Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

La Boheme in San Francisco

The main reason I wanted to go to San Francisco was so that I could see La Boheme, one of my very favorite operas, performed by one of the best opera companies in the world.  It has been on my bucket list for a long time and I've been looking forward to it for weeks.  It was a magnificent production!  I really enjoyed the performances and the doomed love story was very affecting.  Marcello (Audin Iverson), a painter, and Rodolfo (Arturo Chacon-Cruz), a poet, are penniless and live a hand-to-mouth existence in a Parisian garret.  One evening their neighbor Mimi (Erika Grimaldi) knocks on the door looking for a light for her candle.  She faints from breathlessness (she is suffering from consumption) and Rodolfo catches her in his arms. They soon fall madly in love.  Marcello, Rodolfo, and Mimi meet friends at Cafe Momus in the Latin Quarter on Christmas Eve.  Marcello sees an old lover, Musetta (Ellie Dehn), with her new suitor Alcindoro (Dale Travis), a rich old man, and she tries desperately to get Marcello's attention.  Musetta eventually leaves with Marcello, leaving the bill for Alcindoro!  After a few months, Marcello is jealous of Musetta's flirtation with other men and Rodolfo is guilty because he feels he is endangering Mimi's life with his poverty so the couples separate.  Later Musetta brings a dying Mimi to the garret because she is desperate to see Rodolfo.  Marcello, Musetta, and their friends go for the doctor but Mimi eventually dies in Rodolfo's arms.  What could be more romantic?  I loved every one of the actors who all sung their roles beautifully.  I had tears in my eyes after almost every duet and aria (except when I was laughing).  I loved the staging, especially the scene where Musetta is flirting with Marcello as she is having dinner with Alcindoro at the same time.  The costumes and scenery were all amazing.  The Cafe Momus was a lot of fun with hanging lights and I loved Musetta's pink dresses, especially against the dark tones of the rest of the costumes.  By the end of the opera I was completely overcome and the gentleman sitting next to me leaned over and said, "It was good, wasn't it?"  Yes, it was!  I am so glad I had the opportunity to see such a wonderful production!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

24 Hours in San Francisco

Last week I took a really quick trip to San Francisco to see the opera La Boheme and it was so much fun.  I had a JetBlue credit that was going to expire and I decided on San Francisco because I've always wanted to see a production of the San Francisco Opera, which is considered to be one of the top opera companies in the world.  Even though I only had literally 24 hours hours in the city, I got to see a bit.  When I have a short time in a city I've never been to before, I like to take a hop on/hop off bus to see as much of the city as I can.
I got on the bus at Alamo Square and had a great view of the Painted Ladies, the beautiful Victorian houses that line the street.
Haight Ashbury.  This year is the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love!
The iconic Golden Gate Bridge.  Everyone kept telling me that this was the perfect time to visit San Francisco because it was so clear.  Usually the city is shrouded in fog and it is rare to get such a good view of the bridge.
Views of the bridge as we drove across it.
Coit Tower in the background.
Fisherman's Wharf was a great place to get off the bus and wander around.
The Hard Rock Cafe at Pier 39.  I started the tradition of collecting a pin from the Hard Rock Cafe in any city that I visit.  I have hundreds of them.
The Transamerica Pyramid.
Union Square.
City Hall.  Thursday night it was lit up in blue and yellow to celebrate the Golden State Warriors winning the NBA Championship.
My hotel was in the Civic Center near the opera house.  There were lots of great places to eat there and then I attended a magnificent performance of La Boheme (more about that).  I left San Francisco the next morning and, even though it was a quick trip, I really enjoyed it!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Butchart Gardens

When I was on a tour through the Canadian Rockies in 2011, I took a day trip to Victoria and while I was there I was able to visit Butchart Gardens.  It was once a quarry for limestone owned by the Butchart family in the early 1900s but when the deposits were depleted, Jenny Butchart had the idea to turn what had become an eyesore into beautiful gardens.  She had tons of topsoil brought in by horse and cart and, little by little, it became one of the most beautiful gardens in the world with millions of visitors each year.
The Sunken Garden
The Rose Garden
The Japanese Garden
The Italian Garden

