Our Destinations List

The following is a list of all destinations that we have content for. To open any list, click the 'name' in any panel and the list will slide open - click it a second time and it will close. The "intra-page menu" is on the right side of this page, beneath the "down arrow" icon. Click that hamburger icon and the list of destinations will appear on the left side of this page.

Note that content is organized into geographic regions, open the region you are interested in, and a list of our content will be displayed.

This is our list of content for all of our United States travels, organized by State. Select the State you are interested in by clicking that name, and the content available for that State will be displayed.

Tucson, AZ & Vicinity

A Springbreak trip to enjoy the Tucson area, and to do some western things that you can only find in Arizona, for example; Horse back riding, hiking Sabino Canyon, Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Sedona Canyon, incredible Mexican dinner in Sedona, an off-road Jeep drive to the Palatki Heritage Site, Sunset Crater, Verde River Valley and the Biosphere in Oracle, AZ.

San Diego & Surrounding Area

San Diego is home to many conventions and conferences and for good reason, ie; San Diego is a foodie paradise, has idyllic weather and amazing views of the harbor, and a lot to see and do - including one of our bucket list items, Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo. A technical Kubernetes conference brought us to town for a few days and in between conference sessions we were able to partake in some of the things San Diego has to offer. Having attended Navy bootcamp and radioman technical school, I was especially interested in passing by the old Naval Training Center to reminisce.

Muir Woods, CA

Muir Woods National Monument is a United States National Monument managed by the National Park Service, named after naturalist John Muir. It is located on Mount Tamalpais near the Pacific coast, in southwestern Marin County, California. It is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and is 12 miles (19 km) north of San Francisco. It protects 554 acres of which 240 acres are old growth coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests, one of a few such stands remaining in the San Francisco Bay Area.

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco was the starting point for our northern and central California loop tour. We chose to stay in the financial district due to its proximity to Chinatown and Coit tower and walkability to the waterfront areas of town. We had both been to San Francisco in the past so we skipped some things that we’d both done before. This page covers the places we explored and is not meant to be a guide for the entire city.

Bonita Point & Sausalito, CA

This is not a major tourism destination, as it is not on the standard list of things to do & see in the San Francisco area. The Bonita Point Lighthouse is on the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge and west of the 101 Interstate. This area was for a long time, an Army Artillery Post and you can still see the concrete block houses where the guns were positioned. The Army considered the artillery to be the "coastal defense" for San Francisco, as the weapons were intended to guard the western entrance to the Bay from the Pacific Ocean. During the Cold War era (1954), this area contained a Nike Missile Complex and then years later the entire area was turned over to California and became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Santa Rosa, CA

Because of Santa Rosa's central location in Sonoma County, our game plan was to use it as a base of exploration, such that we could visit Muir Woods easily as well as a few of the local vineyards. When we began to research Sonoma County, we found that it stretches from the Pacific Coast in the west to the Mayacamas Mountains in the east. It contains almost 60,000 acres of vineyards and more than 425 wineries.

Yosemite National Park, CA

Yosemite is certainly high on everyone’s list of top national parks to visit in the United States and for good reason. Within its nearly 1200 square miles you can experience the power of glaciers, the wonder and beauty of waterfalls (best viewed in the springtime), Yosemite Valley with views of El Capitan lurking around almost every corner, sprawling meadows and groves of giant sequoia trees.

Forestiere Underground Gardens Fresno, CA

A series of subterranean structures built by Baldassare Forestiere an immigrant from Sicily, over a period of 40 years from 1906 to his death in 1946. The history of the Underground Garden is interesting, ie; Baldassare Forestiere immigrated to the United States in 1901 and eventually moved to the Fresno area to accumulate enough money to purchase land where he wanted to grow citrus. As someone with limited skills, he worked as a day laborer digging ditches, etc. He accumulated sufficient funds to allow him to purchase 80 acres (one dollar per acre) in 1906 and he worked on his underground complex for the next 40 years until his death in 1946.

Santa Monica, CA

Due to the fires that were taking place in the Sequoia National Park, the opportunity arose for us to spend some time near Santa Monica (and Agoura Hills, CA), I realized that Celeste and I would be able to visit the Santa Monica Pier area, and I could show her some of my old stomping grounds.

Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara sits between the Los Padres National forest and California’s central coast about an hour and a half northwest of Malibu. It’s Spanish roots are apparent throughout the city with an abundance of red tile clay roofed homes and several Spanish style buildings such as the Old Mission and county courthouse.

Pacific Coast Highway, CA

This is a drive that everyone should take at least once in their life - it is a beautiful way to see just how diverse California geography can be! From our hotel in Santa Barbara to our next hotel in Monterey Bay was a distance of 234 miles (see our route map below) - but the twists and turns that this highway goes through on the way to Monterey just have to be seen to be believed! It is also the perfect trip to take with your significant other. Get in your car, pack a picnic lunch or get reservations for a romantic restaurant along the way.

Monterey, CA

We selected this city as the "next way point" for our coastal route drive north. This decision was based upon Monterey's beauty, it's beautiful bay, the fascinating history of the area, the extraordinary chardonnay and the proximity to other areas we wanted to explore (for example, see our Carmel By The Sea and 17 mile drive page).

Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

I’d heard about Carmel-by-the-Sea from my mother and father when they visited there years ago. My Dad was a golfer and they toured the Pebble Beach area and Carmel-by-the-Sea with my aunt and uncle sometime in the 1990s and came back raving about it. My mother fell in love with the area and it’s picturesque village of storybook homes and dramatic and rocky coastline. After we visited it, I can see why she fell in love. The coastline is reminiscent of the coastline in Maine which my mother loved and the storybook cottages and beautiful shops and stores depict the perfect storybook life.

