!

This past year has been full of extremes.  What I mean by that is that I had days full of adventure and travels and days of boredom and melancholy.  I started the year with health issues that affected my workouts.  I spent way too much time on social media instead of enjoying my surroundings.  I really felt like I lost a year when it came to daily productivity.  Which then affected how I viewed my world. My gratitude was skewed for lack of a better word.  I was like a three-year-old, knowing what the right thing to do is and deciding to do the opposite, just because I could.  The whole year flew by and I felt I had nothing to show for it.

To recharge my battery, I finally decided to take those pesky vitamin supplements that I always avoided despite taking the time to fill up the weekly pill boxes.  I eliminated sodas completely. I continue to eat clean and exercise. I completed my annual checkup with my doctor and started reading books again.

My first project to make my home clutter free and organized is to tackle all the greeting cards I have received over the years.  I won't call myself a hoarder, however, I do find it very difficult to throw out cards, birthday, mothers' day, holidays, etc.  You get the picture.

I began with holiday cards.  I plan on hanging these on my staircase for the family to view.  I had a great time looking at all the family holidays cards we have received over the years.  I love the cards with family pictures and blurbs on what happened that year.

This past year we did not send out Christmas or New Year's Cards.  But I am hoping with my new birthday present (Cannon Rebel Camera), I will have some great pictures to compose a worthy holiday card.

I'm hoping that all who read this have a fabulous new year.  For those who sent us cards this year, a heartfelt thank you for thinking of us.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

20 Years and Counting Chapter 4

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday
August 29, 30 and 31st.

Mannheim                  Koblenz
Speyer                        Cologne

Heidelberg Castle as backdrop for our selfie

The Largest Wine Barrel (Heidelberg)

The Castle has an amazing balcony that overlooks the town and Philosopher's walk, a prestigious area of this college town.  Steffi Graff owns a home here. You can spot some of the homes across the Neckar River, hillside.

Heidelberg's Monkey on the Old Bridge
 You can read about this monkey here.

The river cruise offered various tours for its guest.  It went from Active to Regular, and Easy tours for the older crowd.  We did the Active and Regular tours depending on the town.  Most of the time we were bike riding along the countryside.

John was having such a fun time.  I haven't seen him relaxed like this in many years.  It was a true vacation for both of us.  We only had two other riders with us on this trip.

A Counts home that now is a venue/winery

I could write endlessly about all the fun places we visited and history lessons we learned on this trip. But what really made our trip enjoyable is spending quality time with each other and meeting some really nice people.  Many couples were our age and were celebrating either birthdays, retirement, or like us Anniversaries.

The night of our true anniversary date we made reservations at the Chef's table.  We shared this special evening with 3 other couples. One from Oklahoma, Karla and David, and a couple from Washington D.C., Tracy and Susan.   The dinner usually takes about 2 hours max.  We were laughing so hard and enjoying ourselves that we spent 3.5 hours dining.  Those poor waiters!

My only regret is that we didn't take a picture of our table.  These folks made our anniversary oh so very special!!