Charles River Walk, Watertown, MA

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One of the most beautiful walks I have walked in any time of the year, but the best is to walk it in fall. It is a short loop with paved path, easy to walk, run or bike. You’ll meet all kinds of people there. Retirees walking with their canes, students chatting at picnic tables, runners and bikers getting their workout done, kids running around and looking at birds, trees, turtles, ducks and gees, fishermen who try to catch some fish, and me taking pictures of the beautiful foliage.

This pictures I took in October 2009 on a perfect sunny day with the sun just at the right angle to go through the leaves and make them shine in their best color. I thought you might enjoy the photos as I did the walk.

If you will be visiting Boston and have a little time, stop by to relax or exercise, you won’t regret it. The loop is not that far from Watertown square, between streets of Galen, California, Bridge and Pleasant.

More photos in Charles River album

Alaska

19.- 26.6.2010

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Alaska is the largest state in the United States and I saw just a very small fraction of it. But even that small fraction was AMAZING!

Our travel itinerary began in Anchorage where we rent a car and drove down to Seward. Seward is a cute coastal town. From there we took a 6 hours glacier cruise tour. The tour was great! We saw a lot of animals, beautiful coastline and the most (at least for me) glaciers.  I didn’t see that many of the animals because I had a motion sickness. Really, really bad one! I admit I threw up twice! Once I was lucky to make it to a trash bin. I hugged it and hold on to it with all my life and didn’t care about anybody. David tried to convince me to go to bathroom. haha. I couldn’t move at all! :D

It’s just amazing how the sickness disappears when you step out of the boat. :)

From Seward we went back to Anchorage and on the way we stopped at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center which mission is to provide refuge for orphaned, injured, and ill animals-those that can’t survive in the wilderness.

In Anchorage I met with Steve which I mentioned in my previous entry. It was very pleasant meeting and Steve was my second space friend I have met! You should check his website On The Trail of Alaska. He is living in Alaska and has an amazing photos on his blog! A little story. The night before I met Steve for a morning cup of coffee, I fell on a night stand in our hotel room and hit back of my head when I was trying to sit down on a bed. I had a pretty big headache which last for two more days. I didn’t sleep that well and in the morning my head was pulsing with pain. I looked awful.

Then we went to tiny town Talkeetna where we took a flight tour around Mt. McKinley (in Alaska they call it just Denali). Talkeetna is very cute town. It’s full of tourists and people who are trying to hike Mt. McKinley. Historic downtown is just one street.

From there we drove straight to Denali National Park. You have to take a bus to see the park. They don’t let cars in. We stayed two nights in Kantishna Roadhouse.  We spend two days on the bus to get in and out of the Park. The bus ride is very informative and the driver tells a lot of information about the Park and stops to see animals. On these rides we saw the most animals.  The only one day we had at Kantishna we did a short hike around the Roadhouse with a guide.  I’ll let the pictures talk more.

After that we drove just to Fairbanks for the night and flew back to Boston.

Alaska’s highlights. The best was to see: the glaciers, wolfs, bears, moose with little calf, running caribou in a shallow river and just trees, trees, trees everywhere. It was like pine needle trees jungle! And always day light, all the time! :)
The worst to remember: motion sickness on the boat. Hit my back of my head, had a headache for another two days. :) And tired tired tired, but it was all worth it! :D

I’ll never forget my Alaska trip.

Some photos so you can get a glimpse of Alaska.

New York City

23. – 25.10.2009

Thanks to my friend Dita and after five years of living in the USA I finally went to see New York.

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As I had just two days to see the city my visiting was intense and overwhelming. The city sucks you in and there is no way how to escape from it. My first feel of the city was right out of the train from Penn Station. As I entered the station suddenly crowd of people surrounded me and that feeling never left me. I called Dita to rescue me. I couldn’t even describe her where I was. There were people everywhere.

