Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreaming

Dream a Little Dream of Me

Monmouth Beach, New Jersey

Stars shining bright above you

Night breezes seem to whisper, I love you

Birds singin’ in the sycamore trees

Dream a little dream of me


Dream a Little Dream of Me by The Mamas & The Papas


Fairbanks Part II: For Gold, Glory and Riverboat Discovery

Everything under the Alaskan Sun

Chapter 3

Fairbanks Part II: For Gold, Glory and Riverboat Discovery

Read about Fairbanks Part I here.

The next morning we had the best breakfast in Alaska at the Aurora Express B&B. The breakfast was served in the dining car. Mike is such a skillful chef. Everything was so tasty, from reindeer sausage, fancy omelet to amazing French toast. I couldn’t praise more of this B&B. Do stay here if you ever visit Fairbanks.

BTW, I promised Susan to write a stellar review for Aurora Express in TripAdvisor. Well, it hasn’t been done yet. You know, I owe a lot to TripAdvisor when searching for lodging info. So I feel obliged to give back and contribute as well. Especially info about places that are low-key that people don’t know much about. Anyway, if you stumble upon a TA review of an Alaska hotel that sounds oh-so-familiar, that’d probably be me. :)

Riverboat Discovery

The Riverboat Discovery Tour is rated the #1 boat tour in North America. This is a must for any visitor to Fairbanks. Advanced reservations necessary.

Welcome aboard the Riverboat Discovery! My first time on a sternwheeler.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Movement

The Stars and Stripes Waving in the Wind @ Eielson Center, Denali National Park, Alaska

When I saw that the theme for this week’s challenge is movement, I felt ‘challenged’. I’m just a beginner photographer and have difficulties shooting ‘moving’ things. Fortunately, I found this picture and thought that it shows movement of the flag quite well. And so here it is!

(Read about my Denali trip here.)

Two monks argued about a flag waving in the wind.

One said, “It is the flag that moves.”

The other said, “It is the wind moving.”

Just then, the teacher appeared and said, “Not the flag; not the wind; it is the mind that moves.”
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Fairbanks Part I: Salmon Bake, Santa Claus and Aurora Express

Everything under the Alaskan Sun

Chapter 2

From Denali National Park, Fairbanks is another 135 miles further north. Read about Denali NP here. Our first stop was Gold Dredge No. 8 Tour. We walked in to find out that it had been fully booked that afternoon. I didn’t realize this tour was popular and made a mistake by ‘not’ making an advanced reservation. We were lucky to be able to book ourselves for the next day.

North Pole and Santa Claus House

After that, we went to a small town called North Pole, Alaska. It’s only 15 miles from downtown Fairbanks. The main attraction here is the Santa Claus House.

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Denali National Park, Alaska

Hello, I’m back from the great land of Alaska. (Alaska or Alyeska means ‘the great land’ in Yupik.) If you read my previous post, you’d know how hectic it was to plan a summer trip to Alaska only 2 weeks beforehand. But in the end, everything went all very well, except that we didn’t get to take a flightseeing tour with our B&B host. But that was nothing compared to the richness of experiences we had during the 2-week vacation. Alaska is now simply ranked among my most memorable trips so far.

In this travelogue “Everything Under the Alaskan Sun“, I’ll take you to Denali, Fairbanks, Talkeetna, Whittier, Girdwood, Seward and, of course, Anchorage. So come along and join the ride!


Chapter 1

After one stopover and 10+ hours later, we finally arrived Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport at midnight. The time difference between Alaska and the East Coast is 4 hours, so it was basically 4 A.M. for me, and I was dying to go to bed. Outside was raining and cold. After half an hour of waiting, we boarded the shuttle bus to Embassy Suites. The hotel is ranked #1 in Anchorage on TripAdvisor. The room is nice and spacious with a large living room and working space. The breakfast was also very good.

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Alaska – America’s Last Frontier

Spur of the moment

My upcoming vacation comes sooner than expected. In fact, it was a sudden, spontaneous decision. A ‘spur-of-the-moment’ kind of trip. Since it was quite urgent, we didn’t want to go abroad. Somehow our ‘domestic’ destination has turned out to be one of the most exotic and remote destinations in the world! Right here in the land of the US of A.

It is a land of contrasts. It is America’s largest state in terms of land and wealthiest in terms of cash reserves, yet was bought from Russia a century ago for only a penny. (Well, not literally ‘a penny’, but still.) Its median household income is ranked behind only industrialized Maryland, New Jersey and Connecticut. Yet it is still mostly untamed, and some Native Alaskans in remote areas still follow subsistence way of life like their forefathers. The only place in the world where residents get paid from the government; not the other way round. The state does not tax its residents and even pay them annual ‘dividends’ out of its $40 billion state fund. The state capital, Juneau, is the only capital city in the world that is not accessible by land. You have to go there by plane or cruise. Welcome to Alaska.

The land of glaciers and fjords

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III. Dachau Concentration Camp: Death shall set you free

European Delivery, My Little Odyssey

Chapter 3

Dachau Concentration Camp: Death shall set you free

It has been so hard for me to write about Dachau Concentration Camp. But I have to write about it. It was my intention to do so, my duty.

Dachau concentration camp, half an hour from Munich, was the first official Nazi concentration camp in Germany. It was not intended to be the ‘killing’ site, but rather an internment camp before 200,000+ prisoners were sent off from here over the 12-year period ‘to be killed’ at various extermination camps  including the notorious Auschwitz. So the number of recorded death toll here was ‘only’ 30,000, mainly from starvation, diseases and suicide. Still, since I’ve never been to any other concentration camp, Dachau is by far the most horrid place I’ve ever been to.
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II: BMW Welt & Museum

European Delivery, My Little Odyssey

Chapter 2

BMW Welt & Museum

Here we are at the BMW Welt. It’s actually one of the tourist destinations in Munich. The first floor of BMW Welt has all kinds of fun activities and displays. This Z4 looks so fun in this particular shade of yellow.

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I: The European Road Trip Begins: Munich

European Delivery, My Little Odyssey

Chapter 1

The European Road Trip Begins: Munich

Where were you one year ago today? I was in Europe. To be precise, I was in Luxembourg, a tiny little country that non-Europeans might not have heard of. (It’s a real hidden gem.) My husband and I were on an epic one-month road trip driving around Europe last year. We covered 5,000 miles and 13 countries in 32 days. The Odyssey Road Trip looked like this: Germany-Switzerland-France-Luxembourg-Belgium-The Netherlands-France-Monaco-Italy-Slovenia-Austria-Slovakia-Czech Republic-Austria-Germany. I’ll try to recapture my memories in a series of posts so that they don’t overwhelm the readers, and more importantly the writer, in one shot.

European Delivery: A Euroland Adventure

We had bundled a European vacation with European Delivery. So what is European Delivery? An average person in North America might not have heard this term before. And those from elsewhere would have absolutely no idea about it. Well, basically, it’s a program offered by some European car manufacturers for North American customers to come and ‘take delivery’ of their cars at the factories in Europe.

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