American Southwest Family Vacation

We followed historic Route 66 on our way to see the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, plus much more in New Mexico and Arizona.

End of Tour Summary: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Here are our stories from two and a half years of living in Saudi Arabia while exploring the region.

Excursions to Oman

On two different trips, we strolled Muscat, hiked Wadi Shab, and sailed a dhow through the fjords of Musandam.

Our Expedition to Jordan

Highlights included tracing the steps of Indiana Jones into Petra, following Lawrence of Arabia into Wadi Rum, and floating in the Dead Sea.

Our Adventures in Sri Lanka

Safaris to spot leopards and elephants, swimming in the Indian Ocean, sipping tea in the mountains, and several more!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

End of Tour Summary: Germany

We're finally departing Germany after being stationed here for 3.5 years. And we definitely tried to make the most of it by taking trips to lots of other countries. But with all the great experiences we've had in Germany, it seems only fitting to collect all of those memories into an end-of-tour summary post.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

End of Tour Summary: France

We visited France so many times during the 3.5 years we were stationed in Germany that I felt France deserved an end of tour summary page as well, even though we weren't technically stationed there.
Paris: City of Lights

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Ring of Kerry

We left Spain for Ireland and continued our week of touring. After landing in Dublin, we drove west to the Ring of Kerry and spent our time just being there.
Notice that this free-range sheep sports an identification spot.

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Got a few more pics to upload...











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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Day Trip to Tangier, Morocco

We boarded a ferry in Tarifa, Spain and headed over to Tangier (also known as Tangiers), Morocco. Written out, I keep wanting to pronounce it as "tangy-er." The ferry ride over isn't that long, and most of the time is spent waiting in line on board the ferry to get the customs & immigration paperwork taken care of.

While standing in line, I realized that the car key had fallen out of my pocket. Fortunately, I figured out that it probably slipped out while I was sitting down...so I went back to my seat and there it was. I don't even want to think about how bad it would have been to have lost the key, only to realize it at the end of a long day with no means of getting back to the hotel or airport tomorrow.
The most stylized pedestrian symbol I've ever seen

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Anyways, we arrived at the port of Tangiers shortly thereafter. We made our way through bustling crowds to meet up with our tour guide, who escorted us to the van. I should point out that we've got our baby with us, but the van didn't have a car seat. So, for the one day in her life where I really didn't have a choice, my daughter got to ride in my lap while we drove around town. Hopefully that wasn't illegal...but I didn't see anyone with car seats while we were driving.


Our guided walking tour through the Kasbah was pretty fun. It was featured in the Bourne series, and I actually recognized part of the entrance in the movie. We stopped at a restaurant and had a nice local meal in what is probably a tourist restaurant catering to foreigners on tour.
The entrance to the Kasbah
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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Gibraltar

Welcome to the Rock!
Probably the most interesting thing about Gibraltar, other than the legendary big rock and all the Barbary Apes, was that we had to walk across the runway to get into town. We parked in Spain and walked across the border, which is just north of the airport...which is practically the same width as the country.
The only way into Gibraltar by land is across the runway.

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We took a bus down to the southern tip where we could see Africa. It was rather windy out there on the exposed outcrop of rock.
Africa on the left, Europe on the right.
From there, we caught a bus back into town, had lunch at Smith's Fish & Chips, and then hiked up the rock...where we encountered several families of apes. Some of them even tried to get into the baby's stroller!
Still grumpy with that view?
Shade, glorious shade...








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Monday, May 03, 2010

Andalucía

The first half of our week off we're spending in southern Spain, using the La Torre Hotel outside of Tarifa as our base of operations.

We flew into Malaga and drove along the south coast of Europe to our hotel.

I went for a morning run as well. I have to say, my running experiences in Spain have been quite pleasant.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Caves at Lascaux & the Millau Viaduct

We drove down to Lascaux to see the cave paintings. Turns out, the original cave is closed to visitors because the moisture in our lungs and the former use of torches for light cause all sorts of problems related to preserving them. However, there's a replica cave right next door. And it's pretty good at capturing an understated awesomeness that you have to see to understand.



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Also, we drove out of our way to cross the Millau viaduct, the highest road bridge deck in Europe at 270 m (890 ft). Yes, kinda geeky, but it's still an incredible engineering feat.


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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Prague in Winter

Looking for last-minute travel to Central Europe? Might I suggest Prague? It's a beautiful city any time of year thanks to the historic architecture, so if you don't mind the cold (or like to drink to get warm), winter is the time to go to avoid all the tourists (but still have a lot of fun).

Prague at Night
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End Of Tour Summary: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

We spent two and a half years in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on our second tour in the Foreign Service with the US Department of State. As you migh...

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