Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Day 2010

It just really didn't seem like Christmas this year - the weather being so warm, not a lot of Christmas decorations around the house, no Christmas music at every turn and not being home with our family.  I had a very hard time shopping since it's a pain getting into Jeddah to shop.  Mark and I went in one evening and I got a driver to go in another day and that was all the Christmas shopping I did this year.  But Christmas did come and even though it was different, it was a nice day - a day to spend with family and to remember the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.  Mark and I were talking about how at this time last year, we had no idea what changes would happen to our family in 2010.  We had hardship and trials and many blessings and we are grateful for the wonderful family and friends that are in our lives that have supported us through all the decisions and changes that we've gone through this last year.

So, it's Christmas Day in Athens and the kids are looking forward to opening the presents that we did bring them.  I only brought small things that we could easily fit in our suitcases.  Both Megan and Spencer got Swatch watches - they have Swatch stores in every mall and I have fond memories of these watches from middle school :-)  I actually got a new Swatch also - although it's a bit fancier than the plastic type style.  All of the kids got a game for their Nintendo DS.  Here are a few pictures from Christmas morning.

A notebook for French class

Cooking Mama for the DS

Just being patient...

We enjoyed the very yummy pastries that we bought at the bakery the night before and basically just hung around the apartment all morning playing games and being together.  It was very low key, but very nice.  We decided to head out to Likavittus Hill - most of the major attractions were closed on the 25th and 26th, but the hill was open.   Likavittus Hill is the tallest point in Athens and affords a wonderful view of the whole city.

So we figured out which metro station we needed to get to and headed out early in the afternoon.  We knew there was a "funicular" that would take you to the top of the hill, but what we did not realize was that you pretty much walked half way up the hill before you got to this.  I have to tell you, that I don't think I have ever walked more stairs at one time.  An interesting side note about this trip (for me at least) was that even though we ate tons of good Greek food, I lost 7 pounds when we were on vacation because of all the walking we did.  I LOVE that kind of vacation!!!  So now I just have to keep it up now that we're back.

Rachel and Lizzie on the stairs up to Lykavittus Hill

A view down one of the city streets that we walked up.

So we walked and walked and walked until we reached the entrance to the "funicular" which is basically a little tram that takes you up the rest of the hill.  We rode up and snapped a bunch more pictures.

A gorgeous view of the Acropolis and the Parthenon
with the Mediterranean Sea in the background

The amazing city of Athens

The Temple of Zeus

We met another American family from Kalamazoo while we were enjoying the view and chatted with them for a while.  Then it was time to head down the funicular again (I still don't know why that is what it is called).  We got over there, put our tickets in and then realized that there wasn't enough room for all 7 of us to head down.  So we went back up to the top and this guy came out (the operator) and pretty much yelled at us for making the tram late.  I think his words were something like - "Now we're behind schedule and it's all your fault.".  Ha - Merry Christmas to the funicular operator!  So we waited for the funicular to return, hopped on and headed back down the hill.

Waiting to get on the funicular.

The tracks down the hill.

Smart Cars were everywhere in Athens -
notice how this one is parked
(backed into a spot where you would
normally parallel park)

We headed back to the metro station (the walk down the hill was much more pleasant) and back over to Plaka to find some Christmas dinner.  We ended up at a restaurant that we had passed the day before where he told Rachel that she looked like a movie star.  He was a nice older man that when he found out that we had triplets, told us he was a twin.  It was always very fun talking to all the people that we met!  We had a really enjoyable Christmas dinner - Rachel and Alex had pizza, I had some really good roast beef and Mark and the rest of the kids had a turkey dinner. 

After dinner, we headed home to talk to our families via Skype and wish them a Merry Christmas.  We hope eveyone had a wonderful holiday!


  1. Wow what a beautiful view!!!!
    Funicular, ha! That is what they call them in Spainnand Chile, as I found out today.
    You lost weight during vacation??? I think i've gained what you've lost!!! But if you had peruvian food you would understand :-)

  2. Hi Cindy.
    Finally found your blog with your mothers help and enjoy your writings. What an experience you are having. I wanted to wish you and family a wonderful new year and wish you all a great time on your 'excursion'. I will continue to visit this part of our world thru your pictures and writings. Best wishes

  3. Sherry - so glad you found it. We are well and enjoying (most of the time) the experiences we are having! I hope you and all your family are well! Cindy

  4. Yes, we are well, blessedly so. All kids and grandkids healthy too. Are you enjoying the warm temps? It is quite cold here this month. Take care and keep in good health yourself. Sherry