Category Archives: Europe Travel

Vive La France!

Vive La France!

 

Vive la France! Thank you for overwhelmingly rejecting nationalism and fascism and xenophobia. I hope we can follow your example in the 2018 and 2020 elections here in the States. I’m looking forward to another trip to my favorite city in the world to celebrate!

 

Vive La France!

Hydra, Greece

Hydra, Greece

 

We almost didn’t go to Hydra because the travel guides/sites always mentioned the ritzy vibe with jet setters on Hydra.  Other than a couple yachts docked in the harbor that probably cost more than the GDP of Greece, it was a very chill place.   Hydra ended up being perfect for me – friendly locals, awesome hiking and swimming, and no cars on the island.  Not really even any roads except in town.  I love that there are no motorized vehicles on the island. But lots of donkeys!  Your transportation choices are your feet or a donkey ride.  Seriously, donkeys are the only other mode of travel.  I loved Hydra, but with over 2000 Greek islands left to explore, I probably won’t be back anytime soon but highly recommend it if you love walking/hiking and a laid back vibe.

 

I know a lot of people are nervous about traveling in Europe right now because of recent terrorist attacks, but I feel as safe in Europe as I do in the States.   But petty theft is more common in a lot of the cities in Europe.  My wallet got lifted in the subway in Athens on the day we traveled back from Hydra. Lost some cash and had to call and canx a couple credit cards. No biggie in an otherwise wonderful trip. What I was most bummed about was losing with my wallet a copy of the Lord’s Prayer Meghan gave me years ago and also a quote I loved that I found in an art musuem on Vancouver Island on a trip with Amanda. Funny how the pain in the ass stuff can be a reminder to me of how lucky I am.   I guess the lesson in this for me is that I need to transition from the laid back island vibe to city mode once I step back into that part of the world.

 

Maybe it’s because I was coming from Paris, but I got a little tired of Greek food after a few weeks.

 

All images were created with the Leica Q.   My new fav camera.

 

My new best friend on Hydra.

My new best friend on Hydra.

Cool, laid back restaurant scene on Hydra. Just a small town ringing the harbor.

Cool, laid back restaurant scene on Hydra. Just a small town ringing the harbor.

All commerce moves on donkeys on Hydra.

The only other way around Hydra besides walking is on a donkey.

Hydra town. This is pretty much it on Hydra. There are a few other really small villages on the coast but Hydra town is the focus of the island.

Hydra town. This is pretty much it on Hydra. There are a few other really small villages on the coast but Hydra town is the focus of the island. I loved it there.

I loved the little villages on Hydra. And that path on the right side of the photo kids it was along the coast for miles.

I loved the little villages on Hydra. And that path on the right side of the photo meanders along the coast for miles.

I was drawn to the contrast of the fisherman in his small boat right next to the yacht. The contrast between a guy making a living like his family has for a thousand years literally bumping against tourism.

I was drawn to the contrast of the fisherman in his small boat right next to this huge yacht. The contrast between a guy making a living like his family has for a thousand years literally bumping up against a completely different world.

I think i found where I want to live in Greece : )

I think I found where I want to live in Greece : )

Hydra town is this cool maze of ancient walkways and homes. And donkey. Everywhere donkeys.

Hydra town is filled with this cool maze of ancient walkways. And donkeys. Everywhere donkeys.

Headed out on a hike this morning before sunrise to a monastery way above Hydra thinking I'd catch some killer light, which I did, but what made my day was encountering this fellow at the door of the monastery. He let me know I was free to wander around the grounds but the inside of the monastery was off limits. All the while I could hear monks chanting inside the small chapel off to side. My hike down was a mystical combination of the sounds of monks chanting and the gentle ringing of bells hanging from the necks of the goats wandering the mountain.

I headed out on a hike that morning before sunrise to a monastery way above Hydra town thinking I’d catch some killer light, which I did, but what made my day was encountering this fellow at the door of the monastery. He let me know I was free to wander around the grounds but the inside of the monastery was off limits. All the while I could hear monks chanting inside the small chapel off to side. My hike down was a mystical combination of the sounds of monks chanting and the gentle ringing of bells hanging from the necks of the goats wandering the mountain.

