Travel Photography - Page 2

Travel Guide: Turks and Caicos


The Turks + Caicos are a group of islands located in the West Indies. About an hour flight from Miami, this British Overseas Territory is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world — Grace Bay. With its baby-soft white sand, crystal clear turquoise water and gentle waves — it’s hard to imagine a more idyllic beach could exist!

Turks and Caicos Travel GuideTurks and Caicos Travel Guide

We spent 9 days visiting the most populated island of Providenciales in January 2016. Although I’d hoped to island hop, it was too complicated and expensive for our family of 5. Instead, we kept it simple and explored nearly every inch of “Provo.” Prior to leaving, I studied the island in depth and it seemed that Grace Bay was the most popular area to stay. After visiting, I would have to agree! We rented a condo there, only a block away from the beach. Every morning we would bike or walk over for a swim and then each afternoon we would drive to a different area of the island.

Turks and Caicos Travel Guide
Our first excursion took us to the Northwest Point. The freeway eventually turns into a sandy, one-lane road that ends at the beach. The area was completely deserted but covered in large conch shells, which Max and I enjoyed picking up.

Turks and Caicos Travel Guide
Turks and Caicos Travel GuideTurks and Caicos Travel Guide

From there, we followed the coast back as far as we could, enjoying some of the more local scenes on the island. We also stopped at the infamous da Conch Shack and Rum Bar. The service was lousy but it was a fun place to grab an afternoon drink.

Turks and Caicos Travel GuideTurks and Caicos Travel Guide

The next day, we took a boat (through Caribbean Cruising) from Leeward Marina to the iguana inhabited island of Little Water Cay. Never have I seen so many iguanas in one place! There’s a small visitor’s center with a few guides, but mostly we had the island to ourselves. We didn’t take a guided tour, but instead followed the boardwalks through the jungle and explored some of the private beaches on our own.

Turks and Caicos Travel GuideTurks and Caicos Travel GuideTurks and Caicos Travel Guide

Another fun and educational outing was the Caicos Conch Farm. Although nearly every restaurant in Provo has some form of conch on the menu, I really had no idea what was in a conch shell until visiting this non-profit farm. The tour begins with a biology lesson about the conch (which is actually an edible sea snail), followed by a walk around their hatcheries. The educators explain and show all of the different stages of a conch’s life cycle, what they eat and how they reproduce. They also talk about how some species are endangered and how they are being over-harvested.

Turks and Caicos Travel Guide

Turks and Caicos Conch Farm

Turks and Caicos Conch Farm

Turks and Caicos Conch FarmTurks and Caicos Conch
Turks and Caicos Conch Farm

The rest of the time, we drove around to visit different beaches. On the south side of the island we discovered Chalk Sound, with hundreds of rock islands in a shallow, turquoise lagoon. It wasn’t particularly accessible but was interesting to look at.

Turks and Caicos Travel Guide

Next we stopped for a swim at Sapodilla Bay and Beach, which we found to be a great area for children.

Turks and Caicos Travel Guide

On one of our last days, we drove to Malcolm’s Road Beach. The road was a bit rough but our tiny, Fiat-like car managed. The beach was a little different than the others, with golden sand and a large reef. 

Turks and Caicos Malcolm Beach

Turks and Caicos Malcolm Beach
Lastly, a few more images from stunning Grace Bay.

Turks and Caicos Grace Bay Travel Guide
Turks and Caicos Travel Guide
Turks and Caicos Travel Guide Pier


STAY: Grace Bay, hands down. There’s a stretch of hotels all along the beach and plenty of rental properties to choose from. Restaurants, bars, shops and the ocean are all mostly in walking or biking distance. The only other options I would recommend would be staying at the luxury resort of Amanyara (but it is very secluded and on the opposite side of the island) or find a house rental near Sapodilla or Taylor Bay (if you are looking to be far away from touristy areas.)

