Category Archives: travel

My Other Hobby

As you know, my main hobby is running.  But another small hobby that I have is taking pictures of things that I see that are either amusing or interesting.

Yesterday, I saw the cutest  little bunny devouring my day lilies.  He was so cute, I let him continue to eat my flowers.IMG_20160609_074111

I usually send these pics to my kids.  Sometimes my husband.

My 21 year old said I was immature when I sent him this one.IMG_20160611_200947

 

Here are a few classics from my archives

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What does this mean??  I can’t come up with any theory to explain “NO FEATHERS”

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An Old-Timey console TV that someone had just left on the concrete divider in the center of a busy road

But…the one that got away this morning may have been the best ever.  I just couldn’t safely get a photo of him while I was driving:

 

It was a man, out for his morning run….wearing a rubber horse head mask over his head!!

What?? Had he just robbed a bank?

 

 

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A Squirrel on Safari

We have A LOT of squirrels here in Georgia.  They are everywhere. And while at first you may think they look cute with their little hands holding acorns up to their mouths, really they’re not.  They are  dangerous and expensive pests. In the winter, they like to come into houses for warmth and nesting.  Once they’re in, they do damage by nibbling holes into your roof which in turn allows water in…

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For several years, we had an on and off problem with squirrels in our attic.  We cut down 2 beautiful trees that were too close to the house which allowed the squirrels access to our roof.  Eventually, we had to get a new roof, which was hugely expensive!  (Not all due to the squirrels, it was also an old roof).

One time I saw a neighbor’s beautiful new Porsche Cayenne with its front end smashed in.  He had rear-ended a car in front of him that had unexpectedly and suddenly braked for a squirrel crossing the road. So overall, we don’t like squirrels.

As I mentioned last week, we went on safari in Botswana several years ago.  It was an amazing trip where  we got to see many rare and beautiful animals.  Some of the highlights were the African wild dogs, an elephant family with a baby that was only about two weeks old, and a male lion.  DSC_0477DSC_0478DSC_0176DSC_0397DSC_0398

When you go on safari, the very best (and almost only) way to see all of the animals is by open air Range Rover.

botswana book 14

The Range Rover fording a river

Some of the time, we had the Range Rover, driver and tracker all to ourselves.  Other times, we shared the Range Rover with others.  For two days, we were paired with a nice couple from South Africa.  Luckily, my children behaved, so I think that this couple was able to have a nice time too.

While you’re out driving around, the tracker is hunting for animals for us to see and photograph.  If there is an animal that we are particularly interested in, we can request that the driver stop, or give us some more time for photographing.  One of the days that we were with the South Africans, we saw an African wild dog pack kill an antelope.  It was gruesome but amazing to see the whole thing.  Not only are the wild dogs very rare, but to see them hunting was even more rare!  On the same day, we also saw TWO honey badgers.  These too are very rare.

And now here’s the funny part…After seeing some of the most amazing sights and animals, the most enthusistic reaction all day from our traveling companions was when we saw a squirrel!! We had to stop for a good while for them to take pictures.  We tried to be polite and not laugh, but I’m sure we failed.

 

Big Adventures Re-Cap 2015

So overall, some pretty good adventures this year.  In no particular order, here they are:

April 20, Boston Marathon

By far the biggest highlight for 2015! In fact running in the Boston Marathon is in my top 5 of ALL lifetime experiences.

I was so fortunate that my mother and daughter came with me. wp-1451316402051.jpeg

The whole trip was such and awesome experience!

I went to high school outside of Boston, and it was the first time my mom and I had been back in over 30 years! Someone had bought our old house…and then tore it down and put up a new one!!

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Replacement house

The day before the race, the weather was beautiful, sunny and high 50s.  Race day, not so much.  Heavy rain and REALLY cold (low 40s).  But so what?? It was the Boston Marathon!

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Crappy pic…screen shot from Marathon photo.  Still too cheap to spend $30 on a single photo download!!

I finished the race with a less than speedy time (4:18).  My BQ was 3:49, so I was a little disappointed…but not really. Again, it was the BOSTON MARATHON!

Spring Break In Costa Rica

Fun trip with 2 dopey teenage girls.

Snorkeling, jet skiing, white water rafting, horse back riding, mud baths, zip lining…Great adventures!

Rolling Stones Concert, June

My husband and I had each seen the Rolling Stones once before…when we were teenagers back in 1981.  The 1981 concert was pretty awful.  We were in Dallas, TX on Halloween and the weather was absolutely horrible. Flooding, cold rain and the concert was outdoors. The rain was so intense that the concert was cut short.

This time…AWESOME!  The weather was perfect. And the Rolling Stones were fantastic.  It was my teenage daughter’s first concert.