Surrounded by beauty everywhere, it's so often the smaller moments that captivate me.

Surrounded by beauty everywhere, it’s so often the smaller moments that captivate me.

Hydra roof dog.

Hydra roof dog.

Killer light on the morning of this hike above Hydra. Love the hiking here. So peaceful..just me and the monks out at sunrise.

Killer light on the morning of this hike above Hydra. Love the hiking here. So peaceful..just me and the monks out at sunrise.

Something about the ocean fills me with a deep sense of calm. I spend most of my time feeling restless but put me near an ocean and that need to be in motion fades away.

Something about the ocean fills me with a deep sense of calm. I spend most of my time feeling restless but put me near an ocean and that need to be in motion fades away.

After a few days a lazy routine of breakfast, swimming and reading by the ocean develops.

After a few days on Hydra a lazy routine of breakfast, swimming and reading by the ocean develops.

Sunset on Hydra.

Sunset on Hydra.

We spent a few days on Poros, too. It was fun. Good restaurants, beaches and some road biking. But I def loved Hydra more.

We spent a few days on Poros, too. It was fun. Good restaurants, beaches and some road biking. But I def loved Hydra more.

 

Athens

Athens

 

Athens was a wonderful surprise.  I was prepared for petty crime, scams, and an unappealing city.  Without exception, everyone I talked to who had visited Greece spoke of Athens as a place you needed to see for the historical significance but to get the hell out as quickly as possible.   Spend a day or two and then head to the islands pretty much summed it up.   After a visit to Athens, I call bullshit on that sentiment.  Athens had good food, wonderful neighborhoods, friendly locals and an effective metro system.   I def recommend staying in a neighborhood close to but not right around the Acropolis.  We stayed a fifteen minute walk away and it was perfect.  A quiet area with good restaurants and friendly locals.

 

I did get my wallet lifted on the subway on my way back through Athens so that took a bit of the shine off an otherwise wonderful visit.  But that’s partly on me.  I was all chilled out from the islands and a little off my awareness game.  Live an learn.

 

All images were made with the Leica Q.

 

The entrance to the Acropolis. The upward tilt and with flare looks cool but I was just trying to get a shot without a million tourists in it. And this is it.

The entrance to the Acropolis. The upward tilt and flare looks cool but I was just trying to get a shot without a million tourists in it. And this is it.

Just hanging out with a few friends at the Acropolis. It actually wasn't too insanely crowded because we got there about an hour after it opened that morning.

Just hanging out with a few friends at the Acropolis. It actually wasn’t too insanely crowded because we got there about an hour after it opened that morning.

It's all Greek to me.

It’s all Greek to me.

The graffiti in Athens was amazing. I like this image but would have loved it if the dude had a cigarette dangling from his mouth.

The graffiti in Athens was amazing. I like this image but would have loved it if the dude had a cigarette dangling from his mouth.

This old Byzantine church dated from the 11th century.

This old Byzantine church dated from the 11th century.

A priest inside the church.

A priest inside the church.

Looking up an alley at the Acropolis. All the winding alleys around the Acropolis are what I loved most about Athens.

Looking up an alley at the Acropolis. All the winding alleys around the Acropolis are what I loved most about Athens.

Athens wins the coolest museum award. I'm not a huge fan of museums. They are usually so disconnected from what they are trying to convey. But this one did an amazing job of bringing the Acropolis and Athens into the museum.

Athens wins the coolest museum award. I’m not a huge fan of museums. They are usually so disconnected from what they are trying to convey. But this one did an amazing job of bringing the Acropolis and Athens into the museum.

I loved the way the ruins were still very much a part of modern Athens.

I loved the way the ruins were still very much a part of modern Athens.

I spent a few minutes taking photos of this guy feeding the pigeons. I guess what struck me most was the dignity I saw in his eyes. I don't often verbally ask to take a photo of someone but I do try to make a connection with my eyes or a nod. I don't want to be just taking something from them.

I spent a few minutes taking photos of this guy feeding the pigeons. I guess what struck me most was the dignity I saw in his eyes. I don’t often verbally ask to take a photo of someone but I do try to make a connection with my eyes or a nod. I don’t want to be just taking something from them.

