Tag Archives: travel

Italy, the rest of our trip…..

Tuscany View
Our view in Tuscany

We’re home now and I finally have enough brain power (post jet-lag) to upload some more photos. So I just posted a bunch more photos over here (on Flickr) of the final day we spent in Lake Como, and the 10 nights we spent in Tuscany. We stayed at Jay’s dad’s first cousin’s place in the hills of Massarosa. They’ve lived there for 15 years and have a beautiful b&b, with the gorgeous view you see in the photo above. We did day trips from there—to Lucca (ancient walled city), to the beaches of Viareggio; to Florence, to the hill towns north of Lucca, to a local winery, and to Vinci (birthplace of Leonardo).

Enjoy the photos!

Our view for the weekend: Lake Como

Lake Como View
Lake Como View

Since I last posted, we’ve traveled from Amsterdam to Italy. We met up with Jay’s parents in Milan, and yesterday we drove up to Lake Como. I actually did the driving! It wasn’t bad—Jay’s a great navigator, and we only kinda got lost once and almost went to Switzerland!

We’re spending three nights here before we head down to Tuscany. We’re staying in the little town of Tremezzo, which is on the west side of the lake. When Jay and I visited here in 2000, we stayed in Varenna, which is on the east side. There are some lovely little towns here on the west, but unfortunately the main road running up along the lake on this side runs right through the towns, so there is a constant din of traffic. We’re going to head to Bellagio and/or Varenna tomorrow on one of the boats, so it will be interesting to see if they’re still as quiet and peaceful as Jay and I remember from our last visit.

So I’ve posted some photos from the last day or so you can check out (see photo set on Flickr). They mostly include some views of the lake, and our visit to the Villa Carlotta botanical gardens, which are right down the road from where we’re staying:

Villa Carlotta is the most famous public villa of Lake Como, in particular for its centuries-old 70,000sqm botanical gardens. . . . It was built, as a summer home, by Marquis Giorgio Clerici, an important gentleman from the Spanish and Austrian Milan.

The gardens are very beautiful and varied–including bamboo, pines, azealas, citrus fruits, hidden pathways, arbors, etc.

Iceland Stopover

Iceland, View from Our Room
View from our room, Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel

As I mentioned in the previous past, we stopped over in Iceland last week for one day/night on our way to Amsterdam. We had a very relaxing stay at the Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel which included use of their private pools, and day passes to the Blue Lagoon which was just a short walk away.

I have to say, it’s a perfect way to unwind after a 7-hour plane flight. Jay and I agreed that we’d do two nights next time!

You can see some more photos here (on Flickr). I didn’t take my camera to the Blue Lagoon, but it’s more fun watching the live feed from their webcam anyway! (Although you might catch it after hours, with less people depending on what time you look at it…)

Cape Disappointment Camping

Jay and the Pacific

Before I get way, way behind, I wanted to post something about our camping trip we took in June to Cape Disappointment State Park. It’s at the very south tip of the Washington Coast, right on the Pacific Ocean / Columbia River junction. Jay and I spent two nights there (too short!) in one of their cabins and had a great time exploring the park and the many beautiful hiking trails. It’s the area where Lewis & Clarke “found” the Pacific Ocean, so there’s all sorts of historic information, including a museum / interpretive center.

I’ve posted a more full set of photos here.

My 2009 Favorites List

in London (photo by Chris Dent)
in London (photo by Chris Dent)

On this eve of a new decade / year, here’s a retrospective of 2009 with some of my favorite things. (This is a personal post; check out this blog post for our 2009 biz/Juxtaprose thanks!)

places visited:

  • Myvatn Nature Baths, Myvatn, Iceland
  • the chocolate stores, galleries, and museums of Paris, France
  • wandering through London on a beautiful fall day

concerts / live performances:

  • Leonard Cohen (Coachella)
  • The Flaming Lips (Marymoor Park)
  • Akron/Family (Bumbershoot)

album(s) (in no particular order):

  • The Avett Brothers: I and Love and You
  • Bill Callahan: Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle
  • Amadou & Miriam: Welcome to Mali
  • Built to Spill: There Is No Enemy
  • Yo La Tengo: Popular Songs
  • Wilco: Wilco
  • The Flaming Lips: Embryonic
  • St. Vincent: Actor
  • Rodrigo y Gabriel: 11:11
  • Mr. Smolin: Bring Back the Real Don Steele
  • Akron/Family: Set ‘em Wild, Set ‘em Free
  • Taken By Trees: East of Eden
  • Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion
  • Neko Case: Middle Cyclone
  • Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest
  • Leonard Cohen: Live in London

movies (note: I didn’t check the dates; I think these were all 2009; or at least I saw them in 2009):

  • Inglorious Basterds
  • Man on Wire
  • Up
  • The Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • Extract (just saw this last night; so funny!)

tv (basically didn’t watch any live tv this year; all tv shows were via web streaming / DVD; we’re still 1-2 seasons behind on some of these; shhh):

  • Dollhouse
  • Damages
  • Mad Men
  • Battlestar Gallactica (maybe not the ending, but the rest of it was very enjoyable)

books I read this year (not all from 2009; I rarely read books when they first come out):

  • Revenge of the Spellmans: Lisa Lutz (the exception to the 2009 pub date; I also read the first draft of The Spellmans Strike Again (coming March 2010!)
  • The Girl who Fell from the Sky: Heidi W. Durrow (one of our clients, I got a manuscript version of her book, coming February 2010—definitely keep an eye out)
  • What the Dead Know: Laura Lippman
  • The Maisie Dobbs series: Jacqueline Winspear
  • Innocent Blood: P.D. James (I picked this up at an “English Pub” in Paris, where they had a wall full of English language books)
  • The Road: Cormac McCarthy (I don’t think I’m going to ruin the book by seeing the movie)

food / dining:

  • Chez Omar, Paris
  • all the fresh food from our garden!
  • weekly fresh salmon from the Farmer’s Market during the summer, grilled on our grill with freshly picked corn, and a bottle of wine
  • John Henry’s, Palm Springs

chocolate (yes, it gets its own category):

  • La Chocolaterie de Jacques Genin, Paris (no website, but check out this article)
  • Chocolate Mussy, Paris (8 rue du Bourg Tibourg, Marais)


chance meeting:

  • meeting and talking with the fine art photographer Tim Rudman and his wife, Ingrid Rudman, at Lake Myvatn in Iceland; then running into them again, two days later, in a totally different part of Iceland and having another great conversation

spa experience(s):

  • Olympus Spa (Lynnwood, WA) – where I spent 6 hours of my 38th birthday!
  • all the hot pools of Iceland: Myvatn Nature Baths and the “swimming pools” of Husavik and Reykjavik

None of these things would have been the same had I not shared them with friends, family, a cranky cat, and “strangers” met along the way. Mostly none would have been the same without Jay (I love you!). Looking forward to more adventures in 2010 and beyond.

The day we were tired but happy to get slices in Brooklyn

We are back in Seattle now, and have a few more photos to post (and stories to tell) from our unplanned extra trip to London and Brooklyn on the way home from Paris.

Our stop in Brooklyn was super brief (less than 24 hours), but we got to hang out with our friends Jonah and Nancy, which was really great.

We were totally wiped out from the extra travel (and lack of sleep required to plan it), but we had no trouble enjoying slices of pizza our morning there, before catching the flight back to Seattle—as illustrated in this photo:

jay pizza brooklyn