Photo of the Day – Golden!

I’m sure many of you recognize the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

This photo was taken while on the ferry around Alcatraz (hey – did you hear the tv show Alcatraz was cancelled?! Oh well…).

I passed just below the bridge and decided to look up and snap this shot.

Can’t wait to go back!

Happy Birthday Blog!

My first post was on this day, one year ago.

Happy birthday, blog!

I started Wistfully Wandering just as a way to keep up a travel log for myself, and to share with a few of my family and friends around me, who are always asking what I have been up to.

Now, I have grown to enjoy starting my day musing about my travel experiences and dreams.

Thank you everyone for reading about my wistful wanderings and wonderings!

Check out my first wandering post:

One thing I am getting into lately is themed trips. Pick a topic: a culinary journey, architectural experience, vineyard voyage, historical encounter… Not all trips can be categorized, but when I go for the short, in-out experience, sometimes a specific theme will help the experience (and help with my packing!)

Chicago skyline from the Hancock Tower

So – Chicago

Theme: No heels

This weekend (2.5 days) was about SPORTS and PIZZA, causal, relaxing, fun.

The one city in the USA that I thought would be on my top three (New York, San Francisco and Chi-town). It was very true. But let it be known, as you have read above, I am still relatively new to this traveling thing. I haven`t been to that many places around the world (shock!!), and I really have to visit Boston and Portland in the USA to get a feel for what I like as well, as I have heard from many a people.

So anyway, back to Chicago. It is really tied (for US cities) with New York and San Francisco. They are all so different, but all so loveable in their own ways. New York – you have the gritty, magnificently old buildings with a history and a famous story to tell. So many people, so many options and things to experience there. San Francisco – The hills, the stucco homes, and the hiking! Something about the west coast. Geography/geology/healthy living/outdoors vibe going on.

Chicago…sorry, I was distracted again. The buildings and architecture for what it is famous for, and the deep dish

Pizza at Lou Milnati's

pizza. This weekend was dedicated to baseball, hockey playoffs, and deep dish pizza. All were so much fun, and I can’t wait to go back and meet more amazing people, food and architectural venues.

Wrigley Field was crazy! So many random adventures going on in and out of the stadium. Everyone is a fan. Baseball is a bigger sport me thinks (as my man pointed out) than hockey. Two teams in baseball versus one in hockey. The real baseball experience was just what I have always dreamed of after attending countless games at the SKYDOME in Toronto. Of course, the old Yankee Stadium was also the same deal as Chicago, so lets include these two stadiums in my judgement. THIS is real baseball. Come on Toronto, get in the game.

Next, seeing a play-offs game Canucks vs Chicago Blackhawks…not exactly my passion, but still was absolutely a better experience than even my baseball games that I always love. Makes me want to take back the comment about Chicago being a baseball city.

A play-offs game! Imagine wearing Canuck’s gear to a deciding game. I was a bit nervous, but wanted to see what the reactions would be. Who would have discovered that Chicago had the nicest people in the US? Everyone was making sure we were being treated well and felt safe during the game.

United Center

Where was the heckling? The booing? Afterward, when the Canuck’s lost, we were welcomed open-armed into a pub to drown our sorrows…drinks on them.

Finally, let’s talk about the food…I mean the deep dish deliciously delectable pizza pie. Mmmmm. Please visit Giordano’s and Lou Malnati’s for their pies. The rumour was as well that Gino’s East was to be included in the list. Unfortunately though, over Easter weekend, this restaurant was close for my tasting pleasure. Oh well, next time!

This could go on for a while. So why don’t I just post a picture or two or three.

Wrigley Field

Hancock Tower

The Water Pump

1 reason added to “Why I Love to Travel”

A few weeks ago, I wrote one of my favorite blog posts, one that I printed out to remind me why I am saving my money and not splurging on a new pair of shoes.

A few people that I know, and who have traveled with me, reminded me that I forgot one reason.


26. To be silly and carefree and to randomly pose in pictures

South Dakota

Quebec City

San Francisco


Orlando (Disney)

Yellowstone (showing off my bear spray)

Escape TO Alcatraz

I am loving this new show Alcatraz by J.J. Abrams.

It is quite disturbing at many points, but still, I am liking it.

