"All the world is made of faith, trust and pixie dust" JM Barrie in Peter Pan
Disney World 2018
In January 2018 we had a marvelous trip to magical Disney World. We stayed on the property at Port Orleans-Riverside and took full advantage of the benefits of staying in a Disney resort. We had great weather and the crowds were not bad. It was tiring but so much fun—especially with 5 year old Olivia.
Our vacation started with a ride from Orlando Airport on Mickey’s bus.
So many parades!
Lion King in the round—all that great music and the spectacle with so much to watch and enjoy.
Lots of magic photos where we didn’t know what the final photo would show.
Olivia was able to get photos with most of the major characters.
Touring Animal Kingdom was a highlight.
In October 2017 Marilyn H and I spent three days in Dublin before joining 14 other folks for a Driftwood tour of western Ireland and the Dingle Peninsula.
The Dingle coast was gorgeous and we were blessed with perfect weather.
When our overnight flight arrived over Ireland it was clear why it is known as the Emerald Isle.
Waterloo House was in a very convenient location in Georgian Dublin. It had traditional décor and our room had a view of the neighborhood. The breakfast was quite decadent and it was served in a lovely conservatory.
We loved the colorful doors of Georgian Dublin. Virtually every color in the rainbow was on someone’s door.
Shearson’s pub was just a block from Waterloo House. We liked it so much we went there for dinner two nights-beef filet and lamb shank were delicious. They also had live music that added to the atmosphere.
Trinity College is the oldest university in Ireland. It is the home of the amazing Book of Kells illuminated manuscript. It was to be a highlight of our visit to Dublin but when we arrived they were in the midst of their first blackout in 16 years with no ETA of the electricity. We waited awhile and then decided we needed to move on.
This was as close as we got to the Book of Kells.
Downtown Dublin had several charming blocks of local retail.
Dublin’s streetlights were among the prettiest I’ve seen. We got a great view of the shamrock festooned fixtures from our double decker tour bus.
We thoroughly enjoyed our hop-on hop-off bus. It was a beautiful day to tour this charming city.
Howth is a seaside town that was on the public transit train line. It was chilly and drizzly but we walked around, went to a small farmers’ market and enjoyed some homemade ice cream.
The Samuel Beckett bridge was designed by Santiago Calatrava and is reminiscent of an Irish harp.
Irish notables on display at Trinity College.
Itinerary of Driftwoods tour we took. We started in Dublin and then headed west towards Galway. We saw beautiful scenery
Killary Sheep Farm was in a very dramatic location and we enjoyed watching the sheepdogs do their magic.
It was amazing to see the dogs herd the sheep.
We enjoyed our first Guinness at our lunch with the tour group on day one.
Kylemore Abbey was lovely—no interior visits are permitted but it is a storybook castle from the outside.
Our first night on the tour was spent at the Abbeyglen Castle hotel where they flew an American flag to welcome us.
Here are the 16 of us from the tour. We enjoyed each others’ company and were all punctual and congenial.
Galway was very festively decorated.
This was one of Galway’s most scenic pubs.
This was a charming tea shop in Galway.
This Galway shop was where the claddagh rings were first designed and produced.
The sewer covers in Galway had unique Celtic designs.
I can’t remember the name of this ancient castle but it was in a very evocative setting.
On the drive to the Cliffs of Moher we came across these cows who looked like they were posing for the camera.
The Cliffs of Moher are quite spectacular—even on a windy, rainy day.
We went to a demonstration at Dingle Glass. The glass blowing and sculpting were fascinating to watch.
Lots of colorful shops and pubs throughout Ireland.
One evening in Dingle we enjoyed an Irish folk music concert in one of the local music shops.
The drive along Dingle Peninsula was reminiscent of Highway 1 on the California coast.
We ate delicious cheese throughout our visit to Ireland.
We could have spent a few more day enjoying Dingle—beautiful scenery, quality restaurants, delicious homemade ice cream, and lots of fun shops to browse.
We enjoyed a horse-drawn jaunty ride through Killarney National Park which ended at stately Muckross House.
We came across this car which was inadvertently put in drive instead of reverse. Thankfully the occupants weren’t injured.
Kenmare is another colorful happy town in County Kerry.
Seals pointing the way to Garnish Island.
Garnish Island in Bantry Bay was originally a private estate but it was bequeathed to the Irish government in 1939. It has been maintained as a public garden since then..
Delicious Irish Coffee at this pub started by onne of the first South Pole explorers.
Built in 1710, Bantry House has been a private home and served as a hospital during the Irish Civil War in 1922 and a barracks duriing World War II. It has been open to visitors since 1946.
Bantry House was a classic country house—comfortable and not too fussy..
For donations from visitors to Blarney Castle.
In spite of its tacky reputation Blarney is a beautiful site with lavish gardens and historic architecture.
Blarney House was originally built for the mayor of Cork in 1704. The current house was built in 1846 and is now the home of Baron Sir John Colthurst.
The Rock of Cashel was started in 1100 and is on a hill by itself overlooking the surrounding countryside. Because of its prominent location it can be seen for miles. It was the traditional seat of the King for the region. It includes a roofless cathedral and towers for security.
A great end to our trip—under the rainbow!
Bruges & Rhine Cruise 2016
In late October 2016 Marilyn and I spent two days in Bruges, Belgium before taking the train to Amsterdam to start our Viking Cruise on the Rhine. Bruges is a lovely medieval city on scenic canals. We stayed in Hotel Adornes which was in a convenient location and we had a canal view. The hotel manager was very helpful with excellent dinner recommendations. It was an easy walk to the town center.
We took the train to Amsterdam after a stop in Antwerp where we enjoyed delicious Belgian waffles.
As usual, Viking took great care of us. Our cabin was in a very convenient location and was nicely furnished. We enjoyed having a balcony. In spite of the occasional rain shower we had a great trip. We met several interesting and engaging fellow passengers. The only big disappointment is that we never made it to Basel. In order to catch our flight we had to leave the ship at 4:30 am so all we saw of Basel was the airport.