Copper Mountain, Colorado

Copper Mountain is located prior to Vail (south side of I-70), and it is isolated from the other ski resorts like Keystone, Breckenridge, and others. Our goal for this trip was to see if all the good things we had read about Copper Mountain were true - as well as to have our son learn how to snowboard.

Keystone, Colorado

We started skiing here in 1991, and have continued to visit just about year since then. We have enjoyed every visit and all of our children learned to ski or snowboard there as well. We like Keystone quite a bit, the trails are diverse, there are a number of lifts and it is not crowded except on weekends.

Can Keystone get crowded? Yes of course, it is close enough to Denver to where the weekenders make weekend snow sports difficult. The reality is that early mornings are not crowded, as visitors tend to get out onto the slopes in the late AM, so you can get a lot of trails in before the crowds show up. The diversity of Keystone and it's 3 mountains, make it easy to get away from the crowds until the crowd level causes the lifts to become excessively packed.

Colorado Springs, CO

This trip was all about a desire to visit some of our family in Colorado Springs and from there to explore Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods and everything in between. There is a nicer vibe here than Denver, more laid back, less crowded, etc.

The drive up Pike's Peak was sort of a "bucket list" item for us, having seen videos of the race cars who do it each year. The drive and the scenery, were a fantastic payback for the amount of time it takes to drive to the top.

Sarasota Florida Restaurants

We like to support local businesses and are always on the lookout for small restaurants that are locally owned. You may not have heard of these restaurants while visiting Sarasota but each one has a unique approach and serves excellent food in our opinion.

Sarasota County Parks

There are a number of beautiful parks in Sarasota County, and the majority allow dogs while on leash. There are as well as a number of "dog friendly" restaurants & hotels. Please be aware that the County leash law states that dogs are only allowed to "run free" inside dog parks that are fenced in. In addition, dogs are not allowed on any beach in the County except for Brohard Paw Beach in Venice.

Oahu & Maui Hawaii

This 2006 trip was to celebrate my wife's parents 50th Wedding Anniversary as well as the wedding of one of my wife's brothers. Joined by a number of our extended family, we spent time on Oahu & Maui and explored both islands extensively. We explored both islands quite a bit, you should take a look at our blog page for the full story.

Oahu & Kauai Hawaii

This was a 2008 Christmas present to ourselves, made simpler through use of United Airlines miles to acquire our family's tickets. And of course, the desire to return to those beautiful Hawaiian Islands at a time when our home in Virginia is cold! Kauai is the least crowded Hawaiian Island, and it has some interesting geography.

Grand Targhee, Idaho

This Ski Resort is a little off the beaten path, but the snow is almost always plentiful and the altitude isn't as high as the Colorado Resorts - makes breathing easier! There are some interesting side trips in this area, including Yellowstone.

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons that Grand Targhee is less crowded than many resorts we've been to previously, is that it is in a very remote location. The nearest "big" town is Jackson Hole, WY and that is 55 miles away. And of course, the Jackson Hole Resort is better known and thus most people go there instead of Grand Targhee.

Kennebunkport, ME

Located in York County, Maine, United States. The population was 3,474 people at the 2010 census. It is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford metropolitan statistical area.

This is a quaint village, some nice shops, some nice restaurants, a nice beach and it is easy to walk about. It is a very popular destination for people from the Boston area, so getting here early is important or you will not be able to find a parking spot!

Maine Coastline

This trip was all about a desire to visit areas of Maine that none of us had ever visited; Bar Harbor, Acadia Park, Portland, etc.

The rugged coastline in this area of Maine is spectacular, couple that with some good hiking, some great seafood and some interesting shops in Bar Harbor and you've got an excellent reason for visiting here.

If you want to see what we saw and enjoyed, click the "Blog Page" button and browse some great images.

Annapolis, Maryland

Annapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the county seat of Anne Arundel County. It is situated on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River, 25 miles (40 km) south of Baltimore and about 30 miles (50 km) east of Washington, D.C.

Plymouth Massachusetts & Vicinity

Plymouth (historically also known as Plimouth and Plimoth) is a town in Plymouth County, Massachusetts. The town holds a place of great prominence in American history, folklore, and culture, and is known as "America's Hometown."

We have visited this area often, as one of Celeste's brothers lives there and my sister lives on Cape Cod. The Plymouth area contains a number of historic sites and scenic views, so it is always an interesting place to visit. Come on in and take a look at our Blog Page and you will see for yourself why this area is so fascinating to us.

Big Sky, Montana

This trip was another attempt to avoid the limited Colorado snow that year, but lack of snow was not an issue in Montana! Proximity to Yellowstone National Park was also a plus. We had a good time even though it was super cold !

The overall ambience at Big Sky is sort of a "mom & pop resort", as it is much smaller than the Colorado resorts we are used to, and considerably smaller than it's neighbor Jackson Hole. So you generally do not see large crowds here, ok maybe on weekends but not often during the week. Come on in and view our Blog Page and you will learn more about this little resort.

New York City

This was a combined "adventure/research" trip (2009) where our daughter wanted to explore the New York City Fashion Institute of Technology to determine if that was where she would like to apply for college. The adventure portion was because none of us had ever spent any length of time in New York City and we wanted to see all of the sights.

Lake Anna, Virginia

It is 102 miles south-west of Washington D.C. via I-66, Route 29 and Route 522. It is 68 miles north-west of Richmond, VA via I-64 and Route 522. We own property here and have been visiting this area since 1995.

Williamsburg, VA & Vicinity

A beautiful area of Virginia, and close to a number of other interesting places to visit, ie; Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton Roads, etc. We wound up visiting a set of interesting places that were fun as well as interesting.

Seattle, Washington

As our son was a rower for the Sarasota Crew, and as he was nearing the high school graduation stage of life, plus he was interested in possibly rowing for the University of Washington - the motivation for a weekend trip to Seattle was established.

