Year in Review
2013 was another great year of travel and took me to 3 continents and 15 countries, 6 of them for the
first time. It was also a pretty good year for running, because even though I didn’t
participate in any races after June, I ran several early in the year, all in
new places thus allowing me to conquer new destinations on my quest to run the


Whether I traveled on my on own, with my family or with girlfriends my one constant travel companion was a camera, usually my iPhone, which I used to take pictures, posting many on my
favorite social media site, Instagram. Here’s a look back at my year in travel filtered
through Instagram.


A look at the Dome of the Rock above the Western (wailing) Wall in Jerusalem,  Israel where I ended the year with a family trip to attend the Bat Mitzvah of a family friend.



The snow-covered love locks were on a bridge in Riga where I went for what has become my annual Christmas
 pilgrimage and for a Riga redo since I
was less than impressed the first time I visited the Latvian capital.

I warmed up to the place a little more this time (despite the freezing temps) and think that Lonely Planet
might be on to something by naming it one of its top
10 cities in 2014


was one of the stops on our city tour of Central Europe, along with Prague and
Vienna. It had been several years since I’d been there, and didn’t remember how stunning the city is.


The parliament building is just one example of the beautiful architecture in Budapest.

Poland was one of the countries I visited for the
first time in 2013. I went to Poznań in the western region of the country and was pleasantly surprised by the vibrant and trendy city –

including these brightly colored buildings in the city center – and the friendliness of the people.



During our annual visit to my native California, I thought it would be fun to revisit
my childhood history with the little ladies and took them to some of the places
I went to when I was a kid,

like the missions in San Diego, Ventura and Santa Barbara.




It was a case of hot fun
in the summer time when I went to Seville in July, a city known for having the
hottest summer in continental Europe. It was hot, for sure, so visits to the the city’s sights and landmarks such as the Plaza de Espana was
best done during the mornings and evenings, while the hottest part of the day was
the perfect opportunity to take a cue from the locals and have a leisurely
lunch, Tinto de Verano and a siesta.

Experiencing the midnight
sun in Iceland – the land of fire and ice –  on the longest day of the year was definitely a
great way to kick off summer.

And then there was the Midnight Sun Run, which also proved to be a memorable experience.


Skansen Kronan is a
former fortress located in the center of Gothenburg, Sweden. This was my first
time in Sweden and in addition to taking in Gothenburg, I ran the
Göteborgsvarvet, the world’s largest half-marathon.



As luck would have it, the
little ladies’ spring break coincided with the date for Rock ‘n Roll Madrid, thus providing the perfect opportunity to get another Spain fix. After this trip
Madrid was added to the list – along with Barcelona and Valencia – of Spanish
cities I’m enamored with thanks to great food, wonderful

culture and lovely little spots like Plaza Mayor, the beautiful plaza with original covered walkways, the incredible architecture located in the heart of Madrid.




After coming out of
marathon running retirement (temporarily), I went to Israel for the first time
to participate in the Jerusalem Marathon. The hilly course was extremely
challenging, but as a Christian, having the opportunity to run on “holy ground”
proved to be more emotional than I anticipated.

I also enjoyed the people watching in Jerusalem. To see so many people who have traveled to Israel to walk where there the religious ancestors walked was very moving.


2013 was a big year for
Amsterdam with the city commemorating several anniversaries, including the 400th
anniversary of its canal ring, 175 years of the Artis Royal Zoo and 125 years
of the Concertgebouw and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

I probably spent more time in Amsterdam in 2013 than I have since I’ve lived in Holland. It was fun playing tourist in my own backyard, taking a canal cruise, going to the Scheepvaartmuseum
and the newly renovated Rijksmuseum. I definitely have to do that more in 2014.




The year started with a trip to the magical Marrakesh where I ran a half marathon. The sound of the melodic adhan ringing from the
minarets, the cacophony of the souk, the beautiful rose-tinted buildings had me
mesmerized from the start.

One of my favorite images from this trip is of the church tower standing next to the minaret, giving me hope that maybe we can all just get along.


Where in the world did your travels
 take you in 2013?