Boggera Canyon

Well, that was embarrassing.

I really meant to start posting photos within 2 months of moving here (or for that matter, probably within 2 weeks). I've got a new camera (SLR! for the first time since high school! this one has all kinds of fancy tricks like autofocus, and no darkroom required) and a ton of photos from Switzerland, Italy, and Iceland. Including this one, which I've been meaning to post for about six weeks.

I took it on a lazy holiday weekend afternoon with some new friends at a local sunbathing spot. If one is hardcore (we were not), it also doubles as a local canyoning spot. I'll have to go back, though I'm still way too protective of the camera to bring it along on any adventures like that.


On Second Thought...

I'm going to keep this blog just focused on posting my photography, and possibly linking to/commenting on photography-related things that interest me. I definitely want a travel blog, but I've come to the conclusion that I don't need to feed all my travel mishaps to the Google spiders for the entire world to laugh at. So, I'll be setting up another slightly more private, personal life-in-Europe blog, and I will share a link with friends and family when that's done. Sound good?


Goodbye Peavine Mountain

Two (digitally enhanced, yes) wildflower photos from a last hike on Peavine Mountain. The first is a lupine, and the second is.......that red plant that grows all over Peavine. You know that plant?

I'll miss living on the side of a giant piece of BLM land. I'll miss wildflower hikes with my friends here. I'll miss the high desert, although I will not miss snow in June. And I think I will adjust to life (and photography, and skiing) around the Alps just fine.



So I'm moving to Switzerland.

This started out as a photoblog, because I got sick of having a political blog (I've since begun to miss that one). Then, I discovered I like writing a few words or sometimes a random little story or a travel narrative along with the photos. So now it's, what? Photos + writing? Seemed to work ok.

Now the blog is going to be a few more things, I think. Travel-in-Europe blog (travel-in-North-Africa-and-the-Middle-East-too blog, I hope). Expat blog. Not the whiny kind, I promise. Maybe even a bit of politics, from time to time. I mean, I'll have a whole new continent to learn about!

Posts for the next month will probably take on a goodbye Reno nostalgia form, as I am going through a phase of preemptively missing Nevada. I might write some more on this, later. It reminds me of my last month in Japan, which was just a whirlwind...I knew leaving was the right decision, but the last weeks were just a crazy blur of goodbyes and packing and that weird preemptive nostalgia. I felt like this:

I know there are so many good things to come, though. Cheese and chocolate and Italian lakes and planning my first weekend gettaway. And then there's the job...I don't want to get into that on a personal blog, so I'll just say it sounds completely awesome. And then there's the small, insignificant fact that stuff works in Europe. I've already begun bugging my British co-worker here by giving him running updates on how many weeks I've got till "socialized medicine." The Swiss system isn't even close, as far as I can tell, but better than the US system for sure. Though at this point, leeches and bloodletting might be better than the US system.


Driving to Tongue

I know, I have been a truly terrible photoblogger lately.

Road to Tongue, Scotland
I took this picture last summer on my trip to visit my friends in Scotland. We drove all the way up to the northern coast and visited the tiny town of Tongue. As you can see, there's not much for miles around. It's so small that the postal van doubles as a bus, and so far north that it never got totally dark. We did a great little hike up to Castle Varich and enjoyed the view, hiked out to a puffin-viewing spot, and visited Smoo Cave.


Patos Island

Patos Island is at the top of my list of favorite places on earth (we all should have such a list)—top five, for sure. It’s one of the outer San Juan Islands in Washington State – also one of the smaller and least visited of the park islands. There’s a kayak camp, a lighthouse, an outhouse, and not too much else.

Patos Island: View From Near Lighthouse
When I was in high school, I did a three-week Outward Bound trip around the San Juan Islands. I learned important things like the fact that kelp is edible (along with Vital Life Lessons about leadership and stuff, I’m sure). Our group kayaked into Active Cove on Patos on a day when we were all grumpy and snapping at each other. Rather than letting us sulk around the campsite eating kelp, our wise leaders made us get in the water and have crazy kayak races (this was probably the Vital Life Lesson part). That night, in much better moods about each other and life, we walked out to the lighthouse for sunset.

I have beautiful memories of Patos, but it’s also just a beautiful place. I’ve convinced my parents to go back with me a few times since then (most recently last August). In doing so I’ve discovered that it’s sort of a pain to get into the harbor in any boat that’s larger than a kayak, so I appreciate them being good sports. The lighthouse is now open for visitors a few days per week in the summer, and there is also a great fictionalized account of life on Patos during the early 1900s, by the daughter of the original light-keeper.


Godzilla! (or not Godzilla at all)

I suppose this is not an amazing photo composition-wise...but it makes me smile. Located in Tokushima on the Island of Shikoku. Japan.

Edit because...my coworker just informed me that Godzilla is apparently a LIZARD. Not a big furry thing. Pop culture knowledge fail of the week...
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La Bandera

This is a simple, slightly random photo that I've always liked. I took it in Puerto Madryn in Patagonia two and a half years ago. Between finishing grad school and starting my job, I wandered around Argentina for a month or so, working on my Spanish/taking pictures/being fed and shown around by extremely hospitable family friends. It was great...

I was in Puerto Madryn for most of a day after spending several days on Peninsula Valdez, where I saw whales, guanacos, sea elephants, birds of an undetermined sort. I'm not great with the wildlife photography, so most of the shots I actually like from the trip are more like this one.

I took the bus back to Buenos Aires from Madryn...of course, the bus left at about midnight, so I spent all day wandering around on the beach and eating cake and drinking tea. I have since learned that all cama ejecutivo (and variants) tickets are *not* created alike. Stupid frugal Madeline made a point of finding the *cheapest* ejecutivo ticket...and thus I spent 20 hours watching Liar Liar dubbed into Spanish, Russian mafia type movie, and Flight 93, all on an endless loop. Next time, I'm spending the extra five bucks and taking Chevalier.

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Yavi, Northwest Argentina

I went to Argentina in late December/early January (I was going to say, "as I tend to do"...but it's actually been over two years). I was in the Northwest, Salta and Jujuy Provinces, as usual (plus 6 hours in Buenos Aires, during which I had lunch with my friend at an "American" restaurant and honed my speed-shopping skills at Zara).

We did go on some new adventures: I convinced my parents that they really like driving on awful dirt roads, and then we went to La Quiaca and Yavi on the border with Bolivia, and the Laguna Pozuelos nature reserve. Here's Yavi:

Iglesia San Francisco, Yavi
The church in Yavi dates back to the 17th century. Unfortunately the church is closed Sunday afternoons, as it turns out...but the exterior + the colonial-era marqués's house (and museum) + the drive there made the trip worth it.

Yavi Church Detail
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SF City Hall

San Francisco City Hall & Sculpture