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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 …

Modes of Transport - Vietnam and Siem Reap

Our boat moored for the night in Halong Bay, Vietnam

I'm feeling the need for some more inspiring pictures so I thought I would dig through photos from our old trips, looking for  the varied and various forms of transport we saw or took. The first thing that struck me is how rarely I bother to take photos at the airport, or on a plane. The second thing I realized is that  the one mode of transport that you remember, above all others in Vietnam, is the motorcycle and ironically I don't seem to have a single good photo. Having spent a great deal of our holiday merely trying to dodge them as we crossed the road in Hanoi, it seems hard to believe I failed to take one photo of the ubiquitous machines which swarm everywhere. I can barely believe I didn't attempt to document, with a photo, how many people, children and baskets can be balanced on one small motorcycle. I think the largest number was a family of seven or eight and I remember that this topic was a mainstay of our vacation conversation! The balancing acts were mesmerizing.

Tethered balloon over Siem Reap, we chose to walk around the site

We travelled by foot, tuk tuk, car, boat, train and plane, but we managed to resist an elephant ride in Hue. We flew into DaNang from Siem Reap on Silk Air, and flew from Hanoi to Koh Samui (via Bangkok) when we left. It was an interesting trip and I enjoyed it. However, as Vietnam is a long skinny country, it feels as if all the tourist are on the same road, moving either north or south, through a predictable set of preselected destinations. 

Traveling north on the train between Hue and Hanoi, Vietnam

Charming scene in Hoi An on the central coast, Vietnam

A riverside market in Hoi Ahn, Vietnam

Tourists dressed as the Emperor and Empress - they look more like Barnum and Bailey than royalty

Fishing in Vietnam