Our first morning in Bruges
View from our hotel when we arrived.
The tour boats in Bruges were a little too crowded and low in the water to entice us.
Delicious Belgian beer
We started our day early so the day tripping crowds had not yet arrived. A couple of hours later these tables were full.
Bruges' town center
Many fine chocolate shops in Bruges
Our hotel had a lovely breakfast room with a fire to keep us warm.
The Adornes Hotel manager, Rik, could not have been more helpful. He gave excellent dinner recommendations and was extremely hospitable.
A fun Starbucks poster in Antwerp advertising a creep-looking Halloween drink.
The view of Amsterdam from our cabin's balcony. It was a 3 minute walk from the train to the ship. Since we had both been to Amsterdam before we didn't do any sightseeing before the ship departed a couple of hours after we arrived from Belgium.
The Cathedral in Cologne is massive and on a high spot in the city.
Gerard Richter's modern stained glass window in Cologne's cathedral.
We enjoyed the local Kolsch beer at Brewpub in Cologne
The rain didn't stop us from hiking up to Marksburg Castle.
Looking south from Marksburg Castle.
Looking north over the Rhine from Marksburg Castle.
It was getting dark when we arrived in Rudesheim but we hurried and made it to Kathe Wolfahrt and a couple of other shops before they closed.
Strasbourg was the most scenic city we visited--full of charm.
A popular Strasbourg alley with lots of bars and cafes.
Our local guide in the Black Forest was delightful!
Unfortunately there was very heavy rain on our one day in the Black Forest. Thankfully our local guide was very entertaining and helped us enjoy the trip.
We had a great group of regular dining partners from Michigan and northern England.
Scandinavia and St Petersburg 2016
Map of Viking Ocean's Viking Homelands Cruise in June 2016
We started in the lovely city of Bergen, Norway
Aalborg, Denmark was smallish town with a good range of architectural details like these gilded lions.
The fountain in the middle of Rostock was fascinating--all ages having fun together in the water.
Trotzenberger Brewery tour in Rostock
The view of Talinn from our stateroom's balcony.
The narrow streets of Talinn were incredibly picturesque.
Talinn's square is lined with shops and restaurants.
An international five star hotel on one of Talinn's side streets.
I loved all the unique architectural details in St Petersburg
The oldest surviving synagogue in St Petersburg
St Petersburg is laced by canals which all have artistic metal railings.
There are still many remnants of Lenin around St Petersburg.
St Petersburg subway token
Amazing mosaic murals inside the St Petersburg subway
We went into the subway station that is one of the deepest in the world. There were several escalators to get to the train platform.
This grumpy looking checkpoint officer was watching everyone very closely.
There are McDonalds everywhere!
The Faberge Museum looked like a jewel box.
One of Faberge's most complex eggs.
Lilies of the Valley are a favorite flower so I was very happy to see this Imperial egg on display.
Faberge made many other gorgeous pieces in addition to the famous eggs.
A lavish candy store in St Petersburg
We asked our guide to show us a bit of the daily life of a Russian so she took us to the food court at the mall.
Catherine's Summer Palace
Just a little place in the country.....
The Heritage was VERY crowded so we were thankful that our guide, Veronika, had pre-opening reservations.
Solid lapis lazuli table was a masterpiece.
The corridors in the Hermitage were completely decorated. No expense was spared in the Imperial family's winter palace.
Beautiful hardwood floor patterns throughout the Hermitage.
The Hermitage was the Winter Palace so the architecture is quite lavish--lots of gilding and marble.
The Throne Room in the Hermitage
Peterhof Palace--one of Peter the Great's homes. It's fountains are like Versailles'.
Peterhof royal residence
Unfortunately it was overcast when we got to the Church of the Spilled Blood so the vibrant turret colors don't show up very well.
We were welcomed with a farmers' market when we arrived in Helsinki.
We walked into Helsinki from the ship and enjoyed the greenery.
Marimekko 's first store was in Helsinki.
There are hundreds of small islands in the bay heading for Stockholm.
My favorite architectural detail was on a bank in Stockholm.
Stockholm's major department store had a large atrium
Beautiful public gardens in Stockholm.
The blue trams in Stockholm were charming.
Bright blue gates mark one of the entrances to Skansen Park.
A very solemn guard by the Swedish capital.
Many of the shop signs in Gamla Stan were handmade works of art.
Gamla Stan is the birthplace of Stockholm and it has retained its charm.
Manhole covers in Bergen Norway, Rostock Germany, St Petersburg Russia and Stockholm Sweden.
From our stateroom we could see the Skansen amusement park
A beautiful Stockholm sunset on our last evening.
In September Lorraine and I took an amazing safari to Tanzania. The previous year we learned that this type of trip was on both of our bucket lists so we decided to make it happen in celebration of our 60th birthdays. Thomson Safaris met or exceeded all of our expectations.
We broke up the long trip to Tanzania with an overnight in fascinating Amsterdam where we stayed in 21 Herengracht BnB with the perfect hostess, Loes.
Giraffes visited our Eastern Serengeti camp each morning.
Amsterdam was lovely day and night. We stayed in a BnB on one of the major canals.
Lorraine ate some fried baby herring--I had a hard time even looking at them.
Red light windows can be seen among charming buildings all over Amsterdam.
We started and ended our Tanzania adventure at the Mount Meru Game Lodge where they have very nice accomodations and rehabilitating animals.
Jane gave us a warm welcome to Mount Meru.
We arrived at Mount Meru at night. The lobby was welcoming and had unique accessories made by local artists.
Our cabin at Mount Meru. We had the right side which was a very nice room with full bathroom--our last time with flush toilets before we started our safari.
At Arusha's local airport waiting for our flight to the Serengeti.
