Posts Tagged With: Bridge

A walk to the London Eye!

Moving on to the sight seeing portion of our London visit. Since I’m not volunteering during this stretch, I decided to introduce the hostel life to Mike and Hayden. With over 800 accommodations offered, choosing one could of been exhausting, but this time it was easy to narrow it down… Why? I found out prior to this trip that one of the gymnasts I used to coach was going to be here at the same time! (For those who don’t know, I taught gymnastics for 10 years back in my “earlier days”).

Due to my love for surprising people, I got in contact with her mom and found out the hostel she was going to be in and booked it!

Here’s a picture of sweet Ashlyn back in our days of coach and gymnast. Now, she’s a beautiful young lady that has maintained her kind nature and sincere smile.



Introducing Hostel Clink 78.









From our hostel, the London Eye was just a few miles away which made for a perfect walk! Here’s what you’d see just wandering the streets of London.












Unlike the majority of the world, here in England they drive on the opposite side of the road (or as they say, “the correct side”). These fun little suggestions painted on the crosswalks I’m sure have saved many of pedestrian injuries.




After a refreshing jaunt towards the river, the London eyes finally exposed itself. Although it was tempting to ride, at 25Euro per person, we chose to make it a handstand shot instead!






The walk back presented itself with a few eatery options and bars getting ready for the happy hour in which business suits and locals show up for an evening drink.







I was lucky enough to make a pit stop at a local pub to reunite with another friend! Remember my buddy Scott from the Peruvian cooking experience?


Now, we meet again over 6,000 miles away! Scott, thank you for the perfect evening before our departure to Holland and I look forward to the next country in which we connect again!



Time to pack up and say farewell to England as we head east to Amsterdam. Lets go boys!


Categories: Accommodations, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Farewell Santa Catalina, I’ve been adopted!

My final days at Cabanas Time Out leave me feeling sad to depart from my new friends but eager to explore other parts of Panama. I get asked often of “how” I decide where to go next or just how far do I plan ahead. My response varies quite a bit depending on the situation. With major flights or extended volunteer programs, I plan ahead. With small city transfers or hostel hopping, I usually find myself making the decision on the way to the bus stop. This week, I got a call during my stay in Santa Catalina. I repeat… I got a phone call! Imagine the look on my face when the reception says, “It’s for you”!

On the other end of the line was a kind woman with a gentle voice that said something to the affect of, “You don’t know me, but my good friend Debbie knows your mother in Florida and we heard that you were injured from a fall”. (This is true and not my brightest moment). “We live in Panama City and are here for you if you need anything like a place to recover or a ride to the airport”… Well hello there unexpected sweet angel!

This my friends, is how the next “plan” was made. I cut my time short in Santa Catalina and found out my new friends from the hotel were also heading to the city. So, off we go together as I get excited to meet my new Panamanian family!





Upon arrival I was welcomed by a family that made me feel like I was the long lost sister, or some sort of guest celebrity. A neat feeling compared to the usual “one more backpacker” greeting that comes complimentary with each hostel. I don’t have a photo of the entire family so I snuck this adorable holiday picture to give you a visual of my hero’s.


With time for some arts and crafts and a warm dinner, the girls and I connect before
I settle in to get a luxurious night sleep on a bed… with two pillows…. in an air-conditioned room… and no bugs!






The morning brings school for the girls and who leaves for class without braids if Erika is around?
Can you tell by their facial expressions just how excited they are to be up at 6am on the last day before holiday break? Oh memories of dreadful alarm clocks.



As the lovely ladies are off in school, I get the pleasure of joining Lia (mom) to the fresh local market. My favorite!


The rules for this maze of fresh fruit and veggies:
#1. Pay $0.25 to enter.
#2. Enter at your own risk.






What stood out to me about this street market is that it’s a drive, park and pay. You literally drive around (in any direction) and when you see something you want, you park (anywhere you want) pick and pay for your goods, then get back into your car and keep going.










Driving around the city brings us to a few fun sights. This is a huge building that serves several sweet dishes and treats from milkshakes to layered cakes.



