Summer 2023 travels | National Parks


After sitting on my wishlist for several years, I finally booked a trip to visit a whole bunch of US National Parks in…2020. Needless to say, certain events overtook my planning, and the trip got postponed for a few more years, but this summer, I finally got to go. The trip itself had a few wrinkles thanks to the bizarre weather out west this summer (a Hurricane? seriously?), but we mostly got to go everywhere. WAY too many photos to do individual descriptions, but I’ve broken them up by location. As usual, click through to see the big photos (and I’ve increased the default size so these are probably not phone-screen friendly). There are A LOT of rocks. and trees, and some wildlife (no bears!). Overall super glad I went even if my almost 50-year old joints are still a bit mad at me.

Zion National Park

First stop after flying into Las Vegas was Zion National Park. It was still pretty rainy while we were there, so many of the most popular hikes like the Narrows were shut down due to flash flooding. The main hike we did was to the Emerald Pools, which were actual pools thanks to all of the rain.

Bryce Canyon

The weather at our next stop was much more cooperative, and the scenery at Bryce Canyon was simply spectacular. Some of our group hiked down to the bottom, but my knees weren’t going to tolerate that, so I stuck to the rim (and ended up hiking half the rim accidentally when we thought “oh, let’s just walk to the next bus stop, it’ll be easy!”). Later on we drove back for sunset with some contraband bottles of champagne, and got to see our one prairie dog of the trip along the way (bad photo from the van included here).

Horseshoe Bend and Navajo National Park

After Bryce Canyon, we were supposed to go on a jeep tour of Antelope Canyon, but they shut down the entire park that day as a result of flash flooding. So instead we took a detour to Navajo National Park, after stopping at Horseshoe Bend (the “beginning” of the Grand Canyon) for photos and a picnic.

Monument Valley

We did get to go on our other Jeep tour, the one requiring us to wake up at 4am in order to be at Monument Valley for sunrise. I was a little cranky this day, due to the 4am wakeup, lack of coffee, and that being the moment that my camera deciding to break, but at least it broke in a way that it still worked – it just…wouldn’t turn off. So a lot of time spent removing and replacing batteries, but still some amazing pictures, including centuries old petroglyphs. This is genuinely one of the most beautiful and unique places I’ve ever seen – and the number of movies filmed here backs me up.

Grand Canyon

And finally, at the end of week one, the big kahuna. This was my first time at the Grand Canyon and it was really everything it was cracked up to be. No picture can truly capture how immense this place is, but I certainly tried. We drove in in time for a first view and sunset (and watched a rainstorm on the other side of the Canyon), and then spent the next day hiking the rim (again, some group members hiked the 4,000 feet to the bottom and then…back up, but I was not one of those people). Then we went on a helicopter tour in the afternoon and saw even more of the place, including the north rim, which is pretty inaccessible from the ground.


After the Grand Canyon, we returned to Vegas via Route 66 to drop of some folks who were only traveling for week 1, and pick up another passenger and new guide for week 2. Then we got waylaid by the weather again and had to cancel our visit to Death Valley because the park was closed for “the foreseeable future” thanks to the flooding damage from all of the rain. Instead, we went to an incredibly tacky little ghost silver mining town/theme park before finally hitting the vast golden fields of southern California

Sequoia and Kings Canyon

Then we spent the next two days at Sequoia and Kings Canyon, and visited the trees. SO MANY trees. Giant trees. including General Sherman, not just a big tree, but the largest living organism on earth. Hiked the Congress trail, were we also saw the President and the Senate (and where I finally got the joke). On day two we did some hiking and picnicking in Kings Canyon, where I very humorously tore my pants climbing over a fallen tree, so that’s a memory I will have forever.


And penultimately, Yosemite. site of all of those majestic Ansel Adams photographs (and a little gallery of his art, where you can buy an original print for the bargain basement price of $18,000). Half Dome and El Capitan are here, together with some lovely waterfalls and rivers, as well as a whole bunch of trash-scavenging birds.

San Francisco

And finally, San Francisco. Not technically a national park itself, but containing several (the Presidio, Golden Gate Park). Like every good tourist, we had lunch in Haight-Ashbury, hiked the trail to the Golden Gate Bridge (including going under the weird troll tunnel to get there), saw all of the sea lions at the pier, and took a sunset cruise around the bridge and Alcatraz. I spent an extra day there mostly visiting the SFMoMA, contemplated riding a streetcar (too crowded) and walking down the embarcadero for dinner. All in all a fantastic (and exhausting) trip.

