Last week The Bold Italic shared some beautiful photography work that captured my imagination in so many ways. Three photo/videographers went up in a helicopter and got amazing images that you can see more of in the original post. My favorite (teaser) was this one from Michael Shainblum:
This past Christmas I went to my Tucson hometown to see my little sister graduate from college and spend the holidays with my family. While I was there I went to some of my favorite old attractions (Winterhaven, Old Tucson) but I also visited a lot of places I never actually went to when I lived there (Biosphere 2, Kitt Peak, Pima Air and Space Museum). It was lovely to play tourist in my hometown for the week.
Pima Air and Space Museum
We randomly decided to go check out this airplane museum near the air force base, which I’d never thought about going to before. My mom had been there a long time ago but she said that it’s way bigger now. It was stunning how many aircrafts were on display here in a number of different hangers, as well as outside, plus there are exhibits about the space exploration stuff. Really actually quite impressive.
I knew the basics about Biosphere 2 because it was a big deal when it was a living project back when I was a kid. However, I’d never been there to visit. My brother, sister and Dad had been there once before but they said that at the time there wasn’t a lot to see. We went and checked it out and they have formal tours.
You learn a bit about the history of the place. Basically there were two different groups who lived here trying to be self-sustainable inside the mini-earth that it is. There were ups and downs, which are well documented in the writings from those people. Since then it’s become a place for various kinds of research, first under one university, then as a privately owned place and now under the University of Arizona.
It was amazing to see the different environments that are built here under one roof, from a rainforest to a desert climate. And it was cool to see the underground workings of the place. It was neat and worth a visit for sure. Plus it’s a nice long drive out there (north of Tucson) and I got to enjoy lovely desert views, spotted a roadrunner and generally just felt like I was really home again.
Earlier this year I saw this infographic:
It ranks San Francisco as the 7th happiest city in the world, although the way it ranks it is really odd to me. We get high marks here for shopping centers, middle marks for outdoor and culture locations and lower marks for performances and amusements. We do have ample shopping here, I suppose, but I really think of us as a place with lots of performances and culture locations. Interesting. In the end I guess what matters most is that I’m happy here!
Some new, some old, all taken by me during walks in San Francisco’s Japantown:
I’ve been to Solvang a few times in my life. It’s this cute little Dutch-themed town in Southern California. We went as a family when I was a kid during a trip to see relatives somewhere else in the same area. Since my brother lives in LA and I live here in San Francisco I’ve done the drive between the two cities quite a few times and have sometimes taken a route that lets me stop in Solvang. It’s a small place and not somewhere I’d need to spend a ton of time but it’s a cute little place with some great bakeries, an adorable bookstore and beautiful photo spots.
- Solvang means “sunny field” in Dutch.
- The town was founded in 1911 by a group of Danish teachers.
- There are about 5000 people who call this town home.
- It’s home to lots of windmills and Hans Christian Andersen stuff.
Is there a cute little town near you? What’s it like?
I’ve been to Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. I’ve been to the Petrified Forest in Arizona. The Old Faithful Geyser of California and the Petrified Forest in the same area are not quite as amazing as those places but they make for a fun little day trip away from San Francisco.
Old Faithful Geyser of California
The Geyser is a natural geyser like the ones in Yellowstone. It’s a single geyser and it’s small compared to what I remember of the real Old Faithful but it’s kinda cool. I hadn’t actually thought about this place in awhile (I haven’t been there in awhile) but I saw a sign for it when I went to wine country and realized that it’s really not that far from here.
There is a little feeding zoo of goats and sheep in the same place as the geyser. I confess that when I look back on my trip to this spot (which was actually several years ago now) this is what I remember as my favorite part!
The hike through the Petrified Forest is short from what I recall but it is impressive to see these major fallen trees that are hardened over.
I’ve been to San Diego several times. It’s easy to get down there. It’s sunny. It’s relatively affordable. And there are tons of things I like about it. When I think about the memories of my trips, I usually think about the big things. I think about the great boutique hotels I’ve stayed in, the experience of going kayaking in the ocean, the times at the zoo … but there are actually a lot of little things I loved during the days of my San Diego trips, things that enhanced those big things by adding in the details to enjoy. Here are a few of those things:
The Lily Pond in Balboa Park on a sunny day. Actually a lot of the little things I love are in this park!
Flowers from the conservatory also in Balboa Park.
A ship that was in the harbor during one of my trips.
A statue of that famous kiss.
My sister peeking out of sculpture on the street.
Reading the signs to find out about the people who were in the Old Town cemetery.
Huge display inside one of the museums.
Koi in Japantown pond
Rose in one of the gardens
Desert garden in Balboa Park
The details make the days!!!!
I recently saw a play performed by someone who was originally from Niagara Falls. She made a joke about how she lived for 19 years in a place where most people spend two days. It got me thinking about my trip to Niagara Falls. My sister and I went on a trip there together a couple of years ago. I have fond memories of the time that we had together although I also remember being hugely disappointed with the falls.
I thought that they were going to be super amazing. And they were amazing but the hype of the amazingness of this must-see travel hot spot definitely made the actual first viewing of it as an adult not so exciting at all. I did think it was interesting to cross the border into Canada (which I’d never done before) and see the touristy town. I liked the Journey Behind the Falls attraction where you get to walk through caves behind the water. I enjoyed having ice wine at a restaurant overlooking the water. It was kind of pretty seeing the lights at night.
I’m not quite sure I understand why people would come here more than once. Or why they’d come as a honeymoon / wedding thing. I think you pay a lot of money to hang out in a crowd and see some water. It made me wish I’d gone to Iguazu Falls when I was in Argentina so I could compare the two.
Ultimately I think that Niagara Falls is worth seeing once in your life. It’d be cool to have gotten a chance to see it on a family trip as a kid. I’m glad I got to experience it with my sister. But if I only go that one time in my life I’m also okay with that.
Have you been to Niagara Falls? What were your thoughts?