Our tents were extremely nice
Our tents were quite comfortable with plenty of space and tempurpedic mattresses. A special treat was the hot water bottle placed in our beds every night.
We started our days with coffee overlooking the wide open spaces with an occasional giraffe walking by.
Each of our campsites had Masai guards to protect the camp from animals and to protect visitors from going too far from the camp.
Before every meal we washed our hands with the assistance of one of the staff.
We enjoyed the local beer throughout our trip.
A highlight of our trip was a visit to a Masi village where we met very friendly mothers and their children. They lived in a very basic environment but the little kids knew how to swipe an iPhone with their finger to look at the next photo.
We saw some beautiful sunsets. Unfortunately we were there for the full moon so we didn't see star-filled skies at night.
Hippos gathering in a Serengeti pond (taken from the balloon)
We saw only one cheetah, but she put on a great show.
The cheetah rolled on her back just like a domestic cat.
I was very happy to be far away from this alligator.
These were our only leopards and they were quite far away and high in a tree.
Lovely acacia trees were in abundance.
Adorable baby hippo staying very close to Mom
Looking down into Ngongorno crater-the area of Tanzania with the most animals per square mile.
Groups of four (plus a guide) were in each Land Cruiser so we could move around easily to take photos of the various animals. Drivers would communicate via radio so when one group found an interesting animal the word would go out and Land Cruisers would rush to get there.
I was very pleased to get this shot of the lions with entwined tails.
We saw several very cute babies.
/very laid back lioness enjoying the shade.
Fun mural on the drive back to Arusha
Last butt not least...
Mare and I arrived in Paris on Easter Sunday for an early celebration of our 0th birthdays. It was a lovely week with great weather, a comfortable apartment in a perfect location, good food, good wine and a relaxing week in one of the most special cities in the world.
We had an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower from our apartment and took MANY photos of it.
Unfortunately there was no place to prop the camera so we took photos of each other on the balcony.
We took Eiffel Tower photos from our balcony at all hours of the day and night.
The view of rue Malar from our balcony
The apartment was nothing fancy but it was comfortable and in a great location with its Eiffel Tower view.
We loved this boulangerie on rue St Dominique--fresh from the oven croissants in a lovely setting with decorative porcelain tiles.
The view from our breakfast table.
It seemed like there were lovely patisseries or boulangeries on every street corner. This one is in the Marais.
Since we were so close to rue Cler one morning we went for coffee. It was too early for most shops but we did visit a lovely cheese shop and bought a selection which we enjoyed every afternoon before dinner.
rue Cler cheese shop had a wide selection
Gorgeous fruit display on rue Cler
We had a lovely and tasty lunch (Croque Monsieur) and a very decadent dessert at Angelina.
Our apartment was on rue Malar just a block from rue St Dominique over which the Eiffel Tower reigns.
Someone had to test all those macaron flavors......
From this upper level it is clear to see that the Musee d'Orsay used to be a train station.
The Louvre glass pyramid in front of the original building which had been a palace.
We had a magical evening at a concert of Vivaldi's Four Seasons performed in the stained glass masterpiece of Sainte Chapelle.
Art Nouveau decor and delicious food (including chestnut soup) at Bouillion Racine in the 6th arrondissement
In late September my friend and former Stanford colleague Marilyn Hess and I took an amazing Viking River trip to China. We started in Beijing then flew to Xian to see the underground soldiers. Our next flight was to Chungqing where we boarded the Viking Emerald for a cruise on the mighty Yangtze. We finished the cruise in Wuhan and then flew to Shanghai for a few days before flying home. It was a great introduction to China and we were treated like royalty by Viking. We met many hospitable Chinese and both enjoyed all aspects of the trip.
Shibaozhai Temple along the Yangtze. It was built in 1819 and special precautions were taken to preserve it when the Three Gorges Dam was constructed.
Our tour included Beijing, Xian, a cruise on the Yangtze River and a stop in Wuhan before finishing the tour in Shanghai.
We were in Beijing for National Day-the annual celebration of their founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949.
The entrance to Tianamen Square. There was lots of security and many excited Chinese tourists.
Famous artwork of Chairman Mao at the entrance to the Forbidden City.
Inside the Forbidden City
Inside the Forbidden City there were girls in traditional clothes checking their high tech phones.
Artist in her studio in the Liluichang District of Beijing.
People were welcoming and friendly everywhere in China.
We saw soldiers throughout our trip. They were always at full attention.
Our Viking group with Michael, our knowledgeable and fun tour manager.
This woman asked me to hold her baby so she could take my photo. Our tour guide told us that we might see folks from the country who had never seen a Caucasian in person.
A beautiful day on the Great Wall at Badaling
The Great Wall went on and on and on. Impossible to imagine that it was built by hand without any modern construction equipment.
We had fun on our rickshaw ride around the hutongs.
Kerry Hotel in Beijing was incredibly luxurious.
A celebration of the importance of horses ithroughut China's history. This was in Xian.
The underground warriors were amazing. I can only imagine what the farmers who came across them in 1976 thought when they found them will digging a well.
So far over 8,000 soldiers have been found in Emperor Qin's tomb.
Many horses were found alongside their men in the Xian dig.
Our first night on the ship in Chongqing.
Viking Emerald was a very comfortable ship.
We really enjoyed having a balcony.
I've never seen such long escalators, especially outdoors without any protection from the weather. They were completely packed with visitors going to the top of the Three Gorges Dam.
China's PeeWee Herman advertising an orange drink.
The Shanghai Museum had beautiful porcelain and a great gift shop.
The traditional Chinese Yuyuan Garden was first established over 400 years ago. It is a lush retreat from the crazy busyness of Shanghai
There was a modern shopping area along the side of the Yuyuan Gardens. Traditional architecture was used to remind visitors of the history of the area.
One of the first buildings at Yuyuan
I love this view which includes architecture which is several hundred years old with a glimpse of the modern Chinese flag.
