So where did our 2014 travels take us? Early in the year we were back looking for wildlife and culture. We love those kinds of trips, but sometimes those jungle and rain forest trips are a little trying.
So as the year progressed, we went looking for culture, history, food and wine with a little more comfort in mind…
So what gets you to planning your next trip?
It’s all good.
Time to start planning…
Check around our site and see if any of our stories inspire you.
All our planning and packing pages are there to help you with your next trip.
Clicking on any of the photos starts a slide show with bigger photos and more explanation about our 2014 travels…
So… Are you ready?
We spent a couple of days revisiting Old Town Quito and spent a day in
the Otavalo Market. Boy has that changed from years ago, but the
Otavalo people still wear their traditional dress, and it is all great
In the mountains above Quito, we went for a stay in the cloud forest at Bellavista for Hummingbirds, giant earthworms, and Olinguito.
Crossed the equator going and returning to Quito… and a few more times on the trip. That’s why they named the country Ecuador, right?!?
Wait a minute... did you read we saw Olinguito? And if you did, are you asking what is an Olinguito?
I could be smart and say it’s related to Olingos, but let's just say it’s also related to raccoons and our ring-tailed cats.
It's the world's newest mammal, just described in 2013. Can't do much better than to see it on our 2014 travels.
The cool thing was, one of the scientists that discovered who it was a new species arrived the same day as we did in Bella Vista... to show the Olinguito to his family!
...So we got the full lecture on its discovery.
AND we got to see one at night... about as cute as you can get... way cuter than the bugs!
We also went into the Ecuadorian Amazon. There IS a difference between cloud forest and lowland rain forest you know... For one thing it's much warmer in the jungle!
Some of our 2014 travels were last minute... and because we decided at the last minute, we couldn’t get seats on a plane to fly to Lago Agrio, so we took an overnight bus over the Andes!
If you had ask me before, I would have told you that we were more sensible than that now, but…
From Lago Agrio it was another two hour bus ride and a three hour boat ride to Siona Lodge.
We stayed for 4 days and explored the jungle with Luis… a fantastic guide. Saw pink river dolphin, several new species of monkeys, and two species of sloths.
Met a shaman and learned about medicinal plants.
With Luis we went on a night walk where we encountered all kinds of creepy crawly spiders, snakes and bugs…
Ah, the jungle… love it, creepy crawlies and all.
Started in Barcelona for three days and hit all the main sights.
Everybody expects to be wowed by the Sagrada Familia Basilica...
...but we loved the other Gaudi buidlings…. Casa Batllo in the photo here...
...and the Casa Mila (also known as la Pedrera) a few blocks away.
We rambled the Rambla and found our own favorite tapas bar where we could watch all the comings and goings on the plaza just in front of the Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter.
Then we rented a car and drove north to the little town of Haro in the heart of the Rioja wine district.
Arrived early enough in the day to get a room and dash off to squeeze in a couple of wine tastings.
More tasting the next morning (morning is not too early to taste wine!)
Later we drove to the city of Burgos because Mark had to see the tomb of El Cid.
Then on to the coast where we stayed in Santillana del Mar and went to
the site of the Altamira Caves and saw the replicas since they don’t let
tourists in the real caves.
Drove along the north coast exploring Basque country. Stayed in Bilbao. The museum impressed us more from the outside than the exhibits inside. We loved strolling the river and exploring the old town for dinner.
Stopped for lunch in Gernika.... that's the Basque spelling. This was historically the seat of the parliament of the Province of Biscay.
The Gernikako Arbiki - the Gernika Oak is here and the house of assembly.
The painting Guernica by Picasso commemorates the horrors of the bombing in 1937… there is a replica of the painting done in mosaic tiles.
We finished our short exploration of Basque country by continuing on to San Sebastian for the night.
Heading back south, we stopped to see Pamplona without the bulls and had lunch on Estafeta Calle... the street for the Encierro - the path of the Running of the Bulls during Los Sanfermines Festival.
You can walk the route. There are lots of pictures and maps all along the way... all without any danger of getting mowed down by running crowds or bulls.
As you can see, the town is pretty quiet the rest of the year!
We found great food and wines at our stops all along the way.
Heading back toward Barcelona along the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains, we found a couple of great Castle Paradors to stay in.
Our last full day in Spain, we explored Sant Sadurni d’Anoia.
This is the little town in the center of the Cava region - Spain’s version of champagne.
Of course we had to taste…
What better way to toast a great trip to Spain!
We actually tacked this on at the end of the trip to Spain.
We stopped for an air show in Virginia Beach to see a newly restored de Havilland DH-98 Mosquito fly for the first time in public.
The only one in the world flying at the moment... Mark just had to see it. You've got to remember we like antique airplanes too.
Flew through Amsterdam to Bergen, where travel buddies picked us up and whisked us off to their summer house on Varaldsøy Island. We hiked the island and ate and drank. We did venture off island one day to Rosendal on the other peninsula… for groceries and to visit a glacier.
Now our 2014 travels turn domestic. We spent the rest of the year chasing antique airplanes and visiting friends. That's all fun too!
For the Flying Heritage Collection Skyfair in Everett, Washington. They were flying a newly restored Russian plane… a Shturmovik. The only one of it’s kind in flying condition. Lots of photos on our Antique Airplanes FHC page.
To the old Castle Air Force Base. On the Sunday before Labor Day they have an “Open Cockpit Day” at their museum and Mark had always wanted to go and climb into the cockpit of a B-36… so we did.
We’ll send you over to Antique Airplanes for photos at Castle Air Museum too.
To see all kinds of tourist stuff we haven’t seen in a long time, and visit an old friend. We took a bay cruise, and visited their Air and Space Museum.
We also went to the San Diego Zoo where we took a look at Maned Wolf…
We’re trying to plan a trip to Brazil next year to see them in the wild….
They were beautiful in the zoo, but… it's just not quite the same.
Went to the Frontiers of Flight Museum and the Commemorative Air Force Air Power Day. Antique Airplanes got more out of these last few domestic visits than MouseToursTravels did!
We braved the Texas State Fair, saw a play, and had a good visit with more old travel buddies.
Part of the joy of travel is the people you meet and keep in touch with, don’t you think?
Drove to Carson City, Nevada… actually on Oct 31. No airplanes this time. The Nevada Railroad Museum was running a 100 year old rail car that they only bring out once or twice a year. This date was Nevada Day commemorating their admission to the U.S.
Over to Lake Tahoe and got a nice little hotel right on the lake… it was a beautiful day….
Then at about 3am in the morning it started to snow.
Just enough to turn everything white and beautiful and delay our departure a little. Chains were required over Echo Summit until 10:00am, so we enjoyed the snow and waited.
Stopped just outside of Rio Vista at the Trolley Museum and rode a couple of old trolleys.
On to San Francisco for a Trolley Heritage Weekend. San Francisco has old trolleys from all over the world. You can see many of them almost any day, but on this heritage weekend they brought them all out and ran them up and down the Embarcadero on a beautiful sunny day. The oldest and most unusual cars were free to ride. A whole trolley/railcar weekend? We had fun!
So with our 2014 travels done, it’s time to start planning for next
Brazil is a possibility… maybe back to a new part of Spain. Ireland? Who knows? Adventures and airplanes call to us and set us planning.
Time for you to start planning your next trip too!
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