TRANSPORTATION: We rented a car (which I would recommend if you want to see the island), however the rental process was a nightmare. We had to wait around for an hour and half because they didn’t have a car available (despite having booked months in advance) and we barely fit in the car they gave us. If you really want to relax and stay situated in Grace Bay, you could certainly get by without a car.

EAT: I can’t say we had any truly outstanding meals while we were in the Turks and Caicos, but we had plenty that were good enough. We stocked up on groceries at the Graceway Gourmet store in Grace Bay which allowed us to eat breakfast and/or lunch at our condo. We also went to the local grocery in the middle of the island just to check it out. It was definitely cheaper but didn’t have the selection of organic and natural items that I wanted. Most evenings we would go out for an early dinner. Some of the places we tried were: Lupo, Bella Luna, Chopsticks, Da Conch Shack, Garam Masala, Flamingo Cafe, Somewhere, and Lemon2Go.

DO: Grace Bay Beach, Caicos Conch Farm, Iguana Island in Little Water Cay (bring insect repellant – the mosquitoes were thick in the jungle), visit the other islands in Turks & Caicos, snorkel in the reefs. Some things we didn’t get to do but that looked fun were parasailing, kayaking through the mangroves and riding on the Provo Ponies.

BRING: Insect repellant. I had read that no-seeums were a bit of a problem on the beach and while we did get bit here and there, it wasn’t too bad. Money! It’s quite an expensive island to visit. Since everything has to be shipped in, you’ll find that a 6 pack of beer runs nearly $20 and regular milk was over $8/gallon. Eating out was even pricier!

Turks and Caicos Travel GuideTurks and Caicos Travel Guide

Turks and Caicos Travel Guide //

Cambridge Day Trip: Waddesdon Manor


Perhaps I’ve watched too much Downton Abbey — but lately, I’ve found myself wanting to experience England in a more traditional sense. I suppose because we’re always there to see family, our visits are often centered around just that. Instead, I’ve been envisioning a trip that involves a stately home, roaming the beautiful countryside via horseback, adorned in proper attire, followed by afternoon tea with scones (pronounced: scons) slathered with an obscene amount of clotted cream and a touch of jam. There’s a hunting dog curled up by my feet and to my side is a pile of books that I’ll read by a fire, once I’ve finished stuffing my gob… I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s time we do a few touristy things too!

Cambridge England Day Trip

This past summer we decided to brave the nightmare, errr… I mean nuisance of driving in England and a find a stunning estate where I could pretend to be Lady Mary. My father in-law (who is always up for anything) recommended Waddesdon Manor — a gorgeous, country house in Buckinghamshire, about an hour and half drive from Cambridge.

Cambridge England Day Trip to Waddesdon Manor

This Renaissance-style manor was built for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in the 1870’s. Essentially a French chateau in the middle of the English countryside, it’s much like those found in the Loire Valley. It’s surrounded by various gardens, wooded forests, an aviary, a dairy, playground, stables, summer houses and much more. Inside, Waddesdon Manor is an impressive home made for entertaining guests; with ornate rooms, wine cellars containing 15,000 bottles of historic wine and a vast collection of antiques, art and treasures.  

Cambridge England Day Trip to Waddesdon Manor

The floors are adorned with the reddest carpet and the walls are covered with English and Dutch masterpieces.

Cambridge England Day Trip to Waddesdon Manor

The drawing rooms are all richly decorated.

Cambridge England Day Trip to Waddesdon Manor

 An austere dining table in the wine cellar is juxtaposed with an extravagantly dressed table on the main floor.

Cambridge England Day Trip to Waddesdon Manor //

There are separate areas in the house for men and women. Above are some of the weapons displayed in the armory of the Bachelor’s Wing.

Cambridge England Day Trip to Waddesdon Manor //

Downstairs, there’s an unusual, musical elephant automaton

Cambridge England Day Trip to Waddesdon Manor //

A grand staircase and billiard room.

Cambridge England Day Trip to Waddesdon Manor //

One of the small rooms off a bedroom. Perhaps this is where I shall take my tea and scones?

