Paris, Las Vegas

Posted by cybertoad on 09/24/2016 in destinations, instagram, photography, usa |

#thestrip #lasvegas #lasvegasstrip #lasvegasblvd #paris #eiffeltower #neon



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Heading up…

Posted by cybertoad on 09/17/2016 in instagram, photography, usa |

This is the road just past the Valley of Fire visitor center.

Heading up... #nevada #valleyoffire




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Moonrise over the Valley of Fire

Posted by cybertoad on 09/15/2016 in instagram, photography, usa |

#moonrise #moonrising #valleyoffire #nevada #desert #moon



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Video Sunday: Marching Band in LegoLand

Posted by cybertoad on 08/28/2016 in california, usa, video sunday, videos |

I haven’t posted a video in a while since the 1st one I posted so here is a fun one from our travels.

We may not have kids but I am a big kid at heart and am a huge LEGO fan (or AFOLs – Adult Fans of LEGOs – as we call ourselves). I had always wanted to visit LegoLand and we had the opportunity to finally go to their California park (an hour outside of San Diego) in the fall of 2001. This is a short video of the “marching band” made entirely of LEGOs in front of a LEGO White House that can be found in Miniland USA.


TTT: June 7th, 1996

Posted by cybertoad on 08/16/2016 in europe, time travel tuesdays, trains & metros |

On this day we are making our way to my friend Bjoern’s place in Western Germany. We met while he was a grad student at Texas A&M and he was hosting us for a week or so at his apartment.

Paris/Bochum, Germany

Ack! (as Bill the Cat would say). The day started off badly – we should’ve taken it as a warning. At 5:30 AM a very loud radio alarm goes off. Then, a verbal fight ensues in some other apartment. The stifling heat &noise kept us up. We take our time, though, thinking we would catch a 10:30 AM train to Koln from Le Gare du Nord.

Upon arriving, we find out that train would not arrive in Koln till around 4 PM and that it would be a TGV, thereby costing us more. We also find out that we would have to pay to go through Belgium. Dave & I wanted to use our EuroPasses but neither of us had a pass through Belgium.

After being sent to another line, we make the decision to go on straight to Bochum [where Bjoern lived]. Yes, they have a ticket straight there that arrives at 10:56 PM! Yikes. It left at 4:34 PM. It was only 10:30 AM.

O.K. So there we were. We were prisoners because of our luggage and had really no choice but to suffer in the un-air conditioned train station for 6 hours. Then be on a train for another 6 1/2 hours. Don’t break out the violin yet. Our train time finally arrives and we get on, I ask Dave to ask and make sure we could get on the wagon we had chosen and with only 13 minutes to spare, we find out that we still needed a ticket through Belgium!

Dave hurries off to the ticket booth, I begin to panic thinking that after 6 hours of waiting, we would miss our train. With 2 minutes to spare, Dave runs back fuming and tells me we can buy it while on the train. Ack!

We jump on and comment on how nice the seats are. Getting comfortable, we show our EuroPasses and proceed to purchase those damn tickets [for Belgium]. In the process, we also find out that we were in 1st class. Oops. She [the train conductor checking tickets] just told us to change at the 1st station.

Thinking we had actually found some luck, we begin to notice the lack of A/C. Hmm…

Changing over to 2nd class seemed to be our change in luck as well. We had a cabin to ourselves and we met a German girl (Melanie) who had been living in Miami and was now going home to Essens (the stop right before Bochum).

We finally arrive (half an hour late) and Bjoern is waiting. We drop our luggage off at Bjoern’s & go into the center for some beer. We all have dark “alt” and fill our stomachs with a bratwurst which Bjoern claims is the best anywhere.

Come home [Bjoern’s apartment] exhausted and fall asleep quicker than ever.

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Visiting World UNESCO Sites

Posted by cybertoad on 08/10/2016 in belize, caribbean, central america, cuba, destinations, europe, france, new england, nyc, pacific nw, spain, texas, uk, usa |

I came across the World UNESCO Sites list and was surprised to see I had seen a few of the sites. I still have so much more of the world to see and I know I need to go further East but it’s cool to see I have visited some of the less exotic locales:

Palace and Gardens of Schonbrunn
Historic Centre of Vienna [IG Photo]

BelizeBelize Barrier Reef Reserve System [PHOTOS]

CubaOld Havana and its Fortification System [PHOTOS]

DominicaMorne Trois Pitons National Park

France – Paris, Banks of the Seine [PHOTOS]

