Sunday Drive: Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge, ORHey dudes. Guess what we finally checked out? (Here is a clue.)

Last week, Jaro and I decided to sieze the (sunny and temperate) day and drive out to the Columbia River Gorge. I have been wanting to see it since we moved, but we hadn’t found the chance until recently. While we didn’t get around to hiking, canoeing or visiting the little towns (Hood River, The Dalles, etc), we did sit back and enjoy a lovely Sunday drive.

Here you can see rolling hills of grape vines and Mount Hood in the distance…

Columbia River Gorge, OR

And here’s another cool shot of the Washington side…

Columbia River Gorge, OR

Not sure what was going on with the white balance of these photos, but you get the idea. So scenic and peaceful. We passed heaps of wineries and, at only an hour’s drive away from Portland, I know we’ll be making regular trips out there in the summer.

xxx

California Trip: Route 1

Hey friends. It’s safe to say that I’m in love with California. It’s the state that has it all. Dramatic coastlines, sandy beaches, rugged mountains, charming vineyards, towering redwood forests, sophisticated cities, the SUN, and so much more. What a spoiled state. (One could say that Oregon has these things, but the weather being what it is, I haven’t experienced them, so hmph.)

For one day, we drove south from Oakland on Route 1, otherwise known as the Cabrillo Highway. We occasionally pulled over to take in views like this… California

strolled along the coast through Monterey and Pacific Grove after a huge meal at Cannery Row Brewing Company

Monterey, California

detoured to do the famous 17 Mile Drive, which includes Spanish Bay…

Spanish Bay, California

Spanish Bay, California

Point Joe…
Pacific Grove, California

California

and the gorgeous Fanshell Cove…
Fanshell Cove, California

Then we came upon The Lone Cypress, landmark of the Pebble Beach Golf Club…

The Lone Cypress, California

And played under this pier…

Pebble Beach Golf Club, California

Before heading back home, we drove through part of Big Sur (which is lovely, but we never found a good spot to pull over for pics on those twisty roads) at sunset.

I highly recommend this drive; it is so scenic. Even the 17 Mile Drive, which costs 10 bucks just to enter, is totally worth it. The beauty in this route is that it can be done any time of year. You are guaranteed incredible views. We experienced some strong wind, but the sunshine was plentiful and the skies were clear. Traveler Tip: In some stretches, towns are few and far between, so fill up your tank and bring snacks. No one likes a hangry passenger.

Stay tuned for more Cali adventures…

xxx

Monday Travel Memory: Dutch Countryside

Happy Monday, kids. Is Monday ever really happy though? It’s not a happy one for me. I’m sick. Again. Just got back from California on Saturday (can’t wait to share that trip with you!), and felt like I was log-rolling into another cold yesterday and it was confirmed this morning.

So. While watching terrible day time tv in bed, I was going through the few photos I have on this computer and came across these beauties. Jaro took them when he was on a boat ride with co-workers and you can clearly tell the higher quality of these photos with our fancy lens. I usually avoid hauling it around (it is extremely heavy), but after looking at these pics, I think I have to.

Doesn’t the Dutch countryside look so peaceful?

Dutch Countryside Dutch Countryside

Dutch Countryside Makes me miss living in Holland. If I ever move back, I want to live in that house.

xxx

 

 

Road trip: Northern Croatia

We are now entering the fast forward section of our two week, ten country road trip (i.e. when we started to cram way too much into the last 5 days). It was Saturday afternoon and we sped to Croatia. Once we were out of Italy, we went old school. As in, we used fold out maps. Our GPS did not have information for the rest of the countries on our trip. And we weren’t about to rack up roaming fees on our iPhones and iPads. Let me tell you something, in an age of dependence on all kinds of electronic devices, it feels really good to manage without. So paper maps. Bring. It. On.

Didn’t get to Pula until nightfall, but again our campsite was gracious enough to let us crash and pay in the morning. (This was a theme throughout our trip.) Since it was dark when we arrived, we couldn’t see much, but camped right on the shore and fell asleep to the sound of crashing waves on the rocks below. Nice! The next day we wandered around Pt Kamenjak, which translates to rocky point and it’s application is quite literal. The area was a huge rocky beach with kayaking, windsurfing, beer shacks outdoor bars and an overall bohemian/hipster vibe that we were really digging. Except that we were a month too late. Everything was closed up for the season. Still, it was a nice place to walk around, if not a little disappointing. We just missed the party.

That afternoon we drove around the (very scenic) coastline, through tiny, pretty villages, stopping in harborfront Crikvenica for a burek lunch, to a small coastal town called Senj. Quickly became obsessed with burek (Croatian pastries filled with cheese, spinach or meat). Camped just outside of town at a site that was right on the water and filled with VW van-driving hippies families. Loved it. The town itself was really quaint, with a waterfront boardwalk and crooked streets. We ended up finding a random pub for dinner where we feasted on local dishes like Ćevapčići (spicy sausages, ražnjići (grilled pork skewers) and frothy Croatian beer. So, so good. Couldn’t even finish it; there was so much food. Don’t worry, a little feline friend (this is the theme of my life) came by and once I dropped a small piece of meat, she ran off, must have brought it to her family and came back for more. I She eventually cleared my plate and I was happy to not let that meat go to waste.

The next day, we headed to Plitvice National Park, a gorgeous area with ever-changing pools, waterfalls and the clearest lake water I have ever seen. So pretty. We spent most of the day there, riding the ferries to different areas and hiking around. Felt good to walk for most of the day after all the driving!

No time to head further south to the most popular destinations like Split or Dubrovnik. Couldn’t even get to the islands. Maybe next time. There will be a next time.

Ahead: Slovenia’s Lake Bled & a hot minute in Austria’s Salzburg…

xxx