A Real Amazing Race: Jan Steves and the Iditarod part 2

The Ceremonial Start of the Iditarod took place today, and Jan Steves took off with bib #40 at 11:23 a.m. for her third year in a row in this grueling competition.  Her daughter Nicolina was there to represent our whole family and cheer her on.  I’m sure that for Jan, this time is as exciting as the first,Continue reading “A Real Amazing Race: Jan Steves and the Iditarod part 2”

A Real Amazing Race: Jan Steves and the Iditarod part 1

My partner Rick got his entrepreneurial genes from his dad.  Prior to becoming an expert on European travel, he was a pre-pubescent magazine seller, a teenage rare coin trader, and a college student piano teacher.  His sister Jan Steves is entrepreneurial, too, but she’s got something more.  She has the adventure gene, courtesy of herContinue reading “A Real Amazing Race: Jan Steves and the Iditarod part 1”

Scenes from a Guide Summit

Name 20 countries from the European Union. Imagine the “typical” citizens of those countries–their features, their demeanors, their gestures, their accents. Now picture a collection of 120 people from those countries who are passionate aficionados on the history, art, culture, politics, and people of those motherlands all descending on a small town just north ofContinue reading “Scenes from a Guide Summit”

Dale Chihuly’s Garden and Glass Museum: Art Rivaling Nature

Imagine columns of aqua blue starfish, seashells, and kelp bulbs. Visualize ceilings of tire-sized flowers of every color hovering above you and radiating a rainbow of sunlight with your body as the canvas. Picture rowboats piled with Technicolor orbs, wispy rods and belled vessels, floating atop a sea of black glass, reflecting the surreal masterpiecesContinue reading “Dale Chihuly’s Garden and Glass Museum: Art Rivaling Nature”

Being a Tourist in Your Own Town

I love Seattle, and after nearly four years of living here, it finally feels like home.  It’s a dynamite town.  It’s small yet metropolitan.  Neighborhoods like Ballard, Capitol Hill, Freemont, and Magnolia boast distinct personalities yet feel cohesively Seattle.  We have a good baseball team, a stellar soccer team, and a phenomenal football team (GoContinue reading “Being a Tourist in Your Own Town”

Right Place, Right Time: Visiting the USS Missouri

With our moving experience at the USS Arizona Memorial completed, Odile and I have just enough time for a blitz visit to the USS Missouri before scooping up her little cherubs from preschool.  As we drive onto Ford Island, the tranquil solemnity I felt on the Arizona quickly gives way to mild panic about havingContinue reading “Right Place, Right Time: Visiting the USS Missouri”

Letting Fate Be Your Guide in Venice

Letting Fate Be Your Guide in Venice It’s early morning.  6:30 to be exact.  I’ve yet to take my shower, but centuries-old buildings are bathing in amber-and rose-tinted sunlight and summon me for a visit.  There’s so much to do today, and I need to maximize my time here.  Ninety minutes of Venice practically allContinue reading “Letting Fate Be Your Guide in Venice”

Life in a Volcanic Landscape

No trip to Iceland is complete without a visit to the highlands.  With the help of an expert guide–equipped with a “Super Jeep”, Rick and I made the four-hour trek from Reykjavik to the rugged and almost other worldly landscapes near Eyjafjallajökul (pronounced EY-ya-fyad-luh-YO-kuld, a.k.a. E15–starts with “E” has 15 letters).  You’ll recall that thisContinue reading “Life in a Volcanic Landscape”

Iceland Iceland Baby

What do you do in Iceland when you only have two days to visit?  Lots, that’s what. Instead of flying directly from St. Petersburg to Seattle, my partner Rick Steves and I decided to take advantage of spending some time (for the first time) in Iceland.  We hoped to break up our jet lag andContinue reading “Iceland Iceland Baby”

Cultural Eye-candy in St. Petersburg

“Dobryy den’,” I said to the Dorothy Hamill-coiffed customs agent.  I was eager to practice the little Russian I knew.  She must not have heard me because she didn’t respond to my greeting.  “Dobryy den’,” I repeated, this time with a smile.  Maybe I was pronouncing it wrong.  The third time I wished her goodContinue reading “Cultural Eye-candy in St. Petersburg”