Looking down on the Cinque Terre town of Vernazza on a stormy afternoon. The harbor would normally be full of small boats at this time of day, but they were all pulled out of the water due to dynamic sea conditions.
Earlier this year, we were able to spend a bit of time in Italy. Out of this, we had three days to rattle around in Cinque Terre — a group of 5 old fishing towns. They’re quite a photogenic group, although I’d vote for Vernazza as the prettiest. They’re all also connected by both a seaside hiking trail, and shuttle service on the local rail line — so you’ve got multiple options for getting around to see the sights, as a function of your schedule and exercise tolerance. I took this shot from the trail on the north side of town — not terribly far to go for a “postcard” view.
A calm, yet colorful scene in Keukenhof Park, Netherlands.
What can I say about Keukenhof….? Well, it’s a big flower garden / park outside of Amsterdam, that’s only open to the public for 2 months out of the year — and during those two months, it’s covered in mind-blowing levels of floral color. We were able to visit it this year, and it’s got to be one of the most amazing visual experiences that I’ve ever had.
The Acropolis in Athens, as seen from the top of Lycabettus Hill:
I don’t seem to see this perspective of the Acropolis very often online, but it turns out that it’s pretty simple to achieve. Lycabettus Hill is in the middle of an urban park in Athens, and while you’ve got some walking to do at first, a funicular can get you the last steep stretch to the top. Or, you can walk the whole way, if you have the time and fortitude to walk the trail up the hill.
Get up to the top with a reasonably long lens, and you’re ready to go. This is an afternoon shot (with light overcast); the lighting should be more-dramatic on a clear day near sunrise.
So the high point (physically) of day 3 on the Inca Trail is Runkurakay Pass — with views just as good as Dead Woman Pass had, but not nearly as painful to get to. Just before the pass, the trail winds between two small hanging lakes (I haven’t been able to find any reliable names for them). First, we’re looking uphill / west across the lower / larger of the two (you can see some of my hiking buddies on the trail above it to the right).
As I may have mentioned previously, we bought a camping trailer earlier this year. So since camping is now a lot more comfortable for us than it used to be, we’ve been taking advantage of it to spend time in a lot of places we’ve not been to before. So it was that we spent a weekend in Rifle Gap State Park, on the west side of Colorado.
We honestly didn’t go into this trip knowing a lot about the park — we primarily thought it’d be a nice, quiet place to spend an otherwise hot August weekend. The camp site itself was clean and well-maintained, if lacking in trees to slow the wind. But not that far away from the Rifle Gap campsites is their sister park, Rifle Falls State Park — a real hidden gem of the Colorado State Park system. Continue reading →