Favorite travel souvenirs

My husband and I don’t ever spend much on cheesy souvenirs, but we’ve been known to bring home less traditional momentos. The newspapers from the days we were there. Travel magazines in the local language. Art we can frame and display in our home. Practical items we can use everyday, like paper notepads or reusable grocery bags. Specialty food or drinks from the region. Travel-related goodies we can use elsewhere, like passport covers or luggage tags. And almost always: a Christmas ornament. What about you?

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Chateau Ste Michelle Winery concerts

Most native Seattleites know one of the best places to catch a outdoor summer concert is at local winery, Chateau Ste Michelle, in Woodinville. This year, my mother in law grabbed third row seats to Diana Krall, an excellent show filled with exceptional musicianship. When no one sat in the two rows in front of me, I grabbed my camera. If you’re ever in Seattle in the summer, check out the Chateau. There are quite a few excellent dining options within walking distance, as well.

Terracotta Warriors in Seattle

Hearing that Seattle is one of only two US stops of ten of China’s Terracotta Warriors, I knew I had to see them. At least, until I see the entire collection whenever I finally visit China. This exhibit, at the Pacific Science Center until September 4, 2017, alongside IMAX film Mysteries of China, does a great job of explaining who Emperor Qin Shi Huang was, why he had all these pieces created, and the interesting story behind the ongoing project in Xi’an to uncover and restore all the artifacts. I highly recommend this stop to everyone in or near Seattle who has any interest in history or Asian culture.

Helsinki, Finland

We weren’t in Finland long, but we did have some of the best food of our entire trip at the Helsinki Market. The grilled salmon platter, salmon chowder, and apple-filled donuts were totally worth the stop. We also took in Temppeliaukio Kirkko, a Lutheran church built into the rock with a copper roof. (Taken Saturday, June 24, 2017, Helsinki, Finland. Click images to enlarge.)

St. Petersburg/Санкт-Петербу́рг

As an American kid growing up during the Cold War, the idea of visiting Russia intimidated me…until I arrived and absolutely fell in love with this city. Gorgeous architecture, stunning canals, kind people, good food. It has become one of my favorite cities on the planet. (Taken June 21st and 23rd in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Click on individual images to enlarge.)