20180921

Friday Photography



City of the Dead - The Cairo Necropolis also known as the City of Dead is an Islamic cemetery at the foot of the the Mokattam Hills in southeastern Cairo, Egypt. Here people work and live among the dead to be closer to their loved ones or because this is all they can afford.

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20180917

Exploring Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge

After Crater Lake we headed back north and checked into a hotel at Cascade Locks. Cascade Locks is a city along the Columbia River Gorge. The Columbia River Gorge marks the state line between Oregon and Washington.


This was our view at breakfast, the Bridge of the Gods connecting Oregon and Washington. The plan was to drive down the Columbia River Scenic Highway and visit some waterfalls. Especially the famous Multnomah Falls but we found out that morning that the entire area was closed! :( 


We sadly crossed off all the waterfalls and moved on to the next thing on our to do list while also quickly trying to figure out what we were going to do with the rest of our day. We crossed the Bridge of the Gods and drove into Washington heading to Beacon Rock State Park. Beacon Rock is 848 feet tall and is composed of basalt (the rapid cooling of lava). Henry Biddle purchased the rock in 1915 for $1 and during the next three years constructed a trail with 51 switchbacks, handrails and bridges. 



We drove back to Oregon and took a little lunch break in Cascade Lock Marina Park.. let the boys run around while we tried to figure out what do to next.. Mount Hood seemed like the obvious choice.. but where to start?

We started with Trillium Lake.. 


It was a very very short walk to the lake from the parking lot. The lake was beautiful.. I wished we had know earlier that the waterfalls were going to be a bust and we were going to end up at this stunning lake.. we would have brought our swim clothes.. instead we dipped our feet in the cold water and took in the beauty of Mount Hood. 

After the lake we drove up to Timberline Lodge to get a closer look at the mountain.. 


While it was cool Mount Hood looked way cooler from afar..

The boys wanted to hike some more so we drove to Mirror Lake Trail Head.. 


While it was only a 2 mile loop it was a bit harder that we had thought.. and it was starting to get late.. we didn't want to be driving down the winding roads in the dark again.. plus we had to think of dinner.. we started the hike on H's insistence but very soon begun to think it wasn't the best idea.. and had to talk him out of it..


We stopped at the Saw Tooth Roadhouse for some seriously amazing pizza..


and then enjoyed watching the sun go down as we made our way back to Cascade Locks..


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20180914

Friday Photography



Under the Umbrella - A beautiful summer day on the Jersey Shore. The Ocean City beach dotted with umbrellas and relaxing beach goers.

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20180910

Crater Lake

We stayed home on Labor Day weekend.. had family over.. visited family.. relaxed.. and then the boys had their first days of school, extra curricular classes resumed and we have started to fall back into out routines. I posted their first day of school pictures on Instagram
Coming back to our summer vacation.. it all started in Portland, then a day along the Oregon Coast. We spent the night in Florence. We woke up the next morning.. again relatively early and started the 4 hour drive to Crater Lake. We made a quick stop for some coffee and donuts. Two 16oz cappuccino's and a giant glazed doughnut roll all for a whopping $3.50. 


It was a hot hazy day. When we got closer to Crater Lake we learnt that because of the heat there had been a few forest fires in the area. Unfortunately that resulted in lack of clarity the day of and in the pictures.

We decided to only drive the rim.. 






We had gotten the boys binoculars and they loved them.



Did you know Crater Lake is a caldera lake? A caldera forms when a volcano implodes creating a crater. Crater Lake was formed 150 years ago by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. It is considered the deepest lake in the United States and 9th in the world. The lake features two small islands, Wizard Island where tour boats dock and you can get off and explore further on your own. The other much smaller island is knows as Ship Wreck.


As seen above are the pinnacles. While not part of the lake, they are part of Crater Lake National Park, these towering needle-like formations of rock are called fossil fumaroles. After the volcano's collapse all the hot gases and steam trapped beneath the ground needed to be released so these vents were created. Slowly thanks to erosion the rock around the vents fell away leaving us with these unique pinnacles. (sorry for the geography lessons.. M and I just found it all so fascinating)

We headed back north.. a 4 hour drive to Cascade Locks. We hit traffic.. had to stop to eat and before we knew it it was getting dark, the roads winding.. especially when we entered the Mount Hood area and we had no service and while we didn't say it then we were both thinking the same truth.. if something were to happen to us no one would ever know. I know it seems morbid but when we finally reached our destination, tucked in the boys and got into bed we talked about how scary that was.. I knew we were driving cliff side.. not knowing how great the drop was on the other side.. (we drove that same road the next morning and the drop was steep!) barely any cars passed us.. what exactly are you supposed to do in such a circumstance. We thought we should start checking in with a family member.. but we didn't want to worry anyone unnecessarily.. In the end we decided to time thing better and make sure we are never on the road (especially that kind of road) that late.. 

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20180831

Friday Photography



Under the Arches - The arch lined walkway surrounding the courtyard of the Mohammad Ali Mosque in Cairo. To read more about our trip to Egypt click here

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20180827

Along the Oregon Coast

After our day in Portland we spent the night in Seaside. The next morning we woke up nice and early.. and as horrible as it is to wake up early on a vacation sometimes it's worth it.. especially on that particular day. We had a quick complimentary hotel breakfast and drove the 15 mins to Ecola State Park. The day was cold and foggy, not exactly ideal for a day spent along the Oregon coast.. but as H says though never abides by "you get what you get and you don't get upset" 

When we neared the entrance of the park it was so deserted we almost thought it was closed. It wasn't. phew. In fact because we were there early.. around 8:30 am it was almost like a private beach.


