As promised, here is the second blog with photos from John and Lisa’s visit during Christmas, a few techinical difficulties hindered its punctual publishing. After our visit to Poland and downtown BB, we continued to venture around the area both in Slovakia and its neighboring countries. I’ve included some of the photos from the trip in this blog, but there are more in the photo gallery.

These first photos are from Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland. This underground church was amazing. And this lovely picture of me captures the essence of the mine, because, what else do you do with a wall of salt?

This photo is in the top of the square of our city Banska Bystrica, Lisa took this one:).

One of our daytrips was to Budapest. It was the first time any of us had been there and we loved it. We had a very scary drive there on some mountain backroads after an ice the night before, but we arrived safely and drove straight into the heart of the town and underground to a parking garage. When we emerged onto the surface we found that we parked under a pedestrian square surrounded by beautiful buildings. From there we walked by parliament and over the main bridge and took a lift up the hill to the upper part of the city. At that point a man heckled us, trying to be a personal tour guide, but inadvertently shared a plethora of Budapest history while trying to prove him value to us.

Even though Budapest isn’t really as well known for being one of Europe’s finest cities, it had the feel of one. It was similar to Paris and Prague and Brussles too.

Budapest Budapest Budapest

Another day trip we took was to Bojnice castle in Slovakia about two hours from where we live. We didn’t think we’d make the tour, but we did- too bad it wasn’t in English. It was still enjoyable to walk through an enormous castle; the guides were dressed in period costumes and the castle interior was still decorated with original and replica furniture.

The final stop of the trip was back to Vienna for a day. It had been two years since I was in the city, but it looked about the same. Vienna really does Christmas, from the Christmas market to the decorations in the streets, it is remarkable. Also, Vienna is peppered with some very impressive churches and overall enormous buildings. I like cities like this because when you are there, a recurring thought always pops into my mind: the people who built this city don’t mess around.

Vienna Vienna

We said goodbye to John and Lisa early the next morning as we dropped them off at the airport and made our way back to the Slovak Republic. While passing through Bratislava, Burke convinced me that we should stop at the mall, specifically H&M, since it had been so long since I had been there. He mentioned a few days earlier that my off-white hat no longer appeared purposely off-white, but rather dirty, so when we saw a slightly thicker, similarly styled hat in gray, he twisted my arm into buying it (also, new earings). Since buying and wearing the hat, I have noticed many old ladies sporting similar ones. More on this to come.

In other news, we have been back to school for two weeks and a day. I was worried my kids would have forgotten all of the English they ever knew, but they didn’t. Recently, I’ve been teaching them everyday words through flashcards: Fork, drink, share, scissors, push, accident, etc. Also, this week is the week of musicals at Narnia. Green class musical was today and can later be viewed on the narnia website that Burke has diligently been working on for months.

The final bit of news I have is that Burke and I just booked our trip to the Middle East in about a month. We plan to travel from here to Budapest on a bus/train and fly to Tel Aviv via Zurich. From Tel Aviv we will take a bus to Amman, Jordan and visit the YWAM Slovakia group for a couple days. Then we will bus back to Jerusalem and spend a few days there, hopefully taking a day trip to Bethlehem before heading back to Tel Aviv and home. We’ll let you know how it goes:).