We arrived in Cape Town at night. The drive from the airport to Victoria & Alfred Hotel was quick and painless. We woke up the following morning to find Table Mountain sitting tall and proud right outside our hotel window. After breakfast at the hotel, we headed out to look around Cape Town on the Sightseeing Bus.
Table Mountain rises 1,084 m (3,558 ft) above Cape Town. The level plateau is about 3 km (2 mi) from side to side, flanked by Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head. There were many walking trails that others took up the mountain, but we opted to go up by cable car instead. Although there was a long wait, ours was shorter since we had bought our tickets ahead of time. We were also lucky because the frequent cloud cover seen over Table Mountain was not visible during our two days in town.
Although not frequently named as a must-do while in Paris, we enjoyed our Seine River cruise when we went there. It’s awesome for people watching, whether they are on Left Bank or Right Bank or Île de la Cité. There were people reading, playing music, chatting, making out, and any other activity you can think of doing outdoors during a sunny spring afternoon. It was also great viewing the architecture of the old apartments that lined the river, ones that are way out of our budget! We can dream, can’t we?
London was the first European city my husband and I went to together. (He was just my boyfriend at the time!) Quite honestly, our first impression of it wasn’t the greatest. We arrived jetlagged, only to find ourselves sharing this city with millions others who were out on the Thames that day. It happened to be a sunny spring day, which is apparently a pretty rare thing.
We decided to skip the long lines at the London Eye and just admire this tall Ferris wheel from the ground. The red capsule really stood out among the white ones!
I had seen many photos of the British Museum and I knew I wanted to take a picture of its geometric glass ceiling from the start. I brought my wide angle lens on the trip mostly for this very reason, though I wound up finding great use for it, as you can see in the other two photos.
On an overcast summer morning, I arrived at the Portland International Rose Test Garden. The park was still empty before the throngs of tourists who were to arrive over the next couple of hours. The burst of colors and the smells of the thousands of roses overwhelmed me. I knew I was coming to a rose garden, but I had never seen anything in this scale before. This was macro photography heaven! To make it even better, a brief rain shower interrupted the cool air, and left magical rain drops on the rose petals.
If you visit Portland in the summer, this is a must see destination. (Washington Park is also home to the Japanese Garden, Oregon Zoo, Hoyt Arboretum, and a few other sites.) If you come early enough in the morning, you have most of the place to yourself. It also doesn’t hurt that the parking is free before 9am. My first visit here (when the photos below were taken) was in the middle of June, but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the roses still blooming at the end of August, when I brought some visiting family here.
This is an unusually photo-heavy post because it was hard to choose just a couple of photos that represented this event. This past weekend, Feast Portland took place over here in Portland (duh!). This was our first time attending and we loved eating our way through all of the vendors.
This is essentially a food festival. They have main events, but also other events that are more specific to different types of foods and drinks, such as sandwich, coffee, beer, and many others. With the latter, they are separated into Dinner Series, Tasting Panels, and Hands On Classes. Attending any of the Feast Portland events isn’t very cheap, ranging from $50 up to $200 per person, but the proceeds go toward fighting hunger locally.
This year, I was only able to go to the Grand Tasting — one of the main events — due to my work schedule, but it was a fantastic introduction to the event. Under unseasonably warm skies, mostly local vendors brought out a sample of their food and drinks. There were also a few cooking demonstrations in the center stage. It’s really hard to choose a favorite because there were so many good ones, but I was quite partial to Olympic Provisions, Oregon Olive Mill, and Salt & Straw.
I’m really looking forward to going again in the future. Perhaps even to some of the smaller events. I just have to remember to buy my tickets early because they sell out early!
The Lan Su Chinese Garden is located in the middle of Portland, right in the old Chinatown. It brings the Ming Dynasty gardens of Suzhou, China, right to the Pacific Northwest. There are multiple gardens and courtyards, which are connected by bridges and surrounds a pond with lotus leaves and flowers. This garden really transforms you back into history, and represents a wonderful juxtaposition of old China and modern America.
I can’t believe it has taken me this long to write about Boston. It’s probably my favorite city in all of New England and I have been there a handful of times over the years. For the longest time, I wanted to move there, although now I’m glad I don’t ever have to deal with Boston’s cold and snowy winters. It’s a relatively big city, but very much manageable.
We got to Boston the first day in July, when the temperature was heating up and summer storms were unpredictable. We were lucky to have gotten a hotel just a couple of blocks from Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, which were the two places we wandered to after checking into our hotel.
The following day, we took a trolley tour around town, which was colorfully introduced to us by Vacation Vinny. As he says, “We don’t have crimes in the North End, it’s all organized!” Included in our trolley ticket was a harbor cruise, so we got to see 90% of Boston both by land and by sea. We also waited to see the USS Constitution, which is still considered to be an active warship since it gets towed a mile into the Boston Harbor every year.
Finally, on the last day, we took a tour of Fenway Park, which was probably my favorite part of the trip. We contemplated getting tickets to a Red Sox game, but it just didn’t fit into the schedule. The tour of the park was even better since we got to go on the field and into the visitors’ dugout! At the end of the tour, this old volunteer showed us some World Series rings, which he aptly called “chick magnets.” We also went to the Samuel Adams Brewery, where we got to sample three of their beers. Lastly, we got dinner in Chinatown, but the soup dumplings weren’t quite up to par and I was slightly disappointed.
Hong Kong is mostly known for its hustle and bustle as one of the business cities in the world. It was a place I called home once upon a time, and a place that I love going back to over and over again throughout the years. In my opinion, no other city’s skyline rivals that of Hong Kong, and that’s including Paris, New York, and a few others that I have been to. Every night, the Symphony of Lights puts on a show that transforms the skyscrapers from day to night. I love getting a glimpse of it from different angles of the city.
I can’t decide if the classic view of Hong Kong is best from Victoria Peak or the Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront, but wandering under the tall buildings in Central or Admiralty offers a different perspective. And as you get into the neighborhoods of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, business signs light up entire streets.
New York may been known as the city that never sleeps, but I wonder if Sinatra would change his mind if he visits Hong Kong today.
However, this is not the only side to Hong Kong. I plan on making a post in the future with another side of Hong Kong that many may not have seen before.
It’s no secret that I love photographing landscape and nature. I’m also interested in cityscape and architecture, and specifically urban decay. There’s just something about peeling paint and crumbling walls that really draw me in. I also love processing them in monotone, which really conveys a sense of mood.
The three posted below are my personal favorites. The first was taken in Kilmainham Gaol, a former prison in Dublin, Ireland. The second is Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA; it once housed the famous Al Capon. Lastly, Dachau was the first Nazi concentration camp in Germany during World War II, located just outside of Munich.
If San Francisco (and all of coastal California, for that matter) wasn’t so expensive to live in, I would move there in a heart beat. There is just something about the architecture and the hills and the water and the fog, and even the touristy sites, that I am eternally drawn to.
Back in December, my husband and I went to San Francisco. It was his first time there, and I was not shy about showing him the tourist sites. I know many people love experiencing the local flavors of any city, but I feel that the tourist sites are famous for reasons. To be honest, this was my first time heading out to Alcatraz, which I loved for its beautiful urban decay.
In some ways, we were lucky that the sun was out during the entire time, although I have to admit that I would not have minded seeing the Golden Gate Bridge under a layer of the famous Bay Area fog.