In-and-Out: Vermont

As part of my “In-and-Out” series (where I write about very short visits to places due to business trips), I am going to share about my visit to my 40th state.  This week, I got an opportunity to visit one of my employer’s offices in Burlington, Vermont, a state I had never set foot on before.  I heard the town was charming and that it was a relaxed kind of place.  It was.  In my short visit, besides the work aspect (which went well!), I managed to do just a small bit of exploring thanks to our local colleagues.  What did this small of exploring include?

1.  Walking around Burlington along the lake and in the heart of the town.  We had dinner at Farmhouse where I ate a delicious burger topped only by the amazing onion rings.  A couple of Brooklyns (rye whiskey based cocktail) also helped.  Interesting sidewalk-side bike and doggie stations…

dog, parking, Burlington, vermont, curious, red

Doggie parking!

bike parking meter, Burlington, vermont, curious, red

Bike parking meter!

2.  Drive through the charming town of Bristol (pop. 4,000-5,000) and stop for ice cream at Lulu’s.

Bristol, Vermont, travel, photo, explore, charm Bristol, Vermont, travel, photo, explore, charm, US flag Bristol, Vermont, travel, photo, explore, charm, sky, silver

3.  Hike in the Green Mountain National Forest along the Long Trail to watch the sun set above the Adirondacks.

Vermont, hiking ,Long trail , Green Mountains, nature, explore, travel Vermont, hiking ,Long trail , Green Mountains, nature, explore, travelVermont, hiking ,Long trail , Green Mountains, nature, explore, travelVermont, hiking ,Long trail , Green Mountains, nature, explore, travelVermont, hiking ,Long trail , Green Mountains, nature, explore, travel, sunset, sky

4.  Go for a short sailboat cruise on Lake Champlain on a phenomenal late spring day with highs in the low 70s and beautiful blue skies.

Lake Champlain, Burlington, sailboat, Vermont, blue sky, peaceful, beautiful

Our ride

Lake Champlain, sailboat, Vermont, blue sky, peaceful, beautiful, ilivetotravel

Captain ilivetotravel

Lake Champlain, sailboat, Vermont, blue sky, peaceful, beautiful, Burlington

Looking back towards the Community Sailing Center in Burlington

As a parenthetical, I got to enjoy Ben & Jerry‘s ice cream scooped by Jerry Greenfield himself!

Jerry Greenfield, Ben and Jerry, ice cream, Vermont, fun, yummy

There is Jerry!

I do not know whether work will take me up there again sometime but I sure plan to go back some day to enjoy nature be it skiing or hiking!

Hike to an Inn in North Georgia

If you are a casual reader of this blog, you will know that I enjoy hiking near and far from my home.  One of the “near” hikes on my list to check out was the hike to the Hike Inn in north Georgia.  The Hike Inn can only be accessed by hiking to it hence the name (actually, it’s full name is Len Foote Hike Inn).  There is a service road leading to it but, as the name implies, it is for service, not for guests.  Guests need to do the 5 hour hike in and out.

The trail begins atop Amicalola Falls (about 1.5 hrs/70-mile drive from Atlanta) – a destination to check out onto itself with other trails and a phenomenally tall set of staircases if you want to walk from the bottom of the falls to the top.  On this day, we drove to the top of the falls where we would leave our vehicles.

Amicalola, falls, Hike Inn, Georgia, Atlanta, hike inn, hiking, outddors, nature, photos

The top of Amicalola Falls – awesome place!

Amicalola, falls, Hike Inn, Georgia, Atlanta, hike inn, hiking, outddors, nature, photo, trailhead

The start of the Hike Inn trail

The Hike Inn is in high demand so you need to book it in advance.  It is well worth it.  The hike is not super strenuous and you are rewarded by a magnificent place to stay.

Georgia, Atlanta, hike inn, hiking, outddors, nature, photos

Amazing detail of nature

Georgia, Atlanta, hike inn, hiking, outddors, nature, photo

Along the trail

Georgia, Atlanta, hike inn, hiking, outddors, nature, photo

Our arrival at the Hike Inn!

Georgia, Atlanta, hike inn, hiking, outddors, nature, photo, sky

The view from the Hike Inn – magnificent

The accommodations are basic (bunk beds) and you can get private rooms.  The bathrooms and showers are shared but they are actually quite clean and nice (especially when compared with how basic the rooms are).  The toilets actually do not flush but, instead, deposit the waste (nice wording, huh?) somewhere below where it is taken advantage of through processes that they staff will happily explain if you decide to take them up on the tour of the facility (it is actually worth doing).

Georgia, Atlanta, hike inn, hiking, outddors, nature, photo

Hallway by the rooms

Georgia, Atlanta, hike inn, hiking, outddors, nature, photo

Bath house building

Georgia, Atlanta, hike inn, hiking, outddors, nature, photo, toilet

There are rules for the toilet

Actually, everything about the place is about taking care of the environment.  The inn offers dining service with support of volunteers who get to stay for free for their service.  The Hike Inn politely stresses the importance of not wasting food (only serve yourself what you need) and actually tracks clean plates’ count at the end of a meal.  The food is delicious and the dining area is an open space where you can meet other hikers.  Really neat.

Georgia, Atlanta, hike inn, hiking, outddors, nature, photo, lodge

Dining area

Georgia, Atlanta, hike inn, hiking, outddors, nature, photo, menu

Menu of the day

Georgia, Atlanta, hike inn, hiking, outddors, nature, photo

Chart showing how well diners have done

After dinner (or before), you can sit and relax in any number of places around the inn.  One of my favorites is the upper porch looking east-ish – I love me a good rocking chair with a view!  You can also go for short walks around.  Right in that upper porch area is a game room where people can congregate and play games or read a book.

Georgia, Atlanta, hike inn, hiking, outddors, nature, photo, lodge

The living/game room

The best part of it all is sunrise.  If you wake up early enough (and I recommend it!), go down to the sitting area below and face east.  Bring a blanket.  And then enjoy a majestic sunrise if the weather cooperates.  It is the perfect way to end the stay before starting back on the trail down.  Next time I go, I think I may stay two nights to really enjoy the place and its surroundings!  I leave you with a series of photos from the amazing sunrise I witnessed!

