About Me

I am a frustrated travel buff stuck in the life of an auditor. I was lucky enough to be born to a family that valued travel and adventure. As a teenager I took a trip around the world and my love of travel was undeniable after that trip. I have a job that allows me to travel often and I take photos wherever I go. With my limited amount of sightseeing time I have become something of an expert in the art of Power Sightseeing. I have learned to make the most of my limited time and will gladly share those tips with you. I will add stories and photos to my blog after each trip so please check back often. I never know what wonderful thing I will see next and I would hate for you to miss the adventure. Thank you for enjoying my travel stories and photographs. Please visit my website at for more of my photos.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Power Sightseer's Guide to Dallas Arboretum

One of the best lessons I have learned is to treat my own city as a sightseeing opportunity. Since I obviously love flowers it was only natural that I seek them out close to home. The Dallas Arboretum is a wonderful little oasis in the heart of the hustle and bustle of the big city. Situated on the banks of White Rock Lake, the Arboretum is an ideal place to visit nature, have a picnic or just relax. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love living in Dallas. Periodically though I like to see a tree and hear a bird without any disruptions. The arboretum is a great little get-away.

The Water Walls area with its winding paths and beautiful water features is my favorite garden in the Arboretum. I could sit for hours with a good book and just relax. If you are looking for fun with the kids there are the Texas Town and Texas Pioneer areas. Child size houses a teepee and garden area offer limitless opportunities for imaginative play. But don't stop there, Toad Corners offers the opportunity for kids of all ages to splash about in the water spouts. You also won’t want to miss the koi ponds and other wonderful hidden spots.

Although the Arboretum is great during the spring and summer there is really no time of year when it is not wonderful. Throughout the year there are many events including the concert series held on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Dallas Blooms is held every spring and is a great time to get acquainted with the Arboretum. In the fall each year the Arboretum is transformed into a giant pumpkin patch.

Even during the winter there are many opportunities to see beautiful things.

If you live in the area I would highly recommend an annual pass. I know once you go you will want to return often.

Once you have experienced everything the Arboretum has to offer be sure to take a stroll around the lake. There are usually wonderful boats to see and the bird watching is exceptional.

Enjoy the sights no matter where you are.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Power Sightseer's Guide to Morocco

I had no idea what to expect from Morocco. I could never have imagined the warmness of the people or the beauty of the country. I flew into Casablanca, but immediately caught a flight to Ouarzazate. Ouarzazate is located in south-central Morocco and is the Hollywood of Morocco. Many films including Star Wars and Gladiator were shot in the area. I arrived not too long after September 11th. It was very gratifying to see the signs roughly translated to Terrorists Keep Your Hands Off Our Country. Morocco is very serious about being anti-terrorism.

From Ouarzazate it was a two hour drive to the village where I would be staying. My first oh-my-gosh moment occurred during the drive when I saw camels roaming the sides of the road. Being from Texas all I could think was that they were like huge jack rabbits.

The most amazing thing about Morocco was the people. I have never met any group of people that were so welcoming. Every person I met invited me into their home for VERY sweet mint tea and snacks. No matter what they economic situation, I was welcome to anything they had. While I was there the country experience the worst flooding since the 1960s. The devastation was amazing but so was the spirit of the people. I saw those with nothing sharing what little they had with others. Stranded goat herders were given food and shelter. People pitched in to get vehicles through the flooding and make sure everyone was safe.


The ancient kasbahs began to soak up the water and crumble at the bottom. Their mud brick construction, perfect for the normally arid climate was completely unfit for the torrential rains. As soon as the rain ceased, repairs were being made to ensure that the kasbahs would survive so that their amazing structure could be enjoyed for decades to come. Some of the kasbahs were enormous and being used as apartments. It was shocking to see such ancient palaces with satellite dishes and laundry hung from the balconies.

Eating in Morocco was a little bit of a challenge for me as a vegetarian. Typically Moroccan food is cooked in an earthenware pot called a tagine. A tagine, which is also the name given to the dish, cooks similarly to a crock pot. The dish will include meat, vegetables and possibly fruit such as prunes.

Bread is utilized instead of utensils. The meal is served family style with everyone sharing one tagine. I became very proficient at picking out potatoes, carrots and prunes with my bread “spoon” and leaving the meat for the others in my group. One bonus on the eating front was that pomegranates and mandarins grew everywhere. I was able to often pick them on the side of the road. It was absolutely the best fruit I have every eaten.

One thing you should make every effort to experience is a local bath house or hammam.  The hammam consists of several rooms where you steam, scrub, rinse and refresh yourself along with a group of your closest friends and complete strangers.  The soap provided appears and smells to be a mixture of tar and lard. It proved to be a wonderful exfoliant. For obvious reasons, there will be no photos of this activity.

All in all, Morocco was a wonderful place to visit. Leaving the hustle and bustle of the big city and arriving in a country village was somewhat of a culture shock. However, being able to slow down and relax was an amazing addition to the trip.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Power Sightseer's Guide to Healthy Travel

Keeping up my healthy routine is VERY important to me when I am traveling. I have worked really hard to achieve and maintain a significant weight loss. No pills or surgery, but lots of sweat and healthy eating. As much as I love my travel time I don’t want to jeopardize everything I have worked so hard for by taking a week or two off my routine. I am definitely not saying you need to be perfect while you are traveling, but doing a little something every day will help keep you on track. Plan to take walking tours when possible. They offer better photo opportunities as an added bonus. Walking is my favorite activity. I can relax and just take in the sights and still burn calories.

If you want even more activity, you don’t need workout equipment to get in a little exercise. Do a few squats using the hotel room chair, a few lunges, some crunches and push-ups each morning before you head out for your day. Twenty or thirty minutes in the morning will get you off to a good start. I feel so much more energized when I start my day off with a little exercise. I can enjoy myself and maybe indulge a little in the local cuisine.

Carry health snacks with you and find out if there is a grocery store within walking distance from your hotel. Fresh fruit is great and depending on where you are you might find treats that aren’t readily available to you locally. I practically lived on mandarins and pomegranates picked from the side of the road in Morocco. It was the best fruit I ever had. Being a vegetarian I am a little more challenged, but healthy food is available if you are willing to look. Eating healthy at least part of each day helps me not only stay on track with my goals; it also helps keep me feel good on my trip. Making major changes from your normal eating routine can lead to stomach issues and no one wants that when they are trying to have fun.

The Power Sightseer's Guide to England day two

I have been accused of being a princess or at least acting like one. Maybe that factored into my decision to make my first excursion out of London to a castle, Leeds Castle to be specific.

It is such a beautiful spot and the history of the castle just enthralled me. I chose Evan Evans tours for my trip. Their tours leave from the Victoria bus station which is within walking distance from bed-and-breakfast. They also offer highly qualified and very interesting tour guides. One interesting tidbit I learned is that there is a difference between a castle and a palace. I had no idea. A castle was built for defense and would have fortification. A palace is just a fancy house. Who knew?? Anyway, Leeds was built in 1119 and was eventually used by King Henry VIII in the early 1500s. Henry’s son King Edward VI gave the castle to one of Henry’s courtiers and it has been privately owned ever since. The interior of the castle is as spectacular as the grounds. My favorite room was the queen’s bath, the ultimate in luxury for the time.

 There were peacocks from the aviary roaming the grounds. This beautiful fellow was more than happy to pose for photos but he wouldn’t open his tail for me.

From Leeds we were off to Canterbury. It was a lovely little town and of course the cathedral was amazing. The history of the cathedral began in 597 when the Pope sent the first Archbishop of Canterbury to establish a church. I really enjoyed seeing all the crypts and reading the stories about their occupants. It was very humbling to think that these individuals had passed away so long ago and I was still reading about their life. I wonder if they thought we would still be talking about them all this time later.

Our final stop of the day was in Dover. I am something of a World War II buff so I was very interested in seeing the White Cliffs of Dover. The cliffs are strikingly white and face France across the English Channel. Pilots returning from battle saw the cliffs as a sign that they were home.

The entire day was wonderful and just made me even more excited for the next day and what I would be able to see then.