Cambridge England Day Trip to Waddesdon Manor //

A lady’s bed and (wooden) loo. I’ll pass on reading by that fireplace, though!

Cambridge England Day Trip to Waddesdon Manor //

 Back outside, there are parterre gardens and fountains with views of the countryside.

Cambridge England Day Trip to Waddesdon Manor //

Cambridge England Day Trip to Waddesdon Manor // 180360.comCambridge England Day Trip to Waddesdon Manor //

The aviary.

Cambridge England Day Trip to Waddesdon Manor //

The children enjoyed the walk through the wooded forest towards the playground areas and stables. Be sure to find all of the hidden play areas. 

Cambridge England Day Trip to Waddesdon Manor //

While I didn’t exactly live up my original fantasy, visiting Waddesdon Manor was definitely an afternoon well-spent. It was so interesting to see firsthand how the noble families lived. This just means that next year I’ll find have to find a horse, some riding apparel and an endless, green countryside… 



Waddesdon Manor
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
England, HP18 0JH
Tel: 01296 820414

  • Driving is not permitted on the property. However, they provide a shuttle bus or there’s a footpath, if you’d prefer to walk in.
  • Expect to visit for at least 2-3 hours. 
  • Tickets for visiting the house are twice as much and have a timed entry, but include visiting the grounds. 
  • Although we did not eat on our visit, there are several different places to purchase food and drink, if needed.
  • If you’re traveling with children, be sure to seek out all of the playground areas including a giant slide and zipline.
  • Prams/strollers are not allowed inside the house.

Cambridge England Day Trip to Waddesdon Manor //

Alaska: Flying over the Alaska Range


One of my favorite things to do when I’m back home is to go flying with my dad. He has been a bush pilot since 1970 and over the years, he has shown me the world from many different vantage points. I grew up flying with him to remote areas of Alaska and depending upon the season, we’d land with floats on water, skis in the winter or we’d bump along in tundra tires on a rough, homemade runway in the middle of nowhere. At the time, I didn’t realize how special this was because it was simply what we did — but as an adult living in the “Lower 48” now, I feel especially grateful for such a unique experience. It definitely helped shape my love of travel and flying!


Alaska has multiple mountain ranges spanning across most of the state, but the largest and perhaps most well known is the Alaska Range. It houses North America’s highest peak, Denali (aka Mt. McKinley @20, 310 ft. high) and on a clear day, it’s truly a magnificent sight to see. Last summer we flew around it and landed in the park (photos coming soon), so this year we decided to go slightly east, along the Wood River towards Mount Deborah and Yanert Glacier. Finally, we stopped for a picnic near Gold King, an old Air Force communications site.

180360_flyingovertananaflatsAfter leaving Fairbanks, we flew over the Tanana Flats. (above) 

180360_flyingtoalaskarangeAfter the flats, we crossed over creeks and valleys on our way towards the mountains.

180360_alaskarange5Taking photos in a small plane is pretty challenging! It’s bumpy; the windows are reflective; there are often wings in the way, etc. Even so, I like the way it creates an almost painterly effect in the images.

180360_alaskarange4The Wood River.


180360_alaskarange10Heading into the range.


It’s easy to feel really small and insignificant amongst these massive mountains.



Peaks for days.



A wider view of Mount Deborah and Yanert Glacier.


Meltwater from the glacier that feeds into the Wood River.


 Following the Wood River back out.


Taiga (aka boreal forest) covers much of this area.


A quick stop near Gold King for lunch and a visit with some of my dad’s friends who have a cabin here.


Below is my dad’s Piper Super Cub — a 2 seater, single-engine monoplane.


Flying back to Fairbanks.


On a side note: I found this impressive video about 2 guys that climbed Mt. Deborah last year. I like to think I’m adventurous, but then I see something like this and realize I’ve got a lonnnng way to go… 🙂


Crete: Balos Lagoon


Crete definitely takes the cake when it comes to unusual beaches! Prior to visiting Seitan Limania, one of our first stops on the island was the Balos Lagoon. I’d discovered it during my travel research and knew it wasn’t to be missed, despite reading a few off-putting comments regarding the drive, hike-in and the occasional unpleasant scent (thanks to shallow and fairly still water). Thankfully, none of those were an issue for us.


