Angel Island

Sunday October 14th was our 18th anniversary. We decided to visit Angel Island together with my father-in-law who are visiting from Denmark. To get to this hidden gem, we took a ferry from Tiburon. Many people brings bike (only $1 ekstra), but we wanted to hike to the top and experience the breathtaking 360 degree views of the bay area: San Francisco skyline, Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, Richmond Bridge, Tiburon, Sausalito and more.

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Our hike was amazing and easy. Your total assent is 788ft (280m), but it happens gradually over 3m (5km). In total we hiked about 5m (8.5km) with amazing views most of the time. If you haven’t been yet, or only biked Angel Island, give your self the opportunity to visit this little paradise on earth.

Portland Rose Garden

A couple of weeks ago we went to Portland Oregon for a weekend. We have been there before, so we have our favorite places to visit. One of them is the Rose Garden Test Center. There are so many roses, and also people to studie. This is just a few of the photos I took while visiting the Rose Garden.

This time we visit there was 3 people blowing bubbles, and I LOVE bubbles as much as these kids do.

Dias Ridge Trail

Today I hiked together with Philippe my father in law to Muir Beach. The weather was amazing, sunny, high temperature and good company. We ended up at the beach with ginger cookies and our feet in the cold ocean. 

Pacific Sunset

These days my father in law is visiting from Denmark. We try to go diffrent places, it’s often places he has already been, but it’s okay cause we always have new things to talk about. Yesterday was such a nice day, and we decided to go to Mt. Tam and watch the sunset over the Pacific. It was such a beautiful sunset and I feel like there is not much that gets better than that. Afterwords we drove to Stinson to have dinner at Parkside Café, and it was a perfect way to end an amazing day.

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Rainy days

What do you do on a rainy day at my moms house? You fire up your girls creative and let them unfold their magic in porcelain. My mom has had her ceramic studio (www.hm-keramik.dk) for more than 20 years, and she is always so sweet to let my girls and their friends work, create, and have fun in her workplace. 

HJEM - first harvest

Some of our very dear friends live in Napa, and Napa means one thing: wine. About 3 years ago they planted a small hillside with rows of wine, to produce their own everyday wine: HJEM (which translated from danish means: HOME). Our family was lucky to get invited to participate in their first harvest this year, and together with other friends of the family, we started out early in the morning.

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Wine grapes are harvested at night or early in the morning before the sun rises. It results in better wine, and knowing that, we easily got up before the sun. Daytime temperatures change the sugar composition of the grapes, so by picking at lower temperatures, when sugar levels are stable keeps surprises from happening during fermentation.

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Picking grapes are hard work. We had a team of 11, some with more experience than others, honestly most of us were first-timers. It took about 2 hours to pick 503 pounds, just enough to make the 500 pounds mark. I’m not a numbers person so please forgive me for not remembering why this was such an important number.

After picking all the beautiful grapes, they had to be carried down to the crusher and weighing station.

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I might be the only one still thinking you jump into the big barrel with your bare feet, and crushes the grapes. It turnes out that goes a while back. Today you use a machine called a crusher. You pure the grapes into it’s big “mouth” and by hand you turn a handle. The crusher, of cause crushes the grapes, but it also removes the stems.

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With the crushing all done, the next step can begin. The fermentation of the grapes and the cleaning up. Here is what wikipedia says about fermentation of grapes: “During fermentation, yeasts transform sugars-present in the juice into ethanol and carbon dioxide (as a by-product). In winemaking, the temperature and speed of fermentation are important considerations as well as the levels of oxygen present in the must at the start of the fermentation. The risk of stuck fermentation and the development of several wine faults can also occur during this stage, which can last anywhere from 5 to 14 days for primary fermentation and potentially another 5 to 10 days for a secondary fermentation”.

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Thank you for letting me document, and be part of the first HJEM harvest. I look forward to tasting it in the future.

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Living Moments #2

I love everything about living moments. Whenever I get to be part of people living, loving, laughing, it is for me a living moment, and it melts my heart. These two images are from our holiday this summer in France. Even when I was taking them, I know I was going to love them. They are authentic, real, have not been staged - a real LIVING MOMENT.

Embrun - South of France

Embrun is a commune in the Hautes-Alpes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France. It is located between Gap and Briançon and at the eastern end of one of the largest artificial lakes in Western Europe: the Lac de Serre-Ponçon. 

Located in a geographically transitional zone, formed by the valley of the Durance on one side, and surrounding areas rising to elevations near 3000m, Embrun (870m), has a climate among the driest and sunniest of the Alps. This is the reason why it is rightly nicknamed the "Nice of the Alps", due to its temperate climate. Embrun is also surrounded by mountains and unspoiled nature. The town is included in the peripheral zone of Ecrins National Park, with fully equipped ski stations such as Les Orres, Vars-Risoul, Reallon Crévoux. Embrun was the capital of the Alps during the Roman Empire, as an Ecclesiastical metropolis, it was the seat of a bishopric since the 4th century with Saint Marcellin, then Archbishop until the French Revolution. Later in the 17th century, it became a military town, fortified by Vauban.

We have travelled to this area many times, one reason is family another because this is just such a fantastic place. You can hike, bike, run, swim, high ropes course, river rafting, mountain biking, skiing (winter time) and so much more. We stayed at La Robéyère a very nice hotel only 10 minutes walk from the centre of Embrun.

Twice a week, Saturday and Wednesday, there is huge "farmers market" in the city. You get the best and freshest produce France has to offer at really good prices. If you are in the market for patches, clothes, hats or other stuff, you can of cause get that too. We would start every day with a cafe creme and a croissant from the local patisserie. And on market days, after loading up on dried ham, goat cheese, tomatoes, melons, baguette, and other delicacies, we would head for the mountains or find a lake, eat our picnic and simply enjoy life.

I love hiking, and the French Alpes was my first encounter with the sport. Back then we would carry everything with up, tent, food, sleeping bag, cloths etc. We would be up in the mountains for 3-4 days, enjoying the fresh air, nature, the views and the solitude. Now we do more 1 day hikes, up and down again in the same day. I would like to stay up there for longer, and I hope we will find time for that in the future. This time we cheated a little and took a lift up-up-up. Then we hiked down to a lake, where we had lunch and went for a swim, before we headed the rest of the way down. 

Late Night Paddle Boarding

Each summer we enjoy the long, light evenings in Denmark. The girls went paddle boarding most nights around 11pm, when the sea was come and quiet. If you have not yet tried paddle boarding, do it, it's so much fun and a very good workout too.

Møns Klint

Møns Klint are a 6 km stretch of chalk cliffs along the eastern coast of the Danish island of Møn in the Baltic Sea. Some of the cliffs fall a sheer 120 m to the sea below. The area around Møns Klint consists of woodlands, pastures, ponds and steep hills, including Aborrebjerg which, with a height of 143 m, is one of the highest points in Denmark. The cliffs and adjacent park are now protected as a nature reserve. There are clearly marked paths for walkers, riders and cyclists. The path along the cliff tops leads to steps down to the shore in several locations.