Note:  I have hundreds and hundreds of pictures on my computer (I had lots of adventures before I started this blog).  I have decided that, periodically, I will share some of them here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Colorado Avalanche vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Last spring, when I heard that Air Canada was coming to the Salt Lake City airport, I got really excited!  That meant that I could fly directly from SLC to Toronto for a reasonable price.  I knew that I wanted to plan a trip because I hadn't been to my hometown since 2005!  I've always wanted to see my favorite hockey team, the Colorado Avalanche, play a road game so I thought it would be epic to see them play the Maple Leafs in the Air Canada Centre!  I mentioned it to my Dad and we eagerly awaited the release of the 2016-2017 hockey schedule to see when the two teams would be playing.  When we learned that they would be playing on a weekend, it seemed feasible.  We bought our tickets about a month ago and I flew to Toronto last weekend for an amazing trip (My Dad got there a week earlier).  I can't tell you how amazing it was to be back home for a few days!  My Dad picked me up at the airport and took me visiting people who have known me my whole life and love me.  Brian, my Dad's best friend from childhood, and his wife took us to dinner and we didn't stop talking or laughing.  I got to visit all of my favorite spots, including a quick trip to Niagara Falls to see them illuminated with colored lights, several trips to Tim Hortons for donuts, a visit to my grandparents' graves, and a visit to the locks on the St. Lawrence Seaway (a big cargo ship had just entered a lock when we got there and I got to see it go through).  Sunday night was the game and it was absolutely thrilling to be in the ACC!  I loved all of the Stanley Cup banners!  It was fun to cheer for the road team, especially in a place that loves their team as much as Leafs fans do!  I did, however, see quite a few people in Avalanche jerseys and we would high five each other in solidarity!  My Dad's friend Brian, despite the fact that he lives there, had never been to a game before so we got him a ticket.  He took me to my first Blue Jays game back in the day so I thought it was fun that I got to take him to his first Maple Leafs game!  I asked him who he was going to cheer for and he emphatically said, "Toronto!"  Although, I did catch him cheering for the Avs so maybe I converted him!  It was a great game!  Colorado scored two really pretty power play goals and, after the second one in the third period, the usher in my section came and told me that I was being too loud!  The Avs got two penalties in quick succession late in the third so the Leafs pulled their goalie and scored.  The guy sitting next to me gave me a hard time throughout the whole game so when he started cheering like a crazy man after the goal, I told him that the only way the Leafs could score was when they had a six on three advantage!  The Avs scored an empty net goal in the last few minutes to win 3-1!  It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and having the Avalanche win was like icing on the cake!
It was so much fun to watch my Dad and Brian interact with each other!  They were like two teenage boys!  I think it is amazing that they have been such good friends for so long!
This was definitely a bucket list game for both me and my Dad and I am so glad that we got to do it!

Note:  I have always considered myself to be Canadian and it was very emotional for me to be back home.  While my life is in SLC and it would be difficult for me to pull up stakes and move back, I have to admit that I shed a tear when I boarded the plane to leave!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand and I had less than a day to explore it!
On our drive into the city, we stopped at the Michael Joseph Savage monument.  Savage was the first Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand and he is known as one of the best and most revered Prime Ministers in the country.  It was a lovely park.  Then we headed to our hotel, which was in a prime location.  The locals say that if you want to play, you turn right and head to the Sky Tower and the casino, and if you want to pray, you turn left and head to St. Patrick's Cathedral.  I did both during my short time in Auckland.
I decided to play first and headed to the Sky Tower.  I went up to the observation deck for some spectacular views of the city and the harbour and to watch people base jumping from the top!
After playing, I decided that I had better pray so I made a stop at St. Patrick's Cathedral and got there just in time to hear mass.  I hadn't been to a mass since I was in Lithuania a few years ago and it was lovely.  The priest thanked God for allowing Wellington to beat South Africa in rugby the night before!
Cathedral Square was a great place for people watching.  You can see the Sky Tower behind the cathedral.
I decided to spend the rest of the afternoon down by the waterfront and imagine my delight when I found the iconic "Red Fence" along Captain Cook Wharf on Quay Street!  Look at those amazing lamp posts!
I found this lovely lamp post near the Ferry Building.
I decided to walk up Queen Street, the main shopping area of Auckland, to look at the beautiful Victorian buildings and found some more amazing lamp posts!
After wandering around Queen Street, I went back to the hotel for our farewell dinner and just like that my adventure Down Under was over! I got on a plane to come back to the United States (and start school shortly thereafter) the next morning!  You can read all about my adventures:  Melbourne, Alice Springs, The Kangaroo Sanctuary, Sunrise Ballooning in the Outback, Uluru, The Great Barrier Reef, Kuranda Rainforest, Sydney Harbour Cruise, Sydney, Whale Watching, The Beautiful South Island of New Zealand, Milford Sound,  and Hobbiton.
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