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Monument Valley Sunset - July 2015

Aspen - 2015

The summer of  '15 we had a wonderful birthday bash, catered, and invited EVERYONE to attend... a few weeks later we took a quiet trip to Aspen. It was near Lucky's birthday, but in so many ways the trip was an amazing gift to me -- and my camera.  We 'halved' the trip coming and going - deciding to stay at a fairly recent addition to the Monument Valley area "hotel" offerings - a place named "The View", which had been built on the Navajo reservation just north of Kayenta, AZ. I'd been planning to visit Monument Valley for years - hoping to do a 2-3 day guided tour. As it was, we stopped over on the way north... and again on the way south. We arrived northbound just before sunset, during a driving thunderstorm. As we checked in I noticed signs of the storm breaking, so I hurried to the room with the baggage cart. And outside - through the large patio door, was the scene above. In a word..."wow!" Later we were down to the restaurant having Navajo tacos [the view is better than the food at the View]... and then we were off the next morning to Aspen. 

We stayed in nearby Snowmass - simply because with all the points we had with Starwood, our stay was 'free' at the Westin there.We were upgraded to a wonderful 'ski-in/ski-out' suite - Magic kept a close guard to protect us from ... everything, and we had some wonderful, restful days enjoying the cool days, and sweater-weather nights. Wandering around Aspen we found a favorite sushi restaurant - Kenichi! It's our favorite on the 'BIG' island, and when we went in we met the owner, who immediately fell in love with Magic. He stayed at our table nearly 20 minutes - and we had a wonderful meal. Shortly after, we wandered into to "Tiffany's" of Pot Shops... a simply elegant dispensary for the recreational pot products Colorado law permits. Another "Wow" moment... who knew  there were luxury brands of pipes and bongs? We left with some chocolate and "chill" pills... 

The next morning I was off [very] early for a try at a memorable Maroon Bells shot. The early light was not promising... no starlight, the smell of overnight rain hanging heavy in the air. I arrived at the location I'd scouted, saw about 6 other crazies like myself, and then hiked over to the tripod location I'd hoped to use. With luck, no one else was even close to the location. So, equipment arranged, you just wait for light... and hope for a break in that dark wall of clouds east. Obviously, luck was with me.

Back to the hotel, where Lucky decided to try a piece of the chocolate [our grand-motherly sales lady said she enjoyed 2 pieces at a time]. We went out to find lunch, sat down and had a nice meal, and then it was time to go. Except...Lucky, couldn't stand up. We finally got her walking, made it back to the room - and she slept.. till morning!

Maroon Bells Sunrise - July 2015

Monument Valley Rainbow - July 2015

On our way back to Phoenix, we stayed at the View again... and again had a rare treat for Light in Monument Valley - a late morning shower -- with rainbow! Impossible! We left shortly after lunch, and in those long summer days, we made it home before dark. All three of us hit the pool, and spent some sweet time remembering what a good trip we'd had north -- to break the heat.

Europe - 2018

Jardins du Trocadéro - April 2018

Eiffel Tower and River Seine - May 2018

This trip started innocently enough... just a musing moment, as Lucky and I considered the 'we're not getting any younger' reality. And that led to 'bucket listing' ideas: Greek island! Athens! Amalfi Coast! Umbria! Paris!; then the OMG 'what's this going to co$t' ... air fare numbers, VRBO rents... and then suddenly - it's mid-April and time to go.

Best laid plans... airlines go on strike - unexpectedly. Delay a day. Rebooking the ticket to MX City costs more - one way, than the original R/T ticket?... that 'wonderful' VRBO place on the Amalfi coast was [for me] uninhabitable [mold, mildew]... and etc., etc.

But we recovered nicely - a week on the Amalfi coast became a week in Florence [not bad!], we only lost one day to the airline strike, and,  all said and done, we had a wonderful trip.

The trip ended up with Greece for a week, Italy for two, and Paris for 5 days. The photos to the left and below have links to that section of the trip, and those pages present our experiences VERY visually. Coming back, we were delighted, exhausted, expectant [we missed little Magic terrifically] and - excited. We know there will be another trip - when you go so far, you have a moment of grasping, 'there's so much more to see.'

Athens - the Acropolis  April 2018

the harbor at Naousa, Paros  April 2018

a bridge over the Arno, Florence  May 2018

a small panel from Ghiberti's bronze doors - the Bapistry of St.  John  Florence  May 2018

Sunset from our Piegaro condo -  May 2018

the altar window in Orvieto Duomo - with glass from Piegaro  Orvieto  May 2018

Field of poppies -  near Spoleto  May 2018

Lucky & Ken

Anastasia, Clarisse & Maria
Three of our favorite ladies in Paris -- all from Hotel Renaissance Paris Le Parc Trocadero (left to right). Anastasia a helpful, friendly and oh-so resourceful concierge, Clarisse, whose warm smile and thoughtful/helpful presence made every day brighter, and Maria, our bartender, waitress, Manhattan mixer  extraordinaire!  So delightful -- they always brought a smile, and made a Hotel feel like home!. 
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