As many of you have noticed we don't actually post in real time...in reality our blog remains a few months behind our actual travel schedule. Hey, it takes time to prep photos and write all that fascinating dialogue! Well, we're working on getting it caught up before departing the US in 2010 and we expect to be caught up fully in about a month (way to go for us...just in time to get behind again :-))! We would like to interrupt our regularly scheduled posts with a year in review for 2009:
In 2009, "Our Momentary Lapse of Reason" continued throughout the year and saw us exploring about 30 countries spread out over 6 continents.
We began the year in South America. Highlights of our neighbors to the south included soaking in a mud volcano in Colombia, visiting Machu Picchu in Peru, sipping wine and eating steak in Argentina, cruising through the fjords of Chile, being entertained by boobies (blue-footed birds that is...get you mind ou of the gutter), marine iguanas and waved albatross birds in the Galapagos Islands. We swam with sea lions, snorkeled with penguins and dived with hammerhead sharks. In Antarctica we passed by glaciers and icebergs, spotted a few whale tails and spouts while racing penguins through the icy seas.
After South America, we caught a ship to Europe. In Europe, we enjoyed the markets and wine of France, the churches of Malta (probably the second most beautiful after St. Peters in Rome), the incredibly beautiful countryside of Tuscany, sipping on Prosecco and listening to dueling classical bands in St. Mark's Square in venice, drinking great monk brewed beer in Germany (trully the nectar of the Gods indeed), visiting whimsical castles of Bavaria's Mad King Ludwig, strolling across the St. Charles bridge in Prague at night, seeking out "the man in a van" in pursuit of his famous grilled sausages in Krakow, driving over 100 miles per hour down the autobahn and hiking the Cinque Terre.
From Europe we traveled to the Middle East visiting Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Israel. Our favorite experiences were floating in the aptly named and salty Dead sea, viewing the Treasury at Petra, sleeping under the stars in Wadi Rum desert, eating pistachio crusted ice cream in the heat of the day in Syria, staying in a cave hotel in the fairy chimneys of Turkey's Cappadocia, seeing the Egyptian pyramids, sailing on a felucca down the Nile at sunset, contrasting the hustle and bustle of the Holy Sepulchre with the solemnness of Temple Mount during Ramadan and bargaining for water (among many other things) in Egypt.
Out of the heat of the Middle East, we went back to Europe on our way back home. We have many fond memories of strolling through cute as can be German towns, a day with friends on their boat in Amsterdam's canals, tasting real herring for the first time (better than it looks), getting kicked out of an Irish park for drinking wine, picnics with French wine and Normandy's best stinky cheese and applying mud to our faces while soaking in the geo-thermal waters in Iceland's blue lagoon.
During our time in the US we spent time with family and managed a few side trips to Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, Tennessee, North Carolina, DC, New York, Niagara Falls and Detroit. Our favorite experiences were meeting our nephew, Landon, for the first time, visiting family and friends in all of the above locations, celebrating Jason's 30th birthday in Denver, walking the Freedom Trail in Boston, seeing Rockefeller center decked out in all its Christmas glory in NYC, walking through the National Mall in DC, tasting excellent wine in NC's ever growing wine region and viewing wildlife in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
Of course, not all goes according to plan. There were moments where life threw us a curve ball that we can now look back upon and laugh at. A few of our experiences we would care not to repeat anytime soon include sharing the bottom of a boat with a sea sick passenger while holding on for dear life after our seat broke on the anchor nearly impaling Jason in colombia, catching some weird bug in Cusco (not from eating guinea pig...also a "not to repeat" moment), sitting in a dust and smoke filled one room outpost with a bathroom that the word "disgusting" does not even come close to describing at the Syrian border for 10 hours while waiting for a visa and misreading a train schedule in France that forced us to have tot ake a taxi for about $300 or risk getting left behind for our ship to Ireland.
All in all we have had the most amazing year and we consider ourselves incredibly fortunate. We still have some time left in our trip (we're starting to feel like the energizer bunnies)! In late January/early February we will begin the final leg of our journey. We plan to spend four months traveling through Myanmar and India, as well as to an undecided location...perhaps Australia, New Zealand, more of Indonesia, China, Nepal and/or Bhutan. Who knows where life will take us in 2010! You'll have to tune in to find out!
With that we would like to wish all of our friends, family and readers a Happy New Year!