I was trying not to loose Dita as we were walking toward the subway. The city was lit by millions lights, by millions people, and by millions cars or I should say taxis. It was nice to sit down in Czech and Slovak Restaurant Koliba in Astoria and eat some Czech food. Then we went by taxi to Dita’s home. I was surprised that we went by taxi because in Boston it’s quite expensive but not in NY.

New York is crazy crazy crazy! I would never say that I love NYC or that NYC is beautiful. NYC is everything else but beautiful. Maybe just Chrysler building and Brooklyn bridge are beautiful and parks. :)

I would say that NYC is cool, crazy, loud, crowded, cosmopolitan for sure, colorful and dirty. And tense. NYC is nice at night and when is sunny.

NYC is everything you can imagine and everything you cannot! You just have to go there and see it, live it.

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Dita took me through all the major sightseeing places.

You can see it in my album New York City.

Washington, D.C.

6. – 8.1.2009

When my mom was visiting me in winter I wanted to do something special for her. So we sat on the plane and flew to Washington, D.C. 

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I must say I loooved the capital city!  We had just three days which is not much for Washington D.C. So I asked mom what she would like to see and she picked National Museum of Natural History, National Air and Space Museum and United States Botanic Garden. I picked National Museum of the American Indian.

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As probably everybody knows all the museums in D.C. are free. I really loved all the museums we went except of American Indian. I was expecting a lot but was quite disappointed. As huge the museum is I really liked just one floor where was an exhibitions of all tribes living in the U.S. The building was nice and interesting as you can see on the photo. In the museum was  Mitsitam Native Foods Café where you can eat cuisines of Native Americans. We didn’t try any because it was quite expensive as all the food in Museums. We mostly ate in MC Donald’s or bought sandwich before.

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We enjoyed Botanic Garden a lot as we both love flowers. Also it was quite cold so it was nice to be in a big green house full of tropical and desert flowers.

Natural History Museum is amazing! Everybody who loves animals, nature and minerals has to go there. And Air Space Museum is cool also. My photos may say more.

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I loved to walk around. The city doesn’t have any skyscrapers which is nice change. All the buildings are big and wide as also streets are. The weather wasn’t that great. First two days was raining so we were most of the time in the museums. Last day was sunny but really windy. Of course we saw White House. We were there just few days before Obama’s inauguration and there were big preparations for it.

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I didn’t want my mom to stay in some cheap hotel so I got a good deal through AAA and we stayed in Morrison Clark Historic Inn which is under Historic Hotels in America. It is really nice Inn with nice interiors and very good restaurant!

I’ll be back for sure! There is much more to see and my husband was envy because he has never been in Washington D.C. and I was before him. So next trip will be with him. :)

More photos in my album Washington, D.C.

Alcatraz – San Francisco

15.-16.8.2008

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This was my second time I visited San Francisco. The first time was in 2005. I am not going to write about the city as I wrote about it already and you can read it here.

Both times I didn’t stay for long which I wish I could but I was happy to come back and to see Alcatraz.

We booked tickets on-line because we were told that you have to buy them ahead otherwise you won’t have a chance to get there, specially at summer time. The procedure wasn’t that bad. Even with a long line to get on the boat everything went pretty quickly and smoothly.

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Once you get to Alcatraz is it pretty organized. First there is a person in front of the prison who welcomes you and explains everything. You can choose to go with a guide or you get head set with receiver which guides you through Alcatraz and says stories.  You can stay on Alcatraz the whole day and leave with the last boat returning to the city.

We had really good time and it was interesting to hear what everything happened there.

After that we had a bus sightseeing of Golden Gate Bridge but it was so foggy that we really didn’t see it. :) It was the second time I didn’t see it! But the bus tour was really interesting. We had very funny and good guide that he made the tour pleasure even we were freezing on top of the bus. They had blankets to lend.

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I was happy to be in San Francisco again and I hope I’ll visit more and hopefully I am going to have a sunny day and I’ll see the Golden Gate Bridge. :)

More description of Alcatraz with my photos in my album Alcatraz.

Photos of Golden Gate Bridge and the city in album San Francisco.