Crossing the American Bridge with a great view for the canal too!




Handstand shot at the Panama Canal!


These funky wheels are everywhere!






In order for me to blog, I had to find wifi and Lia knew just where to drop me off. Here is my view as I type away.



As a “Thank you” I brought her family one of their favorite goodies from the cafe. It was a croissant styled crust stuffed with warm cream cheese and slightly sprinkled with crystalized sugar. The tea was for me and I love the yogi quote too!


Returning home I find the girls with an abundance of energy and creative enthusiasm that stretches way beyond a few coloring books!

It starts with a little dress up…







Sweet little Allison doesn’t know what to think of this beautiful disaster!


Next comes the make-up…wait, what’s the blindfold for?!












She liked to zoom in… A lot.





Some final photos before bedtime. I love my life.




Categories: Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wholesome Folsom

Folsom California, the place one would call my “hometown”. I started kindergarden here in what used to be a quaint little historical town with under 15,000 residents. Since then, I graduated, worked and started a business while watching the population rocket, reaching almost 75,000 people! Now a vibrant busy city with much to see, the following post is my week as a “tourist”.

(Most of the pictures seen on this post are from my camera, however a few were snagged from some locals and websites). Thank you!

I had my long time local friends vote for the next handstand picture to represent this adorable place and the the winner by far…
The Rainbow Bridge!
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I was stoked and ready for a quick shot of this historical landmark that was built in 1916 and still in full use today. I thought “quick”, that was until we got down there and realized that the best angle was on a flat rock IN the American River.

The fun begins! Shall we take a second to laugh at the fact that I’m in a mini skirt and sandals… Brilliant.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Hmmm, definitely have to get wet if this is going to be a success. Wardrobe change!
Kicked off the sandals, pulled my skirt up to make a shirt and took my shirt off to make it a scarf.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Almost there…
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Made it!
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On the trek back, Ian (the amazing personal photographer of the day) caught me staring into the water as if there would be a way around it.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

It takes a patient person to “tour” around all day taking photos of things you’ve looked at since childhood (he grew up here as well). Ian, you’re a great friend!
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Folsom Prison, yes the one made famous in a song by the legendary Johnny Cash. For all of my friends abroad who have never heard of it, try searching for it on YouTube (Johnny cash – Folsom Prison Blues) it’s a classic!  If you live near, in or around this area and were born before 1994 and don’t know this song… please report yourself to the local authorities for breaking some sort of unspoken law.

Some pics of the entrance.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

…and a “not so” entrance.
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As Folsom expanded, the rainbow bridge was no longer sufficient for all of the growth.
Here is the “new bridge” that has opened up traffic flow to cross the American River.
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You’re looking at the massive Folsom Dam that was closed in 2003 for security issues following the September terrorist attacks of 2001. The solid bridge in front of it is the the new crossing that opened in 2009.
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Sutter street is the old main road back from the gold rush days in the early 1800’s.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Recently renovated, the main street is now a vibrant attraction for several different reasons. Clothing boutiques and antique shops to bars and cafes, it has something for everyone.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Snooks is a family owned and operated factory providing chocolate, carmel apples, taffy, ice cream and candy in which they make mostly right here!
Warning: do not enter this establishment unless you are fully prepared to be tempted with sweet smells, unique textures and samples of luxurious flavors.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The original Folsom Hotel… now a popular bar with a not so secret kitchen serving up food that I dare not classify as “bar food”. It’s quality is above and beyond. Well done Dan!
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

This is the Hacienda, a Mexican restaraunt that sits at the corner on the second story over looking a portion of Sutter street.
This pic is standing in the street looking up at the balcony.
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Up the stairs…
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

… To the balcony and views from both sides.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

This is a recent picture of me and Janine enjoying the balcony ambiance. This lovely woman has opened her home to me with the upmost hospitality during my travels back to Folsom. Thank you friend for the warm welcome and fun girl chats!
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Inside are several tables for families to enjoy the chips and salsa and fancy blended drinks. These photos are on the other side of the restaurant where there’s a large bar with a social setting. I love all of the colors!
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Mystery shot!? I just don’t know about that.
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Recognize this guy? Ian is the smile that accompanied me in Argentina for the Iguazu Falls!
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Folsom has several parks and playgrounds (There are over 40!)
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(I did not take most of the city pics to follow)

A water park!
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Skate park
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Dirt riding track
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There are dog parks for the families with “paw babies”.
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Bike Trails
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

This town has grown to a city with 10 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, 3 high schools and a community college. I found this pic on line and due to my lack of a helicopter, I thought I’d use it. This is the high school I graduated from, scene from birds eye view.
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Folsom lake
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Although Folsom doesn’t have your typical city scene night clubs, it certaintly does it’s job of  providing a variety of places to enjoy adult beverages, live music and billards.  Depending on the evening, you can also find a Dj spinning to a dance floor of people usually involving a group celebrating a birthday, engagement, or simple girls night out (which typically brings the “boys night out”… Funny how that works).

To prevent a bunch of dark photos of the back of people’s heads, I went out during the day and snapped some pics of the local bars.

“The Purp” as some call it, is a restaurant and bar combo providing some of the best Bloody Mary’s around, a menu full of classic dishes and daily entertainment ranging from televised sports to dancing and live music.
This is one of my favorites for the kickstart of the well known “Sunday Funday”.
Locals Definition of “Sunday Funday”: An extension of the party weekend usually beginning early with “the hair of the dog” and followed by some activity in the sun with your peers. Usually ending… sunburnt.

If you arrive here on a Sunday morning, you’ll find some girls in a mini dress with makeup (probably from the events of the previous night) to ladies in jeans and flip flops. Guys in hats ready for the lake sitting next to a table of elderly gentleman dressed from earlier church services. I always get a kick out of the bikers that ride in on their motorcycles in full leather gear.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

A shot of the open part of the bar.
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Folsom Lake Bowl, otherwise known as FLB.
When I was little, my dad used to take me here every week during his bowling league. I would get my little ball and mess around on a lane while emptying the .10 cent gum ball machine.  Now it’s a full bar, casino, bowling alley, with an attached uniquely styled barber shop. This is the central “go to” if you’re looking for people, food, drinks, billiards, music, gambling and/or sports. The indoor and outdoor areas are comfortable for crowds and they have TV screens that are always showing the latest sporting events.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Lucky’s Barber Shop! There’s something to be said about people who can appreciate art… if it be hanging on the walls, tattooed on the skin, or designed in the hair. Good on ya fellas!
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Other options to choose from range quite a bit depending on your budget and what you desire for the evening. Quick run down on my favorites:

Streets of London: A British pub serving up authentic dishes and great drinks in a fútbol decorated bar. They also have picnic tables outside with a comfortable, welcoming vibe and fair prices.

Samuel Horne’s: A narrow room with creative seating that specializes in local brews.  Their wall of beer changes perodically giving you a variety of tastes with the added lesson of where it came from and it’s distinct flavors.  It also has a chef on hand that makes fabulous bites to compliment the cold beers.
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…and it happens to provide the stage for a weekly acoustical set by a well known local friend, Scott Graham.  You’ve heard of him? Thought so.
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The list goes on! Sports Garage, Wine Bar, Manderas, the entire strip on Sutter street including the Hotel, Scarletts, Powerhouse, Sutter club, old Europe, and more!

Instead of me listing the other dozens of fun places, just email me if you want more info.  There’s honestly so many that this post will start to take a turn to a “best route to pub crawl in Folsom”.

I grew up in this city, back when it was nicked named “The Cow Town”. A time when everyone knew the owner of each local business and you graduated high school with the same kids you learned your ABC’s with.
Although I’ve packed up and moved out to see more of this beautiful planet, it’s always so nice to come back and be reminded of where I came from.

A sincere thank you to all of my friends that welcomed me with the brightest smiles and cheerful eyes! The love was felt beyond the hugs. If time didn’t allow us to connect, I still absorbed the warmth from the emails, voicemails and even the honking and waving from cars passing!

…cheers till next time Folsom.

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