May 31, 2013

An update from Denver

Yes, I'm back in the U.S.A with a lot of extra luggage and one gigantic carry-on of mixed emotions.

My first stop in America was Washington D.C. And now I'm in Denver, Colorado. The last month has been insane-o: lack of internet access, fellow travelers ill, a night without my luggage, general anxiety about the end of my trip, a very full heart, and overall amazingness. I have a lot of catching up to do sharing my travels in Europe and here in the States. Yes, that means more blog posts forthcoming starting with...
Breakfast at Snooze...2 days in a row. Snooze is a Colorado based breakfast/brunch eatery (who now has a stop in San Diego!). So, those pancakes from left to right: Key Lime, Pineapple upside down cake, sweet potato. Not pictured: One of the best breakfast burritos ever (according to Tawnya), english muffin bread pudding with raspberry preserves, housemade chicken sausage, and brioche french toast filled with mascarpone and topped with strawberries. All shared with my college roommates, Amy and Tawnya. I wish I could say we were carb loading for the open tryouts. But there are no contestants in this picture.
Only in this picture. We caught this guy during an interview for an upcoming taping.
Instead our breakfasts (not to mention our fried fare from H Burger) fueled our shopping and strolling down 16th street
past the big bear
And to the Denver Art Museum
The best part though--hanging out and talking as if our late night card games and visit to Craigo's were just last week.

May 23, 2013

GerBeNeLux A-Z

GerBenelux = Germany + Benelux the tri-country area consisting of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. These events were recorded in April.
Averting our eyes in the red-light district in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Bicycles in Amsterdam
Canal ride in Gent, Belgium
Dizzy climb to the top of Cologne Cathedral Dome, Germany
Exits off highways are sometimes on the left in the Netherlands. Took a few "exits" to figure that one out.
F "(insert explitive) respect" said our neighbor with a a double fist pump to his chest when Amy and I returned from our water bike tour ALL THE WAY AROUND the lake instead of taking the shortcut we didn't know about in Vreeland, Netherlands
Ggggent. Our b&b host teaching us how to pronounce "Gent" in Dutch.
Hold the Chocolate!!!! I'm on overload!
Imagine the flower fields in full bloom, because they're not blooming yet
Jovial Cyclists stopped "us" and snapped our picture with them
Ketchup or Friet sauce with those fries. Both please!
Late night dorm room chats. Some things don't change after twenty years. Traveling with my college roommate Amy.
Muddy tunnels and castle mines in St. Goar Germany
Nice people only in Gent, Belgium
On the Road Again . . . our road trip song
Passionfruit ice cream is the perfect end to a four course meal at the castle.
Queen for the day at said castle
Red rope--a mile of it--leads us through Amsterdam to the relocated Van Gogh museum
St Agnes--the patron saint of single women. For all the single ladies out there this is for you
Trails in the Rhine Valley, Germany
Uno games accompanied by ants
Waffles, of course in Belgium
Xylophone--ok not really , but there was a stylish string trio playing Pachelbel's Cannon on the street in Antwerp, Belgium
Yellow varigated, Blue Flowers, Gold polka dots and Neon stripes. A girl can never have too many scarves
Zero space left in the trunk of the rental car after all our shopping.

May 14, 2013

The Kindness of Scots

In 5 parts here is my attempt to convey how overwhelmed I am by the kindness of those I met in Scotland.

First Out in the country the roads are narrow and long and often desolate, but when I did encounter another car I could barely make out the color before it had pulled over into a turnout to let me by. It is almost a competition of sorts to see who can pull over first to let the oncoming traffic (or new friend) pass and then wave as you go by.
Those tight roads lead to places like this
and this
The lambies and cows are not so accommodating
Second To celebrate my birthday I booked a facial at a fancy Spa on Loch Lomond, but I had quite the time finding it. My navigation system never did. I pulled into a hotel and asked a passing lady for directions to the Carrick Spa. She explained it was back up the road (at least a mile). And even though her directions were perfectly adequate she hopped in her car and bade me follow her. After pulling into the correct driveway she waved me on and turned back out onto the road going the opposite direction. So sweet, I had to fight back the tears.
Third The general respect even extends to restroom signs. No "men" or "women" or "triangles" or "circles" denoting genders here.
Fourth In Edinburgh I asked a woman standing at a bus stop if she knew where to find the airport shuttle. As she responded her neighbor jumped in, both fighting to help and apologizing to the other for interrupting, I was given directions to the best airport shuttle bus ever: a double decker with upper level front seats all to myself. Only £2. If you are going to Edinburgh Do NOT pay the £25 for a taxi from downtown Edinburgh to the airport. TAKE THE BLUE SHUTTLE BUS. The views are fantastic.
Yay double deckers
Lastly I had some exceptional hosts in Scotland. Finding myself in a pickle in Edinburgh, a kind couple let me be their first guest with only 30 minutes notice and then my lovely hostess in Croftamie 1.5 hours away, gathered all my gear stashing it and her 1 year old daughter in her car, she drove 30 minutes to deliver everything to me (except her adorable daughter) at the nearest train station.

Scotland is Beautiful

May 9, 2013

A Loch Monster Feast

Not Nessie or the Loch Lomond Monster but a Seafood feast.

Seafood chowder from MHORFish in Callander Scotland. The fish:broth ratio is like 8:2. And it has a yummy smoky aroma and flavor (smoked salmon kind of smoky).
Speaking of smoked salmon, one of my new favorite breakfast dishes is eggs with smoked salmon and toast. Really, it's yu-ummy!

Then I heard about this place: Loch Fyne Oyster Bar
There's just a 2 lane road separating the restaurant from the lake.
It's all about the fish, the interior is minimalist and bright.
And when they brought my order I, as well as the Scottish couple sitting next to me, had a really good laugh.
You get a gold star if you can name everything (and you're getting off easy, 3 things are missing).
I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when I ordered the "West Coast Fruits of the Sea" but it was delightful. No, I could not eat it all, best to bring a friend or 3 to enjoy this feast.

May 8, 2013


I have some catching up to do. When I travel with friends (which is wonderful) I neglect my blog, plus I've had limited Internet access. With that said, here is a flashback to my magical visit to Gent Belgium

Take 3 fabulous nights with this view
Add buckets-full of romantic lighting (the city has an official lighting plan, well done Gent)
Add heaps of beautiful architecture.
Mix well with a canal cruise
Season with chocolates of choice (we are in Belgium after all)
Voila, the spell is cast!