“I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine.”
Vaishali, India

Protected: Vaishali, India

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A Birthday Party

A Birthday Party

November 2017 This is the highest ranking Buddhist in the town of Kushinigar, he is Burmese and he was celebrating his 82nd birthday. After cutting his cake he fed the honored people surrounding him, it was really sweet, and yes, I was also honored with a bite of cake by his hand. The closing ceremony […]

Sitting in the Back of the Tent

Sitting in the Back of the Tent

November 2017 Today was spent chanting all day. This is my view of the event. Those that know me, know I could not possibly sit on the floor, so yes, they take old people into consideration, even in the temples. I usually find a chair, this event I have an entire bench in which to […]

A Parade in Kushinigar

A Parade in Kushinigar

November 2017 Kushinigar is a pilgrimage site because this is where Buddha took his last breath. Our first day in Kushinigar was amazing. It began with a parade. Granted it was a parade of Buddhists, but the town is only a few blocks long with just one street so the whole town participated in its […]

A Relaxed Day

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Sravasti Day 2

Protected: Sravasti Day 2

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Sravasti

Sravasti

November 2017 Sravasti (or Shravasti) is on the pilgrimage site for Buddhists. One of the reasons is because it is where Buddha performed the Miracle of Pairs. The Miracle of Pairs, also called the Miracle at Sravasti, was performed by Buddha seven years after his enlightenment. The miracle occurred in a contest with heretics, who […]

Our Gracious hosts the Buddhist Vihar Shanti Upvan

Our Gracious hosts the Buddhist Vihar Shanti Upvan

November 2017 Today was another road trip. We were to start at 5:00 as the monk’s last meal must be before noon, and we had a long drive to reach our lunch spot. This is actually their last meal of solid food, afternoon they are allowed liquids, so soup is always served to the monks […]

Road Trip to Sravasti

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Day two of Holy Days

Day two of Holy Days

November 2017 Today was a repeat of yesterday.  We started quietly, in the heavy fog, chanting under the tree.  We broke for lunch and returned to find the holy day we experienced yesterday was taking place again today. I am just going to share photos of the event, they say more than words. * *This […]

A Road Trip to Sankasya

A Road Trip to Sankasya

November 2017 So the road between Delhi and Sankasya consists of a 6-hour bus ride. Bus rides through India are a patchwork quilt of an agricultural landscape dotted with villages of wonder. But this time the bus trip was occupied by learning the lives of some of the monks. Remember, English is not their first […]

A Holy Day

A Holy Day

November 2017 Day two in Sankasya started out with a lovely morning of chanting. We always break for lunch and in Sankasya lunch has been at a Burmese monastery. We are traveling with a crew of Indians from Bodh Gaya, and that includes a cooking crew. However, to earn meta it is good to cook […]

An Ashram and a University

An Ashram and a University

We spent the day and night at the Sri Aurobindo. It is an Ashram that was begun in Pondicherry with the Delhi campus built in the 1950s. The ashram was our host for an all day chanting ceremony and a Dharma talk. We also ate our meals there and spent the night. Wikipedia description: “The […]

A Difficult Day

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Wrapping up Sarnath

Wrapping up Sarnath

Bits and Pieces of Sarnath November 2017 I had the chance to head into Varanasi and go to the Kriti Art Gallery. It is owned by Navneet and his wife Petra. I had met Navneet at the chanting ceremony, but this was the first chance I had to meet Petra as she had been traveling. […]

SINI

SINI

Sarnath and SINI November 2017 We are staying at the Sarnath International Nyingma Institute. SINI is an amazing complex built brick by brick, literally, by a handful of volunteers. While the final product is the result of hundreds of people it was driven by one powerful and stunning woman, Tsering Gellek, Tsering (think Serene) is […]

A Day of Fun and Culture

A Day of Fun and Culture

Sarnath Day 2 November 2017 Day two was a day of fun and relaxation. We rose at 5:00 in the morning to go for a river ride on the Ganges. I have done this trip before and if you are interested in photos and history please click here. This trip was all about the monks. […]

Tipitaka Chanting in Sarnath, India

Tipitaka Chanting in Sarnath, India

Day one in Sarnath was spent chanting the Dhammachakka Sutra in the shadow of the Damekh Stupa, where it is thought Buddha delivered his second sermon. On day one we were very separate groups all divided by language with only the common thread of any group that has just been thrust together. The morning opened […]

Entering the Unknown

Entering the Unknown

November 2017 I am at a total loss as to how to convey what is actually transpiring on this journey. The coming together of cultures with a huge language barrier and incredible cultural and educational differences is not something we all experience every day, if in fact in one’s lifetime. These comings together are not […]

The Way to the Copper Canyon

The Way to the Copper Canyon

Tijuana to El Fuerte via Los Mochis May 2, 2017 There are many ways to travel to Mexico’s Copper Canyon, but, as Californians, we chose to go through San Diego.  It is a simple, and amazingly efficient walk across the bridge from San Diego to the Tijuana airport.  $16 in advance, purchasable on- line, for […]

Chihuahua Pacific Railroad

Chihuahua Pacific Railroad

El Fuerte to Cerocahui May 3, 2017 It would be normal to begin your Copper Canyon train ride in Los Mochis where it begins but the area between there and El Fuerte is apparently not terribly interesting so it is easier to take a car to El Fuerte and begin there. You are told to […]

Cerocahui, Mexico

Cerocahui, Mexico

Cerocahui, Mexico The Place of Grasshoppers (pronounced: Sara ca hooey) May 3, 2017 The Jesuits were either directly in front of, or directly behind the Spanish conquistadors in so many of the conquered countries of Spain. The Spanish encroachment, by missionaries and settlers alike in the Copper Canyon, led many of the local Indians, the […]

Traveling to Urique, Mexico

Traveling to Urique, Mexico

The Road to Urique May 4, 2017 The road from Cerocahui to Urique took about 2 and 1/2 hours one way on an unpaved very bumpy road.  The photo of the road above is of a nice stretch of the road.  The trip is absolutely worth it for the stunning views of the canyons of […]

Tarahumara or Rarámuri

Tarahumara or Rarámuri

May 5, 2017 Kuira-Ba is a Tarahumara word. Kuira means hello, and then adding the Ba means Good Morning, Good Afternoon or Good Night. The Tarahumara Indians have a fascinating history, it will take a long time to see how well it survives the future.  Many Tarahumara are found in the bigger towns and are discovering […]

Creel, a fast changing town on the Chihuahua Pacific Railroad

Creel, a fast changing town on the Chihuahua Pacific Railroad

May 2017 The town of Creel was established by Enrique Creel. History views him as both monster and paragon, as always, the truth lies somewhere in between, but that is for a further dissertation. Enrique Creel founded the town in 1906 while he was Governor of the State of Chihuahua. He had planned it as […]

The Road to Batopilas

The Road to Batopilas

May 2017 It is impossible to describe the drive from Creel to Batopilas. The first portion of our drive took us through the Tarahumara Indian lands, of which you pay a nominal entrance fee. The roads here are dirt and they are intended to drive you to small areas of interest with women selling Tarahumara […]

Batopilas, Mexico

Batopilas, Mexico

May 2017 Enchanting is the only appropriate word I can find for the small pueblo of Batopilas, in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. ¡Me Encanta! would be my next few. We visited in the first week of May 2017 and were the only non-residents in town. December and January are the busiest months for Batopilas, and […]

