London Trip, 2016: Buckingham Palace and St. James Park

Back in February of 2016, my wife Jen and I traveled to London for her sister’s wedding. Unfortunately, I fell deathly ill on the second night, forcing us to cancel a planned excursion to Bath. I had already visited Bath in 2014, but I wanted to take Jen there (since a trip to the Scottish Highlands was out of the question in the middle of February). Instead, I slept in our hotel bed on the third day while she walked around Picadilly Circus looking for medicine.

By the end of our trip Jen had caught the bug and was too sick to fly, so we had to extend our stay by a day at a hotel not far from Victoria Station. I was still recovering myself but felt well enough to do a little walking while Jen slept in the hotel.

The hotel was literally a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, so I walked around there, through St. James Park, and back along The Mall. I also visited nearby Westminster Cathedral and the Horse Guards Parade area. These photos are from that walk.

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Eurotrip 2014, Part 18: In Bruges (Briefly)

At long, long last, I’m sharing the final chapter of my 2014 Eurotrip, nearly three years after the previous installment. I suppose that I delayed this entry for so long because of how disappointing the day was. I had originally planned an extensive recounting of the problems encountered on this tour (which I alluded to earlier in this series), but in the end I decided it’s not worth it, especially since the company did give me a partial refund, so I’m just going to briefly summarize the events of the day.

July 13, 2014: We got a late start when we departed Amsterdam for Bruges because we had to wait roughly 30 minutes on the bus for our guide to arrive with the group from the hostel. When we finally reached Bruges, the bus driver drove around for another 20 minutes not knowing where to park. He eventually figured it out but then got into an argument with the guide about how much time we would spend there, which the bus driver apparently won. So by the time we finally departed the bus, we had already lost about an hour.

Then, after hustling to the center of the city, we were informed that we had to meet back at the bus in just over two hours. I was stunned. Two hours? What was the point of even stopping here? That was barely enough time to grab a bite to eat and run around to snap a few photos. I certainly didn’t have time to wait in line and climb to the top of the famous bell tower. To make matters worse, it was raining pretty heavily, so I decided to eat first in the hope that the rain would clear. For the most part it continued to rain, though it did finally clear during the last half-hour of my visit, so I hustled around to fit in as many rainless photos as I could.

Bruges had been the entire reason I booked this particular tour, so to barely spend any time there was a massive disappointment. Needless to say, I (and many others on the tour) felt a bit ripped off. On top of that, it was my last day in Europe before flying home the following morning, so an otherwise fantastic trip ended on a sour note, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Such is travel.

Oh well, I guess I’ll have to make a special trip to Belgium in the future so I can take my time and really experience this lovely city. In the meantime, here are a few of the photos I managed to take during my short visit. Click on any photo to open a gallery.

View more of my photos from Amsterdam and Bruges.

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American Northwest Trip, 2017: Timberline Lodge

Knowing that Portland was only a 90-minute drive to Mount Hood, I couldn’t resist spending my final night in Oregon at Timberline Lodge near its summit. The lodge was made famous by The Shining—Kubrick used exterior shots of the lodge to depict the Overlook Hotel. Although the interior was not used in the film, Timberline has fully embraced its Shining legacy, as some of the photos below make clear.

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American Northwest Trip, 2017: Old Trail Town

During my long drive across the entire state of Wyoming I stopped in Cody for a visit to Old Trail Town, a recreation of an old west town using authentic buildings collected from around Wyoming and Montana. The buildings were disassembled, moved and reassembled at Old Trail Town. Among the buildings here are original cabins used by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, a saloon frequented by Cassidy’s “Hole-in-the-Wall Gang,” and the home of the Crow Indian scout who led Custer to Little Big Horn. There are also tons of historic Old West artifacts and grave sites of several notable Western figures.

It’s a nice little diversion on the way to or from Yellowstone for fans of the old west; I think the entry fee was $10. There weren’t many people there so I pretty much had the run of the place and was able to get some nice shots. I chose high-contrast processing for a lot of the photos to give them a more vintage feel. I considered going all out and converting them to black-and-white/sepia but decided it would be too much work. Perhaps I’ll convert a few of them at a later date.

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