weekend_barcelona-4

I haven’t posted much from our life in Barcelona, but here it is in summary. You walk out the door and you can have any kind of day you want. I just can’t get enough of it here… I don’t know if it’s the way the city looks, the architecture, the cobblestone streets, the narrow alleyways… or the people, the Spanish-Catalan attitude… maybe it’s just us, but we make friends on every bus ride, whether that’s a grandmother who calls out to Stella, “Rubia, Rubita, Guapa…” and then tells us her life story, or the super relaxed (but still attentive)…

unedited_sony_alpha7-1

A year ago, I switched from my Canon 5D with a 24-70mm lens as my standard camera to the mirrorless, lightweight Sony Alpha 7. The first part of my review, written when I first got the camera is here. Here are the pros: 1. It’s light. It’s half the weight of my Canon setup and that means I take twice as many photos. 2. It’s smaller. I can carry it in a small camera bag or a large purse. 3. It’s full-frame. I don’t have to compromise quality by going with a cropped sensor. 4. The flip out display is…

sibiuromania-16

  After our bike trip ended, we found ourselves in Croatia, sans bikes and without a plan. We took a bus east to Belgrade, Serbia. I loved it but Drew didn’t (he later regretted leaving because he missed the food). We took a bus to Timisoara, Romania, not really sure where we were going, but convinced that Romania would be a good place to spend a few months. A few people recommended Sibiu to us, so we took the train over. Well, we tried to take the train. First we took the wrong train. We got off at the first…

francecoastbikingcliffs-8

I’ve never heard anyone talk about the coast line along France’s southern coast on the Atlantic side — that is until I looked up biking routes and found the Euro Velo 1 runs through there and there’s a comprehensive website for the French section that sold me. I saw the pictures from the Hendaye to Bayonne route, the very most southern portion of France and I configured out entire trip so that we could bike that portion of the Atlantic for our cross-Europe tour. Above is a panorama on the bridge between Spain and France. The plan was to bike…

barcelonamarket-4

There’s plenty of open air markets in Barcelona, but I got to tour La Boqueria  on La Rambla with chef Cándido Cid (he’s one of the owners of Barcelona Cooking). In a way, it’s a tourist attraction, it’s on the most famous street in Barcelona, where tourists pack themselves 8-10 across to stroll past flower shops and restaurants, buskers and newspaper stands, cafés and more and more people. Inside there are little things designed to part the average vacationer from their cash, like over-priced sangria in ornate bottles. However on the whole, it’s a really great market full of anything…

costabravabiking-4

This summer’s travels are my little happiness project. As I’ve gotten older I’ve given up the idea that happiness is found because we made the perfect life decisions or did creative work or have a great relationship with our spouse. I know for me, I am much more simple than that. A lot of things will be make me happy, but a few things make me really, really happy: 1. Sunshine 2. Exercise — but not of the gym-exercise variety, but more of the being outside and active kind 3. Travel and doing new things 4. Laughing 5. My kids…

bergennorway-9

There’s a brand new flight from NYC to Bergen, Norway — direct on Norwegian — and we happened to be on the inaugural flight. We didn’t know that at the time, but given the super cheap $220 one-way fare we paid it makes sense. We were the very first people to enjoy this brand new aircraft — which I am happy to report, if this is where aviation is going, it’s delightful. Whatever they did to improve the air pressure on this plane worked, I didn’t feel dehydrated or sick at all. It was like breathing normal air. LOVED IT.…

texas-12

We’ve been camping and traveling as cheaply as possible, all part of my attempt to test out the $66/day budget for a family of four, I wrote about here. Texas. I used to live here, although much further north in a little town outside Dallas called Wylie. I can do small town Texas, but this was really small. Welcome to Berclair, Texas, population 253. We were looking for somewhere to camp, maybe a little bit of woods where we wouldn’t be bothering anyone. So we started driving down a side street, leaving the highway behind. Farms. Abandoned homes. More farms.…

coffee-12

It’s entirely possible to travel around Mexico and never find this place — after all even in better known places like Oaxaca, the tourism is largely Mexican — but here, in Chiapas, outside of Tapachula, there’s a string of turn-of-the-century coffee plantations that form the Ruta del Café, where a place like Argovia Finca are still run by fourth generation German descendants. The typewriters and accounting machines. Since the finca was established 130 years ago and they’ve kept many of the pieces that were once used. Coffee presses and grinders. Inside the coffee processing plant, there’s a mixture of new…

sancristobaldelascasas-13

When I said we were going to eat our way through Mexico, I wasn’t joking. We drove from Mexico City down to San Cristobal de Las Casas, but despite Google’s promise that it would take 7-8 hours, it was 16 hour drive, including, of course, breaking my car and blowing out the tire. We stopped at the first posada we could find, a few blocks from the main plaza, took hot showers and headed straight to bed. The next morning we slept in and then headed out to see the town. I had been here in 2008, but my perspective…