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2022 travels – Spain/Portugal/Morocco


When I was trying to figure out where to go this summer, I was debating between Portugal and Morocco, and then I found this trip that went to both places (plus a bit of Spain), and thought PERFECT! It was a great time, if it a bit hot and maybe a bit too rushed in each place (I would have loved an extra day in Lisbon in particular), but it was still quite the adventure. In total, we went to Madrid, Salamanca, Porto, Lisbon, Evora, Olhao, Seville, Tangier, Chefchaouen (the blue city), Volubilis (the most complete roman ruins in Morocco), Fes, Casablanca and Marrakech over about 13 days (the trip was technically 15 days, but that includes the day I arrived in Madrid, and the day I flew out of Marrakech at 6 in the morning). As always, there are too many pictures, but only really a few for each location. And, as always, click on the thumbnails to get the actual pictures and (some) description.

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Greece 2021


Last month, after 18 months of pandemic, I finally took a trip. I ended up going to Greece in a bit of a roundabout fashion, due to my original trip to the US west getting cancelled (twice! once in 2020 and then again in 2021). All in all, Greece was a pretty nice backup plan. We traveled to a bunch of places, ate a ridiculous amount of food, watched a bunch of sunsets, and drank absurd amounts of wine.

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summer vacation 2019 | south africa and zimbabwe


In March, when I started investigating places to go on vacation, I had a few ideas in mind. As always, Africa gets put on the list, but unlike most years, it actually stayed on the list this time rather than succumbing to my normal dread of flying for that many hours. Then, when I went to look for actual trips, my favorite trip provider (National Geographic Journeys by Gadventures) happened to have TWO slots left for the their trip on the dates that worked for me, so I jumped on it without much more thinking.

This trip might go to the top of the list of the best ones I’ve taken (between this and the Galapagos and Machu Picchu, it’s a tough decision). But anyway…

I spent about 30 hours flying (with layovers) to Cape Town, South Africa, where I spent a few days, taking the cable car (thankfully reopened a week early!) to the top of Table Mountain and going to the Cape of Good Hope. We visited the Penguins (a major tourist attraction at this point) and got a private tour of the botanical gardens, which are some of the best in the world.

Then we flew to Johannesburg where we spent not much time, just a quick stop in Soweto for lunch and to visit Nelson Mandela’s house. It’s very small (only three rooms), and crowded with tours, so not much opportunity for good pictures, but certainly a worthwhile experience to understand the great man’s life.

Johannesburg was just a way station on our way to Kruger, which involved an all-day drive on the Panorama Route, which took us past some very scenic vistas before we got to our tented lodge, and then we did an all day drive in Kruger, where we got stalked by an entire pride of very boss lady lions before they killed several impalas right in front of us.

From Kruger, we moved to Karongwe, which is a private game reserve, where we did several more days of game drives and saw just an absolutely ridiculous number of things, and I might have gotten carried away with the Cheetahs. After Karongwe, we headed back to JoBerg to fly to Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls, which was very nice and relaxing and involved a very luxe river cruise on our last night.

I took over 7,000 photos, and somehow managed to edit that monster pile to the following 85. As always, wait for the page to finish loading and then click on the thumbnails to view the actual pictures. Enjoy!

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reading terminal market


I went to Philadelphia last weekend for my twentieth (!!) law school reunion, and in between the multiple parties and recuperative naps, I obviously wandered around town and took some pictures. This is the always fantastic sign for the reading terminal market, which is hard to photograph because it is wedged directly across a narrow intersection and behind this annoying streetlight.

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For my summer vacation this summer, I opted to go to Alaska. I traveled with G Adventures/Nat Geo, the same venture that I went with to Iceland in 2016 and Peru in 2017. I chose Alaska for a variety of reasons – first, the trip was one that fit into my existing vacation schedule. Second, I have been trying, at least periodically, to go more places within the United States that I wouldn’t ordinarily travel to (see Wyoming in 2015). Lastly, I wanted a trip that was a bit shorter than my normal two weeks, because my brother was coming home for a spell, and I wanted to split my time off so that I would actually get to spend at least a few days with him. So…Alaska.

