Wednesday, 20 February 2013

I am sending you a postcard from my new favorite city, Vancouver. What a wonderful trip! I feel a special connection with this city, I guess because it reminds me of my sweet home San Francisco with its cozy yet dynamic atmosphere. Like any relationship, romantic or otherwise, there are good days and bad days so Vancouver is sharing with me both its sides: a sunny perfect one as well as the rainy one. And you know, both sides are just incredibly beautiful in their own way. I was so completely charmed by its poetic views from the top of the mountain during a peach colored sunset. I am made speechless by the beauty of both the city and the country around it.

Postcard From Vancouver from Nadya's Side Of The Road on Vimeo.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

It was a very long drive. My hubby and I undertook this insane drive for one reason only, so we could see the Grand Canyon on our way to a family event in Albuquerque, N.M. Such a beautiful and breathtaking place on Earth I couldn’t imagine, and I certainly didn’t expect to see what I saw. For the first time I truly saw by myself that there is no limit to the Earth. It was one of the most calming and pleasant experiences of my life. At first I was almost disappointed by cloudy and rainy weather, but the view was even more dramatic and unique. 

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Recently Betelnut became one of my favorite asian-inspired places in San Francisco for lunch on a beautiful sunny day. First, the restaurant located on Union Street where I love to take a walk and do some window shopping at the art galleries and fancy boutiques without annoying tourists with cameras around (just annoying locals like me). Second, the place is stylish with a festive atmosphere and the food is delicious. My hubby and I prefer to order few dishes at once and share! The prices are reasonable and entirely worth the meal. I've been there many times for lunch and each time it was just a wonderful, tasty experience and a start for a nice afternoon.

“shui jiao” pork and garlic chive dumplings

Thursday, 31 January 2013

During my long visit to Jurmala this year, I only spent couple of days in Riga so I didn't take my usual hundreds of pictures. I am going to mix what I did take with the pictures I shot during my last visit to Latvia two years ago. Riga doesn't change a lot. It just got a little bit more expensive and crowded with tourists but the Old Town remains incredibly beautiful and charming with its narrow streets, impressive churches, old-fashiond houses and art nouveau architecture. Winter makes it even more special with its invigorating spirit and the sweet aromas of tea and mulled wine with cinnamon. 

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Frankly, I worried a little that I would miss San Francisco, but this one month in Jurmala was just not enough. And now, sadly, my winter holiday in Jurmala is over. The whole month, like an hourglass, poured away the minutes smoothly and uninterrupted. I was very happy to spend this precious time with my parents and sister. Jurmala, as usual, pleased me with fluffy snow and hard frosts. Every morning I was waking up in a new snow-white fairy tale, feasting my eyes on the rimed trees and dancing snowflakes. 

Monday, 14 January 2013

I'm sending you a postcard from my sweet home, Jurmala. Always such a treat to visit my parents and sister over here. I miss this place. It keeps much of me, many nice warm memories with my family and friends. This year I came back to Jurmala in winter when the town is so beautiful and shiny in its puffy coat of snow! All day long I am walking along the icy beach and then my favorite thing to do is to stop by a little cafe and have a cup of tea or mulled wine to warm my hands. It's melancholic and quiet... Just what I need after a long busy year. I wish you could see these snowflakes dancing in the air.

Postcard From Jurmala from Nadya's Side Of The Road on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Maui Film Festival is a special event for a variety of reasons, but one of those reasons towers above all the rest, The Celestial Cinema. Located on the justifiably famous Wailea Emerald Golf Course is basically a shallow grass amphitheater with a 50’ screen with a digital sound system. The amphitheater’s official capacity is 3,000 (although I suspect average attendance is around 1,500.) It is the main venue of the annual Maui Film Festival which draws over 1,000 submissions per year from around the world. Those are the facts.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

It's time, finally, to tell you a bit about the town of Puerto Vallarta. It's impossible not to fall in love with this wonderful old town with cobbled streets and white houses covered with red tiles. This town completely reflects the romantic charm of old Mexico.

But back in 1963 no one knew anything about the place. Locals were mainly involved in fishing. But then one day the fishing village woke up famous when Hollywood director John Huston filmed "Night of the Iguana" with Richard Burton and Ava Gardner at a location close to the town.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

In search of something genuine amongst the touristic chaos, we found a wonderful botanical garden in the middle of the jungle! Great place to start a Valentine's Day, isn't it? If paradise was decorated in a Mexican style, it would look exactly as Hacienda de Oro. Surrounded by a flourishing garden in the middle of lush jungles and spectacular mountains there is even a lovely river running through it. By the way, you can swim in the river, but the water was icy cold and I didn't have the desire! Hacienda itself is a Mexican restaurant. During our stay in Puerto Vallarta I enjoyed a lot of great Mexican food, but the Hacienda de Oro offers some seriously excellent local fare.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Let's face it, Puerto Vallarta is a tourist destination and nothing is going to change that. Despite the fact that the old city and the older part of the city known as the Romantic Zone still retain the charm of traditional old Mexico, many areas of the city do not. What used to be pristine and lonely beaches to the north are now buried under an endless stretch of hideous time shares and hotel 'resorts' where on a sunny day tourists roast like hotdogs packed onto a too small bar-b-que. Kind of disgusting. It's one thing when a hotel is built somewhere in a big city or artfully placed in a beautiful location, but when it is more about paving over an entire paradise...this is a monstrosity!