Germany – Cologne Cathedral

Guatemala (I’ve been to all 3)
Antigua Guatemala
Tikal National Park
Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua

HungaryBudapest [PHOTOS]

Historic Center of Florence

MexicoHistoric Centre of Oaxaca [PHOTOS]

Spain (I spent the summer of 1994 touring Spain)
Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzin, Granada
Historic Centre of Cordoba
Monastery and Site of the Escorial, Madrid
Works of Antoni Gaudi
Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias
Old Town of Avila with its Extra-Muros Churches
Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct
Historic City of Toledo
Cathedral, Alcazar and Archivo de Indias in Seville
Old City of Salamanca

Tower of London
Edinburgh [IG Photo]

Statue of Liberty [IG Photo]
Independence Hall
Glacier Bay [PHOTOS}
San Antonio Missions

So many more amazing places to see – look forward to adding to this list in my lifetime!




TTT: June 6th, 1996

Posted by cybertoad on 07/26/2016 in europe, france, time travel tuesdays |

My first full day in Paris!



Wearily wake up and get our butts moving. Get supplies for lunch (mayo, cheese, ham, bread, juice) plus get stamps (successfully!) and take subway to Le Tour Eiffel where we plan to meet Marianne [D’s friend]. Because of a subway strike (yes, another strike), it took a bit longer.

Too cheap to pay for the privilege of walking up the stairs, we contented ourselves with walking underneath. Had a picnic lunch on the lawn (Parc de Champ de Mars) and rested an hour before making our way to Le Palais Royal and its gardens. Walked across Le Pont des Arts (where the river splits) towards L’Ecole des Beaux Arts and ended up at a cafe along St. Germain.

Note –> we found out later why the coffee was so expensive (34 Ff). We had picked Cafe Fleure, a cafe that has inspired writers [such] as Sartre. *

[To] celebrate our days in Paris,we buy a bottle of cheap champagne, meet up with Marianne again at the Georges V Metro on Le Champs-Elysee and guzzle it down under L’Arc de Triomphe!


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* Fact-checking this and I had the cafe spelled wrong, it was Cafe de Flore, and Sartre did not go there but other famous intellectuals did.



TTT: June 5th, 1996

Posted by cybertoad on 07/18/2016 in europe, france, time travel tuesdays, trains & metros |

This is my journal entry from the 5th day of our trip. We had already landed in London, taken the Chunnel Train from London to Paris, visited Sacre-Coeur and stayed a couple of days in Palis, a small village an hour and half southeast of Paris where my travel mate’s aunt, uncle & cousin lived.


Palis to Paris

Took train from Troyes to Gare du Est, Paris. Come in the middle of a protest march. The electrical workers are demonstrating against the raising of rates tomorrow as well as the idea of privatization [see pic below].

Took Metro to Chatelet and walked to Notre Dame. Walked alongside the river towards Le Louvre. Walked through L’Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and relaxed in the shade in les Jardin des Tuileries.

Walked to the Obelisk and La Place de la Concorde and then made it to a Metro and found our way back to Le Gare du Est. Couldn’t get a hold of Olivier and began to panic – we had no place to go!

We took our luggage (because of terrorist problems, station lockers closed up!) out of consignment and lugged it back to the train station. Our plan was to call Olivier and/or Dave’s friend Marianne every 15 minutes till we found someone.

Upon a 2nd try, we did find Olivier & our moods instantly lifted. We jumped back on our subway and made our way to 28 rue de Chazelles via le Courcelles subway.

Olivier graciously took us in (after mistakenly going to the ‘2nd’ – he lives on the 3rd – our 4th) and we had dinner,where I finally met his fiancee, Lawrence.

Got cleaned up and prepared to meet David’s friend Marianne and her friends at the steps of the Bastille Opera House at 11 PM. Upon arriving, I noticed Stephan G. at the steps! [French grad student I had know in college] He was also meeting a friend but he was late so we decided to have him meet up up at a local bar, His friend, Michael, turned out to be another INTS major [my college major] from Texas A&M. We hung out at a couple of bars and just to show how people know people, here is a quick diagram…

Libby (Dallas) <-> Alison (Dallas) <-> Katell (France) <-> Marianne (Boston U) <-> Dave (I knew him from high school) <-> ME -> Stephane (A&M) AND Michael (A&M)


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TTT: Summer of 1996 Itinerary

Posted by cybertoad on 07/12/2016 in europe, scrapbooking, time travel tuesdays |

On my initial Time Travel Tuesday entry, I told you guys about my epic 1996 post-graduation summer through Europe. Before I start posting some of my old journal entries, I thought I’d share with you my itinerary on that trip.

