Archive for the Travel Category

Thanksgiving in Rome

Posted in Holidays, Special Occassions, Travel with tags , on September 4, 2012 by grandersons

What’s Thanksgiving without turkey and mashed potatoes?  In our case, one with a view of the Vatican and a full plate of authentic Italian pasta!

We spent 4 days in Rome with our sister and brother-in-law, Megan and Dasch Houdeshel, and it was certainly something to be thankful for.  While we missed being away from family and would have enjoyed a big piece of pumpkin pie, we had an absolutely amazing time exploring this beautiful ancient city.

We rented a great apartment in the Trasevere neighborhood of Rome, an area less overrun by tourists and full of charm with it’s narrow cobble stone streets and charming bars and restaurants.  We quickly found our favorite corner cafe just a couple of blocks from our apartment and frequented it often (Megan and Dasch got to know the barista quite well!).

Each day was a new adventure as we covered most of the main attractions, walked for miles, and enjoyed some incredible meals along with our fair share of gelato.

A few highlights included:

The Colosseum…

Here we are outside.

And a 20ish week baby bump sighting.

This pic made the Anderson Christmas card!

The Pantheon and a cafe nearby… 

The pantheon was stunning, as you can imagine.  It was particularly amazing to see the rain pour down through the open roof!

We made a few stops (maybe more than a few…) here for coffee – cappuccino, grazie!

Our neighborhood, Trastevere…

A little brother-sister stroll…

 Nightime walks…

Time to make a wish at the Trevi Fountain.

Making the best of some cold, rainy weather and finding our way around…

Dasch and I are both fans of maps – where are we?

When in Rome…  Carry an umbrella!

The Vatican, especially on a gorgeous sunny day…

We split up to explore but met up to enjoy the afternoon sunshine!

So, do we have a lot to be thankful for?  YES.  We are so thankful to have a sister and brother-in-law that we can travel so well with.  We are thankful to have spent a few days in an incredibly romantic, beautiful city.  We are thankful for gelato and the delicious simplicity of pasta and pizza.  We are thankful for the opportunity to travel around Europe so easily and soak up as many experiences as possible.  Ciao e grazie!

Turning 30 in Paris

Posted in Special Occassions, Travel with tags , on April 15, 2012 by grandersons

I realize that many people dread the thought of turning 30, but oddly enough I’ve actually been looking forward to it.  My best friend, Gioia, and I have always said we would “peak at 30” and and it certainly feels as if that’s true, however I’m now going to shift that to “peaking at 40” just so this trend continues!

In honor of my big 3-0, Kyle and I took a trip to Paris and it could not have been more incredible.  We basically walked and ate our way through the city – our favorite way to travel.  And we were lucky to have recommendations from our friends, Mattieu and Chloe, who have lived in Paris and gave us some inside scoop into their amazing city.

We stayed at a fantastic hotel in Monte Marte, an eclectic neighborhood that is home to the Moulin Rouge and where the movie “Amelie” was filmed.  We loved it!

Our friends, Chloe and Mattieu, gave us some wonderful recommendations for our time in Paris.  We particularly enjoyed a new little restaurant Chloe recommended that a couple from Seattle opened near the Palais Royale – Verjus.  The atmosphere was incredible, as if it was built into a little cave, and the food (an assortment of small plates) was perfect.  I know not many people rave about broccoli, but let me tell you… the broccoli was amazing!

Another major highlights was a boat tour on the Seine.  It was a perfectly clear day and after walking the entire city of Paris it was a pleasant change of pace to sit on the boat and soak up the sights.

We loved seeing pad locks on all the bridges – apparently the tradition is for couples to place a lock on one of the bridges on special occasions like their anniversaries or wedding days.

A trip to Paris wouldn’t be complete without a stop my Notre Dame…

The Louvre…

Or the Eiffel Tour…

We were excited for a night out on my actual birthday and couldn’t resist taking a quick photo to capture the growing baby bump!

Speaking of bellies…did I mention the amount of food we ate on this trip?  Croissants, baguettes, crepes, chocolate…  Here’s a picture of me with my chocolate gorilla friend – do you like our matching bellies?!?

