Green Lakes Trail

Budapest Meetup

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.

Hiking to Burnt Lake

Cambridge and Newmarket

Tourist time in London

Spending 24 hours in Bath, England

As part of the 3-week vacation I took in April Leah and I spent about 24 hours in Bath, a fantastic city about a 40 minutes by train west of London. I remembered loving Bath when I visited as a kid and it lived up to expectations after returning. Since we were there for just the night we wanted to be somewhere close to the train station and ended up staying at the Parade Park hotel. While the room was small we couldn’t complain about the view.


After grabbing a quick lunch we headed to the Roman Baths. For some reason it seemed every school-aged kid from France was there that day. Despite the crowd it was interesting to wander around.


The view from the baths up to the abbey.
The view from the baths up to the abbey.

Our next stop was the abbey. It’s free (suggested donation) to wander around and we paid the £6 to tour the tower, too. It turned out we were the only two who signed up for that tower tour time so we ended up with essentially a private tour.

The abbey has this amazing organ which is quite impressive when combined with the fan vaulting.


I forget where this eagle was perched but I thought it was a neat piece.


The coolest part of the tower tour was going up behind the clock face. We were able to walk all the way up to the gear system turning the clock hands. Pretty cool vantage point.



There’s also a small hole at the very top of the fan vault which gives you a sense of how thin parts of the ceiling are. You can peer through the hole down to the abbey’s floor.


We also got to check out the bells which sit in the abbey’s tower. Below the bells lie this set of ropes. Each is attached to a separate bell. The abbey still rings its bells the old-fashioned way sometimes so these are still used. The rest of the time they use an automated way of ringing the bells.


The top of the tower caps it all off with some wonderful views of the surrounding area. We lucked out and had a nice day so were actually able to see for a bit.



We ended the day with a phenomenal meal at Sotto Sotto. Thanks to a random table of 4 that cancelled we got a table without a reservation. Perfect meal to end a great day.

Hiking through Haleakalā crater

Way back on March 24th I took a trip to Maui with Daniel, Leah, and Leah. We stayed just south of Lahaina for 8 days in a great condo Daniel found through a charity auction.

The highlight of the trip was definitely the hike through Haleakalā crater. We parked the rental car at the Halemau’u Trailhead. That meant we had to hitchhike up to the summit and the Sliding Sands Trailhead. Luckily it didn’t take too long. After 5-10 minutes we caught a ride from a guy working on one of the observatories at the summit.

Starting down the Sliding Sands trail was pretty surreal. We started down early in the morning so the clouds at the summit were gorgeous.

Clouds at the summit of Haleakala

All the way in to the crater the terrain stayed fairly barren. Some low clouds drifted by as well which created a neat effect against the dry volcanic rock.




The reds of the rock made a nice contrast, too with the blue sky that appeared later in the afternoon. We did make the mistake of taking advantage of a great view to have lunch, though. The view was great but where there’s a view there is apparently wind. Lunch was a short one.



Part of the appeal of hiking in to the bottom of Haleakalā is the silversword, a rare plant only found in the crater. We ran in to plenty of them and they’re pretty unique.


After hiking across the floor of the crater we hit a less barren area of terrain. My eyes had to adjust to the greenery a bit. There’s a cabin you can rent that’s just behind where I took this photo from. Next time I want to hike in to the crater and stay a night or two down there. Would be a great place to watch a sunrise.


The hike up the Halemau’u trail meant that we saved about 1,500 feet of vertical. That’s not to say that the trail was gradual, though. If you look closely here you can see the trail switch backs weaving up the rock face. Daniel decided he was going to run it from the bottom. I think he got about a 1/4 mile in. 🙂


One of my favorite hikes that I’ve been on. This was my first trip to Maui, or any of Hawaii for that matter, and I’m looking forward to heading back.

Snowshoeing through Yosemite