The trip looped from Anchorage to Homer to Seward to Denali and back to Anchorage. It started a bit rocky, with my flight nearly getting grounded at JFK and ultimately sitting on the tarmac for six hours, thanks to a veritable monsoon in NYC. A few rebookings and many hours later, I landed in Anchorage, missing all of the first day/night activities, but at least not missing the tour, unlike all of the folks who were supposed to be on cruises who missed their boats.

First stop took us to Homer, a cute coastal town, where we were supposed to go on lots of hikes, but due to the typhoon-like weather than apparently followed me from NYC, we instead visited every coffee shop in town, along with the very small, but very cute Pratt Museum, and squeezed in a hike when the weather finally cleared up a bit.

From Homer we circled around to Seward, another coastal town, where we got a private behind-the-scenes tour of the Alaska Sea Life Center (interrupted by an always fun fire alarm!), saw our first puffins, went on a boat tour of the alaskan coast and saw more puffins in the actual wild, together with a pod of orcas, and hiked up to view Exit Glacier, which is much smaller than it was even a few years ago.

From Seward, we had a loooong drive up to Denali, stopping a few times to stretch our legs and take pictures along the way. Our first full day in Denali was a 4 hour one-way bus ride deep into the park to view wildlife and the Alaska range – of course it was cloudy and rainy on the day we were scheduled to do this, so we couldn’t actually see Denali (only 30% of visitors actually ever see the mountain). The next day, when we did some more local hikes, it was (obviously) clear and beautiful.

Last, we headed back to Anchorage where at least some of us had a day to wander around before leaving for the airport, but not before I (or really, our fantastic tour leader) arranged for a local photography guide to take me on the Denali and Parks highways early in the morning so that I could do some landscape photography. As a bonus, we ran into some beavers building a beaver palace, even though they normally only come out in the evening!

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summer vacation…Peru


This spring, when I started thinking about what I wanted to do for my summer vacation, I swore up and down that I was going to go somewhere relaxing and just drink wine for two weeks. Which is clearly how I ended up on another “adventure” vacation that involved not only literal planes, trains, and automobiles…and boats, but somehow walking up every giant flight of stone steps built by the Incas in the entire Cusco valley. As someone who (internally) grimaces when I visit friends in NYC who live in walkups? This was clearly an excellent idea. But it was absolutely amazing. This is the second trip I’ve taken with the National Geographic Journeys-G Adventures partnership, and it was another solid win. I think I’ve talked at least three other people in my office into taking trips in the two weeks since I’ve been back.

The trip started in Lima (where I arrived a few days early to actually spend some time in Lima), then we flew to Tambopata in the Peruvian Amazon, and then we flew to Cusco, where I hung out with some folks from some other tours while most of my actual tour went off to hike the Inka trail or the Lares Trek. I know my limitations, both in terms of hiking and ability to be a pleasant human being without a bed, shower or bathroom, and opted to not spend three days hiking along a trail that included sites named things like “Dead Woman’s Pass”.

We all reconnected at the place where everyone in Peru eventually arrives – Machu Picchu. At a certain point, with the amount of time people spend talking about it, you start to think it’s overrated and can’t really be that amazing.

It’s that amazing. Not just the construction – the natural beauty of the site by itself is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced. We all had to get on line for the bus to get there at about 4-something in the morning, and it was raining while we stood in this two-hour long line. But the rain stopped by the time we were at the site, and turned into steam coming off the mountains that made us feel like we were actually standing in the clouds. I’m not sure my pictures do it justice, but I sure took a lot of them.

Oh, and as for the wine I planned to drink? The wine in Peru was good, but I ended up not drinking very much of it thanks to the fact that once I got to Cusco the altitude made one glass pretty much my limit. I really need to plan that part better next time!

As always, click on the thumbnails to get bigger pictures and descriptions. These go in the order of the trip.

…and finally, for good measure, to get the full scope of the entire place, I stitched a panorama of the full view of Machu Picchu together (the grey is because I didn’t want to crop it down to make things “even”)…

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30th street station


I don’t think my distaste for New York’s Penn Station is any secret, but it only gets emphasized when I get to spend time in other train stations that are more beautiful. Obviously, here in NYC, Grand Central and the new Oculus are great spaces (and vastly different to each other), but other cities still have beautiful Amtrak stations.

I took a short trip to Philly this summer to visit friends, the weekend before the DNC, and so 30th street was at its shiniest, spiffiest best. This is one of my favorite stations – sure Amtrak does its best to muck things up with its standardized modern signage that makes zero effort to blend with the classic art deco building, but it’s still OK.

