Yesterday was a crazy day. I made an offer on a house. The house had 5 other offers. Mine wasn’t the most money, the fastest close, or anything like that. But my offer beat the other offers and am buying this house. Apparently part of the decision involved the the professionalism of my real estate agent, the seriousness of my offer, and even the little letter I wrote to the sellers helped.
For the holidays, you know back in December, I went back home to Chicago. My sisters and I decided to spend some time in the city. We started out with brunch at The North Pond. They had a 3 courses for about $30 deal, so we had to try it. And each of us got different items so we could share and try each other’s food. Here’s just a couple pictures of the food we had. There are more on my flickr page.
After brunch, I convinced my sisters that we should stop by the location of the fire house, where they shoot the show “Chicago Fire”. I knew the location because they showed the street signs of the intersection nearby in one of the scenes earlier in the season. Well, we got there, and I was just thinking that we’d take a few pictures of the outside and then be on our way… but then we saw some of the firemen through a window. I thought they were going to tell us to get off their driveway, because maybe it was a hazard in case they got called to a fire. But instead, they started to wave at us. They invited us into the fire house and gave us a tour! It was awesome! It looks exactly like it looks on the show, it was super neat to be there. Here are a couple pictures, but there are more on my flickr page.
Poonam suggested that we visit Obama’s house next, but I wanted to get back home for the Bears game, which was going to start soon. So we headed back to the suburbs.
The last picture I have here is from O’Hare on my way back to Seattle. I love the tunnel between the main terminal and terminal C (where United is) because of the pretty lights. So I spent a few minutes getting some pictures of it.
The last day trip was to the Island of Capri. It was an island that’s about 20 minutes away by a speedy ferry. Or you can go on an 90 minute tour ferry around the island. We took the tour ferry to Capri and it was beautiful; there were lots of beautiful vistas on the trip and grottos that were were able to take the boat into or near.
One day earlier in the trip, I saw a family kayaking down the coast near Positano. And since that day, all I wanted to do was go kayaking. While on Capri, the last day in Italy, I finally had my chance. I had to walk across the island to the Small Marina (no really, that’s its name, Marina Piccolo). I rented a kayak and then spent the next 90 minutes paddling around. It was amazing. Soooo relaxing. I don’t know how things could have been more perfect. Of everything I did, I think kayaking in the Mediterranean Sea was my favorite part of this trip.
For the rest of the pictures from Capri, see my flickr page.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the pictures from Italy. It only took me 8 months to to finish post-processing and make posts, lol. Now to figure out where I’m going on my next trip!
The next day trip we took was to Pompeii. I’ve wanted to go to Pompeii since I was a kid in elementary school, where I learned about Pompeii for the first time. I learned a lot on this trip. One thing that shocked me was the size of Pompeii. You could walk for 15-20 minutes and still not be at the other end of the city. It amazed me that there was a city of that size thousands of years ago. The time needed to build all of that, without the modern day tools. Also the coordination needed to build a city and have it make sense. But it did, they built their market area, there were spaces for tradesmen, areas for the rich, for the poor, an entertainment area with theaters and a sports complex. I was just in awe the entire time.
The above are just a few of the pictures I took from Pompeii. There are a bunch more on my flickr page and I made comments on a bunch of them, describing what you’re looking at in the picture. But a fair warning first… I did post pictures of some of the preserved bodies… so if you think that’s creepy maybe you shouldn’t look…
One day of the trip was spent on a day trip further down the Amalfi Coast. We went to visit the towns of Amalfi and Ravello. This first image is one of us approaching Amalfi. We’re going to pass that hotel in the forefront of the image and Amalfi is in the background at sea level. Amalfi has a lot of history in it. It used to be one of the four main Maritime Republics of Italy along with Venice, Genoa, and Pisa. It was really neat walking down the streets in Amalfi and seeing the Amalfi crest design they’ve been using since the middle ages.