We visited during Thanksgiving week, so we had a limited amount of time to cover all the things we wanted to see and do. Consequently, we started every day early and made certain that we had a good game plan to see everything from the Space Needle to the Boeing Aircraft factory to the Seattle Harbor. Click the "Blog Page" button to see what we saw and did.

This is our list of content for all of our European travels, organized by Country. Select the Country you are interested in by clicking that name, and the content available for that Country will be displayed.

Lake Hallstatt, Austria

Hallstätter See or Lake Hallstatt is a lake in the Salzkammergut, Austria, located at 47°34′43″N 13°39′38″E. It is named after Hallstatt, a small market town in Austria, famous for its salt mining since prehistoric times and the starting point of the world's oldest and still working industrial pipeline – for brine to Bad Ischl (since 1596) and further to Ebensee.

The lake is surrounded by beautiful mountains, a great hiking/bicycling trail, and one of the most interesting ice caves we've seen. Admittedly, this area is way off the beaten path, but a visit here is well worth the effort. Click the "Blog Page" button to see what we saw and did.

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium, in the northwest of the country.

If you are looking for an interesting small European town, with a decidedly medieval look, criss crossed with canals, then Bruges is for you. Come look at our Blog Page and you will be able to see what we liked about it!

Copenhagen, Denmark

Even though the real reason we visited Copenhagen was because we found that United Airlines (UAL) had a more reasonable price (using UAL mileage) into Europe from the USA, we knew that we were going to find it to be an interesting city to explore. We made reservations in the central area of Copenhagen, directly across the street from the King's Garden and less than a mile from the Harbor.

During our trip planning, we created a game plan to visit; King's Garden and the Rosenborg Castle, the Harbor area near the Little Mermaid statue, Tivoli Gardens, the Nyhavn District, Kastellet Fortress and everything else we might encounter as we walked about the city. We invite you to view our Blog Page and enjoy the pictures and narrative from our visit.

French Wine Varieties

Click here to visit a Wikipedia Page (article) that describes the wide variety of French wines available. As you will see in the Wiki Article, France is one of the largest wine producers in the world, along with Italian, Spanish, and American wine-producing regions and was started during Roman Occupation in the 6th Century BC.

Arromanche-les-Bains, France

Arromanches-les-Bains is 12 km north-east of Bayeux and 10 km west of Courseulles-sur-Mer on the coast where the U.S.Normandy landings ("Gold Beach") took place on D-Day, 6 June 1944. Access to the commune is by the D514 road from Tracy-sur-Mer in the west passing through the town and continuing to Saint-Côme-de-Fresné in the east.

The village was partially destroyed during the WW2 invasion, and was seized by the British 50th Division. Because this area was to be the site of the Mulberry artificial Harbor, the Allies needed to quickly suppress German resistance and to begin positioning the Mulberry units as quickly as possible.

Les Andelys, France

Visited during our River Seine Cruise, the village of Les Andelys is 40 kilometers from Rouen (by highway, perhaps 80 kilometers via the River Seine as it twists & turns). The village is the location of Château Gaillard, constructed by Richard the Lion Heart starting in 1196.

Les Andelys is a small village with a few restaurants, pubs and a hotel. The village extends to the east, but that area is primarily residential in support of the surrounding agricultural & farm sites.

Rouen, France

The Viking Spirit arrived in Rouen at mid-day, we had free time the remainder of the day to explore the city. The city is very walkable and historic and we had a very good sidewalk "moules et frites" dinner there. This was the farthest west that the Spirit reached, and our day trip to the Normandy Invasion Beaches would start from here early in the morning of the second day.

We would encourage you to visit our Rouen Blog Page, as you will be able to see some of the places we visited. Our bus tour to the Invasion Beaches can be found on our Arromanche-les-Bains Blog Page

Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in Southwestern France. We took a train from Paris to Bordeaux, as this was to be the kick-off location for our driving trip through France, Switzerland and Germany. The secondary reason was that we wanted to drive through some of the wine growing regions between Bordeaux and Carcassonne.

Our goal in using Bordeaux as the starting point was to visit various nearby locations such as; Dune du Pilat, Arcachon and then to pickup our rental car and drive onwards to Rustiques, where we planned to spend time exploring. Click our "Blog Page" button to view our Bordeaux Page.

Lake Annecy, France

Lake Annecy is a perialpine lake in Haute-Savoie in France. It is the third largest lake in France, after the Lac du Bourget and Lac de Grand-Lieu, if the French part of Lake Geneva (which is shared between Switzerland and France) is excluded. It is known as "Europe's cleanest lake" because of strict environmental regulations introduced in the 1960s.

We had selected Annecy because of the beautiful lake (the city resides in the northwest corner of the lake) and because it is near places such as; Gorges du Fier, Chamonix, Mont Blanc, etc. Click the "Blog Page" button below and you will be taken to our page which has some interesting information for you.

Rustiques, France

Rustiques is situated in the Aude department and Languedoc-Roussillon region (now part of the Occitanie region), in the south of France at 10 kilometres from Carcassonne, the department capital. Rustiques is 535 kilometres from Bordeaux, as we took time to drive through the beautiful wine growing area west of Bergerac.

This was our first stop on the road from Bordeaux, and this area was selected as our "day camp" for this part of the trip because it provided us with a comfortable house with parking, and we were within range of all the things we wanted to see in this area, ie; Carcassonne, Cathar Country, Canal du Midi and everything in between. The house was rented via VRBO, and it was perfect for what we wanted.

Carcassonne, France

Carcassonne is the largest walled city in Europe (among those that have their defensive wall still intact). Its citadel known as the Cité de Carcassonne, is a medieval fortress dating back to the Gallo-Roman period, and was restored by the theorist and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in 1853. It was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997.

