View from the top

Yesterday we peaked Peak 8 part of the Tenmile Range here in Breckenridge.  The mountain range is an extension of The Rockies and lies to the west of the Continental Divide. Peak 8 is best known for having the highest chair lift in north America, The Imperial Express at 12,840ft. Not quite one of the famous forteeners but we peaked out at just over 13,000ft. Unfortunately the lift only works in the   winter, so we had to climb.  The view from the top was worth it though ….just!

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

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All creatures great and small

Our objective this year is to see a bear, at a safe distance of course.  However we’ve had to content ourselves with an assortment of smaller creatures and some more domesticated than others.  However we wake up each day in the Rockies wondering if today will be the day…

In the meantime, waiting for the rest of the family to arrive from England and Kazakhstan, we’ve had to content ourselves with an assortment of other activities: hiking, swimming, paddling in the Blue River, riding the mountain chair lifts, snowball fights, general exploring and, as the kids would say, chillaxing.

        

        

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20th Wedding Anniversary

Saturday June 20, 1992 we got married in a small church called St Benedict’s in Glastonbury, Somerset.  It was the same church where I was christened and where my parents were also married.  I remember the day, it was sunny, warm and windy.  The men all wore top hats and tails and my dress was of ivory raw silk.

20 full and exciting years living and traveling all around the world.  Three children a dog and never a dull moment.  I’m a lucky girl to have found the man of my dreams.

            

 

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The National Trust

The National Trust is a UK conservation charity set up over 100 years ago.  Its objective is to protect historic buildings and preserve green spaces.  They make wonderful places to visit.  My husband doesn’t care much for the houses, and I can only with a clear conscience declare a passing interest.  However we enjoy exploring the wonderful gardens & grounds and playing croquet when the sun comes out.  Every trip is also never complete without a delicious cream tea and trip to the National Trust gift shop.

      

        

 

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Kazakh Weekends

After nearly five years of living in Kazakhstan we know that it truly is “what you make it” in terms of entertainment.  Middle Schoolers find their weekends filled with an assortment of activities: bike rides  roughly 20k of dusty, flat terrain spotting wild horses & camels and trying to avoid the occasional dangerous dog.

Paint balling in what can only accurately be described as an industrial derelict (and suspiciously unsafe) warehouse.  When the sprinklers come on in Dostyk Village there are mud puddles for the making, Shakespearian theatre productions in the park, and of course intellectual t-shirt graffiti.

    

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Breckenridge in the Spring time

It is of course too much to hope that our children’s various school vacations match up, they don’t of course.  This did allow however me to take our eldest with good friend ski-ing to Colorado at Spring Break.  It is warm on the slopes at this time of year, it seemed unfamiliar to be actually comfortable on the chair lifts.

We also managed to catch a ball game with the Rockies in Denver during their opening week.  We caught a movie, went ice skating at 2 miles high and caught the band Rusted Root playing slope side.  At the end of our 10 days one foot of snow allowed some pretty fun and out of control tobogganing down the drive.

    

 

 

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Cornish Break

For Easter we were all together and enjoyed family time just with the five of us. We took a road trip to Cornwall, a county in the west country of England known for it’s beautiful rugged coast line, jagged cliffs and sandy beaches.  We stayed in a small hotel alongside a small harbor in an equally small village called Portloe.

We visited The Lost Gardens of Heligan, went for blustery coastal walks and lazed on the beaches close by.  We also went rock climbing and crabbing and spent many hours perfecting stone skipping across the water.  The boys explored the caves alongside the harbor and the girls built a cairn their grandfather would have been proud of.

       

         

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Istanbul Jail Time

 

 

 

 

 

This year we celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. So a few months early we traveled to Turkey and stayed (not at all aptly) in an old converted prison.

Istanbul is an historic city lying on The Bosphorus strait betwixt Europe and Asia. Based in the old city, we toured on foot the Sultan Ahmet Mosque (referred to as the blue mosque because of all the tiles), the Hagia Sophia for over 1,000 years deemed the oldest church in the world.  And, wandered the Topkapi Palace and grounds being the main residence of the former sultans and their respective harems.

In the Egyptian market we rubbed shoulders with the crowds and bought turkish delight whilst marveling at the spice stalls. Needless to say we ventured forth (and got lost) in the labyrinth of shops within The Grand Bazaar for the obligatory rug buying session.

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New Year, fresh start

A few weeks back,  I found myself walking on the frozen Ural River a mile or so upriver towards the centre of Atyrau.  Not sure if I was walking in Europe or Asia so let’s say I had a slippery foot either side.  I went to witness the annual Russian Orthodox baptism ritual.  A rectangular hole cut in the ice, with three dunks in the icy water below representing Father, Son and the Holy Ghost.  There was a basic wooden changing room alongside, providing minimal relief from the razor sharp wind.  The unbelievable ice cold bathing conditions certainly were a case of mind over matter.  As far as I could tell if you didn’t mind, it didn’t matter.

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Colorado, An Adopted State

Colorado is our adopted State.  Whilst two of our kids were born in California, and we’ve lived in Texas, Colorado is where we choose to be. In the Rocky Mountains, 100 miles west of Denver, lies the small historic town of Breckenridge at nearly 10,000ft.  High enough to take what little breath you have away, and not just because of the altitude.

Over the holidays we skied the four peaks on the Ten Mile Range in Breck throughout the days and nights. Truly, even Christmas Day and by floodlights at night at Keystone.  We continued our tradition with the 2nd Annual Treck-to-Breck, enjoyed tubing alongside Dillon Lake, and took a horse drawn sleigh ride with good friends on New Year’s Eve.  The weather was perfect, the snow was nearly-good, and the sky really was blue.

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