Divisadero, Mexico

Divisadero, Mexico

May 9, 2017 Our day began with a train ride from Creel to the Divisadero area. The trip is rather quick, with one stop before reaching our destination. That stop is called Divisadero and passengers are given 20 minutes to disembark and marvel at the junction of the Tararecua Canyon and the Urique canyon below. There […]

Main Street Railroad Station in Richmond, VA

Main Street Railroad Station in Richmond, VA

1500 East Main Street Richmond, VA March 2017 This glorious building was not included in the VSA Spring study tour, but you could not help walk past it if you explore Richmond at all, and especially if you walk from downtown Richmond to the Shockoe District. The Main Street Station was built in 1901 by […]

Bolling Haxall House

Bolling Haxall House

2111 Franklin Street Richmond, VA March 2017 The Woman’s Club, that is housed in Bolling Haxall House, was founded in 1894 with the mission to advance education.  The house is one of the few private clubs, cum museum, in the US that is open to anyone that comes and knocks on its door.  The Woman’s […]

Off the Beaten Path in Richmond, Virginia

Off the Beaten Path in Richmond, Virginia

There are always weird and wonderful things that one finds when traveling, and here are three that I found in Richmond. The Markel Building 5310 Markel Road This 1962 building by Haig Jamgochian, was inspired by a foil wrapped potato.  Don’t believe me? Check out the historic marker sign next to the building. As the sign […]

Two Unique Churches in Richmond, Virginia

Two Unique Churches in Richmond, Virginia

Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church 815 E. Grace Street and Confederate Memorial Chapel 2900 Grove Avenue Saint Paul’s is located directly across the street from the Virginia State Capitol, and has long been a popular house of worship for political figures, including General Robert E. Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. The first Episcopal church in […]

Virginia State Capitol

Virginia State Capitol

Virginia State Capitol Richmond, VA March 2017 Virginia’s State Capitol, located in Richmond, is the third capital city of the U.S. state of Virginia and houses the oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere. Thomas Jefferson is credited with the overall design of the new Capitol, together with French architect Charles-Louis Clérisseau. The design was […]

Monument Avenue

Monument Avenue

Monument Avenue Richmond Virginia March 2017 Monument Avenue is either a bone of contention or an art gallery, and stirs emotions in all. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and a National Historic Landmark in 1997, making it, more than likely, an unchangeable force, as the NHL listing is the highest […]

Richmond, Virginia's Old City Hall

Richmond, Virginia’s Old City Hall

1000 E Broad Street Richmond Virginia March 2017 This High Victorian Gothic structure was designed by Detroit architect Elijah E. Meyers and was completed in 1894. Old City Hall served as Richmond’s city hall until the 1970s. This is the third Richmond municipal building on this site, and occupies an entire city block. The original […]

Egyptology and Richmond, Virginia

Egyptology and Richmond, Virginia

Monument Church 1224 East Broad Street The Egyptian Building 1223 East Marshall Street March 2017 Egyptian revival is an architectural style that uses the motifs and imagery of ancient Egypt. It is attributed generally to the public awareness of ancient Egyptian monuments generated by Napoleon’s conquest of Egypt and Admiral Nelson’s defeat of Napoleon at […]

Maymont

Maymont

2201 Shield Lakes Drive Richmond, Virginia March 2017 In 1893, Major James H. Dooley, a wealthy Richmond lawyer and philanthropist, along with his wife, Sallie, completed this elaborate estate in Richmond, Virginia on a 100-acre site overlooking the James River. The house was occupied until Sallie May Dooley’s death in 1925, her husband had predeceased […]

Richmond, Virginia's Canal Walk and Edgar Allan Poe

Richmond, Virginia’s Canal Walk and Edgar Allan Poe

The Edgar Allan Poe Museum 1914 East Main Street March 2017 Though Poe never lived in the building, the museum serves to commemorate his time living in Richmond. The museum holds one of the world’s largest collections of original manuscripts, letters, first editions, memorabilia and personal belongings. The museum also provides an overview of early […]

Hollywood Cemetery

Hollywood Cemetery

412 South Cherry Street Richmond, Virginia March 2017 Hollywood Cemetery is the resting place of two United States Presidents, James Monroe and John Tyler, as well as the only Confederate States President, Jefferson Davis. It is also the resting place of 28 Confederate generals, more than any other cemetery in the country. In the late […]

Shockoe Hill Cemetery

Shockoe Hill Cemetery

Fourth and Hospital Street Richmond, Virginia March 2017 Just north out of the downtown area of Richmond, Virginia is Shokoe Hill Cemetery. Originally called the “burying ground” it opened in 1820, its original 4 acres has grown to a little over 12 acres. There are an estimated 300,000 bodies buried in Shockoe Hill, these include […]

One Architectural Day in Athens

One Architectural Day in Athens

October 25, 2016 Athens held the Olympics in 2004, and its stadium, like many after the Olympics, is abandoned and sad. There is much speculation that the Athenians were so wrapped up in the crash of their economy to properly find re-use purposes for the buildings, but there is other discussion that they just didn’t […]

Heraklion, Crete

Heraklion, Crete

October 23, 2016 You come to Heraklion to visit Knossos, but it is a city worth exploring as well. It is the largest city and the administrative capital of Crete also the fourth largest city in Greece. On the 23rd of May 1941, German bombers dropped bombs over the city on anything standing. At the […]

Knossos: Myths amongst the Ruins

Knossos: Myths amongst the Ruins

October 22, 2016 Heraklion is one the top of everyone’s list to visit when they go to Crete. The reason for this is Knossos. Knossos is crowded with tour buses pouring off of cruise ships, and tourists exploring on their own. The walk to the entry of the site is rampant with tchochke shops and barkers luring […]

A Road Trip of Ruins

A Road Trip of Ruins

October 21, 2016 Phaistos The day began by visiting Phaistos, an important site of the Minoan civilization. The Minoan civilization, which flourished in Crete during the second millennium BC, ranks among the great civilizations of the ancient world. It had four places of power, areas that are called palaces, Knossos, Phaistos, Mália and Zakros. The lands […]

Wandering the Amári Valley

Wandering the Amári Valley

October 20, 2016 The Amári Valley is not for those with an agenda. The drive is through some lovely and barren terrain, interrupted rarely by small towns that appear to be completely uninhabited. The joy is in the hidden surprises. The valley is towered over by Mount Idi, an often-used crossword puzzle word for you […]

The Holy Monastery of Arkadi

The Holy Monastery of Arkadi

October 20, 2016 People come to Crete for many reasons, I came to get off the beaten path as often as possible. This was the first stop in the wanderings around the Amári Valley.  The Amári Valley sits at the foothills of Mount Ida and Mount Kedros. The Monastery of Arkadi or Moni Arkadiou is about […]

Rethymnon, Crete

Rethymnon, Crete

October 20, 2016 So many of the Cretan towns are built on the same model, i.e. large protective walls in various states of decay, a fort, a small port and tiny winding streets.  The joy is, that they each have their own personalities as well.  Rethymnon, while, if one were reading a description, would be […]

Katholiko Monastery, a very, very hidden gem

Katholiko Monastery, a very, very hidden gem

October 19, 2016 Today we moved from Chania to Rethymnon with a side trip to the Katholiko Monastery or Monastery of St. John the Hermit. We began by getting terribly lost leaving Chania. That is not that difficult as roads and sites in Greece have always been terribly marked. After many small winding roads, and […]

