Money $

One of the things that is nearly unavoidable when traveling is using the local currency.  Credit cards and ATMs make it a lot easier.  But, it is rare to be able to go anywhere let alone anywhere remote without using at least some actual money.  And what is equally unavoidable is coming home without at least a little pocket change on your person.

I have had a plastic bag full of money sitting in my desk drawer for years.  I have never known what to do with it and have grown to love it.  Part of me adores having it as if it is a souvenir.  (Some of the money I have collected doesn’t even exist anymore!  Irish pence, Italian, etc.) Part of me hangs on to the money thinking I will use it again when I go back to that country!

What does one do with their plastic bag full of foreign money?  Well, I did what any rational woman would do.  I consulted Pinterest.  Well, as usual Pinterest makes me feel inadequate because they had a number of wonderful ideas on what to do with one’s money.  There were folks who glued their money to the place where it came from on a map and displayed said map in their house.  There were others who turned their change in to a coffee table.  And my favorite put the money in a gorgeous little vintage jar and wrote the word “Adventure” on the outside of the jar.  It was as if the money in the jar would fund their next adventure.

Tell me what do you do with your left over travel change?  Do you donate it?  Do you turn it in and exchange it for your local money?  Do you keep it for your next trip?  Do you do any Pinterest style creative things with it?  Or do you just have it in a pile in your desk?


Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: 2015 Week #14 – Scottish Tartan Cabs – Edinburgh

Hello all, I caught this little beauty near Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh Scotland.  I am pretty sure he was a taxi cab but I would love to just think some normal guy was driving around in a car like this.  I mean, wouldn’t you?  Seeing little things like this are what travel is about for me.  I thought I would share my odd ball photo as part of Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge.  For more strange and interesting photos check out her Odd Ball Photo Page!  Cee’s Odd Ball.


And for more car related photos check out my post on LeMans Car Museum and LeMay Car Museums.

Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair

I stopped by the Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair today at the Scottish Rite Temple here in downtown Sacramento.  Now, I wasn’t necessarily planning on making a blog post about it.  But, an outstanding number of vendors had vintage books on travel or on the subject of foreign countries.  I took a few photos to give you a feel for it.

I only wish I had to money to afford many of these little gems…

I hope you enjoy.  Happy reading and happy travels!

*A while back I posted on some of my favorite travel books.  Check it out…

**And for book lovers here was a short post on Powell’s City of books in Portland… Check Powell’s out…


Hidden Falls State Park – Auburn California

It’s spring in California. Or, at least that’s what they tell me.  With the drought we have been having for the last few years here in California it feels like spring all the time. Sometimes it feels like the only way I can really tell it’s spring is paying attention to the time of year my allergies go crazy! Cough. Cough. Sneeze. Sneeze.  (I am only kidding.  Well, sort of.)

To celebrate spring and the energetic feeling it gives me I embarked on a nice little hike in Hidden Falls State Park in Auburn California. I work in Auburn and have been meaning to check this Placer County park out for years. I sure am glad I finally got around to it. The park is glorious. It boasts multiple waterfalls and lots of flora and fauna worthy of any other great state park. There many different trails of various skill levels.

My favorite trails were the poppy trail and the hidden falls trail. Combined I imagine they totaled about five miles plus.  Both of the trails skirt along creeks and boast rewards at the end. One reward is a wonderful waterfall and creek view. The other is several spring pools full of frogs and pollywogs. Wildflowers were everywhere. Just beware that the trails are all downhill which means UPHILL all the way back to where you began.

The park had a multitude of other trails that will have to be explored another day on a fresher pair of feet. We spent the better part of five hours hiking around and enjoying the scenery and the smiles on people’s faces. The park is very children and dog friendly. And it is FREE! Free parking and free entrance.


Relics of trips gone by

The number of souvenirs I purchase and bring home has ebbed and flowed through the years.  When I first started traveling I brought lots of things home for lots of people.  Interestingly enough I now have more money but less willingness to carry heavy things home.  I occasionally buy special items that remind me of a place or a time or a moment.  Sometimes it is a piece of clothing sometimes a trinket or art.  Sometimes I buy things for friends and family and sometimes I don’t.  I suppose now I just buy souvenirs for myself or for family and friends only if the item moves me or I think someone will really enjoy it.

But one thing remains true. I always try to bring my mother a can or bottle of Coca Cola from every country I visit.  It is especially exciting when the can or bottle identifies the country I visited on the label or glass.  It started on my first trip to Ireland in 1999.  I found her a Coke that had been bottled in Ireland that she got a massive kick out of.  It is a fun and inexpensive souvenir I can bring home to her.  Later, I brought her Cokes from Germany, Ireland, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Mexico, France, Spain, Belize, and so on.  Her collection is getting pretty impressive if you ask me!

D80_7851         D80_7860

D80_7846         D80_7847


Some of them are getting pretty old.  Taking the opportunity to photograph them allowed me to give them a good dusting.  Cheers Mom!

D80_7845                              D80_7848

D80_7850                      D80_7862 D80_7863

Do you have any items you religiously buy from any country you visit?  Do you have any collections?  Or do you just bring items home that move you?

D80_7854                   D80_7843

D80_7849                   D80_7852

*This post was inspired by an interaction I had with one of my favorite travel bloggers Indah Susanti a while back.  She asked me to write a post on souvenirs and here it is!   Please see her delightful post and gorgeous macro shots of her favorite souvenirs at


Ode to the Full Irish Breakfast

Ireland and its people are wonderful. I would recommend a visit for anyone.  The history, the music, the castles, the neolithic art and archaeology, the mysticism, all reasons to visit.  But, one thing can be found in Ireland that cannot be found in many other places.  The full Irish Breakfast.

