The last several months have been a whirlwind — Germany, Sicily, Malta, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Japan. We love the adventure but after a while we miss our “people.” It’s time for some familiar faces and places before we head out once again.
My home is not a place, it is people.
— Lois McMaster Bujold
First order of business was a stop in San Francisco to see Nick and Maddie (and Henry!).
It was funny because the first thing we see after the long flight from Japan is a display at the San Francisco airport was this exhibit on ancient Japanese cats!
Cats are fine and all but we were more excited to see this little dog!
One highlight of the short stay was a visit to AT&T Park to see the Giants.
The best thing, however, was hanging with these two!
We headed to Venice Beach, where Frank and I discovered “Birds.” The electric scooters are everywhere and easily unlocked with the click of an Iphone app. Frank’s knee was bothering him but you’d never know it. Every day, you’d see us buzzing along the boardwalk back and forth to Santa Monica and zig-zagging through the streets of Venice! We may have been a few decades older than the average rider, but no one had more fun than we did!
If I could live anywhere in the US, it would probably be Venice Beach, California. It’s creative and colorful, the weather is perfect and the people watching is beyond compare. I love the whole “be whoever you want to be” vibe.
I also love that Venice Beach is a short Metro ride to downtown LA, where Nick and Maddie live. Their apartment has incredible views of the city’s dynamic skyline. Although LA as a whole is sprawling, the downtown area is fairly compact and easily navigable. It’s fun to wander the streets in search of new restaurants, galleries and colorful street art.
So, back to “Beach and the Broad.” The beach is obviously Venice, where we spent five days before our week in DTLA. The “broad” does not refer to Maddie or I(!), but is pronounced “brode” and refers to LA’s relative new contemporary art museum. The museum opened in 2015 and I never seem organized enough to secure advance tickets, which are free and quickly grabbed up.
On this trip though, I took advantage of a newly discovered (for me) ticket “loophole” — the stand-by line. I got to the museum around 10:30 and was 40th in line. The museum opened at 11 and I was inside by 11:15! I wish I had discovered this plan sooner!
And “How was it?” you ask. Well, let’s just say this broad loved The Broad!
The view from Nick and Maddie’s
Frank was so excited to be able to swim again . . .
. . . and to cook!
We loved seeing this little guy again!
I forgot what we were talking about.
The Broad. Yayoi Kusama’s “Longing for Eternity”
Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room, “The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away.” Each person was allowed inside for 45 seconds.
Honey, I shrunk the kids.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall and sidewalk art installation across from the Broad.
colorful downtown LA
Next time we come, the MOCA.
Need more LA?
With Nick going to school in LA, we have visited several times. I wrote about LA back in 2014 as we headed out at the beginning of our adventure.
. . . in Sedona I always feel a sense of safety and peace, as if I’ve returned to the home of my soul, into the arms of Mother Earth, the red land that always welcomes me with open arms.”
– Ilchi Lee, The Call of Sedona: Journey of the Heart
“Sedona,” she said, when Jenny and I asked Mom where she would like to celebrate her 80th birthday. It was a place she’d never been and it couldn’t have been a nicer trip. The weather was sunny, not too hot. We drank piña coladas around the pool, took a couple small hikes and shopped (we were with mom, after all!); but mostly we just enjoyed each others’ company. It was the ideal place to celebrate a special lady.
We were surprised and very pleased to discover that the condo we booked was on the grounds of the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village.
Unique shops and some really good restaurants were only steps away!
Chapel of the Holy Cross
Chapel of the Holy Cross
Jerome on her mind hahaha
Frank and I have come to see Bozeman as a second home. It’s relaxing. We have family here. We arrive and easily get into our routines. Frank has his pool. I have my hikes. We have our favorite bakeries, restaurants and grocery stores. It’s easy.
That said, every time we come we discover something new and fun in this beautiful area of the country. And sometimes we have visitors : )
It’s been a rainy June in Bozeman.
Rainy weather, however, makes it beautifully green!
I have my favorite hikes like Pete’s Hill (above) and Drinking Horse.
Drinking Horse hike
As kids do, Jenny’s are growing up. Sienna and Cee Cee just finished 8th grade.
Tyler turned 18! (that’s his girlfriend Meghan)
We visited Jordan in Missoula. He showed us his kilns where he does all his pottery.
Frank made some great meals, as . . .
did Jenny. She made a plate-licking huckleberry pie.
Our favorite food truck changed to tacos and crepes – no more bbq ribs – but still a good stop.
First trip to the Bozeman “beach”
Jenny and I got very excited when we heard who was visiting . . .
