Category Archives: explore

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Standard

Although I had seen images of it my whole life, nothing prepared me for seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in person. It is massive! I guess that’s how lots of things go- pictures are just not able to do them justice. I can’t wait until the days I can finally see Macchu Picchu, the Millau Viaduct, Petra, or the Cherry Blossoms in Japan with my own two eyes and mark them off my list! Of course my long-awaited trip to California allowed me to knock a few things off that list, one of them being the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sit back and enjoy the view, but believe me when pictures can’t really do justice to this brobdingnagian bridge

SAMSUNG

First picture

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Longtime chums finally at the Bridge!
For the record- the sun was blinding so our faces look rather comical.

SAMSUNG

I love sun glare photos

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lenticular art that showed the progress of the bridge through the years

SAMSUNG OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ashley and I spent a few hours taking pictures, walking nearly all the way across the bridge, and wandering around the gift shop. It was definitely a fun little half-day trip while in San Francisco, and the views were priceless!

Have you ever been to the Golden Gate Bridge? 

Advertisements

Save Me, San Francisco

Standard

It’s almost been a month since my return from California, and I have yet to type up all the adventures that were had. I guess part of me felt that sharing those moments will stir up all sorts of memories from the trip that are embedded in my mind, and only leave me heartbroken that I’m in North Carolina and not California.

But alas, for my sake and the sake of auld lang syne, here are some images and happenings from the first few days in San Francisco!

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Walking shoes on and ready to explore!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Union Square

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

at the Chinatown Gate!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I like this shot

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

contrasting architecture

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

busy streets

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My last name is an alley!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

alleyway map

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

fortune cookie factory!

This fortune cookie factory is kind of off the beaten path, but is a definite tourist find. I mean, who doesn’t love fortune cookies? The space is tiny, so be prepared to squeeze in for a look at the cookie-making process! They charge $1 for a picture, and the bags of fresh cookies are cheap and delicious! They would make a cute souvenir… if you can resist temptation to eat them yourself!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Am I the only person who always takes pictures of signs?

 

Once Ashley & I figured out how to get to Fisherman’s Wharf, it became our stomping ground- going there to grab In-N-Out, going into those cheap-o stores (that we I, like any tourist, couldn’t get enough of), simply walk around, or go to Starbucks. We felt comfortable there, as we knew where things were, and where to go to catch the bus we needed! 🙂

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

battleship + birds

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Alcatraz from Pier 39

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the sign says it all

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I loved the boats in the Bay… so photogenic!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Golden Gate Bridge from Pier 39

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It makes quite the statement, no?

Because San Francisco was so chilly and I didn’t pack enough layers, I was constantly holding and drinking coffee! Not so great for my budget, but if it kept me warm, who cares? Seriously, I consumed so much coffee just to help warm me up!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Coffee and the Bay

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Meeting the locals!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That sky & that water? Loved it!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These full-time sun-bathers sure do have the life!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The sun starting to go down leaves the Bay in shadow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

row upon row upon row

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“when the lights go down in the city, and the sun shines on the Bay…”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ghirardelli

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One day, Ashley and I went to Pier 39 and walked around. I think we went into at least half the stores (mainly trying to stay warm) and going upstairs & downstairs & back upstairs.

We found one super fun store with mind-puzzles and brain-bogglers and we spent over an hour in there! Of course I felt really dumb at first with a wooden box puzzle, but then once I got the hang of the puzzles, I enjoyed them! I’m definitely a nerd, because I think working in a store like that would be a blast!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve heard this place is amazing & has a killer view!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ashley on the pier

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A personal favorite of mine- Ghirardelli Square! (mainly because the smell of chocolate is in the air!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

SUN

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cute little park area

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

there were swimmers in the Bay!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I really don’t know why I like to photograph birds…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

playing in the water

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Park

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

look familiar?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

a Ghirardelli chocolate cupcake at Kara’s Cupcakes!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I don’t know why I took so many pictures of my feet and the street, but seeing the street name on the sidewalk helped me keep my bearings with where I was! 😉

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

uh oh!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

SAMSUNG

view from my window at the hostel

SAMSUNG

(im)patiently waiting in In-N-Out!!!

SAMSUNG

Welcome to the Wharf

SAMSUNG

(let’s just ignore my awkward face)
This was my travel outfit for the plane. I was comfy & warm until I got to San Fran…then I wished I had thicker clothes!

