Travel: London: January 2020

After a super busy Fall and a very busy Holiday Season we decided a quick trip to London might be a good way to start year 2020!!  Our flight from San Francisco departed early and landed early in London. Overall welcomed news. As usual we took the “tube” into the city where we dropped our luggage at the hotel and decided to wander for a bit.

We have spent the last several days exploring areas we haven’t explored in a while along with areas we know quite well. Weather has been good/very good overall. A few showers here and there but mostly cool and mild. The City is crowded with shoppers from around the world as usual.

We decided to visit The Wallace Collection yesterday. It’s a free admission to a world class collection of art housed in a once palace. We had not seen this collection in several years. We were pleased to see it hasn’t lost its luster.

Some of our favorites follow…

A priceless Canaletto.
A rare Rembrandt.
Numerous galleries with priceless masterpieces.
A new office tower looks down on a historic building.
The original Tower of London.
The first Tower Bridge.
New London replaces Old London…

Travel: Point Reyes, Marin County Coast, January 2020

Big Greetings to all!

One of the things we love most about San Francisco and the surrounding areas are the copious options to easily slip out of the city and enjoy the beauty and diversity readily available around us.

Just yesterday we zipped over the Golden Gate Bridge and drove over to coastal Marin County and one of our favorite areas know as the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

If you are in the area our favorite place for lunch is a local Italian spot called Stellina, on the main street in the tiny town of Point Reyes Station.  Nearby the restaurant is the ever popular Cowgirl Creamery.  Many worthwhile and unique shops can also be found here.

Here are our favorite photos from the day.

Look closely and see two beachcombers among the miles of coastline at North Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore.

Looking South towards the Golden Gate, the Marin Headlands and eventually San Francisco.

This channel between Point Reyes and the mainland is where the San Andreas Fault exists just off the coast of California. At some point in the future, Point Reyes may become an island.

This is a long distance photo of Tomales Bay until recently famous for its oyster beds.

Travel: Paris, odds and ends we liked

Today was our next to the last day in Paris.  Our walk was over 6-1/2 miles mostly in the Northeast part of the city.  It was full of discoveries.  Monuments, a Passage of Indian restaurants, lots of shops and markets new to us and a new part of the City with modern high rise buildings, shops and massive modern transit hubs.

We like swans.
We like unique cafes with good food and interesting environments.
We like cheese shops and the wide variety of cheeses they offer.
We like flower markets.
We like the seemingly endless options for walking in green areas.
We like the well maintained elegant mansions.
We like discovering old churches and their treasures like the stained glass in St. Elizabeth Church.
We like finding the old iron water fountains while searching for fresh Pain du Chocolate.
We like discovering old monuments.
Speaking of monuments!

Travel: Four Days left in Paris

It was another interesting day in Paris.  The weather has cooled into the low 50s demanding an additional layer, something light but warm…

Today we decided on a walk in the 8th Arr. that included several new surprises along with some old familiar places.  After a seafood lunch we decided to squeeze in another movie, enough for a new review post.  Stay tuned in the next day or so.

We stumbled upon a small but quality farmers market steps away from the Metro.
Beautiful fresh seafood was the inspiration for our lunch later in the day.
As always, beautiful flowers waiting for a vase.
We stumbled upon the Cathedrale St. Alexandre Nevsky, a Russian Orthodox Church.
Traditional Onion Domes.
A discrete photo during Mass.

 

The beautiful gated entrance to Park Monceau.
The back of a mansion facing the Park.
A mid day look at the always impressive Arc de Triomphe.

Travel: Paris, one more week.

We are back in Paris for a second week after our two week tour to Eastern Europe that included the Czech Republic, Slovakia, a tiny corner of Austria and Hungary.  We traveled over 600 miles on our bus.  We walked over 120 miles in total averaging 4.2 miles per day.

Now back in Paris, our first day included a much needed visit to the local laundry, a quick trip to the corner store for food and provisions.  And a long walk to a movie complex to catch a much needed (English) language movie just to stay current.

John as Vana White practicing for a commercial.
A cat coffee house in our block where folks enjoy a rest with beverages and cats!
Building detail dating to the late 1800s.
Dating back to 1896, Chartier has been a popular Paris landmark for traditional French fare.
A simple salad of endive and Roquefort dressing.
Main course is roasted chicken and French fries.
Desert of chocolate mousse.
The restaurant is very popular with locals and visitors alike. It’s an institution in Paris.

Travel: Lucerne, Switzerland 3

Today was our last day in Lucerne.  We spent most of the day with our long time friends who live here.  This morning’s weather included heavy overcast so we decided to stay close to home and explore nearby areas.

We decided to explore some of the city’s old fortified walls dating back centuries. Next was a leisurely traditional lunch at a local restaurant and another city walk before saying bon voyage.  Tomorrow it’s back to Paris.

The Holiday season starts early at the Globus Department Store.
Another cheerful window.
The trees are changing quickly now.
More lovely fall color.
Afternoon light over the old town.
The old city walls date back centuries.

 

Travel: Lucerne, Switzerland 2

Today was another day to explore the charming and diverse city of Lucerne.  It’s a compact city on a series of lakes with a walkable old town with lots of restaurants and seemingly endless activities.

We started our morning at the local Farmers Market, followed by a visit to an exceptional museum featuring Picasso, Paul Klee and several impressionists.  (We unexpectedly ran into the owner of the Rosengart collection and museum whose portraits by Picasso hang in the museum.)  We are sorry, photography was not permitted.

Chapel Bridge considered to be Europe’s oldest covered bridge from the 14th century with a water tower behind.
View across the river.
Alpenhorns greeted us to the farmers market.
Charming fountain near the cathedral.
Numerous painted buildings some dating back centuries.
Alter in the local cathedral.
Evening on the lake.

Travel: Lucerne, Switzerland

Yesterday was a long travel day.  An early morning wake up call, followed by an hour ride to the Budapest airport.  It was a pleasant 1-1/2 hour flight to Zurich, Switzerland.  And then a one hour train ride brought us to Lucerne and a visit with long time friends.

The afternoon included a wonderful lake boat ride followed by a delightful dinner.  All and all a long, but fun, day.

A few neighbors overlooking the lake.
Farms and villages along the shore.
A bucolic setting.
Lucerne city center.
Harbor view from our boat.
Lake view of the nearby Alps.
Sailboat harbor and the Alps.

Travel: Budapest by day

We enjoyed a full day touring the fascinating city of Budapest.  It’s a big sprawling city with a thriving economy and arguably too many tourists.

The sightseeing is abundant and satisfying.  Dining options are plentiful, often unique and quite reasonable.

Overall, its a wonderful city and worthy of a few days visit.

City Hall on Castle Hill
Cathedral spires on Castle Hill.
Neo-Gothic Parliament built in 1896 along the banks of the Danube River.
The dome of a popular thermal bathhouse with exceptional mosaic tile ceilings.
The Great Synagogue, a UNESCO World Heritage site is the largest Jewish temple in Europe with a mix of Byzantine, Moorish and Romantic styles.