The Land of the Rising Sun – Kyoto Part One

Bobby and I booked a hotel in Kyoto for five days, but made it six when we accidentally left Tokyo by train a day early.  I must say in all our hotel stays, that was a first. Luckily, our “sold out” hotel had an opening for the additional night (for 150% the cost, of course), so we didn’t have to search out somewhere new to stay.  Six days may seem like a lot of time in one city, but Kyoto was a good one to have a little breathing room. I think you could stay in Kyoto for three months and not see all the temples in the city.  There really are *that* many…. [Read More]

The Land of the Rising Sun – Tokyo Edition

The 3 lanterns

Before leaving Korea, we made a short list of places that we would like to visit.  Although we won’t complete it in time, we marked a huge one of my dream list by traveling to Japan two weeks ago.  We can’t really travel like we used to – changing hotels and cities every day or two – because we have a baby in tow.  We have to respect some semblance of a routine for Stella or we will be in for a difficult day, so we made the decision to base ourselves in two places -Tokyo and Kyoto.  We flew in to Narita International Airport and one of Bobby’s friends, who is currently stationed in Japan and lives in Tokyo, picked us up.  We spent 2.5 days in the capital city.  Even though I expected Tokyo to be just another big city, I was pleasantly surprised.  We ended up really enjoying ourselves and preferred Tokyo over the Korean capital city of Seoul…. [Read More]

A Weekend in Seoul

Jogyesa Temple garden filled with chrysanthemums

When Stella turned 4 months old, she was up for her second round of immunizations.  I switched over her Tricare insurance plan so she could be seen at Osan AB, where a pediatrician is on staff. Osan AB is north of Kunsan and is only about 30 minutes from Seoul, so we figured it would be a great opportunity to see the city.  Stella should at least get to have a little fun if she has to be poked and prodded, right?  Of course, the clinic on base is only open on weekdays, so Bobby decided to take a Monday off and we spent the long weekend together.  On Saturday, we went to the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (air show), we walked around and saw the sites on Sunday and poor Stella received her shots on Monday…. [Read More]

Springtime in Seattle

Downtown Seattle from Kerry Park

I feel fortunate to live in a place with such beauty.  Upon moving to Seattle in late winter, I was really eager to get out and begin exploring my adopted city, especially when the weather started changing for the better.  I started first in my neighborhood – West Seattle / Alki Beach – and then moved on to other famous landmarks and neighborhoods – Pike Place Market / Seattle waterfront, Kerry Park / Queen Anne, Green Lake and the U district to name a few.  Of course I chronicled my findings (although mostly with my iPhone, so the photos aren’t of highest quality) and I figured now is as good as time as ever to showcase my new home.  I feel like I’m finally getting my bearings straight and can navigate about 70% of the time without directions, so at least I’m heading in the right direction…. [Read More]

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

This was my favorite grouping of colors.

Two years ago, Bobby and I traveled to The Netherlands specifically to see the famed tulip festival.  Unfortunately, we were a little trigger happy and showed up a bit too early to see any blooms.  Today, we made up for our disappointment by visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival near Mount Vernon, Washington, about an hour and 20 minutes north of Seattle.  While I am sad that Bobby couldn’t join me, both of my parents are in town and we thoroughly enjoyed the tulips together…. [Read More]

The Southwest’s Best – Upper Antelope Slot Canyon and Zion National Park

Upper Antelope Canyon

We spent our last weekend before “the great move north” (AKA Seattle, the final leg of this tortuous PCS) on the Northern Arizona/Southern Utah border.  We planned to go to Page, Arizona to tour the Upper Antelope Slot Canyon, probably the most famous slot canyon in the world, but decided to tack on Zion National Park when we heard it would be in the 70s.  Most of the time the peaks of Zion are covered in snow/ice in the winter and hiking is iffy at best, but not with global climate change.  People were hiking shirtless!  (Maybe I shouldn’t be writing this when the east coast is currently buried under feet of snow.)… [Read More]

Devil’s Bridge Day Hike – Sedona

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A couple weeks ago, Bobby and I wanted to get out of town for the day, so we headed just up the road to Sedona.  We’ve made this north-bound trek several times in the past few months, and we always see these beautiful balloons flying over the valley.  They certainly chose a gorgeous morning to take a ride…. [Read More]

Grand Canyon & Monument Valley

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After Bobby finished up his retraining in the jet, we found out he had some paperwork issues, so we’re stuck in Arizona for a few more weeks.  Although living in a dorm room on base is less than ideal, we figured we should be happy we’re holed up in a state where it’s 75-80 degrees in February.  (Thank goodness we are not here during the summer months!)  What better way to pass the time than to take advantage of Arizona’s national parks?  Of course, the most famous of its parks is the Grand Canyon, located northwest of Flagstaff.  I first visited with my parents when I was about nine years old and I don’t remember much other than some mules walking down a path, so needless to say, I was excited to return.  Bobby, on the other hand, although he has flown over the canyon numerous times, had never been!… [Read More]

Back to Blogging – A Four Month Recap!

Street view - yes, it even has a picket fence!

Since moving back to the States in late September, I’ve been taking a blogging hiatus.  It wasn’t really planned, but I think I was traveled out and just decided to spend time with family and friends for a while.  After three and a half years of living in Italy, we were really excited to be able to catch up with everyone – from Seattle, to Texas, to Kentucky, to Arizona and beyond.  It’s been a fun ride and while Bobby prepares to leave again (for Korea this time!), I figured I’d look back at our last few months in the motherland…. [Read More]

The French Riviera

Check out that view!

Now that we are back in the States, I’m finally getting to our last Olmsted blog.  Luckily, we went out in grand fashion which eased the pain of leaving, finally visiting the Provence region and the French Riviera.  When researching the area to find the best places to see, Bobby came across a whole list of awesome places – Baux de Provence, Arles, Cannes, Nice, Eze and of course, Monaco.

The first stop, Baux de Provence, is home to a unique museum called Carrières de Lumières.  The Carrières was an active white limestone quarry around the turn of the 20th century.  It was built for the large-scale stone production need in the Saint-Rémy area and a nearby chateau.  In 1935, the quarry closed.  However, the Carrières was given new life in the 1960s when Jean Cocteau decided to film “The Testament of Orpheus”.   The transformation continued in the 1970s, when Joseph Svoboda, a famous scenographer, decided the large, smooth rock walls would be the perfect backdrop for sound and light shows.  The museum now shows famous artwork from around the world, combining the visual part of the show with custom complementary music…. [Read More]