Tag: travel

Capitol Reef Family July 4th Weekend

Hey guys! Happy 4th of July! I hope you all had a pleasant holiday weekend. I ended up having a fun time with my family at one of Utah’s lesser known national parks called Capitol Reef National Park.

For many years my Dad has loved going down to Central Utah to ride his dirt bike motorcycles and ATVs with his friends over the rough terrain. Last year he bought a property for camping and such that he deemed as ‘Adventure Acres’. He loves going down there and getting away from the stresses of life which I can certainly appreciate.

That said, it’s never had much appeal to me because there is no lake, beach or river to swim in and I’m not interested in motorcycles or ATVs at all. I also don’t like to camp if it can be helped and red rock scenery is pretty but not my favorite.

Nevertheless, almost my entire family including all 5 of my nieces were going down to Adventure Acres for the 4th weekend so I decided to finally check it out. It’s still not my cup of tea but I had a good time spending time with my family.

The only frustrating part of the weekend for me was dealing with the slow internet connection at the hotel because my friend Jonathan and I recorded our podcast on the Doctor Who finale and it took 2 days to upload! You certainly do become grateful for high speed internet when you are away from it. That’s for sure!

Capitol Reef is not as splashy as Grand Canyon or Bryce with it all feeling like a small town but it still is beautiful and a lot of fun to visit especially if you are in to hiking and motorcycle dirt biking. I just enjoyed hanging out with my nieces and spending as much time with them as possible since they live in Portland, Oregon and the DC area and I don’t get to see them very much.

Anyway, we ended up having a good time together and I particularly loved spending time with my nieces. Here are some photos of the trip with commentary:

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Rest of Spain Vacation Report

spain selfie1So I am still feeling a bit jetlagged from returning home from Spain but I thought I should give you guys the details of the rest of my trip. As I reported in the last post we were off for 4 days to Alicante which is a coastal city where we had an Air B and B mere blocks from the beach. To get there we took a train and saw some beautiful Spanish scenery.

spain train2

spain view from train And then on our first trip out to the ocean there was tons of seaweed and I got stung by a fish with a spiney back. It stung so badly that I had to limp over to the first aid station. When I got there a very attractive lifeguard helped me to soak the foot in hot water and it lessened the swelling.  I learned to never risk it and not wear my water shoes again.

After the ocean we went to a nice restaurant and I finally had the chance to try my first paella!

alicante3 paellaThe paella was tasty and rich with octopus, shrimp and chicken. On the whole I didn’t love Spanish cooking but I can see why people love the paella. I would probably add even more flavor, spice and maybe a sauce but it was still very good.

The next 2 days we went to beach, beach, beach, beach and it was glorious!

beach fun alicante beach by myself alicante alicante2

Finally the day for taking the train home came and we had another pleasant voyage.

spain trainThat day we got to go to the Arts Center and see a concert of college performers which was a lot of fun and then a very impressive fireworks display!

spain arts center selfie arts center spain fireworksAlso I got to see the bull rink and go to the beach one more time before I left.

spain ole spain bull rink spain last day spainFinally the day to return home came and I was exhausted.  I didn’t get much sleep and was crammed into seats once again but it was worth it for a great trip. Honestly there were some challenges to Spain. As I said earlier I wasn’t that big a fan of the food and some of the habits were hard to adjust too like the Siesta and everything having to be so late. Plus, getting service especially as a solo diner was tough. I also found the lack of AC to be difficult as I got overheated and dehydrated very quickly. But none of that really matters when exploring another culture. It’s all part of the experience.

Plus, the main reason I was there was to go to the beach as much as possible and see my sister. Anna says we went to the beach 7 times while I was there and I went at least 3 times alone- not too shabby! In some ways a beach is the same no matter where you go but I think I got enough of the local culture, history and art to be worth going to Spain.  Also it was nice to spend time chatting with my sister. I hope she stays in tropical locations and I can come and visit her.

