Weekly Photo Challenge: Waterfall Quest

Bruarfoss waterfall, Iceland

When I saw the topic for this week’s photo challenge – “quest” – I immediately thought of our epic quest to find Bruarfoss waterfall. I originally found the waterfall on Instagram, but when browsing TripAdvisor for location information, it quickly became apparent that it’s not found by the less adventurous. After several wrong turns and a few alternative paths, we finally found this sign lying in the mud, pointing in the wrong direction. I won’t lie, I had mud well past my knees before we found the actual waterfall, but oh those colors! The fact that we had it all to ourselves after a long day fighting other tourists for photos was just heaven 🙂

Bruarfoss waterfall Iceland

Happy weekend everyone!!

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Kitty Dreams & Street Scenes (Morocco)

Morocco cats asleep

As I depart for the land of ice, I thought it only appropriate to share just a few more photos from last year’s adventure in the desert oasis that is Morocco. By the end of the trip, one of the running jokes was all of the photos of cats that I had on my memory cards – to this day I still refuse to apologize for a single one! Morocco seems to be a land of cats and I love it all the more for that reason. (smile) I’ve included a few of my favorite kitty shots – and a few of my favorite street scenes too!

 

 

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A Moroccan Photo Safari

camels in the Sahara Desert, Morocco

For almost a year now I’ve been searching for the words to write about my experience with the Helicon Arts Moroccan Photo Safari last October. The best way I can think to sum it up – I have been lucky enough to travel so many places in this world and to meet some amazing people; this was the best trip yet.

Morocco ended up being my destination of choice because it was on a new continent (Africa), had a safe reputation, and had always seemed magical to me. All of these reasons turned out to be totally justified – particularly the magical atmosphere! I won’t go so far as to say that Morocco is my new favorite country, but I did really enjoy my time there. I think part of my problem was how similar the landscape was to the southwest, but I will say that the culture and the people more than made up for any of my reservations on the similar landscapes. For that reason and so many others, the country will always hold a special place in my heart.

Morocco_Seaside

I knew when planning this adventure that I wanted to go on a tour. I opted for a photography tour for the experience and to meet like-minded people. I researched so many companies before I found HeliconArts, but as soon as I read the photo tour description I knew it was the one for me! It’s a British company and the groups are typically small (usually no more than 8 I believe, including the professional photographer). The price was good and the customer service was fabulous! I would definitely consider booking with them again if they decide to expand their photography tour destinations!

photographer reflection

My group ended up  being incredibly diverse – 3 Americans and 3 Brits of various backgrounds ranging from 18 to 60+. We all had different levels of experience with photography, but no one felt left behind thanks to our amazing pro. It’s an incredibly rare thing to find 1 other person you get along with on a trip like this, nevermind 5, but that’s exactly what happened here. For that week, we were a family. Those awesome people made that trip, and they also make it difficult to talk about. I miss them, but hopefully we’ll all meet again on future travels…

Morocco_AitBenHaddou13

Morocco_RoadSide2_15

Morocco_Goats

I’ve posted some of the photos here and there on the blog, but haven’t really directly addressed the trip as I had planned. I’ve decided that in lieu of formal posts, at least for now, I’ll been posting photos with mini-stories on my Instagram instead. The tour goes back to Morocco this October 1-8 and as I understand it, there are still a couple spots left. If anyone’s interested, be sure to check out HeliconArts. If you have any questions, I’m always happy to answer!

As a bonus, here’s the end of trip video we shot on our last night. I think it does a pretty good job summing up just how much fun we had – and it’s likely the only video you’ll ever see of me on here! 😉

P.S.
Don’t forget to check out my Instagram for more Moroccan fun!

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Travel Tuesday: Glastonbury Tor

Happy Travel Tuesday everyone! I feel like I’m finally getting back into the office groove after a few short weeks in a row. I tell ya, those short weeks can be a blessing and a curse! Over this past weekend I finally got serious about tagging my photos now that they’re all in one spot. While doing so, I came across so many fond memories, including a trip out to Glastonbury during a work-study stay during law school. Glastonbury is a small town in Somerset, England known for its annual festival as well as its myths and legends.

Glastonbury Tor

Welcome to the Tor

I must admit that when I insisted on making the pilgrimage out to Glastonbury (which it sort of was given my dependence on public transport) I only knew about the Tor that dominates the skyline. It was only once I arrived that I discovered the associations with the Holy Grail and King Arthur.