Being near to this ancient walled city was one of the major reasons we selected Rustiques as our base camp. We knew that exploring the fortress and the Cathar Fortresses, would be a very interesting history lesson.

Chamonix, France

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, more commonly known as Chamonix, is a commune in the Haute-Savoie département in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. It was the site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924. The commune's population of around 8,900 ranks 1,089th within the country of France.

We drove to Chamonix from our hotel in Annecy, France - short trip of 100Km. We arrived early as we knew that the cable car line would quickly become lengthy and parking would be a challenge. We achieved a good parking spot, got cable car tickets and jumped on the next cable car. Score one for a good plan and executing it!

Paris, France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres (41 square miles) and a population of 2,206,488. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

Anyone who knows us, has learned that Paris has been one of our favorite cities in Europe, it is always an interesting place to explore, good food can be found easily, the wine is excellent, and if you travel like we do, there are cost effective ways to visit this city. Click the "Blog Page" button and take a look at our Paris images and narrative.

Mont Saint-Michel, France

Le Mont-Saint-Michel is an island and mainland commune in Normandy, France. The island is located about one kilometer (0.6 miles) off the country's northwestern coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches and is 7 hectares (17 acres) in area. The mainland part of the commune is 393 hectares (971 acres) in area so that the total surface of the commune is 400 hectares (988 acres).

Most people think that Mont Saint-Michel requires at least one night in a hotel to see the Abbey thoroughly. Not so, we day tripped here from Paris, it can be easily done. Click the "Blog Page" button to see how we did it.

Nice, France

Nice is the fifth most populous city in France and the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes département. The metropolitan area of Nice extends beyond the administrative city limits, with a population of about 1 million on an area of 721 km2 (278 sq mi). Located in the French Riviera, on the south east coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, at the foot of the Alps, Nice is the second-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast and the second-largest city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region after Marseille.

Our goal in visiting Nice, was because of it's close proximity to Monaco (20km) and because it has a very pretty beach and further because it resides on the beautiful Cote D'Azur.

Avignon, France

Between 1309 and 1377, during the Avignon Papacy, seven successive popes resided in Avignon and in 1348 Pope Clement VI bought the town from Joanna I of Naples. Papal control persisted until 1791 when, during the French Revolution, it became part of France. The town is now the capital of the Vaucluse department and one of the few French cities to have preserved its ramparts.

This was a stop on our Viking River Cruise, click the "Blog Page" button below to view our images and descriptions of this beautiful walled city.

Lyon, France

Lyon is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located in the country's east-central part at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, about 470 km (292 mi) south from Paris, 320 km (199 mi) north from Marseille and 56 km (35 mi) northeast from Saint-Étienne. Inhabitants of the city are called Lyonnais.

This was the final stop on our Viking River Cruise of 2015, and we spent several days here touring & trekking about the city. Click the "Blog Page" button below to read more about this city.

Arles, France

Lyon is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located in the country's east-central part at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, about 470 km (292 mi) south from Paris, 320 km (199 mi) north from Marseille and 56 km (35 mi) northeast from Saint-Étienne. Inhabitants of the city are called Lyonnais.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France

Our visit to Châteauneuf-du-Pape was part of a Viking River Cruise ("List of Viking Cruises") we were enjoying, and we took a bus tour to visit this beautiful wine region in Provence.

Perouges, France

Pérouges is a commune in the Ain department in eastern France. It is a medieval walled town 30 km (19 mi) northeast of Lyon. It is perched on a small hill that overlooks the plain of the Ain River.

Vienne, France

Vienne is a department in the French region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It takes its name from the river Vienne. Established on March 4, 1790 during the French Revolution, Vienne is one of the original 83 departments. It was created from parts of the former provinces of Poitou, Touraine, and Berry, the latter being a part of the Duchy of Aquitaine until the 15th century.

Tournon, France

Tournon-sur-Rhône is a commune in the Ardèche department in southern France. It is located on the right bank of the river Rhône, in the Ardèche departement, opposite Tain-l'Hermitage, (which is located in the Drôme département)

Tournon-Sur-Rhône has a long history that stretches back to 817, when written mention of the town "Turnone" was first discovered. The town's main claim to fame is the stunning castle perched on the granite cliffs above town, whose foundations date back to the 10th century.

Versailles, France

The Palace of Versailles was the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI. It is located in the department of Yvelines, in the region of Île-de-France, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) southwest of the centre of Paris.

Versailles is easily reached from Paris by train or auto, and due to the limited parking, train is perhaps the better option.

Cathar Country (south of Carcassonne)

Approximately 80 miles southeast of Rustiques, is a valley that contains two of the famous "Cathar Fortresses" are located. This day trip was so that we could explore the two fortresses and the valley area.

German Wine Varieties

Click here to visit a Wikipedia Page (article) that describes the wide variety of German varietals available. Nowhere near as much wine is produced in Germany compared to Italy, Spain, France or Portugal, however, some varietals such as Riesling are well known and appreciated internationally.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

A town in the district of Ansbach of Mittelfranken (Middle Franconia), the Franconia region of Bavaria, Germany. It is well known for its well-preserved medieval old town, a destination for tourists from around the world. It is part of the popular Romantic Road through southern Germany.

Nuremberg, Germany

The second-largest city of the German federal state of Bavaria after its capital of Munich, and its 511,628 (2016) inhabitants make it the 14th largest city of Germany. On the Pegnitz River (from its confluence with the Rednitz in Fürth onwards: Regnitz, a tributary of the River Main) and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it lies in the Bavarian administrative region of Middle Franconia, and is the largest city and the unofficial capital of Franconia.

Munich, Germany

The capital and most populous city of the second most populous German federal state of Bavaria, and, with a population of around 1.5 million, it is the third-largest city of Germany after Berlin and Hamburg, as well as the 12th-largest city in the European Union. The city's metropolitan region is home to 6 million people.

