The coast of Greenland from 38,000 feet

On our flight from Philadelphia to Paris, we departed in darkness and arrived in heavy snow, so we didn’t see much other than the lights on the wingtips. On the way home, though, we had clear skies and bright sun almost the whole way. The pilot called our attention to the coast of Greenland as we passed over at 38,000 feet. Kathryn, who had the window seat, grabbed the camera and took this photo. Continue reading The coast of Greenland from 38,000 feet

The day we were left alone in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles

If you’ve ever been to the Palace of Versailles, you know what a tourist attraction it is. If you’ve never been, take my word for it. Even on a cloudy, drizzly winter day like yesterday, when the park and gardens were closed and only the palace itself was open to the public, there were dozens of tour buses parked in front of the palace. Getting a photo without other people in it is nearly impossible. So it was somewhat remarkable that, for a few brief moments, Kathryn and I ended up in the Hall of Mirrors, the highlight of the tour, by ourselves. Here’s how it happened. Continue reading The day we were left alone in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles

Regional words and fat Frenchmen

It turns out that Angelina, the venerable tea room on rue de Rivoli in Paris, has an outpost at the Palace of Versailles. Kathryn and I found ourselves there earlier today, enjoying a snack of chocolat chaud africain before finishing our tour of the museum. We were in the tea room all alone — more on why we were alone in a future post — and we had just ordered. As usual, Kathryn let me do the ordering. I think she likes to hear me speak French, even though my French sucks. Continue reading Regional words and fat Frenchmen

Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated

I know it’s been several months since I’ve been active on this blog, other than to respond to the occasional comment. I even received one e-mail from someone interested in buying the blog, since to him I appeared to be done with it.

Rest assured, though, I’m not done with Pilgrimito, and I’m hardly done traveling. In fact, since the middle of last year, Kathryn and I have attended a wedding in Kauai, spent a week with family in New England, drove to all twenty-one of the Catholic missions in California, and of course made at least a couple weekend road trips to Las Vegas. Continue reading Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated

Hiking along Horton Creek Trail

Last weekend, Kathryn and I decided to take a break from our usual summer routine of doing absolutely nothing in the sweltering Phoenix heat. Instead, we made a day trip to the slightly cooler Payson area to do some hiking along Horton Creek, just under the Mogollon Rim in Tonto National Forest. Continue reading Hiking along Horton Creek Trail

Gordon Ramsay Steak, Las Vegas

Shortly before the arrival of our main course at Gordon Ramsay Steak in Las Vegas, my wife Kathryn leaned over to me and said, “This has been a very weird experience.” She was right. The service had been weird. Quite weird. However, the food was more than worth the weird. Continue reading Gordon Ramsay Steak, Las Vegas

Another beautiful morning in Phoenix

I managed to get out of bed this morning in time for an early hike before work. It’s one of those few beautiful weeks we see every spring in Phoenix. The sun is up early enough to start a hike at 5:30 am, but it’s not too hot outside. Today was gorgeous. There was no discernible wind, and yet the air was clear. The brown cloud that normally covers the city during the week was nowhere to be seen.

Temporarily under construction

In addition to adding new content, I’m constantly tweaking the layout of this blog. This morning, on a whim, I reset the default blog theme, essentially casting aside a year’s worth of customizations. Over the next several days, you’ll see more changes than usual. Unless you’re viewing on a mobile phone, in which case you shouldn’t notice any change at all.

Reflections from the friendly skies

Although I usually bring a computer with me when I travel, I generally don’t use it when I’m on an airplane. Since I can read what’s on everyone else’s laptop, I know they can read whatever’s on mine. I value my privacy. I prefer to pull out a paper notebook and a pen and write in cursive. Even someone sitting next to me would have to strain to decipher that. Continue reading Reflections from the friendly skies

Afternoon in Sète

Sète is a coastal city in southern France, located a short drive or train ride from Montpellier, where I used to live. Sète has the vibe of a busy fishing village, making it a fun place to visit for an afternoon. I’d occasionally come for a seafood lunch at one of the tourist restaurants along the canals, then stroll to the harbor and along the shore. Continue reading Afternoon in Sète

Nora’s Cuisine

When Kathryn and I make our regular road trips to Las Vegas, we typically leave Phoenix after work Friday, in the middle of the afternoon. If all goes well, we arrive in Las Vegas in the early evening. Usually we arrive without any specific plans, and we just sort of wing it. There’s no shortage of things to do there, but we often feel like we could have used our arrival evening more wisely. So last week, before leaving Phoenix, I decided to make a dinner reservation for 8:30. This would leave us plenty of time to check in at our hotel and freshen up, and it would also give us something to look forward to along the way. Continue reading Nora’s Cuisine

Going places: January edition

Well, folks, I’ve had a good, long two-week rest from my blog. It’s time to sit down and catch you up on where I’m going and what I’m doing. For your reading pleasure, here’s the latest installment of my not-quite-monthly “going places” series. Continue reading Going places: January edition

Two easy ways to see the Pope in Rome

There are two easy ways to see the Pope when you’re in Rome. Kathryn and I were able to see him both ways during our visit to Rome earlier this year. As long as the Pope isn’t away from the city for his vacation or for an apostolic visit, you should be able to see him too. Continue reading Two easy ways to see the Pope in Rome

Last day in Las Vegas

It turns out I didn’t get the sunrise photos I wanted on our last day in Las Vegas. It was raining when the sun came up and still raining when we left the hotel, although the rain let up early in the morning. However, we did find a decent donut shop, found a beautiful Sunday Mass, and had lunch with our friend Kerrie, with whom we couldn’t seem to connect Friday evening. Continue reading Last day in Las Vegas

Eating and relaxing in Las Vegas

Our weekend trips to Las Vegas tend to be busy. We usually cram everything we possibly can into the less-than-48 hours we’ll be here. Sleep comes only out of necessity. So it’s a little weird that I’m starting a new post at 6:20 am, after getting a full night’s sleep and then some. I think we were in bed by 9 pm. That’s pretty lame. Continue reading Eating and relaxing in Las Vegas

New day in Las Vegas

It’s just after dawn here in Las Vegas. I’ve been awake for an hour or so, and I’m working on my second cup of shitty in-room coffee. Our room at the Orleans has a view of the Strip. Since we’re west of the Strip, I’ve been watching the sun rise over Luxor, Mandalay Bay, and the McCarran airport. Continue reading New day in Las Vegas