Showing Posts From: travel

30 Nov, 2014

ABCs of Travel

/ posted in: travel

Inspired by Amy

A) Age you went on your first international trip:

17.  I went with a group of language students from my mother’s school on a trip through Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.  It was a few months after the Berlin Wall fell and the big debate in Germany was about reunification.

B) Best foreign beer you’ve had and where:

I don’t like beer no matter where I’ve tried it.

C) Cuisine (favorite):

South American.  I learned to LOVE beans and rice and fresh mangoes and fried plantains.

D) Destinations–favorite, least favorite, and why?:

I really loved Portugal.  It was beautiful all the way down to the street mosaics.

I didn’t like Jamaica at all.  I can’t quite put my finger on why but I always felt very claustrophobic there.

E) Event you’ve experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:

The night we arrived in Costa Rica we were exhausted because it had been a long day.  It was dark by the time we got to the farm where we were staying for a few days.  We just collapsed into bed.  The next morning we got up and looked outside.  We were in the mountains and it was breathtakingly beautiful.  I remember each person coming outside and being struck speechless.  We all just stood there and watched a rain storm slowly come in over the mountains.

F) Favorite mode of transportation:

European trains, not in any way to be confused with South American trains where you take your life in your hands in the melee to get on.

G) Greatest feeling while traveling:

Getting there after a long trip and dropping your suitcase and collapsing on the bed after hours or days of travel.

H) Hottest places you’ve traveled:

Bolivia in September. I was so glad whenever it rained.

I) Incredible service you’ve experienced and where?:

I don’t know about this one. There isn’t anything that stands out as spectacular but I’m not a very needy traveler so I don’t usually ask for help. I know the worse service ever was at a resort in Florida that kept us locked out of our room for hours.

J) Journey that took the longest:

Probably my first trip to Europe.  We went by bus from western PA to JFK, then flew to Iceland and then to Luxembourg.

K) Keepsake from your travels:

I don’t buy any keepsakes anymore.  I just have pictures.  I do have a quilt that I made from t-shirts I bought in Costa Rica and Bolivia.


L) Let-down sight, where and why?:
Mount Rushmore.  We saw Crazy Horse the day before and it made Mount Rushmore look so puny.

M) Moment where you fell in love with traveling:

I’ve always loved it.

N) Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in:

My parents have a time share membership to some amazing hotels all around the States.  I would never pay for them but since I get to use them for free, I indulge.  Left to my own devices, I’d stay in cheap places.


This is the living area of a three bedroom, three bath suite in Florida at one of my parents’ timeshares.

O) Obsession–what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?:

Old buildings and landscapes and seascapes.

Zion National Park February 2014

Villefrance-sur-Mer, France October 2014


P) Passport stamps-how many and from where?:

Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Lichenstein (I had to pay for that one!), Costa Rica, Bolivia, Peru, Spain, France, Jamaica, Virgin Islands – but not all in the same passport.  I don’t like the fact that you don’t get stamps for all the countries in Europe you go to anymore and I never get anything from Canada.

Q) Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where?:

Maybe the salt mines in Germany where you get to ride a little train and then use slides to go down levels in the mine.

R) Really Frightening: where’s one place you’ve visited where you felt unsafe or uneasy?

The bus ride from San Jose, Costa Rica to Orotina, Costa Rica.  You start in the mountains and go hurtling down the mountains to the coast.  There are huge drops off the sides of the roads and no guard rails.  Everytime I’d convince myself that we weren’t going to die because the buses do this every day, there’d be another cross to mark the site of an accident.

S) Splurge-something you have no problem spending money on while traveling:


T) Touristy thing you’ve done:

All of it.  I have no shame.

U) Unforgettable travel memory:

Can’t pick just one.

V) Visas-how many and for where?:

I haven’t ever needed one.

W) Wine–best glass while traveling:

Good wine is wasted on me

X) eXcellent view and from where?:

Peering over the edge of Pike’s Peak during a thunderstorm was impressive.

