My Three Things from Berlin on July 4th, 2022

Berlin, Germany

I am grateful for all that I have and for all that this life has to offer me in 2022; I am grateful for this WWII History tour and all that I have learned and experienced so far – so sad, yet so proud to be American; I am grateful that my student found her passport back at the restaurant 3 hours after she unknowingly dropped her wallet under the table. #choosejoy #3things #gratitude

Paris in July-3things

July 1, 2022

The weather has been so mild for us on this trip, and the people of Paris have been very kind. I am grateful for cabs when I am tired of walking – 7 miles today on a broken right foot and and left busted knee – I am so grateful I did not fall again; I am grateful for the river cruise tonight and for having been given the opportunity to see Notre Dame before it burned down. I hope to come again once it is rebuilt; I am grateful to be traveling with such kind and wonderful people. Tomorrow we head to Belgium – birthplace of my grandmother. #gratitude #3 things #choosejoy

A glimpse of Notre Dame from the Seine.

getting ready; another smash book

As I prepare for for my trip this summer with students I am continuing my tradition of keeping a smash book throughout the journey.  I can’t wait to fill it!!

We are traveling with Education First Tours (EF Tours) and will be visiting Germany, France, Spain, and Portugal on a 16 day trip.  I have the largest group yet, at 27 travelers.  I encourage them to write about their experiences while we are traveling and I model this with my smash book.  Writing down the little jokes and other things that make you laugh; exploring your feelings as you are far from home in a new culture, recording your memories for years to come…these are the things I tell my students when they ask “what should I write about?”

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My Smash Books

Thanks for reading my post!  Read more at Fields of Poppies.  The original SMaSH Book post is here.

Yanks out for a run in Killarney, Ireland

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Me and my travel buddy, Kelly

I love to grab my phone and go out for an early morning run while on tour with my students.  Unfortunately, exhaustion tends to take over and the rest becomes more important as we move through our 14 hour days of walking and sight-seeing while traveling abroad.

 

Still, when I am able to do this I am able to see a few things that I would have otherwise missed.  Plus, running through town can really give you a sense of what it is like.  I mean, you are on foot and don’t have the protection of a vehicle or a large group.   You smell smells and hear sounds that you would otherwise miss – things that really add to the ambiance of a town.   If it feels unsafe – you usually know it right away.  Still, I would never run where I thought I might be unsafe.  We always discuss the area with our tour consultant and folks at the hotel to ensure our safety – and I would never run alone.

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Our Hotel in Killarney

While in Killarney, our first stop on the Britannia with EF Tours, my travel buddy and I went out for a short run – about 2 miles.  We went away from town in the opposite direction from which we arrived.  It did not disappoint.  Our first lesson was to run on the correct side of the path.  We were running on the right and the running path/bike path follows the rules of the road.  We ran into only one person before we realized our error and began keeping to the left.

First, we saw a flock of sheep in a field with a lovely backdrop.  OUR FIRST FLOCK!!!2015-06-18 17.19.53

We ran to a bridge as saw this lovely view.2015-06-18 17.18.00

We went out a mile and then backtracked.  There was a lovely gentleman selling strawberries near this bridge and he gave us a taste.  They were fresh and yummy.

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Our tour bus never did make it this way.  I feel like I won a special prize when I get to experience these places with a short run.  Stinky clothes remain the problem.  I can put them in ziplock baggies with dryer sheets, but they really need a washing machine!

 

 

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Read about more group travel trip here.

Read about my first marathon here.

 

 

 

Arms waving, feet flying – This is my life!!

Rome, Italy: Picture this  – a 10 year old American boy running full speed down the cobblestone street – arms spread out and waving in the air – excitedly and repeatedly screaming at the top of his lungs “This is my liiiifffffe!”,   “This is my liiiifffffe!”

I wish I would have snapped a photo of this little boy. Happiness consumed him until he actually burst and could no longer contain himself.  Pure joy.  And pure energy. After we witnessed this, my travel buddy and I decided to strike this pose whenever we were feeling overcome with that joy of realizing how amazing it is that we can visit and experience such beautiful places.

