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Posts tagged ‘driving’

a hitchhiker’s guide to Zion

Zion National Park is Utah’s Yosemite. It is big, beautiful, and full of massive monoliths that tower over a green valley. A placid river winds its serpentine way between the peaks, sometimes flooding the valley in monsoon season. Unlike many of the other parks we had visited during our road trip, which can be seen in a day or two, Zion demands more time and attention. With our stay in Utah winding down, we spent our last three days in the state hiking in Zion.

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we’ll take a raincheck, please

Spending a couple of weeks hiking through the Southwest’s canyons brings one face to face with the awesomeness of nature, in every sense of the word. Even as the unparalleled beauty of the region at times makes the jaw drop, it is impossible not to be filled simultaneously with awe at nature’s tremendous power. Just two weeks before we arrived in Escalante, 21 people drowned in flash floods in the very canyons that had drawn us to southern Utah. The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is famous for its unique slot canyons, but in light of recent events we found it prudent to adjust our hiking plans.

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the scenic route to Moab

Our last night in Salt Lake City we set an alarm before going to bed — not because we were in any particular rush to get to our next destination, but because we wanted to thank and bid adieu to our hosts and did not trust ourselves to get out of bed before they left the house for the day. Our first few days on vacation without our son we continued to rise more or less with the sun, but by this point in our travels a week had passed since we left him with his grandparents, and we were beginning to regain the ability to sleep in.

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back in action

After three weeks exploring the great Southwest, we have returned home. As with our road trip in California two summers ago, we saw a whole lot of awesome. Here’s how this trip stacks up compared to the last one.

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stop and smell the Irish coffee

Ireland, perhaps more than any other country we have visited, teaches the casual traveler about the importance of taking things slowly. Some of the top tourist sites are memorable; many others are much less so. Ireland, however, is much more than the sum of its tourist destinations. What is truly worth seeing in Ireland is the countryside itself — the rich palette of greens that comprise the landscape, the small, colorful towns, and their residents, who are friendly almost to a fault and whose speech tends to be equally colorful.

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down in the delta

Topping our admittedly short bucket list for our remaining months in Moldova was a visit to the Danube delta. The mighty river that courses through much of central Europe empties out into the Black Sea just south of the Romania-Ukraine border. The resulting estuary is a vast network of reed-lined canals that host 90 percent of Romania’s 390 bird species. 

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travel with baby, part one: trip planning

Munchkin’s recent birthday has put us in a reflective mood. As his due date approached last year, one of our biggest fears about becoming new parents was that his arrival would change who we are, impacting not just how we live our day-to-day lives but also our ability to indulge in the activities we enjoy and the things we used to take for granted. Chief among these is our passion for travel, which we feared we might have to forego for the foreseeable future. We need not have worried.

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Russian road through the Alps

How small is Slovenia? The internet puts its relative size as slightly smaller than the U.S. state of New Jersey, but that’s not all that descriptive. Far more illustrative is the fact that little more than half an hour after catching the freeway from Lake Bled, we inadvertently drove across a barely-marked border and, much to our chagrin, found ourselves in Italy.

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coming of age

Munchkin grew up a lot on our trip. Even S’s parents, who only traveled with us for two weeks, remarked how he had undergone several noticeable changes in the time that we spent exploring Croatia together. It was as if all our travel adventures had greatly broadened his worldview and stimulated his development.

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driving tour of Moldavia

We drove five hours from Chisinau, crossing an international boundary and navigating a few stretches of shoddy pavement on both sides of the border to arrive in Gura Humorului, in the heart of Romania’s Bucovina region. It seemed like a lot of distance to cover with an infant, but in the grand scheme of things we hardly left at all. In fact, the bulk of our route lay through Romania’s Moldavia region, the arc of our travel tracing the vicissitudes of history in this bucolic corner of Eastern Europe.

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