United States – Summer Vacation 2013

28 07 2013

Take a look at the highlights of our most excellent adventure in the United States this summer. Our vacation and our video are in two parts. The first part shows our classic American Drive Vacation out west and for the second part we’re in Chicago with family and friends. Come along with us as we explore the splendor of Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Yosemite, and Redwood National Parks. See how we balanced out the nature of the parks with the cityscapes of Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland.

The second part of our tip was with  family in Chicago. Come with as we celebrate Gabrielle’s graduation, enjoy rides and thrills at Great America, ponder the complexity of various works at the Art Institute, bounce, jump, and play games like silly kids, go to a ballgame, have a “Summer Christmas” party, learn about police work, and just visit with family and friends.

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Poland 2013

7 05 2013

Christine is her cousin Iwona’s son Krystian’s godmother. We went to Poland for his communion, a semi family reunion, and a mini vacation. Good times with family. Watch the video…





Trip with Grandma 2013

9 03 2013

Grandma came to see us this winter for a couple weeks. While she was here we took a six day road trip. First we contemplated “donkey ball” soup at Le P’tit Bouchon in Châteauroux and then visited an interesting “modern” museum in the ancient chateau of Rochechouart. Then we visited the WWII martyr village memorial museum in Oradour-sur-Glane. A sobering experience but something one should see to assist with coming to grips with the atrocities of war. Next off for a few days in Lourdes where we visited the Sanctuary of Our Lady, prayed, collected holy water, and lit a prayer candle. Christine and the kids had a chance to go skiing and Grandma and I took in various sights. Some good meals, fun games, and a visit to the Musée Pyrénéen in the medieval château high on a mound in center of town concluded our visit in this lovely town in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Finally off to visit a picturesque medieval fortified town built high on hilltop. Cordes-sur-Ciel and the B&B L’Escuelle Des Chevaliers was quite worth the detour.





Germany – Luxembourg Summer Vacation 2012

6 08 2012

Summer vacation fun this year at Legoland Deutchland with family. We met Christine’s aunt, cousin, and godson at the interlocking plastic bricks amusement park for a fun packed day. David is now old enough and tall enough to ride all the rides. He and I even tackled the park’s wildest rollercoaster complete with photo souvenir. Gabrielle and the boys got their first driving school instruction and even a practical exam out on the “mean streets” of the theme park’s little city mock-up. They passed the mini motorized course and were awarded their first driver’s license. The next few days were spent in Munich and the surrounding area where we did typical tourist things. Several nice and even noteworthy restaurants, public transportation follies, a fairytale castle, two awesome car museums, an Olympic center, beer gardens, a towering spire and we wrapped it all up with a modern art museum and visit in Luxembourg City. Check our home movie if you have the time.





Stockholm 2012

9 07 2012

Christine and I spent 4 days in Sweden this summer. Swedish meatballs, tourist sites, discovering the origins of the Nobel Prize, hotel accommodations in 1924 luxury yacht moored in the “Gamla Stan” or Old Town of Stockholm.





Canal du Midi – Windstrup and Watkins Spring Vacation 2012

15 04 2012

For the longest time I have wanted to explore the Canal du Midi in France. I remember seeing something about it on TV in the late 80s thinking that I want to do that someday. Might have been the BBC cooking show Floyd on France or some other PBS show at the time. I had no idea I would eventually live in the country not just vacation there. After living in France for 10 years while discussing my younger man’s dream with some friends over dinner I discovered other compatriots who had similar dreams. We discussed it a bit and decided on the spot to just do it. What a wonderful opportunity to discover the mysteries of the canal and the charm of the connected cities together aboard the same “Le Boat”. We all took pictures and I took a ton of video. Click on the image below to see the edited and loosely narrated video of our adventure. Or if you want to simply see our photos in a slideshow click here on the photo book slideshow.





RunKeeper

1 04 2012

I’ve always had a fascination with old school pedometers and more recently GPS receivers. These gadgets have encouraged me to get out and about more over the years. I remember back in my youth calculating my run stride with simple math and the yardstick measured distance of the sidewalk in front of my childhood home. I entered this “scientific” information into the electro-mechanical unit I saved up to purchase in the 80s. It made a thumping noise as I ran but it did tally up and fairly accurately show the distance traveled. Of course that was back in the day when I was on the track and cross-country teams. Many years later when we arrived in France I got my first GPS. I was able to see the electronic or “breadcrumb” track of my bike rides and hikes in the environs of our new home. I tediously massaged this information to view it overlaid on georeferenced digitally scanned maps. Imagine my delight now with applications like RunKeeper on the iPhone or hardware like the Fitbit. The Fitbit is a pedometer beyond my dreams replete with wireless transfer of 3D accelerometer and altitude data sent to the web for detailed reporting and analyses. It even tracks how efficient you sleep if you can imagine that. RunKeeper is an iPhone application that does it all! This thing tracks distance traveled and provides a detailed map tracking exactly where you ran and you instantaneous pace at any given point on the map. Cool stuff. It makes me really want to get out there and run as you’ll see in the video. Christine and the kids have been joining me fairly regularly too. The distance and pace I’ve been running is nothing great but my simple goal is to run once a week for at least a year. Let’s see how I do.

http://runkeeper.com/user/jeffwindstrup/activitylist

If not for anything else, if these gadgets get me out and about more, especially the times with my family, they are good gadgets indeed.