Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Eve

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is sending out and receiving Christmas cards. Our basket is filling up with cards from friends and family. After getting married the Christmas list has a more international theme and I've enjoyed sending and receiving cards from relatives in Holland and friends from abroad, some that I've had a chance to meet this past year. I love posting the pictures on the fridge and the fridge is filling up as the December days pass!
Last Friday night we attended Glory of Christmas at the Crystal Cathedral with Jolene's parents. It is quite a presentation of the Christmas story complete with live camels, sheep, goats and "flying" angels who arrive and are whisked away via tracks and cables suspended from the roof.

Out front was a giant christmas tree COVERED with lights.
Christmas Eve we relaxed made dinner at home and enjoyed holiday cheer together via a walk through the neighborhood christmas lights and reading Christmas stories.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Greetings

Click here for Santa's Greetings from the Kettings..

An overview of our year....

As you may or may not know, we spent the past year (and change) as jobless, homeless, rootless travel bums. We provide here a few snap shots outlining some of our "sabbatical travels" (beginning with most recent). The many other blog entries detail our trips, trials, thoughts, and impressions in photos and text. If you are interested in more detail, click on any of purple colored text to jump to that section.

We've been home (more or less) since September 18. You'll have to wait until next year for news of the time since then. It's a lot more boring than our trip stories, anyway. And, by the way, if you're looking for photos and news of extended family or friends, good luck. We discovered that, in the enjoyment of people we love, we forget about taking pictures, etc. So, if we visited YOU and you're disappointed to not find your picture here... well, um... send us one & we'll post it.

And now, without further ado, the Reader's Digest version:

Click here for September 1-18, 2007
A cruise back across the Atlantic via Norway, Faroe Islands, Iceland Greenland and New York and HOME!

Click here for August 1-31, 2007
The Swiss Alps and cycling 475 miles through Holland with Uncle Gary and Aunt Gail

Click here for July 1-31, 2007
Home exchange in Switzerland, Germany and France (Yes, that is a summer snow storm in Switzerland!)

Click here for June 1-30, 2007
Holland, Germany and a Baltic Cruise

Click here for May 1-31, 2007
Italy, Greek Island Cruise and home exchange in Holland

Click here for April 5-30, 2007
Florida Keys, Orlando, a Trans Atlantic Cruise including Azore Islands, Ireland, England, destined for Italy.

Click here for January, 2007
Chile and backpacking Torres del Paine (TDP)

Click here for November- December 2006

South American travels through Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Falkland Islands
Sailing Channel Islands and Camping Yosemite

Friday, December 14, 2007

Celebrating Case's Birthday!

Today we celebrated Case's 45th birthday and took a few photos to capture the moment. (Click on photos for full-size.)
Here is a good glimpse of Case's inferno desert...as requested Peppermint Patty Brownies! The directions were: no need for baking, pour batter in pan and light candles.
We are enjoying holiday spirit around the house,
and remembering our travels via the Delftware Christmas ornaments we collected in the Netherlands.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Home Sweet Home

So happy to be home....
I did the Pope thing!

New York, New York, USA!!!

We arrived at dawn in New York Harbor and were welcomed by lady liberty and the Staten Island ferry. After seeing so much and being on the road for almost a year entering the United States was a home coming for me.
The Big Apple and big hair!
Our first steps back in GLORIOUS USA!! We are sitting with all of our luggage, at this point I was feeling quite proud of our packing through out this year. While leaving the cruise ship we were stopped twice by crew members to be sure we had all of our luggage. We'd been in Europe for 5 months with just our back packs, while fellow cruise travelers were leaving the ship with multiple suit cases per person for two weeks of travel. The minimalist in me was just tickled pink to respond, "No, this is it!"
The views of New York Harbor from the Empire State building.
Rockefeller Center, home of the Today Show. The news junkie in me just had to have a picture!
Strolling through a bit of Central Park...
before we headed to the airport for our final leg to LA!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Quototoc, Greenland

The cruise ship was hosted by the large town, 3000 people, of Quototoc Greenland. This is the largest town in Greenland and is located on the southern tip of the island. The local choir put on multiple shows, highlighting their cultural dress and singing in their native language, so that the 3000+ people would have a chance to fit into their small church for the concert.
There are no roads connecting one town to another, they travel from town to town by boat. In the winter time traveling is very limited.
The river through town.
The locals demonstrated Eskimo roles in their kayaks.
The local fish market.
The tourists line up to go back to the ship.
Seal skins for sale. Luckily, the seal is not an endangered species in Greenland.
Friendly locals give us a warm send off!
That night off the coast of Greenland our ship came across high seas. We spent the night riding the crest and trough of each 13-20 wave and the ship slowed to a crawl to keep us as comfortable as possible. With plenty of medicine on board we were quite comfortable, but while I lay awake unable to sleep with the crashing of each wave on the hull of the ship Case slept soundly. In fact he only woke after the second water glass slid off the counter in the bathroom and shattered on the floor! Those were probably the roughest seas I've been through.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Prins Christian Sund, Greenland

Oh! The grandeur of Greenland, the largest island in the world. What an amazing day of sights that we could only attempt to capture in pictures. It is hard to sense the remoteness of the area, so pristine and unspoiled, raw nature with all of its power in granite faces, glacier ice caps and ice cold glacier blue/green waters, but here is just a taste to remind us of the experience.
This was the southern tip of the ice cap, that covers most of Greenland.
I was impressed with the color and calm of the water.
we moved along with barely a ripple
Another glacier meets the sea as we stand on the back of the ship.

These were the only people we saw through out the day of cruising the channel. The locals came out in their boat to greet and wave to us. They circled our boat for about 15 minutes, making trips back and forth to their tiny town, taking turns to come greet us. From what we were told only 1 or 2 cruise ships come through this area a year. This may have been quite an event for this tiny town. They are hard to see in this small picture, but there are two dead seals at the back of the boat, tonights dinner for the locals.
At the base of the rocks by the edge of the water there are a few small brightly painted buildings of the town...the only town we saw all day. The ice in this area doesn't melt until summer and this area will once again freeze over for the winter. These are amazing hearty people to live in this remote place that is isolated through the long cold winter.
The mountains rise from the water...
and are topped with misty clouds.
Such great memories!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Reykjavik, Iceland and The Blue Lagoon

Our plan for Reykjavik was to spend some time at the Blue Lagoon a natural thermal and spa. The cruise ships make arrangements to take people to the Blue Lagoon but it was in combination with other sight seeing and left very little time for soaking and enjoying the hot thermal. So we walked off the boat and through the rain to a place near the airport that arranged tours. What we found didn't meet our needs either but next door was a car rental place and within a few minutes Case had made arrangements for a car rental. We didn't actually take many pictures of the city of Reykjavik but it is a substantial city with a population of 117,000.
We were curious what the scenery would be like and we saw a lot of this....
and this....
A lot of black lava covered with green moss, every where we looked. We were also amused with our Toyota rental car with a center console dash,
a cute little basic functional car, and something we've never seen in the states.
We arrived to the entrance of The Blue Lagoon through a maze of Lava...
and spent the day relaxing, swimming and soaking in the pools, enjoying the hot bath.
The lagoon is open everyday of the year and the Icelanders especially enjoy the pools in the middle of winter.

Then it was back across the lava rocks and moss to our ship in the harbor.