Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Best Roadtrip


Going home is my favorite roadtrip. Home is sweet, as the saying goes, but even more so when the road home passes through fruit orchards, vineyards, cornfields, roadside fruitstands, and you're following tomato or garlic trucks.  It's always a temptation to veer off the road to take a peek at bell peppers, strawberries, and pick up a basket of cherries for $1.00 or a bag of oranges for $3.00.

Highway 152, Gilroy, California

Then the season changes and the green corn stalks turn golden and the harvest begins. Cotton replaces corn and vendange arrives before you know it. The fruit trees hibernate and the fields are barren for a time. Just when I'm beginning to despair with the bleakness of it all, the blossoming almond trees announce the advent of spring and the fields turn green once more. It's an incredible cycle of life to behold and it never fails to amaze me.

I'm lucky and grateful to have as many reasons to go home.

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Images by Charie

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Roadtrip


According to a US Travel Association survey (conducted between March 8-11, 2012), “rising gas prices will impact business and leisure travel plans this summer”. But there’s welcome relief at the pump as the price of gasoline has dropped below the $4.00 mark and as of last week, $3.59/gallon for regular unleaded at a Central Valley gas station in California.  California gasoline prices have traditionally been higher than in other states because of stringent emission standards set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). This translates to the production of a “cleaner-burning formulation gasoline” which further adds to the cost of gasoline.

So does the lower price per gallon at the pump mean that vacationers will embrace the road more so this summer than last? We’ll have to wait and see till September.

Safe travels!

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Image by Charie


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weekday at the Beach

The beach at Half Moon Bay

It's a great day when you're able to take off from work on a weekday and drive to the beach. No crowds to speak of. It's all yours - the sun, the big, wide ocean and the gift of serenity that washes over you as you stare out to sea.

Half Moon Bay is a short ride from the Peninsula but a world away. The narrow and winding two lane road to get there is best taken when everyone is at work or else the stress of traffic will devour your chi

Fish taco

At the Miramar Beach Restaurant on Mirada Road, off of Highway 1, we dined on fish tacos and shrimp and avocado sandwiches while watching Pacific waves caress the shore below. We also tried the crab cake appetizer, which came solo with cole slaw, so we divided it into two halves to share. The main entrées were served in more generous portions. It was a total dining experience.

While the sun shone brightly, it was breezy. But we managed to take a few shots of the beach, deftly holding on to our cameras so we could take some clear images.

“I have always loved the beach. The smell of the salty water, the wind in my face, the gentle roar of the waves all combine to create a sense of peace and calm.”--Anonymous

Amen to that!

Miramar Beach Restaurant
http://www.miramarbeachrestaurant.com/
131 Mirada Road  Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
(650) 726-9053

Recipe for fish taco with mango salsa from Saveur.com:
http://www.saveur.com/article/Sponsored/Fish-Tacos-with-Mango-Salsa

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Images by Charie

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ponte, Puente, Tulay, Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge (Image from Microsoft clip art)

The Golden Gate bridge turned 75 years old last week and the city of San Francisco celebrated this event in a big way with a Historic Watercraft Parade, dance, music and local bands performing at Marina Green and Crissy Field, and a host of other activities culminating in a spectacular display of fireworks.

I remember when I first saw the Golden Gate bridge decades ago and how disappointed I was then to see that the bridge wasn't really golden at all but a strange orangey color. In fact, it is painted in the International Orange hue. I didn't understand why they called it Golden Gate then but after many years, I learned to appreciate the bridge as it is.

Suspension Bridge, Bohol

While I'm on the topic of bridges, I found this photo of a suspension bridge over the Loboc River from our trip to Bohol a few years back. It was scary to try to cross this narrow hanging bridge. It swayed quite a bit when I tried to walk a few feet across and I couldn't seem to keep my balance. But surefooted locals had no qualms forging the bridge in no time.

Drawbridge over the Amstel River, Amsterdam

Methinks there's a little bit of affinity between a hanging bridge and a drawbridge. When the drawbridge is raised, it's hanging for a time till it's lowered back to position. It's always fascinating to watch a drawbridge being raised to allow watercraft to pass through. This happens quite a bit in Amsterdam with its myriad waterways.

Puente de la Mujer, Buenos Aires

The Puente de la Mujer or Woman's Bridge is a footbridge in the Puerto Madero district in Buenos Aires. It is designed by the famous Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava, who has made similar, aesthetically captivating bridges around the world. The Puente de la Mujer is like a harp and as such, plays beautiful music to our senses.

Ponte Vecchio, Firenze

The Ponte Vecchio or Old Bridge has been here since the Roman Empire. It was destroyed by flood in 1333 and rebuilt in 1345.  It can be crowded on the bridge most times but I enjoy window shopping here where beautiful, expensive jewelry call my name. Someday, I whisper back!

Speaking of old bridges, I must mention the Ponte dei Sospiri or Bridge of Sighs in Venice. It connects the Doge's Palace and the prison where, according to legend, convicts or enemies of state were led to their sad fate. Hence, sighs! There's also another legend that's more upbeat and romantic. It says that lovers will live happily ever after if they kiss inside a gondola gliding under the bridge at sunset. No less?

View from Charles Bridge, Prague

Two bridges worth mentioning are Charles Bridge in Prague and Pont Saint Bénezet in Avignon, France. Charles Bridge has the best views of Hradcany Castle and lots of statues of saints to protect you along the way. The Pont Saint Bénezet spans less than half the Rhone river after it was repeatedly destroyed by floods since its construction between 1171 and 1185. It's quite a sight to behold.

And one more bridge I love is Monet's Japanese bridge in his garden in Giverny. Someday I hope to replicate it in my own waterlogged garden. What a dream!

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Images by Charie except as otherwise indicated