Via dell’Amore, Cinque Terre, Italy

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02.14.2016 – The Via dell’Amore in the Cinque Terre connects the first two of the 5 villages that make up the region–Riomaggiore and Manarola.  It’s a beautiful walk alone the Italian coastline with romantic views the entire way.  This was at the entrance to the path in Riomaggiore.  It seemed only appropriate to do a throwback to this place I loved so much on my honeymoon 6.5 years ago for Valentine’s Day.

Magnolia Plantation Gardens (Charleston, SC)

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02.06.2016 – The Magnolia Plantation is probably the most well known plantation in Charleston.  With that comes the bigger tourist crowds, but it’s famous for a reason.  While the house was fine to get an idea of plantation life (nothing special compared to others I’ve seen in the south), the gardens are the real draw. They are a step above the rest.  There are a series of beautiful bridges interspersed throughout the meandering paths and various flowers and wildlife to take in.  I just loved how the bridges reflected off of the surrounding water like glass in the afternoon sunlight–no edits required.

Middleton Place (Charleston, SC)

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02.01.2016 – The Middleton Place plantation in Charleston, South Carolina has a stableyard with many interesting farm animals and artisan craft workers on display.  The biggest draw for me, though, was this amazing peacock showing off his plumes.  I’ve never seen one standing fully on display like this, and it was majestic to witness.  Middleton Place is a great place to get away from the city for a night or two.  They have a comfortable inn, delicious restaurant, beautiful plantation and gardens to explore, and are right down the road from the other big-draw plantations in the area (Magnolia and Drayton Hall).  I really enjoyed my walks, stay, and meals here!

City Skyline (Quebec City, Canada)

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01.05.2016 – In my last post about Canada for a while, I wanted to share a shot of the beautiful Quebec City skyline.  I had trouble choosing just one picture!  While I enjoyed my time in Montreal, I loved my time in Quebec.  The city feels so European, it’s like being there without having to hop across the Atlantic to get there.  The historic cobblestone streets, beautiful European architecture, and cool summer weather all beckon you to stroll and explore.  The city is also a food lover’s paradise; we found some phenomenal restaurants.  Climbing up the hills to the upper town, you’ll be sure to work up an appetite!  It’s worth the hike to see the Chateau Frontenac up close, though.  The Chateau Frontenac (at the top of the picture) is a 600 room hotel that sits atop the city.  Opened in 1893, it defines the city skyline.  We wandered the interior and even ate in the restaurant (delicious)–next time, I want to splurge and stay there.  Strolling the boardwalk that runs along the front of the hotel is a great way to view the city below and the hotel’s exterior close.  Don’t worry, for those who don’t want to make the steep hike up the city streets to get from lower town to upper town, there’s a funicular that will quickly whisk you up the hill for a small fee.

Montmorency Falls (Quebec, Canada)

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01.04.2016 – Montmorency Falls are extremely impressive.  On my recent trip to Canada, we didn’t have a chance to see Niagara (still on my bucket list), but we did manage to get a look at Montmorency from both above and below.  At 98 feet taller than Niagara Falls, it’s definitely worth visiting and is located only 12 miles outside of Quebec City.  (Niagara is still significantly wider, though.)  The power of the falls is best viewed from directly above it on the bridge that spans the top.  There is also a path along the bottom that is most definitely worth wandering (where this picture was taken from) and several trails that include some great overlook points.  It is possible to walk entirely around the falls with the help of the bridge, trails, a cablecar on one side, and a huge set of stairs on the other–but it would take a while so if you are thinking of taking it on, plan accordingly.  We wandered the top and then drove to the bottom and visited there (it also saved us the cablecar fee).  There is a restaurant at the top, as well, where we enjoyed our lunch with a view before exploring the awesome natural sight.

Changing of the Guard at La Citadelle (Quebec City, Canada)

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01.03.2016 – The Changing of the Guard at La Citadel in Quebec City is a highlight of any visit. It rivals the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace with all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding it–even their mascot the goat gets in on the action! Situated high above the city, even in early July it was freezing at the ceremony, but the ceremony that takes place across the parade grounds with the Chateau Frontenac in the background is not to be missed. After, the only way to wander the grounds (and take in some of the most commanding views available over the city) is on a tour which we found worthwhile. Be sure to purchase your tickets for the tour upon arrival. Finally, before leaving, check out the “I Remember” exhibit and Hall of Medals to pay homage to the brave soldiers who sacrificed so much in the name of freedom. The changing of the Guard takes place daily at 10am from June 24 until the first Monday in September.