We left Chania around 10 am, driving westward on the freeway until it turned into a dirt road. It was dusty and bumpy, with never-ending twists and turns, along with errant goats that would pop out to say hello. But the lovely views of the aquamarine water butted up against the vermillion colored sand and desert-like coastline made up for any irritating anomalies.

All in all, it took a little under an hour to get there. Eventually the road ended at a nondescript plot of land, also known as a “Greek car park”. With what appears to be only goats (and maybe one guy) in charge, cars are squeezed into impossibly tight spaces, angled in all directions, with no rhyme or reason. Somehow, it works despite the disorganization and haphazardness.


The hike there isn’t too bad. It’s mostly downhill on a well worn trail. And while the heat can be a bit intense, as soon as the lagoon comes into view, it propels even the whiniest of children right down the hill. Besides, there’s plenty of places to stop for a breather or take photos of the bizarre blip of land and sea below. 



At the bottom, there’s another several hundred yards of sand to trudge through before getting to the actual beach. On the left, is a knee-high, shallow pool filled with what feels like warm bathwater. To the right, is a fairly normal, albeit incredibly turquoise sea, with glints of pink in the soft, white sand. When we arrived, they were just setting up the loungers and umbrellas, so we rented ours right away, knowing the beach would soon be full. I’m glad we did, because they ran out quickly and people had to wait for others to leave if they wanted some reprieve from the sun. 





Now, the hike back up is a slightly different story. After relaxing in the hot sun and sea, trudging through sand and then hiking in even warmer temperatures through the desert — it isn’t so appealing. Our 11 year old was bright red and thought she was going to have to flag down a donkey taxi. I had a toddler on my back and a 9 year old to prod along, so I wasn’t too sympathetic. She managed to rally, but even I will admit — the return trip was much more challenging. 





  • Go early! The boats arrive around noon and bring loads of people to the area.
  • Be prepared for the drive, hike-in and lack of facilities. In other words, expect a bumpy ride and about an hour total of hiking. 
  • If the drive/hike doesn’t appeal, you can also arrive by boat. 
  • Bring everything you need with you: money for lounger and umbrella, snacks, sunscreen, water, towels, etc. 
  • Plan to rent a lounger/umbrella. There’s no shade to speak of and it’s nice to have a place to take a break from the hot sun. Ours cost €8 ea. 
  • This is a great area for children to play and swim — just mind the reef and rocky spots!
  • There are donkey taxis for hire if the hike is too much. 
  • On your way back, stop for a late but traditional lunch at Gramvousa Restaurant in Kalivani. Delicious and beautiful! (see photos below)





Positano: What dreams are made of


There’s a certain breed of people that are not Italian but feel as though the country is deep within their soul. I am one of those. I can’t really explain it other than I’ve had an intense connection to the place for as long as I can remember. It couldn’t be any further from my current home and even less like where I originally came from. It wasn’t inherited nor learned, for even at a young age, I was drawn to all things Italian. Over time, it has only heightened thanks to my ever-expanding knowledge of food, wine, art, and culture.

We’ve been slowly working our way through the country and although the Amalfi Coast has been on my radar for years, it wasn’t until 2014 that we were finally able to go. It certainly helped that my friend Jora was also going to be there with her family and we could spend time together. It was the first time I’d travelled abroad with a friend on the other side and hopefully it won’t be the last! What fun it was to experience such amazing places together and especially with someone who knew the area quite well. It was a magical 6 days.


Unfortunately, our time there was cut short due to a major passport mistake on my part. I will write a separate post about that, but it sort of changed the scope of our trip because we lost a full day and our planned rental car, plus it made for an even more stressful journey.  Thankfully, it all worked out in the end and the good news is, we will definitely be back to see all of the things we missed the first time around! 

