Saturday, February 28, 2015

February

Update time - or monthly recap - or whatever I'm calling it. It's time to review the month of February!

Travel -
I just got back from one of the biggest trips I've ever been on. I went to Tokyo. My first time to Tokyo, my first time to Japan and my first time to Asia. It was a wild ride starting with my flight from Atlanta, which was supposed to take 14 hours already, being delayed by 8 hours. They held us at the gate for 4 hours due to a mechanical problem. Then when it was fixed they had us de-plane because the crew would've been over their alloted time frame for working. So then they had to call in a new crew which took 2 hours. And we were supposed to leave at 11am and arrive at Narita at 3:30pm. Instead we left Atlanta at 7pm and arrived at Narita at 10pm. I was never so happy to see anyone in my life as the little Japanese driver who was waiting on me at the airport to take me into Tokyo! Whew! 




Eat-

I don't eat out alot unless I'm traveling. And I tend to get into a cooking rut and make the same foods over and over. But my mom was visiting this month so I made meatloaf, which is one of her and my  favorites ( and not particularly Mr. Ur's) I have to say it turned out so good that it ranks as one of my favorite meals for the month. 
Of course, there was lots of food in Japan. I'm not a seafood lover but I did try sushi. It was pretty good. And there was yakatori, pizza, and crepes in Harajaku. My favorite, though was soba - which are homemade buckwheat noodles in broth. Delicious.

Yakitori - skewers of grilled meat

You can bet they'll be much more on the blog about eating in Japan!

Read -

I managed to read 4 books this month, aided by the long travel time to and from Japan.
I read:
Paris in Love by Eloisa James which are short snippets of Facebook and Twitter postings from the year she lived in Paris with her husband and two children. A very quick and easy read.
The Return by Victoria Hislop. This is a fiction book about a family living in Granada, Spain during the Spanish Civil War.
The Lady by the River. A historical novel by the famous Phillipa Gregory. I believe I've read almost all of her books.
Missing You by Harlan Coben. One of this prolific mystery writers newest books, I couldn't put this one down until I found out whodunit.

So an improvement on getting more reading done and less computer time. All in real books with real pages. Don't own a Kindle or Nook or any kind of e-reader yet though I feel in the minority. Still like those real books.

So there you have it. February in a nutshell. A pretty good month of traveling, eating and reading. 
How about you? How was your February? Did you eat some good food? Go somewhere? or just spend alot of time by the fire reading?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Top 10 - My Favorite Photos of Puerto Rico

We spent a fun and diverse 10 days in Puerto Rico - Isla Verde Beach, watched La Vuelta bicycle ride around the island with a stop in Ponce and then some bucolic days on the beach in Rincon. Here are my Top 10 favorite photos.

1. Isla Verde Beach outside of San Juan




2. Lobby of Hotel El Convento in San Juan




3. Old San Juan




4. La Rogativa sculpture in Old San Juan




5. Surf's Up on Sandy Beach near Rincon




6. Steps Beach at Tres Palmas Marine Reserve




7. El Morro at sunset




8. Sandy Beach in Rincon




9. Culebra Island at sunset




10. View from El Morro of San Juan Cemetery and San Juan Bay




What is your favorite photo of Puerto Rico? Have you ever been?


Linking up with #fridaypostcards at www.walkingontravels.com. Go check it out!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Best Little Tiki Bar in Colorado


Have you ever happened upon someplace while traveling and think, wow, if I lived here I would hang out here all the time? Well, my son found Pug Ryan's Lakeside Tiki Bar in Dillon, Colorado and I loved it immediately. What's not to love?



It was voted by Sunset Magazine as one of the top 5 deck bars in the West. :)
It's open seasonally - from Mid-May to Mid-September - and we happened upon it on the last day of the season. A beautiful, sunny and warm September Sunday.





If you go during the summer season, you can rent a boat on Lake Dillon. Or take a water taxi ride which runs between the Dillon and Frisco Bay Marinas. Seeing as our arrival was a few hours before closing for the winter, we just enjoyed drinks on the deck and the gorgeous view.






If you're in the Dillon, Colorado area between May and September, and you like a good Tiki Bar, head to this one. Mountains and a lake, drinks and food, you just can't beat it!

For more info on Pug Ryan's Lakeside Tiki Bar, go here

Friday, February 13, 2015

Train ride to the Top of the World

First of all, the above title is a misnomer. I didn't take a train ride in Nepal or up Mt.Everest. But I did ride the White Pass and Yukon Railroad from Skagway, Alaska to the British Columbia border.


Second, I'm not really a "train" person. Sure,they're great to get you from one place to another in comfort. But I'm not a train aficionado. This train, however, is quite impressive. Beyond impressive.



The White Pass and Yukon Railroad was built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush. It climbs 3000 feet in nearly 20 miles going through 2 tunnels. Starting in the town of Skagway, Alaska, the ride we were on ended at the British Columbia border, which was convenient for those without passports.



We started our train ride by passing a cemetery on the outskirts of town where 2 famous feuding Skagway residents are buried. Then the climb and gorgeous scenery began.






Along the way, you pass Class 5 rapids of the Tutshi River. And Bridal Veil Falls, a beautiful waterfall cascading 6000 feet. And then Inspiration Point with views of Skagway and cruise ships sitting in the Lynn Canal.





Next up was some of the most interesting scenery of the trip for me. What looks like a pile of rocks is really the actual Chilkoot Trail from the Klondike Gold Rush where some 30,000 men, women and children climbed the so-called Golden Stairs to reach their fortune. Required to carry a years worth of provisions by the government to prove they were serious and prepared, the Chilkoot Trail has been called "the meanest 33 miles in history." Climbing single file up the golden stairs in frigid weather, some hired out the carrying of their things to others who would carry and climb and then start over again. The entire history lesson was fascinating ! (And a story for another day is a visit to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park which was also fascinating)







Constructed in 1901, this bridge was the tallest cantilever bridge in the world and was used until 1969. 





At the top of the ride, we reached the border of Alaska and British Columbia. Marked with flags representing both and a small log cabin, we then started the ride back down. And you get to see it all over again!

If you are interested in riding the White Pass and Yukon railroad, I would suggest booking it as soon as you know when you are going. It regularly sells out and many, many rides are offered daily. For more info, click here


I'm linking up with #fridaypostcards so hop on over there to check it out!


Friday, February 6, 2015

Boston's North End



On my visit to Boston, I found my new favorite area of the city - the North End. Delightfully retro and small in area, the North End is home to the city's Italian population.











You can visit Paul Revere's house and The Old North church but we didn't on our afternoon visit. We were there for a birthday celebration. But we did see a bride on her wedding day.



We had a birthday dinner at one of the quaint, open-air Italian restaurants on a quiet side street. Delicious pasta and chocolate birthday cake for dessert.




The North End is home to many religious feasts and progressions, the largest of which is the Fisherman's Feast held at the beginning of August. Most are carried out exactly like they were in the old country of Italy and brought over by it's  immigrants.

One of the other major claims to fame of The North End are the pastry shops. Mike's and Modern to be exact. On opposite sides of the street, with long lines all day long, Mike's and Modern do battle to be your favorite cannoli bakers. Also serving cakes, biscotti, gelato, and cookies. Everyone seems to have their favorite.







A return trip is necessary again as being full from pasta and birthday cake I didn't wait in any lines - at Mike's or at Modern Pastry. The cannoli will have to wait for another day. And I'll gladly return to my new favorite area of Boston - The North End.


Linking up with #fridaypostcards. Go check it out!