2016 in Review

For the past few years, I’ve looked back through my photographs and selected a few (this year many) that tell my story for the year.  It’s a great way to document some of the joys and beauty that fill your life.   My 2016 began with a trip in January to visit friends in Grand Cayman Islands.  For such a small island, there are lots of unique wildlife.  This Iguana was out by the pool…

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We went for a hike and this blue-throated Anole’s vibrant colors caught my eye!

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Not sure if this is an egret, a stork, or something else?

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One of the highlights was swimming with the Stingrays.

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I learned how to stand up (and paddle a little) on an inflatable paddle board…

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After returning to Ohio, we had a beautiful snow.  That’s our small shed.

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I didn’t have to endure the cold for too long because I took a small group (three people) to Central America for two weeks in February, through my Travel Spirit Meetup.  We visited Antigua, Guatemala.

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and Lake Atitlan, Guatemala…

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We then flew to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua and that’s me horseback riding on the beach.  I wanted to gallop and that I did!

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and we watched the surfers…

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We then moved on to Granada, Nicaragua for three nights…

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Next, we flew to Panama City, Panama…

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As a freelance photographer for Cincinnati Refined, I had 30 photo shoots this year.  The cool thing about working for them is that I can pitch ideas and if they like it, I’m given the assignment.  Here are a few of the shoots…

View of Northern Kentucky from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati…

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The Asian Food Fest at Washington Park in Cincinnati…

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Jazz in the Garden at the Taft Museum of Art

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Top of the Park restaurant/bar overlooking the Ohio River from Cincinnati…

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84.51 building in downtown Cincinnati…

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One of the dishes served at The Golden Lamb Restaurant in Lebanon, Ohio

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Kellie Pickler from American Idol at the Pink Ribbon Luncheon held at the Duke Energy Convention Center.

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Calysta Bevier (from America’s Got Talent)

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A welder (a somewhat unusual assignment for me, but fun)…

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Indoor water park at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio

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The Cincinnati Dinner Train experience.  One of the perks…my husband was able to join me for a free dinner/ride.

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Cincinnati Prime Restaurant Grand Re-Opening…

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Shawnee Lookout Park, North Bend, Ohio

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Horseback riding at Salt Creek Ranch in Metamora, Indiana (there’s the hubby on the right)

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Metamora, Indiana

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Shawnee State Park, West Portsmouth, Ohio

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Thanksgiving Day Race, Cincinnati, Ohio

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Lights on the Hill at Pyramid Sculpture Park, Hamilton, Ohio

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Through my own business, Sherry Lachelle Photography, I had quite a few real estate photos (here are three of them)…

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My third wedding reception for friends…

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A family photo shoot…

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Another family photo shoot, but the little boy stole the show…

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Senior Photos for my beautiful second cousin

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One of the most time-consuming and important accomplishments this year was starting a business in partnership with Urban Adventures, called “Cincinnati Urban Adventures“.  I give tours of Cincinnati.  This group of guys (most from the UK) were loads of fun!

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This is a wine tasting/foodie tour and I have a beer/tasting foodie tour also.

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My longest trip this year and a truly amazing experience was taking two people through eight countries back in June for a month.  We began in Bulgaria (three Cities)…

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Rila Monastery, Bulgaria

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We then headed to a variety of Cities in Romania.  Peles Castle was amazing!

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Bran Castle aka Count Dracula’s Castle in Romania

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These next photos are also in various Romanian cities…

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I took photos of at least three brides in different cities throughout Europe on this trip…

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Sibiu, Romania has its eyes on you!

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We then flew to Helsinki, Finland

Temppeliaukio Church aka Rock Church

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We took an over-night cruise to St. Petersburg, Russia and had 72 hours to see what we could.  The Hermitage Museum was amazing!

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Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

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Peterhof Park and Palace

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We took a bus to Tallinn, Estonia…

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A bus to Riga, Latvia…

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Another bus to Vilnius, Lithuania and one of the highlights was Trakai Castle…

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Next up, a bus to Warsaw, Poland…

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And then a train to Krakow, Poland…

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Where of course we went to Auschwitz.  Unbelievably sad and horrific…

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I took a long weekend /solo trip to Cleveland and Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio and got paid for my photographs.

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The Rock n Rock Hall of Fame in Cleveland

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Cuyahoga National Park

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Later in the summer, just for fun, at Serpentine Wall along the Ohio River in Cincinnati…

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Fountain Square at night, Cincinnati

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A car show

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Canoeing at Green Acres Canoe in Harrison, Ohio (and got paid for this one)

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A Bengals football game.  We had nose bleed seats, but I had my zoom lens…

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Of course there were family get-togethers.  My son and his girlfriend at our home for a Bengals watching party/bon-fire etc.

