Wine and Horses in the Western Cape

It turns out there’s a reason that this is my third post ever on  My apologies if you’ve been on the edge your seat waiting to hear about horses, wineries, and farm-to-table eating.  That will be the last promise of any future authorship on my part.

After our Chapman’s Peak drive, we headed east to Franschoek for lunch at Bread & Wine.  It was a beautiful setting – eating on the patio next to the big, barn-shaped, white-washed building with a bright blue sky behind it.  We used an American Express concierge service to make the reservation for us in advance to give the illusion we were important people.  As a result, they gave us free champagne upon seating us.

I’m obviously not the photographer in the family, but I really wanted a photo to capture the relaxed and delicious meal.


Vinod did a bit better…the home cured charcuterie platter:


This was our best meal in South Africa that was unfortunately a bit more rushed than we would have liked due to needing to head over to the horse stables…

After arriving at Paradise Stables, we met a German couple with whom we’d be riding.  We were never really introduced to our “guide”, and she didn’t have much to say during the ride, but it worked out alright.  We found plenty to talk about with the Germans, and it was nice to feel that we were more or less on our own as far as the riding went.  The excursion was about four hours, with visits to three different wineries for tastings along the way.  Luckily the German guy was into wine, so when there were decisions to make, we let him handle them.  Photos are a bit tricky from horseback, but we managed to snap a few.

Vinod’s view ahead to Lillie.




The entrance to the final winery, Mont Rochelle.




What a way to celebrate 30 years!


And the (fundraising) Race is on!

As many of you already know, I am running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco one month from today!  The training is going pretty well, and I even ran a practice race a couple of weeks ago at the Seattle Iron Girl 10K (along with my co-worker Lindsay).  Linds & Lillie

Since I’m training with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, it’s more than preparing for the run.  I’m also raising money to support the organization with their efforts to cure blood cancers and provide support to the families affected by these diseases.  With one month to go, I’m halfway toward my goal of $4,000.

This is where I need you.  Please visit my personal fundraising page and contribute to my race today!  If you’d rather mail in a check, that works, too.  Just shoot me an email for the details (lilliek at gmail).

Bonus: When you donate over $100, you can earn 1 Alaska Airlines Mile/$ on top of your usual credit card bonus.  How can you afford not to contribute!?  (Ask me if you’d like to go this route as there is one extra hoop to jump through.)

No matter the amount, your donation will benefit a cause that is doing amazing work right before our eyes.  I’ve heard some incredible "success" stories since I started training with TnT, and it’s all because of the work that they’re doing.   

Thanks for your support!!

Underwater Fun

Snorkeling is a big part of a Galapagos trip, so we were definitely surprised when only about half of our group decided to go for it.  After checking out pictures in advance and reading lots of trip reports, we were pretty excited and even stocked up on some gear – including a buoyancy vest for Vinod!  He hadn’t spent much time in the water previously, but the vest gave him the confidence he needed to accomplish his dream of swimming with penguins.

We had six opportunities to snorkel on our trip (three from the dinghy and three beach snorkels), and we went out for the first five.  Let me preface the snorkeling descriptions by saying how tricky it is to take shots under water!  You’re moving, the fish are moving, the display is too dark to see, and the mask eliminates the ability to look through the viewfinder.  We ended up with a lot of shots of beautiful fish tails and some fantastic memories!

Our first snorkel was at Gardner Bay, and we were excited to find a couple of sea lions who wanted to play!  We were just getting used to using the camera underwater, so no real amazing wildlife shots from this snorkel, but we did get my trip favorite of the two of us.


Next up was Devil’s Crown – revered as the best snorkeling in the Galapagos, and it didn’t let down.  There was a minute of panic in the beginning when another snorkeler got scared right after entering the water, and the guide went rushing off to help her.  We got through it and were once again well-rewarded.

A beautiful blue Starfish


Sea Lions (yep, they were that close to my leg!)

Our guide Juan swimming with a Sea Lion.



White-tipped Reef Shark (we saw the full shark, but could only seem to catch half of it in our photos)


Our next snorkel was at Urbina Bay and was full of Sea Turtles!  This one is swimming with a pair of sergeantmajor fish.


This parrotfish deserves a mention as well, since it was my most photogenic underwater subject.


At this point we miss another snorkel full of sea turtles because we, once again, forgot to replace the memory card in the camera before heading out at Punta Morena.  It was a bit choppy there and consequently murky under the water, so it was the best day to leave it behind. 

Our last snorkel was at Puerto Egas. 


Scorpion Fish


That black missile toward the top is a penguin!!

Here he is up close and blurry.


Vinod’s one and only underwater photo was of a migrant sea turtle.