Our two-week holiday in Mexico at the beginning of November didn’t turn out quite like we planned. When people ask about our time south of the border, inevitably the focus shifts to Marcus’ windsurfing accident, booking an early flight home, and the tale of a two-week holiday cut in half.
But I choose to remember the sunrises.
I am an early riser. I enjoy waking up with the maximum amount of the day stretched out before me. However, that doesn’t mean I am a morning person. I get up early so that I can take my time preparing for the day, to be quiet before facing the noise of the world. Rushing outside a few minutes after opening my eyes is not part of that routine.
The sunrises in Baja Sur changed that, at least for a week. I would wake and see a golden glow leaking through the edges of the curtains that I couldn’t simply ignore. When I pulled back the curtain, I was met with the most glorious sunrise. I would nudge Marcus and then bolt out the door, camera in hand. Wild-eyed and half-dressed, completely inappropriate to the world outside, but I didn’t care.
We had seven days to catch the sunrise. Some were more breathtaking than others. And someday, we’ll get more when we return to climb the Sierra de la Laguna and witness the sunrise from the top of a mountain.
At the end of May, Marcus and I drove to Central Oregon to spend my birthday weekend at The Lodge at Suttle Lake. The resort has a beautiful main lodge and boathouse restaurant, with private cabins scattered around the premises. We rented a small cabin a short walk from the lake and dined the first evening at the restaurant. Due to a mixup, our reservation was lost, so the manager opened the second floor and gave us a private meal with a view over the lake. The ambiance was amazing, complemented by delicious food and a bottle of wine. After our meal, we headed back to sit around the fire and roast birthday s’mores.
The next day, my parents joined us for a hike around the lake, although the water was too cold for a swim. In the evening, we cooked a meal of chili, cheese sandwiches, and roasted kale over the fire. With s’mores for dessert, of course. On Sunday, we headed to the nearby town of Sisters, an Old West style town with a mountain range for a backdrop. We visited a few antique shops, enjoyed lunch on a sunny terrace, and grabbed coffee at the legendary Sisters Coffee Company. And then, we headed over the mountain and back to Portland.
It’s no secret that I love to travel. I can’t imagine a life that didn’t involve packing a suitcase every few months at least. Marcus and I even have promised ourselves to visit at least one new country each year. In 2012, I traveled to ten countries outside the Netherlands. Some of these trips took me back to familiar territory, others took me to unexplored areas of countries I’d visited before.
The two new countries this year were Wales and Morocco. Wales was my favorite. The sheep dotting the rolling hills, the climb up Mount Snowdon, the shepherd’s hut we stayed in, and eating one of my favorite meals of the year. Morocco, visited on a work trip, was the most novel and much too short. And our trip to Italy, for our honeymoon, was undoubtedly the most memorable.
Read more about: Florida, Belgium (Ghent, Brugge), Italy (Rome and the Amalfi Coast), Germany (Stuttgart and the East for summer and Christmas), France (Paris, Versailles, and Lille), Spain, Canada, Oregon (summer and fall), England (Bath, The Cotswolds, The Lake District, Gloucestershire), Wales, and Morocco.
In one week, Marcus and I will fly to Berlin to spend Christmas with his family in the East. The last time we had a German Christmas was in 2009, a visit that also took us to the Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmärkte) in Dresden. It’s a magical city, but even more so with a mug of Glühwein in hand and sparkling lights all around. Besides visiting Dresden, we’re looking forward to visiting family, walking through the snowy woods, and eating at our favorite restaurants in Berlin. I can’t wait to step on the plane and head East for Christmas!
What are your plans for the holiday?
Oregon is beautiful in all seasons, but autumn just might be my favorite. After my trip to Casablanca, I returned to Amsterdam for a few days before departing for Portland. The occasion was my father’s 60th birthday, which we celebrated with abandon. My father declared his birthday a season and has been celebrating the past several months with fishing trips to Bend and explorations of hidden lakes. We take birthdays seriously in my family.
The actual celebration of his birthday lasted about three days, starting with a large party on Saturday, complete with live music and an array of baked goods by yours truly. On Sunday, my parents, Marcus, and I went on a long walk through the orange-leaved trees in surprisingly warm weather. We wore summer clothing and sat outside, drinking lemonade and eating watermelon. On Monday – my dad’s actual birthday – we turned in our ballots, went book shopping, and gathered around the table for a family dinner. I’m thankful for such a wonderful family, a dad who has humor and wisdom, and especially for the love of nature he has inspired in each of us, which comes in especially useful each time I return home to Oregon.
Above, a few images from Instagram (clockwise): sunset over the Willamette River taken while hanging out with my two sweet nieces; the sun shining on the leaves of a maple tree in my parent’s garden; the Stayton-Jordan covered bridge; and the view from the Wildwood trail at Hoyt Arboretum.
It’s a cold Sunday in Amsterdam. I’m bundled in a sweater and sipping hot tea, trying to remember the warmth of the sun that I enjoyed last week during a work trip to Morocco. I spent most of my time in Casablanca, but took a train to Rabat for a meeting on Tuesday. Both cities were amazing. Bright colors, thick air, and a bustle of activity as people prepared for Eid al-Alha (the Feast of the Sacrifice).
My best part of the trip was the food. Each meal began with an array of dips and bread as an appetizer, which ensured there was never much room for a main dish. The craziest part was certainly the taxi rides, careening through the streets with people, cars, and horse-pulled carts coming from every direction and a driver screaming out the window. It was just a first glimpse of the country and I hope to someday return and visit the smaller cities and the countryside. Working with great people and getting local tips was a good start though.
And a few shots from Instagram. Clockwise from the top left: An Arabic stop sign in Casablanca, a morning view of Casablanca, a colorful lantern at Riad Zitoune, and a doorway to the medina in Rabat.
One last post about our road trip through the UK to highlight the Prior Park Landscape Garden and the beautiful Palladian Bridge. Built in the 18th century, the garden is located south of Bath. It was designed by Alexander Pope and Capability Brown (great name!) with funding from Ralph Allen. Arriving when the garden opened for the day, Marcus and I had the place to ourselves. The entrance is at the top of hill and the path leads to a clearing with a view over the garden and Bath in the distance. A winding path took us through the foliage, past a herd of grazing cows, until we reached the bottom of the hill and the bridge.