I was struck by the utter disrepair of this old mansion in Athens and i thought it was a cool photo...

I was struck by the utter disrepair of this old mansion in Athens and I thought it was a cool photo…

...and I'm peering through the viewfinder of my camera, shooting this sorta creepy house just after sunset, and this black cat pops up about a foot in front of my lens. (Anyone around the Acropolis that evening a couple weeks ago that heard what sounded like a little girl screaming, that wasn't me.)

… and this black cat pops up about a foot in front of my lens. (Anyone around the Acropolis that evening a couple weeks ago that heard what sounded like a little girl screaming, that wasn’t me.)

It is so often the little scene that captures the vibe of a place.

It is so often the little scene that captures the vibe of a place.

 

 

Annecy, France

Annecy, France

 

Annecy, France has taken the top spot on my “I’ve Got to get Back Here Soon” list!   Think of Venice but smaller and without the smell, rude waiters or mediocre food.   That’s Annecy.  Plus, it’s nestled in the French Alps so it’s surrounded by amazing hiking.

One of the most surprising things to me about Annecy was that for a small town it didn’t seem overloaded with tourists.  Lots of locals at the market and in the cafes.  Part of that is we were there during the shoulder season before the summer throngs descended on Europe.  Unless it can’t be helped, I’m pretty much done traveling in Europe in the summer.  Fall and spring are so much less crowded and the weather is still fine.

Annecy is like a relaxing, friendly version of Venice but with killer hiking. And better food.

Annecy is like a relaxing, friendly version of Venice but with killer hiking. And better food.

The view from our loft did not suck. And at $70/night it was a bargain.

The view from our loft did not suck. And at $70/night it was a bargain.

Every alley or walkway I turned down in Annecy was like stepping back in time.

Every alley or walkway I turned down in Annecy was like stepping back in time.

I couldn't help but think how much fun it would be to ride my motorcycle on the roads around Annecy.

I couldn’t help but think how much fun it would be to ride my motorcycle on the roads around Annecy.

And castles. How awesome are castles?!

And castles. How awesome are castles?!

I loved the market scene in Annecy, France. Fresh bread, food and the yummiest pastries.

I loved the market scene in Annecy, France. Fresh bread, food and the yummiest pastries.

And love.

And love.

Loved the mood that the rain added to my photos.

Loved the mood that the rain added to my photos.

Cool cafe scene in Annecy.

Cool cafe scene in Annecy.

The rain made for some cool reflections.

The rain made for some cool reflections.

I loved the hiking that is in Annecy. Lots of trails that are literally a fifteen minute walk from the historic part of Annecy.

I loved the hiking that is in Annecy. Lots of trails that are literally a fifteen minute walk from the historic part of Annecy.

Hiking with this awesome human being was one of my fav parts of the trip. I love hanging out with brave, inspiring people.

Hiking with this awesome human being was one of my fav parts of the trip. I love hanging out with brave, inspiring people.

Au revoir, Annecy.

Au revoir, Annecy.

Paris in the Fall

Paris in the Fall

 

I’d been to Paris in every season except the fall.   I’m glad I waited.   Every other season pales in comparison.  The fall colors were amazing.  The crowds had thinned out.  And the weather was perfect for spending the day exploring Paris.   Well, perfect for someone who grew up in Hawaii and Seattle and likes a little rain.

 

It seems to be a fairly common experience for people to not love Paris.  I don’t get it.  But I understand it.   If you go for just a few days and you try and see everything, it’s exhausting.   Instead, take at least a week and stay in an outlying arrondissement in an Air BnB or VRBO apartment.   And limit yourself to only one major attraction each day.  Spend the rest of the day wandering aimlessly or reading a book in a park.  Or sit outside at a cafe and sip espresso and let the day drift by.   I love to grab a bite to go at a boulangerie and go chill on a bench in a park.

 

The other comment I hear frequently is that Parisians are rude.  I just don’t see it.  They aren’t Mid-Western effusive.   But, neither am I.   I have had more genuinely kind interactions with locals in Paris than in any other city I’ve visited.   Learn a few  greetings in French before you go and it’ll add to your experience.   I promise.

 

Prints of Paris and other cool travel photos are available for purchase here.