I also didn’t take many proper photos when I was in Positano. (Most of these are from my phone.) Oh how I wish I had a better reason… but the truth is, I carried a baby on my chest 90% of the time and our flat was at the very top of the town — 695 steps up or down, multiple times a day. That number probably seems inconsequential unless you’ve been there, but let me tell you, the rest of my family heaved and ho’ed, whined and whinnied while I used it as incentive to burn off those pesky post-pregnancy pounds. By the end of our stay, we were seasoned climbers! We ate and drank nonstop and still managed to lose weight on this trip! I can’t tell you how many times we’ve talked about it since, but I dream of living somewhere I have to get a workout nearly every time I step out the front door. (Sigh, one day!) 




To Do

• Spend at least one day at Da Adolfo for the amazing food, charming location, staff, peach wine and the ultimate Italian beach experience. (Take the Red Fish boat at Spiaggia Grande.)
• Enjoy the view with a cocktail in your hand at the famous Champagne Bar at Le Sirenuse hotel.
• Stock up on gorgeous produce, wine, delicious antipasti and other prepared foods at the Delicatessen on Via dei Mulini.
• Rent a “lettino” (umbrella/sun bed) and spend the day at Bar Bagni Da Ferdinando on Fornillo Beach.
• View the coast from the water, whether it’s on a water taxi headed to a nearby beach or from a hired boat for a private tour.
• Eat a Sorbetto al Limone (Lemon sorbet in a frozen lemon; my children’s favorite treat!)

These are all the things I didn’t get to do but will next time:

• Hike the Path of the Gods.
• Visit all the neighboring villages: Nocelle, Montepertuso, Maiori, Minori, Praiano, Ravello, Amalfi, Atrani, Furore, Sorrento.
• Go to CAPRI!!!
• Sail and swim in all of the grottos.
• Beach day at Bagni d’Arienzo.
• Spend time in Naples.





GETTING THERE: We flew from London to Naples via Easy Jet. We then took the first taxi we saw to Positano. I’m not entirely sure that it was a legit driver, but we made it in a little over an hour. On our way back, we had a much better driver that drove us to Pompeii and waited in the parking lot while we looked around, then took us to the airport. It cost a little extra, but helped us kill time before our late flight.

TRANSPORTATION: You can definitely get by without a car. In fact, we were kind of glad that we didn’t have one in the end. There are a couple of private car parks but they are pretty expensive (about €25/day) and you’d likely still have to walk up/down the hill to get to them. That said, a car would be useful for visiting all of the neighboring towns like Ravello, Praiano, Furore, Maiori, Sorrento. But should you decide to not rent one, there are local buses to take you around Positano and beyond. You can also take the boats/water taxis to various nearby beaches or for a cruise around the coast. They are found in the Spiaggia Grande and some are free provided you eat and spend a good chunk of the day at their beach. Call for reservations in advance.

LOCATION: I spent a ridiculous amount to time trying to figure out where our apartment rental was in relation to the main areas of town. It was really difficult to tell how high up it was and how close it would be to everything. Turns out, it wasn’t marked correctly on Google Maps. HA! I would probably recommend staying in Positano town if it’s your first visit (ie. not in Nocelle or a neighboring village.) This way, everything is within walking/climbing distance and you can get a real feel for the town. Clearly, this town requires a certain amount of mobility. We managed to do it with an 11 month old, 8 + 10 year old — but it would be really challenging for some people. I’d also recommend you bring as little luggage as possible. There’s a great chance that you’ll have to haul it up or down stairs to get to your place (or pay a porter to do it for you). Second, make sure you have a view of the sea. It’s a lovely reward after all the stairs!

LODGING: I never bother looking at hotels because most can’t fit our family, so I spent hours perusing Airbnb, VRBO, Summer In Italy, Owner Direct, etc. until I managed to find a place. I would link to the apartment we stayed in, but it’s no longer listed. 🙁 Either way, know that Positano books up quickly during the high (summer) season, so it’s important to book as early as possible! 

