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Back in early July, as my birthday present, my wife surprised me with a dream vacation, which we’re just coming back from today (In fact, I’m writing this on the plane flight home right now).

We started our vacation in Istanbul and spent a couple of days there (even got a few tips on where to shoot from David Honl, who used to live there). Then we boarded a cruise ship for a week visiting Athens (where the photo above was taken by our waiter) and the Greek Islands, and we ended our cruise in Alexendria, Egypt where we transferred to Cairo, to spend a few days seeing Pyramids and Sphinx’s before heading back home. Here’s the kicker—-the even bigger surprise was—it was just us two—the kids stayed home with Grandma. We haven’t done anything like that in years (the kids go everywhere with us), and it was just an absolute blast to have that time together.

Although we totally loved having that time to ourselves, we couldn’t stop talking about the kids day and night, and suckers that we are, we missed them terribly the whole time we were gone. Let me tell you, those two are going to get some serious hugs and kisses when we walk in that door (by the time you read this, we’ll already be home, and they’ll be all “hugged up.”)

During the 11 days, I took lots of photos (as you might guess) and my wife was the ultimate trooper making sure I had plenty of shooting opportunities each day, and planning special shore excursions to places she thought I’d like to shoot. I tried to make it a point not to overshoot, and still enjoy each city and country, and most importantly, I just wanted to enjoy our time together, and that worked out really well (I didn’t even take as many photos as I did in Italy this summer). I also took plenty of just regular “vacation” photos, so when we got home, I’d be able to put together a photo book to relive this trip of a lifetime.

We were blessed with really great weather the entire trip, and we laughed, drank wine, had some really yummy food, slept late, and did an incredible amount of nothing. It was the perfect vacation (and boy does my wife know how to give a birthday present or what)!!

I really haven’t had a chance to process the images yet, but I tried out a different Lightroom 2 organization workflow just for this trip, and if I can get one kink worked out; I’ll share it with you (well, even if I don’t get the kink worked out—I’ll still share it, hopefully later this week).

Anyway, my batteries are fully recharged, and I’m really psyched about the great stuff coming up before the end of the year. My thanks to you all for hanging in there yesterday for “Unexpected No Blog Monday.” I thought I would have time to do it before we left for the airport, but I was so wrong.

Have a great Tuesday everybody, and I’ll try and get some photos together for Thursday.