St. Petersburg, Russia

The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood : St. Petersburg, Russia

Our Whole Crew: St. Petersburg, Russia outside Church of the Spilled Blood

Inside St. Isaac’s Cathedral: July 2, 2012

The Pine Trees are fountains! Peterhof Palace Gardens

Peterhof Palace: July 2, 2012

Tomb of Peter the Great: Peter and Paul Fortress St. Petersburg

Wax Figures in the Yusupov Palace: Rasputin (Integral part in the downfall of the Royal Romanov Russian Dynasty) is about to murdered with the help of Felix Yusupov

Hermitage Museum of Art: July 1, 2012

I wish I could say “ I’m in love with the city of St. Petersburg!” , but I cannot. I appreciate it, and I THINK, I could like it, but I’m just not there yet. Sean and I have spoken with several fellow travelers these past two years, and they are quite “smitten” with the city. I do think it’s quite pleasing to the eye and loaded with history: to me very sad history.

We have been there twice, and each time there are literally “hoards” of people. There are traffic jams, traffic accidents (our own bus driver hit TWO cars on our 2nd day of touring). We have had two intelligent, informative, and friendly tour guides these past two trips, but the regular people we have encountered have neither been friendly nor enveloping. Both times I have been there I have experienced that “Give me your tourism $$, then get the heck out!”

Russia’s Czar, Peter the Great, created this “young” city (1703) from swamp lands. He dragged his country practically “kicking and screaming” into the modern era of the world. However, he died, Russia couldn’t “keep it together” again. It seemed to almost have it with Alexander II, but he died at the hands of a homicidal maniac.

I wrote this time last year of “Victims of History” such as Mary,Queen of Scots and Czar Nicholas II of Russia. I first heard and read of the Nicolas when I was about 11 years old. He had such deep love and devotion for his wife, son, and daughters, but not the same love for the people of his country…that is the tragic downfall.
Okay, what I do like very much from St.Petersburg…. 1)St. Isaac’s Cathedral, 2)Church of the Spilled Blood and just outside of St. Petersburg…3)Peterhof Palace Gardens.

Flippin’ Video Summer Fun 2012

Carter and Ammon really enjoyed watching Ryan Lochte win his gold medal in the 400 IM last night (July 28, 2012…Saturday) from London. Ammon said she wanted to learn the strokes to the Butterfly Stroke.
I hope and pray that Ammon and Carter will always enjoy swimming. Have a great Sunday everyone, and I hope you enjoy the brief videos.

London and the XXX Summer Olympiad

Olympic Park: London England

Across from the Olympic Park: John Lewis Department Store

Ammon and Carter have been to London, England twice. They seemed to have some vague memories of the city from the summer of 2011 especially Big Ben, Parliament, and the London Eye. This year, we spent approximately 4 hours (strolling, a bit of shopping, and eating) at the new mall adjacent to the Olympic Park. It was July 8, and no one was allowed into the park for another 10 days or so. However, Carter and Ammon will have their schema set as we watch the XXX Olympiad for the next two weeks. I think they will really enjoy the swimming events since they’ve swum now for the past two summers.

It may be Citius, Altius, Fortius (Swifter, Higher, Stronger), for the Olympic athletes, but from the Caylor-Brown household, we wish all the athletes God’s blessings both physically and spiritually through the events, and we ask God’s blessings and protection to the spectators as well. Enjoy World!!

Blink

“I don’t want to Blink”
Traveling without complaints (well, maybe wanting to be carried or placed in a stroller), random butterfly kisses from Ammon, random “Give me a hug!” from Carter, “Let’s play Freeze Tag!” yells, toys strewn across the living room, the toddler clothes spread on the laundry table ready to be folded, the toddler Sunday school shoes placed on the shelf calmly waiting for the next Sunday: I love it, and I don’t want to blink. My blinks have already seen over 3 ½ years pass, and it keeps on racing.

I am so blessed to have Carter and Ammon. I have a request from you faithful readers (you know who you are) that God grants me more patience and better ways to spend quality time with my children in my daily life. I get so caught up with the chores around us that I feel as though I neglect valuable time with them, and “ I don’t want to blink. These are the best years of our lives.” …for me, literally.

Tallinn, Estonia June 30, 2012

Tallinn, Estonia with the Emerald Princess in the Background: June, 30, 2012

Alexander Nevsky Russian Orthodox Cathedral

Tallinn’s Lower Town Square

Fat Margaret’s Tower: Tallinn, Estonia: June 30, 2012

Over 25 years ago, I remember having a geography class, and my professor had us label and recall Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on a European map. The gist of the lecture when mentioning these were, “These are Baltic countries which are very similar in language and culture. They are a part of the Soviet Union.”….end of the lecture on Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. What a shame, right?

For several years, Sean and I had heard very positive things regarding the sites and people of Tallinn. We were not disappointed. The mixture of middle ages architecture, Russian Orthodox (we actually saw a funeral in the Russian Orthodox Church while we were there) named the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, and other historical architecture was very quaint and pleasing to the traveler’s eye.
If the opportunity arises, we will return to Tallinn.

Aarhus, Denmark

Ammon & Carter at Aarhus’ Wishing Well

Aarhus’s Open-Air Museum: June 27, 2012

Ammon took Carter & Sean’s photo in Aarhus

Carter took Ammon & Haven’s photo in the Aarhus Cathedral


Aarhus, Denmark: June 27, 2012

Aarhus, Denmark is Denmark’s 2nd largest city. The best part of our excursion was the Outdoor Museum. The Danish government has taken house/businesses from around the country of Denmark that are noted to be in like the national registry for historical sites from centuries gone by, dismantled them, and reconstructed them in an open-air museum. There are homes, gardens, and a business district with shops and places to eat. The museum has different blocks of buildings dating from the 1500s to the 20th Century.

Oslo, Norway: June 26, 2012

Oslo Hard Rock Cafe: June 26, 2012

Viking Museum

Public Ski Jump Park

Vigeland Sculpture Park

Oslo’s Opera House: June 26, 2012

Since I was a teenager, I have wanted to visit Oslo, Norway. My Nanny Caylor always spoke HIGHLY of this nation. During my one day visit, I was not disappointed.

During World War II, Norway was occupied by the Nazis. However, the Norwegian people fought tenaciously and tirelessly to kick them out. I know it was common, but the first time I heard about them battling on snow skis, I was soooooooooooo impressed! My Nanny always thought Norway was so pretty, and it was shared between Norway and the United States that Norwary paid off all its debt to the United States after World War II.

Oslo’s port with Princess Cruise Lines had to be THE BEST port we had ever experienced. The downtown area was less than a 10 minute walk from the ported ship! The Oslo Fjord itself was such a beautiful, natural wonder too.
We know we want to go back to Oslo: 6 hours there were not enough.