Our trip to China was marvelous! Its rich history, kind and welcoming people, and excitement about the future combined to make a memorable adventure.
Our hotel in Shanghai was just a block from the Bund where historic buildings overlook the future across the river.
This photo was taken from the Bund looking back at our hotel with the flower on top.
The most amazing and colorful skyline I have ever seen!
We had lots of fun traveling together!
The view of the Blue Mosque from our hotel was gorgeous!
Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque
The tilework inside the Blue Mosque is lovely.
Outdoor version of the Grand Bazaar--much less crowded and with quality merchandise
Free-roaming cats are all over Istanbul.
Hookah pipes for sale at Arasta Bazaar
We saw these colorful lights in many shops throughout the city
Hagia Sophia at dusk
The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia are separated by a park with some lovely fountains.
The pulpit from Hagia Sophia's cathedral past
The Arabic medallions were added when the cathedral was converted to a mosque.
Mosaic in Hagia Sophia entrance hall had been covered with plaster when the building was converted to a mosque.
The mosques were beautifully illuminated at night
The underground cistern was quite unique-damp and eerily lit
Occasionally concerts are held in the acoustically vibrant cistern
The head of Medusa was holding up some of the columns in the underground cisterns.
The phone "booths" looked like salon
Corn on the cob and chestnuts were on sale at carts throughout the city.
Gate of Salutation-main entrance to Topkapi Palace
The Topkapi Palace grounds are a very green oasis in Istanbul.
Harem means private area so it was for the family, not just for the concubines.
A room for some of the concubines
The emeralds in the Topkapi dagger were huge!
The weather was beautiful and the view from the Sultan's courtyard at Topkapi was gorgeous.
Istiklal Caddessi is considered the heart of modern Istanbul's social and commercial scene. It was crowded and had no green
Classic Turkish breakfast at McD's
The flower passage off Istiklal was a quiet haven.
There were many shopping streets off Istiklal with a variety of vendors
A demonstration in support of handicapped rights.
Galata Tower from the Bosphorus (DD photo)
Baccarat staircase inside Dohlmabace Palace
We saw more women in full coverage burqas than I expected.
Many of the mosques had park areas with fountains.
Overlooking the Marmara Sea from our hotel
Taking the tram across the Golden Horn on the Galata Bridge
Wedding Dress Road--a few miles of bridal shops!
Afternoon tea at the Pera Hotel with Pam and Mary
Beautiful mosaics in the Chora Church
Golden tiles in Chora Church
Lots of satellite dishes all over the city.
Lots of friendly folks in the Eminonu district
We met some very friendly kids on the walk from Chora Church.
Cobbler looking for business (DD photo)
A non-touristy neighborhood in Eminonu district.
Throughout the city we saw architetural remnants of Istanbul's art nouveau past.
Dohlmabace Palace from the
Traditional Turkish sweets (DD photo)
Our last view of the Blue Mosque from Sumengen Hotel roof terrace.
Vintage trolleys travel the length of Istiklal
Venice, Florence, Rome 2012
In September Meghan and I traveled in Italy to celebrate her graduation from University of the Arts. We met at the Frankfurt Airport and flew together to Venice where we had what felt like a long hike with our luggage from the boat stop to our hotel. The next day we met our fellow travelers to start the tour. After Venice we spent three days each in Florence and Rome.
The tour focused on art and history, but we also had free time to experience other unique aspects of life in Italy (like eating and shopping!).
Meg's first gelato in Italy
The walkways in Venice were narrow and often included drying laundry.
The boat races were fun to watch. It felt like all of Venice was gathered along the Grand Canal.
Classic view of the Rialto Bridge from a vaporetto
Calendar of hot priests--only in Italy!
View from San Marco
Evening Gondolier on the Grand Canal
One evening we ate outdoors at a cafe just off the Grand Canal
Very fresh fish in the Rialto Market
On the vaporetto just after going under the Accademia Bridge towards San Marco
On the Grand Canal approaching San Marco
Delicious cicchetti and Venetian spritz in a neighborhood bar
Not a tourist in sight!
The very colorful island of Burano
Even hearses are on the water in Venice
Our charming room in Torre Guelfa--our hotel in Florence
Cooking class was a fun highlight
Art is everywhere in Florence
Night view from hotel terrace.
Florence Duomo and Bell Tower
The gelaterias competed for impressive displays
Overlooking the Ponte Vecchio from the Uffizi
A postcard view from atop La Rinascente department store
Lots of fun meals with our new friends
A view of Heaven in Umbria
Wine tasting at Tenuta le Velette winery in Umbria
Above the door into the winery's private chapel
The crowded Spanish Steps were our first introduction to Rome
The Trevi Fountain is gorgeous!
In the midst of the busyness there were quiet spots for a lovely dinner al fresco
You can't imagine Rome without a visit to the Coloseum
The Colosseum was originally covered with white Carrera marble. Now there are just some patches left. The white helps the black cats stand out.
