Our Adventures in Sri Lanka

Safaris to spot leopards and elephants, swimming in the Indian Ocean, sipping tea in the mountains, and several more!

Our Nile Cruise

Starting in Cairo, we sailed to Luxor, Edfu, Kom Ombo, and Aswan.

Trouble at Sea: Our Red Sea Dive Trip in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia

The Red Sea is one of the top diving destinations in the world, but Saudi Arabia is a very restrictive country to get into. That alone would have made the trip memorable...but then things went south and the Saudi Coast Guard and a hospital got involved.

Our Expedition to Jordan

Highlights included tracing the steps of Indiana Jones into Petra, following Lawrence of Arabia into Wadi Rum, and floating in the Dead Sea.

Discovering Turkey

We emersed ourselves in Istanbul, explored the white travertines of Pamukkale, and traced history through Laodikeia, Hierolopolis, and Cleopatra's Baths.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year in Review: 2015

What a year it has been. We thought that 2015 might be a little less stressful than 2014. Boy, were we wrong. Here are the highlights in case you missed them. You could also consider this the digital version of our Christmas letter if we didn't have your address.
Summer vacation in Tennessee
Key Moments of 2015:
Little known fact: The Red Sea is not red.
Can you really call it R&R if you don't go to the beach?
  • Our older daughter started First Grade, the younger one started Pre-K3.
  • Family Vacation to Turkey
  • Halloween was a Turkish Queen and a German girl/Nemo depending on when the outfit got dirty.
Trick or Treat!
Other Trips:
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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Partnach Gorge

The Partnach Gorge is a 702 meter long chasm worn away by a mountain stream (the Partnach) in the Reintal valley near the south German town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In some places, the gorge is over 80 metres deep. So it's cold, dark, wet, and windy...what better place to take little kids on a fun family outing? Seriously though, it was a good time for most. I'll let you see if you can figure out which kid didn't want to venture into the darkness.
Simply Spectacular views in the Partnach Gorge.
We parked at the Olympic Ski Jump Stadium and walked along the road about 30 minutes up to the trail head. Along the way, we passed a restaurant that we decided to eat at after the hike. This turned out to be good motivation for our little ones once they ate all the snacks we brought with us.
RRR is excited to enter the Partnach Gorge...
...however, the Pink Lady is not excited to go into that dark hole in the ground.
I hope you're not claustrophobic, because very early into the hike, the walls go up, up, up and you quickly feel like you aren't going to climb your way out of this one.


In places, you actually are walking in complete darkness, through tunnels that are just a little too low for people as tall as me.Watch your head...those rocks can hurt.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Sledding in the Alps

During our stay in Germany, we felt we would be letting an opportunity slip by if we didn't participate in some sort of snow sport with the girls. Now, remember, we are currently residing in Saudi Arabia, a country that is probably last on the list when it comes to having winter sports. So, recognizing our lack of skills on skis, we opted to take the girls sledding instead.
Taking the lift up to the slopes
Family fun time!
More mass means more speed.


Our little daredevil
Honestly, this worked out great for the kids. Not too cold, not to strenuous, and not to intimidating. As it turns out, pretty much the opposite of our hike into Partnach Gorge the following day.

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Garmisch and the Zugspitz

Since Saudi Arabia isn't very big on celebrating Christmas, our family headed to Germany for the Christmas Markets and the traditional winter wonderland that Germany is known for. We stayed at the Edelweiss Lodge in Garmisch, which is a military resort but Foreign Service members can stay there if they meet certain eligibility criteria.
RRR in Garmisch
We flew through Istanbul and arrived at Munich airport in the middle of the day. It seemed to take forever to get through the immigration line because most of the folks on our flight were Turkish or other non-EU citizens. Only after we got through that wait did we learn that one our bags didn't make the connection out of Istanbul. So we ended up killing around 5 hours at the Munich airport. We went ahead and got the key to the rental car and dropped our stuff in trunk since the car was parked at the terminal. Then we went to a Christmas market that was actually at the airport, spending our time ice skating, eating bratwurst, drinking kinderpunsch, and generally getting into the holiday spirit.
Ice Skating at the Munich Airport Christmas Market
When the delayed bag finally arrived, it was a labyrinthine ordeal to claim it. I ended up going through security three or four times, only to find myself getting routed by different staff in such a way that I wound up outside security without my bag, so I had to go back through the process again until I got it right.  We were on the road by about 7 pm. It was raining and dark. Fun.


The Zugspitz
The next morning, we drove through Garmisch on our way to ascend the Zugspitz, the tallest mountain in Germany. Kacey and I had visited the Zugspitz before and we thought it would be a great experience for the girls.
When you live in a desert, ice rinks are fascinating

Waiting for the cable car to take us to the top of the Zugspitz
We boarded the cable car and it took us up the mountain, but it might as well have been a spaceship taking us into a world of snow and ice...

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We're over two years in to our second tour in the Foreign Service with the US Department of State in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It's hard...

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