Places

Iceland!

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Outside the Blue Lagoon

When on earth would we ever go to Iceland? And then the opportunity arose – thanks to a very clever marketing scheme between Iceland Air and the Icelandic government to lure people to their little frozen island. Fly Iceland Air on your way to, say, Amsterdam, and have a free layover up to seven days where you can wander around the island. We rented an awful car from a place called, appropriately, SAD cars, which rents them for dirt cheap, and drove ourselves through the Golden Tour to hike around waterfalls, rock fissures, a crater lake, the original geyser, and other scenic beauty that looks like Mars. We also took a dip into the very expensive but worthwhile Blue Lagoon, wandered Reyjavik, didn’t even try to understand any of the Icelandic language that was spoken, and ate lots of seafood. I was busy wrangling two small children that it wasn’t very easy to take all the amazing landscape of Iceland, but here are a small, select few.

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Geysir

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Downtown Reykjavik

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Lakeside Reykjavik

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The Blue Lagoon

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Reykjavik

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Icelandic plants

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Places

Outer Banks!

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Last August we took a maternity leave trip to sunny, humid Outer Banks for a week. This is one of my new favorite beach spots to rent a house—long stretches of seashell-flanked beaches, cool oceans, quiet evenings without the collegiate bar scene, beautiful homes with beautiful balconies overlooking the water and sunset.

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Places

Paris!

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Arc de Triomphe
Paris! Paris! Paris!  We took a last-minute trip to one of our most favorite places on Earth in December, before the Christmas holidays descended on us and right before I started a new job. It had been six years since I’d spent four months there finishing up my MBA. Little had changed other than that we got married and had a kid, and the locks that cover up the seated river view on the Pont des Arts. For six days we wandered to all our favorite haunts with toddler in tow, taking in tea and macarons at Ladurée, playing by the Eiffel Tower and Tuileries and Jardin de Luxembourg, window shopping along the Champs-Élysées, and getting lost up in Montmartre. I also took a number of city-in-lights photos with the intention of creating a Paris-by-night series, but since Paris is beautiful all of the time I’ve included some daytime shots.

IMG_0112View from Jardin de Tuileries
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Louvre
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Eiffel Tower by the moon
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Pont des Arts

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Places

Colorado Springs

IMG_9770 logoRed rocks at Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colo.

A week ago, I flew out to Colorado Springs for work for five days. In between meetings, my co-workers and I managed to sneak out and check out some of the amazing sites and scenery. We popped into the Garden of the Gods and took the cog railway all the way up to the top of Pikes’ Peak at 14,000 feet. For a work trip, it wasn’t too shabby! Here are some of the pictures I shot.

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Places

Sicily!

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The remains of Temple of Castor and Pollux (Dioscuri)Agrigento

Jon brilliantly scored a paid conference trip to Sicily in July, so of course Little One and I had to tag along on the ride. Sicily is truly the “land down under” Italy, with its grand history of once being Greek, then Norman, then Italian. We visited Greek ruins, Norman palaces and churches, Italian gelato and pastas. Our first stay was to Selinunte di Marinella, along the Mediterranean coastline, where we had views of the Selinunte archaelogical park. We drove our rental car to Agrigento, another UNESCO world heritage site of Greek ruins, and to the small town of Erice on the mountaintop, and visited Selinunte archaelogical park, before spending the rest of our week and Jon’s conference in the city of Palermo. Thanks to strep and a resulting tonsillar abscess, I got to experience a little of Sicily’s emergency room healthcare, all in Italian. Here are the photos I did get when I was not being treated for an enlarged tonsil.

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“Temple S” at Selinunte, overlooking the Mediterranean

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Valley of the Temples” – Agrigento

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Sicilian flower blooming at Agrigento

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Jon and little one playing in the waves of the Mediterranean, Marinella di Selinunte

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Outside a ceramics shop in Erice

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Near the Castle of Venus in Erice

Duomo in Palermo

The Duomo in Palermo

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Dusk falls over the Duomo, Palermo

Places

A snapshot: Sicily!

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Places

Spain! Part uno

The alcazar in Segovia

Finally! I have gotten around to posting some pics from our travels to Spain back in May. With this wonderful vacation time called maternity leave, Jon and I rushed to have a passport issued for baby and packed a travel crib, carseat, stroller, Baby Bjorn, and one giant suitcase of mostly her clothes and some for ourselves. We spent three weeks wandering through Spain, beginning with eight days in Madrid, followed by a train trip north to Basque Country (San Sebastian and Bilbao), then a flight south to Andalucia. It was more than just matadors and women in frilly dresses who danced with fans; it was a whole Arabian world, a land of late lunches and dinners, of narrow alleys and cultural perseverance, evenings of 2-euro wine and Picasso, siestas and economic turmoil and rapid-tongue language,  ever-changing scenery, roasting late spring weather, plasticky diapers, strong religion and historic cobblestone streets that ripped up our stroller wheels. I believe taking such a crazy trip with an infant forced us all to become very flexible, accommodating, patient and efficient – all of us. She’s been the easiest baby ever since, as well as the most well-traveled, and for that we were able to enjoy our time there. Here are some select pictures from the first week of our trip, through Madrid, Toledo and Segovia, at random.

Parque de Retiro, Madrid

Conservatory in Parque de Retiro, Madrid
Marche San Miguel, Madrid

Parade of giant heads, Festival of San Isidro, Madrid

Ceramic piggies, Madrid

Catedral Primada Santa María, Toledo

Sacristy, Toledo

Toledo train station

Tapas menu, Toledo

Aqueduct, Segovia

Alcazar from hiking trail, Segovia

City gate, Segovia

Segovia Cathedral, Segovia

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