The Rolling Stones

June 9, 2015 The Rolling Stones Bobby Dodd Stadium, Georgia Tech

 

First High School Cross Country Race

Our son ran cross country when he was in high school and we had become huge fans of the sport.  We hoped that our daughter would  run too when she got to high school.  We knew she would be fast, but she doesn’t often  do what we want…

But she joined the team, and quickly became one of the top performers! Her first race was in Florida, and we drove down there to watch her.  She did great, and placed, and helped their team win 2nd place overall!

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Aren’t they so cute??

 

Thank goodness we took the time to drive to Florida (6 hours) to watch her run!  That  turned out to be her only race of the season.  She got a stress fracture, and missed every other race.

So those are the highlights of my year.  I’d love to hear about yours!

Today I am trying a link up for the Weekly Wrap hosted by Holly @ HoHoRuns and Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlin.   See rules here. Thank you ladies!

WeeklyWrap

Trip of a Lifetime Part 8 – Peru.

After returning to the Luxury Starwood Resort in Urubamba (link here http://www.tambodelinkaresortview.com/) for the Inca Trail hikers to bathe and sleep in a real bed, we had another day of adventure the next day.

My husband does all of our trip planning – and does a fantastic job.  This day’s adventure was mountain hiking, zip lining, and repelling.  Here is the link to the tour that we took.

http://www.naturavive.com

We enjoyed the adventure, and I would recommend this tour group….however you really need to be in shape and not afraid of heights to do this trip!

Zip lining Photo from tour web-iste

Zip lining Photo from tour web-iste

The side of the Mountain that we repelled down

The side of the Mountain that we repelled down

Done Repelling down the side of the mountain

Done Repelling down the side of the mountain

After our adventure, the tour operator drove us to Cusco where we would be spending the night before beginning our journey home.

The hotel was beautiful, new (built inside an old building), and of course a Starwood resort (Thank you Starwood Amex for the Points!) Here is the link: http://www.palaciodelinkahotel.com/

Lobby of our hotel

Lobby of our hotel

In the evening, we sampled Pisco Sours at the bar — delicious, but dangerous!

Pisco Sour - Delicious and Dangerous!

Pisco Sour – Made from Fermented grapes and top with frothy egg whites

Our last morning in Peru, we did some sight seeing in Cusco.  We are NOT SHOPPERS…but spent the entire morning shopping!  I have read reviews that say the shopping in Cusco is too touristy, but we really enjoyed ourselves.

There are so many hand made, high quality items available at fairly reasonable prices…from hand knit items to colorful hand woven textiles to unique sterling silver jewelry.  We indulged.

Girls shopping

Girls shopping

Hand Knit Hats for my nephews

Hand Knit Hats for my nephews

My treat for me - Sterling Silver at fantastic prices!

My treat for me – Sterling Silver at fantastic prices!

A Mirror withhand made shadow box scenarios of Peruvian life built into the frame

A Mirror with hand made shadow box scenarios of Peruvian life built into the frame

And then we were done.  Headed for a flight from Cusco to Lima. Then Lima back home to Atlanta.  A really great trip, and truly a trip of a lifetime!

Waiting for our flight

Waiting for our flight

Spring Break 2015 in Costa Rica

Hi….I’m taking a break from the Peru posts.  I feel a little bored of them.

This past April, I took our 14 year old daughter to Costa Rica.  And, as I have mentioned in the Peru posts, since 14 year old girls are completely incapable of going ANYWHERE by themselves, we brought a friend.  This friend was different than last year’s friend because another known fact about teenage girls is that usually friends from when you are 13 aren’t the same friends as when you’re 14.  But I digress….

Once again we used travel points that we’d earned from our business purchases to stay at a very nice resort.  We stayed in Guanacaste, Costa Rica after having landed at the Liberia airport.  It was less than an hour from the airport to our hotel which was on the Papagayo Bay of the Pacific.  The resort was a Hyatt property which I would recommend.  Here is the link:

http://papagayo.andaz.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html

Our room was very nice

our room

our room

Our Shower

Our Shower

and the staff was helpful and kind.  I did notice some ogling of the girls by some of the young male staff members…but in defense of the staff members, these girls paraded around in very small bikinis.  And the young men stopped staring as soon as I gave them the old-lady-stink-eye.

The surrounding area was beautiful. And we spent our first day snorkeling at the beach and exploring.

snorkeling

snorkeling

hammock on the beach

hammock on the beach

view of Papagayo Bay from a pavilion

view of Papagayo Bay from a pavilion

The second day was an adventure day.  We booked a tour we’d found through TripAdvisor with a fantastic  tour guide.  Our tour would include a stop at a waterfall, a zip-lining canopy tour, hiking through a rain forest, horse back riding and a dip in volcanic mud baths….all for a super reasonable cost, and with lunch included!

