Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Snapshot of the American Southwest

A good travel story usually involves something unexpected and crazy and sometimes dangerous or scary that chucks a wrench into your otherwise perfect plans. For example, losing your keys on top of the tallest mountain in New England, but not realizing said keys have been lost until you're back at the trailhead four-ish hours and five-ish steep miles later. Or flying to Glasgow while not realizing the city has two airports and your overnight hotel reservation is not by the airport where you arrived.  Or getting stuck in a huge storm that extends your visit to Antarctica from a brief four days to ten life-changing days.

But sometimes, nothing ridiculous happens. Every now and again, I find myself on a trip that's kind of like kayaking on the creek back home. It's fun and beautiful and I thoroughly enjoy myself. The water is calm (and navigable!) and sometimes there are cool birds.  After a while, I head back to the pier, take my kayak out of the water, and go home with pleasantly sore muscles and happy memories. At no point does the creek turn into a fury of rapids at the edge of the precipice that marks an unexpected thirty foot waterfall smashing onto giant boulders in a cloud of foam and mist.

And that is okay!

In March, I took a brief roadtrip through the American Southwest which was basically a good ole kayak outing with no waterfall. Literally...I was in the desert, after all. My flights were on time, the airlines did not lose my luggage, my rental car did not break down, I did not get lost (not once! whaaaaat!), nothing poisonous tried to bite me, I never ran out of water, I didn't get an atrocious sunburn, everything I ate agreed with my stomach .... NOTHING CRAZY HAPPENED.

In a way, my mini-roadtrip was memorable simply because it was such smooth sailing. Let's be honest--it's not often that absolutely nothing goes wrong. But here's where I get to the second part of my kayak analogy--the bit about sore muscles and happy memories--because even though I don't have a cliff-hanging tale to convince you to keep reading, I saw at least one mind-blowingly amazing place and it was a trip worth sharing!  And bonus for you, you'll still have fingernails by the end of this post.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Lviv in 24 Hours

"..... where you can't swing a cat without hitting a medieval church."

I'm sitting here not writing and clicking around on Facebook instead, and I see this description used by my friend for her weekend exploring the Golden Ring around Moscow.  How appropriate!  Thanks, lady, for letting me borrow your words.  It's a perfect description of Lviv as well!