And since I’m not drinking alcohol these days, I was quite pleased to discover ‘jus de pomme’ or sparkling cider.  One night we got crepes to go and popped open a bottle at the hotel in place of our usual champagne!

Here are a few more pics of this amazing city…

I cannot imagine a better way to kick of my 30’s!

Day Trip to Segovia

Posted in Travel with tags , on February 9, 2012 by grandersons

Around the beginning of October, we started to realize that our time in Madrid was coming to a close and we only had a couple of months to do all the things we had talked about doing since we had arrived.  We didn’t go crazy, knowing that we had absolutely made the most of our time in Spain and felt incredibly satisfied with our experience, but there were still a few things that were easy to do and could top off the most amazing 15 months of our lives.

One of those things was a day trip to Segovia.  We hopped on a train and made our way to this historical town just outside of Madrid on a surprisingly warm and sunny Saturday.

We got a bit of a late start and caught the slow train (that takes about 2 hours instead of the 30 minute high speed) that brought us to Segovia just in time for lunch.  We took advantage of the incredible weather and grabbed a table on the terrace to enjoy our meal.

After lunch it was time for some sight seeing…  Segovia is famous for it’s ancient Roman aqueduct – apparently it’s construction dates back to the beginning of the 2nd century so the fact that it’s still standing and has such a striking presence is pretty remarkable!

We were also impressed by the Segovia Cathedral – especially beautiful with the gorgeous blue sky as a background.

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking and exploring.

Hasta luego Segovia!

Geneva Switzerland

Posted in Travel with tags , on January 2, 2012 by grandersons

At the end of October we decided to go on a weekend getaway with our good friends, Rachel and Kevin, and settled on Geneva, Switzerland as our destination.  None of us were exactly sure what to expect but we were not disappointed by the gorgeous scenery and charming little city.

We arrived late on a Friday, just in time to grab drinks at a cozy little wine bar next to our hotel – Bibarium – before heading to bed.  With my beverage selections limited to the non-alcoholic variety, this is where I discovered how delicious apple cider was and continued to order it everywhere else we went for the rest of the weekend!

We spent our first crisp fall morning in Geneva walking along Lake Geneva and were in awe of the changing leaves and misty waterfront.

That afternoon, we hopped on a bus to the base of the Swiss Alps and took a teleferico up the side of the mountain where we soaked up the spectacular views.

After our trip up the mountain we made a couple of important stops – first at Laduree for the most delicious macaroons I’ve ever eaten in my life and then a break for another apple cider (sparkling this time) where we had to capture me and Rachel in our matching outfits.

We topped off the day with a delicious fondue dinner.

Before we had to catch our flight back to Madrid on Sunday, we walked on the other side of the lake to see the famous Geneva flower clock and captured a few pictures of my growing baby bump.

We ended our trip with pho for lunch.  Vietnamese soup may not be the most authentic Swiss cuisine, but it is one of the things that can’t be found in Madrid and we were all thrilled to enjoy one of our favorite meals!

Au revoir Geneva!

Valencia Triathlon 2011

Posted in Travel with tags , on December 31, 2011 by grandersons

My friend Nadia and I began training for the Valencia triathlon in May and discovered that we actually enjoyed heading to the gym every day for a swim, bike or run…apparently having a ‘workout buddy’ is the only way to go!

We were lucky to have a pack of cheerleaders to support us – Kyle, Lalit, Greg, Michelle and Steve – and they even cooked us a gourmet pasta dinner the night before the race.

Our training hit a bit of a wall in August when we began travelling and weren’t around to stick with our regular schedule.  I hit a total road block when I hit week 6 of my pregnancy (just 2 weeks before the triathlon) and could hardly bear the thought of food, let alone running without wanting to vomit on the side of the road!  We had been working so hard up to that point that it was a little disappointing to see our training slip, but when the day of the race came we felt ready – terrified, but ready!