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This is our life – in Florence, Italy

Travel with us through this blog!  So far, you can climb to the top of Mt. Vesuvuius, visit the ruins of Pompeii, or spend a day in England visiting Stonehenge, Abbey Road and the home of Sherlock Holmes.  I lead student tours through Europe – follow me to see where we go next!

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Pompeii, Italy

DSC_0759Italy remains one of my favorite destinations.  After our journey to the top of Mt. Vesuvius, we took an expertly guided tour of the ruins of Pompeii.  Mt. Vesuvius destroyed this ancient Roman town in 79 AD, but the ash, evidently, preserved quite a bit of it.  There are lots of photos and I only saw, probably, a quarter of the town.  All of my information comes from our tour guide.  So, if there are any historians out there that think I have it wrong, please let me know. I am a tourist, not a historian.  Please enjoy my photos and the mini amateur tour through the ruins.

 

 

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Before we entered the walls of the city, we viewed the mass graves in what would have been right outside the city walls.  DSC_0762DSC_0763

We first entered the Gladiator training grounds – a big courtyard, basically.  The trees are magnificent.DSC_0773

Then we made our way to the amphitheater.  You can see the courtyard we just left in the background – and look at those mountains – wow!DSC_0790

So, then we started walking through the ancient streets.  We were told that the giant stones in the middle of the road were for pedestrians to be able to cross without stepping into the sewage that flowed in the street.  Each of those gates represent a different shop.  This was the market street, evidently.DSC_0793

This is a wood burning pizza oven – ha!  Seriously, it was said to be a bakery.  They thought this because the fireplace was so much larger than that in the home areas.DSC_0791

Random street of Pompeii.DSC_0827

Me and my best travel buddy, Kelly.  We make a great team. She makes laugh and laugh – we have so much fun together.  We are standing outside the infamous Pompeii brothel.  The middle school group that walked through with us could not quite handle the artwork on the walls.DSC_0826

So, this is the brothel.  Do you see the upside down cross?DSC_0841

As we made our way from the brothel to the city square the tour guide pointed out the map on the ground carved into the stone.  It points to the brothel so that those visiting the city for the first time know where to go.  The brothel does, in fact, have artwork that survived on its walls, as well.  Images of people, men and women, in various sexual positions cover the walls of the brothel.  Our guide explained that a customer would simply point to the desired position.  Bed pictured below.DSC_0830

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Another random street.  We are on our way to the city square.  We just left the brothel.DSC_0797

You can’t really make out the walls, exactly, but this street was “apartments”.DSC_0800

An example of the residential fireplace.  DSC_0802

The courtyard of the gladiator school.  This area was one of the best preserved.  The photo below was the ornate, arched ceiling.  The photo does not do it justice.  The colors and the artistry took my breath away.DSC_0808

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This was displayed within the walls of the gladiator school.  I am not sure why he was separated from the rest of the artifacts that I posted below.  This was just mesmerizing.  The thought of all of those people being buried so quickly in the ash that they were frozen and then preserved.  Amazing.DSC_0821

So, a regular ally leading to a beautiful courtyard.  These small private courtyards were blocked off and we could not see them up close.  They were off of private residences.DSC_0863

The next several photos are of the many artifacts recovered from the ash.DSC_0865DSC_0867DSC_0866

Lots of vases and urns.  The plastic crates in the background unfortunately detract from the collection.  Did you see the dog in the glass box?  I think that was a dog…I never did get a definitive answer.DSC_0847

If you saw my Mt. Vesuvius post, then this photo may look familiar.  That’s it in the background – the devastating volcano that covered this city in ash.DSC_0870

More images of the city square.DSC_0871DSC_0872DSC_0877DSC_0881DSC_0883DSC_0887

DSC_0889Some of those last pictures really show the beauty of the area.  So that’s it.  My trip through the ruins of Pompeii.  A very hot day that ended with overpriced frozen lemonade and a stroll through the vendors outside the gates.  Oh – and we saw a demonstration of cameos being made from shells – then we went for the lemonade.  They were beautiful, but not for me.

If you have not seen my Mt. Vesuvius post you can find it in this link to the top of the volcano.

Thanks for reading my post and traveling with me! Be sure to follow me on fields of poppies to see where we go next!!