Saturday, August 14, 2010

La Piedra del Peñol Tour

Josh and I share an " I did it" moment at the top of Piedra Del Penol.

I thought this was a funny pic as he is "trying to break out".

This statue is supposed to represent the homeless children in Colombia... those living in the gutters/sewers. I was so thankful the Lord gave us our beautiful boys and helped them escape the life many other children lead. Lord, be with those precious children and help them find homes too.

Here's the whole Castellon gang.

Here's a pic of the side of Piedra Penol... all of those "stiches looking things" are stairs. Yup. All of them.

Summit Pics

Sorry I didn't get to write yesterday... we didn't really have much to update. Frank's parents, Frank Sr. and Blanca arrived yesterday and we went to pick them up at the Medellin airport with our guide, Gloria. After packing into her car, we drove to the hotel and spent the rest of the day showing them around this gorgeous place. We ended the day having a nice dinner at Piedra del Fogon, the Hotel restaurant. Of course the grandparents are oogling and smothering Jonathan (and Josh) with kisses and hugs. They love that they are here. We are so happy they were able to come and spend a few days with us to enjoy Medellin.

Today we all went on a fabulous all-day tour to a wonderful site close by called Piedra del Peñol. Our guide Gloria contracted a "autobus" for us with a wonderful Christian driver named Jaime. He was so very sweet and patient with us! We left at 10am this morning and drove all around the mountains, through nearby towns such as Guatape and Peñol. I was afraid the trip would result in someone getting car sick, but thankfully we all made it there and back without any stomach problems. :) Our driver Jaime was mostly cautious and drove well... but I have to say, if you think people in Miami drive crazy.. they don't hold a candle to Colombians! Medellin is better than Bogota... but there are a lot of what I would call motor scooters here (not even motorcycles). No where near as sturdy as Harley Davidson's for example... and the scooters manuever between cars. Passing cars on a one way highway isn't uncommon either. Of course since car seats aren't mandatory, no one uses them so, we do our best to strap into the seatbelts and pray for safety!

The drive to Pinon was a bit long... the boys behaved very well. I changed a diaper at a pit stop and Jonathan napped on the way up. Jaime was so very nice to stop whenever we wanted to take pictures (which was often). When we finally saw the rock we were amazed. It's so very big! Not only that, but it looks so out of place. We asked questions like... how did it get there, what exactly is it, etc. Gloria and Jaime said no one knows. Long ago it just appeared. The main theory is that it's some sort of meteor that landed there. Looking at the rock, you can definately see why. It's very striking. Once we pulled up (which was a very steep drive, might I add) there are several little shops and restaurants at the base of the rock. We all got down, streched out a bit and proceed to look for restrooms.
Ok, the only reason I mention this is because I've NEVER used a restroom like this one before. One thing I've noticed here in Colombia is that most toilets don't have covers... not even in the airport. I guess at first that seemed strange to me, but then I thought... hey! I'm sure that must save a lot of people the trouble of having to pull up toilet seat covers to use the facility... not to mention it must save money... I guess. The women's restroom was very tiny, a single facility with a door (thank God). Once you squeeze in there and do your business, both men and women use a sink outside to wash their hands. For the men... the restroom is just a saloon door where they walk in, face the wall and when finished, walk out. In other words, everyone can see who's in there and there isn't very much privacy. Man, was I very thankful to be a woman! hee, hee.

Enough about the restrooms... so, Frank (Jr), Joshua and I decided we were climbing to the top of the rock. Blanca, Frank Sr., Gloria, Jonathan and Jaime stayed below to feed Jonathan lunch and just talk until we got back. While I was a little hesitant at us climbing 640 stairs to reach the top and 640 steps down, I kept telling the boys we could stop periodically and catch our breath. Up we went. I'm not going to lie, it took us awhile but we made it. We actually even met some guys from Boston vacationing in Medellin while going up. We talked for a bit after I told them we have family in Boston... well, it was more like... breath, breath, I, breath, have, breath, breath, family, breath in breath, breath Boston. We made sure to keep Josh in sight as the stairs were steep in places and very windy. When we made it to the top, the view was spectacular! I don't consider Frank or I in shape (not even close by any means) but I was thankful we made it and felt accomplished once I looked out at the Medellin countryside.