Y) Years spent traveling:

Internationally, off and on for 25 years.  In the U.S. forever.

Z) Zealous sports fans and where?:

Nothing beats being a college student at an SEC school when you have a top 5 football team.

Linking to:
Sunday Traveler

23 Nov, 2014

Nice Modern Art Museum

/ posted in: travel

I like modern art better than older art usually. The husband is the opposite. We usually meet in the middle around the Impressionists.

I went to the Modern Art Museum by myself in Nice. He was going to the bar next door.

I wasn’t overly impressed with this museum. It was a very large space that didn’t have much in it.

This shroud is made entirely of bones. I’m not sure where you get that many bones. The sign said that they were human and animal bones. It certainly shows dedication to collecting.

My favorite piece was this dress.

It is made entirely from plastic pop bottles.

There was a section on Niki de Saint Phalle. This is Fontaine aux Quatre Nanas.

I got out of the museum and couldn’t find the husband. Turns out he got bored and decided to go into the museum too but had no way to tell me that. I could have killed him. He actually liked the museum better than I did.

08 Nov, 2014

Saturday Snapshot – Playground in Nice

/ posted in: Photostravel

The Promenade du Paillon is a new greenspace in the heart of Nice’s downtown. The Paillon is a stream that runs through town and was historically the cause of a lot of flooding. It was covered over in stages from 1868 to 1972. In 2011 the central bus terminal was demolished. It was supposedly very ugly and this park was put in.

It is a very narrow space, fenced in between two busy streets, but it is peaceful inside. One section is a marine animal themed playground.

I love tortoises. I would have totally sat on this tortoise for the picture but I was getting glared at by French people for being a horrible tourist for touching it.


There is also a large whale that you can go inside. Towards the back of the whale there are some hanging cylinders that I can only imagine have to represent whale poop. I was perplexed and even more amazed to find that I don’t have a picture of them.

Linking up with West Metro Mommy, Sunday Traveler, and

Dreaming of France Meme Eiffel

02 Nov, 2014

Villefranche – sur – Mer

/ posted in: travel

Dreaming of France Meme Eiffel

Our first trip out of Nice was to Villefranche-sur-Mer. This was the trip that made me insist that the husband read the guidebook entry for any place we were going from then on. We missed a lot here because he kept insisting that there wasn’t anything there.

It is 6 km east of Nice and is a port that a lot of ships use. We were lucky to hit it on a day with no cruise ships. Every other time we went past there were at least two cruise ships in the harbor.

It looks like there is sand on the beach but it is actually rocks. Most of the Riviera beaches don’t have sand.

We climbed up a hill and found this nice square to sit in.

At several places around Nice there are installations of art that has been done featuring the place you are visiting.

The husband never mastered the name of this place. He insisted on calling it La Mer. I told him he couldn’t do that. He said that he could say that he had a great meal in La Mer. I told him that that meant that he had a great meal “in the sea” which was entirely untrue and that he was not the boss of the town and was not allowed to change its name. He tried and tried but never could say it.

We took the train there which only took a few minutes but because of strikes when we tried to go home we had to wait 1.5 hours at the station to get a train. There is supposed to be one every half hour. After this we used the buses a lot more. They were more reliable.


27 Oct, 2014

Musée Marc Chagall

/ posted in: travel

Dreaming of France Meme Eiffel

We visited the Marc Chagall Museum in Nice. It was a bit of a walk from our hotel but not difficult.

“The museum was created during the lifetime of the artist, with the support of the Minister of Culture André Malraux, and inaugurated in 1973.[1] It is also known as the “National Museum Marc Chagall Biblical Message” (“Musée national message biblique Marc Chagall”) as it houses the series of seventeen paintings illustrating the biblical message, painted by Chagall and offered to the French State in 1966. This series illustrates the books of Genesis, Exodus and the Song of Songs.” – from Wikipedia

They had a free audio set you could get that gave very detailed explanations of each painting. It was too detailed. I didn’t listen to the full explanation of any of them.

