Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Getaway to Friday Harbor

Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity 

Getaway to Friday Harbor, WA. San Juan Islands

I am excited to share more photos from our getaway to Friday Harbor.  We had the perfect romantic weekend: good food, adventures and relaxation.  Friday Harbor is located 2.5 hours from Seattle, a 1.5 hours drive from Seattle to Anacortes ferry terminal and probably 1 hour on the ferry.

Friday Harbor is on San Juan Island.  San Juan Island is one of the many islands and reefs in San Juan Country.  Is the second largest island and the most populated.  There are 743 islands but the number can decrease depending on the tides, of those just 170 have names.  

The island seems to have something for everyone a vineyard, lavender fields, alpacas, lighthouses, trails, kayak tours and one of the main attraction pods of orca whales that can be seen from the island or the sea. 

We had a blast exploring the island.  We drove to Roche Harbor on a road full of farms and plenty stands of produce and fresh eggs.   After we slowly drove thought West side road and pass the English camp, the alpaca farm and encounter with an baby deer.

Our next stop was Lime Kiln Point, know as whale park.  This place is considered one of the best place in world to view whales.  We hope to spot one of the many orcas that make the Haro strait their summer house but we weren't lucky, it was early on the season.   Still we totally enjoyed the trail lined with trees, picnic tables in the rocky shoreline and Victoria, BC in the background. 

We spent the rest of the time exploring Friday Harbor and eating really good food.  We wanted some time just to rest enjoying the view. We really want to go back to do things we did not have time to do like visit the south area of the island, explore the lavender farm, kayak and go on whale watching tour.  

Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse

 San Juan Island. Lime Kiln Point State Park

Lime Kiln Point State Park. David

Friday Harbor binoculars.

Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse detail.

Friday Harbor, WA

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Olympic Sculpture Park

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.  Albert Einstein 

Olympic Sculpture Park. Seattle, Washington

Since I move to Seattle I have consider this park my backyard.  It is really close to our apartment, the combination of art and nature makes it is one of my favorites place in the city.  

The park is located in Belltown, 4-5 blocks west of the Space Needle.  Despite the proximity it doesn't have as many visitors, that makes it the perfect spot to relax, stroll, have a picnic or enjoying the views of the Space needle, the city skyline or Elliot bay. 

The park consist in 9 acres outdoor sculpture museum, walking paths and a beach.  It has temporary and permanent installations, is home to works of artist as Richard Serra, Louse Bourgeois and Alexander Calder, whose sculpture "Eagle" is one of the most distinctive of the park.  

Since last year you can admire "Echo", a 46 foot tall sculpture by Jaume Plensa.  It was named like Echo, a mountain nymph condemned to speak only in echoes.    You should not miss the "Typewriter eraser", "Schubert Sonata", the eye benches and the pedestrian bridge. 

The park is open everyday from sunrise to sunset and is free and has free wifi.   During summer they held special events like picnics with live music every Thursday, outdoor yoga and activities for kids.

Olympic Sculpture Park. Father and son

Olympic Sculpture Park. Wake by Richard Serra

Olympic Sculpture Park. Love & Loss by Roy McMakinOlympic Sculpture Park. Schubert Sonata by Mark di Suvero

Olympic Sculpture Park. The eagle by Alexander Calder

Olympic Sculpture Park. Echo by Jaume Plensa

Olympic Sculpture Park. Chair Olympic Sculpture Park.

Olympic Sculpture Park
2901 Western Avenue
Seattle, WA

Thursday, June 11, 2015

52 books in 52 weeks. May

Keep reading books, but remember that a book is only a book, and you should learn to think for yourself  — Maxim Gorky

52 books in 52 weeks. Book reviews of: What she left behind, The husband's secret, Yes please and Everything I never told you.

A book from the bottom of my to-read list  
What she left behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman  (4)
The story is told by two characters, one in the present, Izzy a foster child in the 1990's and one in the past, Clara a patient at Willard State in 1930.  The book describe in detail the treatments used in patients in the early 20th century for mental illness in the Willard asylum and the lack of rights of the woman at that time. 
The best and strongest part of the book is told by Clara, her character was my favorite. I found an article about suitcases found at the Willard Asylum, which I recommend to read after the book.  

A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet  
The husband's secret by Liane Moriarty ★ (3)
The premise of this book is what will you do if you find a letter from your husband that you are suppose to read after his dead?
For me it was one of those books you don't want to put back, but that aren't exactly good.  I didn't dislike the book but is not the best one from Liane.

A book based on or turned into a TV show
Yes please by Amy Poehler  (4)
I love this book, It is written in a way that I felt that I went to have a coffee with my friend Amy and she told me everything about her life: how her career started, her struggles and what makes her happy.  If you are a fan or Parks and recreation I am sure you will love it, I am not and still I really like it.

A book with bad reviews
Everything I never told you by Celeste Ng ★ (3)
The book is set in the 70's and it is about the Lee's family, a multicultural family (Chinese father, white mother, mixed-race children) living in a small Midwestern college town.   It is a dysfunctional family that have kept many secrets and untold stories for many years, secrets become demons.
The books show us the felling of been misplaced within your own country but mainly it is about parents that are trying to relive their ambitions though their daughter.  It is a sad book, I do not recommend it.

Other books I have read this year: 
52 books in 52 weeks. April52 books in 52 weeks. March     

This post contain affiliate links, which means I receive a percentage if you make a purchase using the link.  

Thursday, June 4, 2015

2 days in Florence, Italy

Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life - Anna Akhmatova

We travelled by train from Venice to Florence and we arrived to a city rich in culture and history, the home of the Renaissance and birthtplace of the modern world.

After buying the Firenze card to avoid lines our fist stop was the Campanelli di Giotto, 414 steps later we made it to the top, which offers breathtaking views of Florence. We ate gelato and strolled around and finished the day with chiantti from Castello di Verrazzano.

We started our second day at Galleria dell'a Accademia where we admired Botticelli's Birth of the Venus and the famous David,  an epic moment David meeting Michalangelo's David. After touring the crowded Accademia, we walked through the Piazza de la Signoria and went to the Uffizi gallery, considered the greatest collection of Italian paintings anywhere in the world.

Just around the corner from Uffizi gallery is the famous Ponte Vecchio, where you can find many jewelries.  We took a break at the Piazza de la Repubblica, where we got drinks at the Hotel Savoy and relaxed with the carrousel in the background.

Almost forgot, we also went to the baptisery, the famous Door to Paradise and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the main church of Florence.  We visited the Medici tombs, the Florence's great ruling family, designed and carved by Michelangelo.

I loved the food and the chiantti.   We ate at Cantinetta del Verazzano, they serve Tuscan dishes with typical tuscan wines such as Vin Santo and Chianti.  We went back for coffee and pastries.  We also had coffee at Caffe Scudieri, at Piazza San Giovanni with a perfect view of Santa Maria Della Fiore.

We went to La proscuitteria for a meat and cheese plate and of course crostini with pate. It is a tiny gem with low prices and good house wine.  There are many bars nearby.  Of course we ate gelato, my favorite was from Grom, located conveniently close to our hotel.

I am not good with crowds and when we were there the city was full of big tourist groups, we did our best to avoid them but still I felt overwhelmed by the amount of people we encountered.  I did not enjoyed the city and I want to back to do it all over again and explore Tuscany.  I will go back.

David (Michelangelo) Florence

Panoramic view of Florence from Campanile

Baptistery dome and detail of the "Gates of Paradise". Florence

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. Florence

David at Florence

Ponte Vecchio and Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. Florence