A guided tractor trailer ride in Arenal Volcano National Park

Looking back at 2016

As far as the impressions and memories are concerned, the outgoing 2016 was a good year.

We started it with a snowshoeing hike in Yosemite on January 1, and were rewarded by the famous Tunnel View of the Valley with some icing on the cake:

Yosemite: the Tunnel View in January

Our favorite place on Earth, the Union Pub in Volcano, was always hospitable to us, summer or winter:

The town of Volcano, California

And after several year of drought we had a fabulous skiing season in Kirkwood:

Kirkwood: skiing the back side on a sunny Friday

We were lucky to see some unique art, like Rafael’s Lady With a Unicorn at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco:

Rafael’s Lady With A Unicorn in the Palace of Legion of Honor

and took a backstage tour of San Francisco Symphony Hall:

San Francisco Symphony: The Glockenspiels and the Triangles
San Francisco Symphony – a backstage tour

In the spring we climbed the Red Lake Peak for the first time, and the views could make Switzerland jealous:

A view from Red Lake Peak in May

A weekend trip to Mexico City was above all hour expectations, and we fell in love with its history, architecture, art and of course food!

Mexico City – the Old Town

and were impressed by the Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico, featured in James Bond movie Skyfall:

Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico

The ancient pyramid city of Teotihuacan left us speechless:

Teotihuacan: the Pyramid of the Sun

The murals by Diego Rivera in the Presidential Palace are a must see.

Murals by Diego Rivera in Mexico City

We found a few new trails around Carson Pass and Mokelumne Wilderness, such as Tanglefoot Canyon trail

Tanglefoot Canyon Trail
Tanglefoot Canyon Trailhead

and climbed Lassen Peak in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Lassen Peak
Lassen Peak in early July

A brief stay in the City of Prague rewarded us by superb views, loads of European history and excellent beer.

Prague - a view from Karl?v Most
Prague on a summer night

The otherwise sleepy Bayreuth wakes up in August for its annual Wagner Opera festival, a part of which we were lucky to see this year

At Bayreuth Festspielhaus Theater
Opera fans arrive for the performance during Wagner Opera festival in Bayreuth 

The well preserved medieval city of Regensburg and the Danube river presented some photo opportunities.

Regensburg, Bavaria
Old Town Regensburg and the Danube River

And the historic architecture of meticulously restored Nuremberg was truly impressive.

Nuremberg on a summer day

Munich was cozy and hospitable as ever, even on a stormy day.

Munich, Bavaria
Marienplatz on a stormy morning

Yosemite in early September provided a perfect hiking weather

Pohono Trail in Yosemite
Yosemite in early September

And the granite-clad lakes around Carson Pass were great for swimming

Shealor Lakes Trail
Shealor Lake in August

Salt Springs Reservoir had way more water in it that in the previous years:

Salt Springs Reservoir
Salt Springs Reservoir in October

And the Red Lake near Carson Pass looked way different from the new vantage point:

Red Lake Hike
Red Lake at Carson Pass, mid-November

Our luck with weather ran out by that time, and Panama City greeted us with the storms caused by Hurricane Otto in the Caribbean:

Panama City
Panama City on a rainy day

Hurricane or not, the Panama Canal kept functioning:

Panama Canal
Panama Canal: the Miraflores Locks

but Costa Rican hiking trails turned into wet muddy mess

Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
Rainy day hiking in Arenal Volcano Park

However once the Hurricane was over, Costa Rica allowed us a couple of days of good weather for wildlife watching and beach walking

I took up bicycling. It turns out there are some nice trails and places one can reach by a mountain bike from where we live. Still have to figure out how transport my photo equipment on a bicycle.

Lexington Reservoir, near Los Gatos, CA
Lexington Reservoir, near Los Gatos, CA


On the last morning of the outgoing year we went to Dali17 – the recently opened Salvador Dali Gallery in Monterey. It is a large, interesting and very non-typical collection of Dali’s works:

Salvador Dali Gallery in Monterey, CA
Salvador Dali Gallery in Monterey, CA



On this surreal note, Happy New Year everyone!!!

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