I really liked this stained glass window.

When we wanted to leave it was raining so we watched a lot of the hour long movie on his life. It was all in French so the husband said he learned that “Marc Chagall was a man who lived through a lot of different styles of clothing” and “He kept himself busy.”

I’ve been working through the pictures I’ve taken bit by bit to make digital scrapbook pages. This is the one I made for this museum.

Other French posts this week:

Travel with a Sociopath – The bus ride from Nice to Monaco

Village of Secrets by Caroline Moorhead

22 Oct, 2014

Travel with a Sociopath, or What Rick Steves Left Out of the Guidebook

/ posted in: travel

I used Rick Steves’ guidebook to prepare for our trip to Nice.

The most useful part of the book for me was the inclusion of the bus numbers that went to different sites and having the bus stops on a map. I don’t know where I would have gotten that information without this book. I was all over the bus system’s website and couldn’t find it easily.

We decided to try to take the bus from Nice to Monaco because Rick made it seem easy. Just jump on the 100 bus and for 1,5 euro you go to Monaco. He even suggested that you make sure you get a seat on the right side of the bus to get the best views.

Armed with this cheerful knowledge we strolled to the bus stop. Our first clue that this might be a bit different than Rick had led us to believe was the vast numbers of people milling around the stop.

We wandered towards the front of the line to make sure we were lining up for the right thing. That’s how long the line was. From the back we could have been lining up for anything. We were promptly yelled at by a man who accused us of line jumping.

Assured that this was a line for the bus, we got in the back. Two buses pulled up. One opened the doors right in front of us. Our part of the line got on whilst enduring the hateful glares of the people who were actually ahead of us in line but found themselves without a place on either bus – including Monsieur I Hate Line Jumpers himself.

There was no getting a seat on the right. It was standing room only and they were packing that bus like a sardine can.

I got a spot standing in a spot for wheelchairs just behind a group of four seats that were facing each other.  For the rest of story, do refer to this professionally drawn graphic.


Seat A – Elderly British lady
Seat B – 40ish British lady
Seat C – a guy
Seat D – Elderly British lady

They were sitting in yellow seats which means that old people and disabled people are given priority.

So this French lady gets on the bus. She has an umbrella. (From this point on we will be referring to this as sa parapluie because that is my favorite French word. I was thrilled that it was raining because I got to use the word a lot.)

She starts yelling at the British people in French. Her point was that they were sitting in seats reserved for old people and she wanted the seat. Now she was noticeably younger than the older British ladies so they just looked at her. She started jabbing sa parapluie into the ribs of the guy in seat C.

The lady in seat D jumps up and offers her seat. Non! The angry French woman wants seat C. She keeps hitting the guy until he stands up. It is immediately obvious that he is disabled. He had severe balance issues. The angry French woman recoils. She starts yelling about how she didn’t know he was sick. This wasn’t an act of contrition. She was spitting out the words with scorn and hate.

The lady in seat B gives the crazy French lady her seat. The woman took it but sat with her knees out in the aisle (which was jammed with people) and glared at the world probably because she had to sit near a person she deemed inferior. She kept her back firmly to him.

After about 20 minutes the British people want off the bus. The French lady sprang into action. She let C and D go while making sure C didn’t touch her. She started then brandishing sa parapluie like a weapon. She was like a ninja with that thing. No one was going to get into those empty seats. She actually had the lady from seat A trapped up against the window for a bit until she snapped at the wild French woman. “You could wait until people get out!”

The French ninja sat in C and kept beating sa parapluie on A. She grudgingly allowed other old ladies to sit in B and D. Guess who she was saving A for? Her 20-something non-disabled daughter!

Crazy old bat! I’ve never seen anything like it and I’ve ridden the bus in South America.

The bus did get us there though for cheap and with a story that we probably would have missed on the train. We planned on taking the train back but the 100 bus stopped in front of us as we were on our way to the train station so we got on. This time it wasn’t crowded and we got a good seat and the ride went much more like we read about it in the guidebook.