Yosemite, California

14.8.2008

On our way back from Sequoias to San Francisco we stopped at Yosemite for one day. I wish we would have more time but I was happy we did it. It was worth it. There is nothing like Yosemite. They’re just beautiful.

Because we had just one day we saw only Yosemite Valley. The best how to see the whole valley is from Glacier Point. The view is just amazing! You’ll see the famous landmarks of Yosemite as Yosemite Falls and Half Dome. I was really excited to see the falls because they are the highest falls in North America! But I couldn’t find them! I looked at the map in front of me with an arrow pointing to the direction but I didn’t see it! And then I realized that during summer time they are dried out. By looking through binoculars I could notice a little stream falling down of the rock. :) Oh well, hopefully, someday, we will return in Spring. :)

At the entrance of Yosemite Valley you’ll see another landmark El Capitan which is well known for its difficulty of rock climbing.

We did two small hikes from the valley. One was to Vernal Fall which was pretty steep hike. Because of not having much time we got just half way through to Vernal Fall Bridge. We still got quite a good view of the fall. The other hike was to Mirror Lake which suppose to be very picturesque. It is named for its nearly perfect reflection of the surrounding scenery. You suppose to see reflection of Half Dome and North Dome. Oh well, that was another disappointment. Because it was dried out all what was left from the lake was a large paddle. You couldn’t really see any reflection. :)

 

I heard that the valley gets packed through Summer but I was surprised how badly it can get. The whole valley is changed to a tent city occupied by families with small screaming children or young adults. If you would want to feel the nature you would have to get out of the valley or come there before or after summer vacation.

That was our one day in Yosemite. I really loved it and would highly recommend it to everybody. Yosemite are beautiful in Summer but I would suggest to go there in the spring time if you want to enjoy the beauty of waterfalls and lakes.

more photos in my album Yosemite

Next Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz in San Francisco.

Sequoia National Park, California

10.8. – 13.8.2008

This year vacation we decided to fly to west coast and visit Sequoias. We flew to San Francisco, rented a car and drove to Three Rivers, a little town just at the border of the park. It took us about 4 hours. We stayed at Buckeye Tree Lodge which has a reasonable prices. The room was small but nice and had everything we needed. Anyway, most of our time we weren’t there.

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Sequoia National Park was established in 1890 as the second U.S. national park, after Yellowstone National Park. Of course the main reason we went there were the trees. They are one of the largest trees on Earth on terms of wood volume. The largest is General Sherman Tree. Its height is about 275 feet (83.8 meters) and the volume of its trunk is about 1487 cubic meters.

       

 

I was very impressed. The trees are unbelievable! really majestic and huge! You feel really little next to them.

We were trying to explore the whole aria but if you have just one day the best is GIANT FOREST. There you’ll find the General Sherman Tree I mentioned above, Tharp’s Log which is on trail around Log Meadow. It is a summer cabin build in the 1860s from a fallen Sequoia hollowed by fire. Crescent Meadow which is surrounded by majestic Sequoias with high grass and wildflowers. Really good for taking pictures. Tunnel Log is a fallen tree you can drive through. From There you can also get on High Sierra Trail which can take you all the way up to Mt. Whitney. Well we didn’t go that far (70 miles far :)) but had a short hike on the trail where is beautiful view of Great Western Divide and view of Moro Rock.  Moro Rock is a large granite dome well worth to climb hundreds of stairs.  

And not so far from Giant Forest is a turnoff to Crystal Cave. To reach the entrance you have to drive 7 miles down the road and then 0.5 miles steep walk down. Also you have to get ticket at the visitor center because the tickets are not sold at the cave entrance. Once you get there it is amazing! A beautiful underground world that was formed from limestone that turned to marble.

Also I almost forgot to mention that we saw bears!!!! And it was again in the Giant Forest aria. We were lucky. From Beetle Rock Education Center a Park Ranger called us if we would love to see bears. Right under us was a mother bear with a cub!