Munich is easy to visit and move about in, as their Metro System is inter-connected to their bus routes, tram routes and the the Metro Stations are very clean with adequate information in English for non-German speakers.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

A 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and in honour of Richard Wagner. Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds.

Andechs Abbey, Germany

The Benedictine priory and erstwhile abbey of Andechs is a place of pilgrimage on a hill east of the Ammersee in the Landkreis of Starnberg (Upper Bavaria) in Germany, in the municipality Andechs. Andechs Abbey is famed for its flamboyant Baroque church and its brewery, Klosterbrauerei Andechs. Composer Carl Orff is buried in the church.

Dachau Concentration Camp

This was the first of the Nazi concentration camps opened in Germany. It is located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory northeast of the medieval town of Dachau, about 16 km (10 mi) northwest of Munich in the state of Bavaria, in southern Germany. Opened in 1933, its purpose was enlarged to include forced labor, and eventually, the imprisonment of Jews, German and Austrian criminals, and eventually foreign nationals from countries that Germany occupied or invaded.

Dublin Ireland

Dublin is incredibly picturesque; a medieval city that has some fascinating living history along its streets – ancient buildings, historical sites, street art, memorials and a different story at every turn.

Italian Wine Varieties

Click here to visit a Wikipedia Page (article) that describes the wide variety of Italian varietals available. You should be aware that Italy is the largest producer of wine in the world and in 2018 produced 19% of all wine globally.

Italy Trip Overview

This Family trip to Italy was motivated by the idea of exploring a number of Italian locations, ie; Rome, Florence, Siena, Pisa, Livorno, Venice and the Ferrari Factory in Maranello.

Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como is a lake of glacial origin in Lombardy, Italy. It has an area of 146 square kilometres (56 sq mi), making it the third-largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore. At over 400 metres (1,300 feet) deep, it is one of the deepest lakes in Europe, and the bottom of the lake is more than 200 metres (660 ft) below sea level.

Rome, Italy

Rome is the capital city of Italy, and it also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,868,782 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth-most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4.3 million residents. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City (the smallest country in the world) is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

Florence, Italy

Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 383,084 inhabitants in 2013, and over 1,520,000 in its metropolitan area.

This was to be our central Italy "base camp" as it would allow us to easily visit such areas as; Siena, San Gimignano, Livorno, Pisa and the Ferrari Factory in Maranello, Italy.

Venice, Italy

A city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. It is situated across a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. The islands are located in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between the mouths of the Po and the Piave rivers (more exactly between the Brenta and the Sile). Parts of Venice are renowned for the beauty of their settings, their architecture, and artwork. The lagoon and a part of the city are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pisa, Italy

A city and comune in Tuscany, central Italy, straddling the Arno just before it empties into the Ligurian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa. Although Pisa is known worldwide for its leaning tower (the bell tower of the city's cathedral), the city of over 91,104 residents (around 200,000 with the metropolitan area) contains more than 20 other historic churches, several medieval palaces, and various bridges across the Arno. Much of the city's architecture was financed from its history as one of the Italian maritime republics.

San Gimignano, Italy

A small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena, Tuscany, north-central Italy. Known as the Town of Fine Towers, San Gimignano is famous for its medieval architecture, unique in the preservation of about a dozen of its tower houses, which, with its hilltop setting and encircling walls, form "an unforgettable skyline". Within the walls, the well-preserved buildings include notable examples of both Romanesque and Gothic architecture, with outstanding examples of secular buildings as well as churches. The Palazzo Comunale, the Collegiate Church and Church of Sant' Agostino contain frescos, including cycles dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. The "Historic Centre of San Gimignano" is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Livorno, Italy

A port city on the Ligurian Sea on the western coast of Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Livorno, having a population of 158,493 residents in December 2017. It has traditionally been known in English as Leghorn.

Siena, Italy

A beautiful medieval town that has retained its character and its quality, and that has had a great influence on art, architecture and town planning in the Middle Ages, both in Italy and elsewhere in Europe. The historic center of Siena, is bordered by a wall of 7 km (built from the fourteenth to sixteenth century) with a path that follows the contours of the three hills on which the city is built.


Monaco is a sovereign city-state, country, and microstate on the French Riviera in Western Europe. France borders the country on three sides while the other side borders the Mediterranean Sea. Monaco is also located close to Italy, although it has no direct border.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is the capital city and most populous municipality of the Netherlands. Its status as the capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, although it is not the seat of the government, which is The Hague. Amsterdam has a population of 851,373 within the city proper, 1,351,587 in the urban area and 2,410,960 in the metropolitan area. The city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country but is not its capital, which is Haarlem. The metropolitan area comprises much of the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, with a population of approximately 8 million.

Zaanse Schans, Netherlands

Zaanse Schans is a neighbourhood of Zaandam, near Zaandijk, Netherlands. It is best known for its collection of well-preserved historic windmills and houses. From 1961 to 1974 old buildings from all over the Zaanstreek were relocated using lowboy trailers to the area. The Zaans Museum, established in 1994 near the first Zaanse Schans windmill, is located south of the neighbourhood.

Oslo, Norway

Oslo is the capital and most populous city of Norway. It constitutes both a county and a municipality. Founded in the year 1040 as Ánslo, and established as a kaupstad or trading place in 1048 by Harald Hardrada, the city was elevated to a bishopric in 1070 and a capital under Haakon V of Norway around 1300. Personal unions with Denmark from 1397 to 1523 and again from 1536 to 1814 reduced its influence, and with Sweden from 1814 to 1905 it functioned as a co-official capital. After being destroyed by a fire in 1624, during the reign of King Christian IV, a new city was built closer to Akershus Fortress and named Christiania in the king's honour. It was established as a municipality (formannskapsdistrikt) on 1 January 1838. The city's name was spelled Kristiania between 1877 and 1897 by state and municipal authorities, respectively. In 1925 the city was renamed Oslo.