Georgia, Atlanta, hike inn, hiking, outddors, nature, photo, sunrise, sunGeorgia, Atlanta, hike inn, hiking, outddors, nature, photo, sunrise, sunGeorgia, Atlanta, hike inn, hiking, outddors, nature, photo, sunrise, sunGeorgia, Atlanta, hike inn, hiking, outddors, nature, photo, sunrise, sunGeorgia, Atlanta, hike inn, hiking, outddors, nature, photo, sunrise, sun
Save

Great Drive Series – 17-Mile Drive in California

I have been to San Francisco once or twice for very short visits but have not gone further south than the airport.  That last year when I went to visit friends in San Jose, California. Even though the visit was only a few days, I wanted to see the famous coast in the area.  Additionally, I was hoping to see legendary Silicon Valley and just to get a sense for how this part of California feels.

Leaving San Fran – Caltrain!

I left San Fran on a Wed afternoon by taking the Caltrain down for the hour ride to San Jose for $9.25!  Note that the hour ride is for the “express” train that makes less than half a dozen stops between the two cities.  The express only runs at peak times which in the afternoon means from 4 PM until the end of rush hour.  I killed some time at the station to avoid taking the non-express with all the annoyance that that would bring with all the stops.  The 4PM was not packed but was pretty well “attended” with commuters from school-aged kids going home to worker bees heading back home.  The train is a double-decker so plenty of space.  Except I did not find a spot for suitcases so I had to place it on the seat next to me.  Maybe that was better as it was with me the whole time?

Caltrain, train, transportation, travel, San Francisco, California

The only photo I have related to the train… sorry! And the shades were given to me at the conference.

17-Mile Drive and Pebble Beach

I am not a golfer but I knew, of course, about Pebble Beach.  To be honest, I really did not know where it was.  At least I had heard of it.  But I had never heard of 17-Mile Drive.  We left San Jose and drove through eucalyptus forests and passed by sand dunes as we approached Monterey.  Monterey has an awesome aquarium but I preferred to add Carmel to the itinerary so the aquarium will be for another time.

Pebble Beach, 17 Mile Drive, California, Pacific, Cypress Point, ocean, sea, algae, travel, drive, scenic

The drive through the eucalyptus forest

Starting on 17-Mile Drive

Upon entering Monterey (or its outskirts), we took a left hand turn to enter the route that would take us to 17-Mile Drive.  We hit a gate where we paid $10 for the right to enter “The Drive”.  The drive seems to be in private property, hence they get to charge for driving through it.  It is not a park but the setup looked like one.

map, Pebble Beach, 17 Mile Drive, California, Pacific, Cypress Point, ocean, sea, algae, travel, drive, scenic

The route of 17-Mile Drive

There are quite a few stops along the way by the ocean which is quite nice.  You can get out of the car, eat something, walk on the beach, or watch the sea otters (or perhaps a whale?).

Pebble Beach, 17 Mile Drive, California, Pacific, Cypress Point, ocean, sea, algae, travel, drive, scenic

The Pacific Ocean roaring against the rocks; we saw some seals

Pebble Beach, 17 Mile Drive, California, Pacific, Cypress Point, ocean, sea, algae, travel, drive, scenic, photo

Instead of boring you with the actual shot, how about 2 of me getting ready for it??

The water is frigid so there will not be any swimming but I had to dip my toes just to feel it!

Pebble Beach, 17 Mile Drive, California, Pacific, Cypress Point, ocean, sea, algae, travel, drive, scenic, photo

Into the cold!

Cypress Point

The most spectacular stops were Cypress Point Lookout and Pescadero Point.  The place was first spotted (that we know of) by a European as far back as 1542.  Over 200 years later, a missionary gave Cypress Point its current name.  Supposedly the cypress tree growing on the rocky point is like 250 years old – they are trying to get it to stay alive until 300 (according to the sign).  Wonder what they plan to do if it gets to 300.  Chop it?  It sure makes for a beautiful sight.

Pebble Beach, 17 Mile Drive, California, Pacific, Cypress Point, ocean, sea, algae, travel, drive, scenic, photo

The Lone Cypress

During the drive we ran into Cypress Point Club and latter the Pebble Beach courses.  What a setting for golf!  Not that I play but if I did…

Pebble Beach, 17 Mile Drive, California, Pacific, Cypress Point, ocean, sea, algae, travel, drive, scenic, photo

Cypress forest native to the area

I did not get to snap any good shots of these so I will leave you with some “sea art” from the Pacific coast:   no one does it better than nature!  From here we went on to Carmel and visited its famous Mission – you can read about that part here!

Pebble Beach, 17 Mile Drive, California, Pacific, Cypress Point, ocean, sea, algae, travel, drive, scenic, photo

Marine vegetation imitates art?

Pebble Beach, 17 Mile Drive, California, Pacific, Cypress Point, ocean, sea, algae, travel, drive, scenic, photo

My favorite shot

It is neat when travel unexpectedly shows you something you had no real understanding of – or perhaps even knowledge of.  This visit qualifies under both – an unexpected enjoyable side trip!

 

Save

Save

Save

Volunteering at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics

I shared earlier, as a lead-in to the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Atlanta Olympics, how I was involved as a college student in the efforts to win the rights to host the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.  Once again, though not exactly a travel topic, I use my blog to share my experiences related to the 1996 Olympics.  In this installment, I will talk about my experience in preparation for and during the Games.

Atlanta, Olympics, 1996 Games, volunteer, Georgia Tech, photo, flags

ilivetotravel in full Envoy uniform

Becoming an Olympic volunteer

Let’s rewind to around 1994, when I was informed about a role that was going to be seeking volunteers for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and that I should apply as a natural follow-on to my involvement in the efforts to win the Games.  The role was called Envoy and there would be one per participating delegation.  The purpose of the role was to be the liaison between the Organizing Committee and the particular country’s delegation focusing on the relationship with the head of the delegation, or Chef de Mission as they are called in Olympic lingo.

I interviewed and was named to be the Envoy for Chile, perhaps because having found no candidate from that country, I was next best since I had lived there for 3 months a few years before (and, of course, I spoke the language).  The requirement for the role was that we would attend weekly meetings from 1994 to 1996 and that we would be full-time available a total of 6 weeks before and during the Games.  My employer at the time (Andersen Consulting) allowed me to use up my vacation to cover these six weeks and, when my vacation bank ran out, they graciously offered me 50% of my pay as their way to show support for my involvement and I took the rest of the time without pay.  More importantly, my employer allowed me to be staffed in an intown project (vs. traveling every week which I had been doing for almost 3 years up to that point) so I could participate in the weekly meeting which took place Tuesday nights.

