Paris in December

Paris again? Mais oui.  It appears we can never stay away from Paris for too long and if we’re ever in the vicinity {or even when we’re not}, we’ll find an excuse to spend a few days there … though always wishing we could linger awhile longer.  Here are just a few scenes from our latest wanderings.

Arc de Triomphe Louvre (more…)

Magnolias & Loulay

We will return to our European sojourn shortly as we have Paris yet to cover, but hitting pause for the moment to welcome the arrival of spring where dull backyards and greenery become instantly refreshed by these oversized fuchsia blooms weighing heavily on the branches of magnolia trees everywhere.  And since one can often be besieged by beauty without the optimal tools of documentation, these images were captured using the iPhone 5S and the VSCO camera app.  As for Loulay, was most impressed with the gorgeous space … Definitely recommend trying the tasty small and medium plates on the dinner menu.  Do order a few to share.Seattle, Chef in the Hat (more…)

A Taste of Belgium

While exploring Belgium, we stayed at Hotel Amigo which is conveniently around the corner from the Grand Place, the beautiful central square of Brussels that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  With its looming grand-scale structures (which I could not fully capture with a 50 mm lens, sadly), gilded ornate spires and intricate architectural details, the square was truly a sight to behold. BrusselsBrusselsNightly, a light show commenced that illuminated each towering spire set to a surreal instrumental melody that echoed around the square, much to all the revelers’ delight. BrusselsBrusselsAs soon as we arrived, we started sampling the world renowned Belgian chocolates. Asking locals about their favorite chocolate was akin to asking whether they had a favorite child for each chocolatier has his own specialty, working with distinct flavors, textures, and styles.  Competition is quite fierce even among top chocolatiers. Popular shops had lines out the door and at Pierre Marcolini‘s bustling shop, Pierre himself was on the floor greeting customers.Pierre Marcolini, BrusselsFrom Brussels, we took the train over to Bruges, which happened to be the most charming place I have been in recent memory.Bruges
Bruges (more…)

Highlights from Amsterdam

As some of you know, we spent the holidays zipping through the Netherlands, Belgium and France by train {a most preferable way to travel} and since this post is a few months delayed with my memory beginning to fade, taking time to peruse the pictures has given me renewed appreciation of all that we encountered for even in the dead of winter, Amsterdam was perfectly picturesque.  Enjoy.

Have you noticed that some buildings lean forward ever so slightly? Apparently, it’s so one can use a pulley system to bring large items up and through the windows.  The canal district is unbelievably charming, and as for all the bicycles, there is nearly one for every person living in Amsterdam.Andaz HotelAndaz HotelWe stayed at Andaz, a boutique hotel designed by Marcel Wanders that is brimming with beautiful and whimsical eye-catching details.  You can see more photos of the hotel here.  Andaz HotelThe things you come across while traveling that make you smile: This adorable little peanut truck navigating the narrow canal roads, bumping up and down along the cobblestone.Then there was Mrs. Santa Clause paddling along the canal.  She gave me a little wave and a nod, but I failed to capture it since I was too busy waving back.Amsterdam (more…)

Flora & Fauna

Spring has undoubtedly arrived and with it comes the annual cherry blossom gazing.  {See previous years’ here and here.}  The UW Quad was once again flooded with revelers, all with their camera gear in tow and giddy smiles at the ready.  Pink and white blossoms also adorned the tranquil Seattle Japanese Garden.  A glimpse at the scene this weekend as we welcomed the new season …

Cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms at UW QuadTurtles at Seattle Japanese Garden (more…)