Come See Turkey, Day 3: Topkapİ Palace

In the middle of day three of my Come See Turkey trip, we visited the Topkapi Palace. When the Ottomans conquered the city 500 years ago, they rebuilt the ruined Roman imperial palace and administration complex into what would eventually become called Topkapi. Though renovated over the centuries, much of the original complex remains. And to my delight, they grow many, many tulips...

Come See Turkey, Day 3: Hagia Sophia

In the middle of the third day of my Come See Turkey trip, we explored the magnificent Hagia Sophia, aka the Ayasofya. What was once the Romans' first Christian cathedral and then a mosque under the Ottomans, it is now a very popular museum (and deservedly so). And though it stands as an astonishing testament to Roman architecture, it would not be standing at all if not for Ottoman architects maintaining it...

Come See Turkey, Day 2: Istanbul

The trip kicked into high gear here on day two. We started off the day with a press conference with reporters from across the area. Many of us were interviewed individually after the conference. (Additionally a crew from Turkish television accompanied us on nearly the whole trip.)

Come See Turkey, Day 1: Istanbul

The first day of the trip was stretched out to over 36 hours with traveling across the globe from my house in Oregon to Istanbul. On arrival, I was driven to the Karaköy district to the Hotel Gradiva (now I believe named the Purl) to catch my breath.  As the sun set, we then had an orientation meeting at Mustafa's studio a short walk away...

LeMay: America's Car Museum, Tacoma

Two of the most recognizable roofs in the entire Tacoma, Washington, area sit side by side right off the I-5 freeway: the massive concrete hemisphere of the Tacoma Dome (the world's largest wooden dome) and the shining silver semicylinder of the LeMay: America's Car Museum or ACM. I toured the ACM in June 2017 with Travel Tacoma. The beautiful space holds about 300 cars and trucks in 165,000 square feet...

Shore Acres, Oregon Coast

Just south of the town of Coos Bay is one of the most wonderful destinations on the southern Oregon coast, Shore Acres State park. Shore Acres is the site of an old estate, whose wonderful gardens are still maintained, and which sits on sandstone cliffs above the Pacific. Truly spectacular ocean views combine with truly spectacular sandstone formations, wow...

The Beaches of Bandon, Oregon

In May 2015, I explored the incredible beaches of Bandon, Oregon. The rock monoliths there, particularly the well-named Face Rock, are surreally beautiful, and while I did my best to capture them, they truly must be seen in person to be believed. Bandon, about a four-hour drive from Portland, is one of the western-most towns along the coast and sits at the mouth of the Coquille River... where you can find the also-well-named Coquille River lighthouse.

Flower Gardens, May 2017

On Memorial Day weekend 2017, Amanda and I visited two incredible flower farms (both family-owned) north of Salem, Oregon: Adelman Peony Gardens and Schreiner's Iris Gardens. I've seen a fair number of breathtakingly lovely sights in my life, but it's hard to top looking out across acres and acres of irises or peonies, wow! And the aromas, sigh, were so good too. It's hard to beat Oregon in the spring, and these spots (along with the Wooden Shoe tulips earlier) are living proof. Plus, you can buy the flowers for your own yard...

Molalla River Recreation Area, May 2017

Southeast of the town of Molalla (itself southeast of Portland) is an Oregon hidden gem, the Molalla River Recreation Area. It follows the river as it cuts through foothills of the Cascade mountains and has a series of hiking and mountain biking trails that take you through forests so thick they make you feel a million lightyears from the Willamette Valley just a little below.