He always makes us laugh!
4th of July in Big Sky – nothing like family!
I’ve previously mentioned how traveling can nudge you out of your comfort zone. When you’re home, it’s easy to become complacent, “Why would I want to do that?” Traveling gives you the opportunity to stretch and say, “Why NOT?!”
Although the things I’ve done in Bozeman don’t quite rise to previous “levels of wild” (i.e. skydiving, diving with sharks, walking with lions), I did push myself a couple times.
Climbing the “M”
The “M” has always intimidated me by its steepness and height.
This year, I decided to try it.
At the top of the “M”!!!
Evidently, bridge jumping is “a thing” in Montana. Why would I want to do that? I hate cold water (yes, I’m one of those who has to walk in an inch at a time before going under). I don’t like heights. And who wants to jump into a dark hole when you don’t even know what’s in it or how deep it really is.
Even the girls debated whether or not to jump . . .
But then they did!
and then Cee Cee
After a while, I went and sat on the bridge. Sienna came up next to me. “What are you afraid of? What’s the worse that could happen?” she asked. “It’s deep enough. It will be cold but I will have a warm towel waiting for you.” Who could argue with that?!!
On our way to California, we spent a very nice evening in Boise, Idaho. Our sister-in-law Helen and nephew Steve showed us around. It’s a beautiful town and we hope to visit again soon.
When I was in high school, my dream college was Berkeley. My life path diverged (no complaints!) and today I finally got to “go to Berkeley!” Actually, we’ve been in the city a few days and have really enjoyed it. Frank and I like college towns. They are diverse and have so much energy. The city is larger than I imagined but easy to navigate. There are a lot of interesting neighborhoods and there are a lot of great (and surprisingly inexpensive) restaurants.
Our 420 friendly(!) airbnb. I have never seen a book case arranged by color!
First time I’ve seen a whole shelf of books arranged by color!
Berkeley Peace Wall
Berkeley Peace Wall
Berkeley Saturday Farmers’ Market
Some of our favorite restaurants were the inexpensive, yet very good, restaurants near the campus.
A highlight for us was visiting the Cheese Board Co-op. It is one of Louie’s customers and he asked us to visit and thank them for their business.
Frank and Amry. The bakery/cheese shop is in North Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto neighborhood.
A few doors down is their pizza restaurant. They serve only one type of vegetarian pizza every day and people line up before it opens!
Truly, they have one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten. The crust is incredible!
San Francisco’s famous cable cars.
Nick just took a job in San Francisco. I was here twenty-some years ago but that memory is pretty foggy (haha, SF reference). Anyway, it seems like I am seeing the city for the first time. Nick and Maddie have spent quite a bit of time here and love sharing it. With almost 750,000 people, San Francisco is the country’s 13th and California’s fourth largest city. The weather is relatively cool for California, which I prefer. Yes, it’s expensive, there’s a ton of traffic, and there are so many homeless people, but San Francisco is truly one of the country’s most unique and beautiful cities.
Nick and Danny (visiting from Chicago)
Henry was wearing a cone but it never seemed to bother him when his friend Frank was around!
The view of Alcatraz and the Bay from Nick and Maddie’s place.
They were a couple blocks from Lombard Street, the famous crooked street.
Downtown San Francisco from the Embarcadaro.
Saturday Farmers Market outside the Embarcadaro. Inside the building are many unique shops and restaurants.
Run Maddie run! Maddie likes to run at the Golden Gate recreation area.
The park runs along the Marina and has views of the Golden Gate Bridge — well, at least part of it today!
Fort Mason Community Garden
The grounds of the Golden Gate recreation area include a the Fort Mason Community Garden.
Nick and Maddie took us around many cool little neighborhoods.
The obligatory trip to Fisherman’s Wharf
Popular Pier 39 with its views of Alcatrez and the sea lions.
Sometimes the rafts around Pier 39 are full of sea lions but there were only a few on the day we visited.
The steep streets in San Francisco are cool but I am not a fan of driving them!
When Nick lived in Kansas City, he would take visitors to Christopher Elbow, his favorite chocolate place. While we were walking around San Francisco, we came across their only other location! Nick was thrilled!
Frank can never pass up a sundae from Ghiradelli.
I have to admit, we got a big kick out of the names of places in the Castro neighborhood!
We took a couple rides north and south of the city. This part of northern California features some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States.
A couple hours along the picturesque Coast Highway is the Monterey peninsula. We took a ride one day to visit the Monterey Aquarium. I LOVE aquariums (as some of you may remember from our trip to Portugal!) and this aquarium was amazing!