 

All images were shot with the Fuji X100t.   It’s been my go to camera for the last couple years.   I love the challenge of shooting with a fixed 35mm lens.

 

This photo is Paris in the fall for me. A quite walk on the Seine. The trees a beautiful yellow. And the soft light of an October morning.

This photo is Paris in the fall for me. A quiet walk on the Seine. The trees a beautiful yellow, the soft light of an October morning. And a guy out with his best friend.

The fall colors around the Eiffel Tower were stunning. It can be a crazy touristy place but walk a hundred meters from the base of the tower, and your ensconced in a quite park.

The fall colors around the Eiffel Tower were stunning. It can be a crazy touristy place but walk a hundred meters from the base of the tower, and your ensconced in a quiet park.

If you do nothing else in Paris, climb the tower of Notre Dame. It's the one thing I do every time I'm in Paris.

If you do nothing else in Paris, climb the tower of Notre Dame. It’s the one thing I do every time I’m in Paris.

A solitary walker along the Seine at sunrise.

Everyone goes to Trocadero or Park Champs de Mars to see the sunset at the Eiffel Tower. Do yourself a favor and email me and I'll shoot you a couple cool places where you can see it in solitude.

Everyone goes to Trocadero or Park Champs de Mars to see the sunset at the Eiffel Tower. Do yourself a favor and email me and I’ll shoot you a couple cool places where you can see it in solitude.

Taking in the fall day at the Eiffel Tower.

Taking in the fall day at the Eiffel Tower.

The view from the top floor of the Louvre.

The view from the top floor of the Louvre, looking out over the Seine.

Lovers on the Seine.

Lovers on the Seine.

Pont Neuf bridge framing the Louvre in the background.

Pont Neuf bridge framing the Louvre in the background.

A peaceful street in Paris with Notre Dame Cathedral in the background.

A peaceful street in Paris with Notre Dame Cathedral in the background.

Palais du Luxembourg in Paris. Luxembourg Gardens is one of my fav places in Paris. An awesome place to chill and people watch.

Palais du Luxembourg in Paris. Luxembourg Gardens is one of my fav places in Paris. An awesome place to chill and people watch.

Sunset over the Seine.

Sunset over the Seine.

Carousel in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Carousel in front of the Eiffel Tower.

I was intrigued by this backdrop, and this being Paris, I had to wait just a minute for the lovely older lady and her dog to walk into the scene. I love the contrast of this older lady and the painting of the young couple in the window,

I was intrigued by this backdrop, and this being Paris, I only had to wait a minute for this lovely older lady and her dog to walk into the scene. I love the contrast of this older lady and the painting of the young couple in the window.

Pere la Chaise Cemetery. Parisians treat this cemetery like a park. Couples will be having lunch on a bench while a few meters away an old lady will be tending to a loved one's grave. It's actually sort of beautiful.

Pere la Chaise Cemetery. Parisians treat this cemetery like a park. Couples will be having lunch on a bench while a few meters away an old lady will be tending to a loved one’s grave. It’s actually sort of beautiful.

 

The Louvre at sunrise.

The Louvre at sunrise. I didn’t have my mini-tripod with me, so I improvised and used a discarded cigarette butt to angle up the Fuji X100t. Whatever works : )

The subway system in Paris rocks! Super easy to navigate and it's clean and you get to hang out with Parisians. They won'y smile at you or talk to you but damn, they look stylish!

The subway system in Paris rocks! Super easy to navigate and it’s clean and you get to hang out with Parisians. They won’t smile at you or talk to you but damn, they look stylish!

Notre Dame Cathedral with the Seine in the foreground.

Notre Dame Cathedral with the Seine in the foreground.

Place de Vosges, the oldest park in Paris. Victor Hugo lived here and Jim Morrison's loft is nearby.

Place de Vosges, the oldest park in Paris. Victor Hugo lived here and Jim Morrison’s loft is nearby. It’s an awesome place to chill and have a picnic lunch and people watch.

