14 December 2010

The end is near!


This has been an especially dry period for blog updates. I have been so busy with the move from Vienna to Houston, plus working and coaching, that I have been neglecting the ol' blog...but the end is near.



 The Mrs. returns from her 3 month trip to Africa this week, and I'm sure she'll have all sorts of pics and stories.

AND....we have a trip to NY, a trip to Maine and a trip to NC all in the next few weeks.


Should be loads of content to keep the blog humming for months to come.

 T-minus 9 days til I see the Mrs......whew

08 December 2010

Time goes by a lot slower when you miss the one you love.

 





 

 

I've fallen in love many times... always with you.  ~Author Unknown

29 November 2010

The most beautiful building in the world

Possibly the best part about traveling is getting to those places and seeing those things that just make you stop and stare. Wonder and amazement are not part of every day life...but they should be.

Sometimes if you travel enough or too much, you can get jaded and forget to enjoy all the sights, sounds and smells. You have to remember why you travel and to stop and smell the roses, enjoy every last detail.

Sometimes you expect to be disappointed because of the hype or by the presence of throngs of tourists.

...and then there are the times, that what you came to see is so absolutely amazing nothing could take away from the experience. I travel....a lot. I have been many places and seen many things.

Nothing prepared me for the Taj Mahal. This is why I travel.


Waiting in line for over an hour to get onto the grounds, constantly harassed by shop keepers and touts, the brutal heat......it didn't matter. The minute I could see the Taj Mahal through the gates of the main gateway, it was worth every minute waiting in line and every minute of the trip to India.


As we emerged from the gate, I understood what people have said for hundreds of years...the Taj Mahal is the most beautiful building in the world. It just is.


Jaw dropping....inspiring....I was at a loss for words. We wandered around the grounds and the building...went inside...wandered around more. What a beautiful place...absolutely breath taking.



We got loads of pictures. Literally hundreds.


We sat around and admired this beautiful, beautiful place.


Above, Will enjoying the view.

We stayed at a really crappy hotel that was under construction and was absolutely horrible in every category...except for one.

The view from the roof.


It was a great ending to a great trip.

The next day we took a taxi to a real hotel, not like the ones we had been staying in, and hung out by their pool all day, relaxing, drinking some cold beers and contemplating all the mysteries of India. What a fantastic freakin trip.

Guillaume, Will & Chris - India, August/September 2010


07 November 2010

The Pink City of Jaipur.

On the 11th day of our India trip, Will, Guillaume and I arrived in Jaipur, the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan.


It was a short stay, only one day, but we got to see the biggest city in Rajasthan.


The Pink City is impressive, chaotic, dirty and beautiful.





We would've liked to stay longer, but we were anxious to get to Agra and the Taj Mahal.

03 November 2010

Down on the Farm

 I hadn't seen old Tampa neighbors Brett & Monica since they visited Ireland 2 years ago....but we got a chance to catch up when they were visiting Bretts family at the Farm near Houston.

Bretts family farm has been the subject of many stories over the years. Apparently growing up on a farm in Texas is quite dangerous....I had to see for myself. First order of business, touring the place on 4 wheelers.



 We grabbed a couple of Bretts friends kids, tossed them on the back, and headed out.

 Its a good thing we had the kids to keep us from tearing it up too much.

 It was a lot of fun. Brett got to show me all the sights, and I got to get comfortable on the 4 wheeler..which would come in handy later. :)

 The Farm is, of course, big and beautiful. Its completely different then where I grew up, but I was totally at home..down on the farm.

 The day was full of meeting new people, bbq, laughing and hanging out...but we also went out on the 4wheelers 4 times...sometimes, without the kids...muhuhahahahahahah!

 It was a really wonderful day. Thanks to Will on 4wheeler #3 for taking these pics.

..and thanks to the bulls for not charging when we were riding amongst the herd of cattle.

24 October 2010

The Blue City

After a 6 hour dust choked train ride, we arrived in Jodhpur, and met up with our traveling buddy Guillaume who we had stayed a few extra days in Nepal to get some hiking in.

We found him at the hotel (a converted 16th century haveli) where he was chatting up some french girls who turns out were the ones Will and I had shared a jeep ride to the camels with just days earlier in Jaisalmer! Weird!



We said aurevoir to the girls (who thought I was Will's dad) and headed out to check out the giant fort overlooking the city. Built in the 1460's, the fort is 400 feet above the city and surrounded by a giant wall.


Its very impressive on the outside, but the inside is even more amazing. There are many palace buildings, temples and gardens all inside the fort boundaries.



The view is fantastic as well. I cant imagine anyone attacking a fort in such a great position.


There is a lot to see up there...it was a great day and well worth the walk up.

 
The next day we explored the old bazaars of the city and did the standard walk about...there is always something to see. In the afternoon we met up with some Brits and hung out on the rooftop of our haveli.


As sunset approached, kids started appearing on the rooftops all over the city...to fly kites! The afternoon breeze rolled in, you could hear the kids, and the changing light started to work its magic on the Blue City of Jodhpur.


The next day we were up early to get the train to Jaipur..and the adventure continued


next stop, the pink city of Jaipur...capital of Rajasthan

14 October 2010

Swayambhunath

Sorry for the long delay between blog posts. Between work and coaching, I can hardly find the time to do anything these days. To make things worse, the wife is still off in Africa with no internet access, so I'm on blog duty by myself. I'll try and get a few posts down and scheduled and stay ahead of the game.

Back to Nepal....lets see...oh yes, Swayambhunath.



Swayambhunath is an ancient religious complex atop a hill in the Kathmandu valley west of Kathmandu city. It is also known as the Monkey Temple, as there are monkeys running and jumping all over the place.The Tibetan name translates to "Sublime Trees"...its a peaceful wooded place....with lots of monkeys.


To say this temple is on top of a hill is a bit of an understatement.


There are a series of long sets of steps that get steeper and steeper....we were drenched in sweat, but the scenery was so amazing we didn't care.

You start off at the bottom of the hill and go through a bunch of gates.


Large statues are always fun, especially when your traveling companion agrees to sit for dorky photos.


The color enhancing setting on my camera got used quite a bit. Here is yellow.


Thank Buddha! The climb is almost over!


Once up top, there are great views from all sides. There are troupes of monkeys hanging out here and there, and quite a few mangy dogs laying about, but somehow it all works.


You can look over all of Kathmandu...and on a clear day (not this day) you get a good view of the Himalayas.


According to Swayambhu Purana, the entire valley was once filled with an enormous lake, out of which grew a lotus. The valley came to be known as Swayambhu, meaning "Self-Created."
The Bodhisatva Manjushri had a vision of the lotus at Swayambhu and traveled there to worship it. Seeing that the valley can be good settlement and to make the site more accessible to human pilgrims, Manjushri cut a gorge at Chovar. The water drained out of the lake, leaving the valley in which Kathmandu now lies. The lotus was transformed into a hill and the flower become the Swayambhunath stupa.

On top of the hill, besides the stupa, there a variety of temples, a small monastery and of course some small shops.




Kathmandu is a great place to visit, and Swayambhunath was well worth the climb. A great day indeed.


More to come from India & Nepal soon.