Roman Forum-center of everyday life
St Peter's is quite impressive
Sad angel inside St Peters
View of pediment statues from inside St Peter's
View from the front of St Peter's Basilica
Papal seal in St Peter's
Our fellow travelers at Aberdeen Hotel in Rome
In October 2011 I spent a week in London. My temporary home was the lovely Lime Tree Hotel in swanky Belgravia. I had a very nice single room just above the lobby with a great view of the neighborhood. The hotel staff could not have been more hospitable. Belgravia is very convenient to various choices of public transport so it was quite easy to get around all parts of London,
The venerable Liberty's original Tudor style store
Lime Tree Hotel was in a great location and the staff was very
Peggy Porschen Bakery across the road from Lime Tree Hotel
Chihuly glass hanging in the entrance to the Victoria and Albert Museum
Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones were fabulous in Driving Miss Daisy
Memorial honoring animals who served in Britian's wars
Having fun with the gummy people in Hyde Park
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
One of London's oldest pubs
Royal stair ornament at Tate Britain
One of my favorite John Singer Sargent's is at the Tate
On the shuttle boat between Tate and Tate Modern
Home of Sir Christopher Wren, architect of St Paul's
View of St Paul's and the Millenium Bridge from Tate Modern restaurant
Crossing the Millenium Bridge between Tate Modern and St Paul's
Gherkin--one of London's newer landmarks
Fortnum & Mason's already had their Christmas displays up
Ice cream in front of the British Museum
Bright central courtyard at British Museum
Some of the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon
The Portland glass vase was made between 5 and 25 AD
Frolicking in the fountain outside British Museum
A royal warrant is sought by many shopkeepers
Busy Picadilly Circus
Modern store window near Picadilly
Trafalgar Square and the National Portrait Gallery
Royal treatment for pets at Harrods. The crown bowls were $150 each!
Entrance to Harrod's Tea Room
Afternoon tea at Harrod's
Wonderful service at Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey's stone facades had just been cleaned and never looked better.
Yummy luncheon inside Marks & Spencers
I loved this sign inside Covent Garden
I loved all the angels on this business
Imperial War Museum-lots of interesting interactive exhibits
Borough Market could have taken a whole day to explore
Cooking at Borough Market
Fresh fish at Borough Market
Traditional meat pies
Sunset along the Thames
Every London neighborhood on one taxi
In October 2010 I spent a week in Paris, staying at Hotel Bonaparte in the 7th--just around the corner from St Sulpice. Highlights of the visit were spending time with Diana, a former colleague from Stanford who now lives in Paris, and two walking tours with Paris Walks. The first was in the fashion district of Palais Royal. We toured several couturier shops and ended with a visit to Gallerie Vivienne. The other walking tour was on rue Montorgeuil, the wonderful market street by St Eustache. The tour included several tasting stops at a variety of vendors--cheese, chocolate, fois gras, pastry, patisserie. It was a great week in the City of Lights.
Rainy morning waiting for the bus
I.M. Pei's glass pyramid at the Louvre
Arc de Triomphe du caroussel commemorating some of Napoleon's victories
Relaxing in front of the Louvre on a sunny day
Even the lamp post bases are artistic
Joan of Arc statue on rue des Pyramides
Legendary Les Deux Magots cafe
One of many charming storefronts
There was often a queue across the street from my hotel
People were waiting to get into Pierre Herme
Creator of luscious pastry
rue Bonaparte in front of my hotel
Viaduc des Artes--galleries and workshops in a former water transport system.
Place des Vosges is a peaceful oasis in the Marais
Covered arcade around Place des Vosges
Handmade jewelry shop
Most delicious quiche
Evening along Blvd Saint Germain
The macaron colors in Paris are so vivid
Tasty north African food near my hotel
Public art is all over Paris
Fantasy Metro entrance at Palais Royale
High fashion at Palais Royal
Amazing red sole shoes!
Beautiful street lamps
Most graphic bathroom sign ever!
Corkscrew light fixture at Bon Marche
Delicious terrine for dinner
The view from dinner
Traditional cafe in fancy 16th arrondisement
View from lunch table at the Building Museum
Golden domes atop Printemps dept store
Galleries Lafayettes has a gorgeous glass dome
Lemon meringue tart at Printemps
Notre Dame at night
rue Montorguiel is a delightful pedestrian only street market
My walking tour of the market was excellent. We stopped in many shops for tastes and learned about the market's history
Fresh produce abounded
Handmade chocolates on rue Montorgueil
Artisanal French cheeses
Star patisserie on rue Montorgueil
Edible works of art
Dehillerins is a world-famous baking/cooking store
Unique sculpture outside St Eustache
Beautifully executed sculpture inside St Eustache
Crowds on the way to sunset at Sacre Coeur
Sacre Coeur steps are crowded with sunset viewers
Pink sunset from Sacre Coeur
Arc de Triomphe illuminated after dark
In front of the Arc de Triomphe
Enjoying a cafe au lait while waiting for Sainte Chapelle to open
Glorious Sainte Chapelle
Fleur de lis in Sainte Chapelle
Approaching Notre Dame
Nuns outside Notre Dame
Flying buttresses holding Notre Dame in place
Lock of love phenomenon started in Paris
Unobstructed view of Notre Dame
Booksellers along the Seine
The tiled storefront was gorgeous
Diana and I met at Bouillon Racine which has a lovely art nouveau interior
And delicious food
Beautiful roses in an artful display
Berlin, Prague, Vienna 2008
Berlin, Prague, Vienna 2008
Tim and I took a Rick Steves tour to Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Cesky Krumlov, and Vienna. For 12 days we enjoyed these unique, historic cities along with excellent guides and a group of 24 friendly and interesting fellow travelers.
Coledampf kitchenware store in Berlin
Our tour group at the Brandenburg Gate which separates East and West Berlin
Memorials to East Germans who were killed trying to cross over to West Berlin
Reichstag in Berlin
Legislators slain for opposition to Hitler on display in front of Berlin's Reichstag
Close up of the stones with the names of the murdered politicians
The plaques were in front of houses where Jews were taken and sent to concentration camps.
The little man (Ampellman )signal started in East Berlin and continues now throughout the city
German History Museum (more interesting than it sounds!)
The largest remaining section of the Berlin Wall
Soviet era murals of happy young communists
A mall in Berlin with striking tile designs
We bought souvenirs at the Ampelmann store
Jewish Museum in Berlin
The original Jewish Museum in Berlin
Striking Nefertiti bust--estimated to have been made over 3,300 years ago!
Rainy day in Dresden
Museum complex in Dresden
Largest porcelain tile mural in the world
Instead of the museum Tim and I went to the VW factory for a tour
Jewish cemetery at Thereseinstadt concentration camp
Litomerice, Czech Republic. Charming town where we had to pay for toilet paper in the public restrooms.
