Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Views From 30,000

January 10, 2012

I literally stumbled upon this link recently and had to share these photos – it’s a collection of 100 interesting views out of airplane windows.   Can you recognize some of these regions without looking at the captions?  Below are some of my favorite shots:

Cape Verde, Africa


New York (slightly biased to this view)


Cape Town, South Africa




Well Hello N’Awlins

January 8, 2012

If you’ve never been to New Orleans, you probably have a vision in your mind of live, boisterous jazz; females with semi-loose morals begging for colorful beaded necklaces; gawking men hanging from balconies in the French Quarter with said necklaces; and – essentially – debauchery galore.

You’d be right.

But you may not know about some of its other charms:  incredible mansions, horse-drawn carriages, old-time trolleys, multi-level wrought-iron balconies overflowing with lush plant life, rich history and even a cemetery that looks romantic in the rain.   New Orleans can offer a completely different experience if you’re aged 22, 42 or 102 – and there is certainly something for everyone.  On a long weekend trip to this famed locale – my first ever – I was determined to experience it like I was ageless.  That meant a fair share of jazz clubs, fried seafood, museums, mansions, shopping, iconic New Orleans concoctions (both liquid and solid), some…let’s say “bead-related activities,” and all around general soaking in of the culture.

The French Quarter is defined by hundreds of balconies that are truly charming and truly New Orleans

In doing research for this trip, TripAdvisor was again a go-to resource for finding moderately priced and conveniently located lodgings.  James and I (and our traveling companions Mike and Laura) settled on the one-of-a-kind Le Pavillon Hotel just a few blocks outside the French Quarter.  This iconic hotel – listed on the National Register of Historic Places – is over the top with massive crystal chandeliers, a rooftop cabana oasis, highly attentive service, and is certainly worth a try if you want that old-time Louisiana feel.  And who wouldn’t want to be treated at 10pm every night with a complimentary peanut butter and jelly bar, ice cold milk and hot chocolate?  Click here for the back story on that one!

Le Pavillon Hotel Lobby

I’m also lucky to know a few people who are originally from Louisiana, and were more than happy to offer up suggestions of “must do’s” in New Orleans.  The lists were actually a mile long – and those were just the highlights of the city!  You can’t really go wrong whether you focus on eating, drinking, sightseeing – or all three.  A couple of my don’t miss suggestions:

Cafe au lait and fresh beignets (glorified donuts) at Cafe Du Monde.  Here’s a tip – bypass the long line (can you say tourist trap?) – which is actually for take-out – and make your way into the cafe, where you can grab your own table and order from the overly simplified menu.

Beignets and Cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde


Order a Pimm’s Cup at Napoleon House.  First, a little history about Napoleon House – this is a New Orleans landmark made famous when its first occupant, Nicholas Girod (mayor of New Orleans from 1812 to 1815) offered his residence to Napoleon in 1821 as a refuge during his exile.  Famously, Napoleon never showed, but the name stuck.  Honestly, it doesn’t look like much from the outside, but as soon as you step in – if you happen to go when it’s open – you can tell there’s something special about the place.

Napoleon House (credit -

A Pimm’s Cup is a gin-based mixed beverage with 7-Up and a slice of cucumber – perfectly refreshing on a hot day in New Orleans.  Explore the bar and make sure you try to get a table in the courtyard out back.  And if you really want a treat – order a muffuletta sandwich, which is a New Orleans specialty made on Sicilian bread with a marinated olive spread.

I realize the tips above are both food-related, but I’m probably underplaying the role that food played on this trip.  I’ll share some more highlights from New Orleans soon!

Time to Pack

August 18, 2011

Travel on.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Micro Four What?

August 25, 2010

For years I’ve debated whether I should buy an expensive, bulky digital SLR camera to improve the quality of my travel photos and avoid this from ever happening again.  But the “bulky” part keeps holding me back.  Besides, with these iPhone images out there, I have hope that a micro SLR is in the works.

Digital SLRs (Single Lens Reflex) have become the industry standard for taking/getting professional-quality photos. But over the weekend I was perusing the latest 2010 Consumer Reports book and came across a product that’s new to me – the Micro Four Thirds.  This type of camera allows you to change lenses – which is key in capturing the type of photograph you want based on your surroundings – and packs the manual functions and other perks of a digital SLR in more compact body.  I asked my Facebook universe – which includes a few professional photogs – if anyone knows the real pros/cons of this type of camera, and got nil.  I’m wondering if this model will take hold in the marketplace or just fade into the ether before it catches on.

I’m digging the retro vibe of this Olympus model…I may just have to make a trip to B&H to check it out.

Micro Four Thirds...worth the hype? Wait...there IS no hype. Yet...?

We Interrupt This Travel Blog…

August 10, 2010

Eeek!  It’s been nearly two months since my last blog post.  Not that the masses are holding their collective breath for my travel missives…but there are still some trip-related stories I want to share!  Long story short – I have a new job but the same number of vacation days (phew!); let’s just hope I get a chance to use them all!

Now back to business. Or, vacation…