FOOD: I made a list of restaurant recommendations prior to leaving and we barely made a dent in it! In the end, we had many of our meals at the beach (Da Adolfo or Da Ferdinando). We ate at Saraceno d’Oro a few times, as it was closest to our rental. Or we kept it simple and picked up mozzarella, bread and tomatoes from the deli and picnicked on our large terrace. Needless to say, we ate well the whole time, even if it wasn’t as I’d expected. (Restaurants on my list: Da Vicenzo, Il Puppeto, Bucca di Bacco, Bar Bruno, Bar Mulino Verde, La Tre Sorelle, the restaurant at il San Pietro, La Tonnarella, La Sponda, Saraceno D’Oro, Cove dei Saraceno, Le Sirenuse, Next2, La Tagliata, Donna Rosa, and La Terra.

KIDS: My children loved Positano. Some of this was because they had friends to play with, but I genuinely believe they enjoyed it for all the same reasons we did. Italy is truly one of the best places to take kids. Italians are so friendly and children are welcome everywhere. Plus, most kids love Italian food. There’s swimming, boats, cliffs to jump off of, gelato, grottos, etc. Sure they grumbled at first about the stairs but soon it became a fun challenge to see who could get to the top first. Like everything, it’s just a matter of getting used to something different. Besides, children are smart — they can sense the mystique and magic just as much as their parents. Sometimes more! My kids give Positano a double thumbs up and are also longing to go back. 


You’ll often hear Positano being called the Jewel of the Amalfi Coast, and rightly so. From the sweeping views of the Tyrrhenian Sea, to the gorgeous and colorful houses perched on the cliffs, to the bougainvillea and ivy covered walls, to the endless, winding stairs that weave through this vertical town — it’s truly hard to beat. There were multiple times where I felt like I’d been plopped into a 1960’s Italian film where beauty abounds and everything is insanely chic and sexy but at the same time deceptively simple. I think Italians have mastered that “un certo non so che.” (ie. Je ne sais quoi!



Perhaps John Steinbeck said it best,

Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone. Its houses climb a hill so steep it would be a cliff except that stairs are cut in it. I believe that whereas most house foundations are vertical, in Positano they are horizontal. The small curving bay of unbelievably blue and green water lips gently on a beach of small pebbles. There is only one narrow street and it does not come down to the water. Everything else is stairs, some of them as steep as ladders. You do not walk to visit a friend, you either climb or slide. Nearly always when you find a place as beautiful as Positano, your impulse is to conceal it.”


Crete: Seitan Limania


If you are dreaming of the bluest water and the most unusual beaches, then look no further. Crete is the place for you!


As we flew south from Santorini, the first thing we noticed were patches of stunning, turquoise sea surrounding the island of Crete. One of my all-time favorite beaches was Seitan Limania (aka Stephanou Beach). I’d read about it while researching for our trip and from what I could tell, it was a local secret; slightly off the beaten track and required a hike-in. Frankly, it looked too good to be true in photos. I simply had to see it for myself! 


Although it seemed complicated to find, it wasn’t really. We followed the directions from this site and they were spot on. My advice is to head towards the Chania Airport, continue past it to the village of Chordaki, then follow the road until you start seeing signs for “the port.” Eventually you’ll arrive at the top of a hill and from there you can see the inlet. After a couple of serious switchbacks, voila! You are at Satan’s Beach.

HA! Almost.


When I got there, no one else was around and it was kind of hard to tell where the path lead to the beach. I decided to head to the canyon to the left of the parking lot (see above) and hike down that way. WRONG. It got me there, but was much crazier than the actual trail, which is on the right hand side of the parking. Whichever way you take, it’s steep but not especially challenging. Here’s the proper trail…



Although I went on my own, I wish I had brought the children. They would’ve loved it! There were other kids there and lots of people were climbing up and jumping off of the cliffs.



The more I travel, the more I seek out those one-off, different places and this beach was no exception! It felt so exotic and special. It is a must-see on Crete! I will never forget it.