Green River Rafting Trip

As part of our "National Park Summer" we spent a day on the Green River, it was a super day to be on the river and totally family friendly. Because it was so late in the season the rapids weren't crazy big (much to the disappointment of my husband) which made it perfect for families with smaller children.  Half way we stopped at a beach for lunch prepared by the guides--simple, but tasty.  The scenery was fantastic and the Indian rock art panels were really cool. 
The Details
Oars/Hatch River Expeditions
Address: 221 N. 400 E. Vernal, UT
Cost: Varies depending on trip you choose
Options: We chose a day trip, but there are 3-6 day trips available. 
Class: 2-3

Linking with...Random-osity * Life Thru the Lens

Silent Sunday

Assembly Hall Salt Lake City, UT
Linking with...One Dad 3 Girls

Budapest in Black and White

Budapest City Walk

We first fell in love with Budapest back in 2012 when Bob ran a marathon there. With only a short weekend and a full day taken up to the race we didn't get to see as much as we wanted, specifically, we didn't even step foot on the Buda side.  Shortly before leaving Germany we took a trip back with the intention of exploring Buda.  With fabulous turn of the century architecture just walking the streets is a fantastic feast for the eyes.
The iconic Parliament Building, situated on the Danube River, is best viewed from the Buda side at Fisherman's Bastion. Parliament is open for tours, (click here for ticketing information), but I'll be danged if we didn't visit on the day of a G8 summit and tours were suspended.  

The Buda side is hilly--there are two ways to get to the top; the funicular or your two feet via an established path. After crossing the Chain Bridge both are at the base of the mount. Once on top you will find Trinity Square which is home to the 13th century church, St. Matthais and Fisherman's Bastion. The turrets of the Bastion are fantastically photogenic and offer great views of Pest. 
St. Matthais Church has undergone much restoration. During its 500 year history its been the sight of royal marriages and coronations, it was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman occupation and served as German and Russian camps during World War 2. What you see today is a restoration to its Gothic roots. The church holds nightly concerts perfect for weary travelers who want a bit of culture without the stuffiness of a dress code. 
Back on the Pest side there is loads of history to experience. The bronze shoes next to the river commemorate Jewish citizens who were shot and allowed to fall into the river.  The 1956 plaque with bullet holes is from the civilian uprising against the Communist Regime. It ended in bloodshed, but eventually the Hungarians would win their freedom. 

While walking we came upon a Medieval games festival. Eden tried her hand at the bow and arrow shoot and wasn't too bad. Budapest is a great walking city. From Hapsburg inspired architecture to a long fascinating history, shopping and cultural arts, there is something to please everyone. 

Budapest Opera House

Nothing says turn of the century opulence like an opera house and Budapest's is no different. Opened in 1884, its red velvet draping, gold gilded wood and Neoclassic paintings all have the look and feel of a bygone era. While I love an old building, my family is not so keen on actually sitting through an opera in order for me to see one. Lucky for us, the opera house is open to the public for tours. 45 minutes is all you need to see this beautiful structure and learn about the upper class elites who once filled its halls in their tiered, trained and bustled dresses, walking canes and top hats to boot. 

The Details
Address: Andrássy út 22, 1061 Hungary
Cost: 11.50€/adults plus 2€ for a camera pass
Time: Guided daily tours in English (and other languages) at 3:00 and 4:00pm

Silent Sunday

While these sweet girls wouldn't allow me to take their picture, they did allow me to photograph their hennaed hands. 

Reaching Out To Comfort

I've spent the last two weeks in the USA--I came to say hello to my daughter for her 18th birthday, but this week I had the opportunity to say good bye to my husband's step mother.   It's a very strange thing to know some one is at the end of their life, to know this is the last time you will be in the familiar surroundings of their home, and your last conversation.  What do you say? Do you ask for advice or any last words of wisdom?   We are on different planets religiously...I am and she's not, so there would be no talk of afterlife and the hope of things to come or reunions on the other side.

As it turned out, we had a lovely visit. Really, we just chatted like normal, pretending this wasn't the end. She even asked what she could get me to eat, despite the fact she can't get out of bed.  We shared a final tender moment when I reassured her that she had made a significant impact in the life of my husband (from the unenviable position of step mom) and she  and she did pass on one last bit of advise..."GET THE F*** OUT OF SAUDI ARABIA."  
This photo was taken on the plane ride to the USA. The little boy in front of me was upset about something and when I reached my hand to caress his, he took mine and held it.