Chania Continues

Chania Continues

October 18, 2016 In 1620, during the Venetian rule in Crete, the constant threat of the Ottoman Turks led the Venetians to fortify Chania with Firka Fortress at the harbor. It was originally built with 319 cannons, 30,695 cannonballs and 414 pounds of gunpowder. Firka means barracks in Turkish. It is possible to still see the […]

Χαίρετε From Chania, Crete

Χαίρετε From Chania, Crete

October 17, 2016 Chania, Crete is a fascinating city with an equally fascinating history. It is a large city with an old town, Kasteli, that sits on the water with its narrow streets, hotels, restaurants and classic tourist perfect village, and I mean that in a good way. Originally a Minoan settlement, the area around […]

Detroit's Giant Tire

Detroit’s Giant Tire

Along Interstate 94 West Between the Southfield Freeway interchange and Outer Drive overpass Allen Park, Michigan This giant Uniroyal Giant Tire was originally created by the Uniroyal Tire Company for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, as a Ferris wheel. The wheel was designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, the architectural firm that designed the […]

Standing Lincoln

Standing Lincoln

Off N. Lake Shore Drive near W. North Avenue Chicago This is one of the two sculptures in Lincoln Park that were bequeathed to Chicago upon the death of lumberman Eli Bates. This 12 foot tall figure known as the “Standing Lincoln” was the first of Saint-Gaudens’ statues of Lincoln. He received the commission for […]

Shakespeare in Chicago

Shakespeare in Chicago

N. Lincoln Parkway West and W. Belden Avenue Chicago According to the Chicago Parks Department: “When Samuel Johnston, a successful north side businessman, died in 1886, he left a sizeable gift in his will for several charities as well as money for a memorial to William Shakespeare in Lincoln Park. A competition was held to […]

Eli Bates Fountain

Eli Bates Fountain

This whimsical fountain is known as both the Eli Bates Fountain and “Storks at Play”. Eli Bates was a Chicago lumberman who died in 1881. He bequeathed a fund for the commission of Standing Lincoln, also by Saint-Gaudens, and this fountain, both to be placed in Lincoln Park. Installed in 1887 it was a joint […]

Fountain of Time

Fountain of Time

6000 Cottage Grove Avenue Chicago, Illinois Fountain of Time, or simply Time, is a 126 foot long sculpture by Lorado Taft, within Washington Park in Chicago, Illinois. The sculpture was inspired by Henry Austin Dobson’s poem, “Paradox of Time”. “Time goes, you say? Ah no, Alas, time stays, we go”. The sculpture includes Father Time, hooded […]

Fountain of the Great Lakes

Fountain of the Great Lakes

Nichols Bridgeway Off E. Jackson and South Michigan Avenue Chicago Fountain of the Great Lakes or Spirit of the Great Lakes Fountain is an allegorical sculpture by Lorado Taft at the Art Institute of Chicago.  The fountain was moved to this spot in the 1960s. Created between 1907-1913, the bronze fountain depicts five women arranged […]

Cuban Internet 2016

Cuban Internet 2016

I recently read an article about Americans that don’t use the internet, and it was essentially what you would expect, primarily rural and older people. I wonder if Americans ever give any thought to people that simply can’t use the internet, because it doesn’t exist. There is a misconception about Cuba and the internet amongst […]

Cuba Factoids

Cuba Factoids

April 2015 Every since I began writing about Cuba I have been asked some darn good questions.  Before getting into reading about the country here are some simple statistics.  So I don’t lose you here, I have interspersed other great information throughout, but here goes the easy stuff. The Republic of Cuba consists of one […]

Bits and Pieces of Cuba

Bits and Pieces of Cuba

January 2015 If you are traveling on a tour to Cuba you may see this statement on the top of your itinerary: “You are traveling on a government issued people-to-people license therefore free time to explore independently is not allowed.” To further elucidate that statement, there are places you will be required to go and another requirement […]

Gifts to Cuba

Gifts to Cuba

I am often asked what to take to the Cuban people.  Please tread carefully here.  Like so many countries around the world, the Cubans are no different in lacking of the essentials, but the other side of that coin is setting up a community that expects handouts from foreigners. If you are staying in hotels, […]

Only Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the Midday Sun

Only Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the Midday Sun

While the actual numbers regarding July temperatures do not scream hot to many, it is one of the hottest July’s on record in Santiago de Cuba. This is a colonial town, there are no trees. The homes, built of heat radiating concrete, sit side by side, wall to wall, and the streets are narrow and […]

Today We Had Eggs

Today We Had Eggs

In July I was walking down the miserably hot streets of Santiago de Cuba on my way to the mercado. As I rounded the corner the women’s voices began to ring out, huevos (eggs), donde? (where?) la esquina, (the corner). You heard this repeated from house to house, street to street. Eggs were in. While eggs […]

Today there is no water

Today there is no water

It is July 26th, one of the most important days in Santiago de Cuba. The heat is stifling and the only respite found during the day is a comfortable chair with a fan. Thanks to the extreme drought and continued poor management of utilities, by the government, the lights flicker and all of our water […]

Religion in Cuba

Religion in Cuba

August 2015 My Cuban friend, whom I call Tio, asked me the other day what I thought of Raul Castro stating he might once again begin to go to church. My reaction, not ironically, was Dios Mio! In the U.S., a statement like that makes one fear the church will catch on fire, but there […]

I Tried to take a Drill into Cuba

I Tried to take a Drill into Cuba

  It is actually very simple. You can not get decent tools in Cuba. Yes, you can purchase badly made, highly expensive, tools from Russia, but you can not buy quality, made-to-last tools. What person doesn’t need a cordless drill. They are, in my opinion, the one tool every home should have. This is the […]

Carnaval in Santiago de Cuba

Carnaval in Santiago de Cuba

The most famous of all Cuba festivals is the Carnaval of Santiago de Cuba. The festival is held annually from July 18 to 27. While there is quite a lot of history, I asked the Cubans themselves what Carnaval is to them, and the most common answer, after the obvious, one week off a year, […]

Carnaval Santiago de Cuba for the Kids

Carnaval Santiago de Cuba for the Kids

The second night of Carnaval I headed out to the kids area to see the rides. This is worth every moment, it is a true step back in time. Of course there is entertainment along the way. Carnaval has moved this year, it is in a variety of places around town as usual but the […]

Bonaventure Cemetery of Savannah, Georgia

Bonaventure Cemetery of Savannah, Georgia

I have had a fascination for cemeteries for much of my life.  My love of them comes from their quality of art.  The rich and famous often hire the best sculptors of the time to memorialize their loved ones, so I often think of older cemeteries as large outdoor art galleries. With that concept in mind […]

Architectural Styles of Savannah

Architectural Styles of Savannah

The architectural styles of Savannah are varied and, thanks to many preservationists, available for us all to study.  There are hundreds of tour companies, riding in a variety of vehicles or by foot.  There are many books out on Savannah Architecture, better forums than here to get a decent education.  I will also say that […]

Details of Savannah

Details of Savannah

There is so much cast iron in Savannah but one of the more impressive pieces is the fountain in Forsyth Park The iconic fountain was selected out of a catalogue of ornamental ironwork by Janes, Beebe & Company of New York . Known simply as design Number Five, it was one of a handful of […]

