AJ

ajray

AJ

I love to travel--seeing different places and cultures is fascinating and always ends up enriching my understanding of the world.

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Arrived in San Juan in the early afternoon, a quick car ride from the airport. Got checked into the fabulous Hotel El Convento in the heart of the old city. Then, got out on foot to explore the old city squares, the cathedral, and the old Spanish forts guarding for ships from the Atlantic.... read more
Hotel El Convento Courtyard
Cathedral in Old San Juan
Old San Juan architecture

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago September 10th 2009

This was an 11-day business trip to Santiago, Chile. It is late winter in Santiago at this time, and unfortunately for me, the weather was not cooperative most of the time. Most days had clouds and heavy fog with poor visibility. My one weekend there was cold and rainy. Still, I got to see some nice places in central Santiago and during my last few days, the weather cleared some, revealing the very close Andes mountains and some opportunities to see the city in sunlight.... read more
Santiago Looking West
Las Condes cityscape
From the Palacio de Bellas Artes

North America » United States » New Mexico » Bandelier June 15th 2009

Today was a day trip up north to Bandelier National Monument, with its ruins of cliff-side Indian dwellings and some great hiking. Then, on to Los Alamos, where there is the famous U.S. Government nuclear research lab with origins from the Manhattan Project and mysterious things about the U.S. nuclear weapons program going on. Naturally, not much to see of a secret government weapons facility, but we did go to the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History and there is some great scenery along the way, including a great view of the Rio Grande from a high plateau in a nearby town.... read more
Bandelier National Monument
Indian Ruins
Bandelier Indian Caves

North America » United States » New Mexico » Santa Fe June 14th 2009

Santa Fe--the Southwest's home of the restaurants and art galleries. June is a great time to visit, with warm but not-too-hot days and cooler evenings. During our visit, the economy is down somewhat, and even though it is my first trip here, people are saying it is not as busy as usual. After a couple of expensive dinner bills, however, I figure the local businesses can't be hurting that bad. ... read more
Along the Santa Fe Trail
New Mexico Museum of Art
Santa Fe Architecture


On our second day, we are headed for Santa Fe, our main destination on this trip. But before we leave, we check out Old Town Albuquerque, including a Rattlesnake Museum (only in the West!) and the Petroglyph National Monument on the edge of town.... read more
Old Town Church
A classic car
Albuquerque Rattlesnake Museum


With Bret, Leonard, and Lee. We arrived in Albuquerque after a good chunk of plane travel. Albuquerque is kind of a funky place: a lot of retro 40's, 50's, and 60's architecture. Old gas stations revamped into trendy cafes and taverns. A nice, laid-back atmosphere. And in June, almost perfect weather! We headed up to Sandia Peak via cable tram, a rather breathtaking experience that is not for the faint of heart. I personally was happy to hold tightly to the railings, although completely enclosed in the car.... read more
Alburquerque
The Sandia Peak Tramway
View from the Sandia Tram

North America » United States » California » Lake Tahoe April 25th 2009

The next day is much better weather for sightseeing. In fact, it is perfect: sunny, clear, and cool. We trek out again on our drive around the lake. 24-hours later, the difference is astounding! We revisit the scenic overlook that was previously covered in snow. The snow is gone without a trace; the forest smells of pine. We stop several times around the lake to take in the sights, traveling clockwise from South Lake Tahoe. We stop at some mountain waterfalls, the spectacular Emerald Bay, along the shoreline, and head up to Mount Rose on the north side of the lake, which is above the snow line. We then return down the east side of the lake in the afternoon, getting some amazing photos along the lake shore. Finally, we hike along one of the summit ... read more
Mountain Falls at Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay
Lake Tahoe Mountain Scenery

North America » United States » California » Lake Tahoe April 24th 2009

We spend the first day of the weekend exploring the Lake Tahoe area. April is the end of ski season; Heavenly closed the weekend before we arrived, but the ski resorts north of the lake were still open. We stayed at a resort just south of the Nevada-California border, in South Lake Tahoe. Our first full day, we decided to take a drive around the south portion of the lake. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate: It was raining and overcast, which turned into snow. By the time we got to the south west side of the lake to see Emerald Bay, the mountain roads were treacherous and visibility was almost zero. After stopping at the overlook, we decided to keep going, hoping to get out of the weather. Big mistake. On the twisty, snow covered ... read more
Marriott Lodge at South Lake Tahoe
Heavenly Ski Life
Me, in the snow storm

North America » United States » Nevada » Reno April 23rd 2009

This trip to Lake Tahoe started in Reno, a rustic city surrounded by spectacular desert. After landing in Reno, we picked up the rental car and headed south. Our first stop was a scenic overlook with some great desert views. Next, we stopped in Virginia City, an old mining town up in the hills. Virginia City is basically one main drag with many 19th century boom-day buildings, like you see in the movies. There are shops, a mining museum that takes you down the old mine shafts, and some casinos and restaurants. We stroll through the downtown and stop for lunch. Next, we head down to Carson City, the capitol of Nevada. We visit the Capitol Building, a Victorian structure with a nice, relaxed western flair, before moving on to our destination of South Lake Tahoe, ... read more
Nevada Desert
The Desert near Reno
Virginia City

Europe » Monaco » Monte Carlo March 24th 2009

We take the train from Nice for a day trip over to Monaco, a ten-minute train ride. But we hold a breath, not completely sure we're on the right train...there are signs that we are on a train bound for Italy--which we're not quite prepared for. When the train does in fact stop in Monaco, we eagerly get off and start on foot up to the Royal Palace to see the changing of the guard. We had over to the Monaco Cathedral and a nearby park, and then to the Napoleon museum. The weather suddenly changes from sunny and mild to overcast and rainy, while we check Princess Grace's Rose Garden, so we take a bus over to the famous Monte Carlo Casino. ... read more
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