Partly because I love San Francisco, partly because it is filmed in one of my favorite places, Vancouver, partly because the actors actually seem good, and partly because I need to find a tv show I actually like and so far, all I have is Modern Family. Why should I be paying for satellite?

I hear that it is quite like the show Lost, but unfortunately/fortunately I have never seen it. EVEN though it was filmed on Kauai, Hawaii.

The show airs Monday nights at 9pm on Fox and last nights episode got me just a little more hooked.

I went to San Francisco a few years ago, me thinks in 2009, and here are some of the highlights in picture form:

The Pier

Some bridge that's apparently famous (*sarcasm)

Seals hangin on Pier 39

Lombard Street - Windiest road!


Most awesome roads with the most awesome Segway riders in yellow

My future home - hope it's earthquake proof!

Go Giants Go!


The city of violence


Alcatraz, again!

Giant Redwood trees

Best U.S. Hiking Cities

National Geographic came out with an interesting article a few days ago on the best cities for hiking in the US. At first, I read the list and laughed a bit…seriously, Vegas? But then I read through it and the hikes actually sound quite spectacular!

Salt Lake City

1. Salt Lake City, Utah

Get Hiking: From the Brighton Ski Resort, follow the Brighton Lakes and Lake Mary trails to some of the wildest scenery near any American city: high-altitude wildflower meadows, three serene alpine lakes, a ring of ragged peaks surrounding the valley, and, if you make it just more than five miles to Sunset Peak, views over the canyons surrounding Salt Lake.

2. San Francisco, California

Get Hiking: Even though it’s within biking distance of the city, parts of the seven-mile loop on the Matt Davis, Steep Ravine, and Dipsea trails can feel nearly as pristine as they must have felt when Miwok Indians walked here centuries ago. That is, of course, until you get to the panoramic views of the coast, city, bay, and beaches from the top of the 2,571-foot namesake peak.

3. Portland, Oregon


Get Hiking: Try Triple Falls, a three-mile walk from the Horsetail Falls Trailhead that takes hikers through a wooded canyon with views over the Columbia River. The payoff is a stunning three-pronged waterfall—all told, a mere 30 miles from Portland.

4. Las Vegas, Nevada

Get Hiking: Try the strenuous five-mile round trip to Turtle Head Peak from Sandstone Quarry. You’ll hike 2,000 vertical feet through flats covered in blackbrush, Joshua trees, and yuccas; along a ridge; and finally to the 6,300-foot summit with a hawk’s-eye view over Sin City.

5. Seattle, Washington

Get Hiking: This popular four-mile hike has a large measure of challenge (3,700 vertical feet of climbing) with an equal payoff (views of Mount Rainier, Seattle, and the Olympics on a clear day). The journey isn’t so bad either: Along the way, hikers pass classic Pacific Northwest conifer and fir forests, streams, and views over the valley.


6. Phoenix, Arizona

Get Hiking: Park at the Pima Canyon Trailhead and wander a nest of well-mapped trails, or tackle all or part of the 14.3-mile National Trail, which leads to spectacular lookouts on South Mountain over Phoenix and Camelback Mountain, another classic local summit hike.

7. Washington, D.C.

Get Hiking: Check out the kayakers from a lookout over the falls, then keep ambling south to shake off the majority of the visitors. A three-mile loop on the River, Ridge, and Matildaville trails leads along the craggy Mather Gorge, up steep climbs, and through serene forests of oak and ash.

8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Get Hiking: Pick up a map at Valley Green Inn, then head up the yellow trail to a nest of less-frequented loops through evergreen and deciduous forests frequented by deer, fox, and some 125 species of birds.

9. New York, New York

New York

Get Hiking: Despite the weekend crowds, the view from the top of Bear Mountain is worth the 1,100-vertical-foot climb. The four-mile loop on the Appalachian and Major Welch trails leads past a vista of the Hudson River, Iona Island, and the verdant hills of Westchester far below. It’s also the perfect spot to pick out your next hike—perhaps Anthony’s Nose, right across the river.

10. Austin, Texas

Get Hiking: The park’s Wolf Mountain Trail is one of the region’s most beloved hikes, winding past fern-lined canyons, the ruins of a settler’s house, beautiful views over the Pedernales River Valley, and finally to the mother of all Hill Country vistas at the peak.