République Plaza. I love this part of Paris. It's a little edgier and less touristy. They had some sort of protest or demonstration every night at the plaza. It's was kinda cool witnessing that same Parisian spirit that led to the French Revolution. I could almost hear someone shouting, "Death to King Louis!". : )

République Plaza. I love this part of Paris. It’s a little edgier and less touristy. They had some sort of protest or demonstration almost every night at the plaza. It was kinda cool witnessing that same Parisian spirit that led to the French Revolution. I could almost hear someone shouting, “Death to King Louis!”. : )

Sunrise at the Palais de Justice de Paris. Marie Antoinette was held there before her execution.

Sunrise at the Palais de Justice de Paris. Marie Antoinette was held here before her execution.

Fall along the Seine.

Fall along the Seine.

The late night view of Paris from Montparnasse Tower. The tower itself is an eyesore amidst the beautiful architecture of Paris. But once Parisians saw it completed, they changed their zoning to make sure new building adhered to a more Parisian Aesthetic.

The late night view of Paris from Montparnasse Tower. The tower itself is an eyesore amidst the beautiful architecture of Paris. But once Parisians saw it completed, they changed their zoning to make sure new building adhered to a more Parisian aesthetic. But the view is pretty killer…and the ugly high-rise isn’t in the view. : )

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also posted in Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

 

Feeling back in the Denver groove…slept in till 3am this morning! Even Chaco, my border collie,  won’t get up with me this early.  The plus side of getting up before the sun is that it’s my fav time to explore and take photos. Being almost alone in Notre Dame Cathedral before sunrise last week, except for a group singing/chanting, was magical. Felt sort of timeless hearing their voices echo around the most iconic church in the world.   And I never would have gotten this photo, without tons of people in it, at any other time.

 

This image was shot with the Fuji X100t.  It’s my fav travel camera and I took 99% of my photos with it during trip.

 

Notre Dame Cathedral is simply stunning. And jammed packed with tourists during the day. It's well worth getting up early and beating the crowds.

Notre Dame Cathedral is simply stunning. And jammed packed with tourists during the day. It’s well worth getting up early and beating the crowds.

Also posted in Paris

Montmartre, Paris

Montmartre, Paris

 

Paris in the fall.   The fall color is amazing, the crowds have thinned out and the weather is perfect for strolling around the arrondissements.   It’s my favorite time of year to visit the City of Lights.    And possibly my favorite place to stay in Paris is in Montmartre.   It’s the Paris of Amelie and Picasso and Dali…and on and on.   Sure, it gets crazy busy with tourists around Sacre Couer during the middle of the day, but walk a few blocks in any direction from that mayhem and you’re in the Paris of Parisians.

 

Here are a few of my fav photos from this last week I’ve stayed in Montmartre.   This week we’re in the Marais so stayed tuned for images from there.   Au revoir!

 

 

Montmartre is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Paris, and the fall colors right now make it even more beautiful.

Montmartre is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Paris, and the fall colors right now make it even more beautiful.

Sacre Couer in Montmartre is stunning. It is also super busy during the day. Try to visit in the morning. And definitely take climb the stairs to the top of the church for killer views of Paris.

Sacre Couer in Montmartre is stunning. It is also super busy during the day. Try to visit in the morning. And definitely take climb the stairs to the top of the church for killer views of Paris.

If you're super ambitious, get there as the sun rises and you might get awesome light for your photos.

If you’re super ambitious, get there as the sun rises and you might get awesome light for your photos.

I love all the patisserie's in Montmartre.

I love all the patisserie’s in Montmartre.

montmartre photos (3)

More than any city I've visited. Paris has kept the integrity of their architecture. Take away the cars, and you you could be in centuries old Paris.

More than any city I’ve visited. Paris has kept the integrity of their architecture. Take away the cars, and you could be in centuries old Paris.

Our apartment was on the same plaza that Picasso lived on while he was in Montmartre. The music drifting through our windows from these guitarists, and also an accordion player at times, was heaven.

Our apartment was on the same plaza that Picasso lived on while he was in Montmartre. The music drifting through our windows from these guitarists, and also an accordion player at times, was heaven.

I was loving this composition before these little girls ran up the staircase, but that just made it perfect.

I was loving this composition before these little girls ran up the staircase, but that just made it perfect.

Fall in Montmartre.

Fall in Montmartre.

The vineyard in Montmartre.