Sunset on the Charles Bridge in Prague
Small district under the Charles Bridge
Beautiful evening stroll around the city center
Foggy morning at Prague Castle
St Vitus looks old, but it wasn't completed until the 20th century--notice architecs above the door.
Sidewalk patterns changed throughout the city.
Another of the many sidewalk patterns
Inside St Vitus at Prague Castle
The neighborhood below Prague Castle
Beautiful sgraffito on older buildings.
Fun lunch outdoors at a brewery near Prague Castle
View of the Vlatava from Prague Castle
House symbol in Prague
Looking up in Prague's Old Town Square
A royal chandelier at St Nikolas in Prague where we heard a local small orchestra perform Brandenburg Concertos.
View from clock tower in Prague Square
Imperial hotel had gorgeous tile work (and amazing desserts)
Delicious coffee drinks at the Imperial
Mucha Museum was a treat
Cesky Krumlov was so charming
Lunch alongside the river
Unique shop signs in Cesky Krumlov
Cesky Krumlov pub
Entrance to Melk Abbey
Diorama showed the entire abbey complex
Melk Abbey combined old and new in their exhibits
Vienna's Design Museum was lovely and had several fascinating exhibits.
Landmark Arts and Crafts building
Beautiful tiles cover this Arts and Crafts masterpiece
Secession building in Vienna
Approaching Schonbrun Palace
Beautiful fall colors near Schonbrun
Looking toward Vienna from the Upper Belvedere
Couldn't resist photo of the bird
In March 2008 Mare and I spent a week in Amsterdam and some nearby towns. After an inauspicious start (my flight from SFO was cancelled so I missed our meeting in Chicago. I was put on a non-stop so I was just a little bit late arriving and we found each other at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam.
We loved our hotel even though one night we had to endure the very nasty smell of floor stain from the common rooms. It was in an ideal location overlooking one of the major canals. The room was large and comfortable. We had breakfast each morning downstairs.
Amsterdam is a marvelous destination--charming architecture, fascinating history, and world class art. The Indonesian food is delicious but we also enjoyed some delicious main course pancakes.
We also took two great day trips--one to the lovely Keukenhof Gardens and Harlem and another to The Hague and Delft.
Bicycles are everywhere in Amsterdam
Hotel Brouwer-on the Singel Canal (a great, central location)
Built in 1652, the rooms have charm, character and modern plumbing
View of the canal from our room at the Brouwer
Canal view at night
Street are lined with unique storefronts
Lots of clever signage
Colorful flower boxes
More fun signage
We enjoyed a canal cruise
Swan's eye view
Albert Cuyp street market
Only in Amsterdam
We loved all the house signs
The fleur de lis reminded me of home
Home as a castle
Time is running out...
This stamp store was a favorite
The begijnhof religious community in Amsterdam
A bookstore with an unlocked bike out front
Amsterdam's unique red light district
We loved the vanGogh Museum--more of his paintings than any other museum in the world.
Best looking downspout in Amsterdam
A vintage windmill at the Kuekenhof Gardens
Gift shop covered with Dutch shoes
Tulips are the stars at Keukenhof
Lovely daffodils (jonquils??)
Official Keukenhof shoes
Although the trees were bare it was still a lovely view
Largest swans anywhere
More colorful tulips
Browsing in Harlem
We spent a very rainy couple of hours in scenic Harlem
Delicious warm apple bacon pancake for dinner in chilly rainy Harlem
They even had Dutch shoe shaped cheese
We had a few sunny days in Amsterdam
This iconic Vermeer is at the Maurishuis museum--a small, deep collection in The Hague.
This The Hague storefront stood out from its neighbors.
A bright surprise while walking up the stairs at de Bejinkorf dept store in The Hague.
Cathedral in Delft with memorial markers on the floor
Delft town square
Delft also had some clever store signage
Memorial to Dutch king with his faithful dog at his feet.
Browsing traditional blue and white pottery in Delft
Danube Christmas Market Cruise 2007
Eleanor and I loved our Danube cruise which included stops at several lovely Christmas Markets including:
Linz ( Abbey)
Durnstein in the Wachua Valley
A peaceful view in Wurzburg
Wurzburg was our first Christmas Market
It was crowded, but we didn't care...
Entrance into the classic Christmas village of Rothenburg
The displays in Rothenburg were lavish
Rothenburg Christmas Market where all the buildings were decorated.
Kathe Wohlfahrt is the pre-eminent Christmas shop
Magical tree inside Kathe Wohlfhart
Nuremberg stadium where Hitler addressed his most faithful followers.
Nuremberg housing was very traditional near the town center
A very traditional Christmas Market in Nuremburg
The most amazingly realistic marzipan treats (even the sausages were made out of marzipan)
The Christmas Market was just outside the Cathedral
The Danube near Regensburg
Handmade market in Regensburg
Unplanned stop in Deggendorf
Deggendorf's Market was crowded but we were pleased to find more handmade crafts
Passau had a great selection of warm caps
Each market we visited had some unique Christmas ornaments.
It was SOOO cold on the river
The ship, Amadeus Princess, could dock at some very small ports so we could just walk into the town
Overlooking Melk from the Abbey
Melk Abbey is a baroque masterpiece
If you look closely you'll see the Island of California
The impressive church inside Melk Abbey
We had a stop in the Wachau Valley, one of Austria's wine regions.
It was fascinating to experience the locks in the Danube
Artistic chefs on board
It was SOOO cold in Vienna. The Christmas market was at City Hall.
This seller had lovely nativity scenes
The booths in Vienna were among the fanciest we saw in the various markets.