20 Oct, 2014

Nice France

/ posted in: travel

Dreaming of France Meme Eiffel

We just got back from a week’s vacation based in Nice, France. We also made trips to Vence in Provence, Monaco, and Ventimiglia, Italy.

I’ll be posting about our French adventures weekly with Dreaming of France. The Monaco and Italy posts will be at other times. I posted about the cathedral in Monaco.

We stayed at the Hotel Victor Hugo, which is actually a guesthouse. There are only a few rooms.

It is on the first floor of a building that also has medical offices and some apartments, I think.

This is the boss of the hotel.

Her name is Cosette. She comes with her person, who is the human manager, every morning at 8. She greeted us whenever we opened the door, accompanied us to the breakfast room in case we hadn’t read the signs saying not to feed her, and sometimes made herself at home in our room.

We had a suite of two rooms. There was a bedroom and a room with a table and chairs and a small refrigerator, sink, and microwave.

We booked the suite because we know that European hotel rooms are really small by American standards and we wanted the extra space. We used it mostly for the suitcases.

The only thing that could be a problem for visitors is the bathroom size. The shower head is high for tall people but the toilet is a bit tricky. I’m 5’6 and the husband is just a bit shorter than me. When I sat on the toilet my knees hit the wall in front of me. You sort of had to shuffle sideways to get to sit down at all. I’m not sure what contortions taller people would have to go through to fit on there.

The location of the hotel was great. It was a 10 minute walk to the train station in one direction, 10 minutes to the heart of the commercial district in another, and 5 minutes to the beach. The street was very quiet and had a very different feel from the rest of the city. You could tell when you reached it without even seeing signs.

There is a plan to build a subway under this street. Construction is starting this month and is supposed to be done in 14 months according to the signs. We don’t believe it. I’m going to keep watching the news on it just to see what happens.

There was a good Sicilian restaurant down the road. The husband’s family is Sicilian so we ended up there enough that the waiters knew his “usual” dessert.

18 Oct, 2014

Cathédrale Notre-Dame-Immaculée in Monaco

/ posted in: Photostravel

We’re back from our trip to the south of France. I’ll be posting France stories on Mondays for the Dreaming of France linkup but we spent some time in two other countries also.

Cathédrale Notre-Dame-Immaculée is in Monaco.

It was consecrated in 1875. There was a church on the site beginning in 1252.

This is the church where Grace Kelly married Prince Ranier.

They are both buried here.

The altar

The husband, who is sensitive to ghost stuff, reacted badly to this church. As soon as he entered he said it was overwhelming. I am a supportive wife so when he said that the ghosts were yelling at him I asked, “In French?” I mean, how would he know what they were yelling if he doesn’t speak French? I just got glared at. He ended up going outside and I wandered around and took more pictures of the ceiling.

I really liked the side aisles.

They have a state of the art organ.

I eventually went out and found the husband. He’s never been bothered by visiting churches before. Maybe it is all the graves in this one.

10 Oct, 2014

What a Privilege

/ posted in: travel

I’m writing this in a wine bar in an airport waiting to head to France. In the last few days as people have realized we are going I heard a lot of amazed statements. I was planning on writing a post about how people should allow themselves to believe that travel is possible and then they would see that they can find ways to make it happen.

Then I read a few articles that all had the theme that the ability to travel the world is yet another example of privilege that people need to acknowledge. This whole “check your privilege” thing is getting annoying. Yep, I’m a white woman in a professional job who has the money and flexibility to travel. I’m lucky but consider how I got here.

The Money To Travel

I chose this job. It is not a job you choose for the money, by the way. I spent my entire life getting together the academic and personal qualifications to get into school to get this job. I wasn’t one of those kids getting drunk in high school or college and blowing off class.

My education came with student loans. It took me 15 years to pay them off.

I’ve chosen to live below my means. I live in a decent house but it isn’t a dream house. We could afford more but why be house poor just to show off? This meets my needs. My clothes almost all come from thrift stores. I don’t waste money paying retail. This frees up money that I could use for travel.