Savannah Tidbits

Savannah Tidbits

There are so many wonderful architectural styles in Savannah, with details galore.  I wanted to focus on a few items of interest that aren’t often talked about.  The Archway in a private home delineated the private rooms from the public ones.  The parlor and the gentleman’s office in this house are the two rooms that […]

The Square as the Heart of Savannah

The Square as the Heart of Savannah

I studied the squares of Savannah in Urban Planning classes at school.  I was anxious to finally get to see them, but nothing compared to being educated further by Robin B. Williams, the Chair of the Architectural History Department at Savannah College of Art and Design.  He has a book coming out in the fall […]

Cotton is King

Cotton is King

May 2015 Savannah, Georgia is like other towns in the United States that have a plethora of historic architecture.  They have more houses to tour than is humanly possible and more historical groups than can be counted on both hands and all toes. Savannah suffered greatly in the beginning of the second half of the […]

Savannah Fried Chicken and More

Savannah Fried Chicken and More

May 2015 Food in Savannah is Southern and then some.  As a California girl, I will admit that I am not the absolute fondest of fried food and the lack of fresh vegetables, but the South is growing up and I found lots to crow about. I want to start, however, with one of the […]

Two Hours in Charleston, South Carolina

Two Hours in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is steeped in Southern history and they are proud of it, beginning with their flag.  The South Carolina flag was designed by Colonel William Moultrie in 1775.  The first flag simply had a crescent moon with the words liberty written on the moon. That design flew over a fortress on Sullivan’s Island where Moultrie […]

Beaufort, South Carolina

Beaufort, South Carolina

May 2015 I am in the south for the Victorian Society Annual meeting. I have never been to this part of the south, and am anxious to explore the architecture and the history. Today was spent in Beaufort, South Carolina, a one hour drive from Savannah, Georgia.  I did not even know this town existed until […]

Odds and Ends

Odds and Ends

This post, I hope, will give you a better insight to the Cuba outsiders just don’t see or know. This is the bedroom of one of an elderly woman.  The house was two rooms, the other being the kitchen. This woman worked as a school teacher, and at the age of 70, this is all […]

Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba

It is April 2015 and I have returned to Cuba.  This time I am traveling with a Cuban national, one of the approved ways of entering the country. Santiago de Cuba, or Santiago, is the second largest and second most important city of Cuba.  However, the hospitality of the “Santiagueros” is second to none! I […]

Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba

This is a Phrygian cap.  It is a soft conical cap with the top pulled forward and in the past was associated with the people of the Phrygia region of Anatolia. In early modern Europe it came to signify freedom and the pursuit of liberty through a confusion with the pileus, the felt cap of manumitted (emancipated) […]

Santiago de Cuba - El Morro

Santiago de Cuba – El Morro

Strategically located on a cliff top, the structure, Castillo de San Pedro del Morro, took 62 years to build and was completed at the end of the 17th century. It was designed in 1637 by Italian engineer, Giovanni Battista Antonelli, as a defense against raiding pirates, although an earlier, smaller, fortification had been built on the […]

Saint Ifigenia Cemetery - Santiago de Cuba

Saint Ifigenia Cemetery – Santiago de Cuba

  Created in 1868 to accommodate the victims of the War of Independence and a simultaneous yellow-fever outbreak, the Santa Ifigenia includes many great historical figures among its 8000-plus tombs, notably the mausoleum of José Martí. When the cemetery was inaugurated in February 1868, it was in the form of a Roman cross, divided into courtyards. […]

El Cobre - Santiago de Cuba

El Cobre – Santiago de Cuba

This is El Cobre, a church with a colorful history and a stunning interior. Built in 1926, El Cobre lies about 12 miles outside of Santiago de Cuba. A focus of intese popular devotion—not just for Catholics but also for followers of Santería and even those who aren’t otherwise religious—the beloved Virgin of Charity was declared […]

El Cobre for the View

El Cobre for the View

Once you leave the Cathedral in El Cobre, and if you are willing to walk 400 steps, be certain to visit the Monumento al Cimmarón. You very well may be met at the bottom of the stairs by a “guide”. He will take you off the beaten path to see this “holy” tree.  It is […]

Guantanamo

Guantanamo

April 2015 I have come to Guantánamo to visit my friends family.  This post is really just a walking tour of the downtown. The town of Guantánamo was founded in 1796 to handle the French fleeing the slave revolution of Haiti.  Along with being famous for the naval base, the song Guantanamera (girl from Guantánamo) […]

Felix Baez Sarrias and Jennifer Reyes Chavez

Felix Baez Sarrias and Jennifer Reyes Chavez

Jennifer Reyes Chavez is a very very bright young 9 year old from Cuba.  When this article appeared in the November 21, 2014 issue of Granma, which is delivered to her home everyday, she was so moved she decided to write a poem. GINEBRA.-Cuban doctor Felix Baez Sarrias, member of the International Contingent Brigade “Henry Reeve” infected […]

The best Albariño I have tasted - Galicia, Spain

The best Albariño I have tasted – Galicia, Spain

This is not a plug for a winery, this is about a Spanish gentleman that makes great wine.  I had the pleasure of meeting Clemente Sequeiros when he escorted my friend Julie B. and I around the Vigo area, house hunting.  Clemente is an architect as well as a winemaker, a scholar and a gentleman. […]

Househunting in Galicia

Househunting in Galicia

March 2015 I have traveled to Galicia, Spain with my friend Julie B. to go house hunting.  The house is for her and her husband, not for me, I am just along for the adventure. Househunting in a foreign country is always a different experience, and Spain is no different.  There are the rules you […]

Taking the Waters at Balneario de Mondariz

Taking the Waters at Balneario de Mondariz

What ever happened to Taking the Waters?  What a lovely way to pass the time, and yet you only see people doing so in Hercule Poirot TV shows and old movies. Balneario de Mondariz is one of hundreds of “spas” that dotted Galician Spain in their heyday, and we stayed there for just long enough […]

The Lamprey

The Lamprey

It is Lamprey season in Galicia Spain.  If you are a queasy about cuisine, I suggest you stop reading right here and right now and move on to the next post. The lamprey’s actual genealogy is of some question, but basically it is a jawless creature that affixes itself to a fish or other aquatic animals using suckers […]

Skiing Courchevel

Skiing Courchevel

Courchevel is the name of a ski resort in the French Alps. It is a part of Les Trois Vallées, the largest linked ski area in the world. Courchevel also refers to the towns of Courchevel 1300 (Le Praz), Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1650 (Moriond), and Courchevel 1850, which are named for their altitudes in meters. That […]

Raclette at Hotel Courcheneige

Raclette at Hotel Courcheneige

Food at the Hotel Courcheneige is excellent, and we walk away from dinner every night astounded and sated, however, one night we decided to vary from the normal fixed menu and have Raclette. What a fun evening! Raclette is a Swiss dish which is also indigenous to parts of Switzerland. It is also the name […]

Miscellaneous thoughts on Courchevel

Miscellaneous thoughts on Courchevel

Winter 2015 The Airport Courchevel’s airport stops you in your tracks. It has a very short and steeply sloped runway, which is only 1722 feet long and has a gradient of 18.5%. The airport approach is through deep valleys, which can only be performed by specially certified pilots. On landing there is merely a very steep […]

4 Hours in Geneva

4 Hours in Geneva

The train from Courcheval, France arrives in Geneva at 2:00 p.m. and we had a 7:00 dinner reservation, followed by a 4:00 am wakeup call for our flight out to Spain. Given paperwork time for check in, and the time it takes to find your brain and make sure it is still in your cranium […]

Paris - March 2015

Paris – March 2015

It is hard to believe that I was in India just a mere 5 days ago, it is days like this that I know I am a very lucky gal.  I am here in Paris with two very, very dear friends Julie and Kristen, it is a three day stop on our way to skiing […]

How to Exhaust yourself in Paris

How to Exhaust yourself in Paris

When you only have three days in Paris, there are just a few things that have to be accomplished, and no matter how many times you have done the Eiffel Tower, I think it is a must for every trip.  I am sure that many would say it is cliche, but I just think it […]

You want to go where in Paris?