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and at a holiday party…

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Jake trying to catch frogs in the Koi Pond…

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Kate walking the tight-rope…

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My husband and I spent a week in the Cape Coral/Ft. Myers, Florida area in mid-December…

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I read or listened to almost 50 books.  A few of my favorites, in no particular order, were: Flowers for Algernon, A tree grows in Brooklyn, The invisible bridge, The red umbrella, My name is Lucy Barton, The Shoemaker’s Wife, These is my words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, Lilac Girls, Me talk pretty one day, Salt to the Sea, Someone knows my name, and Plainsong.

In between, I prepared new and old recipes, hiked, biked, ran a 5-K fundraiser, went motorcycling, lots of girls’ nights out, and dinners/parties with my husband.  The older you get, the more you want to squeeze in!

I hope next year is as good as this one was!

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours!

Cincinnati Urban Adventures

I wanted to share with all of you the start-up of my new business Cincinnati Urban Adventures, in partnership with Intrepid Travel and Urban Adventures.  I’ll be leading tours of Cincinnati that I’ve developed and will eventually hire Tour Guides to help out when the business starts to boom!  I believe if you are passionate about something, continue learning, and take steps towards turning those passions into a way of making money, you’re certain to be successful.

I will continue with my photography business Sherry Lachelle Photography and working as a Freelance Photographer for Cincinnati Refined, along with taking people on trips around the world through my website, Travel Spirit Meetup.  In fact, I just planned a trip to Portugal and Southern Spain for the end of February.  I’ve been to Lisbon, Portugal and to Spain, but am looking forward to exploring Seville, Granada, and Cordoba, Spain.

I’ve been working long hours between all of my endeavors, but it doesn’t feel like work, most of the time, because I love it!

Follow my new business on Instagram and Facebook.  You can also follow my Sherry Lachelle Photography on Facebook.

Wish me luck!

Classic Car Show at the Lebanon Blues Festival

My husband and I went to the Lebanon Blues Festival this weekend and enjoyed checking out the cool cars at the Classic Car Show.  I asked someone sitting next to us to take our photo.  I have very few recent photos of my husband and I together…I’m usually the one taking the pics!  We’re really enjoying this perfect summer weather.  It’s been in the high 80’s and low 90’s here in Cincinnati and when the humidity is low, we love it!

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We arrived just in time to take some photos at the Classic Car Show before it ended…

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They had the street closed down to traffic which makes it nice.

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I rarely photograph cars, but had fun experimenting with different perspectives…

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This car reminds me of a gangster car…

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My husband made this “Chevrolet” shot his cover photo on Facebook.

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Love the colors in this one…

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Next, we weaved our way through the crowd and past the food and crafts vendors towards the music stage.

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We really enjoyed listening to The Doug Hart Band.  That’s him…he’s great!

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We found a seat quite a distance away from the stage, but were in the shade and we don’t like being too close to the speakers.

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Summer’s slipping away…we need to pack in as many festivals and outdoor events in as possible!

Best hiking in Ohio

Remember the handsome and helpful Park Rangers I mentioned in my last post about hiking the Ledges, well this is the gorge they told me to visit instead of going to Rocky River Reservation.  It’s called High Bridge Glens Park and there’s an overlook that you would easily overlook (no pun intended) unless someone in the “know” told you about it.  As I walked out and saw the view, I literally said “wow” out loud!

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Looking to the left, I changed from my wide-angle lens to my 18-200 zoom lens and captured this series of cascading waterfalls way down below…

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I got back in my car and drove a couple of miles down the road to hike the Gorge Trail.  All of this area is part of the one of the Metroparks

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There are two trails and one of them was down by this lake, so I decided to see where it took me…

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I came to a boardwalk…

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that led me to this cascading waterfall that I’m assuming is a dam…

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After that gulp of beauty, I drove to Brandywine Falls and walked along a boardwalk until I came to these stairs…

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and another boardwalk…

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to these stairs and alas…we can see the falls!

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It’s beautiful, but I’ve heard when there’s been a lot of rain and in the spring they’re even better!

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Stepping back to take in the view…

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and down the boardwalk we go to another vantage point up above to see them.  I took a photo from that view also, but it’s better in person.

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I probably got in a total of 4 miles of hikingCleveland’s Metroparks are amazing!

Hiking the Ledges in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

I’ve hiked all over the world, but absolutely loved my 1.8 mile hike at the Ledges in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio!  It was my third and final day in the Cleveland area and the Ledges were first on my Itinerary for the day.  In contrast to the hot sunny day yesterday for biking, this day was overcast and a bit humid.

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These rocks were so massive and they went on and on for most of the trail!  I was happy to see a few people along the trail to provide a perspective of the scale of the beautiful formations…

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Backing up to my arrival at the trail head.  I ran into these two friendly Park Rangers who gave me pointers about the trail and also information about their recommendations for hiking at the area Metroparks later in the day.

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I entered the trail here…

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Very green and serene.  I felt like I had entered the enchanted forest…

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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio has six floors of memorabilia, history, and amazing exhibits of the music and artists that were/are passionate about this genre of music; and how it has evolved thru time.  The architecture of the building itself is amazing!

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Good thing I had my wide angle lens with me!