Two years learning about the Olympics

The weekly meeting for two years was required as there was a lot to learn.  From the processes the delegations would have to deal with (registration, arrival, drug testing, ordering box lunches for training sessions, and on and on) to the sports venues, the sports themselves, the workings of all aspects of the organizing of the Games, etc.  Every week for two years close to 200  of us gathered at the Georgia Tech electrical engineering building auditorium (where I sat many times during my college years!!) for these sessions.  We, the folks who represented Latin American countries tended to cluster together and have a blast during all this.  A couple of others joined us because they also were fun though they did not represent Latin American countries (the envoys for France and Canada come to mind!).

It was fascinating to understand the workings of this complex endeavor.  And, as we reported to the Olympic Village organization, it was fascinating to understand how you launch a small town of 20,000 for a 6-week life span (delegations can arrive as early as two weeks before the start of the Olympic Games, hence why we had to be available for more than the duration of the Games).  Many Georgia Tech dorms and frat houses were refurbished, new mattresses were brought in, and the security zones and mechanisms had to be installed.  Delegations were strategically scattered around the campus based on many factors like delegation size, threat levels they could have (think the Israeli delegation… also of note, Iran was placed right by the highway – no threat likely to them!), and proximity with like or unlike countries (big Latin –read, party- countries were placed together in an area north of campus separate from the rest; think Italy, Spain, etc.), etc.

The Atlanta Olympic Village at Georgia Tech

The Village was a phenomenal place.  It had a zone open for visitors who got invited by delegations or Village officials.  This included the main cafeteria.  And then it had a higher security zone with restricted access to the residential part of the Village and other more private areas for the athletes and officials.  Envoys got to stay in the residential part of the Village too so we could be close to our delegations if need be.  We probably got the worst spots.  Ours was a frat house that, while I am sure had been cleaned up some, was still a little on the not-nice side so I opted to stay home and just deal with waking up super earlier to make our daily 6AM meeting.

Atlanta, Olympics, 1996 Games, volunteer, Georgia Tech, photo

The frat house where I was able to stay at the Village

Georgia Tech, Olympic Village, Chile delegation, photo

My delegation’s house and my Chef de Mission on the left

We did get to dine with athletes at a number of facilities around the Village.  There happened to be a McDonald’s tent right behind my delegation’s house.  You could smell the hundreds or thousands of burgers cooking!  And athletes from other countries, especially those without any or many McDonald’s, absolutely loved it.  Not sure there coaches did…  The main cafeteria was great.  I ran into a few famous people whether athletes, coaches, or visiting VIPs.  Two that stand out were Dolph Lundgren (who was there as a coach and who SO patiently stop his meal to get up to have his picture taken with athletes), and the Queen of Spain.  Towards the end of the Games, my delegation let me have two of their limited guest passes so I could have my Mom and stepdad come visit and eat at the Village.  To his last days with the use of his memory, my stepdad so enjoyed telling people about the time when he ate at an Olympic Village – I was so blessed to be able to give them the opportunity to be at the Village!

Atlanta, Olympics, 1996 Games, volunteer, Georgia Tech, photo, cafeteria

My wonderful Mom and I at the main cafeteria at the Village

Atlanta, Olympics, 1996 Games, volunteer, Georgia Tech, photo, cafeteria

Meal tickets for the cafeteria

My job as an Envoy

I had a small team working with me as my delegation was not big but it was not tiny.  There were to associate envoys and two drivers in the team.  One of the neatest things about this was that I got to invite two good friends to apply for these positions and work together during the Olympics!

My day to day work was to be of service to the Chef de Mission and accompany him wherever he needed to go.  (In reality, his number two really ran the delegation so I supported the delegation through him but I spent more time accompanying the Chef de Mission around).  Because of this requirement of the role, that meant we had to have the same access as the head of the delegation which gave me access to any space, seating area, etc. in the Olympics.  There was only one place he could go that I could not:  the field of play (being the boxing ring, the basketball court, or the area immediately around a swimming pool).  But these access rights allowed to sit in the area reserved for officials if I wanted to watch an event.  As long as a delegation official did not need a seat, I could take it.  Often I was with him but sometimes when he didn’t need me, I took advantage of this to watch some event or another.  It was cool.  I saw quite a few good and important events!

Atlanta, Olympics, 1996 Games, volunteer, handball

Medal ceremony for men’s handball

Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, tennis, Atlanta, 1996 Olympics, Olympic Games, photo

Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario playing

Eraser, Arnold Schwarzenegger, premiere, 1996, Atlanta, Olympics, Olympic Games, Georgia Tech

The premiere of Schwarzenegger’s Erase was held at the Olympic Village!

The Atlanta Opening and Closing Ceremonies

One super neat privilege this role gave me was the ability to go to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies without having to buy a ticket as I was expected to accompany the delegation to those events.  For the Opening Ceremonies the delegations were sat in an old stadium neighboring the Olympic Stadium (Fulton County Stadium which was demolished after the Olympics were over).  There they awaited the start of the Parade of Nations when they would walk into the Olympic Stadium and then stand in the field for the rest of the ceremony.  I sat with the Chilean delegation as they waited their turn.  Someone missed cuing the delegations in a timely manner at the start of the process and we ended up having to run between the two stadia to get them there on time.  This was a scary moment as our Chef de Mission was in his 70s and not necessarily fit.  It was a bit terrifying but we made it. At the point they would enter the stadium, the Envoys broke away and ran through inside tunnels to then re-join the delegation for the last third of their march.  I am not fully clear why we were not allowed to just march with them the whole way but I am grateful we were allowed to do some of the march as it was an experience to march in the Opening Ceremonies of an Olympic Games!

Atlanta, Olympics, Opening Ceremonies, Olympic Games, 1996, Parade of Nations, pass, defile des delegations, Olimpiadas

The pass that allowed me to march with a delegation!

One of my biggest regrets is that I did not lug my camera around all over with me.  Things were too busy and these were days far from smartphones and social media so you did not feel the need to capture every moment of life – back then we just LIVED life.  I ran into famous people (royalty, politicians, famous athletes, etc.) but there are no pictures.  I got one photo of me in the Opening Ceremonies thanks to the envoy to Ghana who had a disposable camera at the Opening Ceremonies and graciously took my photo!

Atlanta, Olympics, 1996 Games, volunteer, Opening Ceremonies, cauldron

Clearly not the best quality but my only photo at the Opening

The Opening Ceremonies took place on a hot day (July in Atlanta…) and that evening it was hot and humid especially in the field in the stadium where there was less chance of a breeze.  Having all these people stand waiting for a couple of hours or more was a bit like torture.  I kept myself busy trading pins (my delegation had given me, like they do every member of their delegation, a bag of Chilean pins so I could trade!), taking in the entertainment, etc.  Sadly, an official in the Polish delegation had a heart attack during the Ceremonies and would die from it due to the stress to his body that night.  Olympics since have gone ahead and provided seating so the delegations do not have to endure this two hours or more of standing – it was highly inconsiderate to have required them to stand in 1996 and earlier especially since the athletes will be competing in a few days after the Ceremonies (the ones who would compete the next day seemed to skip that night so they could be well rested).  I presume they did not give them seating before so they could sell more tickets to the public (the dirty little secret is how much a business the Olympics really are and even corrupt as later events would reveal about members of the International Olympic Committee – a pseudo-royalty who lives in a world of perks and political intrigue…).

