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travel

Live, Travel

Lost in Barcelona

June 1, 2015

[Hey everyone! I’m off to the mountains and won’t have internet access for a few days. In the meantime, here is a post I wrote a while back about being utterly lost on the streets of Barcelona.]

I arrived in Barcelona at 9 a.m. after a twelve hour journey across the proverbial pond. I caught a cab to our lovely little hotel right in the heart of the city. I drank cafe con leche with my husband in the sleek cafe. I tried to take a nap.

The sounds of the city beckoned from below. I opened the window, letting it all in. Car engines and horns and the never ending noise of motorcycle exhausts. At home in Colorado it was snowing but the air in Spain in October was still hot and steamy. I couldn’t wait any longer.

I studied the map closely and then stuffed it deep in my purse. I’m good with directions. My brain absorbs the patterns of streets and landmarks and one glance at a map is typically all I need. I headed out the door with stiff legs and a head that was spinning from far too many hours in a pressurized cabin.

 I pointed myself towards La Rambla, the famous shopping area known for tourists and pickpockets. I never made it. Barcelona’s maze of winding narrow streets sucked me in. Everything about the city was vivid. Everything about it was loud. Not just the cars and motorcycles but also the people, standing in front of their stores, yelling to each other across the tiny roads. These were not the demure Europeans that I had known from a summer spent in the Austrian Alps. These people were on fire.

I wandered the streets for hours, getting farther and farther from my intended destination. Every fiber of my body was exhausted from the flight and the lack of sleep and the excitement of it all. I got lost. Over and over I got lost.

And I loved every moment of it. I soaked up every bit of it.

We would go on to make some pretty incredibly memories on that trip to Spain. We’d see beautiful and important places and eat our weight in seafood and tapas and sandwiches made of manchego and jambon on perfectly crusted bread. We’d drink rioja and cava and cafe con leche on rooftops and sidewalks and terraces overlooking the green countryside up the coast. We’d hike and run and wander. We’d surely end up getting lost again but nothing topped that first day, roaming the streets alone with a foggy head and the city swirling around me.



[A housekeeping note: My Facebook button is broken. I’m working on getting it fixed (the IT department is currently in Moscow …). In the meantime, you can follow along on Facebook by clicking here and liking my page. Thanks!]

Play, Shoot, Travel

Hanging out at Hanging Lake

May 30, 2015

I have a love/hate relationship with those Buzzfeed style articles that list all the things that you absolutely must do in a certain place. Those places are beautiful but also filled with people and typically not what I have in mind when I head out for a hike. For as much time as I spend gallavanting around our fine state, there’s a long list of iconic places that I haven’t been. I’ve never stepped foot inside Garden of the Gods or driven to the top of Pike’s Peak and the only views I’ve had of the Maroon Bells have been from the tops of 14ers or the glass walled bathroom at the Benedict Hut.

I’m trying to keep my mind open, though, and visit the places that I haven’t been. Because you don’t make it on a “best of” list about a state like Colorado without being pretty damn special.

One of the spots that seems to make every single “must do” list is Hanging Lake. I had been wanting to get up there for a while to shoot the waterfall (swarms of people be damned!) so when a friend mentioned we could make a quick stop there on our way up to Aspen for a hut trip, I jumped at the opportunity.

And I’m so glad I did.

Hanging Lake is a geologic oddity nestled in the cliffs above Glenwood Canyon. A short but steep hike along a cascading stream takes you to the boardwalks that surround this delicate ecosystem. Someone in our group mentioned that it looks like a place that fairies would live, and it’s probably the best description that I have heard so far. A waterfall trickles over mossy rocks into a perfect aqua marine pool. The color of that water is unlike any I have seen in Colorado and the effect made the whole place feel a little bit magical.

We went on a Friday afternoon and, while there were certainly plenty of other people there, it really wasn’t too bad. I would imagine that a weekend day in the summer would be slammed. But even if there were a couple hundred people hanging out around the lake, it would still be worth it.

I suspect that the best way to find solitude at Hanging Lake is to head up the trail in the winter. I’m already planning on making a day trip up once the weather turns cold again. The trail can be steep and slick but with hiking poles and microspikes I think it would be very manageable. And I imagine that frozen water and a fresh layer of snow would make the whole place feel even more surreal.

It’s a good reminder that places make those “best of” lists for a reason and that sometimes the tourist trail isn’t so bad. I will be back.