Tag Archives: 2015


After crossing the English Channel, we found a rental car and immediately set off for Westvleteren Brewery in Belgium.  This brewery produces three beers that are consistently ranked among the best in the world.  However, the Trappist monks only produce enough to finance their Abbey so it is difficult to find in the USA.  I tried all three.

Justin at Westvleteren Abbey
Justin at Westvleteren Abbey

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London and Dover

As part of her PhD research, Katie submitted a robotics paper to the Hamlyn Symposium in London.    We weren’t planning to go back to Europe for a while, but given the opportunity we decided to see parts of continent that had so far evaded us.  We started with the London Eye.

Justin and Katie on the London Eye
Justin and Katie on the London Eye

This monolithic ferris wheel is in the heart of London and difficult to miss.  Although we’d been to here twice before we’d never had an urge to go up.  The lines were always long and it just seemed a bit too touristy.  We caved and bought tickets – it was neat.

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Napa Valley & San Francisco

Katie’s 27th birthday was approaching and with her PhD work in full swing, we decided a weekend getaway would be a healthy change.  The cheapest non-stop flights were to San Francisco and since I had never been, we ventured out there.

Most of our trips involve the usual sightseeing, museums, art, food but we always try to add a small excursion that makes the destination stand out.  In Napa, it was hot air balloons.

Hot air balloon before takeoff
Early morning, right before liftoff

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The other day, Matt turned 30.  To help celebrate the occasion and it being a little while since our last trip, we started looking for a nearby destination for revels.  Matt’s answer was Cancun and since there were non-stop flights on sale from SLC, Katie and I got onboard.

Let me preface this by saying I really enjoyed the slice of Mexico that we saw, albeit a narrow one.  Katie and I hadn’t been past our southern border and we found the weather nice, the people friendly, and the food fantastic.  But still, we were miserable almost the entire time.

The trip started smoothly with Katie and I arriving at the resort one day ahead of Lyle and Matt.  With the extra time, we immediately took a bus out to nearby Chichen Itza.  The bus ride was long and hot, luckily there was a stop for some authentic Mexican cuisine and souvenir shopping.  Arriving at the grounds, we made our way to the iconic temple.

Justin in front of Chichen Itza
In front of El Castillo, Chichen Itza.  This was the last time I was healthy in Mexico.

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