I drive a 10 year old Honda and plan on continuing to drive it until it dies because it is paid for. No car payment can equal one trip a year.

I’m debt free. That is a choice that was made because the freedom to be able to make decisions that are not entirely constrained by finances is a priority. It didn’t magically happen. We put in the work.

I’ve chosen not to have children.

Time to Travel

I can take time off with enough advance notice and if another doctor can cover the shift. It isn’t paid. I actually qualified for 1 week of paid vacation last year for the first time in a 17 year career.

Talking about privilege makes it sound like someone waved a magic wand and decided that I was going to be a lucky person who could travel and everyone else is just out of luck. It doesn’t take personal decisions into account. It says “Look at her. She’s a white professional person. Of course, she can do things I can’t.” It smacks of the racism and classism that it pretends to avoid.

11 Aug, 2014

French Lessons

/ posted in: travel

Dreaming of France Meme Eiffel

I’m plugging along with my French lessons. I’m still using Duolingo as my main practice. I have the app set up so that I have to earn 20 points a day to keep it from sending me emails telling me that I’m a slacker.

Duolingo doesn’t teach tourist French. At least I hope it doesn’t. If these are the phrases I’ll need while I visit France I am going to start to get a little worried. I’ve learned about sharks eating dolphins, monkeys following girls, and snakes watching girls. Come to think about it France seems like a very dangerous wilderness. Sadly my life is such that when I had to practice the phrase Le chat es mort (the cat is dead) my first thought was actually “Hey at least this phrase is useful.”

Aside from teaching me a complete vocabulary about animals up to no good, Duolingo is actually doing a really good job of teaching me French. I’m now able to read articles in French on the Internet. I signed up for tweets from the Twitter account of Nice tourism. Twitter is good practice because the limitations cause people to use small words. A French article came up on Google last night. So I went and read in French about John Cleese’s daughter’s opinions on his divorce. Don’t ask why. I did pretty well. I understood the whole gist of the article. I didn’t get a lot of the fine details probably because Camille uses big words but I was impressed by how much I could understand in such a short period of time.

I’ve also listened to the Coffee Break French podcast. This doesn’t work as well for me because I need to be able to see the words. But it does help me learn to listen which is one of my weak points. So I’m going back and listening to the lessons that use words that I already know.

What has worked well for you when trying to learn a language?

06 Jul, 2014

Dreaming of France with Duolingo

/ posted in: travel

Dreaming of France Meme Eiffel

Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you’re in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us.

We are going to Nice in October.  I’m trying to remember some French.  I had two years of French in high school and I got all As.  What can I tell you in French?  I can insult you because one day my English teacher had us memorize a naughty sentence and go tell it to our French teacher.  That’s what I remember.

I’m working with Duolingo to regain some skills.  I’m using the app on my iPad but there are other formats.  It works like a game to help you learn a language.  If you make too many mistakes you have to take that lesson over.

Right now I’m able to make some sentences.  I don’t think they are particularly useful sentences.  I know I had tone when I had to repeat sentences about how I was eating meat and beef is good meat.  Not useful for vegetarians going to France.  LOL.

I hope I see lots of red apples.  Une pomme rouge has been a popular phrase in this game if I don’t get to use it I will be very sad.  Actually, I will probably get so excited that I’ll totally forget the words.

I figure that right now I sound like a dimwitted two year old.  When the husband was peeling sweet potatoes I announced, “L’homme est cuisine!”  (The man is cooking.)  I was proud.  He was mildly concerned.

Duolingo isn’t just for French.  You can pick all kinds of languages to learn. So try it if you want to see how much you forgot about whatever your high school language was.




15 May, 2014

To Sum Up

/ posted in: FamilyPhotostravel

I feel like I haven’t written anything recently because our lives have been full of upheaval real and imagined.