You can see for miles... beautiful mountains, lakes, several houses, even boats. The air is breezy and nice up there. We stayed at the top for about 20 minutes. Josh fell as he was running and tripped on a rock. Poor little guy got a huge welt on his forehead, but he didn't cry at all. Sweet one. He always amazes me at that... he comes for a hug and some love and then is fine. Then we all took the stairs down. Josh was much more cautious going down as it was dark in some places and VERY steep. We took it slow and got down to the bottom.

We all had a nice lunch at a small restaurant and were amazed at our steaks costing about $7 a plate. Delicious! Then we all piled into the bus again to return back to our hotel. Before arriving we stopped at a little store for some authentic Colombian crafts and piled back in again. We arrived at our hotel around 6:30 pm, so it was a VERY long, yet great day. Jaime's fee was about $85 to drive us the whole day. Gloria, sweet lady, was a joy to be with. So, all in all, it was a wonderful day.

On the parenting note... I have to say we had a bit of a "hard night" with Jonathan yesterday. Since we ate out, he fell asleep in his stroller and then woke up when we got back to the room. When it was time for bed, he didn't want to sleep at all. I'd rock him a bit and put him in bed and he would cry so he would get picked up again. Sucker... I'd pick him up and try again. This went on for about 5 times, until finally I said, "Jonathan, it's time for bed, good night." He screamed his little eyes out for at least 40 minutes! I layed down next to him in the bed and pretended to sleep. finally at around 9:30pm, he cried himself to sleep... but, he did sleep the WHOLE night. He's definately testing his limits and it was a battle of the wills. Point for the parents. whoo-hoo! Tonight when I put him down, again he cried but I just left him and 10 minutes later he was out. (Of course we made sure he didn't fall asleep during dinner tonight). So, lesson learned... no more picking up.

Of course I know this... but I have to say, when you have an "adopted baby" you always worry about their background... did they get enough love? were they held a lot? ignored? It all plays on your emotions. Needless to say, these boundaries are good and Jonathan's learning that Mommy, Daddy and Josh love him very much and we're always here but he needs to obey and go to bed when he's asked. I think it will still take some learning but we're getting there.

On a last note, I have to explain the video I'm posting today. I've been trying to capture moments to most and this morning in my attempt to capture Jonathan and Josh's morning meeting (where Jonathan usually gets all excited) I seem to have created an America's Home Funniest Movies clip. I was videoing both boys when Jonathan became curious of the camera. He tugged on the camera strap and I dropped the camera, hit Jonathan in the forehead and then grabbed it back to caputre his "what happened, that hurt" face. I will only show it for its comedic value... as I am shown in my "morning glory". I promise never to allow that footage to be released ever again!

I miss you all... love you much. Lots of hugs!


  1. So glad my sister to see my sister in her favorite place on earth, with her family. She and Frank must be in heaven. Love to all.

  2. Sandy YOU are a wonderful tour guide! Your pictures and explanations make the rest of us almost feel that we are there ourselves. I know Frank Sr. and Blanca must be in heaven as they are reunited with you all and get to meet their newest grandson. They are such wonderful grandparents! I love you all!

  3. How exciting Sandy...I love being on this Awesome journey... Your energy is contagious. I had lunch with Larry and Liz the other day. They say HI...Love to all, Pamela

  4. How great that Frank's parents got to come!!!! How long will they be there? Any news about sentencia yet? Loved the video, and BTW, you still look gorgeous, even in your "morning glory"! :)

  5. So glad that Frank & Blanca were able to join you guys - what a special treat! Josh & Jonathan are so blessed to have great grandparent & parents!!! You guys looked like you had a blast :) Miss & Love you guys xoxoxoxo

  6. Love you all and thank you for your sweet comments!
    JoEllen & Kelly: Yes, Blanca and Frank are in heaven... we are so sad to say bye tomorrow.
    Pam: I miss Mr. and Mrs. J so much! I'm going to email them... know I'll be thinking of you this week and praying as you go back to work! xo
    Ruth Ann: Yes, they're here until tomorrow... you are too kind. My morning glory isn't pleasant. But hey, I know good TV when I see it! hope to see you soon!
    Bibs! I'm going to call you this week... I'm dying to know how it went this weekend. I miss you too! so very much!