Christmas Ornament Time

I’ve been collecting ornaments from places we’ve traveled since our honeymoon in 2010. Though to be honest, it was an idea I had at the time but got put on the back burner until we actually had a house and a Christmas tree which we didn’t purchase until 2012. So therefore our trips from 2010-2012 are ornaments I bought after the fact either made in the countries we traveled to or pictures of the places we were in the case I couldn’t find an ornament made in the country we visited. Starting in 2013, the ornaments have all been bought while we were traveling. Looking for Christmas ornaments in some places can be hard to find, hence why sometimes we buy something and later make it into an ornament. It can be a challenge sometimes, but it’s something we’ve really enjoyed hunting for since we started buying them in real time in 2013. I have this dream of when we are old and grey setting up our Christmas tree it will be completely full of only travel related ornaments. Right now we fill in the holes with other childhood ornaments.

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Kenya-Tanzania Safari Planning & Wrap Up

Since I didn’t start doing the blog thing until after getting back from Africa, I’m going to do this a little differently than I will in the future. In the future I hope to do a post before we leave on how we planned for the trip and then do an update on what worked/what didn’t upon getting back. Since this is way after the fact now, I will just do a combined (really long, sorry) post on planning/how it went for us.

Planning wise, we always had the Serengeti and Kenya on our must see list sometime. But they shot up to the top after my brother did a semester abroad in Tanzania and my parents got back from a two week trip to Tanzania to visit my brother (and did a 10 day Safari while there) and all of them raved about it. Just listening to them talk about the love they had developed for Africa, just made us dying to go and so when we decided on what we wanted to do in 2015, Tanzania and Kenya were on the list. Originally we had planned on a two week trip, a 10 day safari followed by a few days relaxing in Zanzibar. Then work chaos ensued and my boss said I couldn’t get two weeks off at a time in the current situation (well that maybe I could, but he couldn’t promise and well, we couldn’t wait until the last minute to plan a safari in high season), so we had to settle for being going only 10 days instead of like 16, which meant about 8 days in Africa considering travel time to/from. After a lot of talk with the safari company we had already decided on, we came up with a new safari (dropping Maasai Mara park and Zanzibar).

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Kenya Day 3: Amboseli National Park

We started Day 3 bright (or dark to be honest) and early as we had decided over dinner the night before that we should wake up and enjoy the sunrise over Mt. Kilimanjaro. Our waiter at dinner had recommended being outside by 6:15-6:20am if we really wanted to enjoy the whole sunrise, so that’s just what we did as we were leaving for our game drive at 7am anyways. The sunrise was beautiful as Mt. Kilimanjaro slowly was bathed in sunlight and the animals started wandering past on the open grasslands.

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Kenya Day 2: Amboseli National Park

Today’s park, Amboseli National Park, was the park I was most looking forward to. I have a love obsession with elephants. I just think they are absolutely the coolest mammal. They are adorable and incredibly smart. I love how they communicate with their feet and that females lead the herds. I also love how much they care about each other and their families. Their respectfulness of dead elephants is also amazing. Yes, that’s a lot of love, but it’s all true. Amboseli National Park is known for it’s large herds of elephants, especially large huskers as the area wasn’t as hard hit by poaching. It became an official National Park in 1974 to protect the unique swamp environment of the area that spreads south to the Tanzania border. The background of Mt. Kilimanjaro also adds to the splendor of the park.

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Kenya Day 1: Lake Nakuru

We arrived in Nairobi around 3:45am and went through customs pretty smoothly and fast as ours was the only plane arriving at that time. After changing in the restroom at the airport and buying a cup of coffee, we waited for our tour company (East Africa Adventure Tours and Safari) to arrive at 5am. We met our driver/guide for Kenya then started the 3 hour drive to Lake Nakuru. It was dark when we left the airport so we kept nodding off during the drive, even though once the sun was up we both really wanted to take in the villages and scenery we were passing. We arrived at our lodge, Tumaini Cottages, and were given 2 hours to take a nap and relax before an early lunch at the lodge. The lunch was preset (no options), but was actually quite tasty.

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