The husband was a finalist for a job in another state. For quite a while it looked like we would be moving. That caused mental stress. We’d have to put the house on the market, move to an area I like but that is at least twice as expensive as here without twice the pay ( I believe I used the term “live in squalor” repeatedly), maybe start a branch of my current clinic, and on and on. That ended up falling through right about the time I was resigned to the fact and was starting to look forward to it.

We went on vacation. In February I realized that we were going to need a mental break about May. My job gets insane right about now so it gave us something to look forward to. I was right. We went to Destin Florida to lay on the beach and do nothing.

The view from our hotel

It is hard work doing nothing. We’d sleep 10 hours and then go to the beach for a while and then eat and wonder why we were so tired.

My favorite beach was at Camp Helen State Park outside Panama City Beach. You have to walk a 1 km sand path to get to the beach. You have to really want to get there.

This guy flew in which is totally cheating.

This water did not contain wildlife who wanted to sample us.

The husband did have a shark check him out at another beach. He had his back to it and I yelled at him to come towards me. Being male, he said, “What?” and turned to see what I was looking at. Then he got a move on. It was about 4-5 feet long. Wouldn’t have eaten all of him. The people near us with the little kids decided that they were appetizer-sized though and took them out of the water.

We did get to see a baby dolphin too. It was so cute. It was hunting with its family off the pier in Destin.

We don’t have TV here. We don’t usually watch TV on vacation either but we did watch a lot of HGTV this time. At the end of the week I confessed that it makes me want to knock walls out of our house. He told me to draw a plan since he was under the influence too. I did. He said if we were going to do all that then we might as well just move. Now we are meeting with a realtor tonight. Displaced energy now that we aren’t moving states, anyone?

We had discussed a fall trip to France but it was on hold until we knew if we were moving. Now that we aren’t I have it all booked. We are doing a week in Nice in October! I’m so excited. Lots of art and day trips to Monaco and Italy on top of views of the sea.

25 Feb, 2014

Hiking in Zion – Emerald Pools

/ posted in: travel

Zion Canyon in Utah is a canyon formed by the Virgin River. It is absolutely beautiful. I drove the 3 hours up from Vegas on Thursday morning so I had some time to explore before it got dark.

I hiked one of the easy trails to the Lower Emerald Pool. The trail was paved but not perfectly smooth. I’m not sure I’m buying the claim that it was wheelchair accessible. It was about a mile round trip. It was a mild incline but fairly steadily uphill. It was starting to feel it in my legs which worried me because I was doing a hike rated strenuous the next day.

The trail takes you to a cliff with small waterfalls. The trail goes behind the falls. There isn’t much water in the pools in the winter, I guess.

25 Feb, 2014

Angel’s Landing

/ posted in: travel

I got up nice and early to walk to Angel’s Landing. I wanted the morning sun for pictures. It was 37 degrees when I set out. I had a long sleeved shirt and a sweatshirt on. I thought I was going to be cold but I warmed up really fast on this hike.

There are encouraging signs as you set off.

This is a 2 mile trail to Scout’s Lookout and then you can decide if you want to do Angel’s Landing. The West Rim Trail is paved but is very uphill. I figured I could handle that. I’m in moderately good shape. I’m used to exercise. I like to walk. I was hopelessly naive.

The trail starts out by the Virgin River and goes easily uphill.

Getting a little higher.

Then you get to the first set of switchbacks. I knew it was coming. I’d seen pictures.

Holy mother of god. This is where I started swearing. I said horrible things about the National Park Service and the whatever masochist laid out this trail. Actually I thought bad things. I didn’t have the breath to say them out loud. From this point on as you read my descriptions add in expletives every other word if you want a true sense of what I was thinking.

This is a group behind me as we were climbing.

I started telling myself that I just wanted to get to the top of the switchbacks. Then I could turn around if I wanted. When I got there I saw this.

Amazing. I decided to go a little further because a group met me there as they were coming down. They didn’t look like they were in particularly good shape. They were happy. I wasn’t going to give up.

The next section of the trail was my favorite. I would have loved it just for being flat. It turned away from the valley and went in between cliff walls.