Notre Dame Basilica (Montreal, Canada)

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01.02.2016 – This past summer I FINALLY got the chance to visit Canada.  I’ve been all over the world and have never managed to make it to see our neighbor to the north.  My favorite site in all of Montreal was definitely the Notre Dame Basilica.  It’s gorgeous inside.  The Gothic revival architecture is both beautiful and romantic.  The Basilica even served as the site of Celine Dion’s 1994 wedding.

ICE: Frosty The Snowman (National Harbor, Maryland)

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01.04.2015 – This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to be able to go to ICE down in the National Harbor–featuring Frosty the Snowman this year.  This is an amazing display put on at the Gaylord Hotel.  Last year, it featured “The Night Before Christmas.”  This year, several of the “Frosty” classic scenes were displayed completely made out of 200 tons of ice.  You have to wear special jackets just to go into the 9 degree tent.  There are ice slides for children, other sculptures after the main display, and even artisans at work.  Next year, I highly encourage you to check out whatever classic scene they plan to display!

Kowloon Park (Hong Kong)

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10.2.2014 – Hong Kong–a city that I love–has been on my mind a lot lately with all of the protests going on there.  Kowloon Park in Hong Kong is an oasis away from the city’s hustle and bustle.  You can almost forget that you’re in the middle of a major metropolis… until you look up.  How can you compete with a view like that?

Blue Angel’s Air Show (Baltimore, Maryland)

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09.20.2014 – The Blue Angels performed in Baltimore, MD for the 200th Birthday of our National Anthem this past weekend, and as always their performance was spectacular.  This is just one of the many great shots we were able to capture while they performed over the harbor. The impeccable formations these pilots are able to get their planes into seem nearly impossible.

Hagia Sophia Exterior (Istanbul, Turkey)

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09.10.2014 – Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia was the stuff of legends when it was first built in 537 A.D.  It stood as the biggest church in Christendom for almost a thousand years.  (It later served as a Mosque and is now a museum.)  The Cathedral of Notre Dame could fit in one of its side aisles.  Inside you can really appreciate it’s huge size and towering central dome, but even from the outside, it is clear that the monstrous building towers over everything else around it.

Castle Hill (Budapest, Hungary)

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09.09.2014 – Budapest is one of my favorite European cities.  It has beautiful architecture, friendly people, an eclectic selection of sights, and scenic riverfront walkways.  The View from Pest’s waterfront across to Buda and Castle Hill is a colorful mix of rooftops and spires periodically piercing the skyline.  This ex-communist city is a joy to explore and definitely worth a few days of your time.

Country Life Farm (Maryland)

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09.04.2014 – This horse breeding farm in Maryland was one of the most beautiful ones I have ever visited.  The mares and foals grazing in the pastures were so peaceful.

Belvedere Palace (Vienna, Austria)

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08.23.2014 – Belvedere Palace is one of the tip sights to visit in Vienna.  It’s a gorgeous break from the city.  The grounds and fountains surrounding the palace are so relaxing to stroll through.  The views from the palace windows over the grounds are wonderful, as well.

View from the Wall (Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany)

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08.22.2014 – Rothenburg ob der Tauber’s walls are one of the top attractions in the tiny city.  The views are beautiful over the city.  It’s definitely worth the effort to walk the perimeter.  This city is one of my favorite places in Germany, despite the crush of tourists during the day.  Staying overnight is a pure pleasure.  The evening is relaxing and quiet.  You can truly enjoy it during this time of day.

Longwood Gardens, PA

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08.21.2014 – Being a new mother, I’ve been slowed down a bit the past few weeks, but I did have the opportunity to travel to Longwood Gardens, PA 2 weeks ago.  While I usually focus my photo of the day on a grand monument or beautiful landscape, I thought these close-ups might be a nice change.  Sometimes there is just as much beauty in the little things as in the big ones!

The Alhambra (Granada, Spain)

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07.16.2014 – The Alhambra is one of the most attractive sights in all of Spain.  It is the reason people flock to Granada.  The old, beautiful fort has been wonderfully preserved.  The most photographed view of the fort is from the San Nicolas viewpoint, especially at night.  However, I thought this was a somewhat unique view of the grounds from within the fort itself.

Elephant Swim in Thailand

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06.21.2014 – Swimming with Elephants was the highlight of my trip to Thailand.  I still think of that day as somewhat surreal.  Elephants are intelligent, awe-striking animals.  I fell in love with them in Thailand.  Especially this guy.  I got sprayed right in the face (had no idea it was coming), and it was awesome!  I think he was amused by it, as well.  They loved the water as much as we did on this hot day.  It was great interacting with them and playing in their element.  I’ll never forget it!

