Friday, May 31, 2013

RC3: Trip Itinerary

It has taken me a few days to get back into the swing of things here.  Just in time for a really sunny and active weekend back at home.  Tomorrow we welcome my sis back to CA for several months; it will be so fun to have her close again!

While I finish sorting and editing photos, I thought I'd post the itinerary of our trip, with a few photos to begin to tell the story.  The trip began with me running after the bus I missed by about 20 seconds--I chased it for a half a mile (yes, I had time to map the chased distance while I waited--sweaty and frustrated--for the next bus...).  Things picked up with beers in the airport bar--we knew vacation was on its way!

A few layovers later--one of which offered complimentary espresso and Toblerone!--we arrived in Naples after dark.  We opted to stay near the train station so that we could hit the road early for Pompeii.

After Pompeii, we re-boarded the Circumvesuviana train for Sorrento, a town overflowing with lemon trees, where we strolled the town streets and watched sunsets.

We enjoyed two days of relaxation in Sorrento before we crossed the peninsula to the Amalfi Coast, to the town of Positano.

The highlight of this part of our trip was the hike we took along the coast, Sentiero Degli Dei--"the walk of the gods."  It was amazing.

We gained some serious, serious elevation!
Despite some rainy weather, we loved the coastal towns, cliffs, and quaint streets of Positano.  

Our next stop--the main purpose of our trip--was to Santorini, Greece, to watch my sweet college roommate get married.  
They kicked off the festivities with a group sailing trip around Santorini's caldera in a pirate ship. 

The ship stopped at two swimming holes, including the hot springs (below), where the water was incredibly refreshing.  On board, Greek dancing ensued!  It was such a great way to welcome us to Greece.

On OJ's wedding day, we spent the early afternoon exploring Oia, the northern-most town on Santorini, most widely recognized by the blue domes and white buildings that are built into the cliffs.

Sunday night we gathered in the Greek Orthodox church, and we celebrated their marriage.

After a joyful night of celebration, we woke up late on Memorial Day and explored the town of Fira, before heading back on a flight to Athens.  Tuesday morning we boarded 3 more flights and finally arrived home that evening.

It went by extremely fast--thank goodness for all the photos!  I love vacation.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


We're back!

Tired but excited to look through all the photos.

We had an amazing time...more to share later!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wacky Wednesday

The greyhound is getting married!

On a related note, we are getting so excited to celebrate a very special wedding this weekend.  Can't wait!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sorrento to Positano

We have loved Sorrento!

Vesuvius at dusk

We're leaving our Sorrento hotel (and this view) for Positano later today.

Gelato count: 4
(lemon is still winning)

Monday, May 20, 2013


We explored Pompeii Sunday before catching a train to beautiful Sorrento.

I shocked myself and ordered lemon gelato (instead of my usual coffee or chocolate preference), and it's currently my favorite.

We walked all around this cute town several times over and then spent the afternoon at the pool.

Settling into vacation mode!

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Last night after work we embarked on our 2013 top adventure goal, our Revival Crusade 3 (vacation naming background here).

Over the coming week, we will explore the Amalfi Coast and then hop to Santorini Island to celebrate the marriage of a wonderful friend and her sweet groom.  We are thrilled for the chance to take this adventure and to support these two great friends at their wedding.

Aegina, 2008
For a little background, we have wanted to explore Southern Italy ever since setting foot in the Northern part of the country together during RC1 in 2011.  As for Greece, our water polo teams traveled there in 2009 to play internationally, so this will be a nice return to the country, with a chance to explore a new island (we day-tripped to Aegina Island from Athens during the previous trip.)  We're excited for some new adventures!

Vernazza, 2011
I plan to check in here whenever possible, at least with a few phone camera pictures and some travel notes.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wacky Wednesday

This made me smile today:
(ignore the apostrophe) #petpeeve
while you're at it, ignore the cigarette, too.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve Hike

This past weekend we celebrated Mother's Day with a surprise hike and picnic.  Sunday morning we woke up early and drove south to Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve--one of a dozen or so preserves along the Pacific Ridge.

