Spring Break Abroad

Posted in Travel on March 20th, 2008 by Ashley

Spring break brings back memories of my first trip to Europe.  My AP Calculus teacher in high school took a group of students to Greece and Italy over Spring Break to walk in the footsteps of Pythagoras.  Really, we just wanted to eat pizza and to see the Coliseum.  And what an experience we had!

We started our trip in Rome and everything was so new and exciting.  I actually bought a book about Rome in Spanish because I wasn’t savvy enough to know that another vendor would have the same book in English.  I packed a HUGE duffle bag that was next to impossible to carry up and down hotel stairs.  Embarrassingly enough, I had dinner at Planet Hollywood Rome.  Oh, to be young and inexperienced… 

We had a busy week.  We stopped to see Pompeii after leaving Rome, and then caught a ferry to Greece.  We visited Paul’s old stomping grounds in Corinth and the Kings’ Beehive Tomb in ancient Mycenae.  Delphi’s location as the “bellybutton” of the world made sense when I stood among the ruins and viewed the world’s largest olive grove below, with the sea off in the distance.  Athens offered a little taste of heaven, in spite of the dirt and pollution. 

I had never even heard of a gyro before, but it was love at first sight when I saw and smelled that stack of lamb on the rotisserie.  I will never forget that experience when I sat in a public square in Athens and savored the roasted meat and tzatziki on pita with fries and a Fanta.  My mouth is watering as I write this.  To this day, I am always searching for an Athenian-style gyro. 

That week opened my eyes to differences in language, culture, and lifestyle.  I found that mine were a pair of itchy feet, eager to experience new adventures.

Coliseum, Rome

Parthenon, Athens

Travel Plans: Yellowstone 2008

Posted in Travel on December 28th, 2007 by Ashley

Randal and I are planning a Roadie for Summer 2008! We will join the hordes of tourists who like to feed the bears and watch Old Faithful at Yellowstone Park and then spend a few days in the shadow of the Grand Tetons in Jackson, Wyoming.

“Hey, Hey Booboo, how about another pic-a-nic basket?”

Yogi Bear

Favorite Travel Memories

Posted in Travel on December 28th, 2007 by Ashley

Randal and I were talking about our favorite travel memories the other day. We realized that most of our favorite memories center on eating, but that’s all the more reason to travel! Here’s a list of some of our memorable travel experiences:

  1. Eating Lemon Tarts in Paris
  2. Riding Scooters in Greece
  3. Exploring the winding streets of Venice
  4. Scouring the beach for seashells in Baja Sur, Mexico
  5. Floating in the salty waters of the Aegean Sea during the Blue Voyage in Turkey
  6. Eating the World’s Best Gelato in Rome
  7. Shopping and eating in the markets of Provence
  8. Hiking between the villages of Cinque Terre - and feasting on focaccia for lunch
  9. Joining impromptu street parades during Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, Mexico
  10. People Watching – anytime, anyplace
  11. Hoofing the streets of New York City
  12. Fighting with snowballs in Salzburg, Austria

Of course our list is always changing as we travel to new destinations and remember past trips. We keep journals and take photos of all our travels so that when we are at home we can think about the many rich experiences we have gained.

Venice CourtyardCinque TerreRandal on Blue Voyage

Naxos, Greece

Posted in Travel on February 28th, 2007 by Ashley

Naxos, Greece: May 17-19, 2006

Randal and I visited the island of Naxos, Greece last spring with my parents. Here is an excerpt from my travel journal:


Whew – almost missed the ferry! Our taxi driver in Athens thought we were going to the airport, thankfully Randal noticed we were going in the direction of the airport 30 minutes into the drive. We made the ferry with about 3 minutes to spare.

Dimitris from Hotel Grotta picked us up at the Port in Naxos after the 5 hour ferry trip. We loved the family-run hotel. They greeted us with citron liqueur upon arrival. Whoa Nelly. I fed mine to the wall. We enjoyed sea views and a tasty breakfast every morning.