SAMSUNG

map of SF in the hostel

SAMSUNG

Pointing to my last name! (which is not Pho)

After unsuccessfully finding a restaurant in Chinatown with “Americanized Chinese” (I’m looking at you, Ash! hah) I was famished and started searching for the closest decent-looking place. (some places on the outskirts of Chinatown were sketchyyy) We stumbled into L & L and although I wasn’t too impressed with the food, the cashier was friendly, and the place was warmer than outside and we could sit down.

SAMSUNG

Hawaiian BBQ chicken for lunch

SAMSUNG

BOUDIN BAKERY GOODNESSS

SAMSUNG

The gator bread at Boudin!

SAMSUNG

sea lions sunning

SAMSUNG

again, interesting signage

SAMSUNG

I would trip

SAMSUNG

inside the brain puzzle games store

SAMSUNG

sunset

SAMSUNG

challenge: spot the team from NC!

After walking around the pier for hours, Ashley and I were hungry and ready to be warm. We opted for soup bread bowls at Boudin’s, and proceeded to wait in line and snag a table in the corner! The soup was sooo good and worth the wait!

SAMSUNG

the best tomato soup I’ve ever had. And the bread bowl was amazing too! @Boudin’s

SAMSUNG

Oh hey Rosie!

SAMSUNG

yep

SAMSUNG

spelled my name right! Way to go, Starbucks!

It’s funny because there were Starbucks everywhere in San Francisco! Some of them were tiny, and they were always full. I loved having my Starbucks card because I bought so much coffee that I ended up getting a few free drinks! 🙂

Believe it or not, those are just a snippet of the photos I took in San Francisco on days 1 & 2. (You better believe it) I was constantly pulling out my phone or camera to take a picture of a sign (as you can tell), food, the water, you name it! I didn’t want to miss a thing, or forget a thing.

 

Next up? Oh, just photos of the most iconic bridge in the States 😉

 

 

 

 

Processing

Standard

Was it really just 48 hours ago (minus 3 for Cali time) that I was on a tour of Beverly Hills with the Los Angeles hostel?

48 hours is a short time and golly how things can change in such a short span of time!

While I am physically back from California, mentally and emotionally I am still out there… soaking up the Cali sun while waiting on a bus… pulling out my phone constantly to take pictures of a building, a star on Hollywood Blvd. In my mind I’m still out there meeting people and seeing the sights. Gosh how I wish that were true.

I have so much to share from my trip. But in the mean time I’m still processing.

Processing what I learned about myself. What I learned about California and traveling in general. What I learned about people. What I learned about the power of communication, the power of friendliness, the power of patience. (waiting on the metro can get frustrating sometimes 😉 ) Traveling is always a learning experience, and that’s one of my favorite things about it!

I learned a lot from my little California adventure, and I hope to share it soon!

As I continue this process of processing everything, here’s a sneak peak at just a few of my pictures.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Friday Favorites

Standard

It’s that time again, folks. FRIDAY. And you know what that means… random links from around the globe Internet that I wanted to share! Get ready to rumble! Or rock-n-roll. Or read…

Did you know the capybara is the world’s largest rodent? Yeah, fact of the day!

I tried this Lightened Up Butternut Skillet Shells from How Sweet it is, and I am officially in love with butternut squash. Sure, peeling and cutting it was a bear, but the hearty, fall-y flavor was worth it. So good!

“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak was adapted for the stage in Chicago. I read half the book a few years ago, and really enjoyed the unique point of view and storyline.

Emily Loerke from Today’s Letters posted about camping & hiking Yosemite’s Half Dome. I really want to be her friend. Looks like such fun!

I found out about Threads of Hope, whose goal is to “break the cycle of poverty through strategies that empower the economically disadvantaged.” I just love the concept of helping people in other countries! Read the rest of this entry

Proper Trail Running

Standard

What exactly IS proper trail running??? This is a question I have been pondering ever since I set foot on the Al Buehler trail Monday evening around 6:45. It was only my second time on the trail and my first time alone. Cue sketchy “woman alone in woods” music, right? Wrong! Ok, so I definitely had the wrong impression of the Al Buehler trail… first of all, it’s not just your average trail through the woods in Durham. Nah, it’s a cross country trail that is perfectly safe for a single gal to run/walk/jog alone! Secondly, it’s both challenging and rewarding! I felt like woah Mo Farah after finishing the trail.

With it being my first time as a solo runner/walker (because let’s face it- I couldn’t run the whole time… I maybe ran 3/4 of the way) on the trail, I felt kind of clueless about a few things…

#1 – WHICH WAY IS THE “RIGHT” DIRECTION TO RUN THE TRAIL? Read the rest of this entry

Ziplining

Standard

Back in April, my parents treated my brother and I with yet another memorable experience. Ziplining!