A traditional jeweler in Vienna
Hofburg Palace in Vienna has a very impressive entrance
Vienna has beautiful statuary all over the city--lots of cherubs and musicians
Delicious Viennese pastries abounded
Unique colorful roof of St Stephens Cathedral in Vienna
We wish we could have seen the shooting stars at night
Only Vienna has such grand chandeliers
Salzburg, Innsbruck, and Luzern 2007
In June 2007 the Chancel Choir (plus friends and family) traveled to southern Germany, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Lichtenstein, Lucerne and Zurich. We sang in several venues and had lots of fun spending time together in this gorgeous region in Europe.
Gathering at SFO
Peggy socializing during the flight to Munich
Fairytale castle Neuschwanstein in Fussen, Germany
View from Neuschwanstein
Beautifully maintained flowers by Salzburg's city hall--looking towards the Castle
Salzburg Castle overlooks the city
View from the Salzburg Castle
Sherry, Avis and Maggie in Salzburg
A quick song in a completely marble room i City Hall--amazing acoustics!
It was fun to see our poster on display around Salzburg
Our concert at the Collegiate Church in Salzburg
We gave a short performance in the Salzburg Dom
Mozart's birthplace and childhood home
The store signs in the historic city center were beautifully made.
The Swarovski headquarters in rural Austria had many unusual presentations of crystals.
Neon exhibit inside Swarovski
We sang in a Catholic parish center in Innsbruck
The nuns were very appreciative audience members.
Al fresco dining after our concert in Innsbruck
After the concert in Innsbruck we enjoyed a delicious traditional Austrian dinner outside.
After breakfast John and I went looking for the Golden Roof. We finally found that we had actually eaten our dinner under the roof!
View from the boat on Lake Lucerne
A light-filled church in Lucerne where we performed during a German service.
Posing outside the church in Lucerne.
A short performance inside the Fraumunster in Zurich
Windows designed by Marc Chagall in Zurich
Neon walker in Zurich
Lunch overlooking Lake Lucerne with John, Mary and Nancy
Lucerne on a sunny day is so picturesque
Mountains surround the lovely city on the lake
Enjoying a boat tour of the Lake with Paul, Kathleen, Ed, Joel (and the rest of our group)
Lucerne is known for its feisty swans
Many buildings in Lucerne have beautiful paintings on their facades
Lucerne's covered bridge is a major landmark
Very moving exhibit honoring the Swiss Guard
Bob and Sue on the hotel porch
Swiss folklore show was enhanced by large steins of beer
Trish and Charlie-smiling as usual
All aboard in Lichtenstein
Lauren and I went to Paris to celebrate her 50th birthday. We rented an apartment opposite the Tuileries Garden and spent our days enjoying all of the highlights of Paris. We took some walking tours, visited museums, and did some shopping. The week went by far too quickly.
A gorgeous day at the Eiffel Tower
Le Grand Colbert (dinner courtesy of Mom and Dad)
Printemps--one of Paris' large department stores
Galeries Lafayette--the most beautiful dept store anywhere
Smart cars are sooo small
Beautiful beads in a Marais craft shop
More colorful options
Place des Vosges in the Marais
Even pigeons are amorous in Paris
Quiet gardens at the Palais Royal
Arc de Triomphe
IM Pei's pyramid at the Louvre
Jewel of the Louvre
Winged Victory of Samothrace--a highlight at the Louvre
The view up from our rental apartment
The amazing jeweled entry to the Palais Royal metro
Browsing at Portes de Vanves flea market
Our City Lights tour was a highlight of the trip
The Madeleine at night
Montmartre's world famous attractions
Unicorn tapestries at the Cluny Museum
A very traditional bistro
Cattle outside le Grand Palais
Dehillerin--the original cooking supply store
Lovely lunch at Cafe du Pont Neuf (courtesy of Brian)
On the Seine
View of Notre Dame from our Seine river boat
Lunch atop Printemps
Tuscany, Orvieto, Rome 2005
In May 2005 Tim and I went to Italy for 10 days around my birthday. We were mainly in Tuscany, but had a very memorable day trip to Rome.
Our first stop was San Gimignano where we stayed at La Cisterna, right in the middle of town.
After the day trippers left, San Gimignano was a delight to wander around.
"Downtown" San Gimignano. Our hotel, La Cisterna, at the yellow sign to the right of the middle of the photo.
View of Tuscan countryside from our room at La Cisterna.
I fell in love with Italian ceramics in San Gimignano
We drove to Siena, parked our rented car on the outskirts, and walked down into the center of town. This was our first glimpse of the campinile.
It was a lovely day in the Siena campo.
Siena campanile, on one side of the campo.
Siena was quite hilly so we saw several great views as we wandered around the town.
Dining al fresco in Siena
Siena Duomo where a movie was in production so we could not enter.
Close-up of the Duomo's crowning glory.
Our first view of Montalcino
The amazing view from our private terrace at Il Giglio in Montalcino
From Montalcino we took a day trip to Orvieto in Umbria
Close-up of the craftsmanship on the Orvieto duomo
A lovely ceramic shop facing the Orvieto duomo
A jewel box shop for handcrafted paper products
A stand of cypress along the autostrada between Orvieto and Montalcino
View from San Antimo Abbey
Sant Antimo abbey in the Tuscan countryside
A Tuscan hilltown near Montalcino
Tuscan countryside between Montalcino and Montepulciano
We were in Montalcino for their 450th anniversary celebration.
Flag bearers from all of Siena's contradas marched in the celebratory parade in Montalcinio
Coincidentally the parade was on my 50th birthday!
Montalcino was full of celebrants
Exquisite ceiling in Montalcino's pharmacia
After our Montalcino visit we spent a few days in Florence.
