Last month I traveled to Cape Town for work. It was a pretty quick meetup, just 4 full days, but we were able to fit in a tour of the wine country outside the city. Really beautiful land paired with fantastic food. See the full gallery →
A couple weeks back Leah and I took a week-long vacation to Kauai. We stayed in this great VRBO rental that really is as close to the ocean as the pictures make it appear.
We ate a lot of good food, went on some fun hikes (though no Kalalau trail this trip), and took a half-day boat tour up to the northern coast. The free first-class bump on the flight over didn’t hurt, either. See the rest of the photos…
I spent last week with the Store Division from Automattic at their meetup on Kauai. Toward the end of the meetup Ben, Peter, Joe, and I day-hiked the Kalalau Trail. The trail runs 11 miles along the north coast of Kauai across an area with extremely minimal development.
You start out hiking through lush terrain that follows a well-trafficked trail. Lots of people hike the first 2 miles in to a beach.
That first beach at 2 miles in sits right below a flowing stream. You can take a 2-mile side trip up the valley to a waterfall. We were looking to do the entire trail, though, so we skipped the waterfall.
From there you continue up and down along the cliffs parallel to the coastline. The contrasts are just beautiful as you have the dense green plants growing right out to the ocean.
Around the 6.5 mile mark you come out of the lush vegetation and hit a much drier section of switchbacks. It leads you down to the literal edge of the cliff.
We were looking at the trail and almost confused about where it went as it curled out of sight. Turns out where it goes is just right on around the edge of the cliff. Fun stuff.
Coming back the other direction you can get a sense of how the trail winds its way around.
And when you’re hiking around that corner the trail doesn’t give you a lot to go on.
At 9.5 miles in we paused for a bit. There was a nice elevated point you could walk out to and get a view up both directions of the coast and back in to the valley behind the trail.
It was already 1:00pm by this point so Joe and I turned back for a more relaxed hike back. Peter and Ben ran, literally, the remaining 1.5 miles to the beach at the end of the trail. After Joe took a quick power nap…
We headed back along the trail. I took a brief stop about 5 miles from the trailhead to wash my feet off and cool down a bit in a stream flowing through one of the side valleys.
We got back to the van about 9.5 hours after we left that morning. The sun was just setting which meant Ben and Peter had about 30 minutes of hiking in the dark.
We then drove all the way back to the south shore where we were staying and promptly plopped down in the hot tub for a good long while. Overall was one of the best hikes I’ve ever done. It was a fairly demanding 19 miles but so worth it.
A couple days back some co-workers and I took the gondola up the mountain for a short hike. The gondola itself is a pretty great ride. Takes about 10 minutes and you get some fantastic views on the way down.
From there we did a short trail up to what the resort calls Alpine Lake. Lake might be a bit of an overstatement but it was still beautiful up there.
Most of the hike was through aspen trees. The white bark with greenery all around it is a neat effect.
Last weekend Leah and I were in Sunriver, OR. On Saturday we spent the afternoon hiking up the Green Lakes trail which winds you up the east side of the Cascades between South Sister and Broken Top. The weather was perfect with cool weather and blue skies.
Back in April I traveled to Budapest. It was my second time in the city, the first was for Automattic’s 2011 all-company meetup. This time the trip was for a team meetup as well as the Write the Docs conference.
It was also my first trip with the Fuji X100S. I bought this back in March to replace my old Nikon DSLR. The Nikon was a perfectly workable camera, I just wanted something that combined a smaller size with more manual control and range. After shooting with it for a week I love it. Really fantastic camera.
The meetup was great, too. I woke up around 6:30am each morning and walked around the city for a few hours before everyone else got up. It’s fun to explore a city as it’s starting the day; you tend to learn a bit about local routines. The downside is all that time walking around the semi-polluted streets likely factored in to me getting sick on the last day there.
Most mornings I’d walk north from our apartments. This brought me alongside the Danube. Following it for a mile or so would bring you to slightly more upscale neighborhoods where you could see Parliament’s dome peeking through the side streets.
Parliament itself is also a beautiful building. It’s this Gothic combination of white stone with a red roof that really shines in the morning light.
It was fun to be in the city during nice weather. The trip in 2011 happened in October so the weather was pretty dreary. Not this time. The “worst” weather we had was an overcast day when exploring the castle hill.
From up here you get a great view back out over the city. I’m not sure how clear the visibility ever really gets, but even on this cloudy day it was great. If you peek down toward the bend in the river there’s Parliament again.
I remember from 2011 being enamored by the roof tiles of the Matthias Church on the hill. Since we had more time this trip we wandered inside as well. Pretty incredible.
The stained glass didn’t disappoint, either. Really nice colors despite the overcast light outside.
Our apartments were near St. Stephen’s Basilica, too, so one afternoon we wandered over there. The domed ceiling was nicely done without being over the top.
From the top we also got a nice view of surrounding rooftops. Would have been great to catch it on a sunny day but at least it wasn’t raining.
Plus, on the way down the stairs we got a nice group shot of some of the team.
My favorite shot on the trip, and my current desktop background, came toward the end when we took a boat cruise up and down the river at dinner time. This is Parliament again, but lit up at night.
Great trip overall. Looking forward to taking my camera out more often now.
One of my favorite aspects of Portland is that, within 90 minutes, I can surround myself with forests, mountains, and wide open sky. Sometimes you just need to get outside.
A few weeks ago Leah and I drove East toward Mt. Hood. After a few miles on forest roads we set out toward Burnt Lake. Hiking anywhere near Hood in the summer usually means hiking with a crowd. We hit the trail head at 9:45am, though, and passed 1 other group on the entire hike up. Really relaxing way to spend a morning.
At the very end of our 3 weeks in England Leah and I took the train up to Kirkby Stephen to stay with a college professor of ours. It was a wonderful change of pace from Southern England and London. Kirkby Stephen is just east of the Lake District and is gorgeous.
We stayed in the Cranesbill Barn that Jeanette and Alex own. It’s a great holiday cottage in a small village.
While there we went on a whirlwind tour of the area including Brough Castle and a fantastic old, working mill. Really great way to spend the last day on vacation.
After Bath and London, Leah and I went to spend a week in Cambridge with our friend Sarah. While there we wandered around the city and the colleges and took a day trip out to Newmarket and The National Stud horse facility.
With the exception of the day in Newmarket the weather was wonderful. Sarah’s studying at Lucy Cavendish, too, which meant we got to wander around a bit more of the campuses as well as free entry in to King’s College Chapel.