Hospital of the Holy Spirit (Nuremberg, Germany)

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05.25.2014- The Hospital of the Holy Spirit in Nuremberg, Germany is one of the photographed sights in the old city. Built between 1332 and 1339, it was founded to help the poor, a sort of medieval health care.  The way it arches over the river (an addition put on in the 1500s) makes it especially eye-catching.

View from Villa Cimbrone (Ravello, Italy)

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05.20.2014- Villa Cimbrone is one of Ravello’s top sights.  The gardens and views over the sea are not to be missed.  However, if you are a little bit afraid of heights, don’t look down!  In the gardens you don’t realize how high up you are, but the terraced hillside below will make you dizzy if you stare down at it.  I love the way that Italians have utilized their unique seascapes to create these picturesque views.

Lake Bled’s Island (Bled, Slovenia)

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05.17.2014- On a beautiful day like today, I think back to the perfect weather we experienced at Lake Bled in Slovenia.  The idyllic Lake with its walking trail, scenic little island, and Swiss Alps feel is one of my favorite vacation destinations in Europe.  I don’t know how more Americans haven’t found this gem.  It may be a part of the former Yugoslavia, but it is far from feeling that way!

View of the City (Salzburg, Austria)

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05.12.2014- Salzburg is one of the cutest cities I’ve ever visited.  It’s also extremely walkable–and scenic.  The view from the city’s bridges is particularly breathtaking.  With the domes of the cathedral and the castle sitting above the city, the riverfront is especially beautiful.

Old San Juan (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

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05.06.2014- Old San Juan is a beautiful old city.  I can’t believe it’s been a year since we visited it.  It feels like part New Orleans, part Caribbean Island, and part Spanish City.  This view from the Castillo de San Cristobal is particularly breathtaking.  The beautiful azure waves crashing up on the beach with the colorful town as backdrop make for a picture-perfect moment.

Cherry Blossom Festival (Washington, D.C.)

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04.15.2014- The Washington, D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival draws people from around the world each year.  We are lucky enough not to live a plane ride away from it and finally decided to check it out this year.  This past Saturday we headed down to D.C. to see what we’ve been missing.  We were rewarded with perfect weather, beautiful scenery, a prime blossom date, and close-up time with PLENTY of other tourists!  The beauty and fragrance of these trees surrounding the water basin made it worth the trip.  Throw in a couple of Washington, D.C.’s top Monuments (the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument) as backdrop, and you couldn’t ask for much more!

Cordoba: Callejon de las Flores

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03.30.2014- This is the most photographed street in Cordoba:  Callejon de las Flores.  The pretty flower pots lining the alley walls leading to the bell tower of the Mezquita are a well-known corner of the city.  Just trying to get a photo without numerous heads in the way was a challenge.  Still, there’s a reason it is so well photographed, and it’s definitely worth a peek.

Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

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03.19.2014- I haven’t thought about Amsterdam for a while, but what a great city!  It may be more famous for what you can do there legally than its sights and museums, but it is a hub of culture and beauty.  I have been to some of the best museums of Europe in this city.  This was my favorite, but the Van Gogh is equally worth visiting.  I love the green between these two museums.  This photo was taken from there.

 

Barcelona: Sagrada Familia’s Crucifix

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03.15.2014- I’ve posted pictures of Sagrada Familia’s ceiling before, but the entire church is awesome from floor to ceiling.  The stained glass and even the modern crucifix all just add to the  drama of this enormous place.  You could spend hours exploring in and around the church and not see half of the detail that has gone into its ongoing construction.

Lion of St. Augustine (St. Augustine, Florida)

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12.10.2013- Snow Day at work!  Finally some time to put up a post.  This photo was taken during our recent trip to Florida.  I hadn’t been to St. Augustine since I was a kid, and I forgot how much history is in the city (even if it is a bit kitschy).  The lions fronting the Bridge of Lions are one of the most photographed sites in the city, and I can see why.  They’ve been guarding this site since 1925 (with the exception of a brief removal in the early 2000’s when the bridge was being worked on).

Dolphins (Las Vegas, Nevada)

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11.18.2013- So I’ve been seriously slacking lately.  Live and my day job have been crazy.  I really need to make a concerted effort to get back on track with my travel tips–and photos!  In the meantime, I at least want to post a quick photo tonight.  These are the Las Vegas Mirage dolphins.  This guy kept swimming by and checking us out as much as we were checking him out!