Bergen, Norway

Bergen is a city and municipality in Hordaland on the west coast of Norway. At the end of the first quarter of 2018, the municipality's population was 280,216, and the Bergen metropolitan region has about 420,000 inhabitants. Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway. The municipality covers 465 square kilometres (180 sq mi) and is on the peninsula of Bergenshalvøyen. The city centre and northern neighbourhoods are on Byfjorden, 'the city fjord', and the city is surrounded by mountains; Bergen is known as the 'city of seven mountains'. Many of the extra-municipal suburbs are on islands. Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland, and consists of eight boroughs - Arna, Bergenhus, Fana, Fyllingsdalen, Laksevåg, Ytrebygda, Årstad, and Åsane.

Flåm, Norway

Flåm is a village in southwestern Norway, in an area known for its fjords. It sits at the end of Aurlandsfjord, a branch of the vast Sognefjord. The dramatic Stegastein viewing platform juts out high above the Aurlandsfjord. South of Flåm Harbor, the 17th-century wooden Flåm Church lies in the valley. The Flåm Railway offers valley and waterfall views as it climbs to a station on the Hardangervidda plateau.

Portuguese Wine Varieties

Click here to visit a Wikipedia Page (article) that describes the wide variety of Portuguese wines available. As you will see in the Wiki Article, Portugal does not produce such International favorites such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay or Semillion - they have their own unique set of varietals that are only found in Portugal.

A drive through Portugal

Come on in and read how we flew into Northern Portugal (at Porto) and took a driving trip through the entire country! Starting at the Porto Airport, a drive out through the Douro River Valley, on to the Atlantic Ocean at Nazaré, Lisbon, Portimão and then back to Lisbon to return home.

This is our Portugal Trip Overview page, and it contains links to each of the places we visited during our driving trip. The best thing about a driving trip is that you can stop whenever and where ever you feel like and we did that quite often.

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 505,526 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2. About 3 million people live in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (which represents approximately 27% of the country's population). It is mainland Europe's westernmost capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast.

Lisbon is a very walkable city if you are reasonably fit, yes there are some locations that are a bit of a hike, but you can easily hire a tuk-tuk for a ride or a short tour.

Praia do Norte (Nazaré), Portugal

The Praia do Norte (North Beach) is a Portuguese beach located in Nazaré, Portugal, which due to its great conditions of surfing and its giant breaking waves was listed on the Guinness Book of Records for the biggest waves ever surfed.
Praia do Norte’s very high breaking waves form due to the presence of the underwater Nazaré Canyon. The canyon creates constructive interference between all incoming swell waves which tends to make the waves much larger.

The beach here is huge, and the day we were there it was almost deserted of people. The sound the waves made even though these waves were much smaller than the winter time frame monster waves this area has, was thunderous.

Douro River Valley, Portugal

The Douro is one of the major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula, flowing from its source near Duruelo de la Sierra in Soria Province across northern-central Spain and Portugal to its outlet at Porto.

Quite a bit of the Douro River Valley is occupied by various vineyards, producing such wines as; Douro, Muscatel, Port as well as olive groves for olive oil purposes.

Portimão, Portugal

Portimão is a town (Portuguese: cidade) and a municipality in the district of Faro, in the Algarve region of southern Portugal. The population in 2011 was 55,614, in an area of 182.06 km². It was formerly known as Vila Nova de Portimão. In 1924, it was incorporated as a cidade and became known merely as Portimão. Historically a fishing and shipbuilding centre, it has nonetheless developed into a strong tourist centre oriented along its beaches and southern coast. The two most populous towns in the Algarve are Portimão and Faro.

Portimão has an incredible coastline and beaches, huge beaches with a very wide sand area and surrounded by rock formations and cliffs.

Cape St. Vincent, Portugal

Cape St. Vincent is a headland in the municipality of Vila do Bispo, in the Algarve, southern Portugal. It is the southwestern most point of Portugal and of mainland Europe.
It forms the southwestern end of the E9 European Coastal Path, which runs for 5,000 km (3,100 mi) to Narva-Jõesuu in Estonia. Approximately six kilometers from the village of Sagres, the cape is a landmark for a ship traveling to or from the Mediterranean. The cliffs rise nearly vertically from the Atlantic to a height of 75 meters.

This was a day trip from our base camp location in Portimão, as our trip research had shown that the coastline in this area is stunning.

Ponta Delgada, Portugal

Ponta Delgada is 3,198 sea miles from Florida and 914 sea miles southwest of Portugal. It is the largest municipality (concelho) and economic capital of the Autonomous Region of the Azores in Portugal. It is located on São Miguel Island, the largest and most populous in the Azores archipelago.

This was the first stop on our Norwegian Cruise Lines Epic trans-atlantic cruise, so we were excited to see "solid ground" again and eager to go ashore and start our exploration. Our travel research allowed us to create a good "game plan" for this stop, and we were ready to go!

Funchal, Madeira (Portugal)

Funchal is 3,797 sea miles from Florida and 648 sea miles southwest of Portugal. Funchal is the largest city, the municipal seat and the capital of Portugal's Autonomous Region of Madeira, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. The city has a population of 111,892, making it the sixth largest city in Portugal, and has been the capital of Madeira for more than five centuries. Because of its high cultural and historical value, Funchal is one of Portugal's main tourist attractions. It is also popular as a destination for New Year's Eve, and it is the leading Portuguese port on cruise liner dockings.

This was the second stop on our trans-atlantic cruise on the Norwegian Cruise Lines Epic and as our research had given us some good ideas on where to explore, we disembarked as quickly as possible and headed off to our first destination.