We ate at O, Apostilos below the “Market Street” near the castle. It was tasty. Fish is more prevalent on the island tavern menus. We ate salad, tzatziki, calamari, fava beans, peppered pork steak, and fresh grilled fish. After dinner we headed up to the castle for traditional music and dancing. I recommend these shows, they start at sunset.

The next day was Scooter Day! We rented from a nice Greek guy in overalls. He was a little worried about our lack of experience, but that wasn’t stopping me! It was 10 euro well spent! Mum was not quite the biker mama and trader her scooter for the backseat of dad’s blue scooter. We zipped around the island and up to the mountain villages. We saw an ancient stone/marble quarry. We picked a quiet village for lunch and ate salads, potatoes, skewered meats on a beautiful deck overlooking the mountains. Scooter Day was terribly fun, except for the allergies. Mom’s eyes swelled up and I was sneezing like a lunatic. Maybe next time, I will come in September to avoid the grasses and weeds!

Our stay in Naxos was short; we caught a ferry to Santorini after two nights. We left with some of the island’s olive oil and spices for our Santorini kitchen. We loved Naxos and I would definitely recommend a visit!


Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Posted in Travel on January 23rd, 2007 by Ashley

The winter rain and snow of January makes me want to go somewhere beautiful and sunny. I have had the wonderful opportunity to travel down to Mexico with my mum and sis twice – January 2006 & 2007. I just returned from the trip and I thought to share a journal passage to help boost dreary winter spirits:

“I chose the aqua blue journal because it reminds me of the Caribbean. El Caribe azul. I didn’t bring a journal to Mexico – it didn’t even cross my mind. Now that we are here, my pen is scratching away at this beautiful new handmade journal. There is a much to describe and remember about our eight days in Paradise. Someday, when I am back in Oregon and we are soaking in our 51st day of continuous winter rain, I will read these pages and start organizing a trip to Paradise.

“Paradise has many definitions and descriptions; I suppose it depends on the perspective. For me, right now, Paradise comes in the form of a sherbet orange bungalow on a sandy Caribbean beach. The warm breeze and rhythmic waves greet me in the morning and whisper to me at night. From the palapa porch to the splashing surf in four seconds; this is how I measure our proximity to the sea. Mind you, sand slows one’s steps. Should I eat empanadas or tacos for lunch? This is my only concern. Friendly “hola” comes form the lips of locals in my paradise. I am writing from the Shangri La Caribe in Playa del Carmen on Mexico’s Mayan Riviera.”

When will you book a trip to your Paradise?

Sherbet Orange Bungalow Beach

About Ashley & Randal

Posted in Travel on December 7th, 2006 by Ashley

Randal and I live in Medford, Oregon with frequent trips to Portland.  We are avid travelers and love to share our favorite travel experiences through photography, conversation, or even a blog like this.

Christmas in Europe 2001

Posted in Travel on December 7th, 2006 by Ashley

This time of year brings back so many wonderful memories of the 26 holiday seasons that I have shared with friends and family. One special travel memory for me is the Christmas of 2001 when I was studying abroad in Salzburg, Austria. It was the first holiday season away from my family, but my best friend and fiancé, Randal, came to spend winter break with me. We traveled all over the continent – we had three weeks and two rail passes.

Our itinerary: London, Brussels, Paris, Bacharach in the German Rhineland for Christmas, Heidelberg, Venice, Salzburg, Munich.

This was the big trip that launched Randal Lee Photography. Randy brought his Mamiya medium format camera and captured fabulous street scenes and cityscapes. We photographed the Tower Bridge, Eifel Tower, and St. Mark’s Square. Even more special to us, though, are the photos of Bacharach where we spent Christmas at a tiny pension.

We packed cheese, fruit and pastries from Paris for our Christmas meal. The friendly older lady who owned the pension brought us extra down comforters to keep warm and cozy in the December weather. We hiked up to the castle on Christmas day and smelled the holiday dinners as families gathered. We both missed our own families and feasts. We called our loved ones later in the evening and wished them a Merry Christmas. We had the times of our lives; it was a most memorable Christmas.

Christmastime is a wonderful time of year to remember the birth of Christ and to spend time with the people who are close to our hearts.

Happy Holidays,
Ashley and Randal Lee

Bacharach Christmas 2001