Archive for the ‘Monuments’ Category

The Final Journey of the Year – Ecuador, Galapagos, Peru, Machu Picchu

November 10th, 2008 at 3:53 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

We had been hoping to finish up a few more posts about New York, Costa Rica, and our time in Massachusetts a couple of weeks ago – especially about the great meals we had at Boston’s O Ya and L’Espalier – but that will have to wait until we have more time to write and post and review the thousands of photos we took in Canada and New England.

I ended up spending all of last week in Dallas on business, with no time for anything but the project I was there for. I got home to Bonaire two days ago in the early morning hours, and all of The Traveling Richters are due to be on a flight to Quito, Ecuador in the morning for the start of our final exploration of the year.

We will spend the rest of the week in and around Quito, exploring the colonial city, regional crafts and arts centers, and also will take typical tourist pictures of ourselves straddling the equator. On Saturday we start our time with Lindblad Expeditions with a flight to the Galapagos Islands, best known for where, approximately 175 years ago, Charles Darwin got his inspiration for the concept of natural selection as a key process in biological evolution. We will spend a week aboard a ship, exploring various islands, hoping to see Galapagos tortoises in their natural settings, marine iguanas, Darwin’s famous finches, large schools of sharks during our snorkels, and a plethora of other fauna. And maybe some flora too.

From the Galapagos, we fly back to the mainland, and then down to Lima, Peru, and from there to Cusco and by bus to the Sacred Valley of the Incas high in the Andes. A couple of days later we’ll be at the fabled Incan ruins of Machu Picchu – spending the night there. Then we’re down to Cusco for a couple of days before returning to Lima for a final night before parting ways with the folks from Lindblad Expeditions.

We’ll spend a morning being driven to Ica, the wine capital of Peru, spending the rest of the day and night there so that the following morning we can take a private plane over the mysterious Nazca Lines, before returning for a few days in Lima. To get back home we have to overnight in Quito and catch the direct flight back to Bonaire on KLM from there. We’ll be back home on December 4th. And I probably have to head back north for two weeks of consulting right after our return. Gotta love those frequent flyer miles.

At this point Linda and Bas are rather travel weary, so they will undoubtedly be glad when this final trip for the year is over. The only trip of any sort we have scheduled at this point for 2009 is a couple weeks in the southwest, centered around Tucson for the Renaissance Weekend conference, with a few days at a ski area in New Mexico at the end for the kids to enjoy (brr!!!) the snow. And we may head up to New Hampshire later in the year as well. But that’s it. For now.

Krystyana and I will attempt to post missives from our South American travels – hopefully the Spanish we learned in Costa Rica in September will be of use.

 

Doing Uncommon Exploring In New York City

September 4th, 2008 at 5:39 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

When we first decided back in July that we wanted to spend a couple of weeks in New York City last month, we knew we wanted to do things we had not done before during prior visits. That meant we didn’t need to go to the top of the Empire State Building, see the permanent exhibits at the Natural History Museum or Metropolitan Museum of Art, or gawking in Times Square.

However, finding out-of-the-ordinary things to do in New York City was a bit of a challenge. Our American Express Concierge service could only come up with a helicopter tour of New York City. And posts on various travel sites also didn’t elicit anything particularly stellar, except for one thing – a suggestion to get in touch with Context Travel.

Context Travel specializes in scholar-led walks of a number of “great” cities, including Rome, Paris, and New York. If only we had known about them when we were in Paris a couple of months ago… We had first heard of Context Travel in a magazine from American Express just recently, and thought they only covered European cities. They were highlighted as having helped director Ron Howard get a private tour of the Vatican and Sistine Chapel in preparation for the forthcoming movie “Angels & Demons”. So when the folks at Indagare suggested we check out their New York City offerings, we jumped at the idea.

Ultimately, we arranged four tours with Context Travel – I will go into those in another blog entry. But I will say all were very informative and educational, and we’re very glad we partook of the tours.

Another uncommon thing we managed to arrange through our contacts at Relais & Châteaux (where we are members of something called Club 5C), was a private cooking lesson with Chef Tony Aiazzi of the famed Aureole restaurant in New York City. And we also attended a presentation on cooking with liquid nitrogen at Astor Center. More on both of those later too.

We also managed to have dinner in the La Cave cheese cave at Artisanal Bistro, found a last minute table at Per Se (well, actually about two weeks in advance of our dinner), enjoyed dim sum and Peking duck in Chinatown, afternoon tea at The Peninsula’s Gotham Lounge and at The London NYC, Korean BBQ in K-town, and a few other culinary delights.

While we were looking for the more unusual experiences, we also did partake of the more ordinary delights of New York, including visiting various museums to see special exhibits, and a personal first for me – visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. That was an especially emotional and moving day for me because of my roots as a first-generation American. We also caught an off-off Broadway performance, saw a couple of movies, and walked and walked and walked.

There also was business to take care of – we spent our first couple of days in New York at the New York International Gift Fair searching for new products to off in our on-line store at www.BonaireStuff.com. And I had a client meeting for my patent-related consulting business too.

All in all we had an excellent time in New York City. The weather was perfect just about all the time, we had a child sitter service available to us at our great hotel (we had two adjacent rooms at the all-suite The London NYC), and we ate very very well. The only downside to our trip was the markedly higher number our bathroom scales showed us upon our return.

 

Photos From New York City Trip

September 3rd, 2008 at 10:52 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

I finally had a chance to sort through the thousand or so photos I took during our trip to New York City, which ended last Saturday.

You can view them locally on our site at this Gallery link.

Or you can go to Yahoo!’s Flickr service to see the photos.

I hope to get some stories posted tomorrow about our various adventures. For now, however, read the captions for each image.

 

Our Kinda Town, New York Is

August 29th, 2008 at 3:57 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

We are nearing the end of our two weeks in New York City and it’s been a lot of fun. But we have been keeping ourselves too busy touring, eating, shopping, and museum hopping to spend much time at a keyboard blogging. As always, I have grand aspirations that I might be able to fill some of the backlog, starting now.

The weather has been excellent, with temperatures just a bit cooler than those back home on Bonaire, and nice clear sunny skies.

At present we are waiting in line to enter the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island, south of Manhattan, and will thereafter visit Ellis Island in a thinly veiled effort to make being a tourist count towards the kids’ history credits in the home schooling program they are enrolled in.

While I was actually born in Queens (one of the boroughs of New York City) I have no recollection of ever visiting either the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island before. The latter probably makes sense as my parents arrived on these shores after defecting from Czechoslovakia almost a decade after Ellis Island closed, and Linda’s ancestors were a few centuries too early, back in the 1650s.

In any event, we are looking forward to our exploration today.