When we got to the entrance we went right and found ourselves parking at Indian Beach. There were no more than 20 people on the beach.. mainly surfers. Pictures can not do justice to how breath taking the beach was.






and when we had are fill we got back into our car and drove to the other side of the park towards the Crescent Beach Trail. It was a 2.5 mile loop and steep and slippery in a few places, not what we had expected but the boys hung in there.. *so proud*





and we were rewarded with a pristine almost empty beach :)



And if you ventured a bit into the icy cold water you could see between the two rocks emerge through the fog Haystack Rock on Canon Beach as seen in The Goonies. We didn't make it to Cannon Beach though that was the beach on the 'original' itinerary. We still had many stops to make along the way. On our hike back to the car we saw dozens and dozens of cars waiting outside the park entrance waiting to get in. It paid off to wake up a little early.


We ventured south along the Oregon coast stopping in Manzanita to eat some of Jim's Manzanita Mudd Dogs.. it was an outdoor sitting area where Jim himself made your hot dog and all proceeds go to the Mudd Nick Foundation. OH MY GOD.. it was so so good. 

Afterwards we stopped at Manzanita Coffee Co to grab some ice cream before we hit the road again.

Our next stop was Cape Meares which we found to be closed. The boys napped through it all.


We stopped at a road side cherry stand.. did not know such a thing even existed. So yum.


We sopped at the Devil's Punch Bowl. It was a low tide so we didn't see anything too exciting.. it was also so very windy and foggy. But while we stretched our legs we spotted a whale far far far off in the distance. So far off we weren't even sure we saw it.. till we saw another.. and another.. they were so far away they were just a speck in the distance and yet it was so exciting. 

We made another stop at Yaquina Head Lighthouse.. We had to pay to get into the area and there we were parked right in front of the lighthouse and couldn't even see it.. so foggy. The girl at the entrance booth acted shocked when we told her how foggy it was and she should be telling people they wouldn't see anything rather than just taking their money.

We were done for the day.. we were all tired. We stopped in Newport for some thai food.. M&P Authentic Thai Cuisine. It was fine.

Then we headed to Florence were we were going to spend the night. 

Even with a few disappointments it was an incredible day.. Ecola State Park was stunning.. we could have spent the whole day there exploring. And the coast was so beautiful, eerie on our foggy day.
      
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20180820

A Quick Stop in Portland

Late July we took a summer trip to the Pacific Northwest area of America.. which consists of Oregon and Washington. M wasn't 100% convinced this was going to be a trip worth taking.. but by day two he was convinced.. it was such an amazing trip.

It was an 11 day trip and we started it by flying into Portland. In the initial itinerary we were going to be spending a night in Portland but after a few revisions we ended up with just a few hours in Portland. We took an early morning flight and thanks to the time difference we arrived there in the early afternoon. This was our first time flying with Alaska Air, not bad.. no complaints. We picked up our rental and with our stomachs grumbling we headed to our first stop, Alder Food Carts.


This was mainly a large parking lot lined with food carts along the outer edge.. there were so many options to choose from..     


The boys shared a grilled cheese, I didn't try it but it look pretty good. Came with a side of pickle and some chips.


M and I shared a savory crepe and some Korean taco's that I forgot to take a picture of.. OMG I will go back to Portland just to eat this crepe again. It was so good.. the taco's as well.. and we loved that when we asked for spicy it was really truly spicy.. 

We did a really bad job with our photo taking in Portland.. : / 


With out stomachs full we walked over to the Keller Water Fountain.. to our great disappointment the water fountain was closed.. we also took a few wrong turns making our walk longer than planned.. so
we were not too happy. But the boys tried to make the most of it.


Along the way we spotted a few of these drinking fountains known as Benson Bubblers they are iconic bronze drinking fountains named after businessman and philanthropist Simon Benson (1852–1942). In 1912, Benson donated $10,000 for the purchase and installation of 20 fountains; the designer was Portland architect A. E. Doyle. One of the reason he did this was his hope that they would reduce the consumption of alcoholic beverages during lunch breaks, and the other was that he felt the need after witnessing a girl crying at an Independence Day parade due to her inability to find a drink of water.


I had wanted to try Blue Star Donuts as well as Salt and Straw Ice Cream but we could pick only one.. well actually initially we thought we'd have two ice creams to split and then two donuts to split but it didn't work out that way. We visited Salt and Straw's Wiz Bang Bar and tried their chocolate blondie as well as there strawberry roasted coconut... both were amazing.. the strawberry was unlike any strawberry we'd ever had before.. the blondie was pretty indulgent.. the cone was half filled with brownie!! 

With our tummy's full again we headed to Powell Books.. 


There were floors upon floors, rooms upon rooms of never ending books.. it was the most amazing place.. we barely made our way through half of it.. I could live here.. 


And that wraps up our quick stop in Portland. We stopped at a Target to stock up on snacks and sunblock and bug spray.. we decided to buy everything at the destination rather than bring it all from home. Then we drove the hour and a half to Seaside where we planned to spend the night.

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