You want to go where in Paris?

Morning began with perfection and one of the world’s biggest sugar rushes, Chocolate Chaud at Angelina’s.  The chocolate comes in a great big pitcher with a side of whip cream for you to add at your discretion. A walk through the Tuileries to catch the 69 bus.  These gardens were once the formal gardens of […]

Random Thoughts on Paris

Random Thoughts on Paris

A LITTLE SHOPPING We really had absolutely no time for shopping, but I do love the individual neighborhood shops of Paris. I had walked by a small store in the morning that I could tell, simply by looking in, Kristen would love. She was looking for a new bag and found a stunning one in […]

India in February 2015

India in February 2015

New Delhi A reminder of once again how brutal the flight is from California to New Delhi with an arrival at midnight, but a few hours sleep and a good cup of coffee and the day begins… I think it should be de requeur to spend the first day in Delhi with a rickshaw ride in […]

Delhi

Delhi

Delhi February 2015 It was a long day today, packed with many places, all of which I have seen before.  We started at the Indian Gate, and you can see pictures of the gate here.   Built in memory to the of the 90,000 Indian soldiers who died during World War I,  and those that died in the […]

Delhi, Sarnath and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh

Delhi, Sarnath and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh

We rose early in Delhi to head to the airport for a flight to Varnasi.  Alas, the plane was late in arriving so our day became an exercise in catching up.  It was not a problem, it just meant for a long and very exhausting day. We checked into the Taj Ganges Varanasi, and I […]

Varanasi at Night

Varanasi at Night

“Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.” Mark Twain Varnasi,  also known as Kasha (the City of Light) or Banares, is Hindu’s holiest city. It is the holiest of the seven sacred cities (Sapta Puri) in Hinduism, and Jainism. It […]

Varanasi - Bodh Gaya and the Road In Between

Varanasi – Bodh Gaya and the Road In Between

Varanasi in the Morning Up before dawn to catch the river as it wakes. It was truly amazing to be in an Indian city where it is quiet and the streets, while not deserted, were empty but for the sleeping cow and early worker. Once at the river however, it was the beginning of the […]

Bodh Gaya to Munger

Bodh Gaya to Munger

It was an 8-hour drive from Bodh Gaya to Munger to catch the R.V. Bengal Ganga. Along the way we visited Nalanda. Nalanda is an ever expanse of partially excavated and reconstructed brick structures. Once the most prestigious of the Buddhist sites it was founded in the 5th century and was reputed to have over […]

The R.V. Bengal Ganga

The R.V. Bengal Ganga

Our first stop in the morning was to the Bihar School of Yoga. The school was established in 1963 and also serves as an Ashram with about 50% western students. We left with a sack of propaganda leaflets and a Rudraksha seed. The seed is thought to be the eye of Shiva. Some also think […]

The R.V. Bengal Ganga and Bateshwarsthan

The R.V. Bengal Ganga and Bateshwarsthan

February 2015Our only stop today was Vikramshila University in the town of Bateshwarsthan. This is the birthplace of Vajrayana Buddhism. Originally established by King Dharampala in the late 8th or 9th century in response to what he saw as a decline in the quality of education at Nalanda. Vikramshila is one of the more important […]

The R.V. Bengal Ganga and The Raj Mahal

The R.V. Bengal Ganga and The Raj Mahal

February 2015 We have been told of the dolphins of the Ganges, and in fact two days ago we sailed through the Vikramshila Ganetic Dolphin Sanctuary, but until today, I have only seen the backs of what I assumed were dolphins. Today we finally saw them jumping out of the water and I got a full […]

The R.V Bengal Ganga and The Farakka Barrage

The R.V Bengal Ganga and The Farakka Barrage

February 2015 Our third night out was the second night of thunder, lightening and rain. It makes for a rather humid day, and this morning it was raining as well.  It was a very quiet day of sailing down the Ganges to the Farraka Barrage.  We did have one hour off the boat to walk the […]

The R.V. Bengal motoring in West Bengal

The R.V. Bengal motoring in West Bengal

February 2015 Bengal is proving to be horribly hot and humid, it is lovely on the boat as the breezes blow but we have been off for a few excursions. The first to the town of Baranagar for a visit to the Jor Banla Shiva temple. Constructed between 1716 and 1795 by the tax collector […]

Curry and Saris

Curry and Saris

February 2015 Our last day on the boat held a cooking class by the chef. It was not so much to get recipes as to get a view into the complicated concept of the Indian kitchen. There is absolutely no prepared food in India, you want spaghetti sauce, you make it from scratch. Every dish […]

Kalna the Temple Town

Kalna the Temple Town

February 2013 Our only stop today was Kalna or Ambika Kalna called the “Temple Town”, and dedicated to the goddess of power, Maa Kali. After disembarking at the only available ghat, which obviously served as the garbage dump, we had a fun rickshaw ride to the Rajbari temple complex. The complex contains a unique mixture […]

Kolkata and Bhubaneswar

Kolkata and Bhubaneswar

Our morning began with disembarkation from the R.V. Bengal in Kolkata (Calcutta). We were given a very brief tour of Kolkata along with two stops, normally this would be highly disappointing to me, but one drive through the city and you know it is not somewhere you want to spend too long. That is not […]

Bhubaneswar - The Temple City of India

Bhubaneswar – The Temple City of India

February 2015 There are over 400 temples, only a fraction of what is thought to have once been 7000 temples, in Bhubaneswar and today we went exploring. Our first stop was a pre-temple structure. The Udaigiri and Khandagiri caves were honeycombed with little retreats for Jain monks in the 1st century BC. The highway cuts through […]

Bhubaneswar, Puri and Konarak

Bhubaneswar, Puri and Konarak

February 2015 Our last day in Bhubaneswar, was very long, and yet amazing, sadly, tomorrow we fly to Delhi and home. It began with a short stop at a Rock Edict of Ashoka (Asoka). Ashoka was first introduced to us at Sarnath. Discovered in 1837, this set of Rock Edicts contains eleven out of the well-known […]

Indian Wrap Up

Indian Wrap Up

February 2015 As this is my second trip to India, albeit to a completely different region, my ending thoughts are far different than my last trip and I thought I would share them. Internet The strange thing about India is the Internet. One thinks of India and thinks technology and especially Internet, but it just […]

Cuba in January 2015

Cuba in January 2015

Cuba has the most tightly controlled internet in the world.  Their internet is characterized by a low number of connections, limited bandwidth, censorship, and high cost.  For that reason I posted this first entry prior to leaving and the rest upon my return. Everyone is talking about the opening of negotiations between the US and Cuba, […]

Miami/Santa Clara/Cienfuegos

Miami/Santa Clara/Cienfuegos

January 16, 2015 The day started at 5:00 in the morning to get to the airport for the Cuban airport hustle. It essentially means that you get to the airport, hand your tour handler your passport, $20 for baggage and your visa. Then you stand and wait. That process took over an hour. However, our […]

