Going Solo in Amsterdam

My friend and I arrived to Amsterdam‘s Central Train Station just before 9am on May 30th, following a not so comfortable overnight train ride from Munich.  I’ve taken overnight trains in Egypt and Portugal and I have to say this was the least comfortable.  I’m sure my friend, Richard, can’t get comfortable in many beds because he’s 6’7″ tall, but it was also quite noisy throughout the night and when I would wake, I was being tossed to and fro.  Enough complaining!

We bought our 72 hour transport card and followed the Google Map directions I had printed off leading us to the Metro line that would deposit us less than a half mile from the Airbnb I had rented for our 3 night stay in Amsterdam.  Upon arrival to the Apartment, we were shown around by the owner, and once she left we settled in.  It is situated on a canal and had everything we needed.  We were especially thankful for the washer and dryer, which we put to immediate use!

Richard’s twenty something year old Cousin, Tobias, from Germany was arriving by train a couple of hours later, so I went exploring by myself, while he went to meet him at the station.  This little car was parked on the Street in front of our Apartment.  I call it the half car…

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Having traveled in Southeast Asia, six countries in Africa, and other developing Countries, and experienced the organized chaos associated with a multitude of bicycles, I was surprised by this in Amsterdam, along with absent helmets on most children and adults, and the legality of motorcycles on bicycle lanes.  There’s nothing like biking along and suddenly feeling the air whoosh by from a large motorcycle within inches of your handlebars!

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Cinco de Mayo in Cincinnati

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday made for partying and Cincinnati loves to party!  A group of us met at Nada Restaurant in downtown Cincinnati and of course I brought my camera.  I ran into people I’ve photographed for iSPYCiNCY at other events and took their photograph.  I stopped this girl for a photograph and love her expression!

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I even ran into my hairdresser…Jocelyn (on the right), who I’ll be seeing before I go on my trip next week!

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Hiking in Spring

My girlfriend came over today and we had a wonderful afternoon savoring a homemade lunch of Swai fish, rice and a Salad.  She brought the fish and rice and I made the Salad.   Here’s a pic of what the salad looks like.  It has zucchini, squash, grilled corn, grape tomatoes, red onion, pine nuts, red and orange bell pepper with feta cheese over a bed of lettuce and a homemade vinaigrette dressing…yum!

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We went hiking at Cincinnati Nature Center’s property called Long Branch Farms in Goshen, Ohio.  Of course, I took my camera and captured a few shots.  Using Lightroom 5, I altered the feel of this one by decreasing the clarity.  I like the muted look sometimes…

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There’s a pretty barn there…

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Of course Jake had a blast!  I noticed the tree limbs were glistening in the sun…almost as though they were covered in ice…

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We had a great time talking and catching up on what’s been going on.  Here’s the barn from a different angle…

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My next goal is to purchase a wide-angle lens and start taking photos of homes.  I’ll contact some Realtors and see how I can get my foot in that door!

 

 

 

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The Last Few Days

The last few days have been beautiful in Cincinnati!  My husband and I took advantage of the warm weather and took a Harley Motorcycle ride.  He calls it his “Hog”…

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I had a University of Cincinnati Sorority Formal Dance photo shoot Saturday evening at the Still Meadows Country Club.  In three hours I took 360 photos.  They began eating soon after I arrived, so I took advantage of having a captive audience (while they were in the buffet line) to take photos.  I stood on random chairs around the room once the music started to take photos while they were dancing.  I would zoom in and get some sweet shots of them kissing or slow dancing.  It was a lot of fun!  I particularly like this photo…

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Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park isn’t just for kids

Last night, my husband and my Cousin joined me for some indoor trampoline fun at Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.  As you can see, we loved it.  It’s great exercise and a wonderful alternative for an adult instead of going to have a drink!  An added bonus…none of us got hurt!

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New Year’s Eve 2013 at Our Place with Off the Hook

My New Year’s Eve was spent with friends having dinner at their house and then dancing at a new venue called “Our Place” which is owned by a band called Off the Hook.  We’ve been dancing to their music for years!  Dinner was at Lisa and Rick’s place.  He’s an ex-NFL football player and she’s beautiful, inside and out!

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Jewell and her new boyfriend Dan.  He’s a professional sword swallower and was on “America’s Got Talent“!  How cool is that?

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Pole Dancing Isn’t Just for Strippers

I think most Americans view Pole Dancing as a somewhat “naughty” and “sexual” form of exercise.  After taking my first Intro to Pole Dancing class yesterday, I have to say it’s a good way to gain upper body strength and learn to be comfortable with your inner seductress.  I learned all types of filler moves…the tic toc, the snake, and others I can’t remember the names of; along with a couple of simple spins, the “fireman” and a variation of it where you point one of your legs, instead of having it against the pole.

