Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The problem with traveling alot - a shortage of passport pages

One of the drawbacks of traveling a lot, is lots of passport stamps and not enough pages!

I'm down to two full pages that are empty and maybe two or three spaces open.

While I was in the US, I was going to quickly send in my passport and request additional pages. It's a good thing I looked at the processing time. It is currently taking 4-6 weeks!!! Oh.my.goodness.

I could pay $60 to expedite, but even that will take 2-3 weeks and I only had 3 weeks in the US, so that's a no-go.

My final option is to send it to the US Embassy in Denmark where it will take 10 days. The problem is finding a 2 week period where I am going to stay put in Denmark and not need the passport!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Driving tour of Denmark

A few weeks ago, we took advantage of a long weekend and saw some of the local Danish sites.

The highlights:

  • Watching kite surfers and sailboarders on the Ringkobing fjord

  • Walking the wide sandy beach on the western coast, climbing the sand dunes, and checking out the German bunkers from WWII

  • Mmmm, softice in Sondervig

  • Checking out the Ringkobing Kirke (church) in Ringkobing

  • Walking the largest wooden sailboat in Ebeltoft

  • Strolling around the grounds of the Gammel Estrup Manor in Auning

  • Spending time with our friends Ina and Nils in Arhus

I'm still working on the slideshow. In the meantime, some pictures from our travels.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What the heck?!?!?

Hmmmm, I wonder what happened?!?!?

I love my Canon Powershot SX100 camera. It's about a year old, pretty compact, nothing spectacular, but takes some fairly decent pictures for a low end camera. It does eat batteries, but I can handle the inconvenience.

I don't fiddle around with all the settings unless I want a particular shot. So, imagine my surprise when I was creating a photobook in Snapfish and some of the pictures that I wanted to enlarge appeared as 'low resolution.' Huh? I shoot a superfine, yielding great detail and pix that are about 3MB each, so what happened?

I still don't know how, but in the end, all of my pictures from April (Beijing, the Great Wall, Rome, Amalfi Coast, Paris) have good quality, but not great quality. I can't believe it! Ugh!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Oh la la Paris!


I must admit, my expectations for Paris were pretty low. I was anticipating a dirty city filled with grafitti (similar to Athens, Rome, Brussels), anti-American sentiments, a very compact and walkable city (similar to Rome) and rudeness. I was wrong.

Paris was very enjoyable and so far, the cleanest European city we have been to on our travels...which is quite a few! We stayed at the Hotel Brighton in a prestige tuileries view room. The room had two balconies, overlooked the tuileries and had magnificent views of the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. We will definitely stay there again.

We flew in our niece to join us for the weekend. She will be celebrating her 13th birthday in a few months and we (and her parents) thought it would be a nice joint present.

The highlights (and a few travel tips, too)...

  • Standing in a queue for.ev.er at the Eiffel Tower - Goodness. Tip: Get there at 9:00 and get in line (opens at 9:30). Or, if you are fortunate, find a tour as they get priority to jump the line. It's windy and chilly at the top, so bring a sweater or jacket.

  • A 3+ hour leisurely bike ride around Paris with bikeabouttours.com. Wonderful way to see a different side of Paris. David, our guide was amazing. The tour is 30E per person and absolutely worth it.

  • Walking around and inside Notre Dame - beautiful and amazing cathedral, but considerably smaller in comparison to St. Peter's Basilica, which was fresh in our memory.

  • Arc de Triomphe is quite impressive; as is the walk along the Champs Elyses. Tip: The Arc is located on a center island of a roundabout (watch the traffic...funny!). To reach the center island, there are two underground paths located at the south and north side.

  • Walking through the Latin Quarter - I wish we had more time to walk the Latin Quarter. Great little shops, restaurants, bakeries, creperies, etc.

  • Ice cream at Berthillons on Ile St. Louis - In a word...decadent. Wonderful ice cream made with all natural ingredients. The black chocolate was so rich and flavorful. Yum. But, it's expensive. The picture below was 9Euro, so about $12USD.

  • Parks - Tuileries and Luxumbourg park are beautiful, well-manicured parks, but...you can't walk on the grass! Parisian (and guests) are confined to the pea gravel / limestone walkways. The parks have opening/closing times and when it hits closing time, the whistle police come out in force. Tweet, tweet, tweet, the park is closing, time to leave.

  • A day trip to Versailles - Wow! You approach Versailles by walking up a wide boulevard to the golden gate entrance. Lines and tour busses snake everywhere. Pay the extra 1.5Euro and buy your ticket in advance (or at the tourism center just before the entrance to Versailles). If you only want to go to the garden, enter from the side...and no need to stand in the massive ticket line! The gardens are extensive. Bring a book and find a little nook, amazing photo opps, rent a boat, take the shuttle train ride, watch the fountains, listen to the classical music piped in as you walk the garden. A great day trip from Paris if you have the time.

During our 3 day visit to Paris, we didn't have adequate time to spend in the museums, so we are planning a visit later this year. Actually, the weather was so beautiful in early May, that I'm glad we spent our time outdoors. We can easily fly back during the cold and dreary winter months to spend time in the museums.

Enjoy the slideshow.

All caught up

I am all caught up on slideshows! Yipppeeee!

The last of the batch:

Now on to...
The driving tour of Denmark (Arhus, Ebeltoft, Rinkobing, Sondervig, Hvide Sande)
and the greater London area (Oxford, Bath, Stonehenge, Salisbury, and London)