In many of Ireland’s B&Bs the full Irish breakfast is served and makes staying at said B&B even more worth it.  This breakfast will set you up for the day making it so lunch may not even be necessary.

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day please enjoy some full Irish Breakfast photos taken at the impeccable Riverstown Country B&B in Rathfeigh County Meath!  This B&B was originally built in the early 1700’s and still boasts a lovely thatched roof.

IMG_4650           IMG_4651

IMG_4652           IMG_4655

IMG_4657              IMG_4648



Cyprus Avenue wafting on the airwaves in Ireland

In honor of Saint Patrick’s day I have been thinking of Ireland once again.  I am taking my parents there this summer so it is double on my mind.  And frankly, Ireland is a part of me and I think of it all the time.

I remember back to 1999 on my first trip to Ireland.  I traveled on my own to take a summer class at Trinity College Dublin and met up with my brother Sean afterwards.  It was the first big international trip for both of us.  While preparing to embark on our journey away from Dublin we were sitting having dinner in a small local restaurant in town.  We were excited and happy to be together on our journey when Van Morrison started singing on the radio.  Having been familiar with “Brown Eyed Girl” as a kid I had never heard this “new” song he sang.  “Cyprus Avenue” played on the radio in the restaurant and I was enthralled.  I had to know what this was.  Well, it turns out it is off an early 1968 album called Astral Weeks and wasn’t new at all.  I bought the CD while we were still in Dublin and it has remained one of my all time favorite albums.  My husband and I even saw Van Morrison in concert at the Hollywood Bowl in 2008 where he sang all of the songs off of the album as a 40th anniversary tour of the albums release.

It’s amazing to me how one small moment on a trip can stay with you so many years later.  Do you have any travel moments that stick with you many years later?  Songs or music than bring you back to a time and place?  Smells or colors that bring you back to a particular travel moment?

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day friends!  Slante!

Uxmal…glorious Uxmal

When visiting the Yucatan everyone always goes to Chichen Itza, and they should, but Uxmal is where it’s really at.  Chichen Itza is full of tourists taking the bus from Cancun which takes away from the experience.  Uxmal is a little more off the beaten path, south of Merida, but certainly worth a visit.  Uxmal is an important Mayan site located in the Puuc region and boasts an architectural style different from other Mayan sites I have visited.  One can spend all day at this UNESCO heritage site just bring a hat, some sunscreen, and some bug spray for comfort.

I took hundreds of photos of the site but have included a few to give you an idea of the complex.

Multiple buildings exist on the complex most of which are in splendid shape.


Random turtle I found climbing on one of the buildings.  Many animals like jaguars, birds, even crocodiles are prevalent in Mayan art.  But, I haven’t seen too many turtles.


Gorgeous arch at Uxmal in a portion of the grounds in the House of the Doves that has been less restored but no less gorgeous, interesting, and mystical.



While the main pyramid at Uxmal is breathtaking but this end of the complex was my favorite architecturally.  I love the angles on these buildings.






This remains one of my favorite sculptures anywhere.  The double-headed jaguar sits in a courtyard and is an imposing figure.  Many a ceremony must have occurred at her feet.


Another example of decoration throughout the grounds.


My intrepid travel partner.


There are an enormous number of iguanas on site at Uxmal.


The angles of this pyramid are also gorgeous.




The Great Pyramid at Uxmal when she was experiencing some repairs.


Black and White Challenge – Day Five – People

I accept the challenge to post five black and white photos for five consecutive days this week. They ask that we include our black and white and its original match and I threw in some extras for fun.

I was challenged by Indah Susanti over at .  Indah has a gorgeous travel blog specializing in underwater photography.  I encourage you to check it out.

As part of the challenge I am encouraged to challenge another blogger I am connected to each day.  Today I challenge

Phyll @PhyllThis @ .  Phyll is full of energy and has an entertaining blog I hope you will enjoy.

Black and white images are especially interesting with people.  I think it can sometimes turn a seemingly boring picture into something more interesting.  Below I was shooting a photo of the lovely building behind my intrepid husband.  He was getting bored and walked in to the image as a joke.  I love the way the black and white photo turned out in this one.



This image was actually a somewhat blurry photo.  When turned in to black and white I think it provides a level of interest that was not there with the original.


This photo, taken at Normandy, France is quite striking in black and white and compliments the immense history in this region of France.


Black and White Challenge – Day Four – Cars

I accept the challenge to post five black and white photos for five consecutive days this week. They ask that we include our black and white and its original match and I threw in some extras for fun.

I was challenged by Indah Susanti.  Indah has a gorgeous travel blog specializing in underwater photography.  I encourage you to check it out.

As part of the challenge I am encouraged to challenge another blogger I am connected to each day.  Today I challenge

Andrew Petcher @ Have Bag Will Travel. Andrew is a prolific blogger writing great posts after great post about all of his experiences.  I hope you will check out his blog.

The photos included in this challenge are from the LeMans Auto Museum in LeMans, France.  It was a lot of fun to take photos of these old beautiful vehicles.  And once I got them home they were begging to become black and white.  I hope you enjoy some of my favorites.








I throw this last one in as good measure seeing it on the streets of Paris on the same trip…