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There was a sale on Rice-A-Roni at Safeway. Wanting to experience some San Francisco cuisine I bought some. Turns out it's not all that great.Inner Harbor in Baltimore before the Brad Paisley/Dierks Bentley showBrad Paisley at 1st Mariner in Baltimore -- one of the best shows I've ever seenThere's an IHOP near the Ballston Metro station that I walk by every day, so I finally went one day and go some excellent breakfast for dinner.An escalator on Metro. The longest escalator in the Western Hemisphere is at the Wheaton Metro station -- 508 feet and a 3 1/2 minute ride.Daughtry in Charlottesville. No one's arguing it's "good" but it was fun.Unfortunately they weren't ringing the Liberty Bell the day we showed up.The Geno's has a certain flair that cut through a dreary Philadelphia daySarah, only having written about Geno's in school, is excited to try her own cheesesteak. Her paper was on a sign on the Geno's ordering window that reads "You're in America, when ordering speak English"Cheesesteaks from Pat's (front) and Geno's (rear, partly eaten) side-by-side. Consensus said Geno's was superior.Put a token in the machine and out come some golf balls.Colleen had a bit more poise and expertise so her golf balls flew a bit farther than mineFirst time trying to use a golf club other than the miniature variety, out at the driving rangeUT Campus -- an iconic-looking tower tucked on a corner of campus with an impressive fountain and garden of bustsTexas Capitol Building -- it's hard to convey how big this building actually is in person.Ducks along the river in AustinA culvert which proved to be the only way to cross a highway, but was scarier inside than anticipatedTexas barbecue and a bubble gum sweet soda bearing the Cornell team nameJefferson, Tidal Basin & Cherry BlossomsCherry blossomsOther people exclaimed "hey look, a guy in a tree" and took pictures of me too.Jefferson Memorial with some cherry blossoms in the wayCherry Blossom FestivalCloudy sunset over the tidal basinThomas Jefferson himselfJefferson MemorialLooking over the SW waterfront from Haines PointWhere's the top?The La Quinta in Austin, TX features make your own waffles shaped like the state of Texas. The excitement pretty much ends there.High hopes indeedGrilled corn on the cob for a reasonable 64 cents.Searching for our hostelBuying a doughy ODown by the water outside SultanahmetDown by the water outside Sultanahmet. No ladies to be found.Blue mosqueLooking across at the blue mosque.Spicy and unbelievably good Turkish stew with meat and peppers.Looking back towards Aya SophiaExploring Topkapi PalaceExploring Topkapi PalaceExploring Topkapi PalaceExploring Topkapi Palace. Sultan would have hung out here.From Topkapi PalaceFrom Topkapi PalaceLooking across to the "European" part of the city.Exploring Topkapi PalaceLooking at Turkish rugsLooking at Turkish rugsLooking at Turkish rugsLooking at Turkish rugsApparently Turkish rugs made from non-synthetic fibers don't burst into flames.Looking at Turkish rugsLooking at Turkish rugsBreakfast of champions. Brooney may have thrown this up later.The blue mosqueCourtyard of the blue mosque.The underground cistern.In the underground cisternUnderground cistern, built as a reservoir. No doubt an intense planning meeting back at the Big Apple Hostel.Inside the blue mosqueInside the blue mosqueAya Sophia in the backgroundOutside Aya SophiaOutside Aya SophiaInside Aya SophiaInside Aya SophiaInside Aya SophiaInside Aya SophiaLooking across to the blue mosqueA 'sweating column' that is supposed to bring good luck if you put your thumb in it.Outside Aya SophiaA bit of Turkish tv. This movie was laughably bad.Washing up outside a mosqueAt the Spice BazaarAt the Spice BazaarNo, despite what he says, you don't want a kilo of mangoes.At the Spice BazaarCrossing to GalataTaking in the riverStray cats and dogs were a fixtureOne step back and we might be somewhere we might find ourselves somewhere bad...Big walls. Probably something better on the other side.Friendly looking peopleHanging out at the shoreYou checked all the boxes for what you wanted on your baked potatoOur home away from homeSearching for the mysterious OlympiaSerious businessThe Grand Bazaar. 58 streets and 1,200 shops.The Grand Bazaar. 