We drove about 2 hours today to see Sedona, a beautiful desert town near Flagstaff that has terrain similar to the Grand Canyon, but was not as far for us to travel. I first visited Sedona a few years ago, when I drove up with my mom from Bisbee, and was impressed. I was happy to have the opportunity to share it with Bob.
We started out in a little artist's community called Tlaquepaque. It turned out to be pretty high-end art, but we found a few smaller things we liked enough to buy.
Then we drove down to Red Rock Crossing, where we parked and walked to Oak Creek. There are some pretty nice views of Cathedral Rock from that park, and at least one hike to the Rock (we heard it was a 3-hour hike, for which we were not prepared). We did take our shoes and socks off and ford the creek in the ice-cold water to get a better picture of the Rock, but that's as hard-core as it got for us.
After a fabulous lunch, we drove around and took more photos. We also visited a quilt shop.
On our way out of town, we stopped at Chapel of the Holy Cross, which is a chapel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built pretty much right into the rocks. It's pretty amazing, and I thoroughly enjoyed the steep walk up the hill to get there.
It was a very successful day, and we got back to our hotel in time to watch the Huskies play football!
We're in Scottsdale for the weekend, as I had that annual meeting thing here. I finished my meetings this afternoon, so Bob and I went out to play. We drove to this preserve to take a short hike, and got to see some bonus wildlife: a handful of rabbits, some birds, including a covey of quail (making the cutest noises EVER), and a couple of deer. Also cactus. Lots of cactus.
Happy birthday to my lifetime partner in all things.
Feels like we've done a LOT of traveling this year, but traveling with you is so much fun! Actually, doing pretty much ANYthing with you is fun--I love that you are up for pretty much anything, no matter how much it hurts...
Fourteen years old today. Not too far away from driving, voting, etc.
Well, there's still plenty of time to worry about THAT stuff when we get there. In the meantime, I'll enjoy going to your football games and baseball games, and spending time with you when we can, including fun family trips like the one we took to Mexico this spring, when you got to go boogie-boarding in the ocean.
We are in New York for some meetings, and we finally made it to High Line Park, which we'd heard about from a taxi driver last time we were here. It's a linear park built on an old unused railroad spur, and it's very pretty, especially at sunset. I took these pictures while we were there tonight.
Today we went to a winery in the general direction of Lucca. Colle Verde Wine Resort is a gorgeous winery, and we very much enjoyed our tasting of seven (!) different wines, and learning a little something about how wines are made. Did you know you aren't supposed to water your grapes? Only very young vines are allowed to be watered: regular vines have long enough roots that they can get their own water from deeper down.
We bought a half-dozen wines to share over the next few nights, including a couple of bottles of an incredible dessert wine.
We considered going to Montecatini Terme today, but decided that Lucca was worth another day. We went to the Guinigi Tower, which has amazing views of the city. The tower also has a handful of 100-year-old trees at the top, which are controlled in growth via something like bonsai.
Today, we took a short trip to Bagni di Lucca, which has "thermal pools". We dropped Matt off for a day fly-fishing with a guide, and the rest of us made our way to Bagni di Lucca. We started with a lovely lunch and walk around the little village, across a couple of bridges. We were headed to the "thermal pools"...which turned out to be a regular public swimming pool (kind of cold), at which we all had to wear bathing caps. Out of fairness to ALL of us, I'm not posting pics of us in our bathing caps. I don't think any one of us liked the look.
It IS about 90 degrees outside, so the pool wasn't entirely unwelcome, but it was still cooler than we were anticipating.
Treppignana is the name of the little village where we are staying. I do mean "little"--there are a whopping 17 buildings here, including our villa. We are waaaaay up in the hills around here, an area called The Garfagnana, above the Serchio valley. There are a lot of little villages here which beg to be explored.
This morning, Joyce drove Paul, JoDee and I down to the bottom of the hill, which is about 4 miles down, and we walked back up. It took us a little over an hour, including a few stops for photos. This road is so full of switchbacks and hairpin curves, and it's a tiny, narrow road--takes about 20 minutes to get up or down it with the car, pulling off to the side to allow other cars to pass.
We took a day trip to Lucca today, which is a pretty town that we haven't seen on either of the trips we've made to Italy. Paul, JoDee and I rented bikes and rode them around the city wall, and we all toured the Duomo, ate a fabulous Italian lunch, and walked about 13,000 steps (per my iPhone step-counter). Here are a few of the photos I took.