Atlanta, Olympics, 1996 Games, volunteer, Closing Ceremonies, Gloria Estefan

Me awaiting the start of the Closing Ceremonies! (the one waving!)

Anyway, the Closing Ceremonies were a different affair because seating was planned for the delegations.  Of course, as soon as the opportunity arose (when the official business of closing the Games and passing the flag to the next host finished and the musical part of the show began), many delegations jumped “the fence” and got into the field to dance and enjoy themselves.  Go figure!  I did not miss a beat and followed my delegation though I pretty quickly lost them in the mayhem in the field.  It was a fun time and we had some disposable cameras this time which allowed us to take a few shots to remember the night by.  I recorded the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at home and watching the recording of the Closing Ceremonies always makes me smile.

Atlanta, Olympics, 1996 Games, volunteer, Closing Ceremonies,

Partying during the Closing Ceremonies in midfield!

Atlanta, Olympics, 1996 Games, volunteer, Closing Ceremonies, Gloria Estefan

Gloria Estefan performed at the Closing Ceremonies

Atlanta, Olympics, 1996 Games, volunteer, Closing Ceremonies, Gloria Estefan

Bringing down the Olympic flag during Closing Ceremonies

Remembering the entire experience makes me smile.  To me the Atlanta Olympics were nothing like the negative image portrayed.  Everything worked as well as any city can with tons of visitors.  The spirit of Atlantans was evident in the welcoming attitude, the staying away from driving as much to minimize traffic, and the incredible number of people who served as volunteers in every possible job imaginable.  I was and am proud of my city.  The Olympics may be a weird animal but it certainly allows the world to come together and change the conversation for two weeks every two years.  I am glad I got to see it from the inside and have the experiences I did!

Atlanta, Olympics, 1996 Games, volunteer, Envoy

With some of my favorite people (but not all!) from my time as an Envoy

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

In-and-Out: The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO

I headed to Denver to see friends and as luck would have it, an afternoon in Estes Park was in the books for me.  I would have about 3 hours to spend in Estes Park so I checked TripAdvisor for some quick ideas on what to see while there.  I had driven through Estes Park multiple times a couple of decades ago when I spent two summers in Boulder, Colorado to get to the Rocky Mountain National Park but I had never stopped in Estes Park.  I had no memory of it.

So, The Stanley Hotel came up in the search and it offered a 1.5 hour tour.  My local friends briefly shared about the hotel so I made up my mind and bought my ticket ($23 since I was not a guest at the hotel) for the 11 AM tour.

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, facade, architecture, photo, tour, The Shining

Grand hotel indeed!

I made it with barely a second to spare before the tour began.  Scary Mary saw me walk in and asked if I was Mr. Pino.  I said yes and immediately asked her if I could run to the restroom – I could not fathom an 1.5 hours waiting to go…  (did I share too much?)  She allowed the extra minute and I was glad.

Stanley Hotel, Scary Mary, Estes Park, tour, The Shining, Stephen King, photo

Scary Mary introduces us to the tour

Scary Mary, her self-proclaimed name, was funny and quirky and made for a great tour guide mixing deep knowledge about the place with humor and the dramatic touch when it came time to talk about ghosts and other supernatural stories.

The Shining and The Stanley Hotel

The hotel is more famous not for the quaint story of its birth but because of its ties to the movie “The Shining” with Jack Nicholson.

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, facade, architecture, photo, tour, The Shining

Art based on The Shining

It seems the hotel was the inspiration Stephen King needed when he stayed at The Stanley back in 1974.  The hotel was about to close for the season but King convinced the staff to let him and his wife stay overnight.  Maybe they pranked him when they placed him in the haunted room 217… (We also hear Jim Carrey should be asked about his stay in this room…)

Room 217, Estes Park, Colorado, Stanley Park, The Shining

Haunted Room 217

While the hotel was the inspiration for the movie, it was not the actual location where that movie was filmed.  Most was filmed in a studio set and exterior shots were done at a lodge near Mt. Hood.  Of lesser fame than The Shining, perhaps, is that the hotel was featured in “Dumb and Dumber” – especially a run up its main staircase by the two principal characters of the movie!

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, architecture, photo, Dumb and Dumber

The main staircase

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, lodging, architecture, photo, Samsung Galaxy S7, Cascade, staircase

Looking down the main staircase

A little of the history of the place

The tour begins with the story with how Freelan Oscar “F.O.” Stanley and his wife Flora got to settle there.  The Stanleys were an East Coast couple who had taken a trip to Colorado to help F.O. recover his health.  He was pretty much almost at the brink of death as he left Denver for a time in the mountains at Estes Park.  He made an incredible recovery and proceeded to build the hotel there as a way to have something comparable to the East coast life they were used to when they came out West, a place they had grown to love.

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, lodging, architecture, photo, Samsung Galaxy S7, Cascade, lobby, keys

Registration counter in the lobby with photos of F.O. and Flora (I presume…)

There are a few stories about supernatural events but those are best heard from Scary Mary, not me 🙂  But I will say there is a special force right smack in the middle of this staircase on the 217-side of the building…  Some kind of vortex if I understood right.

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, architecture, photo, vortex, supernatural

The vortex staircase

The Stanley Hotel today

The lobby clearly retains a feel for the past with the heavy woods and furniture arrangements.  While the setting of the hotel is spectacular, and the lobby and its spaces feel special, the main guest room floors do feel a bit drab.

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, lodging, architecture, photo, Samsung Galaxy S7, lobby

Lobby

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, lodging, architecture, photo, Samsung Galaxy S7

Guest room floor

The maze in front of the hotel was an ‘add’ to the grounds after throngs of visitors kept asking about the maze that shows in The Shining.  The hotel owners, I suppose, decided to play along and installed one (in its early stages of vegetation growth at the moment…).

