Hiking in Big Bend National Park

Hiking in Big Bend National Park, Texas can be full of unexpected surprises. While hiking on a trail down to "The Window" we came across this little woodsy haven on the side of our trail.  The path follows the natural drainage from the Basin and it terminates in the pour-off at "The Window".  It is quite a rewarding hike.  Besides the green vegetation you see here there is also a nice variety of plants, birds, and other animals.  We even saw some deer!!
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Alsace Castle

We hiked up a mountain in the Rittersberg forest in Alsace, France to get to this castle called Chateau Ramstein.  What a wonderful hike and you could hear the birds chirping so loud everywhere.  I enjoyed that so much I even made a recording of it on my iPhone!  We then hiked on further to yet another castle called Chateau Ortenbourg where we had a picnic.  Both were in the Vosges mountains not too far from a town called Scherwiller.  This one here was built by Albrecht Von Hagsburg after he came to thrown in 1298.  It was his siege castle after he had burned down the one above.  This one also was finally burned and destroyed by the Swedes in 1633.


Exclusive to the Alsace region in northeastern France near Strasbourg is this Strisselspalt hop.  It's a unique variety of hop that gives beer an unrivaled aroma and a superior taste.  It is considerred by many to be the caviar of hops and is what France uses to make it's popular Kronenbourg 1864 beer.

Renting bycicles in Paris, France

These bicycles known as Vélib's are used all over Paris.  The word vélib is a contraction of vélo for bike and liberté which stands for bicycle freedom.  They are cheap to rent and you can see people riding them everywhere.  There are actually four times as many bike stations in Paris as metro stations.  Amazing!  And it's really simple too...  you rent it, ride it and then return it to any station.  It's a great way to get around!!


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This butterfly is actually sitting on her face.  It is not superimposed.  The butterfly was so pretty and she was playing around and having so much fun with it that I got my camera and started clicking a few shots of it on her face.  This one was my favorite because of the way her eye shows through the tail.


Big Bend National Park patio view

Map of Big Bend National ParkImage via Wikipedia
Big Bend National park is located in the southern part of South West Texas not too far from New Mexico and just across the Rio Grande river from Mexico.  We went down there to spend our Thanksgiving vacation last year.  We stayed in a house in Lajitas, TX just outside of the park and we were on a hill overlooking the Rio Grande river.  It was so beautiful.  We were at walking distance to Lajitas Inn which was great because of their great restaurant.  We were so close to the river that you could hear the roosters crow in Mexico.  I took this picture from the back of the house facing the opposite direction. 
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