Spanish Wine Varieties

Click here to visit a Wikipedia Page (article) that describes the wide variety of Spanish varietals available. You should be aware that Spain is the world's second largest producer of wine, behind Italy but ahead of France and the United States. Of the 12 wine producing regions in Spain, quite a few produce wines that are unique to Spain and nowhere else in the world.

Madrid, Spain

The capital of Spain and the largest municipality in both the Community of Madrid and Spain as a whole. During our trip research, we both realized that neither of us had ever visited Madrid and that we ought to correct that problem. Since we had previously been in Nice, France for most of a week and that we could just fly into Madrid from Nice in a matter of hours - that made adding Madrid an easy choice.

The wide variety of interesting places to visit in Madrid is amazing, ie; Huge Museums, very large public parks, one of the largest Royal Palaces in the world, interesting restaurants and much of the central area of Madrid is very walkable - in fact - pedestrian only in certain areas.

Toledo, Spain

Toledo is historically interesting, and since it is only 75 kilometers from Madrid, we found a day trip bus tour and made the trek there. Toledo is not a huge city, and since the bus tour provided us with an english speaking tour guide, we made good use of our time there.

Cadiz, Spain

Cadiz is 4,456 sea miles from Florida and 637 sea miles northwest of Funchal Madeira. Cádiz is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Western Europe, with archaeological remains dating back 3,100 years & was founded by the Phoenicians.

Cadiz was the third port of call on our Norwegian Cruise Lines Epic trip, and since Seville was only 125 kilometers north of Cadiz, we decided to make a day trip to Seville and visit Cadiz afterwards.

Seville, Spain

The capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville, Spain. It is situated on the plain of the river Guadalquivir. The inhabitants of the city are known as sevillanos or hispalenses, after the Roman name of the city, Hispalis. Since the Norwegian Epic was already in Cadiz, and Seville was only an hour away by train, once the Epic had docked, we hurried over to the train station (two blocks from the Cadiz Harbor), got our train tickets and rode to Seville for a very interesting day trip.

Malaga, Spain

Malaga is 4,597.5 sea miles from Florida and 141.5 sea miles from Cadiz. It is a municipality, capital of the Province of Málaga, in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. With a population of 571,026 in 2018, it is the second-most populous city of Andalusia and the sixth-largest in Spain.

Malaga was the fourth port of call on our Norwegian Cruise Lines Epic cruise, and as I had been there while in the Navy, we were looking forward to visiting this city.

Cartagena, Spain

Cartagena is 4,796.5 sea miles from Florida and 199 sea miles from Malaga. It is a major naval station located in the Region of Murcia, by the Mediterranean coast, south-eastern Spain.

Cartagena was the fifth port of call on our Norwegian Cruise Line Epic cruise, and our trip research had revealed that it was going to be an interesting place to visit.

Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Mallorca is 5,130.5 sea miles from Florida and 334 sea miles from Cartagena. Since December 2016 Palma is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands in Spain. It is situated on the southern coast of Mallorca on the Bay of Palma.

Mallorca was the sixth port of call on our Norwegian Cruise Lines Epic cruise and it was also another location that we had not previously visited.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is 5,283.5 sea miles from Florida and 153 sea miles from Palma de Mallorca. It is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia, as well as the second most populous municipality of Spain.

This was the final stop on our Norwegian Epic trans-atlantic cruise, and we were excited to spend some extra time here. I had been here frequently while in the Navy, but that was a long time ago and Barcelona had grown enormously since that time. We picked a Hilton Hotel (Alexandra Hilton Hotel) to be our base "day camp" which placed us mid-way between some of the locations we were planning to visit.

Grindelwald, Switzerland

Grindelwald is a village and municipality in the Interlaken-Oberhasli administrative district in the canton of Berne in Switzerland. In addition to the village of Grindelwald, the municipality also includes the settlements of Alpiglen, Burglauenen, Grund, Itramen, Mühlebach, Schwendi, Tschingelberg and Wargistal.

Our previous stay had been at Lake Hallstatt Austria, so the drive to reach Grindelwald was through the entire Country of Switzerland from east to west (plus a corner of Leichtenstein), 670Km requiring approximately 10 hours of driving including rest & gas stops.

Yeah, that is not exactly a great "average speed" but when you consider that Switzerland is very mountainous, with numerous tunnels, curves and every tunnel has a low speed limit - then you can see how it is very difficult to improve your average speed.

These are our images from a trip that Celeste took to Australia in 2008, yes we do not yet have a Blog Page for this trip (coming soon), but these images were so good that we wanted to be able to display them.

The following are list of content for all of our Cruises, organized by Cruise destination.

Transatlantic Cruise on the Norwegian Epic

A 15 day cruise with port calls at; Ponta Delgada, Madeira, Cadiz, Malaga, Cartagena, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona. The Epic is a very comfortable ship, somewhat smaller than the Oasis of the Seas, but well equipped and very good restaurants. Our cabin was good sized with a balcony, so we were able to enjoy the cruise in a variety of ways. This ship has a very nice gym, you need to get there early, but it had all the equipment that we like to utilize.

Caribbean on the Oasis of the Seas

This was a gift from us to our immediate family of a Christmas Cruise to islands in the Caribbean. Besides this amazing ship to enjoy, we stopped at Nassau on Paradise Island, St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Maarten before returning to Port Canaveral, Florida.

River Rhone on the Viking River Cruises Heimdal

From Marseilles to Lyon on the River Rhone, with multiple stops at various locations, including; Avignon, Arles, Tournon-sur-Rhône, Vienne, Perouges and Lyon. A side trip to Châteauneuf-du-Pape and a winery visit where we learned how to do a "proper wine tasting".