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, maze, architecture, photo, tour, The Shining

The maze at the front of the hotel

Back to the interior, the hotel has good touches in the decoration using vintage artifacts from an automobile to mirrors, large and small.  Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, photo, tour, mirror Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, photo, tour, lamp, light fixture Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, photo, tour, piano Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, photo, tour, automobile, vintage car

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, photo, tour, hose fixture

Old fixture for fire hose

The views from the front porch – and I presume, the rooms – are pretty spectacular with the town below and the mountains beyond.  A key selling point to the hotel, I am sure!

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, lodging, architecture, photo, Samsung Galaxy S7, Rockies

Views of the Rockies from the front porch

The bar is pretty cool in its design, decor and feel.  There is an outdoor restaurant in the back.  I did not get to try neither the food nor the drinks so that may be left to a future visit!  I would love to stay there in the dead of winter sometime!

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, lodging, architecture, photo, Samsung Galaxy S7, Cascade, bar Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, lodging, architecture, photo, Samsung Galaxy S7, Cascade, bar Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, lodging, architecture, photo, Samsung Galaxy S7, Cascade, bar Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, lodging, architecture, photo, Samsung Galaxy S7, Cascade, bar

I leave you with some other photos of the main building and the second guest room building.Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, lodging, architecture, photo, Samsung Galaxy S7 Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, lodging, architecture, photo, Samsung Galaxy S7Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, lodging, architecture, photo, Samsung Galaxy S7

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

My Grain of Salt in Atlanta Winning the 1996 Olympics

My blog is about travel and this post may seem a bit off-topic but I hope you will indulge me because it is the 20th anniversary of the Atlanta Olympics and because my fascination with travel is related to all these places on Earth we call countries – which, in turn, get together every few years in peace for an event we call the Olympics.  And I am fascinated by seeing all those places…

A Georgia Tech student volunteering for the bid

As a college student at Georgia Tech in the late 1980s, I heard that Atlanta was going to bid for the right to host the 1996 Olympic Games.  It sounded a bit far-fetched but, at the same thing, it sounded so exciting.  I quickly learned that fellow students had created an organization to help greet the International Olympic Committee (IOC; they would choose the host city) members when they visited Georgia Tech which was suggested as the Olympic Village.  This was back in 1989 and the movement was grassroots way before social media existed and people developed hysterics about grassroots campaigns being enabled by social media.  The Georgia Tech Olympic Coalition (GTOC) was set up by students and was, initially, staffed by students getting ready for the first IOC visit to the Tech campus in May 1989 when IOC members from five countries would come to check out Atlanta and OUR campus (I only remember Japan, Sweden and Finland of the five but remember creating a massive banner in all the languages!).  We not only created the massive banner (an all-nighter) but had students in several locations with balloons ready to show the spirit, and a student from each of the visitors’ countries ready to greet them in their native language.

I left that summer for an internship out of town but when I returned faculty and staff had joined our student-launched coalition.  And we loved having the support -and wisdom- of our faculty and staff.  We got to work side-by-side, no patronizing the students, with amazing individuals from a EE professor, to the head of Registration (and her awesome staff), to the landscape and physical plant folks, and many more.  It was an incredible experience to continue to support visits by the IOC VIPs to our campus (even if some of them turned out to be corrupt as later scandals revealed…).

In any case, my main job consisted of finding students at Tech or at any university in the Atlanta area from the country of the IOC visitor and then get them prepped so we could be sure and deliver the personal touch.  That personal touch in everything done by the AOC (Atlanta Organizing Committee) and GTOC, I am sure, won the day after the first round of voting took place in Tokyo in 1990…  One thing I will say is that, while GTOC was still a student-only organization, we came up with the idea of selling bid t-shirts for $5 to raise funds to support our expenses!  (Namely, helium, balloons, banner raw materials, etc.)  Not even the committee organizing the bid had come up with the idea of selling t-shirts!  I like to think we were first in commercializing the Atlanta Games…

Olympics, Atlanta, Raul Pino, bid, Georgia Tech, Georgia Tech Olympic Coalition, welcome

Working hard to prepare the grounds at GT for the IOC visits!

Olympics, Atlanta, bid, Georgia Tech, Georgia Tech Olympic Coalition, welcome

Entrance to the Wardlaw Center on North Ave. with the flags of visiting IOC members

I personally got to welcome the IOC members from Puerto Rico (Germán Rieckehoff Sampayo; because I grew up in P.R.) and from Hungary (Pal Schmitt, a future president, because we could not locate any student from Hungary; thanks to Frau Venable, my German teacher, who spoke some Hungarian and taught me a greeting that made Mr. Schmitt think I was Hungarian!).

German Rieckehoff,IOC, ilivetotravel, Olympics, Atlanta, Raul Pino, bid, Georgia Tech, Georgia Tech Olympic Coalition

Luckily for me, someone snapped and gave me this photo of Mr. Rieckehoff’s visit!

German Rieckehoff, Olympics, Atlanta, Raul Pino, bid, Georgia Tech, Georgia Tech Olympic Coalition, Puerto Rico

Me giving Mrs. Rieckehoff a pin or something!

German Rieckehoff, Olympics, Atlanta, Raul Pino, bid, Georgia Tech, Georgia Tech Olympic Coalition, Puerto Rico, IOC

Mr. Rieckehoff being greeted by GT President Crecine with Billy Payne looking on (me, front left)

Celebrating winning to be the host city of the 1996 Games

Anyway, fast forward to the day when the 1996 host city decision was being announced in Japan (September 1990).  The announcement was expected right before morning rush hour began that day in Atlanta.  I had been up most of the night inflating balloons (I actually can be seen in an WXIA Ch. 11 news clip that morning!) for the celebration should we win the bid at Underground Atlanta.  I went home for just a little bit and was back early enough to be on the steps of Underground Atlanta as the announcement was made.  It was an incredible feeling to see the dream of Atlanta hosting the 1996 Olympics come true!

Atlanta, 1996 announcement, Underground Atlanta, Olympics, host city, 1990, ilivetotravel, Raul Pino

Waiting, in the wee hours, for the announcement (me toward the left)

Atlanta, 1996 announcement, Underground Atlanta, Olympics, host city, 1990, ilivetotravel, Raul Pino

iivetotravel in the middle of the cheering!

Atlanta, 1996 announcement, Underground Atlanta, Olympics, host city, 1990, ilivetotravel, Raul Pino

A few seconds after hearing the news (me in the center, half-hidden)

As a reward for our work, when the victory parade took place, GTOC volunteers walked along the Georgia Tech Ramblin’ Wreck in our loud yellow t-shirts – and, again, I can be seen in video from newscasts about the parade (yes, I have those news shows in DVDs now that I converted my old VCR tapes!).

Atlanta, Olympics, victory parade, AOC, ACOG, GTOC, host city, 1990, Raul Pino, ilivetotravel

GTOC volunteers awaiting to start the victory parade!

