Painted Hills: geology gone psychedelic

Painted Hills: geology gone psychedelic

Entering this place is like landing on another planet. I’d seen pictures but nothing prepared me for reality. Primary colors lined up in nature like a color wheel. Cerulean. Mustard. Rust. Charcoal. Ivory. Chartreuse. Shapes of elephant feet. Squashed clay. Mammalian protuberances. Faces. Yeah. All that. Looking like a watercolor swatch of a giant. Continue reading Painted Hills: geology gone psychedelic

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San Sebastián pintxos: Spain’s top tapas

San Sebastián pintxos: Spain’s top tapas

Warm, salty breeze carries more savory aromas through ancient, narrow alleyways into my nose. Alas, I cannot fit anymore deliciousness in me. Time to stumble home, like everyone else, including my new Aussie friends. I’m overwhelmed: so many bright flavors, colors; so many textures, so many ingredients paired perfectly together. All so fresh, so delicious, so beautiful. Smiling and shaking my head, I waddle away. San Sebastian, you got me. You got me gooood. Continue reading San Sebastián pintxos: Spain’s top tapas

Beaune Farmers Market magnifique

Beaune Farmers Market magnifique

I wake to intoxicating aromas. Am I still dreaming? Did I die, and this is what Heaven smells like? Orgasmically-rich butter is wafting up through my loft bedroom’s open window. Wait. Not just butter. Golden baked flour, the finest dark chocolate, pure vanilla, and the sweet smell of caramelized sugar pervade my room. Warm breeze carries those divine scents from a nearby bakery, called a boulangerie. A bird sings. A church bell chimes. A wide grin stretches across my face. I pinch myself. Yep. I’m still in France. Continue reading Beaune Farmers Market magnifique

First beach backpack: Rialto

First beach backpack: Rialto

Icy surf hits my sweaty, sizzling shins. Maybe I shouldn’t send my heart into defib by marching into the frigid Pacific. Dayum. This is cold. And supremely satisfying after slogging down the beach with a 60-lb pack. Tomorrow will be a minus tide, perfect for tidepooling. Now that camp has been set up, my only job is to enjoy expansive views while sipping Champagne, observing waves crash, then a spectacular sunset on sea stacks. Continue reading First beach backpack: Rialto