Posts Tagged ‘ Travel

Back in Maui

Funny being here twice in one year. Day 1: Thankful for husband who loads car with luggage and carries Lincoln’s gear. For TSA Pre. For baby who flies really really well. For not feeling disastrous despite less than 4 hours sleep. For learning L slept through the night for first time in weeks. For landing in Maui and the familiar scent, sound, heat of it. For the excitement of being here. For our traditional Costco run and the anticipation of friends’ arrival. For L finally eating. For our walk on the beach to see sunset. For introducing L to the ocean. The look on his face in the sand, seeing the pools, and his crib that he won’t use. For L’s repeated delight today with pretty much everything, but especially our hotel room.

Maui - Lincoln 10 Months

Maui - Lincoln 10 Months

Maui - Lincoln 10 Months

Cinque Terre: A Day Trip to the 5 Villages

“Go to Cinque Terre. It is the most romantic place on Earth,” I was told, repeatedly, by friends and colleagues. Even when I went to the bookstore while planning our trip, I picked up an Italy book, flipped it open and said “Cinque Terre – Best Time to Go: April”. All roads were leading to Cinque Terre, so I Googled and told the hubster. The next thing you know we’re on a train from Florence, with a transfer in Pisa, to a quick stop in La Spezia, before boarding a local train to Riomaggiore–the first of the five villages.

What is Cinque Terre? Well literally, it’s the “Five Lands” located on the coast of Italy that is part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is not accessible by cars and was built on top of steep cliffs that overlook the sea. Picturesque for sure. Most stay a night or two, but decided to just make it a day trip and see what all the dreamy-eyed looks were about when people would describe this place.

The ride to Riomaggiore on the train was short. Through the tunnels we caught glimpses of the sea and knew we were in for a treat. But first we had to get past the hordes of high school students. Sadly we disembarked at the same village a few hundred students and their chaperons. Insert loud clambering Italian teenagers. Wait a while for them to a ramble past and then–there was the coast.

Cinque Terre

In Riomaggiore, the one thing I wanted to do was walk on Via dell Amore, the Lover’s Trail, because a friend had told me it was the most romantic hike ever. Yeah, I’ll give her that. It was gorgeous and every square foot of the path was covered in the graffiti of couples’ initials, poems, and declarations of affection. On the guard rail were locks that visitors left (throwing away the key), an expression of their love.

Cinque Terre

Yeah, this path was gushy but it’s Italy and we’re in Cinque Terre and you’re walking by the sea–does it get any better? I finally convince Ryan to put our names in stone and we take our time (mainly avoiding the crowds) walking on the path. A school teacher even offers to take our photo.

At the end of the path was Vernazza. A tiny village again beautifully placed atop cliffs. Here’s where my narrative drops off a bit and I’m going to rely on photos.

Cinque Terre - 19

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre - 51

Cinque Terre

Weekend in Oregon

Saturday at the Ocean

1. Get picked up by Irene and Whitney in the morning.
2. Stop by Stumptown for good coffee and McDonald’s for an obligatory road trip breakfast.
3. Head south and stop in Astoria at Rogue Brewery for some fluffy-crusted sausage pizza.
4. Encounter some sleepy, some scratchy, but mostly noisy sea lions.
5. Drive to Cannon Beach and visit Ecola State Park.
6. Walk along the paved paths for a view of the coastal cliffs. Inhale the brisk ocean air.

Cannon Beach, OR - 01

7. Make our way down to Indian beach. Stay a while.
8. Run around, place in sand, toss a frisbee, and feel the icy cold saltwater on our feet.

Cannon Beach, OR - 05

9. Go into town for snacks: a fig and prosciutto crepe, a coffee, and an ice cream cone.
10. Get struck by awe at the size of Haystack rock. Wonder “How did that happen?”

Cannon Beach, OR - 10

11. Travel to Portland and check into hotel before dinner in the Pearl District.
12. Start with mussels in an orange sambuca butter sauce and a guava margarita.
13. After dinner have beers at a dive bar that embraces black light.

Sunday in Portlandia
1. Enjoy gluten-free vegan local blueberry cornbread pancakes and “garden sausage”.
2. Have gas filled by an attendant as required by law.
3. Buy notebooks and cards at a paper store. Find out it’s where “Put a Bird on It” was filmed.
4. Get pedicures and drink free champagne while watching a Korean soap opera.

Portlandia - 07

5. Spend all day shopping tax-free in the Alphabet District.
6. Visit boutique clothing stores. Buy a dress and some earrings.
7. Notice Portland retail themes of birds and cattle skulls.
8. Stop for tarts at a bakery. End up with box of 16 sweets. Get free sugar cookies.
9. Drive back north and eat scrumptious blackberry almond macaroons.
10. Go far and stop in Olympia for some Thai food and get crispy sweet and sour fish.
11. Arrive in Seattle and get dropped off at home by our wonderful two friends.