The vineyard in Montmartre.

Little parks are everywhere in Montmartre.

Little parks are everywhere in Montmartre.

I'm slowly eating my way through Paris...

I’m slowly eating my way through Paris…

...and I don't think I'm alone in that!

…and I don’t think I’m alone in that!

Moulin Rouge in Pigalle.

Moulin Rouge in Pigalle.

montmartre photos (15)

I always love strolling through cemeteries in Paris.

I always love strolling through cemeteries in Paris. And the Montmartre Cemetery is one of my favs.

montmartre photos (17)

The fall colors in Paris are just about perfect right now.

The fall colors in Paris are just about perfect right now.

 

I’ve shot more color photos this time in Paris than I ever have before.   With the fall colors right now it’s been harder to stick with B&W, which is how I usually see Paris…timeless.   But despite the stunning color, I still had to shoot some B&W.

 

One of my fav things about Paris is the vibrant cafe scene.

One of my fav things about Paris is the vibrant cafe scene.

The Montmartre Cafe.

The Montmartre Cafe.

Lovers hanging out on stairs in Montmartre.

Lovers hanging out on stairs in Montmartre.

Sacre Couer in Montmartre.

Sacre Couer in Montmartre.

No Walmart or Costco in Paris : )

No Walmart or Costco in Paris : )

The best way to get around Paris!

The best way to get around Paris!

My fav city with my amazing daughter...perfect, just perfect.

My fav city with my amazing daughter…perfect, just perfect.

Also posted in Paris

Travel Reflections

Travel Reflections

 

Turning 50 seems like a great time to recommend some of my favorite places and share a few travel reflections and some lessons learned from my travels.

 

Here’s my number one travel tip:  travel as light as you possibly can.  Go with just a carryon.  I’m down to 20 liter backpack that weighs less than 8 kilograms when it’s fully loaded that will fit in the small overhead bins of  the regional airlines.    As a good friend told me years ago, all you really need to travel is your passport, a credit card and a little cash.  I’d add that you must have a camera, too.  But I’m a photographer : )    Here is a little known secret: other countries have washing machines and dryers.  Better yet, drop it off at a full service laundry and pick it up the next day.  All you really need is enough clothes for a week or so no matter how long your trip is.   Having a bunch of luggage with you is like carrying a millstone with you on your travels.  Be free!

 

Favorite completely touristy thing I love to do in Paris:

Climbing the Tower of Notre Dame in Paris.   Something amazing climbing up stone steps that are worn down by 500 years of foot falls.   And the view?  Stunning.   I do this every time I'm in Paris.

Climbing the Tower of Notre Dame in Paris. Something amazing about climbing up stone steps that are worn down by 500 years of foot falls. And the view? Stunning. I do this every time I’m in Paris.

 

 

Most Important Travel Lesson Learned…

Don't let the wine run out!

…don’t let the wine run out!

 

 

You can work out anywhere!

Even in the jungle in the middle of nowhere in Haiti!

Even in the jungle in the middle of nowhere in Haiti!

 

 

The best part of the journey is often just relaxing and taking it easy.

My buddy Tim shot this of me relaxing during our backpacking trip in Glacier National Park.

My buddy Tim shot this of me during our backpacking trip in Glacier National Park.

 

 

My favorite place in the world is still the North Shore on Kauai.  

Hanalei Bay, Kauai.  The incredible hiking, snorkeling, awesome beaches, and laid back vibe make the North Shore of Kauai a pretty amazing place.   And no snakes...did I mention no snakes?

Hanalei Bay, Kauai. The incredible hiking, snorkeling, awesome beaches, and laid back vibe make the North Shore of Kauai a pretty amazing place. And no snakes…did I mention no snakes?

 

 

Teenagers are similar the world over.

Hmong girls checking Facebook in Sapa, Vietnam.

Hmong girls checking Facebook in Sapa, Vietnam.

 

 

Havana is the best place to experience a time warp.

All the American cars from the 1950's make for a surreal vibe in Havana.   Cuba is one of my favorite places to visit for the photography, the people, and laid back vibe.

All the American cars from the 1950’s make for a surreal vibe in Havana. Cuba is one of my favorite places to visit for the photography, the people, and laid back vibe.