Glastonbury Tor, St Michael's Tower

I was going through an “awkward angles” phase

Tor is a local word of Celtic origin meaning “conical hill.” I first heard about this mystical place on a History channel special about “energetic spiritual places,” such as Sedona, Arizona and Machu Picchu, Peru. The St. Michael’s ley-line passes through Glastonbury Tor and is “marked” by St. Michael’s Tower, which sits at the pinnacle. I won’t attempt to explain the concepts and meanings behind all this, but suffice it to say I was intrigued. I suppose some people would label it all a bit “New Age,” but I find any kind of religious mythology/history fascinating (even if I adhere strictly to nothing in particular).

Glastonbury Tor, St Michael's Tower

Once I arrived in Glastonbury I discovered that the Tor (apparently) had been called the “Isle of Avalon” by the Britons and is believed by some to be the Avalon of Arthurian legend. There are several other sites in the area linking Glastonbury to Avalon, but I’ll save those for next week. The Tor has also been associated with the first Lord of the Underworld (Gwyn ap Nudd, Celtic mythology) as well as the King of the Faeries.

So is it a magical place? I don’t know that magical is the right word, but it certainly gives off an old-in-an-ancient-sort-of-way vibe. The most popular place I can think to compare it to would be Stonehenge. You get the feeling that something happened there that left its mark on the atmosphere. Even if you believe in none of this or detest such theories, the Tor is still a beautiful climb and a worthy place for sitting in the air while reading a book (as my trip companion can attest). If you are interested in more background on the Tor’s myths and legends, I strongly encourage you to have a little pow wow with Google – and to take most sites with a grain of salt. The sheer variety of tales ensures that there’s a little something for [almost] anyone (smile).


Come join Bonnie and her co-hosts Courtney, Cynthia, and Yalanda for more fun adventures!!

Travel Tuesday

Travel Tuesday: Rocky Point Wedding

Happy Travel Tuesday!! This week has been so cr-aa-zy it’s hard to believe it’s only Tuesday! In the spirit of imagining my happy place, I figured a recap of this past weekend’s wedding would be perfect (smile).

Mexico, sunset, beach

#NoFilter

The wedding weekend took place in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico (aka Rocky Point to the gringos), which is located on the western coast of mainland Mexico along the Sea of Cortez (aka Gulf of California). It’s known as Arizona’s beach due to its relatively close proximity (only about 4 hours – closer than the California coast line). We all stayed at Las Palomas, which is a owner/rental resort along the shore. It’s a beautiful location and the staff at the resort are absolutely amazing!

I’ve been going to Rocky Point for several years now with a coworker who owns a condo at Las Palomas (#lucky). Her family has been going down for years and are very active in the local community. They sponsor some of the local children at school and have helped build homes for the locals, one of which I was able to help with – such a rewarding experience! Needless to say, it felt a bit strange going down with a completely different group of people just to celebrate (I’m not good at this “relaxing” thing).

Mexico, wedding

Beautiful Ceremony 🙂

The bride and groom were kind enough to sponsor shuttles for those of us who didn’t want to make the drive. We had plenty of time to relax and get to know everyone in the group in between various wedding activities, which was really nice. And then it was time for the main event…which unfortunately had to be moved inside due to high wind gusts (sad face). Nonetheless, the transition indoors went smoothly and the ceremony went off with the usual hitches (smile). Part of the ceremony was a poem from their dog (who couldn’t attend sadly) and a friend took the liberty of blowing up a life size photo to act out the poem – it was so true to the couple, everyone was in tears (of laughter) by the time it was over! The reception was super nice and even the staff got in on a bit of the fun (smile).

Overall it was a fabulous weekend and welcome memory during the craziness of this week. I have my fingers crossed that maybe I’ll get some additional officiant requests from some of the engaged couples who attended (smile). If it’s a destination wedding, I’m definitely there! And if you’ve never been to Rocky Point – I highly recommend if if you ever have the chance!!


Come join Bonnie, Camila, Jessi, and Amy for more adventures!!

Travel Tuesday

Weekly Photo Challenge|Letters & Translations

This week’s photo challenge revolves around the idea of Letters. When I saw the title my first thought was “who sends letters these days?” It’s a sad world we’re coming to…but I digress. The idea is to showcase letters – as in the individual characters used to create those lost art love letters, etc. I find this an incredibly intriguing and fun challenge. Everywhere I go, I inevitably take photos of the language of the country I’m in – usually some form of signage, but nonetheless its a way to remember. For today’s challenge I’ve decided to go with two beautiful examples of how many ways a set of letters can be used to say the same thing.

Wales, Welsh, English, Language, UK

Welsh & English
(Gift Shop)

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Cambodia

Cambodian, French, & English
(Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum)

Happy Weekend Everyone!!