Weekend in Vancouver

Ryan and I went on a little trip to Canada this weekend to celebrate our wedding anniversary a few days early. What a beautiful (and blazingly hot) summer weekend in the Pacific Northwest! Now time for a reverse to do list!

Arrival to Vancouver
1. Drive north and stop in Everett for vermicelli bowls at a Vietnamese restaurant.
2. Cross the Canadian border with minimal wait. Realize I have a watch tan.
3. Check-in to the Westin Grand and get keys to a large corner suite(!) on 20th floor.
4. Watch Michael Phelps win his final individual gold medal on TV and meander outside.
5. Walk to the Crepe Cafe: Nutella and coconut for him, French toast for me.
6. Sleep!

Saturday
1. Let sunshine into room and walk to the Twisted Fork for breakfast.
2. Eat gruyere baked eggs with amazing sourdough toast, bacon, tomato and baked beans.
3. Try the best bloody mary I’ve ever had, complete with a pickled brussel sprout.

A pickled brussel sprout in my Bloody Mary. Pretty awesome actually.

4. Browse shops on Granville (skeezy even in daylight), drive out of the city, get iced coffee.
5. Arrive at Lynn Canyon Park, hike out to the pools with the masses in hot hot heat.
6. Cross my first suspension bridge, feel wobbly legged and happy after.
7. Wade in the creek waters, lay on sun-warmed rocks, and read book.
8. Watch teenagers dive into the 30 feet deep pools, gasp at the brisk water.
9. Get really tan.
10. Hike through the park, climb beneath tree roots, listen to the sound of waterfalls.

Favorite part of weekend: wading in Lynn Creek to stay cool, reading my book atop sun soaked stones, legs in the water 8)

11. Drive back to the city and enjoy a complimentary glass of wine at the hotel bar.
12. Walk over to Sutra, a modern Indian restaurant that Ryan picked out for us.
13. Eat root vegetable kofta, lentil dal, coconut curry, raita, rice, and naan. Yum!
14. Walk to the seawall and watch the Celebration of Light fireworks show.
15. Eat crepes again on the way home. Learn there is such a thing as too much nutella.

Sunday
1. Wake up and head straight to the rooftop hot tub and sauna. (Such a good hotel!)
2. Pack up and look for dim sum. Eat shrimp balls of many sorts. Feel hot outside.
3. Go to Granville Island and shop the market. Enjoy the cool air off the water.
4. Buy a new notebook and two kinds of mouthwatering local honey: wildflower and blueberry.
5. Sit by the water and soak up sun while musicians play nearby.
6. Stop at the Granville Brewery and pick up a case of crisp island lager to take home.
7. Drive to a beach to see more views of the Vancouver skyline.
8. Head south and pick up some single malt scotch at the duty free store.
9. Cross the border and eat a double beef patty burger at Five Guys in Bellingham.
10. Stop along the way and buy artwork for the wall and some plastic plates (random).

New York – Day 4

1. Wake up early and grab oatmeal and hashbrowns on way to subway.
2. Go to Bryant Park and learn there’s an hour wait for next ferry to Ellis Island.
3. Stand in the line in the sun and sweat. A lot.
4. Board ferry, take in views of Manhattan and Lady Liberty.
5. Speed through the Ellis Island Museum. Feel saddened recalling anti-immigrant rhetoric.
6. Walk to the Freedom Tower. Endure more humidity and heat. Sweat some more in lines.
7. Decide it’s less stressful doing business in NYC than being a tourist in NYC.
8. Visit the 9/11 Memorial.
9. Take cab back to Soho. Find fantastic thin crust pizza place–without Internet research.
10. Eat delicious red onion, sausage, basil pizza. Decide this and falafels were fave meals.
11. Take cab to EWR, remember how pricey it is. Rack up Foursquare points and fly home.

< Read Day 3

New York – Day 3

1. Sleep-in and walk to Jane Restaurant in Greenwich Village for amazing brunch.
3. Drink complimentary cocktails and eat biscuits and lobster eggs benedict.
4. Walk through Chelsea and Meatpacking District. Enjoy the relative quiet.
5. Visit Highline Park. Decide it’s worth the hype. Admire creative reuse of space.
6. Buy refreshing ice cream sandwich made of ginger cookies and green tea ice cream.
7. Catch cab to 30 Rock. Accept that it beats the smelly subway.
8. Take elevator to top with swarms of international tourists. Take in the view in stifling heat.
9. Miss last ferry to Ellis Island, decide to explore Midtown instead.
10. Buy new flats and gold rings at BCBG Max Azria. Pick up a new dress. Visit Grand Central.
11. Meet Brie on a crossstreet and experience anlaysis paralysis on Yelp.
12. Find an Italian restaurant with lots of of candlelight, awkward waiters, and excellent pasta.
13. Walk through West Village, realize proximity of Brie’s apartment to our hotel.
14. Order drinks at hotel bar, sit outside, and hear about Brie’s new life in Manhattan.

< Read Day 2