In the olden days when I went to youth camps, I would always choose rock climbing as my afternoon activity. After climbing the wall you had the option to zipline the whopping 75yards down, or belay down. Of course I chose to zipline. And I thought it was the greatest thing. Until I saw the lines at the place we went. SO.MUCH.BETTER.

It started out really awkward… having the men put harnesses on and make sure it was tight enough…. awkward.

Then we went for a little hike to get to the first test lines. The two guides taught us how to brake using our heavy duty gloves. That was interesting and sometimes hard to manage because if you braked too soon you wouldn’t make it to the end! And too late and you might hit the guide. I may or may not have done that a few times…oops.

The best ziplines were the ones when we didn’t need to brake. Gravity would take care of it for us. I think the maximum speed we got up to was 40mph at least. The entire tour consisted  of about 8-12 ziplines and took a few hours once you added in all the instruction and walking and talking. Since Mom didn’t do it with us, she was our photographer from the ground. And although I had my camera I didn’t get many great action shots. I was too interested in all the green 🙂

Oh and did I mention it was a brisk 50-some degrees that day??? Yeah, so not cool. It was so cold up in the trees and despite the layers and gloves, I was a shakin’ the whole time. But it was so much fun that I tried to ignore the cold!

I even recorded the “ride” down on one of the lines over the big green field. It was so fast! But sadly, I cannot upload the video. Either I’m just not technically savvy or it’s too big to add. Oh well.

Fun fact- my grandpa is 73. And just last year he went ziplining in Costa Rica after he and my grandma had taken a cruise there. He LOVED it. And it is shocking that at his age he didn’t get hurt and that he had fun! Hopefully when I get that old I can still enjoy doing adventurous stuff like that 😉

 

Have you ever been ziplining??? Where at???

Exploring

Standard

Sometimes it’s just fun to get in a car and ride around until you get the urge to stop. Whether you find a roadside trail, an old railroad car, a public lake access, or simply because of the view, it’s usually worth it. If only because of the pictures that come from it, or the funny moments with a friend. A few weekends ago, that’s just what a friend and I did… drove around for a couple of hours until we saw photo opps. Then, we picked up a dinner of Qdoba and cupcakes from Gigi’s! Talk about a fun (and fatty food) filled day!

Afternoon in the Woods

Standard

Yesterday afternoon I needed to be outside. I needed to sweat. To get as far away from people as I could, and to spend some time in my own thoughts and prayers. I got some bad news yesterday morning about my friend and I spent the majority of the afternoon crying, praying, and napping trying to rid myself of a killer headache from the crying. Yeah, it was a bad day for me. Until I put on my hiking shoes and started walking.

If you’ve been around my blog for any amount of time, you know how much I love my hometown of Durham. I love exploring at any of the Eno River State Parks. (post:: Pump Station Trail) And I love where I live… I can simply walk down to the end of my road and head into the woods to explore and hike. So that’s what I did yesterday. It had been almost a year since I had done so, and at first I was a little lost, but then quickly regained my bearings and followed the river to the little safe haven I remember from childhood.

…my footsteps disturbed the peace of the woods. With each crunch crunch of the leaves, I winced a little. So much for a quiet, relaxing hike.

…my hand wove a stick in front of my face, probably making me appear more like a wizard than a hiker. With each whoosh whoosh of the stick, I hoped to tear down spiders and their webs. But I still somehow managed to walk into about a dozen.

…my legs shook as I crossed a single log across the water. With each step I felt and heard the creak creak of the old log, and hoped it wouldn’t crack midway through my crossing.

…my head cleared of all of its thoughts as I sat by the water on a cool, moss-covered rock. With each ripple ripple of the water cascading down, I felt my headache subside, my physical exhaustion disappear, and my heartbeat calm.

An afternoon in the woods was what I needed yesterday. It was a little adventure that I cherished. There’s just something about being outside and sweating and exploring that sets everything right in my world. I took lots of pictures during my hike; finding beauty in everything… from the dead leaves to the piles of boulders, from the river water to the roots of an old tree, stretching into the water. God sure is quite the designer!

If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound???

When we were younger, my brother and I would pretend that Indians hid out behind these boulders!

dead turtle 😦

Why so knotty?

Intricate web

What are you rooted in?

One of these is not like the other

Biggest turtle I’ve ever seen!
It’s been these woods for years… since 2000 at least. I had forgotten all about it

Roots

I’m probably the only one who would consider a pile of rocks as beauty. I’m an outdoors nerd, what can I say?

This is half of the log I crossed that I swear felt like it was going to crack with every new step I took!

Do you ever find solace in nature?