Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The U.S., in a Flowery Dress

I bought a breezy, flowery dress during our visit home to the U.S., and apparently wore the heck out of it, based upon the fact that I have it on in almost every photo from the trip. Just a warning.

This trip home was absolutely full of loveliness. The familiarity of the faces and places, and the amazing weather, were so good for the soul. We have some pretty awesome friends and family, and we can't thank them enough for how hospitable, hilarious, supportive, and fun they are. Thanks to everyone for making home feel like home! We're happy to get to have you around a lot more often, soon.

Wings and fried pickles at Fire on the Mountain immediately upon arrival in Portland.

A stop at Clyde Common. Oh happy hour, we'd missed you so.

Hanging with our best buds, Josh and Laura, at the Eat Mobile food cart festival. These two little weasels are conveniently moving to Europe just before we move back to Portland. We're going to miss them beyond words, but we're so happy for their opportunity to live in Europe. We love you guys, and look forward to visiting you on this side of the pond over the next few years!

Photo shoot with Joel, Kate, Joe, and Sam (a.k.a. some of our favorite peeps):

Ken and Josh enjoying the evening and brews at Breakside Brewery.

Laura, and the delish mac and cheese!

Ken and I took a road trip to the mountains in Washington to meet some special new friends... 

Welcome to Cascade country.

We left Portland early to make sure we got there on time, and ended up with some time to kill. Luckily, we came across a restaurant in a train car.

Meeting some Newfoundlands! Hopefully, we can get our very own Newf friend in September. Fingers crossed.

Beautiful tulip farm on the drive back to Oregon.

Next stop: Arizona. We got to stay a night with Jamie and Doug in Phoenix - so fun!

Ken's big bro Rob got married, to lovely Tanya. We had a great time in Arizona with Ken's family. It was great to celebrate with you, Bob, Mary, Rob, and Tanya!

Ken headed back to Oslo after the wedding, and I headed to Oklahoma for some time with my fantastic family...

Dinner at the Blue Rose on the river in Tulsa.

Mom's first food cart experience. Glad T-town is hopping on the food cart wagon. This place is delish!

A fun lunch with Mica, Denise, and sweet baby Will in Norman.

Nostalgic snow cone in Shawnee.

Then it was back to Portland for a few more days. The weather and spring flowers were absolute perfection!

I absolutely had to take advantage of the weather with a hike, so I headed out to the coast, stopping at Saddle Mountain for the view on a clear day. It was a good choice.

Fueling up on my fave chai before picking up the Zipcar.

Happy trails.

Oregon, you are truly a gem.

The Pacific is out there on the horizon - it's possible to see it and the major peaks of the Cascades on a clear day. They were definitely visible, and unfortunately didn't photograph well. But, it was gorgeous up there.

Hiked the entire thing in Vibram Five Fingers. They were totally great, and kept my feet really cool. Had to explain to a few inquiring strangers on the trail that the shoes were fine, and I wasn't crazy. If anything, you're much more aware of each step you take in these, so you don't come down hard on a single rock.

Last night in P-town: the patio at rontoms with a fun crew. Kate, remember when we awkwardly asked that nice server to take our pic, and I couldn't figure out why it was fuzzy when we were giggling afterward? Apparently, the switch to manual focus was hit somewhere along the way (probably in my bag). Ahh, well...we'll have plenty of time for pics soon :) Thanks again for all your hospitality in P-town!

It was such a fantastic trip home. Too many Moments of Zen to name one!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Barcelona was our last stop during the week in Spain. 

(So, that was a long time ago now...a few weeks of traveling in May threw a wrench in the blogging!) 

Barcelona definitely felt very different than Madrid and Alicante, which is understandable, considering Catalunya doesn't necessarily consider itself to be part of Spain.

When we arrived in Barcelona, it was absolutely pouring rain. This put a little damper (no pun intended...) on our plans to walk around and check things out. Luckily, after a nap, the rain let up a bit and we pulled out the map.

We started off on a Gaudí quest, which began with Park Guell. If Candyland became a non-edible real place, this might be it.

After Park Guell, we hoofed it down to the city to find other trippy Gaudí work, much to Ken's dismay...

Sagrada Família. This place had a whole lot going on! Crazy detail.

Casa Milà 

Casa Batlló

Illa de la Discòrdia - Casa Amatller (Puig) and Casa Batlló (Gaudí)

And the non-Gaudí adventures...

Our hotel was in el Barri Gòtic, a beautiful area.

Our friends Marcus and Frans were in Barcelona the same weekend, so we had a fun dinner together.

At the pub after dinner.

Hidden talent.

We also had dinner with our friends Robin and Trygve, who were visiting Barcelona as well (apparently it was the place to be!). I don't have a pic of the four of us, but we did get a good laugh out of this bottle of tonic, made by Coca-Cola. There's definitely not an "ø" in "Nordic", and Trygve (who's Norwegian) commented, "You Americans just love to use the 'ø' think it's so cute, don't you?"

And the Moment of Zen:

Finding an awesome beer bar, with lots of Rogue. Ken was here for a quite awhile. Then we bought some bottles to go, and enjoyed them in the hot tub on the roof of our hotel. Not too shabby!