Swim… (we think that’s us in the picture below but I’m not positive…)



And we did it!!!  I never would have finished, let alone made it to the starting line, without Nadia and am so proud of our accomplishment!

Otro Mundo

Posted in Travel with tags , , on December 18, 2011 by grandersons

Later in August, Kyle and I set out on a ‘glamping’ getaway in the Sierra del Segura region of Spain – basically halfway between Madrid and Barcelona.  We fell in love with the Otro Mundo website and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit these eco-domes for a quiet weekend away with just the two of us…especially after we discovered the news that we had a baby on the way, it was the perfect way to celebrate!

Otro Mundo was designed, built and now cared for by a young couple from the Netherlands who’s second baby girl had just been born 2 weeks before we arrived!  They were gracious hosts and incredible cooks – we definitely ended the weekend thinking “we would love to be friends with these people and come back to visit again someday!”

Our weekend was spent exploring nearby villages, taking a mini-hike, eating delicious meals with our amazing hosts, swimming in a fresh water pool to escape the heat, and enjoying the quiet of being ‘in the middle of nowhere’ in our own little dome.

On the way home, we also made a quick stop by the Lagunas de Ruidera – a series of lakes connected by a chain of small waterfalls – which were packed full of Spanish vacationers but absolutely beautiful!

Camping across Northern Spain and Southern France…

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , on December 18, 2011 by grandersons

The month of August seems to be an undeclared ‘holiday’ in Madrid – the sweltering streets are quiet and stores and restaurants shut their doors.  Kyle’s school follows suit by giving students the month of August off between terms.  So, I made arrangements to take a few days off and work from the road as we set out on a camping trip across the Northern coast of Spain and Southern France.  Incredible!

We rented two cars, filled them with tents, coolers and supplies, and hit the road with our Boise friends (the Lingles) and friends we’ve met in Spain (the Chopras and the Porters).  Nadia did all the hard work of planning our route and selecting camp sites and did an amazing job – thank you Nadia!  You can be our trip planner any time!  And we love our new BIG tent!

First stop – Camping la Paz near Santander in the Northwest corner of Spain that literally sat on a hillside overlooking the ocean.  Due to one incorrect number in our GPS coordinates, we took a bit of a detour along an impossible dirt road and were racing to find our way before the sun went down…ah the adventures!  Luckily, we made it safe and sound, got our tents set up quickly and easily, and enjoyed some tasty chipotle black bean burgers heated on the grill before calling it a night.  We woke to a breathtaking view of the ocean.  Nadia and I took a run on a section of the El Camino trail before we all packed up and headed to our next stop.

Second stop – I got dropped off at an internet cafe in San Sebastian to work for the afternoon while the rest of the crew went on to our next camp site (Camping de la Ferme) on the beach near St. Jean de Luz, France.  Apparently it was a bit of a mad house as they arrived with loud music playing everywhere, sites packed on top of each other and people everywhere.  After a swim in the ocean and getting tents set up, the rest of the crew came back into San Sebastian to meet me for the night.  We went on our own little tapa crawl and enjoyed the gorgeous old town and waterfront promenade.  By the time we got back to the camp site, quiet hours were being strictly enforced and you never would have guessed that it was the same, crazy place as earlier that day.  We woke the next morning in time for Nadia, Jenny and I to go for a chilly swim in the ocean before heading off to our next stop.  Nadia and I were training for a triathlon at this point and it was great to practice swimming in open water!  We didn’t even stay long enough to take any pics here!

Third stop –  Campsite Municipal de l’Eyre, just South of Bordeaux.  This was the first place we’d be spending more than one night and it felt nice knowing that we’d have a few days to explore before packing up again.  We went for a bike ride on the first day – even Abby got to come along in a little backpack!  The next day, we went into Bordeaux for some wine tasting (no wine for me since I was the official designated driver) and to explore the city a bit.

Fourth and final stop – Camping du Lac in the Pyrenees.  This was my favorite spot and an amazing place to end our trip.  We hiked to a waterfall one day and went on an urban hike another.  The Pyrenees were stunning and definitely somewhere you could spend weeks exploring!