On this last day of 2015, it has been nice to reminisce about our year, where we’ve been and where we’d still love to go someday.

Our travels began when we welcomed in 2015 with a New Year’s celebration with our parents in the Florida Keys and took us to Estes Park where we photographed the sun rising over Rocky Mountain National Park on Easter Sunday.

Ann loved the chance to venture out at sunrise on Easter morning for a private photography lesson near Estes Park, Colorado.

We made three more trips back to Rochester, Minnesota, this year where Ann had another surgery and was treated at the Mayo Clinic [read about a touching experience at Mayo here] and we spent time with friends and family in Minneapolis.

This summer, our daughter studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain, and we were fortunate enough to be able to “pick her up from school” at the end of her term after a relaxing Celebrity Cruise that began in Rome, Italy, and ended in Barcelona, Spain.

The view from our ship as we docked in Ajaccio, Corsica, a place neither of us had ever seen and both want to return.

The view from our ship as we docked in Ajaccio, Corsica, a place neither of us had ever seen and both want to return.

When we returned to our home in Crete, Nebraska, we explored some local sites, including Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, Morrill Hall, the National Roller Skating Museum, the International Quilt Study Center and Museum, and the Germans from Russia Museum and stayed close to home most of the fall so we could attend home Husker football games.

Jellyfish in the Aquarium at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.

We did something new for Thanksgiving this year and drove to Dallas, Texas, where Meghan got to see her beloved Cowboys play in AT&T Stadium on Thanksgiving Day.

Sadly, we didn’t get to display this sign much, as Tony Romo went out early with yet another injury.

We spent Christmas at home this year and will welcome in 2016 with a quiet dinner at home, with family and new friends.

We are so grateful for the opportunities we’ve had travel, relax, explore, and learn and don’t take any of this for granted. We’ve really enjoyed blogging about our adventures and cannot thank all of you enough for your comments, shares, reposts, likes, and especially — your postcards. As we close out 2015, and reflect on all of life’s ups and downs, let us leave you with this anonymous quote … “We travel not to escape life, but life to not escape us.”

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and well-traveled 2016.

  • Perched high on a hill in Tuscany is the medieval village of Montepulciano. In the center of town is the piazza grande paved with bricks laid in a herringbone pattern in the 14th century. ⁣
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Standing in the piazza, looking at the bricks, we were filled with a sense of awe at the history these bricks have seen. They've been there for 700 years so have seen times of war and peace, celebration and sorrow. Generation after generation of townsfolk were born, lived and died, and all have walked on these bricks. ⁣
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This is one of the things we love most about traveling. It gives us an authentic feel for history, one we wouldn't have if we just stayed at home.
  • We were so tickled when @thechefandthedish reached out and asked us if we'd like to take a complimentary cooking class with them. They offer private cooking classes with chefs from all over the world that you can take right in your own kitchen. ⁣
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For this class, we Skyped with chef Paola who taught us to make strawberry risotto, traditional bruschetta, and a delicious poached pear dessert that blew our minds. ⁣
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Risotto always seemed like a difficult dish to make, but Chef Paola explained it so well that it wound up being pretty easy. We spent a great afternoon with friends, learned something new, and enjoyed a great meal after. A class with The Chef & The Dish is a great gift idea, as well. Follow the link in our bio, and you can read more about our class on our blog.
  • The world is a big place, and there's so much to discover. Go places, and see things. It doesn't matter if you don't have a detailed itinerary, either. Sometimes, it's more about the journey and what you see and experience along the way, than it is about the destination.
  • During our trip in Tuscany with @italyunfiltered, we stopped at a small family winery. After learning about the organic methods they use to produce high quality Chianti Clasico wines, we had a tasting. ⁣
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Wine tastings in Italy are nothing like those in the US. They are glorious affairs complete with delicious foods paired with the incredible wines. This particular winery brought us samples of homemade, organic jams made from fruits grown in the family's garden. We dabbed these on locally produced pecorino cheese. Yum!⁣
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We're so glad that we had a local driver and guide. Stopping here was a highlight of our Italian adventure, and we never would have found it on our own.
  • The village of Marsaxlokk, Malta, is famous for these brightly painted fishing boats. The design is rather ancient, possibly dating back to Phoenician times, though it's still used today because it is very strong and holds up well in rough weather. One feature of each boat's decorations, are eyes painted on the bow of the boat. These eyes are said to protect the people fishing while they are at sea.
  • The blue cobblestones of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, are actually part of a recycling project which started 500 years ago. Iron foundries in Spain produced huge piles of waste, called slag. Rather than throw these piles away, the slag was made into blocks which was placed into ships as ballast. The ballast was offloaded in Puerto Rico when they loaded products bound for Spain. The blocks were then used to pave the streets. ⁣
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Pretty good idea, and 500 years later, they are holding up well!
  • The Overseas Highway connects Key West and the Florida Keys to the mainland U.S. While the entire road is a marvel of engineering, the centerpiece is the Seven Mile Bridge, which runs over water for, well, seven miles.⁣
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The next time you're driving, reset your trip odometer and wait until it gets to seven miles. You'll see that's a pretty long distance. And then think about the fact that people built a bridge over water with no land to support them for that distance. Pretty incredible-especially since the first one was built in 1912.
  • We'd never heard of cannonball rocks before we drove past them at North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and asked each other, "did you see that?" We'd never seen anything quite like these natural "concretions" created when water leaked into pockets of minerals in the ground. Now, as a hill erodes, these formations are exposed.⁣
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Seeing these rocks was such a cool experience because it reminded us of why we travel. We never know when we'll find something new, something that we never knew existed. We got along fine not knowing about cannonball rocks, yet now that we've seen them, our lives are a little richer. ⁣
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The world is a pretty cool place. Check it out.⁣
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@ndlegendary

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