Atlanta, Olympics, victory parade, AOC, ACOG, GTOC, host city, 1990, Raul Pino, ilivetotravel

With fellow GTOCers waiting to start the parade – always clowning around…

Atlanta, Olympics, victory parade, AOC, ACOG, GTOC, host city, 1990, Raul Pino, ilivetotravel

With fellow GTOCers waiting to start the parade. I think am the only student in this pic.

Atlanta, Olympics, victory parade, AOC, ACOG, GTOC, host city, 1990, Raul Pino, ilivetotravel

Atlanta, Olympics, victory parade, AOC, ACOG, GTOC, host city, 1990, Raul Pino, ilivetotravel

Me in the midst of the parade in downtown

Atlanta, Olympics, victory parade, AOC, ACOG, GTOC, host city, 1990, Raul Pino, ilivetotravel, Ramblin Wreck

GTOCers (me on left) parading along the GT Ramblin’ Wreck!

So, I end this write-up here but the best part comes when in 1994 I was selected, after interviewing, to be an Envoy for the delegation to the Games from Chile, where I had worked three years before.  The Envoy was a relatively new role in the Olympics and it was focused on being the liaison between a country’s delegation and the Games.  I would spend two years of weekly meetings preparing for the role and then 6-weeks around the actual Games as part of this role which afforded many, many wonderful experiences that will be with me as long as I have memory – or get to read this blog, as I plan to write about that in the near future.

It’s been twenty years since the Olympics transformed my city and left an indelible imprint in my mind.  Wow.

Chattahoochee River Hikes: Vickery Creek Trail in Roswell

Right by old town Roswell, a few miles outside of Atlanta‘s “perimeter” (an interstate highway that rings the city), is the Vickery Creek Trail.  There are about 7 miles worth of trails in this pocket of nature in the middle of Roswell.  A portion of the trails are near the creek (also named Big Creek) which hits the Chattahoochee River right by the entrance to the parking lot I used to hit the trailhead.  This area is also part of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, a collection of parks along the river which crosses Atlanta from the NE to the SW (sort of!).Vickery Creek, Roswell, Georgia, Chattahoochee, river, park, Atlanta, hiking, outdoors, nature, trail, Samsung Galaxy S7, photoVickery Creek, Roswell, Georgia, Chattahoochee, river, park, Atlanta, hiking, outdoors, nature, trail, Samsung Galaxy S7, photo

The trail offers moderate hiking, with some fairly flat portions and a few climbs that I would guess are not too strenuous to the average person.  The trails are well marked (the blue square spray painted on trees) and well signed so one can make one’s way around pretty easily.  Because of the time of the year, what seemed to me to be mountain azaleas were in bloom (pinkish flowers). Vickery Creek, Roswell, Georgia, Chattahoochee, river, park, Atlanta, hiking, outdoors, nature, trail, Samsung Galaxy S7, photo Vickery Creek, Roswell, Georgia, Chattahoochee, river, park, Atlanta, hiking, outdoors, nature, trail, Samsung Galaxy S7, photoVickery Creek, Roswell, Georgia, Chattahoochee, river, park, Atlanta, hiking, outdoors, nature, trail, Samsung Galaxy S7, photoVickery Creek, Roswell, Georgia, Chattahoochee, river, park, Atlanta, hiking, outdoors, nature, trail, Samsung Galaxy S7, photoVickery Creek, Roswell, Georgia, Chattahoochee, river, park, Atlanta, hiking, outdoors, nature, trail, Samsung Galaxy S7, photoflowers, Vickery Creek, Roswell, Georgia, Chattahoochee, river, park, Atlanta, hiking, outdoors, nature, trail, Samsung Galaxy S7, photo
What is cool about this trail is seeing the two waterfalls created by a small and a large dam.  The area around the larger waterfall is not large and one has to watch one’s step but it is a pretty spot.Vickery Creek, Roswell, Georgia, Chattahoochee, river, park, Atlanta, hiking, outdoors, nature, trail, Samsung Galaxy S7, photo, waterfall Vickery Creek, Roswell, Georgia, Chattahoochee, river, park, Atlanta, hiking, outdoors, nature, trail, Samsung Galaxy S7, photo, waterfall Vickery Creek, Roswell, Georgia, Chattahoochee, river, park, Atlanta, hiking, outdoors, nature, trail, Samsung Galaxy S7, photo, waterfall Vickery Creek, Roswell, Georgia, Chattahoochee, river, park, Atlanta, hiking, outdoors, nature, trail, Samsung Galaxy S7, photo, waterfall

There are also a covered bridge and a large span bridge further down which facilitate cross the creek to other trailheads and parking areas.   Whether you are here in Atlanta to go up to the mountains or just visiting the city, this trail is one of many easy to visit and yet offering a unique hiking experience!

In-and-Out: Superior, Wisconsin

On a business trip last year to a place north of Duluth, Minnesota, we arrived late at night so we stayed in Duluth and then we would head north to our destination.  Not much time to do much before heading north was a bummer because every place has a story and Duluth is no different and no less interesting even if it is not a household name for the vast majority of folks.

The next morning, we were planning to leave 10ish and with the time difference I knew I had a couple of hours to spare.  I learned that Wisconsin, a state I had never been to, was just across the bridge from Duluth.  Not one to waste an opportunity to add one more state to the list, I informed by co-workers that I would be getting up early and driving to the town across the water:  Superior, Wisconsin (aptly named as it sits on the shores of Lake Superior…).  It sits on the westernmost tip of this huge (sorry, popular word these days) lake in pretty much the northwestern corner of Wisconsin.  Upon announcing that I was doing this, a co-worker said she would come – that’s the spirit!

I-535, Duluth, Superior, bridge, Wisconsin

Wisconsin or bust! Dark skies ahead were not an omen.

So, we needed kind of something to go see in Superior or something to do other than drive in and drive out.  So, in this world of smartphones, that was an easy thing to solve:  find a coffeeshop.  We lucked upon one right on the same road fed by the bridge (I-535) in a turn-of-the-century (two century switches ago:  1890) stone building labeled City Hall.  The building may or may no longer serve as city hall but it is impressive enough to be one.   Anyway, the coffeeshop was the Red Mug Coffeehouse and Bakery on the corner of Hammond and Broadway in the basement of the building.Superior, Wisconsin,street scene, City Hall, stone building

Superior, Wisconsin, coffeehouse, Red Mug, coffee, bakery

The scene at the Red Mug early in the morning

Technics, record, player, technology, vintage

I opted for coffee and a danish and enjoyed looking around this coffeehouse which seems to play live music at some point since it was set up for that.  The Technics record player was a bit of vintage quite appropriate to the place.  My co-worker and I used the opportunity to catch up on projects we are working on and just relax which was a good start to the day.

