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Bordeaux, Dordogne Caves (Ancient Cave Paintings, Cliff Dwellings, Stalactites/Mites) and Carcassonne

Bordeaux

Known as a famous wine-growing region, Bordeaux is an important port along the Garonne River.  Its streets are lined with stately buildings and many cafes.  Bicycles rule the roost here, both in Bordeaux and La Bastide, across the water.

Parc de la Vanoise (French Alps)

Pont de Peche to Lac Peclet Polset, Parc de la Vanoise (French Alps)

This hike was one of the best hikes I have done and one of the easiest 12-mike hikes I have done. The views of mountains, needle peaks, streams, several cascading waterfalls, blooming wildflowers and finally the blue lake at the end, kept me well distracted.

Trona Pinnacles, San Bernardino County, California

If you are looking for an otherworldly landscape, this is the place for you. A skyline made up of about 500 tall tufa spires dotted the barren landscape as we walked in an ancient dry lakebed named Searle Lake. Searle Lake was one of many lakes filled with glacial meltwater connecting the Sierra Nevada to Death Valley as glaciers melted from the Sierra Nevada mountain range.  According to one of the information boards, half of  all of earth's minerals are found on this lake bed, one of which is trona, the park's namesake. 

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, San Jose, CA

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum is an interesting museum in the Bay Area with real mummies, both human and animals, and many casts of different Egyptian artifacts. Though not a huge Museum, it is a good introduction to the Egyptian culture, in my opinion. There is a replica of a tomb below the museum, and a free guided tour daily (included in admission ticket), explaining the different burial practices.  Note the unfinished portion of the painting on the tomb wall near the right - which was not uncommon.  Ancient Egyptians had to be buried at 70 days after death, never longer, so the painters likely had to stop their work before it was finished when the 70th day arrived.

Kohala Coast - Northwestern Big Island

Spencer Beach to Hapuna Beach via Ala Kahakai Trail

The Ala Kahakai Trail is an old trail from the time of the Hawaiian Kings connecting the Kings' roads and fisherman's trails. Currently, only small portions are maintained and signed as hiking trails. From Spencer Beach to Hapuna Beach is a 5-6 mile return hike with fairly minimal elevation gain with occasional short climbs onto lava rocks. Spencer Beach at the north end looked to be a local beach, with many local campers.