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Rock and Roll in particular has been very vocal in the political arena and continues to lobby for positive changes our society wants and needs!  Also, spreading the message of love, peace, and acceptance!

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How cool are these!

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and from the back…

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Urban Hike in Cleveland

The last time I was in Cleveland was the year 1963 and all I remember is sticking my hand out of the car window to pet a policeman’s horse to only have it slobbered on!  Well, Cleveland definitely impressed me this time!  She has whimsical toys for children in front of the Science Museum…

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I awoke early (as usual), and after a 30 minute drive from my Airbnb, arrived downtown at 7:15am.  My first stop was going to be the West Side Market, but they were closed…so I changed gears and walked all over downtown, lots of miles, and took the free trolleys a couple of times.

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A visit to the Victorian era Arcade in the Gateway District was on my agenda.  I wanted to go to the second or third level, but the Hyatt Regency doesn’t allow non-guests upstairs…

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This outdoor seating area is great!

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The Old Stone Church is lovely…

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The Fountain of Eternal Life is beautiful!

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Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The 85 mile long Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail runs through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio (near Cleveland) and I have to admit I didn’t know there was a National Park in Ohio until a couple of months ago!  When I found out, I decided to see it as soon as possible.  I planned my three day itinerary after booking an Airbnb.  Located less than four hours from my house near Cincinnati, I began my adventure bicycling 21 miles along the trail from the Big Bend trail head in Akron to the Canal Exploration Center trail head closer to Cleveland, and then took the Scenic Train through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park back to my car.  It’s only $3.00 for bicyclists to ride one way!  There are 13 trail heads within the Park.

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As you can see, the trail is beautiful!  There’s construction going on between the sections of Big Bend and Botzum and not much scenery, so I would begin in Botzum.

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I bicycled day before yesterday, a Wednesday, so there weren’t many people on it, which was nice.

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The Beaver Marsh area is really cool…didn’t see a beaver though.

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There were frogs and turtles…

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I Made the Sun Disappear at Auschwitz

I planned our visit to Auschwitz on the last day of our eight country…33 day European adventure and was hoping for overcast skies to match the horrific history of this place.  Unfortunately, it was a bright blue beautiful day, but I made the sun disappear…

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While touring the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps, things I had read ran through my head.  Over 1 million people murdered here.  I tried not to think about it and focused on taking photographs…I wished I could go back in time and save them!

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A Rainy Day in Krakow

Sometimes it even rains when you’re on vacation, which is fine with me, so long as it’s not an all-day pounding rain!  It makes everything look different and there are cool reflections…

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and the sky is interesting!

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Some times (not for this photo) umbrellas are fun to photograph…

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I love to photograph entryways, tunnels, etc.

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A Sunny Day in Krakow

I reserved three spots on a train from Warsaw to Krakow a month in advance of our travel date to make sure I received the lowest price.  On July 2nd we boarded the 8:25am train and arrived in Krakow at 10:49am.  I then purchased our bus tickets while still at the train/bus station for our trip to Auschwitz two days later.  I couldn’t find an online site to purchase them before I left the United States.  We had about an hour to kill before we could check-in at our Airbnb, so we walked to a restaurant across the street from the train station for lunch.  After walking 10 minutes to our Airbnb and dropping our luggage, we strolled through Planty Park and made our way to the main market square.  These are some of the sights we passed…

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On a warm day, water fountains are quite popular…

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and the children really enjoyed the misting water…

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The View from St. Anne’s Church in Warsaw

If you’re looking for a great spot to climb up for a beautiful view of Old Town Warsaw, St. Anne’s Church is the place!  As I was surveying the scenery, I noticed a Nun cutting flowers…

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Here’s part of Old Town Warsaw…

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Love tiled roofs, dormer windows and color…

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Simply beautiful…

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I heart Warsaw!

The Streets of Warsaw, Poland

With only 1 1/2 days to explore Warsaw, I made the best use of my time walking the streets and taking lots of photographs!

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Warsaw was much prettier than what I had envisioned.  I loved all of the quaint sidewalk cafes!

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The center of Old Town was much like that of the other Eastern European cities we visited.

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The Central Market was well stocked and very nicely laid out!

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Lazienski Park in Warsaw, Poland

We arrived in Warsaw on June 30th via the 7 1/2 hr. Lux Express bus from Vilnius, Lithuania, and took a taxi 1 1/2 miles to our Airbnb.  After meeting with our host and dropping our luggage, we walked a couple of miles to the gorgeous Lazienski Park.  The 187 acre park is Warsaw’s largest, and dates back to the 17th century.

The Palace on the Water in the Park was even prettier in person!

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We explored the lovely interior…

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Out on the terrace, a couple of peacocks were making lots of noise (maybe it was mating season).  They are my favorite bird!

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Green Acres is the Place to Be!

Green Acres Canoe and Kayak Rental  is my favorite place to canoe or kayak in the summer!  Located in Harrison, Ohio, on the West side of Cincinnati, the scenery is outstanding…

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Here’s where you pay and sign your waiver form…

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