No, I did not visit the Griswalds, or Cousin Eddy’s house. But I did visit my aunt Heidi and Uncle Bruce, which is pretty close to the same thing. Over the holiday, my parents, sisters, Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I went on a 2-week vacation in Europe for the holidays. A week in Italy, followed by a week in Germany.
In Italy, with my uncle’s family (stationed there because military), we saw Mt. Vesuvius (this big volcano that they live right next to), Herculaneum (which is very similar to Pompeii, except smaller and a tad better excavated because it’s more recent), the Flavian Amphitheater (which is the third biggest Roman amphitheater), the Vatican, St. Peter’s square, the outside of the Roman coliseum (because we saw the entire amphitheater in Pozzuoli). And we got to spend Christmas there and hang out with family! Others in the family went shopping, while I stayed home and napped or something because I was EXHAUSTED. We went to a place and had some Italian fine dining. LOTS of delish Italian food. And experiencing riding in Italian traffic. Well, the traffic in Naples, anyway. I had to take a Dramamine every single day. Goodness!
In Germany, we visited our foreign-exchange-family-member and her family. Viktoria (the FEFM) planned this awesome honeymoon getaway for Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I in Freiburg, Germany, where we rode a cable car above the Black Forest, ate awesome German food, went to Christmas markets that were still going until the New Year, and learned a lot about the German public transportation system. At the home of Viktoria, we ate more delicious German food and experienced a German New Year—where everyone has fireworks (that would be illegal in the USA), so it was like a big fireworks show, all around you. The last day, we toured a castle in Heidelberg, as well as the bridge there and ate more German food.
So, that’s the low down on what we did. I apologize I don’t have any cool pics to put up, because my mother was the photographer of the trip and has all the cool ones. You can check some out at her blog, though! So much to sum up to answer the common questions of, “What did you do? Where did you go? What did you see?” Stay tuned, as there shall be many more blogs coming shortly, both about this vacation, and the rest of the many things that are swirling in my head!
Once upon a time, the Olsons thought it would be fun to go on a family vacation. The fieldwork was at a good place to leave for a few days, and there were four days all summer when Jonathan and Carolyn were free. But Laura (daughter #3) couldn’t get off of work for that many days in a row, and she had already made plans to go to Omaha and hang out with a bestie of hers. Christina (daughter #2) was working in Custer State Park at the Black Hills Playhouse, so we’d go there. Anna (me, aka daughter #1) was home for the summer and it turned out that the four days Jonathan and Carolyn (the ‘rents) were looking at for the proposed vacation were free for her, too. So they went on vacation. Anna kept a log of the vacation, but it is eight pages long so I won’t bore you with it. Speaking in third person is a bit odd, maybe. But whatever—Anna thinks it’s fun, therefore so do I.
-Seeing Laura and talking with her for an hour and a half before we hit I-90. She handed Jonathan a bag from PacSun and said, “This is for you. To give to Christina.” She’s a gem.
-The corn palace and Wall Drug, neither of which is as impressive as when you’re eight, so Anna learned. She also learned that when you’re taking a lot of pictures of a building, you are labeled a tourist, even if home is a mere few hours away. We were such cliché tourists. Except we didn’t buy any souvenirs the whole trip. So, only mostly cliché.
-Seeing people from our hometown when we were staying at a hotel in Wall, SD. Can’t go anywhere, seriously. We were at Badlands National Park, and Carolyn’s like, “Quick, they have Minnesota plates. We might know them and start talking!” We didn’t, but that was close. We knew other people that were headed to the Black Hills that week. Somehow, we find each other.
-Changing time zones after six hours on the road (who knew you could go six hours west and change, but you’d have to drive for days before it switches going east). That certainly threw things off. It was like daylight savings, but we were so busy and doing things that you didn’t notice the “extra hour”. You used it for other things. And then after we get home, everyone’s asleep by 9:30pm Mountain Time, even though I had seen 2:30am Central Time on the trip a few times. Is that confusing? Probably.
-Mount Rushmore. During the day and the night lighting ceremony, which Carolyn (“Mom” as I call her) talks about in a blog here. I’d never really understood why Roosevelt was there, but each of the four presidents stand for something in the original vision of America. Have we strayed from what our country is supposed to stand for? Who knows. Also learned a bunch about Borglum, the sculptor, who died before it was finished, when we went to his museum in Keystone, where we stayed. Not at his museum, ‘cuz that would be creepy. In Keystone.
-Crazy Horse. We went to the visitor center this time. It’s super big and the stories behind it are pretty cool. Did you know they’ve been working on it for, like, 60 years? And the four faces of Rushmore could fit in CH’s head. Whoa!
-Seeing Christina. She came to the hotel we were at twice and didn’t leave until after midnight, but it was fun to talk to her. We took her out for supper one day and we went to the Black Hills Playhouse and saw “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” which was excellent. She’s a tech intern there this summer, and her bio in the play bill made her sound real cool (‘cuz she pretty much is).
-Bear Country, USA, nowhere else will never see more bears together even if you’re born with them and they don’t kill you but accept you as one of their own. There was a slight hold up because bears ahead were playing with other and climbing on things and someone was breaking the rules and had their window open and were eating Lays Potato Chips and the bear wanted them. Or he was just climbing on a pole and cute from a distance.
Anyhoo, all of us—I mean, Jonathan, Carolyn, and Anna—are still real tired but moving ahead, ‘cuz we’re starting barley harvest today. And Anna’s giving lessons today. All of the previously mentioned people have a lot to do this week is what I’m basically saying in too many words. Vacation was fun and the hills were pretty, but I really missed the flat prairie I grew up in. Until the next blog Anna writes not in third person,