11. Chicago, Illinois

Get Hiking: Happily, there’s little reminder of nearby urbanity on the 4.5-mile loop (trails two, ten, and nine) that winds through forests, wetlands, and the 200-foot-tall dunes that have formed over millennia.

12. Miami, Florida

Get Hiking: Try the Long Pine Key Trails, a seven-mile nest of paths through pine forest and saw palmetto, haunted by birds, lumbering alligators, and even the elusive Florida panther.


13. Boston, Massachusetts

Get Hiking: The 3.7-mile Rock Circuit Trail can take over four hours to complete thanks to its rugged forest terrain and steep rocky scrambles. Just when you’ve forgotten your proximity to the city, you’ll top out at Pinnacle Rock, which has views over the Boston skyline and the tree-speckled New England landscape.

14. Los Angeles, California

Get Hiking: One must-do hike, the six-mile Mishe Mokwa loop, climbs 1,400 vertical feet to the top of Sandstone Peak, the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains, where hikers gaze over the Pacific Coast, the Channel Islands, and the sparkle of Los Angeles far below.

15. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Get Hiking: Tick off an out-and-back on any part of the state forest’s 31 miles of trail—the scenery is similar between sections—to see a glimpse of the vestiges of prehistoric America.

My pick? I would go for Portland or Seattle. I really want to visit those cities, and I can just imagine how spectacular the views would be on those hikes.

Spectacular skylines I have seen

Seen a few cities in my day, I have.

Toronto, Ontario

San Francisco, California

New York, New York

Honolulu, Hawaii

Montreal, Quebec

Chicago, Illinois

Vancouver, BC

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Rome, Italy

Victoria, BC

Venice, Italy

Calgary, Alberta

Matera, Italy

Florence, Italy

Quebec City, Quebec

Detroit, Michigan what!

Marrakesh, Morocco

Vieste, Italy


Las Vegas, Nevada

Cancun, Mexico


Top 10 USA


I just saw an article on the site touropia promoting the top ten tourists attractions in the USA and was curious what my “score” would be for attractions visited.

Here’s the list:

10. The White House. Ok, haven’t seen it, but I am sure I will some day…

9. Denali National Park. I dream about going there, does that count? It might actually be in the works for next summer. A trip starting in Alaska, through Alberta, all the way down to Grand Teton National Park.

8. Las Vegas Strip. Check! It was quite spectacular, so lively and colourful.

7. The Florida Keys. Soon I bet. I have been to Florida about 9 or 10 times, but never further south than Naples.

6. Kilauea. CHECK! Loveeee love loveeeed it! I took a geoscience course in Hawaii a few years ago and studied the volcano in detail.

5. Niagara Falls. Check! I live about 1.5 hours away from them and have been there countless times, although mostly on the Canadian side of the border.

4. Golden Gate Bridge. Check! Loved San Francisco and was able to walk across the bridge on a nice sunny/windy day. What fun!

3. Yellowstone. CHECK! Just got back about a month and a half ago. Sigh….can I go back right now?

2. Manhattan. Check! I’m on a roll now. New York is one of my favorite cities, and I cannot wait to go back on a long weekend to make friends with the city again.

1. Grand Canyon. Not yet. Does the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone count? I’ve heard it’s just as spectacular. Maybe I will have to include a visit to the canyon next summer…

Six out of ten, not good enough! Time for me to go ‘splorin!

Fashion for sure

Packing is something that I dearly enjoy when setting off on a trip. Just the anticipation, knowing that in a few hours/days/weeks (noooo…I woudn’t pack THAT early, would I?) I will be blissfully wandering the streets of ________________.
I sometimes get it wrong though. A few summers ago, I planned a long weekend trip to San Francisco thinking that I would be so hot. Oops. Come on, I am a geographer, I should know these things! I just had California sun on my mind too much I guess, and once I looked at the current weather (17 degrees), I figured it would feel so much hotter there anyway. Ug. At least I took advantage of my misconception by shopping for a jacket around Union Square. At least my less than ideal packing skills became useful when I went for a wine tour around Sonoma and Napa Valley.

Here is one of my usual travel outfits. More versatile ever since my lesson learned in San Fran.

Skinny Jeans from Zara - dress them up or down. Thanks Olivia!

H&M cardigan in blue

Aldo bronze flat sandals

Light blue top from Joe Fresh

Bronze earrings, similar to these from Creation

Coach Wristlet