Cienfuegos/Trinidad

Cienfuegos/Trinidad

After a buffet breakfast we were bound for Trinidad. Before leaving town we headed to the local Mercado. It was a fairly typical Mercado and yet fun to explore. * Our first stop out of town was a Batey. Batey is a Cuban word for a small community that centers around a sugar plantation and […]

Cuba-Topes De Collantes:Parque Codina

Cuba-Topes De Collantes:Parque Codina

We were joined by a local guide Luise. Luise has a degree in journalism but is a fountain of information regarding the flora and fauna of the preserve, as well having a fabulous command of the English language. Our day was spent in the Topas de Collantes Natural Park in the Guamuhaya Mountains. This 200 […]

Cuba  - Topes/Zapata Peninsula/Bay of Pigs

Cuba – Topes/Zapata Peninsula/Bay of Pigs

We began our day in the Zapata Swamp looking for the Emerald Hummingbird and the Bee Hummingbird. This was day two of birding. Steve Stancyk explained to this non-birder, that the group was looking first for endemic birds and secondly birds not found in the U.S. that were new to the group. The endemic birds […]

Cuba  Playa Larga/Soroa/Vinales

Cuba Playa Larga/Soroa/Vinales

We had the privilege of a lecture from Frank Medina, director of the Zapata Park. This 5000 square kilometer Park is the most important wetland of Cuba. It is recognized by UNESCO as a bio-reserve. Cuba is 1200 Kilometers long and in it you will find 290 natural beaches, 4095 different keys, 4 mountain ranges, […]

Cuba -  Vinales/Soroa

Cuba – Vinales/Soroa

Today was filled with those moments that just reek of the tourism that no one in this group wants, and yet, we had no choice, so off we went. We visited the Indian Cave, located in the Organos Mountain Range in the Guaniguanico Range. The valley, and a large part of the mountain range, became […]

Cuba  Soroa/ Terrazas/Havana

Cuba Soroa/ Terrazas/Havana

The morning began with a tour of a Botanical Garden that specialized in Orchids. Our guide, Aliett Cecilia Diaz, was a botanist and a perfect English speaker. In 1952 Attorney Thomas Felipe Comacho began building a garden for his famous orchid collection. The garden, an addition to the home, built in 1943, took nine (9) […]

Cuba  - Havana

Cuba – Havana

The older portions of Havana are built on a system of squares. We hopped off the bus at the Malecon and into a small one-block-long historically dedicated street. In 1946 this area was dedicated to a barber Juan Evangelista Valdés Veitía (1836-1918). Veitía worked to help move children from a potential life of crime that […]

Cuba  - Havana

Cuba – Havana

The morning of Day 9 we started at the largest crafts market, a grouping of storage lockers inside a quonset hut, that was just waiting for a cruise ship to pull in.  While it was true that you could find most everything anywhere else, the selection was good and the stop worth making.   Lunch […]

The Architecture of Cuba

The Architecture of Cuba

The architecture of Cuba is filled with glorious, and rapidly deteriorating buildings. Each large city in Cuba had its own distinct style but overridingly the architecture of Cuba is the definition of fusion. The 16th and 17th century was dominated by the Spanish, but you also have the Moorish influence from Granada. These all show […]

The Cars of Cuba

The Cars of Cuba

Wow, I got to see the backseat of a ‘56 Chevy again. – William Madar So you have heard about the great 1950s American cars of Havana, they make a great photo op and are in every promotional and tourist picture of Havana you have ever seen. What you don’t know is the fact that […]

A Small Sampling of Art in Cuba

A Small Sampling of Art in Cuba

  Cienfuegos Our first people to people experience was in Cienfuegos. We had the pleasure of listening to a choral group The Cantores Cienfuegos. We were in a fabulous old vaulted plaster ceiling creating just wonderful acoustics. Have a listen: The performance started with “I wish I Could Die” by Claudio Monteverdi, and included “Oh […]

The Buena Vista Social Club

The Buena Vista Social Club

  Dancing in Cuba is spontaneous, and absolutely gorgeous. I am convinced the Cubans have an extra gene just for grace and beauty in the dancing world. Music, as well, is on every corner every evening. So what would a tourist visit be without a trip to the Buena Vista Social Club. Our evening began […]

Hemingway and Cuba

Hemingway and Cuba

We were given a tour of the grounds of Hemingway’s Cuban home by Deputy Director, Isbel Ferreiro. Hemingways love for Cuba started long before he purchased the house and there are hundreds of books out there for one to read, but this will cover what we learned on our visit. The house was originally built […]

Tobacco Farming in Cuba

Tobacco Farming in Cuba

One of the best regions for growing tobacco in Cuba is the Pinar del Rio region which is where we were. To understand the agriculture you must understand the end product. There are three parts to a Cuban cigar. The filler, which contains four types of tobacco; Seco, Volado, Ligero and Medio Tiempo. The binder, […]

Buddy Bears

Buddy Bears

Oh Cuba I Bearly Knew Ya….Bill United Buddy Bears is an art project to promote tolerance and understanding among nations, cultures and religions. The 128 bears represent countries recognized by the United Nations. Each bear is created by an artist of its country. They stand “hand in hand” symbolizing the future vision of a peaceful […]

8 Hours in Washington D.C.

8 Hours in Washington D.C.

November 2014 What do you do in Washington D.C. when you have a day and you have already seen “the famous”  National Monuments?  Well here is my wild and crazy schedule.  Some of it is walkable, some of it was done by cab and some of it was done on mass transit.  That part is up […]

Bat to Bat Days in Louisville, Kentucky

Bat to Bat Days in Louisville, Kentucky

July 2014 Louisville is an interesting town.  Everyone knows it for the Kentucky Derby, and I have always wanted to go, not to see the Derby, but to see the fireworks display on the bridges the night before. I found myself in Louisville for the weekend in the middle of June, and yes I suffered […]

Where has service gone?

Where has service gone?

I have been traveling quite a bit in the last 12 months, both inside and outside of the United States.  Recently, on a trip to Chicago, I was rather disappointed in the service I received at the Trump Towers in Chicago. This got me thinking, why is service in the Untied States on such a […]

Chicago River Cruise

Chicago River Cruise

June 2014 There are several river cruises available to take in Chicago, and I highly recommend that you take at least one.  While it is a touristy thing to do, it is also a great way to see the city, and can be a great place to cool off if your day gets too hot […]

Eataly

Eataly

43 East Ohio Street Chicago, Illinois This is Eataly and an experience not to be missed! Owned by Mario Batali, Oscar Farinetti, Joe and Lidia Bastianich, Adam and Alex Saper, Eataly is an extravaganza,covering 62,000 square feet, on two floors, that is EVERYTHING Italian. In January 2007, Italian businessman Oscar Farinetti converted a closed vermouth factory in […]

Chagall in Chicago

Chagall in Chicago

10 South Dearborn Exelon Plaza Chicago Composed of thousands of inlaid chips in over 250 colors, this mosaic is by Marc Chagall.  Titled The Four Seasons, it  portrays six scenes of Chicago. Chagall maintained, “the seasons represent human life, both physical and spiritual, at its different ages.” The design for this mosaic was created in Chagall’s […]

