November 30, 2007

Doug McConnell and OpenRoad TV

One of my favorite hosts that drives a Jeep around the Bay Area backroads, is now hosting a new online travel site and video blog called

There are lots of great stories and resources for places around the Bay Area and around the country! I guess you can teach this old dog new tricks! Good luck Doug!

November 29, 2007

I'm a Pepper

This is how they decorate Southwestern style for the holidays. Very colorful against the desert background.

November 28, 2007

Chef's Garden

Some yummy kale from the hotel garden we stayed at in Tucson...

November 27, 2007

Saguaro at night

Up close and personal, the saguaro cactus knows how to protect itself in the Sonoran desert.

November 26, 2007

Desert Living

The many snow birds that come to Tucson for six months live here in the cute mobile home park. They are very friendly and easy to spot with their out of state license plates.

November 25, 2007

Cactus at night

Out walking at night, we captured a different view of the desert.

November 24, 2007

Santa Catalina Mountains

Aren't the mountains pretty? I love the colors here. This is one of a few ranges that surround Tucson.

November 23, 2007

Purple Cactus

We spent Thanksgiving in Tucson, Arizona. Here is one of the lovely cactus along the drive onto the hotel property.

November 13, 2007

Aussie Tea Tree

Have you ever seen this shrub before? It is Australian Tea Tree but this photo was taken in California not Australia or New Zealand where it is a native plant.

I read that Leptospermum is the same plant used in the oil for aromatherapy. Nice!

November 12, 2007

November 11, 2007

Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrowers

I just spent a few hours wine tasting in Lodi, California. Yes, Lodi. For those of you who are from the Bay Area and know the Central Valley, you may or may not be thumbing your nose at me right now. Sniffing into your hand and muttering "what did you drink, swill? Rot gut?" Actually, no. We did not.

This area is sort of like Napa about 40 years ago, or Anderson Valley about 15-20 years ago. However since they do not yet have the branding or public relations of Napa and Sonoma, their wines and vineyards are still relatively unknown outside the area. Here are two of the better places we tasted some yummy red wine at:

November 10, 2007

November 9, 2007

Destination: The Ferry Building

I love the Ferry Building in San Francisco. It is located at the base of Market Street, along the Embarcardero. One of my favorite things to do is wander the long hall, stopping at the various shops and see what sort of new gift ideas I can come up with for the holidays. All of the vendors there are top shelf.

Photo credit: S.F. Castellanos

I highly recommend stopping by here any day of the week. You can get here many different ways, but if you have the time a very S.F. way to arrive is by historic streetcar. The F Market line that runs along Market Street is a slice of history. This municipal line runs nothing but vintage trolleys from around the world. My favorite is the bone shaking Milano streetcars. They are orange, LOUD and have varnished wooden bench seats inside. This adds a fun element to your journey since the shaking of the trolley car with the slick varnish can cause you to vibrate down your row until you bump up against a fellow passenger. For you singles, rather than being embarrassed, this could be a way to meet locals or other tourists.....just a thought.

November 8, 2007

A Day in Barcelona

If I had a day in Barcelona my top five would include walking the Las Ramblas, enjoying tapas, going to the Gaudi park (known as Parc Guell) with its incredible colors and waiting in line for a tour of the Picasso Museum.

My Top Five things to do:

  1. Picasso Museum
  2. Tapas for lunch
  3. Parc Guell
  4. La Ramblas stroll
  5. Tapas again for dinner!

Did you know tapas means a portion of food, a nibble usually savoury, it can be anything from olives to meat balls. In England tapas used to be the pickled eggs and roast potatoes some pubs served on Sundays. Until 20 years ago it was very common for a bar to give one tapa for every drink you bought, and in some parts of Spain they still do that.

November 7, 2007

Puerta Vallarta

This is a great winter getaway though we went over Valentines..a walk along the malecón is wonderfully relaxing..enjoy the shopping in the markets too! Where we stayed we encountered little yellow birds that would fly into a pepper bush near our apartment and eat only the red ones! They did it so fast that I was amazed they could miss the green ones. Hey, when I'm on vacation without television, I will take any form of entertainment.

We also took the bus south the see where they filmed Night of the Iguana, and John Huston's spot.

November 6, 2007

Desert Beauty

What a beautiful image from our intrepid photographer S.K....lovely!

November 5, 2007

Peaceful Buddha

Hello Monday...

November 4, 2007

November 3, 2007

Mosaic Tile on Murano, Italy

I really loved exploring Venice. Some of my favorite photos are of mosaic tiles. In Prague they were found in doorways. In Vienna I found them along buildings. In Rome they were in churches. So beautiful and colorful.

November 2, 2007

All Souls Day

Yum pan de muerto, or "bread of the dead," marked All Saints and All Souls days, collectively called Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

Panaderías, Mexican bakeries, and tortillerias, tortilla factories, had Day of the Dead foods on hand for you....

The Catholic All Saints Day was Nov. 1 and remembers saints and children, while All Souls Day, Nov. 2, remembers adults who have died. The Catholic Spanish conquerors of Mexico merged these holidays with the Aztecs' elaborate Day of the Dead ceremonies and feast day for the dead that had been going on for centuries.

Now, Day of the Dead is observed, in part, by taking a "feast" or ofrenda (offering) to the graves of loved ones.

One of those feast foods is pan de muerto, usually formed in the shape of a skull or as round loaf with strips of dough attached to resemble bones.

Other Day of the Dead foods include calaveritas de azucar, or sugar skulls.

November 1, 2007

Breakfast in Amman

Desert breakfast time. Where is T.E. Lawrence?

Thanks to my roving correspondent Special K for the amazing photo.
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