First Stop:  The waterfall

waterfall

waterfall

We swam out to the falls and climbed under them.  The only picture I have of this features a stranger’s rear end.  So you’ll just have to imagine us swimming and climbing.

Next Stop: Zip Lining

Getting ready to zip line

Getting ready to zip line

No pics from the actual zip line tour…but it was awesome!  And then we found some puppies at the zip line hut afterwards.

Puppies at the Zip Lining Place

Puppies at the Zip Lining Place

Next Stop…Lunch.

The tour info described the lunch as ‘typical’.  For some reason this became a funny thing for us.

'Typical' lunch (grilled chicken, black beans, macaroni salad and cheese...delicious)

‘Typical’ lunch (grilled chicken, black beans, macaroni salad, rice and cheese…delicious)

Horseback riding

I dislike horse back riding, and made this clear to our guide.  As I result, I was given the most docile horse to ride.  I swear I could have hopped off his back and walked faster!

Horseback riding

Horseback riding

Rain Forest Hike

Rain Forest

Rain Forest

Mud Bath

The area in Costa Rica where we stayed has many active volcanoes.  The mud bath was part of a sulfur vent associated with one of these volcanoes.

sulfur vent

sulfur vent

wallowing in the mud bath

wallowing in the mud bath

 

After the mud bath, we rinsed off under human shaped water fountains.  The water spurted out of the male part of one of the fountains, which was pretty humorous to all of us!

The whole day was a fantastic adventure!  I’d highly recommend our tour guide and his tour company for an awesome day at reasonable prices.

http://www.costaazultravels.com

The Trip of a Lifetime Part 4 – Peru

After our first evening in Urubamba, Gabby and I HAD to find some money.  In the morning, we walked into the town searching for an ATM that would work with my card, or a bank.

It was market day in the village, so we got to see the preparations underway.

Bags of Potatoes and other vegetables were dropped off here in preperation for market day

Bags of Potatoes and other vegetables were dropped off here in preparation for market day

Peruvian lady selling chicks

Peruvian lady selling chicks

Market Day Kiosk

Market Day Kiosk

It was also some sort of celebration day.  There was a parade of school children in their uniforms around the town square, and a stage set up for dignitaries on the church steps.

Parade of school children marching through the town square

Parade of school children marching through the town square

Dignitaries  on a stage at on the church steps, watching the parade

Dignitaries on a stage on the church steps, watching the parade

We found some ATMs, but my card didn’t work in any of them.  We found a bank, but weren’t allowed in because it was for Peruvians only. In the meantime, we were living off the cash that Gabby’s dad had given her.  Thank goodness he was generous!

 

The Trip of a Lifetime Part 3 – Peru

Gabby and I took a locals bus from the start of the Inca Trail to a town called Urubamba.  The bus ride was an awesome experience of real life in Peru.  Mostly ladies and some children rode the bus.  All of the ladies were dressed in colorful skirts, plain blouses, and bowler hats covering their long, black, braided hair.  One of the ladies had a box full of chicks.

Van Ride to Urubamba with native Peruvian women

Van Ride to Urubamba with native Peruvian women

When I looked out the window, I saw farmers plowing their fields behind oxen, using wooden plows that could have been from the stone age.  I loved the bus ride…it was a true slice of Peruvian life.

I found a room for us at the resort where we had planned to stay after our hike.  It is a Starwood Resort, so I was able to use some of our points to pay for the room.  The room and the entire resort were  fantastic.  Here is a link to their web-site.http://www.starwoodhotels.com/luxury/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3285

Here are some pictures of the resort:

Indoor Outdoor Pool at Tambo Del Inka in Urubamba Peru

Indoor Outdoor Pool at Tambo Del Inka in Urubamba Peru

Tambo Del Inka in Urubamba Peru

Tambo Del Inka in Urubamba Peru – our room was the bottom left.

Room at Tamba Del Inka

Room at Tamba Del Inka

Bathroom at Tamba Del Inka

Bathroom at Tamba Del Inka

Gabby and I had 2 and a half days before we were to meet the others at Machu Pichu (we would take the train to meet them).  What to do?

We swam a bit, and booked manicures at the spa.

The pool at Tambo Del Inka

The pool at Tambo Del Inka

But that type of activity couldn’t last for 2 more days.

I had an idea to take a bus tour of the area.  After investigating this possibility, I found that hiring a car with driver and a tour guide would be less expensive than the bus! I booked a tour for us.

We also had to find some money.  Cash is king in Peru, and credit cards aren’t.  But for some reason, my ATM card wasn’t working at all 3 ATMs in this town!