Gillette Castle

Gillette Castle

67 River Road East Haddam, Connecticut This, truly unique residence was commissioned and designed by William Gillette.  Gillette was an actor who is most famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes on stage. Gillette’s estate, called Seventh Sister, was built in 1914 on a 184-acre parcel on top of a chain of hills known as the Seven […]

The Blue Garden and the Arthur Curtiss Jones Estate

The Blue Garden and the Arthur Curtiss Jones Estate

School has finished and I am spending a few days with dearest friends Robert and Gail Ornstein.  Robert is an architect in Providence, and is working on the restoration of Blue Garden, a Frederick Law Olmsted garden, and as architects who visit with other architects know, I had to see the sight and Robert was […]

Newport, Rhode Island

Newport, Rhode Island

I arrived in Newport today (May 30, 2014) to begin an 8 day course on the History and Architecture of the area.  Class does not start until this evening, which gave me the opportunity to grab the first, of what I hope will be many, lobster rolls during this visit. I headed to Flo’s Crab […]

Early Newport

Early Newport

We were told when this course began that we would learn the meaning of “Death March” or “Sherman’s March to the Sea”, well it is day one, and yup we learned it right away. First stop was Trinity Church.  It is important to begin with a bit of Newport history, which at this point in […]

Newport - The Calm before the Storm

Newport – The Calm before the Storm

  So, I have come to the conclusion that the reason these are called death marches isn’t just because we hike for miles and miles, but because our esteemed Professor Richard Guy Wilson, heads straight out without a care in the world.  There are thirty of us, and watching him step off the sidewalk into […]

So You Want an American Renaissance...

So You Want an American Renaissance…

Today was a day of only 3 houses, but what houses they were.  All three houses were designed by Richard Morris Hunt. Our first stop was Ochre Court.  Built between 1888 and 1893 for Ogden Goelet.  These houses are well documented as to the craftspeople.  The Ochre House sculptor was Karl Bitter, however, much of […]

MM&W meet LaFarge

MM&W meet LaFarge

Our day started at the Channing Memorial Church.  (E. Boyden and Sons 1881).  William Ellery Channing was the foremost Unitarian preacher in the United States in the early nineteenth century. We were at the church to view the John LaForge stained glass windows.  I promised I would tell this story, so here goes.  Charles Lewis […]

Floors, Ceilings and Walls

Floors, Ceilings and Walls

Our day began at Slater Mill.  The mill is part of the Blackstone River Valley, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Pawtucket is the local Indian word for place of falling water.  Slater Mill is the last mill standing in the valley.  This stone building is actually the Wilkinson Blacksmith shop.  When the Englishman Slater convinced the […]

Castles, Views and the Servants

Castles, Views and the Servants

After a morning of lectures we headed out to Belcourt Castle.  Belcourt is a R. M. Hunt building( 1891-94).  The house was built for Oliver Hazzard Perry Belmont, with changes done when he married Alva Vanderbilt once she divorced William. The house has been purchased by Carolyn Rafaelian, founder of Alex and Ani.  She is restoring […]

Out and About in the Countryside

Out and About in the Countryside

We began this morning in my favorite genre, Japanese revival.  The house is just lovely, as are the couple that own it.  They still have a lot of restoration to go, but what they have done is just perfect.  The house is called the Knapp house and was designed by Ralph Adams Cram in 1894. Cram […]

Arbiters of Taste and Where We Are Today?

Arbiters of Taste and Where We Are Today?

    We were asked to read a few books before class started.  Henry James An International Episode and A House of Mirth by Edith Wharton.  I enjoyed An International Episode, but truly had a hard time plodding through A House of Mirth.  I came to the conclusion this it was because I really became […]

The Countryside of Georgia - Dmanisi and Bolnisi

The Countryside of Georgia – Dmanisi and Bolnisi

We headed out of town to Dmanisi.  Dmanisi is a medieval town overlooking the confluence of two rivers where Silk Road caravans used to pass.  Early human fossils, originally named Homo georgicus and now considered Homo erectus georgicus, were found at Dmanisi between 1991 and 2005. At 1.8 million years old, they represent the earliest known human presence […]

Kutaisi to Bakuriani

Kutaisi to Bakuriani

After an interesting night at Lali’s Guesthouse our first stop was just down the road at Bagrati Cathedral. Bagrati Cathedral is an interesting study in the rights, wrongs, ups, downs and political meddling’s of historic restoration. Bagrati was/is one of the finest examples of the domed-church architectural style of the medieval period.  The church was […]

2 Days in Yerevan, Armenia

2 Days in Yerevan, Armenia

  Since everything is so far from Yerevan and, like Georgia, there are no hotels outside of the big cities we did not return until very late last night. I had no idea yesterday was going to be as long a day as it was, so here we go with two days – I apologize […]

Dublin - Day One

Dublin – Day One

Dublin February 2014 I am traveling with my friend Mari Zatman.  Mari is a travel agent so this trip is a Fam (familiarization). trip for her, and I get to be her companion.   I wanted to come over and see some of Dublin as the Fam trip does not include Dublin.  We arrived at […]

Dublin - Day 2

Dublin – Day 2

Tá lá breá ann (It’s a Beautiful Day)   Okay that truly is the only thing I can attempt to write in Gaelic, and I would have loved to say it WAS a beautiful day, but that just won’t come up in google.   I have heard a lot of languages in my life, and […]

The Art of Saint Stephen's Green

The Art of Saint Stephen’s Green

Saint Stephen’s Green is a small park in the city center. The park has a very rich history in itself, but it is also the home to many a great statues. The entry to the park is graced with this statue of Wolfe Tone by Edward Delaney.  Wolfe Tone is the father of Irish Republicanism. […]

Public Art in Dublin

Public Art in Dublin

  Like any old European town, Dublin is littered with statues to the famous, and often, the long forgotten.  I am only going to focus on the pieces that captured me in an, other than, historic fashion.   The first is truly a cliche, and the fact that I caught her alone and not covered […]

Harps and Shamrocks and some Guinness Thrown in for Good Measure

Harps and Shamrocks and some Guinness Thrown in for Good Measure

Shamrocks and Ireland are synonymous.  This comes from St. Patrick and the use of the shamrock to represent the Holy Trinity.  The name shamrock is derived from the Irish seamróg  and simply means “little clover”.  However, did you know that it is NOT the symbol of Ireland? That honor goes to the harp. The coat of arms of […]

Pubs, Pubs, Pubs

Pubs, Pubs, Pubs

Pubs and Ireland, an unbreakable bond in everyone’s mind.  There are approximately 800 pubs in Dublin at this time. However, over 1500 pubs have closed in the last 5 years.  So, when a friend tells says “you must go to…. greatest pub in Dublin, we had so much fun…”, be prepared.  Some of the pubs […]

Rain, Rain, Rain

Rain, Rain, Rain

We have been very fortunate with our weather, but we fear that is about to run out. Ireland has been suffering from storms, the likes of which they have never seen.  The average rainfall is approximately 49 inches a year and of course there is more in the mountainous regions.  They have had 120 inches […]

Glendalough and Moher and an Aron Sweater for Warmth

Glendalough and Moher and an Aron Sweater for Warmth

These two sites are exactly what one’s minds eye sees when they think Ireland. This would be more the case if photos showed up better in blogger. Glendalough About 35 miles outside of Dublin Glendalough comes from the Gaelic Gleann da locha meaning the Glen of two Lakes Glendalough is home to one of the […]

County Kerry without the Rain

County Kerry without the Rain

Well we lucked out today, cloudy and cold, but nowhere near as much rain as we experienced yesterday. We joined the ocean at Kenmare Bay. We drove the Shea Head to the Dingle Bay. Then we gasped at the Great Blasket Island. The Blasket Islands were inhabited until 1953 by a completely Gaelic speaking population. The […]

Blarney - Oh My!