I’m grateful to my boss who allowed me to take this trip and for my sister for being a great host. Let’s hope it doesn’t take me over 10 more years to get out of the country again! Ole!

Valencia Spain Day 4 and 5

spain profileHey guys! Another 2 days have come and gone here in Valencia, Spain. What a great time I’ve had! The last 2 days have been more about visiting the city rather than beaches but it has still been very enjoyable.

My sister has been working the last 2 days so much of the time I was on my own but Monday morning we were able to go into the city together. Not much happens in the early morning here because they don’t eat dinner until like 10 pm! But the market downtown opens at 7 and it was really neat to see all the vendors with fresh fruit, ham, pastries and more.

spain market2

spain marketEverything we got at the market was delicious including a spanish tortilla or omelet wrapped in a fluffy roll.  We also had fresh squeezed orange juice and fruit which was amazing. They also had a market outside where I bought the hat in the above picture, some fans and a flamenco flower for my hair! spain flowerThe streets are picturesque with buildings that feel old like Europe always has but probably the most impressive edifice is the cathedral.

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After the market and cathedral we went to a restaurant and had churos and chocolate! It was a chocolate feast! I honestly haven’t loved the food in Spain but this might be my favorite thing I’ve eaten and the restaurant staff was so nice and it was air conditioned! Heaven!

spain chocolate chocolate feastAfter our chocolate breakfast Anna had her classes and work so I was to myself for the rest of the day. I went back to Pinedo beach and it was nice and relaxing.

spain beach polka dots spain beach4I had lunch at a restaurant near the beach and was honestly very disappointed. They wouldn’t make much of the menu because it was just me and so I ended with a roll with sausage and french fries on it. Very bland. They have these sandwiches in Spain that are just meat and a roll and I don’t really get it. No sauce. No real flavor.  There isn’t even usually lettuce or tomato on it.

Anyway it was 4th of July so when I returned from the beach my sister made an American spread with hamburgers and sausages with all the fixins!

spain 4thAmazingly enough I still haven’t had paella because you either need more than 2 people for it or no places were open when I was with my sister.

The next day I was basically on my own from the start and decided to do a bus tour around the city.

spain tour2 spain tourIt was fun learning about the city and history and seeing the sights! I only got off once but it was for a Valencia Historical Museum, which turned out to be a real find. First of all, it is free which was nice and I thought set up really well.  They go over the history of Valencia starting very early on down to modern times. They give you a book to follow the exhibits in English but then also have these interactive video presentations to go along with each era. These tell a story and have actors just like a movie clip. I thought it was a very clever way of making the stale artifacts come alive and feel real. Plus, it was air conditioned and did I mention free!

spain museumAfter the museum and the tour ending I tried to find dinner and struggled once again. I sat in 2 different restaurants and was never served. I went up to the bar tried to get help and seemed to be ignored. I don’t quite get it. I like how in the States there is a  hostess who greets you and takes you to your table. Here it is much more confusing. But I finally found a place that served tapas on little crostini. It was my first tapas and was very delicious! I particularly liked one with almond stuffed dates wrapped in bacon. Can’t go wrong with that!

spain tapasIn a way the tapas bar kind of reminded me of the sushi restaurants in Japan. You kept your toothpicks and then at the end you pay per toothpick.

Since dinner took longer than I expected I was pretty tired and went home. I’ve had a bit of a hard time with being overheated here and not being able to cool down effectively. I have the same problem in Hawaii so this isn’t a huge shock. I thought I was staying reasonably hydrated but started to feel light headed anyways. Steve, Anna and I went to a different tapas place for a late dinner and I ordered a coke instead of water and I think it did the trick. I think my blood sugar was a little low which caused me to feel light headed.

So that is my last 2 days in Valencia! It’s been an amazing time!  The next 4 days we are going to a neighboring town where we have an airbnb rented close to the beach! I’m greatly looking forward to it but no wifi so my next update will be over 4 days instead of 2.

I hope you are all having a nice week and what sounds the most appealing of the things I described?