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Carmel is like a picture you would see on a cover of an English classic: of a brightly painted door or an wood-framed window peeping out of a green facade of shrubs and creepers decked with flowers.

Take a walk around the town and you see brick house here, an English cottage there, some Mission-styled architecture, some half-timbered structures; each of them prettied up with a garden full of flowers or planters overflowing with flowers. There are decorative lamps adorning the stone and brick buildings, and flower-laden vines taking over many a wall and roof.

Carmel is a seaside town in California that you could easily mistake for an English village with some Spanish touches.

Also called Carmel-by-the sea, this charming town is also known for being home to several artists and poets and authors and musicians. The most famous resident of this city however must be Clint Eastwood. Mr. Eastwood had even served as the Mayor of Carmel in the 80s.

It has been a while since I was in Carmel. But I remember, like it was just yesterday that I was there, how charming and picturesque the little town was. Even the businesses in the downtown area were housed in the story-book type houses this place is known for. Carmel looked like a good place to buy art, specially crafted jewelry and unique pieces of home decor. The city also seemed to have several inns, Italian restaurants and coffee shops with wrought iron patio furniture outside, painted in white and looking like they belong in a period drama.

Another thing I must tell you is that there are no fast food chains here, almost no swanky buildings and no door numbers. In a long time, I hadn't seen houses with names written on the gates or at their front doors. It really did feel like another place, another country.

I also couldn't help noticing was that this city seemed an extremely dog friendly city. There were so many dogs out on the streets, big ones, tiny ones and dogs of every breed and colour. Several shops had doggie bowls with water at their doors, so that the canine tourists walking around town could take a sip if thirsty.

When I was reading up about the place, I found that this place had this rather unheard of law of prohibiting the use of high heels without permit. I hear that the idea is to prevent people from suing the city for uneven pavement of the side walks. Unfortunately I had come across this piece of information only after I got back from my visit, or I could have taken notice of what kind of footwear everybody was wearing. I'm not even sure many people know about the law. Maybe I'd have known if I had gone in heels. That was day I was wearing the most comfortable flats I had (with soles like that of a running shoe) and so I got to really enjoy the walk down Ocean Avenue.

Ocean Avenue is a road that turns off Highway one, passes through downtown Carmel and then goes all the way down to the beach. If you like scenic drives, you can continue down past Carmel City Beach and embark on a seaside drive past several sea-front homes and inns and beaches and finally get to Carmel River Beach.

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Aerial shot of Honolulu airport and the Pacific Ocean.

I'm Hawaii dreaming and keeping my fingers crossed. ;) So today, I'm sharing some pictures from my window seat aboard a Hawaiian airlines flight to the Hawaiian capital, Honolulu on Oahu Island.

It was my first visit to the Aloha State, a few years ago. And we were flying in from San Jose, California. It was an August (in every way) afternoon and the Pacific Ocean looked its best and the islands of Hawaii looked very inviting.

These photographs are from a point-and-shoot camera, and there was the airplane window between the camera and the sights below but you can still see how gorgeous Honolulu and the great Pacific are together:

Aerial shot of Honolulu airport and the Pacific Ocean.
Oahu's shoreline and the Pacific Ocean.

Aerial shot of Honolulu airport and the Pacific Ocean.
Almost there.

Aerial shot of Honolulu airport and the Pacific Ocean.
Honolulu from the window seat.

Aerial shot of Honolulu airport and the Pacific Ocean.
Honolulu and the Pacific Ocean, just before touchdown.

Aerial shot of Honolulu airport and the Pacific Ocean.
Honolulu International Airport, Honolulu, Oahu.

Aerial shot of Honolulu airport and the Pacific Ocean.
After a few hours in the capital city, we were getting ready for another flight.
We were getting ready for take off here. Our destination -- Big Island, HI.

Aerial shot of Honolulu airport and the Pacific Ocean.
The Pacific Ocean, a little after take off from Honolulu Airport.

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Mt. Hood, Oregon

You don't have to go all the way to 'Mt. Hood' to see Mt. Hood. It is tall, imposing and unmissable. With its clear cut form and its elevation, Mt. Hood is visible from most of Portland, Oregon and it's surroundings. Standing at 11, 249 ft, Mt. Hood is also the tallest volcano in Oregon.