We met up with M&D, shared lots of hugs and excitement, and then hit the trails.

Our route led us on a loop just over 6 miles, with great views of mountains, valleys, and the East Bay.

That low layer of fog prevented us from seeing the ocean!

We climbed Borel Hill towards the end of the route, and from the top, we admired views of San Francisco.

Upon finishing the hike and returning to the parking lot, we took a picnic blanket and the cooler and found a great spot in the shade by a tiny lake, where we ate and drank.

It was such a fun meet-up!  Happy Mother's Day to my Super Mom.

Let's do it again soon!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

I can't wait to see you this morning (SURPRISE!)

Older posts:
Last Mother's Day

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Montara Mountain - Pacifica Hike

Saturday afternoon marked the end of our HOT San Francisco weather.  Winds blew in cooler temps and clouds, and Sunday morning we even got rained on while heading to brunch.  The rain was, thankfully, short-lived, and the afternoon brought sunny but much cooler weather with lots of wind.  
I had read about Montara Mountain in Pacifica's McNee Ranch State Park, which rises almost 2000 feet from the beach, and reviews claimed it is a good hike for less-than-clear days.  So after brunch (at Park Tavern in North Beach, btw, which was really good!), we headed south 20 miles to Pacifica. 

Montara Mountain has four different trial heads; we chose Gray Whale Cove State Beach, with easy parking and access from Highway 1 and nice views of the ocean on the hike up to the summit.

We chose a combination of routes, with a longer climb to the summit (the summit's on the far right in the map above), and a descent made shorter by a very steep short-cut.  Our total was 8.2 windy miles--we were nearly blown off the mountain at one point.  (I think that aspect added to the adventure, but W wasn't so convinced.)

The trail we took wound around the bluffs for a couple of miles before turning steep:

This is when the wind really started to pick up, too!

But the views were incredible--I was already thinking of a return trip when the air was a bit more clear and the wind more calm.

Two hours in, we reached the summit, and we could see views North past San Francisco to Marin, South past Half Moon Bay to Pescadero, and East towards the East Bay and airport.  

We couldn't stay on the summit of Montara Mountain for too long or we would have been blown off of it,  so we took a few self-portraits and scrambled down the trail.  

The descent was much faster, partially due to a short-cut in the trail, and we finished with nice lighting over Gray Whale Cove as we got near our car.

We both agree on a calmer day, we would love to do this hike again (and bring friends next time!)

Another cool city adventure...our move to the Bay Area just over 18 months ago was exactly the right move for us!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

2012 Photobooks

In mid-February two packages arrived on our doorstep that I had been carefully tracking.  I was so excited for their arrival.

In the packages were these two photo books I had designed in the beginning of 2013. 

Since 2009 I have accumulated the best photos of the year and put together an annual photo album, and I have done the same for large trips we've taken.  Together with our wedding album and a fun trash-the-dress photo book, we have a nice collection of hard copy photography from our 3.5 years of marriage.  

It is satisfying to have the digital photos get used and displayed instead of dropping into the dark abyss of my hard drive never to be seen again.

I've used MyPublisher for all the annual and vacation books, for a consistent look.  They have been a pretty decent company to work with for the most part, though I can see myself switching to another company down the road if I find MP no longer meets my criteria or high expectations for the printing.  But for $45 including shipping, these are a perfect way to capture the memories on paper for now.

As I have mentioned in the past, this is my project at the end of December into January, and once I have designed the books, I wait until a coupon comes around and submit my order.  The right coupon (for free extra pages beyond their standard 20) popped up right before Valentine's Day, so I sent off my order (and received these on Valentine's Day, which made for a fun time to reminisce on our past year.)

Good print quality, good prices (when I use the coupon!), and great memories.  I'm already a little excited to think about what our photo book will look like from our upcoming trip!