Blarney – Oh My!

Today was a visit to Blarney Castle, so yes, that meant kissing the Blarney Stone. Blarney Castle is a little over a one hour drive through beautiful country from Killarney.  We went along side the Darrynasagart Mountains that had a dusting of snow on their tops and continued traveling along the Lee River, which was […]

Ogham Stones

Ogham Stones

We had a few moments to kill when we had a flat tire on our bus, so we headed over to University College Cork (UCC).  The UCC collection was started in 1861 and the last stone was added in 1945.  With the exception of one all are from County Cork. Ogham (pronounced Om) is the […]

India

India

November/December 2013   There are many books out there about India.  These are ones I highly recommend if you are planning traveling in the area.  These are not travel books, those are a dime a dozen, these books are about the history, the economy and the culture.   Maximum City by Suketu Mehta City of […]

Delhi

Delhi

This morning we once again hired a driver to take us around some sights.  We started with the India Gate, which, like all triumphal gates and arches is a memorial to the fallen of war.  The interesting thing was the men sitting under the gate making a flower mandala (about 50 X 50 feet), and […]

Delhi

Delhi

Today we joined our tour group. We toured two sites today and had a lecture on the religion/history/architecture of India.  A nice overview, and a start to trying to understand 3000 years of intermixing of races, religion and customs all in one country.  Humayun’s Tomb National Museum of India It is election time in the state […]

Delhi to Agra

Delhi to Agra

Today we drove to Agra to see the Taj Mahal.   The drive was extremely interesting.  Getting out of Delhi was the usual mad house, and as we got farther and farther away the traffic slowly died down.  About an hour out of Delhi we got onto their new expressway, and it was just that. […]

The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal

Well I promised I would write about it, but I am not sure I can.  It is magical, it is regal, it is elegant, and oh by the way, did I mention it is magical.   There are no words, and also, pictures do not do it justice.  It isn’t real,  you feel that it […]

Insanity and Tranquility

Insanity and Tranquility

Our guide, the professor Annapurna Garmiella (you can google her if you are interested, and by the way, she is far, far prettier in person, especially when she smiles).  She lives in Southern India, and we got to talking about conditions in India.  She mentioned that there are no men over 35 in her neighborhood. […]

Jaipur

Jaipur

Our highlight today was a block print/ cotton cloth museum/store.   Block print is well known to all of us, but what I found interesting is that a British woman understood how cool Indian prints were during the Beatles, 1960’s, Ravi Shanker period and she revived the dying art of block print fabrics.    We […]

Elephants

Elephants

This is wedding season in India.  Weddings are not necessarily on a Saturday like we think of them in the US, astrologers are called in and an optimal day is chosen, so it could be any day of the week.  However, this is the Season for weddings.  We have been seeing elaborate set ups for […]

Sweets of India

Sweets of India

We spent day 10 in the bus driving to Jaipur, so not much to report.  Day 11 we have spent at a fabulous fort in Jaipur, and then we were to head out to the countryside.  HOWEVER, today is election day, and the police have closed many of the roads leading in and out of […]

Jodhpur to Udaipur

Jodhpur to Udaipur

FINALLY had kulfi.  Saffron Kulfi to boot.   Kulfi is traditionally prepared by evaporating sweetened and flavoured milk via slow cooking, with almost continuous stirring to keep milk from sticking to the bottom of the huge pot.  It is stirred until it has been reduced by half, so it is thick and has a higher […]

Udaipur

Udaipur

We began our morning with a tuk-tuk ride to a small Hindu temple. We have been in tuk-tuks in most every city, and every time we do they are a different color combination.  I don’t know what that means, but it is funny.      We circumambulated  the temple, just as in the Buddhist temple […]

Ellora

Ellora

November 2013 After our lovely morning in Udaipur we flew to Mumbai.  The hotel was a lesser quality as it was near the airport.  It was absolutely packed with 20 somethings participating in a karate tournament.  The most fascinating were the girls from Iran with their head scarfs and nike shoes and sweats.   The […]

Food of India

Food of India

November 2013 Today I decided to address food – I have been hesitating to do this because frankly, most Indian food consists of vegetables, meat if you are not vegan and a brown sauce covering it.   Now – I know that sounds insulting, but it isn’t.     Let me give a little bit […]

Mumbai/Bombay

Mumbai/Bombay

November 2013 We flew into Mumbai Friday around 10:00 a.m..  We are truly confused as how we got here, as it seems we were taken in a space ship to an entirely different country.     Mumbai was once known as Bombay.  – Allow me to digress a bit here.  India is impossible to discuss […]

General Thoughts on India

General Thoughts on India

The very first night that we joined our tour group the leader asked us to say why we had come to India. ” I love my country, don’t get me wrong, but it takes a special type of traveler to come here.”     You all know I just did it because I have no […]

Very Very Random Thoughts on India

Very Very Random Thoughts on India

I mentioned that our guide had the most wonderful smile, and a fabulous laugh.  THAT is India.  Smiles and laughter are everywhere, and they are infectious.  I also want to talk about helpfulness. If we do not have Indian colleagues or friends most Americans contact with the Indian culture is through call-centers.  We dread them, […]

Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago

September 2013 September 2013 My dear dear friend Julie Belott asked me a few weeks after Michael passed away if I wanted to hike the Camino de Santiago with her. My first statement was absolutely, my second was What is the Camino de Santiago? These posts, that I wanted to add to my blog are […]

Camino de Santiago Hiking Day 1

Camino de Santiago Hiking Day 1

September 2013 Day 1 – 21 miles or 33.8 kilometers – Way toooo much – and I will explain why eventually No wi-fi. (Wee fee in Spanish) We started in Sarria. The Camino is a lot like walking a charity event. You encounter people through out the day over and over depending on how fast […]

Camino de Santiago - Hiking Day 2

Camino de Santiago – Hiking Day 2

September 2013 I started my morning by hiking up a hill to Castromaiar. Castro means stone in galician, and at the top of the extra 1 kilometer I walked was the ruins of an old Roman encampment. Just amazing how much history is in this countryside, and most of it hidden behind fabulous stone walls […]

Camino de Santiago - Hiking Day 3

Camino de Santiago – Hiking Day 3

September 2013 14.1 miles – 29,482 steps – Rain for about 15 minutes – more about that. At the end of our walk yesterday in Coto we finished at a delightful little hotel. The place was owned by a husband and wife. There was a bar set up under a tent outside and that is […]

Camino de Santiago - Hiking Day 4

Camino de Santiago – Hiking Day 4

September 2013 14.9 miles and 35,000 steps Promised to give an update to last nights meal, good but no where near as good as the home cooked food from the night before. Galitian Soup, Veal and Torta de Santiago. The Torta, you see everywhere. Almond flour, almonds and powdered sugar. I am sure it is […]

Camino de Santiago - Last Day of Hiking

Camino de Santiago – Last Day of Hiking

September 2013 9.9 miles – 23,500 steps Today was bitter sweet. My feet are so glad we are done, and frankly I could not have done anymore without a few days rest, but none-the-less, it has been a journey worth it all. The last leg is really uneventful. Truth is most of it is through […]