Eventually though it started to climb again. I was alone for the most part but occasionally a chipper person would be coming down. It took me a while to realize that these weren’t superhuman marvels of endurance out enjoying their day. They were happy because they were heading downhill. I was going to be happy then too.

At the top of a last set of horrible switchbacks that made me cuss out loud, is Scout’s Lookout. From here it is 0.5 miles to the end of Angel’s Landing.

It takes you out on a ridge that overlooks the whole canyon but to get there you need to climb. This is where people die. I looked at it. I went up a little and then turned around and looked back. As I expected it was a thousand times scarier going down it. I decided that there was nothing out there that I needed to see that badly.

I started downhill determined to be chipper for the poor souls still climbing. The trail was getting busy. I met a bunch of people on the last switchbacks. They were panting loud. That made me feel better. I smiled beautifically at all of them. Lots of them gallantly stood to the side to let me pass. It was a fine excuse for a break from climbing for them.

I met people on the flat part of the trail. The lady said, “We aren’t even close, are we?” I told her that it was flat for a while. I’m so helpful.

On the lower switchbacks I watched people’s progress. I’m glad I couldn’t really see where I was going when I set out. It would have been demoralizing.

When I got back to the car I was feeling good about the day. Then I couldn’t find the car keys. The keys to the rental car that I needed to have back in Vegas three hours away soon. Pure panic. I dumped my bag. No keys. I couldn’t see them in the car. No ranger station nearby. I finally found them in the parking lot. I must have dropped them when I tried to put them in my bag before I left. I got in the car and shook for a while until the adrenaline wore off.

15 Feb, 2014

Travel Day

/ posted in: Foodtravel

I’m flying to Las Vegas today. It is my first time flying while trying to maintain a vegan diet.

Of course I’m carrying a lot of my own food. I have a bag of baby carrots and lots of Larabars. I have some veggie chips too.

I started out at the Akron airport. It is small with only a few food options. You can get a bowl of fruit from the Cinnabon though if you need to.

Then I got bumped from my flight! I got a $400 flight voucher and they drove me to Cleveland for my new flight.

At the Cleveland airport I found UFoodGrill. They offer a veggie burger, a tofu bowl, and a variety of veggie sides. I ordered the veggie burger and a side of brown rice.

Disgusting! Actually that’s the wrong word. There was absolutely no taste to it except for the ketchup on the burger. But, it filled me up and I was glad to have options. So, A for effort but no points for execution.

I didn’t get a chance to eat in Minneapolis because I was running to make my connection.

Now I’m at my hotel in Vegas. I have a grocery store delivering food in the morning. For tonight I’m ordering a calzone. The lady taking my order was distressed by my request to have it cheese less. “Oh, sweetie. No cheese? Are you sure?”

Hopefully it is good. Tomorrow I start my exploration of vegan food in Vegas. I know from other trips and some research that it is pretty amazing! I’ve been looking forward to this!

03 Jul, 2013

I Love This Camera

/ posted in: travel

My last good camera died. It was sad. I mourned for a long time. At the time I got it, it was state of the art. It took pictures with 6 megapixels! Now my little camera has better resolution than that.

I finally decided to get a Panasonic FZ-150. I like fancy point and shoots with amazing zooms. I got this camera specifically for the ability to take photos in RAW format that lets you do lots of post-processing. I studied up before the trip and was all ready to go.

Then the camera goes and takes shots like this right out of the camera on the automatic setting.


Um, why have a worked hard on learning photo technique and Photoshop? This camera is way smarter than I am! I love it.

03 Jul, 2013

The End of the Road

/ posted in: travel

One of the places we went in Hawaii was the Pololu Lookout.


It is literally the end of the road. If you stand on the last itty bit of pavement and look forward you see this.


To get there you drive northwest out of Waimea on a road that climbs and climbs. At one point you are at about 3000 ft above sea level (There are helpful signs that point out every elevation milestones) and you look over and see this. Yep, you can see the beach – all the way down there.

