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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 

Transitions - Making the Best of a Bad Situation

Recently we lost our much loved pooch and consequently decided we needed a distraction, given how much we loved the dog it needed to be a big distraction. So, predictably we have new travel plans afoot and there'll be lots of fodder for the blog!

For a long time we've thought about traveling for a longer period, possibly working abroad or exchanging our house. Because we live close to a University we've often looked with curiosity at Sabbatical Homes  and thought about either exchanging with, or renting  to, a visiting scholar. 

We didn't want to advertise but we did reply (rather on a whim) to three couples on seeking a house in our area; a French family, two Professors from Toronto and a brace of of Brits with their dog. Within two weeks, and rather to our astonishment, we had rented the house out to the very nice  British couple. A Professor friend of theirs made a preliminary visit to check out the house (and us of course!) and it was nice to find out we knew someone in common. The fewer degrees of separation between you and the renters seem wise when you're leaving  your home impulsively! We took the Brits on a skype walk through of the house and by the time we had cashed their deposit cheque we've found ourselves committed to leaving California for the Spring Semester 2013!

We'll be away from home from the New Year through the end of May and so far it has certainly been the time consuming, emotional distraction we needed. 

We were lucky to get return frequent flier tickets to London on British Airways, perhaps I'll blog about  this later. We're planning a few days in London with too much theatre as I've already mentioned,  a few days in Dublin with family, January in Lisbon, and February through May in Paris. 

Here are some images to start us off, the Eiffel Tower from a different angle on our last visit to Paris and the famous tram 28 which runs close to the apartment we've rented in Lisbon.

Lisbon's Famous Electric Trolley

Posts on the apartments we've rented and lots more to follow...