After Amalfi, it was off to Ravello. Ravello, while still on the coast, it was higher up on a cliff-side. Ravello is apparently known for music festivals. There are a couple really beautiful old residences. They’re not castles, but entire grounds where lordly people used to live. For a fee, you could tour the grounds. I have to say, those were the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. I can only imagine what it would be like to go there and listen to an Italian orchestra playing here, while looking out over the sea.
For the rest of the pictures from Amalfi & Ravello see my flickr page.
Even though I one of the main reasons for going to Italy was the cooking tour, I took very few pictures of food. Usually, when food was placed in front of me, I just wanted to eat it, lol.
I only took a few food pictures – which can be found here.
One type of food that I feel in love with was fresh ravioli.
I also really enjoyed all the fresh mozzarella. I ate a lot of mozzarella while in Italy.
Then there were a couple cases where I took a picture of food because of the location around the food. This next picture shows two of my favorite things: ravioli and water. On this particular day, I decided to splurge and get some Coke. But they must use different sugar in their Coke than in the US, also they put a slice of lemon in it. It was probably the most refreshing feeling I had gotten from a drink while in Italy.
I was in Positano for the rest of the trip. I was lead here to Positano after reading an article in National Geographic Traveler in 2009. The article was about this woman who went on this cooking tour in this little seaside town called Positano. The way she described the trip sounded like the most amazing, relaxing trip ever and since then I couldn’t get it out of my head. Now, here I was, I finally made it.
Other than the cooking part of the tour, there were some excursions (which will have their own posts). My goal in Positano was to not get stressed about anything. Everyday of the trip included free time (time not scheduled for the cooking tour). During that free time, I would wander around taking pictures and would break up picture time with eating. When I had had my fill of food, I’d break up food time with more picture taking. It was this wonderful back and forth with two of my favorite things – photography and eating.
I spent the first couple days of the trip in Venice. I was really excited to be there because I had read so much about the history from playing Assassin’s Creed. I loved walking around the little streets and such, taking pictures of the cute windows, the canals. It was beautiful. That’s mostly what I did in Venice, just wandered around, taking pictures and eating.
In May 2012 I went to Italy. I had never been there before. In fact this was my first trip to Europe. This was my first real vacation since starting at Microsoft. I had taken a bunch of short trips, mostly around the US or to Vancouver.
Italy was amazing. I was so relaxed after that trip, it showed me the importance of taking time off.
I took my DSLR on this trip and ended up taking over 2400 photos. It’s taken me the last 7 months to go through each one and do a bit of post-processing on them. Now that I’m finally done with the post-processing I’m going to be making posts about them.
This year, the Bulls played the Portland Trailblazers on a Sunday, and then on Monday, the Bears played the San Francisco 49ers. So, of course, that meant that Poonam and I were going to follow our Chicago sports teams around the West Coast. That is where to name of the post came from, WCCST2012 = West Coast Chicago Sports Tour 2012.
We decided to spend a couple days in Portland to see the sights there. Poonam has never been there and I had only spent a few hours there (the last time the Bulls played in Portland). We had to stop at Moonstruck, because, well, because I miss it so much, so we did that. We saw the this crazy sign of where various locations are, thousands of miles away. We saw the lot where all the food trucks are, Powell’s City of Books, and stopped by Voodoo Donuts. We didn’t go in, the line was waaaaay too long. We also saw this memorial to the Japanese Americans that were sent off to “Internment Camps” during WWII. We also took Portland’s Underground Tour, which is mostly above ground, but rather is more about the seedy history of Portland. Unlike Seattle’s underground tour, which is underground.
Then it was off the to the Bull’s game! We lost. But it was still fun, I’ve never sit so close to the court before! I mostly took close-up pictures of the players. I was just so excited to be sitting that close. Also when I tried to get action shots, I was having issues with the heads of the folks in front of me getting in my shots.
The next morning it was off to SF for the Bears game. That game went waaaay worse than the Bulls game. And even though we lost terribly, it was only my second Bears game ever, so I’m still happy. I only took some pictures at the beginning of the game, you know when I still had hopes… lol.
For the entire set, see my flickr page.