Florence's duomo and campanile
Entrance to Florence's duomo
Reenactment of Savanarola's
Copy of David outside Florence's city hall
We spent an amazing day in Rome with a private guide who whisked us around the city to see highlights
The forum was the center of city life in ancient Rome
Atop Capitoline Hill
Sistine Chapel Last Judgment
Sistine Chapel ceiling
Inside St Peter's
Cool fountain outside St Paul's Basilica
Trevi Fountain was gorgeous (but very crowded)
Beautiful architectural details abounded in Florence
San Lorenzo market
Laurentian Library was an oasis in Florence
I loved the architectural details at the Laurentian Library
Residenza Johlea-our hotel in Florence
Our room was large, had openable windows and very high ceilings
Afternoon drinks atop La Rinascente dept store
Beautiful views from Piazzale Michelangelo our last evening in Florence.
Florence and the Arno on our last evening in Florence
Our route in Italy
London and Paris 2005
In 2005 Lauren, Meg, Emily, David and I went to London for February school vacation. We rented a lovely house in Sloane Square and enjoyed the city with very few tourists. It was cold, but the lack of crowds made up for the low temperature. One day we took the Chunnel train to Paris where it snowed on us at the Eiffel Tower.
Traditional London pub
View toward Pimlico Road from the front door of our house in London
The living room in our lovely house on Bourne Street
Sloane Square--just a couple of blocks from our house
Quintessential view of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace
We call it home...
Musical accompaniment to the Changing of the Guards
Friendly Bobbies agreed to pose
Buckingham Palace gate
Horse guards heading for the Palace
La dee da Mayfair
I had no idea that London has a Chinatown
It was fun to see Harrods decorated with lights
Heading to Paris under the English Channel
We had lunch inside the Eiffel Tower
A little chilly to be eating outside..
Charming shop on ile St Louis
Our guide took photos of us throughout our visit
Portobello Road market in Notting Hill
Tower of London
Yeoman Warders give tours and live on the grounds of the Tower
The guards are VERY good at ignoring distractions.
The crown jewels were amazing! Unfortunately no photos were permitted so I found this photo on line.
Posing on Tower Bridge
Meg and Em with a glimpse of the Gherkin
I loved the architectural details all over the city
The London Eye was incredible!
We wished for a blue sky
We were thrilled to be able to see Mary Poppins before it came to the US
My 5th time seeing Les Mis on stage!
Four floors of solid wood staircases inside Liberty
The newly opened Churchill Museum in the underground war rooms was fascinating.
A very fun shop window on Regent Street
Patriotic display along Regent Street
Paris, Lake Como, Wengen, Luzern 2003
In September of 2003 Tim and I traveled through the heart of Europe for almost 3 weeks. We started in Paris where we enjoyed lots of walking, visiting museums, delicious food and Paris Jazz Festival.
We then took the high speed train across France to Chur in eastern Switzerland. We spent one night and took the Bernina Express train route to Tirano on the Italian border. Our destination was Lake Como--heaven on earth! The weather was gorgeous and we enjoyed a very relaxing stay in this bit of paradise.
Our next stop was Wengen, Switzerland (after a routing through Milan) overlooking the lovely Lauterbrunnen Valley and the Jungfrau, Monch, and Eiger mountains. We did quite a bit of easy hiking and one day took the train up to Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe. Another day we traveled across the valley and up to the Piz Gloria rotating restaurant on the Schiltorn that was featured in "Ob Her Majesty's Secret Service".
Our last stop was the lovely lakeside city of Luzern. Incredibly picturesque it was the perfect spot to relax before heading home.
On our first morning at Lake Como we awoke to a view of Paradise.
Hotel Familia was very comfortable and convenient
Looking up at the Eiffel Tower
Arc de Triomphe from the Eiffel Tower
Under a tree canopy
Montmartre's wall of love
In front of the Arc de Triomphe
Dior in Paris oolala
5 Star Plaza Athenee Hotel on Avenue Montaigne
Booklined restaurant in the 6th
At Musee d'Orsay
Sacre Coeur in the distance
View from the top of Centre Pompidou
Musee d'Orsay-world's best Impressionist collection
I'd never seen a roadside gas station. You just pull over to the right to fill up.
At the top of the tethered balloon
Quayside along the Seine near Hotel de Ville
We like this restaurant so much that we ate there twice
Eiffel Tower from our Seine cruise
After Paris we took the high speed train to Chur in eastern Switzerland
After just one night in Chur we took took the Bernina Express to Italy
We walked around the city before a traditional Swiss dinner
When we arrived at Lake Como it was grey and drizzling
Thankfully the rest of our time at Lake Como was gorgeous--warm and sunny
Our hotel in Varenna was Albergo Olivedo. The boat stop was right in front of the hotel
Lake Como from the northern point of Bellagio on a perfect day
Approaching Bellagio on the ferry
The hills of Bellagio had beautiful views over Lake Como
View of the Jungfrau from our hotel room
The crooked view from our hotel
The reflections on the lake were magical
Paul Cezanne's actual paint palette
Gracie, Coco, Daisy
Gracie's first day at home--she could fit on my hand
She was a regal cat who was always ready for a photo
Gracie had such beautiful blue eyes
I was always surprised when Gracie would hold a pose so I could snap a photo
Gracie followed the sun around the house
A watercolor of Gracie and me painted by Susan Faye, an artist I came across on Etsy.
I still miss my sweet Gracie
The day after Gracie died I went to the SF SPCA and adopted two sisters I named Daisy and Coco. After 20 years with Gracie I couldn't imagine life without feline companionship.
Daisy started exploring her new home right away
Coco needed a little more time
One of my favorite photos of them--they can be so sweet with each other.
One of my favorite photos of them--they can be so sweet to one another (or not)
There's nothing like a good stretch
One of the rare photos where they almost look like twins
Coco is quite the climber
We are waiting for our treats
My Welcome Home girls--they hear the garage door open and run to the front door to greet me.
Coco and Daisy in Paris--painted by Carol Gillott, an American painter now living in Paris
Daisy instinctively knows how to strike a pose
Coco in one of her favorite spots--the living room mantle
Queen Daisy surveying her kingdom
Coco loves looking at the pretty ornaments. Thankfully she doesn't try to swat them down.