Go Cubs!

One of the best things to do when traveling is to take in a local sporting event.  I have been lucky enough to see a game and visit the Wrigley stadium and Wrigleyville a few times now.  And it never gets old!   Chicago is one of the, if not THE, best sport towns in the US.

I wish Chicago and the Cubs the best of luck in overcoming their 104 year dry spell! Wrigley will be out of control and I only wish I was there again experiencing the country’s best sports stadium, surrounded in a sea of blue, cheering on the Cubbies.  This is their year!





Kitchen Challenge – Part Two

Some of you may remember a challenge my husband gave me when I visited Ireland last year.  He asked me to take photos of cute cafes to print and put on the wall in our kitchen thereby combining three of my favorite things: food, photography, and travel.  Well, the challenge was fun for me so I extended it to Paris thinking I would have no shortage of cafe scenes there.  Here are a few unedited photos that have potential.  Let me know what you think…

Shakespeare & Company Bookstore and Cafe

On my first trip to Paris in 2010 I had the pleasure of staying at The Hotel Esmerelda on the Left Bank across from the Notre Dame.  Little did I know that it would literally be sleeping atop the famed Shakespeare & Company bookstore.  I fell in love with this bookstore and couldn’t wait to take my friend Manuela there.  She has been going to Paris for many years and had never visited so I knew she was in for a treat.  I was initially reluctant only because I had heard that the bookstore, which reeks of charm and age, had opened an adjoining coffee shop.  I hoped that S&Co. had not sold out in order to go all Starbuksy on us.  My heart couldn’t take that.  If it was that BAD I figured Parisians would have revolted and stormed the bookstore so I had high hopes. It would be a great respite from the rain so, I had to see the change for myself.

Well, people I am happy to report that the bookstore’s footprint has changed very little if any at all.  And the ridiculously tiny coffee shop is equally as charming and full of lovely young staff brewing up the best cup of coffee I had in Paris.  (And I drank a fair amount of Joe while I was there so I consider myself an authoritay.)

Please go there.  Please buy a book as a souvenir and a cup of coffee while you overlook the Notre Dame and the bustling city.  You will surely leave smarter than you came merely by immersing yourself in history and looking at all of the covers.  Need a break because you have put too many miles on your feet?  Relax in any number of small comfortable nooks and crack a book like Hemmingway in the same place people have done so on the Left Bank for almost 100 years!  (Never mind a few location changes due to the war…)

For more on France please have a Macaron and Baguette with me by clicking here…


Paris Canals

After visiting Pere Lachaise Cemetery we took the metro to Colonal Fabian to take a walk along the Canals eventually winding up at Republic.  We had an amazing lunch at the Atmosphere Cafe and meandered up and over every bridge we encountered.  This is a lovely part of Paris with lots of options for shopping and food and well worth a trip off the normal tourist path of Paris.


Submitting as part of Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge.


Paris Catacombs -Warning Graphic Photos ahead…

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to see the Paris Catacombs or not.  On the one hand it seemed like a can’t miss opportunity.  I mean who else buries 6 million people underground and makes it a tourist attraction?  On the other hand, it’s kind of gross and sad.  I left it up to my travel partner.  If she was game then so was I.  We took the train out there and saw the line to get in to the ossuaries was literally around the block.  We left and meandered the lovely streets of La Butte-aix-Cailles instead thinking the line might die down later in the day.  Turns out one needs to prepare to wait a long while if they want to stare at a bunch of dead people miles underground.

The catacombs were created to solve the problem of overcrowding in the cemeteries which had been closed due to health concerns.  The bones of millions of people were transferred in to the  abandoned quarries in 1786-1859 and only opened later in the 19th century as a tourist attraction.  I still don’t know how I feel about taking money from people to go and visit a “cemetery” but I hope the money goes to the upkeep of the place.

I am grateful I was with my friend because it would have been pretty creepy to do on one’s own.  After descending and ascending what felt like a million stairs we got our minds off of the fact we had just walked by and photographed human remains and ate dinner at one of the best Italian Restaurants I have ever attended @ Cafe Latarantella.  All was right in the world once more after that dinner.

This post was inspired by Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge.  Check out my last Odd Ball Challenge from Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Lake Tahoe Wooden Boat Show 2016 – Race Boat Edition

Any excuse to visit Lake Tahoe is a good excuse.  With temperatures in Sacramento at 108 degrees (Around 42 degrees for my Celsius loving friends) it was time to beat the heat and leave town.

Each year Lake Tahoe hosts a vintage Wooden Boat show in the Tahoe Keys and Homewood.  We have attended before but this year was a treat with the show featuring race boats.  The jet engines are what excites my husband.  For me, I just shake my head at hand made wooden boats made in the 30’s and 40’s being outfitted with ridiculously large engines that at any moment could tear them and their driver’s apart.  But, there is no denying how beautiful the craftsmanship and the lines of these machines are.  And I can certainly appreciate the skill, moxie, and $$$ it takes someone to outfit a boat with a jet engine.

If these boats belong anywhere other than with George Clooney on Lago di Como or Venice they belong here on my beloved Lake Tahoe.  Has anyone had the luxury of taking a cruise in a boat like this?  What about any other unusual watercraft?


Click here to enjoy other posts I have done celebrating my local slice of heaven, Lake Tahoe.

Planning a visit to Lake Tahoe?  Click here for a step by step list of unusual places to visit in Lake Tahoe.

Paris Passages

One of the many things that make Paris interesting and different than a lot of other places is its Passages.  These passages connect streets together though either covered or uncovered passages.  Some of them show a lot of age and heritage where others are industrial and stark.  Any opportunity we got we walked through them just to see what we encountered as we walked through them and to experience what we would find on the other end.

This post was inspired by Cee’s Which Way Challenge.


Père Lachaise Cemetery – Paris

A good travel partner can be hard to find.  When you have a good one you stick with them.  My German friend Manuela and I have been traveling together since we met taking a college class in Dublin in 1999.  And sometimes, you have to take one for the team.  She insisted on taking me to see a cemetery…in Paris.  I wasn’t terribly interested in visiting a bunch of dead people when I had only 9 days in Europe at first.  But, the photographer in me won out and looked forward to the photo opportunities creep factor or no.  And a cemetery originally built in 1804 would surely have some great things to capture.

The weather cooperated despite the cold, very cold weather and periodic rain.  It afforded me time to visit: Oscar Wild (whose grave had been broken sadly only days before by overzealous visitors), Edith Piaf (whose voice transcends her death), Amadeus Modiliani (who like many others only achieved fame after death), Eugene DelaCroix (whose work I only became familiar with while I was visiting Paris), Jim Morrison (I later saw the hotel where he passed away in Paris), Eloise & Abelard (One of the most interesting love stories I have heard in a long time), and various moving shrines to Jewish people who lost their lives in concentration camps from WWII.

The cemetery is huge something like 100+ acres! One could spend all day wandering through its roadmap. If there is anyone in particular you desire to see take a map or you will surely waste your time and get lost.  Avoid the tour guides who accost your ear, come out of nowhere, insist on taking your money, unless you want to make quick work of the cemetery in order to make haste to a cafe or bistro. 

Be aware if you choose this place as your final resting place, unless you are famous, you will be dug up and cremated after 100 years to make room for more!


This post is submitted as part of Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge!