A videoblog of our walk in Paris city center
We explored the French and Italian Riviera in the summer of 2019. We based our travels from Nice, the largest city of the Riviera. It is a popular tourist destination in Southern France with a busy harbor, cruise port and international airport.
We drove into the city from Southern France and parked by the Port. Parking is convenient and within walking distance of boat tours and bus stop near the harbor.
Most of the city center is easier to navigate on foot than driving through congested traffic. We had lunch by one of many affordable street side cafe and visited the museum district and some antique shops.
We also took a guided tour by van around Nice learning about the history and landmarks. The tour then took us to the outskirts of Nice and to the beautiful Riviera coastline into Villafranche, Ezze and Monaco.
Check out the accompanying video clip below to learn more about our trip.
A tour of SCAD Lacoste campus in Southern France
We visited Lacoste, a historic commune in Provence (Southern France) in the summer of 2019. Below is a video blog of our tour.
Click here to read Glenda’s detail blog about our Lacoste visit.
A tour of historic Seville
Seville is the capital of Andalusia region in southern Spain. A historic city popular with tourists, it’s old town contains three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Alcázar palace complex, the Sevilla Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies.
My wife Glenda is Hawaiian-Filipino and her Filipino ancestry trace back to Seville with a migration around early 1890s during Spanish colonial era. With her recent DNA test showing her still 1/4th Iberian and her middle name (Sevilla) still bearing the heritage, a trip to Seville was an obvious choice. And when we landed she was beaming at the airports large signboard!
We decided to stay at the historic old town and took a 30 min taxi ride from the airport. Some areas in historic district are only accessible on foot which was a treat exploring the historic wonders!
After freshening up at the historic Murillo apartments, we started our walk toward Plaza de Colone for our bus tour around the city.
The Hop on hop off bus tour took us all around the city with an audio guide explaining notable sites.
The Seville harbour, located about 50 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, is the only river port in Spain. The river splits the city in two distinct regions.
After the bus tour and quick lunch, we headed to the Royal Alcazar for a guided tour. The palace grounds has been in existence since 10th century during Muslim Spanish rule and there are even remnants of walls from the Roman period. It was rebuilt in it’s current Andalusian Mudejar style by King Pedro I in late 14th century. More recently the palace interior and garden were filmed for the HBO hit series ‘Game of Thrones’.
One of the big attraction of Seville is it’s amazingly diverse and colorful cuisine. Tapas was invented in this city during the Spanish Golden age. Below are a few delicious samples!
Exploring Seville was a memorable experience for us. The charm of it’s old town cobblestone streets, historic architecture and delicious food makes it a must see in any Spanish trip.
We also took day trip to nearby Andulusian white villages of Zahara and Grazalema and historic Ronda.
Finally, check out the below video clip for a live experience of our tour in Seville. Enjoy!
Florida wildlife trip
Florida is a state full of wildlife wonders and a choice destination for us on family trips. We live in metro Atlanta in the neighboring state of Georgia and visit Florida almost every year. So when some of my in-laws visited us in the December of 2012, we planned a group trip to Crystal Rivers area in the lesser known West Florida region.
Our group consisted of my wife Glenda, her cousins Kimberly, Jasmine and Christian; my mother in law, my Dad and our kids Saif, Joshua, Simone and Zak. While entering Florida we took the customary group picture at the rest area by the border!
After a good night rest near Crystal River, we headed to the wildlife State park famous for Manatees.
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is located near Homosassa Springs, Florida, a short drive from Crystal River. The park is one of the best places in the state to view manatees. Visitors can get close to the animals on a floating observatory. Black bears, bobcats, white-tailed deer, American alligators, and river otters can also been seen in the park. There is a guided boat tour through the lake surrounding the park every few hours. The park is also home to the hippopotamus Lu, famously known for his performances in many movies for the past 40 years.
One of the fascinating attraction at the entrance to the boat tour is the fossil of a Megalodon jaw. This was an extinct species of shark that lived approximately 23 to 3.6 million years ago. Megalodon was the last of a lineage of giant sharks and possibly the most powerful due to its massive jaw. It had an average length of but known to grow up to 59 feet! The picture below gives an idea of how massive this shark used to be!
The American Alligators are a big attraction at the park. After the boat tour we visited some Alligators up close.
The floating observatory connects a long network of wooden walkways, creating a nature trail offering great view of the wildlife in the park at their natural environment.
Lu is the oldest hippopotamus in North America, and the only animal in the park not native to Florida. Lu was born at the San Diego Zoo in 1960. He appeared in the TV shows Daktari and Cowboy in Africa. He has lived in the park since 1964.
The Manatee pool, the nearby indoor aquarium and indoor exhibits were a favorite for Zak, our 4 year old bundle of energy!
After our visit at the park, we stopped by a beach next to nearby Nuclear power plant! Watching the sunset at the Gulf of Mexico was a treat!
You can enjoy the highlights of our trip in the below video clip!
A trip through Pisgah National Forest on Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and All-American Road noted for its scenic beauty. The parkway is America’s longest linear park.
It runs for through Virginia and North Carolina, linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It runs mostly along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountain, a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains range.
In this video blog we travel through the scenic Pisgah National Forest in some of the highest points of the Parkway.
A video blog of scenic Western North Carolina Mountains
The smokey Mountain range is one of the most popular national park in North America, located in North Carolina and part of the Appalachian range. There are several access ways to the Smokey Mountain park from North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.
One such scenic route is through the town of Hayesville, North Carolina at the Georgia-North Carolina border. Together with Hiawasee on the Georgia side, the towns enclose the beautiful Chatuge lake, dotted with lakeside villas and picturesque mountains of the Nantahala Forrest.
Enjoy the scenic tour of this magical place in the video blog below!
A video blog of our first look at Paris, France
The first introduction to Paris, its historic and gorgeous city center and landmarks, is a special treat. In this video clip below we get our first look at Paris in the summer of 2018, as we head to our hotel from the Gare de Lyon train station. Enjoy the ride!
Disney Epcot Theme Park
Video blog of our tour of Disney Epcot theme park in 2016.
A first look at Versailles Palace
The first time encounter with the Versailles Palace, one of the largest and most beautiful royal palace in the world, is a memorable experience. Check out the below clip for a sneak peek. We will be exploring more of the palace and its world famous gardens in subsequent blogs in next few weeks. So be sure to check back to the site. Enjoy!