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Ventana - An Enchanting Resort in BIg Sur

Summary: I love Ventana. I highly recommend visiting  and exploring the landscape at Lime Kiln and Andrew Molera State Park which I've blogged about here. Please note this is #notsponsored . Yes, that means we paid our own bill! Lots of details in the following review. including a Post Ranch vs Ventana comparison.  Can you tell there's something exciting beyond this beautiful gate? There's something special about Big Sur, a magic in the light, the presence of the Pacific, the cliffs, beaches, redwood forests and the murmur of the surf. It's one of my favorite places in California. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to be to celebrate turning fifty, because it's a place where there's a sense of nature, space and light and a wide horizon. We've been to Big Sur many times and for a celebration there are two fantastic hotels vying for your attention. The exclusive, modern and very private, cliff top Post Ranch Inn and on the other side of the road the …

Serendipity - Bringing the Joy of Traveling home

With Zaki at the Palace of the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco, May 2011
In a previous post entitled,  "It's all About the People you Meet", I mentioned that in a moment of serendipity in  Jordan, we were lucky enough to run into a wonderful chap called Zaki, who showed us all around his town. Zaki emigrated to San Francisco decades ago, but still spends time with his extended family in Madaba where we met him.  There's a wonderful charm to traveling, where you are completely open to the people you meet and anything could happen. We met Zaki, we spent the day together and we let the experience it take us along for the ride. I think Sofia Coppola's film "Lost in Translation" best captures the sense of simpatico, dislocation and connection we're all open to when we're away from home.
However, it's rare to bring the feeling back home with you, but we had a wonderful experience of this recently when we met up with Zaki here in San Francisco. Having seen the wonderful mosaics that Madaba is famous for, we thought it would be fun to go to the Palace of the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco which was hosting a magnificent Roman mosaic from Lod, Israel. 
Detail of the Lod mosaic
Detail of the Lod mosaic
The Lod mosaic was spectacular, and though secular in its subject matter, was of a similar  period and style to the early Christian mosaics we had seen on our  trip. The following pictures give you an idea of some of the mosaics we saw, including the famous Madaba mosaic map.
There are a large number of mosaic sites in Madaba
Jerusalem on the Madaba  mosaic map
The Madaba mosaic map is located on the floor of an early Byzantine church.
Mosaic cat in Madaba
So often when we  travel we meet people we like, and although we hope to stay in touch, or to meet up another time, somehow daily life takes over when we return home. What made meeting up with Zaki so much fun, wasn't that we saw a similar mosaic, it was the fact that once again we found ourselves in unfamiliar and uncertain  circumstances and we went along with the situations we found. We thought we were going to the museum, which we did do.  But first we had to visit his son's Middle Eastern grocery store, where Zaki loaded us down with goodies. Then it turned out to be Zaki's birthday. So, we ended up driving with him to South San Francisco for a birthday party, where we met his large, extended Jordanian family. It wasn't our normal Sunday, but it brought  the serendipity and delight of travel  into our life at home, fabulous!
 I love how the camel is not constrained by the medallion,  Petra




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