Road north of Waimea

While we were driving up here we felt like we were the only people around but when we got there it was crowded. People come to see this view.


There is a house right on the side of the road. If I lived there I’d have installed pay toilets and vending machines.

It is super windy. (It is sweet that the husband likes me and zoomed in on me but I’d have liked some scenery in the background.)


01 Jul, 2013


/ posted in: travel

I have a thing for turtles and tortoises. One of the things I was looking forward to on our Hawaii vacation was seeing sea turtles. As the first few days went by I got to see video of the sea turtle that my uncle’s partner saw. My parents and brother’s family saw three sea turtles swimming at the beach. I was getting very turtle jealous.

I was holding out hope for Punaluu. This is a black sand beach known for turtles. As I drove in I told everyone that there had best be turtles or I was going to get grumpy.

The turtle gods were listening because there were two turtles!

There was awake watery turtle

Sea turtles

And there was sleepy sandy turtle

Sea turtles

This is why I buy cameras with super zoom so I can get wildlife pictures without getting in their faces. You aren’t allowed to touch the turtles. There are signs placed by the turtles when they come on shore. See, I’m outside the legal limit.

Sea turtles

The next day we went to Hapuna which is a great white sandy beach.  It is crap for snorkeling.  I was trying to snorkel but there was nothing to see.  I just my stuff back on the beach and was sitting in about 6 inches of water slightly pouty faced.  A little kid started pointing at me.  I thought, “Well great, now there is an obnoxious kid too.”

Then I realized that she was pointing in front of me.  There was a large sea turtle passing between us just minding her own business.

28 Jun, 2013


/ posted in: travel

Are you souvenir people? I hardly buy anything when I’m on vacation. I mostly take pictures to remember. The husband loves magnets. I like mugs but we have so many that it isn’t practical.

This is what I bought this week and I feel like I was extravagant.


There is a quilt pattern of turtles and a stone turtle that the husband bought me. The angel is a tree ornament made of shells. There is some Hawaiian turtle fabric.

What kind of keepsakes do you buy?

05 Mar, 2013

West Rim trip

/ posted in: Photostravel

On my trip to Las Vegas I was going to have one free day at the end of the trip. I hadn’t decided what to do. I didn’t rent a car so I wasn’t mobile but I wanted to get away from the Strip. I’ve enjoyed the Valley of Fire near Vegas before. Once I got there I saw an ad and decided to take a Pink Jeep Tour to Zion National Park in Utah.

Unfortunately, I was the only person who thought that was a good idea so my trip got canceled. They offered me a spot on a tour going to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. I’ve been to the South Rim before so I wasn’t really wanting to go back to the Canyon but I decided to go.


We stopped at Hoover Dam on the way. The last time I was here they were building the bridge in the background that bypasses the dam. In fact there was a crane accident that day that backed up traffic for a while.


Lake Mead is low. My father in law is a conspiracy buff who was telling the husband not too long ago about the Chinese stealing all the water from Lake Mead so this picture is for him.


We passed a Joshua Tree forest on the way. There are only two in the world.


Since I wasn’t planning on going sightseeing, I only had a crappy camera with me. Actually, I need to buy a new good camera since mine died. I figure I have until June when my next big trip is to get one.



I love climbing up on precarious perches and getting my picture taken. It is genetic. My father does it too. The husband hates it when I do this. He says that he’s the one that is going to have to tell my mother that I fell to my death. I was thrilled when the tour guide told me to climb down in this fissure for a picture. The end result doesn’t look at stupid as it truly was. It looks like I’m leaning on the rock behind my left shoulder. Actually, there is a gap with a 4000 ft drop between me and the rock.


There was a woman on the tour who was afraid of heights. She was horrified when her husband did this. It made me feel like I was with my husband to listen to her fuss.

Later there were donkeys. Look he wants me to pet him!


Wait, tourist-human has no food at all? @#$%^ you, then!


This donkey sized me up as foodless from a distance.