Travel & Food

10 Days, 10 Photos, 10 Explanations (At Last)

I was recently challenged to post ten random travel photos on Facebook. The challenge required me to post the photos with no explanation, so I thought I’d have fun by picking photos from places that weren’t obvious. No Space Needle, no Empire State Building, no Hollywood sign, no Big Ben — no landmarks at all.

Since the challenge is over, I figured it’s time to let everyone know where the photos were taken.

The first one is from Queenstown, New Zealand. This is Lake Wakatipu as seen from the top of Bob’s Peak. There is a bungee jump site near here, and I’m definitely going to try that the next time we’re there. (I was too heavy on our last trip.)

Here’s Boulder Falls, about half an hour west of Boulder, Colorado. There’s no cell service anywhere near this short hiking trail, so there were a bunch of passive-aggressive voice mail messages on the Complimentary Spouse‘s phone from his family when we got back to civilization. “Where are you?” “Why haven’t you called us back?” “Why aren’t you picking up your phone?”

This is a detail from the Matthias Church in Budapest. I honestly don’t remember anything about this building other than the beautifully tiled roof.

This is a church in Española, New Mexico. This was taken on our first trip as a couple, way back in 2003. We were driving from Santa Fe to Taos and I made Britt stop the car so I could take this photo.

This is a sunset photo taken at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. The Getty Center is one of my favorite museums, more for its architecture, views, and gardens than its art collection. The complex is located on top of a hill, and you have to take a short train ride to get there from the parking lot. This seems a little inconvenient, but it feels like you’re being lifted out of the hubbub of the city and into a little bubble of tranquility.

Here’s a great photo of Caerphilly Castle in Wales. It dates back to the 13th Century and went through a long period of disrepair before being restored a few decades ago. I like how one of the defense towers hasn’t been fixed and still sits at an angle.

I didn’t have to travel to Africa to see these two giraffes. They were waiting for me at Disney’s Animal Kingdom1 in Orlando.

If you visit the Blue Mosque2 in Istanbul and look up, this is what you’ll see. While the tiles are beautiful, the most striking thing to me is the engineering. The mosque can support the weight of five large domes (and several more smaller ones) without load-bearing columns.

Buoy oh buoy! I spotted these seals and bald eagle in Juneau, Alaska. Later this day I saw a pod of whales engaged in bubble-net feeding, which was simply amazing.

This young soccer player was practicing his skills in Fusterlandia, a neighborhood in Havana that’s best described as a joyous explosion of mosaics. I think this is one of the best photos I’ve ever taken — I was lucky enough to get the ball in mid-air, and it’s not blurry. I love the look on the boy’s face: determined yet confident. There’s a mosaic dove perched above the words “Princesa Diana.”

1 This is my favorite of all four Disney theme parks. All of the theme parks are fabricated environments, but the illusion is most convincing in the Animal Kingdom.
2 It’s actually the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, but it’s better known by tourists by its nickname. You’ll find it a few steps away from the Hagia Sophia Mosque, which is about 1,000 years older and also supports a massive dome without load-bearing columns! Both buildings are amazing and impressive, and it’s amazing to see how much progress had been made in engineering and architecture in a millennium.