Mt. Hood is one of the volcanoes of the Cascade Range that runs through the states of California, Oregon and Washington. This is the sight I look forward to seeing whenever I'm in Portland (it's become such fun, spotting this landmark from different places). Cross the interstate bridge and into Washington and you will be able to see Mt. St. Helens. More about that volcanic mountain, later.

Here are some images of Oregon's highest mountain:

Mt. Hood, Oregon
Mt. Hood and the city of Portland. 

Mt. Hood, Oregon
This is Mt, Hood from the top of West Hills.

Mt. Hood, Oregon
This picture is also from West Hills, Portland. That day, I almost didn't recognize Mt. Hood because of the clouds that was covering the top of the volcano.

Mt. Hood, Oregon
Mt. Hood from an airplane; just before touchdown in Portland, Oregon.

Mt. Hood, Oregon
Mt. Hood and Columbia River.
A picture from the Interstate Bridge on I-5.
If you like this post, you'll like the posts under -- VOLCANIC sites

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Our World Tuesday

Tunnel View, Yosemite.

Have you visited someplace and felt like kicking yourself for not getting there much earlier? I feel that way quite often and the last time that happened was when I was when I was standing at a view point that showed me Yosemite's very celebrated Tunnel View. (To my defense, I'd planned that trip several times and had those plans crash every single time, until this one time, last Fall.)

Let me tell you what it was like to stand and stare at the Tunnel View. I felt like I was in a daze. I cross my heart and hope to die -- I couldn't believe I was actually seeing with my own two eyes, a sight I'd seen in pictures many, many times.

The Tunnel View is a panorama of the granite drops that measure up to several thousands of feet, two rows of rocky walls and a conifer-covered valley in between.  Of the cliffs that line 'the tunnel'  the A-listers are: the sky-scraping El Capitan on the left, the eye-catching Half Dome on the right and near it the graceful Bridal Veil Falls that was having a quiet day when I visited.  One cannot visit here and leave without seeing these sights.

El Capitan, Yosemite
El Capitan
This cliff  is over 7,500 ft tall.
Half Dome, Yosemite
The Half Dome
This almost-hemispherical rock is over 4000 ft. above the valley floor and its highest point is over 8,800 ft.

El Capitan Meadow, Yosemite
A meadow in Yosemite Valley.
And that's the El Capitan on the right.

Sentinel Rock, Yosemite.
Sentinel Rock
This natural structure is said to be over 7000 ft. in height.

Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite.
Bridal Veil Falls 

If you are wondering how these behemoths came into being, let me tell you that they are believed to have been igneous rocks formed below the surface of the earth, which were later exposed by glacial activity on the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Lying on the western slopes of the Sierras, Yosemite is known for infamous winter weather and snowfall. [If you are visiting in the winter or even in Spring, you might want to look up the weather ane road conditions before you are on your way to Yosemite National Park.)

Bridal Veil Falls

The Bridal Veil Falls was not at it's best that day; it was Fall after all. And this waterfall which is fed by snow-melt doesn't have much water to pour down after the hot summer months. But I must say it is quite something to stand at the foot of that 617 ft. drop and watch the wind and spray put up a show.

And I accidentally shot a rainbow while I stood there clicking a few pictures. (See it here -- Is that a rainbow?)

Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite.

Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite.
The spray at the top of the waterfall.
The spray also looked like a bridal veil that afternoon.

During our day at Yosemite, we also stopped at a few other points-of-interest that demanded attention and forced me to take landscapes and portraits.

Yosemite National Park, California.

Yosemite National Park, California.

El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California.
El Captian from Northside Drive.

With all this, I've merely scratched the surface of this National called Yosemite. Glacier Point, Tenaya Lake and Mariposa Grove, I'll be coming to see y'all soon. And I'm sure I'll visit again and again.

Yosemite National Park, California.

Tunnel View panorama.

If you like Rock Formations, you might want to 
click here--> "Geological Destinations "

For pictures from the road, Like/Follow Tipsy From The TRIP on  Facebook.
Toon Town, Disneyland, California.