       

We had a wonderful time there. More I’ll describe with my photos. After that we went to Yosemite just for one day.

more photos in my album Sequoia National Park

next Yosemite, California

Honeymoon ~ Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

23.-29.9.2007

Second week of our honeymoon we went to Yellowstone National Park. It is mostly located in Wyoming State and some small parts are in Montana and Idaho. Park was established in 1872 as first national park in the U.S.
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It is just an amazing place! we have been there for 6 days and it was just enough to cover all parts of the park. The park is huge!

We stayed in Old Faithful Inn which is the largest log building in the world. Oh men, how I loved that building! Everybody who is going to Yellowstone should stop by there and see the magnificent lobby! And also Inn is so close to Old Faithful Geyser that you can watch it from there.

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There isn’t a direct flight. We flew from Boston to Denver, Colorado where we took tiny plane to Cody, Wyoming. That flight was something! You could feel every little turbulence! I was glad when we landed safely in Cody. :)

We rented Subaru Outback and started our trip. First stop was at Old Trail Town not so far from Cody.  I was glad we stopped. You get the real feeling of old west.

After that we continued on our way to east entrance to Yellowstone on Route 20 which is called Shoshone Road. Along the way you can see Hoodoos which are rock formations.
Not so long after we passed the park entrance first things you notice are burned trees, smell of sulfur and herds of buffalos!!!
Yellowstone sits atop one of the world’s largest volcanoes. Last eruption was 640 000 years ago and they say it may be overdue to erupt sometimes soon. That’s why there is a sulfur odor and geysers, hot springs, mud pots and fumaroles (steam vent) everywhere.
A lot of fires are done naturally by lightning and it is part of the Yellowstone ecosystem. The worst was in 1988 caused by lightning and by people who left cigarette. You can see burned trees all over Yellowstone.
Buffalos!!!! We were so excited to see them!!! Then you kind of get used to them because they were everywhere everyday. :) Buffalos are magnificent animals and you can hardly imagine that once there were thousands and thousands of them.
               
There is more animals to see then just buffalos. We were lucky to see a coyote, an owl (that was awesome), an eagle (I guess), moose, elks (look at the video below), a bum of grizzly bear eating carcass through a binoculars (very far far away) and probably a black bear was passing near us (I wrote more under the section Hayden and Pelican Valleys). We haven’t seen wolfs which was David’s big desire.
               

There is so many things to do and to see. We have broke the park into 5 sections and started to discover.

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Tetons aren’t part of the Yellowstone park but it is park on its own. Tetons are located south from Yellowstone and when I saw it for the first time it took my breath away. I must say they are more dramatic and scenic then Yellowstone and it is because of their mountains which seems they arose just from the bottom without any foothills. You are at the base of the mountain and you see the whole thing! It is just AMAZING!!!

We saw a moose there. It was from a bridge so it kind of look small but I was thrilled! Moose is one of my favorite animals! It was actually moose family. The other moose and the cab were hiding. :)

               
is one of the Geothermal areas of Yellowstone. The active springs are building terraces which can change and grow two feet every year. Very famous is Liberty Cap formed by an extinct hot spring. It is 37 feet (11.3 meters) tall and is no longer an active thermal feature. Other geothermal areas that we visited are Norris Geyser basin, around Madison Junction and Old Faithful Area.

This Grand Canyon isn’t as well known as the one in Arizona but it has its own charm also. Canyon is known for its Upper and Lower Falls. The Upper Falls are 109 feet (33,2 meters) high and The Lower Falls are 308 feet (93,9 meters) which is nearly twice as high as Niagara Falls. It is impossible to have both falls in one picture taken at the ground level because the Yellowstone River makes S-turn between the falls.
There are several trails which will take you to some nice view points of the falls. One of them is Uncle Tom’s Trail which has 328 steps down and climbing up it feels like 2,000 step because of the thin air of high mountain elevation.
Before we got to Grand Canyon we made a small hike on top of Mt. Washburn. I wrote a separate entry about the hike.

