Oasis in Riverside CA?

Why would anyone ever go to Riverside California?  Well, obviously not by choice right?  I got stuck there for a work trip recently and discovered the most amazing oasis: The Mission Inn.

20140618_102302[1]

In my airport taxi, I cruised across miles of highway and then through an unassuming and somewhat discouraging urban area.  I had no hopes of a travel adventure or even a comfy bed.  I was therefore a bit surprised when the taxi rounded a corner and and pulled into a valet loop surrounded by large old palm trees.  I had clearly landed someplace special.

20140619_150534

Passing under a glorious arch, I wandered toward the lobby somewhat stunned.  I even passed live parrots on my way.   Read more »

Two Days In Taipei

IMG_8125We only had two days in Taipei on our way to Thailand last winter.  You can read all about it on my guest post on The Mother of All Trips blog hosted by Mara Gorman.

Big Changes in Thailand

Check out my article about revisiting Thailand after 19 years away.  It’s on Wandering Educators.

Photo by Zoey Richards!

Photo by Zoey Richards!

Thailand Finale – A Perfect Day

IMG_9111It’s hard to wake up to the last day of the trip.  We weren’t flying home until the next day but this was our last full dawn till dusk day of adventure in Thailand.  On the agenda were temples, ruins, shopping, and eating.  We already knew that the mid-afternoon would be too hot to accomplish much so we aimed for an early start.

Breakfast at Luang Chumni Village was easier today.  We had already discovered Read more »

Great Family Lodging in Ayutthaya, Thailand

IMG_9176Looking for the perfect place to stay with your family?  Explore Ayutthaya from affordable, interconnected rooms in Luang Chumni Village.  We were offered no special promotion to review this wonderful guest house.  We were simply lucky enough to stumble on it.  OK, Bill found it on-line after a bit of research.  I was simply lucky enough to be traveling with him.  The “village” is a traditional Thai house surrounded by water and is tucked along a quiet street.  It’s just a short walk from the famous statue of a Buddha head in a tree, nestled among exciting ruins.  Ayutthaya was the capital of Thailand for 417 years and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site containing many temples and historic sites. Read more »

Taipei with Kids – 10 Wacky Experiences in the First 10 Hours

IMG_8164We’ve been in Taipei just over 24 hours now.  We stayed up for the first 14 hours straight and then finally slept.  Ah, glorious sleep.  When we planned this trip, we were hoping to set up a Taipei with Kids writing opportunity.  There’s not a lot out there on the subject.  Is 1 day really enough to say anything?  Well, within 10 hours, we accumulated quite a few funny and “educational” experiences plus a few “rules” for enjoying Taipei with kids.

1. First stop was breakfast at a little hole in the wall restaurant.  They took one look at us and handed us some sticky, laminated menus.  One had American food.  The other listed Chinese breakfast items.  Rule #1: Stick to the local specialties.  We ordered breakfast crepes with egg and bacon, egg and pork, and egg and corn.  All were delicious!  And the milk tea for the kids arrived in a sealed cup that we Read more »

Remembering Thailand – Ashley

boatWe’re going back! Eighteen years ago, I promised friends that I would be back in two years.  Easier said than done.  There was a wedding and then a baby and then another baby.  Somewhere in there we gained car payments, a mortgage, and two full-time jobs to go with it all.  Plane tickets aren’t cheap and vacation time is priceless.  What seemed so simple, never happened.  I thought about my friends; I sent cards; and even experimented with Internet calls in their first incarnations.  But I never got back.

Then, a few years ago, we were outrageously lucky enough to spend six months in Vienna, Austria.  As we made new friends and began to feel at home, there was a strange underlying sadness for me.  How could I commit to this new culture, to the German language and its torturous grammar, and to our new friends when I had never made it back to Thailand? Read more »

Memories of Thailand – Bill

Buddha2Next week my family is heading for Thailand for the Christmas holidays.  We are all very excited to be heading to a destination that combines unique culture and great people with delicious  food and tropical beaches.  This will not be my first Thai experience however, but that does not make it any less exciting.

I first went to Thailand in 1989, on my way east from traveling for several months in Nepal and India.  I was initially disappointed at how easy it was to get around.  I could jump on a water-bus on the Chao Phraya River to get to most places that I wanted to go in Bangkok.  Or catch on a cheap minibus on Khaosan Road to get to almost any place in the country that a backpacker would want to go – north, south, east, or west.  There were no people aggressively asking me for money or competitive jostling in long lines to buy tickets.  It took me several days to relax. Read more »