As I told you in Part I last month, I stopped taking pictures on our trips because taking pictures was distracting, we never looked at them and they were cluttering up my desk.
So here is the second part of the series that I wanted to post before my memory fades completely.
Barge Trip around Dijon, France – What a delight busing 60 miles northwest of the mustard seed capital to start our welcoming journey downstream.
The meals featured local wine, produce and cheese at each lunch and dinner; wholesome and delicious, each day there were one or two tours into local villages and bikes you could use on your own.
Because of all the locks, you could walk faster than the barge moved.
It was a great trip with wonderful people!
Alaska – A basket full of vivid scenes, including the old river towns, glaciers, whales, Mt. McKinley, Denali National Park, totem pole carvings, fresh fish, lush greenery, helicopter and flight seeing. You had to catch your breath at every turn.
Holding one of the cuddly Iditarod dogs, canoeing on crystal clear blue lakes and watching the glaciers calve up close were all special treats.
It’s a state of enormous beauty.
Yosemite – Winter or summer, is equally special. Start with a stay at the Ahwanhee Lodge, a concrete structure that looks like it’s all logs. The dining room looking over a great meadow with snow-covered hills in the distance is one of the great places to dine in the world. The overall ambience and the hiking are all terrific. Come winter, there’s also skiing and all sorts of snow sports.
Chile to Argentina – One of the best all-day trips I can ever remember. It involved two boat lake crossings and three separate buses that all seemed to connect on time. Each mode of transport took us through varying country scenes right up to our final stop in Bariloche, Argentina.
The town sits at the foot of a popular ski mountain. We were there in July. We took the cable car up a little more than halfway, then a tractor-like van to the top, and then hiked a short distance to the restaurant.
Following lunch we had a problem getting down. It was snowing. They finally got a jeep to get us back to the cable car and the end of a wonderful day.
Quebec and Toronto – They’re as different as two cities closely in the same country can be. Toronto is a gleaming, modern city bustling with energy and commerce. Quebec is a portfolio of picture postcards which seems like France must have been like this in the 18th century.
In Quebec, The Chateau Frontenac Hotel sits on a hill overlooking the whole city and the port full of cruise ships. The winding cobblestone streets with quaint shops complete the picture.
Maui – Flying into my favorite sandwich isle gives you a great picture of the West Maui mountains on one side and Mt. Haleakala, the dormant volcano, on the other side of a lush green valley of sugarcane and agricultural products.
There’s so much to do, and it’s all picture-perfect—swimming, snorkeling, boating, tennis, golf on fabulous courses, hiking in all kinds of terrain, as well as vegetating around the beautiful beaches and the pools at great hotels.
There are three main resort areas. In the north end is Kapalua, with the Ritz Carlton and a number of condos. Below that is the old seafaring town of Lahaina and the Kaanapali resort area with half dozen hotels and condos. Further south is the area we most favor. It includes funky Kihei, Wailea with another half dozen hotels, and McKenna.
Mauna Kea on the big island – My first trip to this then rock resort was about 1975, presumably on a site inspection to consider holding a meeting there.
It was overwhelming. The hotel features probably the most beautiful horseshoe-shaped beach in all of Hawaii and the open air corridors were a museum collection of Hawaiian artifacts.
Back again 2014, the beach is still spectacular. The artifacts seemed to have thinned out a bit and the hotel is a little tired, but still a great place.
Amsterdam – A delightful and picturesque city built around canals (good tour), where bike and trolley transportation is readily available and walking is easy, particularly since just about everybody speaks English.
The Rijks Museum is outstanding and the Van Gogh is as good.
On our first trip we ate at the terrific Black Sheep restaurant, but it’s probably not there any longer.
It was adjoining the square where all the young folks hang out at night.
Dubrovnik – Who could ever forget the first sight of this great Croatian city by air or sea with round medieval battlements guarding the entrance and the city walls and ramparts streaming out behind.
It’s another great walking city with many historical and cultural sites among the non-grid, haphazard streets.
China – Wow! A country feast of photographic memories. In Beijing, there are indelible images of Tiananmen Square, the huge Forbidden Palace, half a dozen striking temples, the Summer Palace with lake and gardens, and, of course, the engineering feat of the Great Wall
And that’s only the beginning. On to Xi’an with the awesome army of Terra Cota Soldiers, the almost western city of Shanghai, Guilin on the Li River with rounded hills like you see in paintings, and Yangtze River with the incredible dam that had 25,000 workers 24/7 housed in their own city.
My first trip to Beijing was in 1984 and the streets were packed with bicycles and a small city ambience. I was overwhelmed when I returned in 2001. The growth and energy was bursting out all over.
Hong Kong – Two parts of a city on what is now a beautiful, busy bay. Both halves bursting with energy and commerce. Restaurants and shops everywhere. Exciting city to visit!
Berlin – Not sure what I expected, but it was a huge, pleasant surprise. Modern post-war buildings interspersed among the traditional and attractive pre-war buildings and great stores. Wonderful visit—would like to go back.
If my memory holds out, next month we’ll take another look at the photo gallery in my mind.