 

 

Angkor Wat in Cambodia is the most surreal place I’ve visited.

If I had to recommend just one place in SE Asia to visit, it would be Angkor Wat.  The ruins are amazing.

If I had to recommend just one place in SE Asia to visit, it would be Angkor Wat. The ruins are amazing. And if you get started before sunrise, you can beat the crowds to the outlying ruins.

 

 

But if you want to watch the sunrise over the main temple at Angkor Wat, you may have company.

I hate crowds but it was actually kinda cool being with so many people excited to take the same photo.

I hate crowds but it was actually kinda cool being with so many people excited to take the same photo.

 

 

Venice is the best city in the world to get lost in.

Even when Venice is crazy busy with tourists from the cruise ships, you can take a turn off the main streets, take another turn, and it'll just be you and the locals.  Stay lost for a few hours.  And when you're ready to get back to your hotel, just ask a local for directions.  Or better yet, flag down a water taxi.

Even when Venice is crazy busy with tourists from the cruise ships, you can take a turn off the main streets, take another turn, and it’ll just be you and the locals. Stay lost for a few hours. And when you’re ready to get back to your hotel, just ask a local for directions. Or better yet, flag down a water taxi.

 

 

This is what D Day and WWII are about for me…

...a French child flying his kite on one of the D Day beaches.

…a French child flying his kite on one of the D Day beaches.

 

 

The best gift I give myself before I travel is learning just a bit of the local language.

I met these two ladies in Moduli Village in Tanzania.  They got a kick out of my attempts at speaking Swahili.  And I got a cool photo I wouldn't have gotten if I'd been speaking English.

I met these two ladies in Moduli Village in Tanzania. They got a kick out of my attempts at speaking Swahili. And I got a cool photo I wouldn’t have gotten if I’d been speaking English.

 

 

“Strange Days is playing on the jukebox, the Amsterdam bar cat is waiting and the beer is great…where are you?”   This was the message letting me know my kids had arrived in the Netherlands and were inviting me to hang out at a local bar they’d found.   Evenings like that are the reason I travel.  The perfect moment you can’t possibly plan.

The Amsterdam bar cat.

The Amsterdam bar cat.

 

 

And the Honfluer collie…

Not as compelling as the Amsterdam Bar Cat but what a cute collie.

I shot this in Honfleur, France last year.

 

 

Cinque Terra – my fav place in Europe to hike, eat amazing food, drink tasty wine and relax.

Vernazza was my favorite village in Cinque Terra.   It's the perfect base to hike to other villages.

Vernazza was my favorite village in Cinque Terra. It’s the perfect base to hike to other villages. And if you have too much wine with lunch, you can just hop on a train back to Vernazza.

 

 

Hallstatt is the Austrian version of Cinque Terra.    Which means it’s cleaner and more orderly and the beer is awesome.  But the wine and food…well, it’s not Italy.   The train ride from Salzburg to Hallstatt is stunning and the hiking above the village is steep and beautiful.

Hallstatt

Hallstatt

 

 

Favorite National Parks.   Yellowstone and Grand Teton are my favorite national parks.  Killer mountains, grizzly bears, buffalo, wolves…no shortage of reasons to love YNP and GTNP.   YNP can be crazy in the summer but once you’re a few miles into the backcountry there is plenty of solitude.   And as stunning as GTNP is, it gets only a fraction of the visitors as it’s neighbor to the north.

Mustang  in the Grand Tetons.

Mustang in the Grand Tetons.

 

 

Elephants are amazing…

...and volunteering at Elephants World in Kanchanabari, Thailand was a wonderful experience.

…and volunteering at Elephants World in Kanchanabari, Thailand was a wonderful experience.

 

 

An African safari is even more amazing than you might imagine.

I was shooting a non-profit in Tanzania and I almost didn't go on a safari because I was so focused on the work.  I'm glad I did it.  Nothing like flying into the Serengeti and seeing elephants and giraffes below us.  And lions and tigers, oh my!

I was shooting for a non-profit in Tanzania and I almost didn’t go on a safari because I was so focused on the work. I’m glad I did it. Nothing like flying into the Serengeti and seeing elephants and giraffes below us. And lions and tigers, oh my!