Superior, Wisconsin,street scene, traffic

Morning traffic. Just like L.A. or Atlanta…

Of course, I likely missed some good places to have seen (a church, a park, an old district, etc.) but that was all the time I had.  And despite the original intent of the “lake crossing,” the short hop made me wonder about the industrial and maritime past that drove the establishment of towns like Superior in this part of the U.S.  These parts of the U.S. were first explored by the French actually as part of the fur trade empire.  This then led to Jesuits coming to make new Christians out of the local tribes.  Eventually Hudson Bay Company and others also established trade with the local tribes.   Much later, these “city-ports” became the outlets for manufacturing and natural resources from the north and midwestern U.S. onto waterways that could get the goods elsewhere by sea or train).  In fact, I read that the twin ports of Duluth and Superior were the most important ports in the Great Lakes for a while.

If time and money were not an issue, I think I’d enjoy driving around the Great Lakes and explore this part of the American past that help build the nation with its industrial output.

How Can You See Atlanta’s Carpet of Green? Pine Mountain!

Atlanta is known for its crazy traffic and challenging airport.  But it is also known for the carpet of green that covers the city far and wide.  A week ago (or so), I was looking for a new hike not too far from the city and new to me.  Thankfully, we are not lacking for good hikes within 30 mins of the city (and if you expand that to 1.5 hrs, the possibilities are endless it seems!).

I opted to go north on I-75 to climb Pine Mountain in Cartersville.  The 4.6 round-trip hike was of moderate difficulty and not heavily trafficked.  When I arrived around 9:45 AM, the small parking lot of Main St. (not even a quarter mile from I-75) was pretty full.Atlanta, hiking, Georgia, mountains, nature, outdoors

The trail has a West Loop and an East Loop connected by a pass where the summit is found.  We hiked the southern end of both loops and the returned via the northern loops.  It was beautiful terrain and, with trees still not fully covered with leaves, one could see much further around which is one of the things I enjoy about hiking in colder weather.

hiking, map, Pine Mountain, Georgia, outdoors, nature, photo, Atlanta

Trail Map

What I enjoyed about this hike, beyond its accessibility for this city dweller was that it offered a great view of the carpet of green that is the greater Atlanta metro area.  In the distance I could see the faint skyline of downtown, Midtown, Buckhead and Sandy Springs with Lake Allatoona in the foreground.  I have to say, this was a neat hike easily fitting in a half day.  I leave you with pictures from the hike and the view though the skyline is too small for it to show well on the photos so may not even see in these photos.  Beware:  a lot that looks like just green forests actually hides neighborhood after neighborhood in greater Atlanta!

Atlanta, hiking, Georgia, mountains, nature, outdoors, creek, trees, forest

Atlanta, mountains, hiking, Kennesaw, Marietta, view, forest

The double hump mountain is Kennesaw Mountain, a famous Civil War battlefield

Atlanta, hiking, Georgia, mountains, nature, outdoors

Of course, the highway (I-75) is not too far away!

Atlanta, hiking, Georgia, mountains, nature, outdoors, bridge, forest, trees Atlanta, hiking, Georgia, mountains, nature, outdoors Atlanta, hiking, Georgia, mountains, nature, outdoors, creek, trees, forest Atlanta, hiking, Georgia, mountains, nature, outdoors, creek, trees, forest Atlanta, hiking, Georgia, mountains, nature, outdoors, creek, trees, forest

Atlanta, hiking, Georgia, mountains, nature, outdoors, creek, trees, forest

Lake Allatoona

Atlanta, hiking, Georgia, mountains, nature, outdoors, creek, trees, forest

In-and-Out: Brunswick in Coastal Georgia

While many of my travels allow me to spend time in a city or country for a long enough time, sometimes that is not the case.  And that is usually when I go on business trips.  It has been quite common for me to travel for long periods of time with work but, especially in the case of domestic travel, trips can be quite short.  That means either the ability to explore is limited to off work hours or to just one evening.  In the spirit of still sharing what I see, it makes sense to do an “in-and-out” series where I can share the small windows I get to see a place with you.  My hope is that it may show glimpses of places, however limited in scope.  So here goes the inaugural post – and please let me know if you like the idea.

Coastal Georgia – Historical… at least for Georgia

The state of Georgia does have a coastline, on the east along the Atlantic Ocean.  That coast is dotted with many islands like Jekyll, Cumberland, St. Simons, etc.  South of the middle of that coastline is the town and port of Brunswick.  Now, I know it may not be much to be excited about given Boston, Philly, Paris, London or Athens but in this part of the Southeast, Brunswick goes “far” back as 1738, depending on how you count.  Supposedly, around that time, the British set up something in the peninsula where Brunswick sits to almost face the Spanish who were in nearby Florida (credit Oglethorpe) AND who had laid claim to lands in this area too (the boundary between modern-day Florida and Georgia not existing back then). In the end, it is funny to think about that this all would have ended up being Florida has the Brits not initially colonized the area…  Brunswick as a town did not get founded until the 1850s but still, its history goes back to colonial times and that fascinates me.  It was designed, though, in the late 18th century in a layout similar to Savannah with many squares (14 of them, large and small) almost mathematically laid out in a grid of streets.

Brunswick, Georgia, parks, squares, layout, map

Map of downtown and its squares and parks

Brunswick, Georgia, parks, squares, layout, map

One of the smallest squares

Downtown , square, Hanover, Brunswick, Georgia

One of the larger squares: Hanover Square

I wonder if Savannah won some battle against Brunswick to become the premier coastal Georgia city.  Brunswick certainly is gifted in terms of its setting.  Perhaps Savannah had some edge with the river and better fit for a port?  But Brunswick was a very important port in the shipping of lumber abroad.  England, Cuba and Brazil were among the destinations for lumber that made it out of the continental U.S. through this port.  It is also incredible to learn that the largest blimp base during WW II was located in Brunswick since there was threat of German U-boats along the southeastern U.S. coast.

Approaching Brunswick – Golden Isles Airport

I had a choice to drive for 5 hours or take a short flight.  Because of the short duration of the visit, a 10-hr round-trip did not make sense.  Now, if the plane had been a larger plane, the flight may have been 30 minutes but it took about 50.  That’s OK.  On my flight in, I got some good views of the land around, with rivers or creeks and perhaps marshes.  I never got to see the ocean as the approach did not require to go past Brunswick towards St. Simons and a turn back.

