Sunday, July 26, 2020

A Virtual Walk Near the Beach

Last week I did a virtual walk through the high desert, today I'm going to do a virtual walk near the beach in California.  Since I won't be making the trip this year (for obvious reasons), a virtual walk with a touch of sea air will have to do.

When I'm near the ocean, I like to focus my telephoto lens in on the many sailboats I see.  It must be quite relaxing to be sailing like this.

I have my favorite view points where I can watch the water crashing on the rocks below.

Another thing I love to do is watch the birds along the shore.  For the longest time I thought these were sandpipers but they are actually a bird called godwits.  

Another thing I love to do is see all the beautiful plants that grow so well with the nearby ocean breezes embracing them.  I love finding little ponds with colorful waterlilies and the thousands of bird-of-paradise blooms seem to be everywhere.

And when I'm not walking, I'll find a comfortable place to sit and enjoy a view of the ocean.  This view is from the Crystal Cove shopping center.  A cool drink and a comfortable chair and I'm all set!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

A Virtual Walk in the High Desert

I've been thinking about all the things I've missed doing this year since everyone in the world has been staying at home.  One of the things on my list was another visit to Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior Arizona, northeast of Phoenix.  I wrote a post about this place four years ago in which I described the history of the place.  Today I'm going to just concentrate on the scenery.

I started looking through my photos from Boyce Thompson and I ended up taking a virtual tour while sitting at my desk.  Granted, that's not quite the same as being there but it was refreshing nonetheless.

I enjoyed the desert plants that were bursting with blooms when I was there in the spring of past years.  If I time my visit right, the desert trails are ablaze with color.

When I take one of the high trails, I get stunning views of the all the mountains surrounding the area.

Some pretty interesting rock formations can be seen in different locations.  I like that one in the middle that kind of resembles a Moai from Easter Island.

On the "walk-about" trail, I'll pass the old "out-back" shed that looks like it was left by a scruffy, old miner about 80 years ago.  I bet that it wasn't.  It's just there to add some interest to this particular trail.

In one place, giant cactus blooms share the space with beautiful iris.  I can't decide which I like better.

On the lower trail, I find myself in a lush area with tall trees and plenty of shade to cool me down.

I've finally made my way to the demonstration garden where there are several different examples of gardens that can be created in an arid climate.  Sitting quietly in this spot, almost makes one forget about being surrounded by high desert.

I might not be able to visit this place this year but, at least I have a large collection of photos from past visits.  For now, the virtual walk will have to do.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

A Stop in the City of Como

Last week a posted about a stop we made on our last day in Italy when a driver took us from Bellagio back to Milan.  We made one other stop that day, this time in the city of Como.

We were there for two hours to do a little exploring and to have some lunch.  The first place we visited was the Duomo di Como or the Como Cathedral.  Construction on this fabulous church began in 1396.

After visiting the cathedral, we just explored the streets and enjoying the look of this city, one of the largest on Lake Como.

Como was a lot bigger than Bellagio and the cities around the area where we had spent most of our time.  I enjoyed seeing all the sidewalk cafes full of people.

In fact, we stopped at one of those wonderful cafes where I enjoyed a beautifully arranged plate of Parma ham and melon.  It tasted every bit as good as it looked.

During the short time we spent in Como, I could see that it was another beautiful city with a lot to offer.  The Lake Como region is truly a jewel in Italy's crown.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Basilica of Agliate

On our last day in Italy, we had a driver take us from Bellagio on Lake Como back to Milan where we would spend the night before our flights home.  One of the stops we made along the way was in the village of Agliate where an ancient church was located.  The Basilica of Agliate is also known as the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul and it dates to shortly after the year 1000.

Most of the frescos on the wall are badly faded.  It would be wonderful to see some of these restored.

This fresco of the Virgin dates to the second half of the 14th century.

There were two places in the floor where glass had been installed so visitors could see the original foundations dating to Roman times under Emperor Julian the Apostate.

Next to the church was the Baptistry.

Inside the Baptistry were more frescos.  You can see that the three above are badly faded but this last one of the Deposition of Christ dates back to the 14th Century and still has lots of color to it.

It was an interesting place to visit that probably does not get a lot of visitors from other countries.  All of the signs and printed literature was only in Italian.  I'm glad our driver suggested this stop along the way.