Jackson Square (New Orleans, Louisiana)

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10.31.2013- Happy Halloween!  While in New Orleans, one of the locals told me that while Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest are the city’s biggest draws, the best time of year to visit the city is, in fact, Halloween.  I can see why with all of the characters who abound in the city every day of the year!  I loved this city and can see why so many visit it time and time again.  Jackson Square is one of the most iconic spots in the city.  We caught it early in the morning before tourists and locals alike began to descend on the spot.

Sunrise at the Beach (Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida)

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10.27.2013- Ponte Vedra Beach was probably the first ‘relaxing’ trip I’ve taken in forever.  We went there solely to get a little break at the end of our trip.  There’s a lot to be said for strolling down Bourbon Street in New Orleans or taking in the bright lights of the Las Vegas strip, but sitting on the silky sand of the beach watching the sunrise with nowhere else in the world you need to be is perfection.  I LOVE running around Europe and boating through Asia and riding a camel across a beach in Africa , but sometimes the beauty in ‘our own backyard’ goes overlooked.  It was nice to stop and take some of it in for a few days.

Oak Alley Plantation (New Orleans, Louisiana)

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10.23.2013- Just back from a trip to New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Ponte Vedra Beach.  They were all wonderful places to visit, and each had their draws, but New Orleans was my absolute favorite.  About an hours drive outside of the city in Vacherie, you will find several gorgeous southern plantations that can be toured.  Oak Alley is one of the most picturesque.  The huge oak drive leading up to the house is flanked by 300 year old oak trees.  This photo doesn’t even do the view justice.

Underground Cisterns (Istanbul, Turkey)

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10.02.2013- The underground cisterns in Istanbul are some of the most overlooked sights in the city.  With their long history, eerie lighting, and beautiful columns, they’re definitely worth taking a few flights of stairs under the city to visit.  They’re also extremely photogenic!

The Pantheon (Rome, Italy)

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09.25.2013- The Pantheon is one of the most incredible structures in all of Rome–and there’re plenty to choose from.  Built around A.D. 125, the roof is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.  It’s definitely withstood the test of time–wars, elements, disasters…  I like seeing it in black and white.  It feels like this picture could be a snapshot from any year in the life of this incredible building.

The Acropolis (Athens, Greece)

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09.15.2013- Athens’ Acropolis is one of the most recognizable sights in all of Europe.  If this hill could talk, it would relay thousands of years of history.  The rise and fall of empires, the change from paganism to Christianity, destruction and reconstruction.  When I was in Greece in 2009, they were hard at work restoring the sights on the Acropolis.  This work began in 1975 and is still ongoing.  In a few years, when it’s complete, I hope to get to see it again, fully restored.

Windmills on Mykonos (Mykonos, Greece)

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09.11.2013- On September 11th, I wanted to pick a photo that was a little more tranquil.  These peaceful windmills on the Greek Island of Mykonos seemed to fit the bill; plus the white and blue was a nice touch.  Today I’ll leave my narrative on the photo at that.  However, I hope everyone take a moment to stop and reflect on the people that were  lost on that awful day 12 years ago.

View of Fira (Fira, Santorini)

 

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09.10.2013- Fira comes in a close second to Oia in a competition for the most beautiful town on Santorini.  That’s some stiff competition, though.  A visit to the island is not complete without a stop in Fira.  The main thoroughfare is pedestrian friendly (no cars), has many cute shops to explore, and several eateries to choose from.  Have a drink in one of the bars with a view and soak in the caldera.  This is a great spot to take in the sunset.

 

Sunflowers (Maryland)

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08.20.2013- There is a field of sunflowers near us this time of year that is so photogenic, I can’t keep myself from snapping a few every time I’m near it.  This flower is nearly perfect, it cheers me up just looking at it.  The credit, though, goes to my husband–he is definitely the photographer in the family!

View of Cesky Krumlov from the Castle (Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic)

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08.11.2013- Cesky Krumlov is one of my top 10 favorite “smaller cities” of Europe.  It’s this picturesque little town in the southern Czech Republic that a lot of people don’t even know exists.  Prague is the big draw to the Czech Republic, but if you’re going all the way there, I’d DEFINITELY take the time to detour to this beautiful little place.