Brunswick, Georgia, coast, window view, airplane, travel, South, trees, final approach

Lots of tree farms near Brunswick

Brunswick, Georgia, coast, window view, airplane, travel, South, trees, river, final approach Brunswick, Georgia, coast, window view, airplane, travel, South, trees, river, final approach  Brunswick, Georgia, coast, window view, airplane, travel, South, trees, river, final approach Downtown Brunswick

I did not have much time in the area and, because of closing hours, I could not visit places like Fort Frederica.  But I decided to, at least, make the short drive from my hotel near the tiny airport to the downtown area.  The town proper is quite small but it was very charming.   And the time of day for visiting, right before sunset was just perfect for the best light.downtown, Brunswick, Georgia, red brick, architecture, charming, photos, downtown, Brunswick, Georgia, red brick, architecture, charming, photos, Coca-Coladowntown, Brunswick, Georgia, red brick, architecture, charming, photos downtown, Brunswick, Georgia, red brick, architecture, charming, photos, Ritz downtown, Brunswick, Georgia, red brick, architecture, charming, photos downtown, Brunswick, Georgia, red brick, architecture, charming, photos, sunset downtown, Brunswick, Georgia, red brick, architecture, charming, photos, rainbow, flag

Old homes in downtown Brunswick

I loved seeing old homes not immaculately restored but kept up.  Clearly, Brunswick is not a ‘happening’ place that pulls visitors in left and right but that, perhaps, has kept it more authentic or reflective of how places ‘used to be’ since it is not corrupted by out-of-control development nor by anti-septic ordinances that force artificial curbs, sidewalks, etc.

Brunswick, Georgia, coastal, town, architecture, Oglethorpe, charming, photo, southeast Brunswick, Georgia, coastal, town, architecture, Oglethorpe, charming, photo, southeast Brunswick, Georgia, coastal, town, architecture, Oglethorpe, charming, photo, southeast Brunswick, Georgia, coastal, town, architecture, Oglethorpe, charming, photo, southeast Brunswick, Georgia, coastal, town, architecture, Oglethorpe, charming, photo, southeast  Brunswick, Georgia, coastal, town, architecture, Oglethorpe, charming, photo, southeast Brunswick, Georgia, coastal, town, architecture, Oglethorpe, charming, photo, southeast Brunswick, Georgia, coastal, town, architecture, Oglethorpe, charming, photo, southeast Brunswick, Georgia, coastal, town, architecture, Oglethorpe, charming, photo, southeastCoastal sunset in Georgia

The skies were a little dark because it had just rained.  You may appreciate in a couple of photos the rainbow coming out.  But the best was left for my drive out of Brunswick:  a beautiful sunset as a backdrop.

Brunswick, Georgia, sunset, sun, cloud, silhouette, golden, sky, photo Brunswick, Georgia, sunset, sun, cloud, silhouette, golden, sky, photo

The Carmel Mission: Quiet and Beautiful

During a recent business trip to San Francisco, I made a visit of a few days to friends who live near Campbell, CA.  I took the Caltrain down to San Jose – an easy and relatively cheap (at around $9 one-way) way to get out of San Fran towards Silicon Valley.

While their kids went to school, my friends and I made a trip to the coast where, among other things, we visited the town of Carmel.  No Clint Eastwood sightings – bummer!  But we decided to check out the Carmel Mission after having lunch in the charming downtown area.  I had been to the Santa Barbara Mission over a year ago so I was curious on how this one would compare.

Junipero Serra, Carmel Mission, California, tomb, saint, history, faith, church, travel, photo, Samsung Galaxy, blue, sky, clouds

Entering the mission grounds

As luck would have (is it really luck??), this was two days after the canonization of Fr. Junipero Serra who worked, died and is buried at the Carmel Mission.  The timing was definitely great; I only wish Pope Francis had canonized him where he is buried!

Junipero Serra, Carmel Mission, California, tomb, saint, history, faith, Catholic saint, travel, photo, Samsung Galaxy

Fr. Serra is buried along with others in the altar area

Junipero Serra, Carmel Mission, California, tomb, saint, history, faith, Catholic saint, travel, photo, Samsung Galaxy

St. Junipero Serra looms large!

The Carmel Mission is smaller than the one in Santa Barbara but by no means less charming or interesting.  As with probably most missions, the center of the mission is the church with a cemetery next to it.  Usually there is a vast space or courtyard in the mission and buildings, many of them much newer used for different functions.

Carmel Mission, grave, cemetery, rocks, tombs, California, history, religion, church, travel

Rudimentary graves

Carmel Mission, grave, cemetery, rocks, tombs, California, history, religion, church, travel

Along the church’s wall

As you enter, you are properly warned that you could be at risk for an earthquake.  Only in California would the obvious need to be stated in the form of a warning!

California, Carmel Mission, earthquake, sign, warning, travel, photo

Be warned!

As you can see, it was a clear, beautiful day (I assume this is typical for California) and I am so glad we got to enjoy visiting the mission at such a historical time!

Junipero Serra, Carmel Mission, California, tomb, saint, history, faith, church, travel, photo, Samsung Galaxy, blue, sky, clouds

Glorious skies!

Views of San Francisco from My Hotel

On my trip to San Francisco this week, I picked the Marriott Marquis on 4th and Mission as my hotel while I attended a conference in the city.  It seemed well situated and nice, at least on the website photos.  I did not miss with this property and you can read my review in TripAdvisor (where I am very active as a Top Contributor!).  I did not have time to explore San Fran some more but I did get a couple of good eats at RN74 and Venticello.

I got a room on the 28th story and it was a corner room so I had views south and east (best I could tell).  Here are the views from my room at different times of the day.  They are not the best photos as the windows were quite dirty on the outside but they get the point across (I hope!).

San Francisco, California, view, Samsung Galaxy, photo, travel

The Moscone conference center is the massive building lower left

San Francisco, California, view, Samsung Galaxy, photo, travel San Francisco, California, view, Samsung Galaxy, photo, travel

San Francisco, California, view, Samsung Galaxy, photo, travel, giants, baseball, stadium, MLB

The San Francisco Giants stadium

San Francisco, California, view, Samsung Galaxy, photo, travel San Francisco, California, view, Samsung Galaxy, photo, travel

And below here are two pics of the same general view at different times of day – love the difference the sun’s position can make on a photo!

San Francisco, California, view, Samsung Galaxy, photo, travel San Francisco, California, view, Samsung Galaxy, photo, travel

%d bloggers like this: