Weekend in Bruges, Belgium

Last weekend we took a three hour train ride to the beautiful and romantic city of Bruges! Bruges, also sometimes spelled Brugge, is full of cobblestone pedestrian streets, old brick buildings, picturesque canals and of course amazing chocolate & waffles!

Ryker was so excited to be on the train and loved looking out the windows! (Also look at those blonde curls!!)
Made it to Bruges! Walking from the train station to our Airbnb and stopping to enjoy some of the beautiful canals and buildings.
We bought some Belgian chocolate here – yum! And some Stroopwaffles (which I believe are Dutch, I first discovered them in Amsterdam, and they are AMAZING!)
The Watson family in front of the Belfry of Bruges!
When in Belgium… had to get a Belgian waffle! It was better than I ever imagined a waffle could be. I went to Chez Albert, although there are many many places you can get a good waffle. I saw them making it, and the dough that was put into the waffle machine was super think, more like a biscuit than how we normally make waffle batter. I need to figure out how to make these!
Caught red handed eating sand :) A really cool park around the corner from our Airbnb
The rain didn’t stop us from exploring!
The boys in front of Church of Our Lady Bruges
Belgian beer! Really good beer flight at The Bruges Beer Experience. Ryker loved playing with the coasters and throwing them on the ground.
Walking and exploring the cute streets.
One of the chocolate shops had this really cool hot chocolate bar! It was delicious and perfect for a raining afternoon.
We went out to dinner on Saturday and ordered one of the traditional Belgian meals – mussels and frites!
Despite that look on his face, Ryker actually really liked eating the mussels!
More pretty canals :)
Sunday morning walk to the Markt of Bruges, we beat the rest of the tourists!
Eric and Ryker and the Belfry.
Sleepy dude :)
Dancing in the rain in front of Sint-Salvatorskathedraal!

Thanks for a great family weekend getaway Bruges!

Paris Parks!

We have experienced a lot since being in Paris! In order to best blog about our time here, we’re going to break it down into several themed posts, such as tourist attractions, life in Paris, people in Paris, our visitors, what we do day to day…etc. I’m going to start off my talking about the parks in Paris!

One of the things we do very often is picnic in a park! Sometimes Ryker and I meet Eric at a park for lunch, and once or twice a week Ryker and I will venture out to a new area of town, bring lunch and enjoy! I pack Ryk some snacks and usually pick up a sandwich from a nearby Boulangerie (on an AMAZING baguette – the bread here is delicious) or a salad and croissant (I should do a whole post one day about the croissants haha). There are so many parks here – some huge and some tiny. Some with play structures, some with ponds and waterfalls. Some in epic building courtyards, and some in quiet relaxing neighborhoods.

I tried to organize these park pictures by Ryker’s age, with the most recent ones being last. It’s crazy to see how’s he changed in the couple months we’ve been here!

This is our closest park – a great neighborhood park with sand, play structures, grass, and lots of other kids!
Another picnic at our close neighborhood park – Thomas Jefferson Square
Picnic in Montemarte at Square Marcel Bleustein Blanchet – my favorite park in Paris!
Some random park day, this was when Ryker was just starting to scoot/crawl and he really wanted to get that small flower.
This is how Ryker and I take on the town when we go for adventures!
Front pack baby at Square of Saint-Jacques Tower
Enjoying some cheese and cucumbers at Jardin Anne-Frank
Picnic (after a family run along the river) at Square René Viviani, chewing something yummy!
I can’t remember where this one was, but we were eating raspberries! :)
Picnic right outside of the Louvre at Jardin des Tuileries!
Stopping on a bench for a strawberry snack!
Meeting dad for lunch at Parc Monceau. This is a big park that is always packed with people enjoying the day! Kids playing, people on lunch breaks, school’s “recess” etc. Fun place! Eric is taking Ryker to go look at the leaves :)
Picnic at a park near the rugby stadium – taking a break from watching the rugby 7s tournament!
A play area in the Parc Rives De Seine – another one of my favorites. Bonus points because it is close to one of my favorite coffee shops! (Le Peloton Café)
Yum! Another delicious picnic at Square Marcel Bleustein Blanchet in Montemarte.
Nice summer day :)
During the first heatwave, we (and a lot of other Parisians) took a dip in the Trocadero Fountains!
Back at Parc Rives De Seine – Ryker is excited to be able to crawl through this structure!
Place des Vosges
Look at this park loving cutie!! Who is starting to stand! (At Jardin Villemin near the canal St. Martin)
Family park picnics are the best! A great way to get out and enjoy the city and the sun!

Santorini, Greece!

We just got back from an AMAZING trip to Greece! It was absolutely beautiful and a perfect, relaxing vacation. We hiked, walked around town exploring the awesome & unique Greek architecture, chilled on our Airbnb porch, ate a lot of tomatoes, cucumbers, and Greek fava, & loaded Ryker up with so much sunscreen haha. Great trip! More details in the captions below!

Baby is asleep, time to enjoy some wine with a view from our Airbnb!
Our Airbnb was AMAZING! What made it such a great experience were our hosts. The host’s mom lived next door and she adored Ryker and brought us homemade Greek treats almost every day. We felt like we were part of the family!
Enjoying the sunset while eating Tomatokeftedes Santorinis (fried tomato fritters) that she made us!
Our awesome cave Airbnb! We stayed in the town of Finikia, which was about a ten minute walk from Oia. It was perfect! We were able to live among the locals, but could easily access the restaurants, wine bars and beautiful streets of Oia.
One of the many stunning views of walking around Oia. Oia is the town on the island known for its beauty and sunsets as well as a romantic and more quiet feeling. (On the other hand Fira is the capital of Santorini and is known more for shops and nightlife.)
Wandering Oia!
This was the rooftop of a library/bookstore in Oia – so cool! Also a perfect diaper changing spot because nobody was there ;)
Santorini wine! At a cute little spot called Meteor Cafe in Oia.
Oia! From here is where we hiked down to Amoudi Bay.
One afternoon we ventured down many steps to beautiful Amoudi Bay. The water was perfect and refreshing and it was so much fun to watch Ryker play in this little tide pool – he loved it! His favorite thing to do was move the rocks around in the water!
Freshly caught octopus in Amoudi Bay, we ate some of this (after it was grilled in delicious spices) and it was amazing!
Amoudi Bay – Ryker just woke up from his nap on the go and is ready for the water!
Ryker loved playing with and sorting these rocks! He would make piles and move them from one side of Eric’s legs to the other, back and forth :) Ryker loved playing in this little ocean puddle!
Happy mama and baby!
Delicious calamari from Dimitris Taverna! So fresh!
One afternoon we did a little wine tasting at Domaine Sigalas. It was about a ten minute walk from our Airbnb and had great wines!
Ryker and Eric ready for our big hike! We hiked from the town of Fira all the way to Oia, which is about 6.5 miles.
Spectacular views along the whole hike!
The Fira>Oia hike takes you through several towns as well as some volcanic landscape right along the coast.
More great hiking views!
Sweaty and extremely lathered in sunscreen! Amazingly none of us got sunburned on this trip :)
We picked up gyros and kababs one night for a picnic dinner with an epic view.
On our last day, we spent an afternoon at Kamari beach! We didn’t stay long because of the heat and sun, but we all got to get in the water and cool off!

Definitely a trip to remember! I highly recommend a Santorini vacation! :)

Amanda & Ryker go to Strasbourg!

Hello! Eric and I have been terrible about keeping our blog up to date while living abroad in Paris – but now we’re going to try and catch up! Living in Paris has been a really cool experience, and we’ll write a few posts about that soon. For now I’m going to catch you up on a trip Ryker and I took, and then the next post will be about our trip to Greece!!

Last week, while Eric was in Africa, I decided to take a spur of the moment overnight trip with Ryker to the fairy tale picturesque town of Strasbourg, France. This adorable town is right on the boarder of Germany. It actually used to be the capital of Alsace Lorraine, so there’s a huge German influence (yay pretzels!!)

Strasbourg is a two hour train ride from Paris, and Ryker was great on the train ride! He made lots of friends, played with cups – throwing them off his seat over and over, and took a short nap! For the two days we were there, we pretty much just wandered around the town – it’s one of the cutest towns I’ve ever been to!! We stopped in a few cafes, played in a park, and even found a coffee shop that had a bunch of baby toys and books to play with. It was raining most of the time, but that didn’t stop us from adventuring out with our umbrella! Our little Aribnb was cute and quite quirky, the floor was very slanted haha, so all of Ryker’s toys and balls would end up in the same corner of the apartment, but it was great for a night!

I highly recommend a quick visit to this town! Check out the pictures!

Happy boy getting off the train and into a new town!
Happy boy getting off the train and into a new town!

Cute Strasbourg! Walking along the canal.
Cute Strasbourg! Walking along the canal.


Had to stop and get a pretzel - yum!
Had to stop and get a pretzel – yum!

More wandering the town
More wandering the town



Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg!
Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg!

So beautiful! Sun came out on Sunday!
So beautiful! Sun came out on Sunday!

My date buddy! Glass of rose for me, puffs for him! :)
My date buddy! Glass of rose for me, puffs for him! :)

He LOVED crawling around this park, and especially the dirt (especially eating the dirt haha)
He LOVED crawling around this park, and especially the dirt (especially eating the dirt haha)

Sunday morning Coffee date!
Sunday morning Coffee date!

My little boy!
My little boy!


We Found the Lost Coast!

In celebration of our one year anniversary we took an adventure into the desolate northern Californian coast. We were not disappointed!

After attending a fun wedding continued north further up the 101 than we remember ever being, into the land of meth heads, marijuana, bad food, and natural beauty. The people and culture were quite weird but the coast was amazing.

We adventured for three days and two nights from Shelter Cove up to The Big Flat along the lost coast and then back. There was lots of wildlife including seals, tons of deer, water snakes, a rattle snake, numerous blue belly lizards, whales (alive and dead), seagulls, crows (that stole some of our trail mix), squirrels, and cute dogs wearing shoes.

The entire hike was along the beach which was covered in jet black sand and rocks. Along most of the journey the beach was sandwiched between waves and a cliff with lots of trees over head. There were sections that required timing the tides or else they became impassable.

One of our favorite parts were the creeks that jetted out into the beach about every mile. They made for a great source of fresh water, nature, and entertainment. Rock hopping up the creeks quickly led to rain forest like gulleys. Buck Creek was the perfect place for us to wait out high tide by ourselves with a hammock by the creek.

One thing that really stood out is how unpopulated the trail was. We regularly wouldn’t see anyone for 5 or so hours in the middle of the day.

This was the perfect way to celebrate our first year of marriage! Just the two of us in the middle of nowhere for a few days with freeze dried food and a water pump.












The Bests and the Worsts

It’s hard to believe that one year ago we got married and departed on an epic adventure! In celebration of a year going by, I dug up this list we created as we were heading home… some of our favorite things, places, experiences, and some of the not so favorite as well :)

  • Best Castle
    • Amanda: Tower of London
    • Eric: Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
  • Best Meal
    • Both: The Tagine Kefta at Tommy’s in Fez, Moracco
  • Best Hike
    • Both: Rio Chillar in Nerja, Spain
  • Best Beach
    • Amanda: Nerja’s small beach
    • Eric: Lagos small beach we ran to
  • Best Beer
    • Amanda: Hofbrauhaus at Oktoberfest, Munich
    • Eric: Pilsner dark lager (has another name) in Prague
  • Funniest Moment
    • Both – Something to do with Bill…
  • Most Surprisingly Great Thing:
    • Amanda: The Lagos Coastline
    • Eric: Scuba Diving
  • Favorite Place Overall
    • Both: Koh Tao, Thailand
  • Most Foreign Experience:
    • Amanda: The prayer calls in Fez, Morocco
    • Eric: The Mekong river boat ride in Laos
  • Worst Airport Experience:
    • Both: Wuhan, China
  • Best Airport
    • Both: Copenhagen by far!
  • Best Restaurant
    • Both: Su Chilli’s on Koh Tao in Thailand!!!
  • Best Night Out
    • Both: Lisbon, Portugal
  • Best Day Drinking
    • Both: Oktoberfest in Munich
  • Most Disappointing Thing
    • Amanda: Luang Prabang, Laos
    • Eric: Pinxtos in Bilbao, Spain (Amanda agrees here too!)
  • Best Architecture
    • Amanda: Everything in Prague!
    • Eric: The Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain
  • Craziest Drivers
    • Amanda: China
    • Eric: Morocco taxis
  • Most Surprisingly Awesome City
    • Amanda: Stockholm, Sweden
    • Eric: Granada, Spain
  • Worst City
    • Both: Wuhan, China
  • Coolest Bar
    • Amanda: Fizz in Koh Tao, Thailand
    • Eric: Szimpla Kert in Budapest, Hungary (So epic!!!)
  • Best Sunset
    • Both: Koh Tao from Sairee Beach, Thailand
  • Best Sporting Experience
    • Amanda: The Usa/South Africa rugby game
    • Eric: The Scotland/Samoa rugby game
  • Place We’d Most Want to Live
    • Amanda: Stockholm, Sweden
    • Eric: Lisbon, Portugal
  • Best Accomodations
    • Amanda: Bergen, Norway AirBnb
    • Eric: Fez, Morocco AirBnb
  • Coldest Experience
    • Amanda: Scotland nights in the van
    • Eric: Walking around Vienna
  • Prettiest Nature (really hard queation!):
    • Amanda: Glencoe, Scotland
    • Eric: The fjords of Norway
  • Country with the Worst Food
    • Both: Laos
  • Country with the Best Food
    • Both – Thailand
  • Worst Accommodations
    • Both: Algeciras, Spain Hostel/Hotel
  • Biggest Life Revelation:
    • Amanda: Having her own fitness comapny/gym
    • Eric: He wants more technical work
  • Moment You Felt the Happiest:
    • Amanda: Going on a long solo run/hike reflecting on life in Nerja, Spain
    • Eric: Sitting on the beach in Nerja, Spain
  • Thing you Missed the Most:
    • Amanda: My girl friends
    • Eric: The vitamix
  • Thing you Didn’t Miss the Most
    • Both: Bay Area traffic
  • The Thing you Realized about California
    • Amanda: That SF is an AWESOME city, can’t beat it!
    • Eric: The people are better and really nice, easy to communicate
  • The Best Item you’d Want to Have in our Future House
    • Amanda: A Spanish microwave (we have one now!)
    • Eric – Two duvet covers on the bed like they do in Scandinavia 
  • Best/Most Interesting History
    • Amanda: Prague, Czech Republic
    • Eric:  Scotland


copy-of-dsc_0471 copy-of-copy-of-img_20150925_131505

Chiang Mai – Northern Thailand

We ventured around Northern Thailand for 4 days, and it was great! One day we explored beyond the city limits of Chiang Mai by going on a nice bike ride to the mountains and then a hike. Another day we went to an elephant sanctuary where we got to feed elephants, give them a bath, and then play with them in the mud.

For the other two days we ventured to Pai, a town about 3 hours north of Chiang Mai. Once there, we rented a scooter for a day and drove up and down the hills and mountains, stopping in some small villages. We saw a lot of the Thai agriculture, many locals just livin’ life, and some great views. These pictures of our time in Northern Thailand will tell you more than I can describe in words :)

Here’s a whole separate post of the elephant pictures because there are too many great ones!

Bike ride from Chiang Mai!

After biking to the base of a mountain, we had a picnic in this cute river hut!
After biking to the base of a mountain, we had a picnic in this cute river hut!

Picnic time!

Then we hiked through the jungle...
Then we hiked through the jungle…


To this waterfall!! Then we biked back to Chiang Mai and made it just before dark
To this waterfall!! Then we biked back to Chiang Mai and made it just before dark

A pit stop on our scooter ride through Pai
A pit stop on our scooter ride through Pai

Pretending to fish with a bamboo pole we found


Sometimes the hills were too steep and we had to have one person walk up the hill and the other walk the bike up hahah :)

DSC_0948 small

DSC_0910 small

DSC_0941 small

Bangkok Quick Stop #1

Hello from Thailand! We made it to Southeast Asia! We landed in Bangkok and had the whole day to explore before getting on a night bus to Southern Thailand. We will be back in Bangkok a few times because most of our buses and flights go via Bangkok, but here is what we did our first day in Thailand!…

We arrived and started walking from the train station at the edge of town to city center. Along the way we came across a mini party in front of a police station. We wandered into the courtyard to see several food stalls, a guy on a stage performing Thai children’s songs, and a bunch of kids and parents dancing! One of the local police officers came up to us and welcomed us with open arms! He was SO excited to see us there! They gave us free food and told us it was a Children’s Day festival. We also had a few older Thai ladies come up to us, welcome us to Thailand, and give us some travel tips. Plus, several people wanted to take pictures with us for some reason haha :) It was a really cool experience and everyone was incredibly nice.


After that, we headed more to the center of town via a tuktuk!



We then got some Thai iced tea and coffee at a little cafe, then explored! We wandered around and went to see the Grand Palace (although we didn’t pay to go inside because it was packed! And because they didn’t allow yoga pants, which I was wearing, oops!), the Reclined Buddha in Wat Pho, and of course have some more delicious street food!





After that we took a nap in a park because we didn’t sleep at all on our red-eye flight the night before, then grabbed a quick dinner and headed to our overnight bus – off to Southern Thailand and the island of Koh Tao!

Lagos, Portugal

Olá from Portugal! Eric and I have spent the last week in Lagos, a quite beach town on the Southern end of Portugal. It has been so relaxing here! Lagos has an absolutely stunning coastline – so it’s hard not to want to be outside in the nature all day. We explored by day (hike, run, walk, mountain bike etc.) and most nights just cooked dinner together, sat by the fireplace and enjoyed each others company. Plus, we finally had an oven! So I did some baking :) yum!

We stayed on a little “Quinta” or ranch during our time in Lagos, which was a neat experience! We awoke to a rooster every morning, had fresh eggs from the chickens running around the property and could say hello to many goats and dogs each day. As a town, Lagos was pretty sleepy – I think it’s a major summer tourist town, so many things were closed. But the nature, views, and outdoor activities couldn’t be beat! Next up… Lisbon!

Hiking the coast!





Doing a little mountain biking! So fun!

Run/Hike to watch the sunrise on our last day in Lagos




London & Rugby World Cup

Hello everyone! It’s been a crazy two weeks, with many days in a camper-van (see more on that in the next post!), so we have some blogging catching up to do!

We were in London for a week and really enjoyed it. Eric and I met up with several friends and stayed in a big apartment in Islington, a “borough” (aka neighborhood) in London. It was a GREAT location, very trendy with a lot of restaurants, bars, and a 25-35yr old crowd. It had a smaller town feel, but was a short tube ride to most areas of London.

Biggest take-away of London? Two things: 1) They have amazing street food! There were little markets everywhere that sold all sorts of ethnic foods, fresh foods, burgers, sandwiches… etc. Borough Market and Camden Market were by far the best – these are a must visit if you find yourself in London. 2) It would be really easy to live in London. It was very similar to SF in my opinion, there’s a lot of tech, jobs, no language barrier, and a younger, fun crowd.

Then there’s the Rugby! With our friends, we went to three World Cup matches, and we watched many more games in the pubs. I’ve come to really enjoy watching rugby! There a lot of rules, but I think I have most of them down now and am getting really into it. We got to go to a USA game which was so fun – we went all out on dressing up! See pics below :)

Eric, Cal & Bill looking quite buff for the game

Our apartment in London had an awesome roof-deck! Here’s the guys getting ready for the USA Rugby game!

Go USA!!
Go USA!! This game was held at the London Olympic Stadium (from the 2012 Olympics) which was cool to see.

This place had AMAZING street food! Foods from all sorts of different ethnicities, yum!
This place had AMAZING street food! Foods from all sorts of different ethnicities, yum!

St. Paul's Cathedral in London
St. Paul’s Cathedral in London

Classic English Meat Pies at the Borough Market
Classic English Meat Pies at the Borough Market