I hand wrote the list of dates & cities below in my journal and even hand drew that map of Europe at the end of this post.

As you can see, I saw a LOT of Western Europe in those two months! I even made you guys a handy dandy interactive map!

    June 1: Houston (IAH) –> London, UK (Gatwick)
    June 2: London
    June 3: London –> via Chunnel –> Paris –> Palis, France
    June 4: Palis
    June 5: Palis –> Paris
    June 6: Paris
    June 7: Paris –> Bochum, Germany
    June 8: Bochum & Koln, Germany
    June 9: Bochum & Dusseldorf, Germany
    June 10: Bochum
    June 11: Bochum & Munster, Germany
    June 12: Bochum –> Verona, Italy (12 1/2 hour train ride!)
    June 13: Verona
    June 14: Verona –> Firenze, Italy
    June 15: Firenze –> Innsbruck, Austria
    June 16: Innsbruck
    June 17: Innsbruck –> Munchen, Germany
    June 18: Munchen & Dachau, Germany
    June 19: Munchen
    June 20: Munchen –> Stuttgart, Germany
    June 21: Stuttgart
    June 22: Stuttgart –> Fribourg/Rossens, Switzerland
    June 23: Rossens & Avenche, Murten, Switzerland
    June 24: Rossens & Bern, Switzerland
    June 25: Rossens –> Paris
    June 26 – July 1: Paris
    July 2: Paris –> Poitiers, France
    July 3: Poitiers
    July 4: Poitiers –> Bordeaux, France
    July 5: Bordeaux
    July 6: Bordeaux –> Madrid, Spain
    July 7 – 9: Madrid
    July 10: Madrid –> Valencia, Spain
    July 11: Valencia
    July 12: Valencia –> Barcelona, Spain
    July 13 – 14: Barcelona –> Fribourg, Switzerland (overnight train)
    July 14: Rossens, Veytaux & Montreaux, Switzerland
    July 15: Rossens, The Swiss Alps – Zermatt, Gornergrat – & Sion, Switzerland
    July 16: Sion –> Baden, Switzerland
    July 17: Baden & Lucerne, Switzerland
    July 18: Baden & Zurich, Switzerland
    July 19: Baden –> Paris
    July 20: Paris –> London, UK
    July 21 – 26 –> London
    July 27: London –> Edinburgh, Scotland
    July 28: Edinburgh
    July 29: Edinburgh –> London
    July 30: London
    July 31: London –> HOME!! (Houston, Texas)









    Revisiting a list from July 2003

    Posted by cybertoad on 07/10/2016 in bucket list, travel |

    Wow! While cleaning up this blog to convert it to a travel blog, I came across this post from 13 years ago listing locations I wanted to visit in my lifetime. Thrilled to see I’ve made some headway – and even visited some locations a few times.

    If I have visited a location, I’ve added a link to the pictures too!

    Within the USA

    • Seattle, Washington [PHOTOS]
    • Las Vegas [PHOTOS]
    • Chicago [PHOTOS]
    • Vermont during the fall on one of the foliage road tours [PHOTOS]
    • Skiing either in Colorado or New Mexico (I’ve never skied)
    • Santa Fe, New Mexico
    • The Southern East coast (i.e Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia)
    • Alaskan cruise (this is planned for our 10-year wedding anniversary) (we actually went for our 15th anniversary) [PHOTOS]
    • Puerto Rico
    • More of Northern California including a hot-air balloon ride over one of the wine regions.


    • Basque region in Spain during the cider house tours
    • Somewhere in Asia, don’t know where yet and depends on political climate
    • Australia/New Zealand
    • Canada – Quebec, Montreal, Lake Louis, Nova Scotia [PHOTOS]
    • Greece
    • Ireland & Scotland [PHOTOS]
    • Denmark – Legoland and Eskesen (the floaty pen factory) (does it partially count if I visited Legoland in San Diego instead?)
    • Eastern Europe including Warsaw, Prague, Budapest [PHOTOS]
    • Southern Italy (already saw Northern Italy)
    • Guatemala – so I can take Kenny since I’ve already been
    • Costa Rica
    • Buenos Aires, Argentina

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