River Seine on the Viking River Cruises Spirit

We flew into Paris and boarded the ship near the Eiffel Tower. The Cruise started with a short trip to Vernon where we visited Monet's House & Garden, sailed onwards to Rouen where we explored and then took a bus trip to the WW2 Invasion Beaches. Departed Rouen, stopped at Les Andelys, and then on to a visit to Versailles and then back to Paris. Food & wine on the ship was excellent, and the weather cooperated the entire way, nothing but sunshine the entire trip.

Western Caribbean Cruise on the Carnival Legend

From Tampa we sailed to Grand Cayman Island, Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan Island for a SCUBA dive, before we returned to Tampa. A lot of interesting adventures and a comfortable trip.

This is our list of content for all of our multi-destination Trips, organized by each trip. Select the trip you are interested in by clicking that name, and the content available for that trip will be displayed.

Northern and Central California; A Two Week Driving Itinerary

Due to COVID we planned to stick to traveling in the United States in 2021. Northern and central California has been on our list for a while...the lure of San Francisco, the hills, the seafood, giant redwood trees, wine country, Yosemite and Pacific Coast Highway are irresistible when you start thinking about it... California has the most diverse terrain in the United States. From the Mexican border to Oregon, It stretches for over 900 miles and includes jagged coastline, the Sierra Nevada mountains, central valley farmland, dry deserts and an ideal climate for growing wine. California has nine national parks which is more than any other state and also contains 280 state parks.

Exploring Italy Family Style

This Family trip to Italy was motivated by the idea of exploring a number of Italian locations, ie; Rome, Florence, Siena, Pisa, Livorno, Venice and the Ferrari Factory in Maranello. This blog page will provide you with an overview of the trip with links to each place we visited.

We utilized the Italian Railroad System for most of the trip, only had a rental car while we were in Florence - due to the distances involved for some of the day trips we had planned.

Road Trip through the Carolinas

We had decided to relocate from Virginia, but had not yet settled on where we wanted to move to, and since we had read a number of interesting articles about the Carolinas - we decided to combine a trip of investigation, with some R&R and some fun.

A Drive through New England

A road trip from Springfield, MA through New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Plymouth, MA and Cape Code, MA.

Our Blue Ridge Romp

A road trip from Sarasota, FL through Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and back to Sarasota.

In Search of Templar Castles

Our 2013 European Driving Adventure through Paris to Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Lake Annecy and ending in Munich. This blog page will provide you with the trip overview with links to each place we visited.

Exploring the Maine Coastline

A road trip from Boston to Bar Harbor, ME and back.

Fjords, Windmills, Mountains & Lakes

Our 2017 European Driving Adventure through Copenhagen to Oslo, Bergen, Amsterdam, Bruges Belgium, Lake Hallstatt Austria, Grindelwald Switzerland and Lake Como, Italy. This was our biggest trip we have made, distance, # of countries, huge geographic variations, and entertaining every step of the way.

Norway in a Nutshell

This train tour starts in Oslo, and travels to Myrdal, Norway where you switch to a train that will take you to Flam, Norway. Once in Flam, you will then travel across several Fjords to Gudvangen where you will get on another train to Bergen.

This train route covers 340 kilometers in approximately five hours, and the route is through some very spectacular portions of Norway.

3 Week Itinerary Paris to Portimao

Our 2018 European Adventure through Paris, Mont Saint-Michel, Nice, Monaco, Madrid and Portugal from Porto to Portimao. We flew or rode trains to most locations but used a rental car once we reached Portugal.

Negril, Jamaica (2010)

In our humble opinion, Beaches at Negril is one of the most enjoyable places we've ever visited; SCUBA diving, catamaran sailing, family events every evening, snorkeling, tennis, several gyms, great beach, water slides, lazy river, good restaurants and even better bars!

Negril, Jamaica (2007)

These are our images from a trip that we took to Couples at Negril in 2007, yes we do not yet have a Blog Page for this trip (coming soon), but these images were so good that we wanted to be able to display them.
We visited Rick's Cafe on a catamaran cruise and had fun watching people trying the cliff dive. Click here to see Rick's Cafe webcam showing the cliffs and the tidal pool below.

Trip to Cancun Mexico

This trip to Mexico was taken by Celeste & Chelsea. This was because William, Jeremy and myself were in Vail, CO enjoying the snow. I am saddened to say that there were no pics taken while we were at Vail, however, as you will see in this post, Celeste & Chelsea took some very good pics.

An Alternative Approach to Christmas

A true story of how we combined Christmas with a trip for our entire family.

If you are a frequent visitor to National Parks, then you should consider acquiring one of the National Park Service's passes. The adult annual pass costs $80 and the Senior Lifetime Pass also costs $80 but requires no renewal and it covers your spouse as well. You must be 62 years of age to purchase the Senior Pass.
To purchase a pass, or to view more information click here.

Yosemite National Park, CA

This was the center-piece of a driving trip through California, and the imagery and descriptions will give you some idea of the fun we had.

Acadia National Park, ME

Non-stop beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Fundy.

Yellowstone National Park, MT

We've been there twice, so both trips are listed below.

Shenandoah National Park, VA

Home to the Blue Ridge Parkway and many, many miles of beautiful hikes, waterfalls, camping, etc.

Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

An amazing place to visit, and a monument to water erosion.

Haleakala National Park, Maui, HI

10,000 feet of highway ascent in less than 38 miles! It’s believed to be the world’s steepest route from sea level to 10,000 feet in the US Highway System.

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are Affiliate Links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, that we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. So we would appreciate any click throughs, if you are inclined.

Note: All images on this page are the property of Just Traveling Thru, LLC unless otherwise noted.

Note: If you are interested in our European Tips & Warnings, Click here. Or perhaps our methods for Trip Planning Click here.

 Visit our Store 

 Visit our Favorite Charity 

To review any of our content, make suggestions and/or comments, please click the "Info" menu button at the top of this page. You will find our "Contact Us" link on that drop-down menu.