Thursday, May 29, 2008

70 freakin Pounds!!!

Okay, I wanted to post this on Lezlee's weight loss blog, she gave me access to it. But for some reason I couldn't get into the dash board tonight.
When I left on my vacation, I was supposed to be on a 1200 calorie diet. That went out the window pretty much immeadiately. I was captive on a plane forever and pretty much had to eat what they gave me. Anyway, I ate whatever I wanted while I was gone. On the cruise ship, we had several courses for dinner. I probably wasn't that bad for breakfast and lunch, although I did eat bacon, toast with butter, etc. I had dessert every night.
Then we went to Germany. I probably ate a little less in Germany, but still plenty that wasn't good for me. Lots of stops for gelato. Stops for bakeries and to try the local specialities.
I came home on a Saturday night and started back on the diet on Sunday. That Monday I went to see Dr. Fountis. I had lost 2 lbs! Pretty amazing. I just had to laugh.
She asked me how I did it. She said were you anticipating you would be back on the diet and started cutting back? I said absolutely not. I think we were just more active than I had been before.
Now I am back on and it gave my body a little jump start again, I think. I had felt a little stagnant with the weight loss before I went. And now, I've lost 70 lbs! I'm very excited. I still have a very long way to go, but am very encouraged.
I too am hungry some, but I drink lots of diet soda and try to keep my eyes on the prize! My 120 days have started over again and I don't get a reprieve until the end of September. But I am hoping to have my weight all gone by December. Dr. Fountis actually said it would be next April, but I'm optimistic!

Malaga, Spain


Ok, I'll try and list some things in order from our trip instead of just random posts. I was having a little trouble with the blogger site earlier, but hopefully all will work well now.
We flew into Genoa, Italy from Frankfurt via Paris. Wish I could say I had been to Paris, but regrettably, I just had 2 layovers at the airport. I did buy a swatch watch there at the duty free shop!
It was great to see Italy again. I had always thought it was beautiful. Lots of hills and pretty buildings. Here are some shots of the coastline as we were leaving on the ship.

The next day was spent "at sea". It was a little different cruise than I was used to. We had to go and wait in line to get our credit card on file this day, instead of as we boarded. The ship looked much like the Royal Carribean ships I have been on.

Our first port of call was Malaga, Spain. The moors had been a strong influence here and there was an old Arabian fortress and Moorish castle, both from between the 1100's to the 1300's. I already posted some photos from the Moorish Castle. From the height of the fortress looking down on the city, you could see the bull ring. It was rather interesting. There were bull rings in most of the cities we went to.

I wouldn't want to see a bull fight, but I am interested in how it is a part of their culture and trying to understand what it means to them. They are very proud of it. You could also see our ship from that vantage point.

We then went to through the hills and streets in our bus to to the Alcazar, the moorish palace. The unevenly spaced risers on the steeps and cobbles that went every which way, made it a little tough going for Edith and I. But it was beautiful. Afterwards we came to the cathedral square. We toured the church and had a little bit of free time in the square.

Only about 20 minutes. We really needed an ATM and didn't find one until we were on our way back to the bus. I was able to grab some Euros for us quickly, but we didn't have time for Edith to try.

This is Edith in a guard station in the fortress.

This is part of the cathedral.
There were a lot of plants in Spain that were similiar to Arizona. Palm trees, Jacaranda, Bouganviella, etc. It was clean and the people were all pretty nice. We had ice cream on our little break and then the bus took us back to the ship. That is mostly it for Malaga!

More on the Moors

I love this detail from the Moorish palace. The white and black smooth pebbles were all inlaid to make this design with a drain in the middle and the hedgework all very precisely cut around it. Every detail is beautiful. And then they use water so well and interestingly. A fountain on one level, goes down into another fountain and sort of a trough and then it reappears as a little channel of water going through the center of the walkway.

Moorish Architecture

One of the reasons I really wanted to go to Spain was to see the Moorish architecture. Unfortunately, the way it worked out, we were not able to go to Grenada where the Alhambra is. Malaga had an old Moorish palace which we got rushed through. Edith and I aren't very good at being rushed and so I didn't get to enjoy it as much as I wanted to. Still...what little time we were there, I enjoyed the details. Here are some examples of the Moorish arches and intricate stone and tile work. It is interesting to see how the Moorish, Jewish, Christian and Spanish styles have worked and merged together over the years.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Back from Vacation!

Hello all, I've been back from Europe for a little while, but seems like I had so much to do, I had gotten to the blog. And I only just recently got my new computer up and running. It really makes me happy!

I have over 900 photos I took. I love being able to do it digitally, and who knows if I'll ever be back to some of these places, so I snap, snap snp!

This is the castle at Neuenschwanstein. While very picturesque, it isn't my favorite. My favorite that I saw was Burg Eltz. Neuenschwanstein was King Ludwig of Bavaria's fantasy castle and never a family home. Burg Eltz has been in existence in the same family since the 1100's. Quite amazing. And even more amazing for the area it was never destroyed. The guide said it was because they were quite diplomatic and always knew which side to be on. I'm thinking maybe they didn't have very strong alleigences or prinicples that they were willing to stand up for. Who knows? Anyway since the family has owned it for centuries, it looks pretty cool. I'm still organizing photos and hopefully I will have one of Burg Eltz to post. Walgreens seems to have messed up my CD's so we will see!

One of the things I found really cool in Germany was all the iron and metal work. They had lots of really cool signs like this one. In the older parts of the towns and villages. And the hinges were amazing. They had these fabulous decorative hinges on the front doors of Churches and other important places. Although one of the neatest hinges I saw was on the stable doors at Hohenschwangau castle. It just isn't something you ever see here. I kept pointing them out and my friend Robin said she would never look at hinges in the same way again!

Here are the hinges on the front door of the church in Dinkelsbuhl (don't you just love that name?). This church was built in 1469. That in itself is amazing. And inside they have the dressed bones of St. Aurelius who was beheaded in Rome in AD 69 for being a Christian. Someone said, but he has a head! Well yeah, but they are just bones and they can put the head with the rest of the body!

Anyway this is him. He has a lace covering over his face and jewel encrusted clothes. Apparently he was in Italy until the 1770's and then someone brought him to Dinklesbuhl. I never get the venerating the bones of dead people thing. But there he is.

These are some other amazing hinges inside the Church. I'm not sure what these doors were about. We didn't have a tour guide to ask. They had these special doors on either side of the building in the back of the church. at first I thought they were vault doors on crypts, but you could see cracks of daylight through them. So then I decided they must be for special holy days they open them and use them.

These are other views from Dinklesbuhl. It is an old medieval walled town that has gotten as touristy as Rothenburg. I liked Rothenburg too though, but we spent the night in Dinklesbuhl and so had a chance to stroll around and enjoy it in the peace of the locals and evening.
I'll have more entries as I go!