58 streets and 1,200 shops.In the Grand BazaarIn the Grand BazaarIn the Grand BazaarIn the Grand BazaarIn the Grand BazaarIn the Grand BazaarIn the Grand BazaarFresh squeezed orange juice was everywhere and delicious. Usually about 2 TL.Brooney and OlympiaWe didn't really know what this Burnt Column thing was. Apparently it was better in the time of the Romans, but a strong wind blew the top off.A glowstick in his drinkKilling time before our flight to AthensTurkish airport securityHiking up the AcropolisView off the AcropolisLooking off the AcropolisClimbing the AcropolisClimbing the AcropolisClimbing the AcropolisClimbing the AcropolisOn the AcropolisOn the AcropolisOn the AcropolisOn the AcropolisThe ParthenonThe ParthenonThe ParthenonOff the AcropolisThe ParthenonOff the AcropolisNo doubt a very informative signProbably not even worth tryingThe cleanestReligious imagery was retrofitted to a lot of ancient buildingsThe AcropolisWandering around The Plaka at nightOur hotel was classy enough to have a shoe-shine machine in the basement.Previously part of the Temple of ZeusA koi pond in the gardens of Athens. Apparently they're rather expensive.Lighting a candle at the top of LykavittusView off LykavittusView off LykavittusView off LykavittusWe found a snack bar practically in the middle of nowhere up on LykavittusErmou shopping streetOlympic stadiumThis dog followed us for a good twenty minutes, Andrew was not amused.No motorized vehicles on HydraEscaping from our dog friendLet's goTrash-talking animals.Pantheon / AcropolisIt's a "hamburger"Greek food, mostly meat and potatoesBanana ice cream pop. Yum.Disbelief after my bike's back wheel locked up in the middle of a busy street, pictured on right.Stuck with two hotel rental bikes, only one of which adequately functioned, we tested the limits of Best Western customer service. You probably can guess how that turned out...It's an obelisk. This one is from the Piazza NavonaA balcony that Mussolini was particularly fond of in the Piazza NavonaIn the Piazza NavonaPiazza NavonaSt. Peter's BasilicaExcited.One of the beautiful fountains of EuropeThis is probably where the Pope takes a bath.At the VaticanAnother ceiling at the VaticanImitation Pantheon roofAt the VaticanAt the VaticanAt the Vatican. I'd probably stop to talk to her too.Vatican tapestry roomVatican hall of maps.Vatican hall of maps ceilingAt the Vatican.At the VaticanAt the VaticanAt the VaticanAt the VaticanMosaic bath floor stolen by the VaticanFine Vatican ceilingInside St. Peter'sLooking down through the grate at St. Peter'sLooking through the grate at St. Peter'sClimbing the dome of St. Peter's. The walls are in fact slanted.What is this, a piazza for ants?Vatican and beyond.Back down off the St. Peter's dome.Shady characterInside St. Peter'sInside St. Peter'sInside St. Peter'sInside St. Peter'sInside St. Peter'sSt. Peter's SquareEnough for one daySt. Peter's SquareSt. Peter's BasilicaOutside the PantheonOutside the PantheonExcellent place for italian ice / gelato.Waiting for gelato / italian ice.EatingLooking across to the VaticanInside the ColosseumInside the ColosseumInside the Colosseum That random arch next to the Colosseum Photo opportunityAmong the ruinsPresumably there was more to this structure at one point.Looking out across the Roman Forum, etc.PantheonBig hole in the top of the PantheonLittle snackTrevi FountainSpontaneous gelatoRoman metro, crowded.St. Peter'sOverly artsy 'pension' room that we got the last night. The Best Western wanted 200 euros... forget that.Fueling up with some pizzaOut on the Appian RoadOut on the Appian RoadOut on the Appian RoadColosseum around duskColosseum around duskColosseum around duskWaiting for service.Colosseum at nightColosseum at nightRoman metro, looking a bit emptySpeeding out of Rome towards the airport. Far away.The waiting room at Penn StationExactly what you should eat on the 4th.Hiking up Old RagHiking up Old RagIt's all downhill from hereAscendingSomething interesting around the cornerLiving dangerouslyFeat of strengthView from Old RagLunch on Old Rag from SheetzLunch on Old Rag from SheetzSome sort of ferocious creature.Bug collectionBug collection & collectorApparently the only type of footwear needed in MaineSwamp. Moose like theseBangor State FairBangor State FairJack of Jack's Air Service in his float plane over Moosehead LakeMoosehead Lake via float planeMoose?Low tide.Walking on the harbor bottom in the Bay of Fundy. Very mucky and kinda smelly.Missed the sunrise by a few minutes.Scraggly177 km to HalifaxAwfully happy for the back of a rickety float planeBackyard decorationsTo scare away local youthRec Center & EquinoxMagic MtnEnjoying the view after the hike upSomewhere between Manchester and the Equinox summitA sketchy bar in Newark before going to the Prudential Center for hockey. But at least it was cheap.Guarding the statehouseUsing the horn feature on the snowball toolChristmas photoStealing Julia's leopard print snuggieNeed for Speed: Hot PursuitIf he can't have a real Blackberry, a cake is nearly as goodDebating gifts for the New Years hostThrilled as usual