Disneyland was the place our sonny boy had had on the top of his travel wishlist for a long time. Even though it had been in the cards for a over a couple of years, it had to be put off for reasons like expecting baby no. 2, followed by the little(r) being too small to enjoy the place, and things of that sort.

Last month, everything seemed to fall in place and we decided to take the boy to Disneyland for a 'birthday trip.' That, not without deciding that we'd go back there in a couple of years when our little girl was old enough to enjoy Disneyland better. So off we went -- with a toddler in tow -- to help our 7 year old make some Disney memories.

When we were there in Disneyland Park in southern California, we found that there was quite a lot that a toddler could do there, too.

Now that I'm back home with 2 children who seemed to have had one of the happiest holidays ever, I wanted to share a list of things you could look at, to help you decide whether it is a good time to take your toddler to the 'Happiest Place on Earth.'

Note| This is for Disneyland Park in Anahiem, (CA 2016)

Things you can do with your toddlers:

Take them to meet their favourite characters - For these little ones, this is  where Mickey and Minnie live. And Donald and Daisy and the rest of the club. Meeting these characters they see on TV is probably what makes Disneyland the Happiest Place on Earth for toddlers. 

Tigger at Disneyland, California.

Train and trolley rides -There's no kid who wouldn't like to be on a train or a just about any thing that will move and show them some sights. When you are in Disneyland you might as well take them on a ride down 'Main Street,' USA on a horse-drawn-trolley or the horseless ones that keep doing the rounds there. I'm pretty sure your toddler will spot one of them and most probably ask for a trip on one of those.

Horse drawn carriage, Disneyland, California.

King Arthur Carousal - If your toddler likes to go round and round and round and up and down on a handsome horse, this is the place to do all that. 

King Arthur Carousel, Disneyland, California.

Story book land - In this land, you get into boats that take you through a canal that flows past miniature towns and castles where your Disney movie characters lived their lives and where their stories took place. Like the house in the woods that Snow White walked into. Or that grand palatial house that Princess Jasmine called home. You will also see Cinderalla's castle and a mini Arendelle with Anna and Elsa's Castle and Wandering Oaken's outpost not very far away from it. And these are just a few of those miniature structures in that Storybook landscape.

Storybook Land, Disneyland, California.

Find out if it is 'a small world after all.' Small world is a slow ride, a musical and magical one that is just right for you whatever age you are. It is a dreamy boat ride around the world; it's where you see men and women and children from all over the world come together as one and show you the wonders of this wide world where 'there's just one moon and the golden sun and a smile means friendship to everyone.'  It was a mesmerizing  ride, I thought. 

It's a small world, Disneyland, California.

Call on Mickey and Minnie's cute little abodes. They live in the oh-so-cute Toon Town in the far end of Disneyland. But this remote place has it all - gas station, post office, a diner (Daisy's) and all. You are sure to feel like being in a cartoon, checking out Mickey's man-cave-ish house or admiring Minnie's lovely little home. You should see her adorable kitchen with her own well stocked fridge, her oven that's in the middle of some baking and even her dishwasher that busy rinsing her pots and pans. My toddler loved this place, so did I. 

Mickey's House, Disneyland, California.

Go on Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin. This crazy Toon Town cab ride is fun too; it has just the right amount of adventure for a toddler. 

Roger Rabbit's cab, Disneyland, California.

Go on a Monorail Tour around the park - The Disneyland Monorail takes you on a high speed  trip around Disneyland. The guided tour points out several landmarks and rides in the park, and also Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Downtown Disneyland. All that on a single rail that runs on an elevated platform around Disneyland Park. 

Monorail, Disneyland, California.

Do the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage - This is a slow underwater ride in a submarine showing you Nemo's underwater world with barnacles, starfish, divers, submarine vegetation, all created in Disney's signature perfection. It even takes you through some animated scenes of the movie. 

Submarine, Disneyland, California.

Visit the 100 acre wood and take a ride into Pooh's territory and see his friends and his jars of honey and the cuteness of the surroundings. If you're in there while the celebrities of 100 acre wood are there to receive you, then you might as well pose for some photographic proof that you got a Pooh hug or did a little jig with Tigger.

Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Disneyland, California.

Jungle Cruise - Another boat ride, but this one is not through story books or fantasy-lands of any kind. This a cruise through unbelievable green territory; a forest so beautifully landscaped showing you life-sized make-believe animals in their own happy places in different parts of the world. Elephants splashing water, forest folk guarding their sacred homelands and animals in the wild doing what they do best. It's a whole other fascinating world out there. After all this is supposed to be a sail through the rivers of the world your geography books told you about. 

Jungle Cruise, Disneyland, California.

Don't ever miss the Parade and Fireworks - Don't ever say good bye to Disneyland without enjoying the much talked about parade and fireworks over the Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Firework, Disneyland, California.

Other things I'm sure toddlers can do (Things that we didn't get to do either because of time constraints or because some attractions were temporarily closed for refurbishment.)
  • Alice in Wonderland. 
  • Casey Junior Circus Train
  • Character Dining 
(There might be other rides too that your toddler might be ready for, but I haven't included for the simple reason that I didn't do them with my toddler. I've listed only those attractions that we tried-and-tested. In other words, these are toddler-approved attractions.)

I've got more good news:

There things for toddlers to do at Disney's California Adventure Park too. After we got back from our Disney trip, there were several people who asked if  there was anything for little ones to do at Adventure Park. The general misconception is that that park is for bigger kids and adults alone.
Let me tell you that Disney has made sure that both parks in Anahiem has 'something for everyone,' in the true sense of the term.

Here's 'Adventure Park' for Toddlers:

Heimlich's Chew Chew Train - Get into the friendly caterpillar and he'll show you his healthy and yummy landmarks: a slice of watermelon, some huge carrots and even some cupcakes. No fast turns or dark tunnels or loud, scary noises here.

Heimlich's Chew Chew Train, Disney's Adventure Park

Little mermaid undersea adventure- This is another of those whimsical journey into sea waters, this time it to explore the world that Ariel came from: of mermaids and mermen and finned friends. It's where you see the little mermaid's treasure trove and see Ursula make her potions.

A slow ride it is and when it takes you into the dark it lights up the underwater world that is surreal. It might give you a taste of what it would be like if you were half fish; without those 'what to you call em, feet.' And remember, here you are going set eyes on the sea-witch with those enormous tentacles. (Note: she's not going to scare your toddler.)

Ursula the sea witch, Disney's Adventure Park

Watch whatever 3D trailers they are screening. While we were there we took our toddler in to put on some 3D glasses and meet Alice and the White Rabbit and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum as they went about wonderland in 'Alice through the looking glass.' It was a sneak peek of the movie.

And there's a Parade here too, this one we caught on our last afternoon there.

Parade, Disney's Adventure Park


The must have -app

This is one of those holidays I went to, without doing no pre-trip planning (save the looking up of park and hotel bookings, which the hubby took care of). So the best thing I did to guide us through the parks was to download the Disneyland application on my phone.

Let me tell you how useful this app was:
It gave me a list of attractions and for which ones we could avail 'fastpasses.'
It showed me a map of the attractions
It even told me what were the height restrictions for the different rides in both parks.
Best of all, it gave me the 'real-time wait time' for the rides throughout the parks. This, for both Disneyland Park as well as Disney's California Adventure Park
Restroom Rescue - It showed me where there was a restroom near me.
It even allowed me look up dining options at different parts of the park.

It definitely was one of the best apps I downloaded for a trip. And I think you must do that too when you plan your trip to Disneyland. That way you don't miss what I have skipped here and it should include all the newer attractions that are there when you are there.

Thinking you might be ready to take your toddler to Disneyland? Got any queries for me? Leave them in the comments and I will get back to you. :)

PS: The park is very stroller-friendly.
At first we thought we'd make do with our umbrella stroller but then used the bigger one instead and that was a great decision as we got to stash into the storage basket beneath the seat, our snacks and bottles of water and the souvenirs we picked up along the way.
You can even rent strollers here.

You might also want to visit this post --> Glimpses of the 'Happiest Place On Earth'



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