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    An Afternoon on Mackinac Island

    Since we were so close and it’s probably Mom’s last summer in Michigan, we decided to do a quick day trip to Mackinac Island. We were there last year for the Lilac Festival 10K.

    It’s about a 15 minute ferry ride from the mainland to the island. We passed the Mackinac Bridge, which connects the lower peninsula of Michigan to the upper peninsula. (We drove across it last year with David’s family while on vacation!) The Chicago to Mackinac sailboat race going on that day:


    Mackinac Bridge


    As you approach the island, you can see the Grand Hotel. It’s the setting for the movie Somewhere in Time:


    The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island


    We spent the afternoon walking around and looking at the cute shops. Mackinac is unique because no cars are allowed on the island. I think they might have a fire truck and an emergency vehicle, but other than that, you get around by foot, bike, or horse.


    Mackinac Shops


    Mackinac bikes


    You have to watch out for horse pies when you walk across the street!


    Horse drawn carriage


    Mackinac Island is known for its fudge:


    Fudge Makers on Mackinac Island


    We had lunch at Mary’s Bistro:


    Mary's Bistro on Mackinac Island


    David got a lamb and bleu cheese burger, I had a crab salad sandwich, and Mom had crab cake sliders. Yum!


    Mary's Bistro Lunch on Mackinac Island


    The island is absolutely beautiful! It was a gorgeous, sunny day.


    Mackinac Island


    We walked up to the Grand Hotel. Mom, Mary, and I have stayed at the hotel before. It’s very fancy and formal. After 6 pm, they require women to be in dresses or skirts and men to be in suits. There’s a fee to look inside if you’re not a guest.




    However, there was no fee to eat at the new Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor connected to the hotel!




    More Hudsonville Ice Cream! Mmmm!




    Mackinac Island is one of my favorite places in Michigan!


    Kites on the Mackinac Island pier



    Life is Better at the Lake

    My aunt and uncle own a lake cottage and invited us up north last weekend. (Up north is a very Michigan term… it usually refers to the top of the mitten.) Oh, the memories we’ve made at the cottage! My family has visited the cottage during summers and Christmases for as long as I can remember. There’s 10 cousins on that side of the family and the girls are all stair step in age to each other.

    We had lots of fun playing with my cousin’s daughter, Cammy! She’s 2 and a half and absolutely precious. She loves to swim, build castles, play with Yo-Zoe (Zoey the dog), and blow bubbles:


    Blowing bubbles with Cammy


    We laughed and laughed that she had named her doll Lois. Here’s Aunt Lois and Baby Doll Lois:


    Aunt Lois and doll Lois


    It’s tradition at the cottage to write your name on a cup and reuse it during your stay. We had two Davids this weekend, so my David got a little creative with his cup:


    Weekend cups


    David purchased a fishing license and woke up early to go fishing with Uncle Marv.


    Sunrise while fishing


    They caught 4 or 5 fish the first morning:


    David holding a fish


    We had large mouth bass for dinner and they were delicious. David learned how to fillet them!


    Uncle Marv holding a fish




    The weather was perfect and we enjoyed swimming, boat rides, and tubing. My arms are still store from hanging on so tight:


    Wiping out while tubing


    It was the first time my cousin Kendra’s boyfriend had gone tubing:


    Kendra and David tubing


    Cammy loved, loved, loved her watermelon. She had 3 big slices one meal. “I need more watermelon, Yee-ah!”


    Cammy loves watermelon!


    We had so much fun catching up with everyone, playing games like Four on a Couch and Loaded Questions, sharing meals together, and getting some sun. We couldn’t have asked for better weather or company!


    The family at the cottage



    A Morning in Grand Rapids, Michigan

    My mom had a meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan and invited David and me to come along. Grand Rapids is less than an hour and a half from where we live. While she was in her meeting, we killed some time around the downtown area. We had breakfast at Bagel Beanery, which had delicious bagels, cream cheese, and coffee.

    After figuring out how to get to it, we stopped at La Grande Vitesse. It’s a beautiful steel sculpture by American artist Alexander Calder located in front of Grand Rapids City Hall.


    Grand Rapids, Michigan City Hall


    La Grande Vitesse


    La Grande Vitesse


    La Grande Vitesse


    La Grande Vitesse


    La Grande Vitesse


    After that, we walked through the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. Ford was from Grand Rapids and was the 38th president of the United States. He was appointed after Nixon resigned. I learned a lot about the Watergate scandal from walking through the museum.


    Gerald Ford Museum


    They had fun memorabilia from the 1970’s.  Pet rock, anyone?


    Pet Rock in Gerald Ford Museum


    I thought these invitations were funny. They were for Gerald Ford’s wedding brunch. The options for “unable to come” are:

      • My wife is pregnant
      • I am in jail
      • I am a Democrat
      • The bank foreclosed
      • I am going hunting
      • Never could stand Ford
      • I am reading the Kinsey Report


    Gerald Ford Brunch Invitation


    It’s kind of fun being a tourist in your home state!


    Presidential Seal - Gerald Ford Museum



    Roses, roses!

    Turkey has so many beautiful roses! They were in bloom when we came in August, and there’s so many in bloom even this month.


    Roses in Cappadocia, Turkey



    The Atatürk Mausoleum in Ankara

    Last weekend two friends and I visited Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Atatürk was the first president and founder of Turkey. The museum was a short dolmuş ride from where we live, located just outside of Kızılay.

    Outside the memorial was an area called Peace Park. It had really lovely landscaping and flowers:


    Turkish flag garden display


    Entrance to the mausoleum was free!


    Atatürk Mausoleum


    There were traditional and ceremonial guards at the entrance:


    Guard at Anıtkabir


    Reliefs at Anıtkabir


    We went into the museum, but photography was not allowed. It featured items and gifts that belonged to Atatürk and had a large section about different battles in Turkey. Near the end, it had Atatürk’s library. There was so much history! I learned Atatürk adopted 13 children.

    The Hall of Honor holds Atatürk’s tomb:


    Anıtkabir Hall of Honor


    Ceiling design


    Guard at Anıtkabir


    It was an overcast day and we got a little rain, but enjoyed checking out Anıtkabir!




    Spring Break Part 3: Back in Amsterdam

    We got back into Amsterdam in the late afternoon and spent some time picking up a few souvenirs at the tulip market. We walked around the city for a while, got some food, and enjoyed the canals!


    Amsterdam canal


    Amsterdam canal


    We headed to the airport the next morning and got back into Ankara late Friday evening. It’s amazing how a little time off from school can refuel you!


    » Read Spring Break Part 1: Amsterdam
    Read Spring Break Part 2: Bruges