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for this summer’s vacation, I took myself to iceland. I went on the Nat Geo/G Adventures “Explore Iceland” tour of the southern part of the country, with a few extra days in Reykjavik at the beginning. It was a great time, our guide was great (both as a guide and a lot of fun), and my only complaint is that I managed to come home with a cold, but I’m blaming that on the guy next to me on one of my flights who coughed the entire trip and wouldn’t cover his mouth, no matter how many dirty looks I gave him. I’ve managed to whittle down the 1,500 pictures to the 125 or so below (plus one attempt at a stop motion thingamajig). Without further ado…

I flew to Reykjavik on Thursday, landing in the middle of the night, so I really had Friday/Saturday/Sunday to get over my jet lag and explore before meeting up with the tour group on Sunday afternoon/evening. I didn’t really plan this when I planned the overall trip, but Saturday was basically the biggest day of the year in Reykjavik – the Culture Night, a combination of the city marathon, a giant street fair, and massive concert/party all day and night that coincides with the anniversary of the city. it’s like July 4th and New Years’ rolled into one, in the politest city on earth. so that was fun. The entire country of iceland only has a population of 350,000, which I think is smaller than the number of people who ride my subway train in the morning, so the scale of things is just a bit different. This first batch of photos is from my wanderings around Reykjavik for the first couple of days. I did venture into a few museums, but I generally don’t take pictures inside those (and the few I did aren’t particularly…photogenic), so nothing to show for that. Other highlights include a lot of random statues, doors, and a trip to the top of the Reykjavik Cathedral. There’s an elevator.

Sunday night, I met up with the tour group, and we went for a ‘traditional’ icelandic tasting menu. I managed to take pictures of everything except for dessert. As a bonus, one of my tour-mates took a not horrible photo of me, so this is the rare trip where I will actually appear in some of the photos. If anyone is curious, the dessert was icelandic skyr.

The first day of our tour was the “golden circle”, which a lot of folks do as a day trip from Reykjavik – it took us first to a geothermal power plant, where we learned how iceland is 100% powered by the volcanoes that the entire country sits on, then to site of the original icelandic parliament, which is really just a gorgeous lake, and then to the mid-atlantic ridge. Then we went to lunch at a hydroponic tomato farm greenhouse where they serve nothing but tomato-based foods, saw some icelandic horses, then, went to Geysir, which you can probably guess is the site of a lot of geysers, and finally to Gulfoss, the first of about a zillion waterfalls that cover this gorgeous country.

Lest you think the little geyser in the photos above was the only geyser I photographed, I saved the best for last. below is (an attempt at) a compilation of all of the photos I took of the main geyser going off. Note at the very beginning the perfect bubble that forms before the geyser actually explodes. We had to wait for about six explosions before I managed to catch that split-second moment on film.

Day two of the tour (yes, we’re only on day 2) involved traveling to Vik, the southernmost point in iceland, with stops at some major waterfalls and the coastline along the way. This is a stunningly beautiful country, entirely formed by volcanoes. The beaches are black volcanic sand and the waterfalls are runoff from the volcanic glaciers, and there are these crazy basalt pillars rising up from the earth all over the place.

Day three was more (smaller) waterfalls, glacier lagoons, crystal beaches where icebergs wash up on shore, and turf-roofed churches. and sheep. The sheep simply roam the entire country during the warm months and you’ll see them everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

Day four of the trip was hiking on a glacier! unfortunately, while the actual scenery was beautiful, the volcanic-ash covered ice wasn’t particularly photogenic up close. Then we went to yet another waterfall in the afternoon (seriously. There are a lot of waterfalls).

The final day of the tour involved driving back across southern iceland, with a few stops – first to a bridge monument that is the last remnants of a bridge that was wiped out by a volcanic eruption and massive flood in 1996. Then to Fjaorargijufur, a beautiful gorge that is probably *now* most famous for being used in a (ugh) Justin Bieber video. (it’s even prettier when the sun is actually shining – we were avoiding rain all day). Lastly, to a settlement museum where we learned a bit more about the history of iceland and visited a historic village that had been relocated to the museum grounds. And that was it (at least for public consumption – pictures from the bar in Reykjavik later in the evening are under lock and key!)

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instagram roundup | may, june, july


Because I got my new camera during this period, I was taking more “real” pictures, so pure instagram posts were a little sparser. but Sadie the cat is ever present, as are some travel-related pics and some minor clues as to my political leanings.

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