 

 

St John is the best Caribbean island for snorkeling, hiking and killer beaches!

Kauai is still my fav island in the world but it's tough to beat St John's combination of perfect powdery sandy beaches, hiking and snorkeling.

Kauai is still my fav island in the world but it’s tough to beat St John’s combination of perfect powdery sandy beaches, hiking and snorkeling.

 

As much as I love to travel, it’s tough to beat Colorado in the summer!

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of my fav places in Colorado for hiking!

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of my fav places in Colorado for hiking!

 

Also posted in Africa Travel, Asia, Caribbean Travel, Humanitarian, USA Travel

Paris

Paris – Eiffel Tower

My thoughts and prayers are with Paris.  Paris is one of my favorite places in the world.  Yes, it’s full of tourists, and rude waiters, and only about half of Parisians pick up after their dog (so watch your step!).  But it is also magical.  I travel quite a bit and I’m always heading to places I’ve never been.  I want to see the world.  All of it.  Yet, Paris keeps drawing me back.   I think a lot of people who visit from the States perceive Parisians as rude.   I haven’t found this to be true.  They aren’t Midwestern effusive but in my interactions outside the tourist zones, I’ve found Parisians to be kind people.  More reserved than most people I know in the States but no less thoughtful.   I’ve had a Parisians stop and ask me if I needed directions as I puzzled over my map.   And I’ve experienced dozens of other wonderful interactions in Paris.

My heart is with Paris as it confronts these horrible terrorist attacks.   And these atrocities didn’t for a second make me want to alter my plans to visit Paris this fall.  Nope, I’ll be keeping those plane tickets and looking forward to seeing the most beautiful city in the world.

Vive la France.

 

I shot this photo of the Eiffel Tower from the Arc de Triomphe last summer with the Fuji X-T1 and 35mm 1.4 lens.    The view of Paris from the Arc de Triomphe is stunning.

 

 

 

 

 

The Eiffel Tower photographed from the Arc de Triomphe last June.

The Eiffel Tower photographed from the Arc de Triomphe last June.

Also posted in Paris

Life on the Bosphorus

Life on the Bosphorus

 

It’s interesting what ends up being my favorite place or memory when I travel.   I loved seeing the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia and all the other incredible historic places in Istanbul but I think my favorite thing was the Bosphorus and taking in the life that goes on all along it.   Walking across the bridges, so vibrant with people fishing and vendors hawking food and wandering along the boardwalk where the locals hang out was so peaceful.     And hanging out with my kids in the evening on the Bosphorus, near Sultanahmet, drinking beer and watching the sunset made for some perfect evenings.

 

All images were shot with the Fuji X-T1 and the Fuji 18mm 2.0 or Fuji 35mm 1.4

 

 

The view of the Bosphorus from Topkapi Palace.

The view of the Bosphorus from Topkapi Palace.

The Galata Bridge was lined with people fishing every morning and evening.

The Galata Bridge was lined with people fishing every morning and evening.

Fishing off the Galata Bridge.

Fishing off the Galata Bridge.

The Galata Bridge.

The Galata Bridge.

And a fisherman looking for a little more solitude than the Galata Bridge affords.

And a fisherman looking for a little more solitude than the Galata Bridge affords.

A couple gentleman playing  backgammon.

A couple gentleman playing backgammon.

Girls hanging out on the Bosphorus.

Girls hanging out on the Bosphorus.

I loved the street scene along the Bosphorus.  It's the place to chill in the evening.

I loved the street scene along the Bosphorus. It’s the place to chill in the evening.

Amanda and Jonathan.

Amanda and Jonathan.

Amanda, laughing at my excellent sense of humor, no doubt :)

Amanda, laughing at my excellent sense of humor, no doubt 🙂

My fav photographer, Meghan.

My fav photographer, Meghan.

...and her awesome husband, Ryan.

…and her awesome husband, Ryan.

River cat!

River cat!

The girls checking out the river kitties.

The girls checking out the river kitties.

Thanks to Jonathan for taking one of my all-time favorite pics of me with my girls.

Thanks to Jonathan for taking one of my all-time favorite pics of me with my girls.

Also posted in Asia