Over the course of our lives there are places that are fondly remembered because of the circumstances we visit and or whom we are with. Then there are places that bring comfort because of either the people that served us or the experience they created to heighten our level of satisfaction and pleasure. Then there are places that just "Take your breath away".
I have to preface these descriptions with one vital caveat. Usually... its never as good as the first time. The first place I'd like to take you to is a bit exotic.
I traveled to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay founded in 1680 almost five years ago. This city evokes old Lisbon with its Portuguese-influenced architecture and winding streets. What caught my eye initially were the cobble stone streets, a fort, the fact that its a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home of the presidential palace, and its located on the Rio de la Plata a 40 minute ferry ride from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Putting all of that aside the reason this place "Took my breath away" was not because of the history, location, or architecture. As I walked the streets I found a peacefulness rare in this world that was alluring and disarming. This "walk about" led me to the edge of town to the Rio de la Plata river (as big as an ocean). So big that the opposite shore could not be sited.
Strategically I found a restaurant with an open table that looked directly to this view. As sunset approached I was mesmerized by the rainbow of color that changed every minute to unveil another hue within the spectrum of red, yellow, orange, and finally purple that I had never experienced before. I was literally speechless, in awe, and captivated by this collage of sky, river, and salty scent before me.
I will never forget that picture that rests in my mind, which literally... "Took my breath away".
Another place which still "Takes my breath away" is located much closer to home in Marin County on Mount Tamalpais State Park in California. Just the drive is enough to wet your appetite for what's to come.
Driving the back way through the hills of Fairfax you'll pass over Alpine Dam, surge towards and past Cataract falls, up and over to the road that traverses the outline of the California coast. Meandering along you'll pass trees and forest to the left... meadows, wildflowers, and vistas of the Pacific ocean to your right.
After a few soft turns around bends that expose even more beauty... you've arrived. Only a few locals know about this place and only a few can find it. As you watch the hang gliders preparing to descend to Stinson Beach (from this particular vantage point) you'll hike down a steep meadow into the second clump of trees. There you'll sit on a rock aptly named by us, "Table Rock". This rock sits two comfortably with full picnic lunch in tow.
To the right is Point Reyes National Seashore jutting out to create a majestic outline of that spectacular natural habitat. Then to the left is the Marin Headlands with San Francisco in the distance. Below is a meadow with deer, age old redwoods, pine, and oak... and just beyond that Stinson Beach. If all that beauty wasn't enough there are several added integral parts to this picture. First, there are the red tail hawks circling just above your domain, and just above that are the hang gliders circling like colorful birds with wings spread arching back and forth to the music of a natural high.
I guarantee you one thing... These places I described....will..."Take your Breath Away."
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