As you can see from this photo one of the instructors/owner took of me after class, I’m not looking real “sexy” yet!  I think it’s because of the shoes.  You can see one of the teachers in the back mirror with stilettos on.  Of the four women in the room, I was the only one without high heels on.  Perhaps for the next class!

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You’re never too old to try new things!

2013 in Review

Looking back at everything I’ve done in the past year, makes me realize how lucky I am.  My year has been filled with lots of life!

Exercise always plays a big part.  Not only hiking…

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Fun on the Farm

Instead of the usual dress-up Halloween party last night, my husband and I went to a friend’s farm for a grill-out.  It was an hour’s drive away into Indiana, but we had never visited.  He has 46 acres and the view is so peaceful and beautiful…

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Hiking the Rock Shelter Loop Trail

I love hiking and so do my girlfriends, so on our recent girls’ weekend, we went hiking on the Rock Shelter Loop Trail in Morgan Monroe State Forest, Indiana.  I had researched hiking trails in the area, and this trail seemed to be a good choice.  The trail was only supposed to be 20 minutes away from our Vacation Rental by Owner (VRBO), but getting lost on those back country roads made it seem much farther.  We couldn’t find the trail head once we were in the State Forest, but luckily I had the phone number for Morgan Monroe State Forest with me, so we called its location.  We weren’t going crazy…there was no sign for it.  The large sign said Low Gap Trail and then once you park and start that trail, there is a small sign (see below) indicating that the Rock Shelter Loop Trail is part of that trail.

Anyway, it was supposed to be a three-mile hike, but ended up being four miles.  I took a photograph of this leaf that was on a slick rocky portion of the trail.  The sunlight was illuminating it…

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Girls Gone Wild

OK…so we’re not really girls anymore…more like ladies…but we did get a little wild!  Here are some photos from the 24 hours we spent together (excluding sleeping time).

Dee (the Chiropractor…the 2nd photo down on the right) gave us a partial Pilates class Saturday morning, so Cindy put on an outfit she had bought recently that makes her look like I Dream of Jeannie.

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I can’t divulge what story Gina (in the middle) was telling us, but it was obviously very funny!  Cindy (on the left) was also a bit appalled!

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Hiking at Elm House

For my annual girls’ weekend, I found a Vacation Rental by Owner in Bloomington, Indiana (aka Elm House) that had everything we were looking for—a home located on 100 acres with hiking trails, three bedrooms for five of us, two bathrooms (a must), a hot tub, and two wineries located within five miles!  If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll recall our first stop was a winery located five minutes from the property.  From there we found the house, unpacked the car and took a quick tour of the house.   Elm House has three short maintained hiking trails on the grounds, so we laced our hiking boots and headed for the longest trail…a one-miler.  There were only three of us at this point.  Two of the ladies weren’t arriving until around 6:00pm.

Here’s a beautiful view from the house looking down at the sawmill that is located on the property.

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Water Skiing on the Ohio River

Saturday, my husband and I took my son and nephew boating and water skiing on the Ohio River.  I’ve been water skiing since my 20’s and love slalom skiing (with one ski).  We prefer the Ohio River to the area lakes because there are fewer boats, which means better skiing conditions.  Because of weather and a surgery that my husband had, this was only the second time we’ve taken the boat out this season and most likely the last.  Temperatures are supposed to drop into the 60’s by this weekend.  The water was quite cold but invigorating!  Slalom skiing is like riding a bike, once you’ve mastered it, you don’t forget how to do it.  It feels great to be strong and continue to participate in sports as I get older.

My son took some good shots…

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Colorado has Glaciers

One of the cool things about traveling and having a blog is it forces you to do research and learn things…like…how many glaciers are in ColoradoWell not specifically how many…but is there more than the one I hiked which was St. Mary’s Glacier in Idaho Springs which is only an hour from Denver.  If you read my last post you know St. Mary’s Glacier is only about a mile round trip–that it’s uphill and at an elevation of around 10,000 ft.

Here are some photos of the glacier and my girlfriend and I.

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Hiking St. Mary’s Glacier

Located only an hour from Denver, St. Mary’s Glacier in Idaho Springs, Colorado is a beautiful hike and at 1 mile round trip is perfect if you’re looking for a shorter length hike and as an added bonus…you can enjoy a 10 mile scenic drive from I-70 to reach it.  Having spent six wonderful days in Colorado (except for having to escape Estes Park flooding), my girlfriend and I had a full last day planned before we left and flew home to Cincinnati.  We stopped at the magnificent Red Rock Amphitheater to take photos before returning later that evening for a concert and were stopping in the quaint town of Golden to have a late lunch after our St. Mary’s Glacier hike.

Here I am taking in the view on the hike…

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I couldn’t stop taking photos…it was so pretty!

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