Lake Bled from Bled Castle (Bled, Slovenia)

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08.06.2013- Lake Bled has some of the most crystal clear water I have ever seen.  The whole lake looks an icy blue, especially from above when the sky reflects off of its glass-smooth surface.  I love this place.  I could spend a week relaxing here–and I never relax–and not get bored with it.  There is boating, swimming, a path around the lake you can stroll, jog, or bike, a fun toboggan run that goes down the hill facing the lake, and and more amazing desserts than you could eat you way through!  Bled is known for its cream cakes; it’s honestly worth the visit just for that alone!

Phuket and Side Trips Video Tour

Over the course of 3 days, we relax at the resort, soaking up some sun and taking advantage of the gourmet cuisine and free entertainment; venture off the island, and head to Phang Nga Bay for kayaking, cave exploring, and a visit to the famed muslim floating fishing village, Ko Panyee; and take a trip out to the gorgeous Phi Phi Islands for some sun bathing, snorkeling, sightseeing, and general monkey-ing around.  Phuket, Thailand has a lot to offer; this video explores the island and some of its best day trips.   Along the way, we’ll also see the film sights of the 1974 James Bond Classic, “The Man with the Golden Gun” and the 2000 hit, “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Riomaggiore (Cinque Terre, Italy)

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07.19.2013- Riomaggiore is the lowest village in the Cinque Terre–5 villages along the northwestern Italian coast.  Taking a boat ride out along the cost from Riomaggiore up to the northernmost village, Monterosso al Mare, is a must.  The coastline is beautiful, and the now-regulated colors of the villages are breathtaking.

View of the Amalfi Coast (Amalfi, Italy)

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07.12.2013- So I’ve been very lax lately about getting a photo of the day up.  Work has been crazy and I’ve been working on another travel video and 2 travel tales: the video’s on Phuket/day trips and the tales are on Cambodia and Puerto Rico.  I just haven’t had time to finish and post them.  In the meantime, though, here’s a photo from my favorite country, Italy.  The Amalfi coast looks like this up and down the coast, jagged cliffs with little houses clinging to the side of them and boats dotting the coastline.  The rugged beauty in this photo makes me want to go back!

Spain Door Knocker (Madrid, Spain)

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06.26.2013- I came across the door knocker while wandering Madrid and it just stood out to me.  It was so detailed and the lion almost felt like it was looking right at me.  I want one of these for home!

View from Boboli Gardens (Florence, Italy)

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06.16.2013- My favorite place in all of Florence wasn’t the Duomo or Michelangelo’s David in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city but in peaceful corners of Boboli Gardens.  It feels less like being a in a city and more like being in the middle of the Tuscan countryside.  There are sculptures interspersed throughout the garden, and the views over the city are beautiful, as well.  Hiking up to the top of the garden for this view is very, very worth it.

Retiro Park (Madrid, Spain)

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06.10.2013- Retiro Park is a great place to relax amid the hustle and bustle of Madrid.  We rented a row boat one afternoon and spent a lazy hour floating across the pond in the sunshine taking in the scenery, and then wandered the shaded paths surrounding it.  On your walk, you’ll encounter everyone from performance artists to exercise instructors to street vendors.

Plitvice Lakes from Above (Plitvice Lakes, Croatia)

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06.06.2013- Plitvice Lakes is one of the most amazing naturally recurring phenomenons you will find anywhere in the world.  It is an entire park of terraced lake and waterfalls.  If that wasn’t enough, calcium deposits in the water calcify everything submerged in them making the water a brilliant blue color.  It’s the perfect place to explore since there are raised walkways built over the entire grounds at the most scenic points.

Beijing Video Tour


Over the course of 2.5 days we visit Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall at Mutianyu, the Olympic Park, and the Summer Palace.
Beijing is the capital of China and one of the most populated cities in the world with over 20 million residents. Since the city’s history dates back 3 millennia, there is plenty to see and do here. It’s a world away from the United States and the perfect site for travel video #2.

Pena Palace (Sintra, Portugal)

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05.25.2013- Sintra, Portugal is known for its scenic views and the castles and mansions that dot the area. The Pena Palace, though, is the star. Home to the royal family until they were exiled, its colorful exterior and the views it provides of the surrounding area are not to be missed. Only a short train ride from Lisbon, Sintra makes a perfect day trip.

Bayon, Angkor Thom (Siem Reap, Cambodia)

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05.24.2013- The Angkor Temples are truly spectacular.  Actually, nearly all of the temples in the Siem Reap area are impressive in their own right.  The temple of Bayon at Angkor Thom really stands out, though.  With 54 towers covered in stone faces, it is truly a work of art.  To top it all off, the temple is nearly 800 years old.