are located near Yellowstone Lake, the largest water area in Yellowstone. We didn’t do much around the lake instead we did a short hike around Indian Pond which is near by.
The valleys are know for they wild life. Pelican Valley is the place where we met a bear. We went for a short hike there because it is well know for its grizzly bear territory. The Park Ranger informed us of high intensity of bears and that we should always make some noise because we don’t want to surprise a grizzly.  So we were clapping hands and singing just in case but we didn’t see anything. We have passed couple who were returning from their hike and their didn’t see anything. So when we got through trail in the forest and entered open area we decided to returned. We were still singing and clapping when it happened. David noticed something first and whispered at me to stop. For awhile it was quiet, nothing was moving. It was hard to see because we were back in the forest trail. So we clapped our hands again and then we saw a running bear I would say 50 feet (15-20 meters) from us. I’ll tell you as adventures as it was it also was really scary. I was a little bit shaking and was glad that the bear was even more scared of us then we were of him. We don’t know what type of bear it was but we think that it was a black bear because of its size. I’m glad we didn’t have to deal with the bear. I don’t think we could run away. The bear was pretty fast!!!!! After that David asked me if I recorded it on camcorder. Of course I did not. I was glad I was standing. :)

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is also known for wild life. To see something you would have to come very early in the morning or late in the evening. We were trying to get there close to the end of the day but we still weren’t lucky and didn’t see anything only the grizzly bear I mentioned earlier. It was kind of funny sight. You knew that there was something because of the number of cars parked near and all the people with binoculars. Some people were waiting and watching there the whole day. I must say I don’t have a lot of patience for that. One guy with a big binoculars let us to look and even with his giant binoculars the bear was big like a cherry. Everybody were excited. I was not. :) We stayed for an hour and drove through the valley. I must say I enjoyed more the beauty of the valley then waiting to see some part of a grizzly.

I am not going to write about all the areas we have seen but you can see them through photos in my Yellowstone Park album.   It was an excellent experience and I just wish we could have more time. I hope I gave you some ideas about Yellowstone and how special the place is. I would highly recommend to everybody who loves nature to go there. Hopefully one day I will return.

more photos in my albumYellowstone Park

Honeymoon ~ Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

17.-21.9.2007

I have finally pushed myself to write about my honeymoon.

We took two weeks. Because I didn’t have a green card we were traveling in the USA. First week we spent on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.

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Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard are part of state Massachusetts where we live. Cape Code is a peninsula shaped as a curve and is well known for their sand dunes and beaches  which brings a lot of tourist during the summer. We have stayed in West Yarmouth just for a day and then we took a ferry from Hyannis to Martha’s.

                                                        
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Martha’s Vineyard is an island south of Cape Cod. It Is mostly known as an escape island for celebrities and politicians and also for shooting the movie Jaws.

Ferry dropped us at Oak Bluffs where we took taxi to get us to Thorncroft Inn in Vineyard Haven. We stayed for three days mostly just walking around Haven and enjoying ourselves and the Inn.  Second day we went to explore an island on bicycles. A lot of people were telling me that Martha’s is a very beautiful island and I am going to love it! I didn’t believe them. What could be so special on an Island near MA. It will look similar as Cape Cod. But as I got there I had to change my mind and I fell in love with the island also. It just makes you feel different. The small towns with their picturesque houses and friendly people, with all the small shops and restaurants ,even the weather make you feel like you are somewhere else far far away.

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The last night we ate at Le Grenier which was definitely one of our best stops on Martha’s! Not only that the food was fantastic but also the staff was excellent including the chef and owner Jean Dupon. Jean would come to every table and greet all new costumers. When I didn’t understand the name of the food he would describe it well even he would bring a piece of vegetable at the table. :) He also wrote me a recipe for his Portabelo mushroom bisque which I loved it very much! He was such a charm chef with his French accent. We were talking a lot about Europe as I am from Czech Republic.

So our first part of the honeymoon was excellent!

More photos in my album CAPE CODE & MARTHA’S VINEYARD.

We returned home to wash clothes and get ready for part two: Yellowstone Park.